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How highsec miners threaten EVE, and how we can stop them. Manifesto II.

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CODE.
#1 - 2012-04-27 01:26:30 UTC
By the time you finish reading this Manifesto II, you will understand why the highsec miners--the ones who don't bot--are the biggest problem facing EVE today. You will learn about the damage they have already caused and gotten away with, you will learn how they almost shut down EVE, and you will learn what the miners are not-so-secretly doing right now to ruin your game--unless we stop them before it's too late.

I'll explain what the carebears are trying to do to highsec. For those of you who live in nullsec and think these issues don't matter to you, read on, because I'll also explain how the highsec miners are destroying nullsec.

Time is of the essence, so let's dive right in, shall we?

Given forum readers' complaints about the length of my previous manifesto, I opted to keep it short and sweet this time. My motto is that you should never use 20,000 words when 15,000 will do. Nevertheless, as this post will be the longest in the history of the EVE forums, I decided to provide some headings and a table of contents to help keep things organized.


  1. THE ACCUSATION
  2. THE CAREBEARS KILLED NULLSEC PVP
  3. THE CAREBEARS ALMOST SHUT DOWN EVE COMPLETELY
  4. THE ENDLESS HISTORY OF NERF DEMANDS
  5. THE END OF ALL DANGER IN HIGHSEC
  6. THE CULTURE OF THE NEW CAREBEAR
  7. LESSONS FROM AN ORCA HUNT
  8. THE CONFLICT OF VISIONS
  9. HOW WE CAN STOP THE CAREBEARS
  10. A CALL TO ACTION


THE ACCUSATION

Several months ago, I wrote a brief manifesto outlining for the carebears why so many people wish them harm and launch suicide attacks against them. I described how highsec mining was rife with bots, and that even the human miners aspired to become as much like bots as possible. Miners weren't interested in playing EVE; they just wanted to make a bunch of isk while AFK. At the same time, they were sheltering the botters and legitimizing bot behavior.

When I wrote the original manifesto, I believed that the bots were the most disgraceful thing in EVE, and that the human miners merely harbored them. But I have come to understand that I was wrong. In fact, it is the bots who are being used to deflect attention away from the real threat to EVE, a threat posed by the human miners in highsec.

The bots, while doubtless a hideous feature in EVE, are being dealt with by CCP. Everyone hates the bots, and they get periodically permabanned en masse. Meanwhile, they silently go about their work and do little to disturb the fabric of EVE society as a whole, piling up their ore and ice until they get banned.

By contrast, the human miners are anything but mute. They are constantly in communication with CCP, begging the Devs to nerf PvP in highsec. They are not content to play the game on Easy Mode. They want to eliminate all forms of violence whatsoever from highsec. What makes the miners so dangerous is that while the bots are being actively hunted and terminated by CCP, these whiny carebears wield tremendous power over the future of EVE's game mechanics.

Here's the other part of the problem: When I say that the carebears want to remove PvP from highsec, most people read that and think I really mean "the carebears want to limit the PvP in highsec." Most EVE players assume that the carebears simply want to nerf it a little, to make it more difficult to gank them. Real EVE players know that PvP is the very essence of EVE, and that there is no such thing as safe space in the game. They know that a total removal of non-consensual PvP from any area of the game would be anathema, going against the fundamental principles upon which EVE operates and attracts its players. So when I criticize the carebears for attempting to get rid of PvP, these good-natured readers think it's hyperbole, and that the carebears are only trying to rebalance the playing field a little more in their favor.

But no. That's not what I'm saying. Not even close.

Let me be clear. I am accusing the carebears of attempting to completely eliminate all PvP from highsec. I am saying that what the carebears actually intend to do is make their mining ships completely invincible in highsec. At the same time, they are also lobbying CCP to drain resources from nullsec and redistribute it to highsec, where it will be completely safe. If successful, the carebears would convert EVE from a game of risk and consequential PvP--the only one like it--into a game of carebears PvE'ing their way to wealth, all while AFK. In doing so, they would also be killing EVE, for it would not long survive in such a state.

I realize these are serious charges. I am essentially accusing the carebears of an attempt to kill EVE. There can be only one penalty for such a crime: The death of highsec mining, with the execution to be carried out by the EVE populace at large.

