BB32: Putting the “Sensual” in “Non-consensual”

I’m a little late to the party on this one, but as someone who has literally made an entire career in Eve by way of non-consensual “pvp” engagements, I felt I needed to weigh in here.

PvP is hard. I learned that the hard way very quickly, very early on in this game. But what I really learned, and what really stuck to me is this:

PvP in Eve Online is by its nature, non-consensual.

There’s nothing about the words “player vs player” that entails a mutual expressed decision to engage, or pre-arranged terms. When you are PvE-ing, then you are entering into a pre-arranged and per-determined combat scenario, but engaging another player is hardly ever mutually agreed upon. Indeed, by this logic, I feel that games which have expressed “PvP areas” as well as expressed and enforced “Non PvP areas” can’t really in fairness call their game a true PvP experience; at that point its more “dueling” than anything else, or by Eve lingo “1v1”-ing. These are the pre-arranged, agreed upon fights, but I feel these make up for  a very small portion of conflict in Eve.

To avoid type-casting myself as the “high-sec mission runner ganker with a chip on his shoulder”, I’ll even put my point into vastly different circumstances. Say you’re in one of those big herpy-derp srsbzns null-sec alliances; you like your ops set to an alarm clock, your voice coms boring and silent, and your play-time dictated by a very strong-minded 19 yr old with an Oedipus complex who you’ve never actually met. Your epeen, it is massive, and any challenge to that raging boner must be met with swift justice. Someone has just put one of your towers into reinforced, so your pimple-y, neck-bearded CEO gets you all up out of bed for an uber-serious CTA; you’re off to fight the attackers.

Now, what about that, albeit mocked, scenario is at all consensual? The null alliance in question is on their way to battle another null alliance, not because they called each other and said “hey, lets have a giant fleet battle and test out this new TiDi stuff!”, but because that second alliance directly threatened their assets without warning or possibly even without prior provocation. Sure, in rushing to the defense of their tower and to engage the attackers, they are now fairly explicitly entering into a known PvP environment, but only as a result of that first, non-consensual attack by the second alliance on their tower.

The way I see it, why should high-sec be any different? The uniqueness of this game is that even if you look at it in a very black and white “null and low sec are PvP areas, and high sec is not” (which is entirely untrue anyways), Eve allows and even encourages you to create scenarios in those “non PvP” areas which allow just that. War-decs, can-baiting, or suicide ganking are all perfectly acceptable ways of “a player engaging another player in combat” in highsec, even if its not mutually-agreed upon. In most of these high-sec scenarios, there are even ways out if you keep your head: get wardecced? Drop corp! Someone flips your ore into one of their own cans? Walk away! Its actually easy to completely abstain from high sec PvP violence if you put your mind to it, but the fact that the option, or even threat of it is there is something entirely unique about Eve.

If you DO want that “mutual” decision to engage, 1v1’s can occur wherever, even in high-sec, by both parties looting the other’s can, giving them both aggression. What we do in SN is simply to engineer that scenario by which both parties are “agreeing” to a player vs player engagement, even if the other guy isn’t sure what he’s signing exactly.

Seismic “The Troll” Stan (I see what you did there 😉 ). whether serious or not, expressed a fear on his blog that Eve players violently resist change, or anything they view as more structure or alteration to their sandbox, and I think he’s got a point. And even though I can call myself guilty of this at times, I think this is one of those major pillars of Eve that really can’t change. Yes, I’m a little biased based off of my own play-style in this game, but the whole “don’t undock what you can’t afford to lose” or “undocking in Eve is agreeing to PvP” is part of the magic that makes the game what it is. Space is a dangerous place, and without that element of the unknown, that slight tingle at the back of your neck, we are truly just playing “barbie plays farmville in space”.


-Aiden Mourn

Dir. Suddenly Ninjas; putting the “sensual” in “non-consensual” since 2008.


Soap-boxers, Cry-babies, Shield-bangers, and Deep Thinkers:

~ by Aiden Mourn on January 28, 2012.

2 Responses to “BB32: Putting the “Sensual” in “Non-consensual””

  1. Never before in the history of EVE blogging has the null-sec experience been so eloquently and accurately described. Bravo.

    Regarding accusations of trollism, I have no idea what you’re talking about 😉 – along with most of my commenters it seems.

    It was weird though, whilst writing my entry, in trying to play devil’s advocate I half-convinced myself. You’re right, I do have a point.

    Oh shit, I think I trolled myself.

  2. […] Aiden Mourn (Finders & Keepers) saw through this argument and was not taking the bait, “Seismic “The Troll” Stan (I see […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: