Alls Fair In Love and War

I’d originally intended this as a comment response to Poetic Stanziel’s recent post “A Couple of Simple Changes to Off-Grid Boosting“, but it sort of morphed into a much longer post instead. As a preface, none of the below is meant as an affront to Poetic, as I actually thought his ideas were interesting. However, my own views of what others are calling a “problem” vary, and so we have the glory of debate.

Primarily, yes, this blog is about Eve, but first, we’re going to talk about baseball.

If you follow American baseball, you’ll know that steroid use is really nothing new to the sport; Mark McGwire with his convoluted drawn-out refusal to admit usage despite mountains of evidence, or Barry Bonds’ record-breaking 756th home-run ball now permanently marked by an asterisk in the hall of fame. In more current news, the FDA recently teamed up with MLB to bust Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera for setting up fake websites to buy testosterone, as part of a new on-going investigation in major league doping.

As much as we look down on incidents like this as both cheating and ultimately ruinous to the spirit of the game itself (and I do), on the other hand, I have to look at athletes using performance enhancing drugs and admit that its a level of of extreme dedication to ones profession that’s rarely seen elsewhere. I doubt, for instance, that your accountant is shooting up horse growth hormones and speed in order to crunch your tax returns all night.

At the end of the day though, blood doping or use of any performance enhancing drug or hormone in major league baseball is against the rules, if not illegal. Dedication to a passion aside, what Mark McGwire or Roger Clemens were doing when they injected (or, excuse me “unknowingly were injected with”)  what were effectively bull elephant hormones was in fact, cheating.

Alls Fair in Love and War (or, “Why I’m Completely and Totally Ok with Off-Grid Boosting”)

I mention the above as means of highlighting what is obviously cheating in a game environment. In terms of Eve (see, I told you we’d get there), the obvious ones are things like account hacking, RMTing, or botting; essentially rules and infractions that are clearly outlined in the rules of the game listed in the EULA. Further on, there are obvious game design oversights than are flagged as exploitation by CCP and either removed or warned about; example: AHARM using the negative multiplier of a wormhole effect to create infinite tracking on guns. Past that though, people tend to dissolve into personal opinions rather than actual game-play rules.

As another example: a while ago, when Orcas were newer and the tricks surrounding their use as high-sec Carriers were still acts of magic and wonder to a more innocent populace of New Eden, someone wrote a bit on the Eve-O forums lamenting that their current war-deccers were using them “unfairly” in the battlefield to swap ships. They felt wronged, and furthermore, felt that neutral Orcas should be flagged red when “helping” a WT in any ways.

This is a moth-ball old argument at this point, and it wasn’t even fresh when that post was written, but it caught my eye. It wasn’t overly whiny, but the basic gist was that they felt this ship was being used “incorrectly”, and more importantly “unfairly”; the feeling I got from it was basically “poo poo, this is unfair, change it”. Though I hardly ever post on the Eve forums, I felt a nagging desire to respond with a different viewpoint, which I did here

To spare you the longer read, I basically put the scenario in question in a different context to highlight its underlying absurdity:

“Help, I’m at war with a corp and they can fly battleships, while my corp cannot. I propose that we either remove battleships from the game, or flag pilots who fly them with GCCs in order to make things fair”

I think we can all agree that above statement is ridiculous. My response was basically “your WTs aren’t cheating or exploiting, they’re outgunning you….I propose another solution: get your own neutral orcas.”

So back to the subject at hand: it should be obvious at this point that I have NO issue with boosting alts. None; even when that includes aiding in a “1v1” or camping out inside a POS shield, and quite frankly, other people’s boner about this being an “issue” is mystifying to me.

To me, the use of another character to act as a means of boosting you in a fight isn’t cheating, or using a crutch, or even dishonorable (though I don’t subscribe to any level of “e-bushido”); its escalation. Pvp in Eve, after a certain point, is less about trained skills, and more about an edge over your opponent. That edge could come in the means of knowledge of the battlefield, skill at manual piloting, or an encyclopedic knowledge of every ship in the game. In other cases, its about stacking those little extra odds in your favor.

A full set of High Grade Slaves will give you a 53.63% increase to armor amount (and at what, 1.5-2bil for the set?). You jump in a tanky armor ship with this clone and you’re already going to outlast a guy with the same fit and same skills by more than 50% in a fight. On top of that, throw in some faction EANMs, not even deadspace or officer stuff, just Imperial Navy ones, and you’re adding an additional 3% to your resists across the board from the t2 variants. Hell, on top of all that, you can drop an additional fortune on pirate ammo, attribute implants, and meta 50,000 mods, because really at the end of the day, its all about that edge.

So to me, that booster alt is just an additional edge, and I’m actually completely ok with where it currently stands.

For one, T3s are no longer unscannable: hard to scan, for sure, but not impossible; sort of hard in the same way catching a HG Slaved pod of an experienced pvper without a bubble in lowsec might be hard. Secondly, even “in canon” and RP-wise there are plenty of other in-game examples of a “something” pushing effects system-wide instead of grid-wide: Incursion influence, ihubs, even a fleet itself. If a fleet boss can warp you to another location from 50 AU away at the flick of a switch, why can’t he boost your shield resists as well?