Serious charges require serious evidence, I know. That is why I am writing this Manifesto II. I am going to prove that the carebears are guilty. And once the EVE playerbase is convinced of the miners' guilt--convinced that the miners are actively working to destroy everything the EVE players have built--there will be war.


* * * (Proceed to section 2.) * * *

CODE.
#2 - 2012-04-27 01:26:58 UTC
THE CAREBEARS KILLED NULLSEC PVP

If the carebear dream of a safe highsec is allowed to take hold, the result will be catastrophic. Carebears ask all the time why people hate them so much. There are many reasons why people feel cause to hate them, but I would add one more to the list: Self-preservation. EVE will not survive in its current form--or any form--should the carebears be allowed to continue.

The carebears always defend their point of view by saying EVE is a sandbox. According to them, it's not a PvP game, but rather, a game in which people can do whatever they want, including mine in peace. At the very same time, these carebears are asking CCP to ban the way you choose to play the game. Ironic, no? I suppose "hypocrisy" would be a better word.

But the carebear ideology and the culture of EVE cannot coexist. There is no "sandbox" when one group is trying to ban the activities of the other group. You might say the carebears are like a kid in the sandbox whose chosen activity is pouring all of the sand out of the box. He claims it's a matter of freedom, but at the end of the day you're left with an empty box, and everyone leaves. That's precisely where we're headed.

Some of you may think that I'm being too pessimistic. I know the idea: People always say EVE is going to die, but it never has, and anyone who predicts catastrophe is just another Chicken Little shouting "The sky is falling!" Others agree that there is danger highsec PvP could be banned, but nullsec will be fine.

I'd like to address both of these criticisms, and I'll do it with evidence.

Not only are the carebears capable of doing damage to our game, they've already done it--and escaped the blame. The carebears have already, to a large extent, wiped out PvP from nullsec.

At first blush, that sounds like an outrageous claim. But hear me out, particularly if you've only been playing EVE for the last couple of years. You see, years ago, before many of you came to EVE, PvP thrived in nullsec. PvP took a different form back then; it wasn't the big fleet structure-shooting you're accustomed to seeing today.

Once upon a time, people mined in nullsec belts. Nullsec alliances would organize mining ops, complete with scouts and defense ships to protect the hordes of miners and haulers. Enemy alliances and nullsec pirates would attempt to disrupt these operations with all manner of ingenious tactics. Sometimes smaller groups of miners would attempt to "ninja mine" in hostile or unclaimed territory; sometimes solo guerilla fighters would raid a target of opportunity. The PvP involved had a tendency to start small, with perhaps as few as one or two miners under attack. Reinforcements would be called in. The pirates might flee in the face of resistance, or they might be baiting a trap, inviting more targets. If the attackers had reinforcements of their own, a defending alliance would sound the trumpets and put together a defense fleet to chase them off.

In short, there were many different kinds of PvP back then: Solo PvP, small-gang PvP, medium-gang PvP, and proper fleet ops. All of this existed because of the nullsec miners. They formed the base of the food chain. Because they had to expose themselves to risk to get the reward (valuable ore), the miners created targets for PvP'ers to hunt--and these hunters became the hunted in turn.

Don't get me wrong. I know PvP still exists in nullsec. But all too often, the only possibilities for fights in nullsec come in the form of massive, well-organized, drawn-out fleet engagements. These fleet battles can only be prompted through a series of even more drawn-out structure shoots, the kind that make participants feel more like miners than PvP'ers. And if the enemy are in too weak a position to fight off the enemy blob with their own blob, or if they lack the guts, then no action occurs. Hours wasted for hundreds of participants.

At this point I want to mention the Red vs. Blue organization that exists in highsec for people who want casual PvP. I respect the fact that they want PvP, and I respect their willingness to create something for themselves. That's EVE. But make no mistake about it--Red vs. Blue is also a symptom of a major problem in EVE. Red vs. Blue exists because casual, smaller-scale PvP is so scarce that people have to fabricate voluntary scenarios for it.

I'm writing this because I want everyone to know that things weren't always this way. All kinds of PvP existed once, and most of it is completely gone. Many old-timers know that PvP as it once was is dead, but what they don't realize is why. Who killed nullsec PvP? The highsec miners. Allow me to elaborate.

