2014/02/27

Being nice in Eve - why HTFU is not always the correct answer

Not counting the first two years of my Eve career, I have almost exclusively spent my time in New Eden by doing some form of piracy. And my definition of the term is rather simple: go out there and shoot other people's internet spaceships, be it for the thrill of the hunt, for the fun of the kill, for the loot or for the ransom.

And while I neither give nor expect any form of mercy in this strangely alluring game, I have my own version of e-honor. Specifically, I have this need to both educate and reimburse my victims when it becomes obvious that they have no clue whatsoever what just happened to them, why it did and what they could have done to prevent it.

The thing is - and yes, this is pure rationalization for my behavior - that there are always people in Eve who have just started. Maybe they heard of a big supercap fight in Nullsec, maybe a friend told them to try it out, maybe they stumbled across some sort of Eve video on Youtube.

The specific reason doesn't matter. They created an account and a character, logged in and started the tutorial missions. They mined, they fought NPCs, they did some invention and industry.

And then, one, two or three days later, they got into their first destroyer or even cruiser. With (almost) no skill points, no clue about fittings and no idea that carrying all (!) their in-game assets within the cargo hold of their active ship might not be the best idea of their young Eve career.

And suddenly, while they are happily shooting that really tough belt rat, they are confronted with the harsh reality that is Eve. Non-consensual pvp. People shooting at you just because they can.

Chances are that they did not even realize what happened. A warning sound signaling low shield, tank and structure hitpoints, an animation of their pod being ejected and then their corpse floating in open space. A station, a new pod, no ship.

For us, this is just one kill out of many. And for most of us it is something we forget about within five minutes. There was no good fight, there was no interesting loot, it was just a helpless newbie in a cheap ship with cheap modules. Moving on.

For them, it is a severe setback. All gone. They have to start again. And what is even worse: they don't know what they did wrong. What can they do so it will not happen again?

Happened to all of us, HTFU, right?

No, not really. It is my believe that quite a few of those people just rage-quit and never come back. And there are two reasons why being nice to newbies you just killed makes sense.

The first reason is more or less self-serving: we all want new players to stay in Eve, to stay subscribed, to keep the virtual universe alive. And if for nothing else then just for the small chance that they will some day undock with a blingy T3 and warp to the nearest lowsec belt again without having a clue :)

The second reason is of a more social aspect. Most people like to be generous and noble when it does not cost them anything of (subjectively perceived) value. In other words: I take more satisfaction from helping another player instead of crushing him when it doesn't cost me anything. For me, this includes two things.

  • Helpful advice. This actually doesn't cost me anything but the time to write it down. 
  • Reimbursement. 10 million for a T1 cruiser with civilian modules? Or even only 5 million for a T1 destroyer with meta 1 modules? That is less then I pay for repairing my ship between fights on a busy night in Amamake. There is no impact on my way of playing Eve whatsoever. So the question here becomes why NOT be generous and help him out financially?

All of this regularly results in mails like the one below:




If only one out of ten players decides to stick around, I am happy. If only one out of ten players replies with something like 'Oh, yeah, thanks, I would indeed like to know how that happened and how I can prevent this sort of thing ...', I am glad.

And being happy and glad is a major aspect of gaming, don't you think? :)

So what are your thoughts on the subject?

Cheers,

V

PS. Of course all of the above could also be explained by my need for social validation. As in: you do nice things not because you want to be nice, but because you like the social response from your peer group because of your actions. All true. But that alone is not reason enough not to do it.

2 comments:

  1. Nice write up. I've helped out new players a fair amount of times by offering advice, linking useful blogs and sending them isk as well. I typically reserve it for those people who don't rage at me, and instead act mature about the whole thing. After all, can't help the unwilling, right?

    Lucas

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  2. Same here. If I get rages then I usually just switch off and ignore them. But often get asked what happened?! so I'll give them some tips. Blogs etc same as Lucas.

    I have even been know to give isk when I'm feeling particularly generous. Keep up the good work mate o7

    Tao.

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