Thirdly, as I’ve said before, even though you can absolutely play and enjoy this game with a single account, alts are as much a part of Eve as undocking. The part I like the most is when you find that the same people who decry off-grid boosting are the same people with Falcon alts, Logi alts, or money-making indy or mission runner alts farming high-sec in untraceable neutral or NPC corps; oh sweet irony, I think I’m choking on it.

So again, though I found Poetics ideas for change interesting (and indeed some of the more realistic and better thought-out ones I’ve seen), I also find them completely uncalled for. Off-grid boosting is just another tool in an arsenal, and if you have problems with the other guy (wisely) using every tool at his disposal to get an edge on you, get your own booster. Don’t blame the other guy for bringing two guns to a shootout when you only bring one.


~ by Aiden Mourn on August 23, 2012.

10 Responses to “Alls Fair In Love and War”

  1. “If a fleet boss can warp you to another location from 50 AU away at the flick of a switch, why can’t he boost your shield resists as well?”

    Did they change fleet warp mechanics? In earlier times you had to be on grid to catch a fleetwarp.

  2. “As much as we look down on incidents like this as both cheating and ultimately ruinous to the spirit of the game itself (and I do), on the other hand, I have to look at athletes using performance enhancing drugs and admit that its a level of of extreme dedication to ones profession that’s rarely seen elsewhere. I doubt, for instance, that your accountant is shooting up horse growth hormones and speed in order to crunch your tax returns all night.”

    My perspective leads me to the following conclusions different from yours with regards to this paragraph in particular:

    1. Athletes taking hormones or other drugs are not demonstrating in anyway a dedication to their sport. They are demonstrating their willingness to sacrifice the long term health prospects (both their own and the sports) for the immediate financial rewards that juiced performance will bring them.

    2. While the magic asterisk next to Barry Bonds name in the record book is certainly a punishment, it is a minor punishment when viewed from a perspective that all of the millions he has “earned” have been earned at the expense of rather than in the interests of baseball as a whole. Every guy who got cut because he was one HR away from making it without juicing and didn’t earn a living in baseball paid for Barry Bond’s “glory”. And every teenager with dreams of MLB that walks past the local GNC and thinks “Man, steroids will make me a star.” is going to pay for the “glory” as well.

    3. You do have examples of accountants willing to “cheat” or skirt the moral grey areas in “dedication” to their profession. If by profession you mean rake in massive fees for cooking books — and today’s mortgage industry and banking sectors excel at it.

    You are spot on with the off-grid boosting. I have used it successfully for a long time and I love ganking. My solution to the off-grid boosting “problem” would be to provide a way for someone to know that the boosting was taking place. That way you preserve the ability to do it and make a sharp pilot able to understand what they are potentially going to be fighting.

    One thing I try to do in my EVE time is understand that in certain circumstances there is a clear distinction between “good for me” and “good for EVE”. That’s a distinction neither the baseball juicing players or their enablers were capable of making.

  3. The reason I don’t like off-grid boosting is that I feel like it doesn’t really add anything but another hassle.

    As an analogy: Let’s say that a new module is introduced that can instantly destroy any ship. This module can be fit onto any ship. Obviously, this is so awesome that everyone will fit one.

    At the same time, another module is introduced that completely negates the effect of the first module. This can also be fit on every ship.

    Of course, everyone will want to fit the insta-kill mod, but will also fit the negation mod as well. The end benefit is 0. Sure, every now and then you might find someone who forgot to fit the negation mod but those times will be rare.

    With off-grid boosting it feels like every major fleet spends x additional minutes making sure their off-grids are in position ect ect while the opposing fleet does the same. Sure, you MIGHT be able to find a hard-to-scan-down booster that forgot to bounce every once and a while but….eh? The total effect is neutralized by both sides, everyone wastes their time, and neither side really wants to expel the effort to capture the other fleet’s booster.

    So, in conclusion, it’s super boring. Is this a good reason to change off-grid boosting? Maybe not, but I won’t miss wasting minutes while our lokis get setup.

  4. The best way of fixing off grid boosting is to have the booster inherit the aggression flag.

    The scanning thing is annoying but not impossible – though at the extreme you need Covops V, Two Grav Capacitor Upgrade Rigs, Sisters Probe Launcher, Sisters Probes, Max scan skills and a full virtue implant set to scan them down.

  5. I don’t have a problem with boosting alts. But, the killmail should include them. I wouldn’t play eve if it wasn’t for the thrill of a good 1v1. It is highly annoying to see “solo kill!” on a loss mail when it was anything but.

  6. All those other edges you listed, the implants, the faction and deadspace mods, the faction ammo etc, those are all on the battlefield being put at risk. They are part of the fight. The off grid booster isn’t. He’s sitting in a far away at a safe or even in a POS.

  7. What would your opinion be on a region wide booster? I assume you would support that as well, for all the same reasons you support the system wide booster. Anyone who complains about it should simply get their own booster.

    The only obvious difference is that the region wide booster doesn’t exist, but the system wide booster does.

    • I think this is a great idea then I don’t have to move my boost alt as well as my solo main

      +1 for you sir

  8. […] week or so ago, I wrote a post about boosting alts, and my being totally ok with them. As I was researching a few points for the post however, I found […]

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