* * * (Proceed to section 3.) * * *

CODE.
#3 - 2012-04-27 01:27:24 UTC
The reason PvP largely went extinct in nullsec is that the nullsec miner went extinct. The nullsec miner went extinct because it no longer made economic sense to mine there. It's just a standard risk vs. reward calculation. Nullsec ore is more valuable than highsec ore, but not by a big enough margin. When you consider the added risk of nullsec, not to mention the logistical needs, there's no reason why a miner shouldn't just sit in the safety of highsec and mine his heart out. So that's exactly what the carebears do.

Why do I blame the carebears for obeying economic reality? Because they created it for themselves. The carebears are at the root of an even greater problem plaguing EVE at the moment. You want to know why the risk/reward calculus is so out of whack? The carebears demand it. For years, they have continually lobbied CCP to transfer wealth from nullsec to highsec. If it weren't for the influence of the carebears, nullsec ore would be a hundred times more valuable than highsec ore. But if CCP tries to fix that, the carebears are in an uproar. They insist they would rather quit the game than play a properly-balanced version of it. Fearing the loss of subscriptions, CCP bends to their will.

This has been going on for a very long time. As one ganker put it, the reason why he attacks the highsec miners is that highsec is where the real wealth in EVE is. Right or wrong, it's certainly where the miners are. By all accounts, those highsec miners should be out in nullsec, where they can be attacked and defended by PvP'ers. Because they're hiding away in highsec, it was only a matter of time before people started taking a greater interest in killing highsec miners. In other words, miner, if you won't come to nullsec, nullsec will come to you.

In an attempt to correct this problem and resuscitate nullsec mining, The Mittani lobbied for the removal of alloy drops from the drone regions, thereby buffing nullsec ore. But will the highsec miners--the ones who spend all day begging for buffs to exhumers--relocate to nullsec as they should, or will they initiate a new series of demands for valuable ore to be placed in highsec? I guess we'll find out.

Before today, you may have been a nullsec player who ignored what was going on in highsec. Believe me, I get it. When I lived in nullsec, nothing made me lose interest faster than people talking about highsec. To my eyes, the carebears were basically scenery for the belts, like NPCs: If you were curious, you could stop by and have at look at them, but otherwise they may as well not exist. As it's become increasingly clear, however, everything in EVE is connected. What happens in highsec influences nullsec.

This is an ongoing process, and there are no signs that it will end. As the carebears continue to suck wealth into highsec, and as they continue to fortify highsec with nerfs to non-consensual PvP, it's no mystery where things are headed. Unless something is done to reverse the trend, EVE will, in fact, become a PvE game.

We know this is true because to a large extent, it already happened. Miners migrated from nullsec to highsec, and the PvP that once existed there disappeared. If it's already been happening, what's to stop it from continuing? It's an inconvenient truth, but as the carebear population continues to grow, the transition from PvP to PvE becomes all the more likely, since greater numbers exert greater influence.

As bleak a picture as I've just presented, it gets a whole lot worse. Let's consider what happens if and when the carebears get what they want.

* * * (Proceed to section 4.) * * *

CODE.
#4 - 2012-04-27 01:27:49 UTC
THE CAREBEARS ALMOST SHUT DOWN EVE COMPLETELY

We know the carebears want to fundamentally transform EVE from a PvP game into a PvE game. Each day, they lobby CCP to transfer all of the galaxy's wealth into highsec, and they beg CCP to remove all PvP from highsec. Supposing the carebears succeed, what happens next? EVE just becomes a really boring game, right? I don't think so. In my opinion, EVE wouldn't survive the transition. Most likely, CCP would drop support for the game (i.e. the servers get shut down and never go back up), or CCP would go out of business entirely with the same result.

Why do I say this? Again, anyone can speculate about what the future holds. I'm merely going on the evidence. As with other topics I've discussed in this Manifesto II, we do have some historical background to shed light. There was a time in the not-so-distant past when the carebears did get almost everything they wanted. It was a time when CCP all but abandoned PvP and devoted every bit of their energy to pleasing the carebears. I am speaking, of course, about the infamous Incarna expansion, and the lead-up to it.

