The Masks we Wear
Many people assign some rather misanthropic attributes to the players of EvE Online. Especially PvPers. Especially when the person assigning attributes has lost a ship to the player in question.
I myself have enough tears in my log to full a swimming pool. I’ve also been accused of being a bad person because I revel in the suffering of others. There might be some truth to accusations of schadenfreude (I so spelled that right the first time it isn’t even funny) HOWEVER those who take the time to know me find I’m cranky, not actually bad.
Morality has fixed portions and variable portions. Acceptable behavior is nearly always fluid. Normally I wouldn’t walk into your house and help myself to food and drink. Invite me in for a party and you’d better be stocked. As a leader in the real world as well as EvE I think I would be safe in saying that I hold myself to a high standard when it comes to leading people. I have put considerable effort into making their game experience better and in nearly all fights where we lose a ship, mine went down. Especially when we lose. There’s a somewhat corny line in “We were soldiers once, and young” where Lt. Col Moore is talking about his commitment as a leader
I can’t promise you that I will bring you all home alive. But this I swear, before you and before Almighty God, that when we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off, and I will leave no one behind. Dead or alive, we will all come home together. So help me, God.
In EvE the stakes are lower than real life. Despite the fact that my BP still goes way higher in PvP than it ever did during a mortar or IED attack I really do believe that real life has higher stakes. My body just hasn’t realized it yet. If I don’t hold to a commitment to put myself out there, exposing myself to at least as much risk as my subordinates, then I am not doing my job as a leader. In that sense my real-life morality matches my in-game morality. I hold myself to high standards when it comes to those who trust me to lead them, especially those who do so voluntarily.
However EvE is a game of conflict. Theft is a much lesser crime in EvE. Murder is practically meaningless in a world where cloning exists. Discounting ship crews (poor bastards) you can collect a million corpses, then give them to the guy who you killed. Not much of a murder. Yes I destroy property, I steal, I kill clones. In-game. Here my morals are FAR lower than real life. Why the dichotomy? Basic assumptions of EvE. I feel, and the rules/EULA tend to support me, that EvE is a game that permits a far wider scale of activity than the real world. There are hard rules in EvE. RMT, scamming the disaster relief programs, blatant abuse of new players, spamming, botting, threats in real life. Beyond that there is enough freedom for players to establish themselves and defend themselves. There’s no government powerful to protect you, and even serious infractions will only receive very transient punishments. A system that doesn’t enforce rules doesn’t have rules. As I have said before you aren’t owed a safe gameplay experience. I will treat strangers as everything from victims to potential assets to threats. Friendship can be earned, but I want to see the profit in it myself. This is the dark side of EvE. The side that gives the game its thrills and appeal to me. Am I inclined to favor a rules-theory that supports the things I enjoy? Hell yes. When I was a can-mining carebear I was SURE EvE was all about protecting me while I had fun and can-flippers were absolutely evil demons with cloven feet. This is false. My feet didn’t grow hooves.
So like I said, we have fixed values (importance of the responsibility of leaders) and variables (“common” crimes) within the EvE system. Corelin is my mask for both the similarities and differences. In EvE he represents who I might be were I to be transported to a distant galaxy, a distant future where my post-human existence and resources matched those of a capsuleer. Depending on whether the ships have crews and their likelihood of survival. I’d probably spend a lot on good escape pods. Like I said I take my obligations to those who prop up my evil regime very seriously.