At a certain point, CCP became obsessed with the idea that because most of EVE's population resided in highsec, their resources were best spent developing highsec and giving carebears what they wanted. The nullsec population, though noisy, was small enough to ignore. It was the darkest time in EVE's history. So few server resources were devoted to maintaining nullsec systems that even a handful of ships fighting in a nullsec system would crash the node. Nullsec was paralyzed so the AFK carebears and bots in highsec could have a smoother game. Meanwhile, CCP radically restructured its staff to eliminate almost all further development of EVE. As they confirmed in a press release, only a few employees still worked on the "flying in spaceships" aspect of EVE (i.e. EVE), and pretty much everybody else was tasked with "walking in stations" (i.e. Incarna, or "not EVE"). Oh yeah, and they were going to sell monocles.

It was the triumph of the carebear. By catering solely to the highsec crowd, CCP thought their subscriptions and profits would skyrocket. EVE would become the next WoW, a cash cow beyond their wildest dreams. By transitioning EVE away from that whole PvP thing, they would finally find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Things didn't quite go according to plan.

EVE took a nosedive. By undercutting the essential purpose of EVE, CCP had set themselves up for a disaster of epic proportions. EVE lost subscriptions by the tens of thousands, and CCP started heading down the road toward bankruptcy. The very existence of EVE was at stake, and if things didn't change soon, the game would enter an eternal downtime.

It wasn't the first time EVE had been in crisis. Years earlier, EVE was thrown into chaos by revelations that CCP employees were cheating on behalf of the Band of Brothers alliance. As BoB was in the process of taking over all nullsec and imposing its elitist, stultifying vision on the rest of the galaxy, it was a pretty big deal. But BoB didn't count on the Goons. The Goons led a coalition to victory against BoB, and EVE was saved.

Now, with Incarna bringing EVE to the verge of total collapse, the Goons were called upon once more to save the game from being desecrated by a misguided segment of the community. The Mittani and the Goons rallied the EVE playerbase and forced CCP to see the light. At first, CCP was reluctant to come to terms with how badly they had misjudged the nature of EVE. But eventually, faced with a downward spiral in subscriptions and profits, they had no other choice. To continue to follow the path of the carebear was financial suicide. CCP wisely took The Mittani's counsel and, with his help, gently backed away from the precipice. CCP reversed course, admitted its mistakes, and asked for the EVE community's forgiveness.

Doomsday was averted. If CCP had not changed course, it would have been only a matter of time before the servers went dark. If the carebears had gotten what they wanted, everything ever built in EVE would have been wiped from existence forever.

Let me be clear. When EVE goes offline, that's the end of it. No more ships, no more stations, no more wealth, no more alliances, no more anything. And carebears, that means nobody left to RMT your ill-gotten isk. We know what a future of carebearism and PvE holds for us. With Incarna, EVE gazed into the abyss. Let us never return to that.

The Mittani and the Goons saved EVE, but only for a time. The carebears who pushed for Incarna are still among us, and they are still demanding an end to PvP. Unlike BoB, the cancer of carebearism was not removed; it only went into remission. The threat remains.

* * * (Proceed to section 5.) * * *

CODE.
#5 - 2012-04-27 01:28:19 UTC
THE ENDLESS HISTORY OF NERF DEMANDS

Do the carebears really wield enough influence to succeed in their quest to remove PvP from EVE? The past, they say, is prologue. For many years now, the carebears have demanded that CCP nerf all forms of PvP in highsec, whether it be suicide ganking, wardecs, corp infiltration, can-flipping, or anything else that could pose a threat to the miners. Their whining would be nothing more than an annoyance, were it not for the fact that CCP has often granted their wishes.

Before I continue, I would like to present a short list of just some of the nerfs with which CCP has indulged the carebears over the last few years. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive by any means; it's only the nerfs I can recall off the top of my head, without doing any research. Before the carebears start whining about the next nerf they want, I'd like them to review the list of what they've already been given and answer, "Why weren't these nerfs enough?"


  • In multiple instances, CCP has sped up CONCORD response time, giving suicide gankers less time to kill their targets and requiring them to use more and more firepower.
  • In response to the infamous jihadswarm attacks on miners, CCP buffed CONCORD and greatly increased the penalties to security status for gankers. This was intended to force gankers to either spend a lot more time grinding security status, or quit the practice.
  • On at least one occasion, CCP granted an across-the-board buff to hitpoints on all ships, for the purpose of "increasing the length of fights." This measure did little to affect ordinary combat but increased the difficulty of killing miners before CONCORD's arrival.
  • After the Privateers wardec'd everything in sight, CCP released a series of nerfs which they openly admitted were aimed at putting the Privateers out of business. They set an arbitrary 3-wardec limit for corporations and exponentially increased the cost of running multiple wardecs at the alliance level.
  • When carebears still had to deal with wardecs, CCP reversed a longstanding exploit ruling on dissolving corps. In a matter of minutes, carebears can simply dissolve and reform the exact same corp with the exact same members--even keeping their old name and corp ticker--solely for the purpose of evading wardecs.
  • Still not satisfied with wardec nerfs, CCP endorsed a plan by miners to use so-called "dec shield alliances." This rendered miner-owned POSes completely invulnerable.
  • In an attempt to curb can-flipping and other "griefer" tricks, CCP has written and re-written rules on aggression flags for can-flipping, remote-repping, fleets, etc. countless times.
  • In yet another "nerf to end all nerfs," CCP removed insurance payouts for CONCORDed ships, thereby tripling ship costs for suicide gankers--and that after a previous insurance nerf had already reduced payouts on all ships.
  • After gankers adapted to the insurance nerf by using more agile ships to launch multiple strikes before being CONCORDed, CCP quickly moved to declare this "boomerang" tactic a bannable exploit and added instant response warp-jammers.


My point is not simply that there have been a lot of nerfs to highsec PvP. It's that even after all this, the next item on the agenda is yet another round of nerfs. It's the "one more nerf" syndrome. I was there for the wardec nerf on the Privateers. Every carebear was trumpeting this as their salvation. It was the last word on wardecs, they said. But what happened? Over the years, more nerfs to wardecs. Coming down the pike for the next big expansion? They're currently working on another set of major nerfs to wardecs--with the aid and advice of the very same carebears who do nothing but evade wardecs.

Pirates have been stealing from cargo containers forever, and you would think there's no way to break any new ground on the topic. But somehow a new nerf to can-flipping made it to the top of the list of "features" being planned for the next expansion. How? Who asked for that?

And the insurance nerf, of course. Just a few months ago, the miners were telling everyone who would listen that it was the end of suicide ganking. I heard it directly from miners in local who gloated about the new present they were being given. I mocked the miners' arrogance in the first manifesto for that very reason. They predicted total safety for carebears, and I predicted more ganking. I was right. But what happened next? Because gankings still occurred, carebears begged CCP for "one more nerf," to eliminate boomerang gankers.

Were the highsec miners satisfied with the elimination of boomerang gankers? No. Within days after boomeranging was declared an exploit, the carebears were back at it, begging for hitpoint buffs to their exhumers.

Is it over? Not by a long shot. The carebears got their "one more nerf" many times over, but you can bet another series of nerfs to suicide gankings is in the works, even as we speak. Judging by this pattern, what can we predict for the future? My guess is, the nerfs will continue to pile up...until the carebears get what they really want.

* * * (Proceed to section 6.) * * *

CODE.
#6 - 2012-04-27 01:28:45 UTC
THE END OF ALL DANGER IN HIGHSEC

Let's stop for a moment and think this over logically. At what point has highsec PvP been nerfed enough? The carebears claim they're only asking for things to be properly "balanced," but how do we know things aren't already balanced? Maybe the way to balance things is to give a buff to suicide ganking.

To put it another way, how is CCP supposed to determine that it's time to tell the carebears "Sorry pal, I think you've had enough"? We know it's not based on frequency, because the carebears have been granted dozens of nerfs. And we know it's not based on some kind of back-and-forth, because the PvP'ers never get buffs to balance out the nerfs (more on that later). We know it's not even based on precedent, as CCP has been willing to overturn rules that have been established for years.

It seems to me that there is only one remaining principle, or comparison point, that guides the decision-making process: Keep nerfing until it's no longer possible to kill a miner in highsec. Because until then, the carebears will keep demanding nerfs, and judging by the only evidence we have--history--CCP will continue to grant them.

Now, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe CCP does have some kind of defined limit in mind at which they no longer give in to the nerf demands. If so, they've done a good job concealing it. But let's suppose CCP intends to keep giving the carebears everything they ask. Let's imagine CCP actually wants to remove violence from highsec, and has a plan to transition EVE from a PvP game to a PvE game. What would that look like?

It will happen this way:

First, CCP becomes fixated on the idea that if they can make highsec totally safe, they'll pull in tons of new players and make lots of money with a more mainstream, WoW-like game. But having seen the backlash from earlier attempts to carebearize the game, they decide that the transition needs to be handled gradually. They'll need to do a little "crowd control" to avoid unduly ruffling the feathers of the playerbase.

To implement the new nerfs in a manner that doesn't enrage the remaining PvP'ers, CCP begins introducing changes to the game in pairs. Each nerf to highsec PvP comes along with a buff, to balance things out and placate the PvP'ers. Or so it appears. In reality, the supposed buff to PvP isn't enough to cancel out the effect of the nerf, thus constituting a "net" nerf. Later, as the PvP'ers come up with ways of using the change to their advantage, CCP pulls the rug out from under them by classifying such methods "unintended exploits." The buff is rendered useless, while the nerf remains effective. (If the carebears manage to find ways of using the nerf to an even greater advantage to themselves, CCP allows it, rather than calling that an exploit.)

So that's the way it would happen, in a hypothetical, worst-case scenario where CCP consciously attempts to change highsec into a 100% safe zone. Come to think of it...some of what I just described sounds a little familiar, doesn't it?

Let's consider the big insurance nerf from the most recent expansion. On the one hand, the carebears told us that it was all the nerf they needed to put those villainous suicide gankers out of business--until a couple months later when those same carebears told us they were in desperate need of new nerfs to suicide ganking. On the other hand, the insurance nerf did come along with a supposed buff to suicide ganking, in the form of improved hybrids, destroyers, and, most of all, tier-3 battlecruisers that almost seemed tailor-made for ganking. The inclusion of the latter items helped keep the lid on the ganking community.

Was it really a balance? No. Despite being cheaper to purchase, the new battlecruisers, for example, were more expensive to replace without insurance than battleships had been with insurance. But gankers, unlike carebears, have a tendency to adapt and innovate. They changed their tactics, relying more on cheaper hulls and expensive fittings, as the fittings have a 50% chance of being dropped and recovered. Meanwhile, gankers were hard at work, experimenting with ways of making the new ships more effective than the old ones.

This led to the creation of the "boomerang" tactic, wherein a ganker strikes and warps away just before CONCORD arrives, then warps back for one more strike (or in the case of multiple targets in separate locations, multiple strikes). I want to be clear about something: It had never been an exploit to warp away before CONCORD arrived, as long as the ganker's ship was eventually killed by CONCORD. Long ago, when CONCORD was first introduced, some individuals had created ways of completely avoiding death by having their ships in warp during the entire 15-minute aggression timer. That was immediately classified as an exploit by CCP. But the act of warping away was always permitted--as long as CONCORD got its man.

But many years later, that rule became inconvenient for the carebears, so naturally it had to change.

* * * (Proceed to section 7.) * * *

CODE.
#7 - 2012-04-27 01:29:07 UTC
Actually, the idea of warping away after a suicide gank had been around for a long time. Occasionally a ganker might warp out to a safe spot to be killed, in the hopes of keeping his wreck from being looted by nearby miners. However, the tactic became far more valuable with the introduction of the smaller ganking ships, as their agility enabled them to align for warp more quickly. Still, these enterprising gankers had to refine the technique, discover which rigs/modules were best for the tactic--and they had to execute the technique with perfect timing to pull it off.

It was a classic case of skilled, creative players in the EVE sandbox doing what they do best. They had been handed a lemon with the insurance nerf, but they were determined to make the best of things. They adapted and overcame. It's the way EVE is supposed to work. The carebears, too, could have innovated. It would have been a simple matter to equip mining ships with a warp disruptor to prevent the boomerang warp-outs. Perhaps the gankers would have figured out some way to adapt again, but I suppose we'll never know, because that's not what the carebears did. Instead, the carebears figured out something new was happening, so they shrieked at CCP to save them. Because that's what carebears do.

At that point, CCP had a choice. They could have declined to implement another nerf. They could have advised the carebears to find some way of dealing with their new problem. They could have reminded the carebears that only a couple months earlier they had given them a big Christmas present with the insurance nerf. CCP could and should have done any of those things. Instead, CCP decided to overturn a longstanding rule--almost as old as CONCORD itself--and announced that warping away before CONCORD arrives is an exploit no matter what.

I don't want to get too focused on this particular nerf, but there are a few things about the way CCP handled this situation that bear mentioning, because they are so revealing of the thought process at work. First is the speed with which CCP took action. Once they learned what was happening, CCP was practically tripping over itself to put a stop to the boomerang. Not only did they immediately declare it an exploit, they had a brand-new "fix" for it in a patch within a couple days. The anti-boomerang patch has to be in some kind of record book for CCP's fastest response time ever. By way of comparison, it took them most of a decade to add implants to pod killmails, and that's something a lot of people had been asking about for a very, very long time.

The final thing I want to point out about the way the boomerang situation was handled is this: CCP called the tactic an outright exploit. They didn't admit that they were changing the rules or implementing a new nerf. Instead, they behaved as though warping out before CONCORD's arrival had always been against the rules. In doing so, they cast the people who developed and used the tactic in a negative light--one normally reserved for cheaters (e.g., Band of Brothers). Suicide gankers oppose the carebears, but they love EVE. CCP was wrong to treat them this way.

Why did the situation unfold in this manner? Classifying the boomerang tactic as an exploit enabled them to implement a new nerf without needing to pair it with a new buff. Clearly, the expansion with the insurance nerf and new ships was intended to have the net effect of limiting suicide ganking. When the opposite occurred, it rankled the powers that be. That's why CCP was so quick to put an end to the boomerang tactic. While it's possible that some in CCP could have been under the mistaken impression that boomeranging was against preexisting rules, it's unlikely: The speed with which they acted and designed the "fix" would have involved enough personnel to ensure somebody involved understood the situation. More probably, CCP was frustrated by the fact that their nerfs did not have the desired effect, and were determined to clean up the mess.

The trouble here is that too often, CCP acts as though highsec violence is a problem that they need to solve. PvP is not a problem with the game, it is the game.

If you are still unconvinced of the bias against PvP, consider the following thought experiment: Do you think CCP will ever buff suicide ganking? And I don't mean one of those "buffs" that gets balanced with a nerf, or gets declared an exploit later. I'm talking about an honest-to-goodness, no-nonsense buff. For instance, an expansion in which CONCORD's response time gets slowed down, or the ganker's security status loss is reduced, all without any nerf counterweight. Do you think it will happen? If not, why not? If ganking has been nerfed a dozen times, why isn't it due for a buff--just like anything else that has been nerfed so many times? (That's a hypothetical, since nothing else has been nerfed nearly as often.)

* * * (Proceed to section 8.) * * *

CODE.
#8 - 2012-04-27 01:29:29 UTC
As I was saying earlier, if CCP is planning to gradually phase out all violence from highsec, they'll do it in a way that pairs genuine nerfs with faux buffs. That brings us to the impending wardec changes. Coming soon is the first big overhaul to the wardec system since five years ago, when CCP publicly announced they were going to a stop to the Privateers wardec'ing spree.

As a side note, they did succeed in putting an end to the Privateers' reign of terror. Some of you reading this may believe that because your highsec piracy survived previous nerfs, it will always survive. You may assume that because you have adapted to previous changes, CCP will never go far enough to eliminate your choice of gameplay. Tell that to the Privateers. At their height, they inflicted more damage than any alliance in EVE, out-killing bigger alliances by an order of magnitude. Then the nerf came, and they were cast into the shadow of permanent irrelevance. If CCP wants to stop you, they can. So do they want to stop you? The coming changes to wardecs may provide a clue.

Aside from adding a few additional nerfs, they've pretty much kept the same rules over the last five years. Why the change? Is it because they want more PvP in highsec, or less? We'll know when we get the final word on the changes, the details of which are currently a bit hazy. But they have suggested that some changes will help the targets of wardecs, while others will close the loopholes currently being abused by those targets.

Another side note: If the carebears are "abusing loopholes," then why isn't CCP rushing to declare said loopholes an exploit, the same way they did with the boomerang tactic? Just a thought.

At any rate, the changes to wardecs will be an excellent opportunity to see whether CCP is indeed employing the technique described earlier for introducing new nerfs. If so, the nerfs to wardecs will be punitive. For instance, they may raise the cost of wardecs far beyond what it had been before. Since there are already draconian limits in place, this would be a clear sign that CCP wants to phase out highsec violence entirely. Meanwhile, will the supposed buffs to wardecs be effective? Or will it still be possible for carebears to easily evade wardecs, using methods like dropping corp or dissolving and re-forming corps?

Time will tell.

CCP has also announced there will be some brand new nerfs for people who steal from cans, including a global criminal flag. In the past, if you stole from another corp's can, they could attack you. CCP wants to change it so that third parties (i.e. everyone else) can attack a can-stealer. An interesting idea. At Fanfest, they also suggested that after a third party attacks you, it will get you CONCORDed if you shoot back. The audience was appalled, and CCP quickly backpedaled. They seemed surprised that nobody liked the idea of being unable to defend themselves.

The mystery for the EVE players is, where did that idea even come from? With all of the problems faced by EVE today, who are the people who think that the big issue that needs to be solved is, "too much pew-pew in highsec"?

EVE takes place in a fictional galaxy. There's no limit to the possibilities that can be explored in such a setting. The imagination is free to take flight. Yet, when it comes time to add new features in new expansions, the first idea on the table to be discussed is, "Let's punish people for shooting at each other in highsec." It's a little odd, wouldn't you say? Who's behind this?

The answer is clear. It's the highsec miners who are to blame. Most of us ignore the carebears, and we really couldn't care less about them. For those of us who spent most of our EVE careers in nullsec, we don't give them any thought. As it turns out, the carebears are quite important, because CCP gives them what they ask. So we had better find out what's been going on with these carebears.

It's time to learn what the highsec miners are really all about.

* * * (Proceed to section 9.) * * *
CODE.
#9 - 2012-04-27 01:29:52 UTC
THE CULTURE OF THE NEW CAREBEAR

As EVE players, there are certain basic truths by which we live and die. Among these are that you don't fly what you can't afford to lose, that there is no safe space in the EVE galaxy, that everything in EVE is PvP, and so on. We hold these truths to be self-evident, but we also take them for granted. We assume that everyone else who plays EVE agrees with and accepts them. No matter how many ways you can play this game, no matter what country another group of players is from, no matter how different the alliance on the other end of the map may be, no matter how much you may hate the alliance on the other side of the border...everyone agrees with these core values. It's the shared culture of EVE.

It's not surprising that in the face of EVE's incredible diversity, there would still be some shared values. After all, we were all drawn into EVE for similar reasons. You might have discovered EVE after reading the article about the Guiding Hand Social Club's infamous corp infiltration. Or maybe you learned about EVE from one of the articles about the great scams and banking schemes, like the Eve Intergalactic Bank. Perhaps it was a tale from the vast front-lines of the Great War, or The Mittani's spies, or the BoB cheating scandal, or the death of a titan, or some other story about cunning and treachery.

Odds are good that you didn't come to EVE because you heard about how great the PvE is. Imagine the kind of stories people would read about EVE if the carebears got their wish. "In EVE Online, some people mined. They arranged their mining lasers, and then they did something else for several minutes. Sign up for your free 14 day trial now!"

Years ago, even the carebears who wiled away their days in the belts understood that EVE is, and should be, a cutthroat game. Today, that's no longer the case. Over the last few years, a new presence has crept into the EVE community. Their ideology is so utterly foreign to our own that it defies belief. It wasn't until these last few months that I was willing to accept the truth of their existence.

The "new" carebears don't want even the remove possibility of PvP to exist in highsec. They want to ban suicide ganking, can-flipping, corp infiltration, wardecs, all of it. I know this because they told me. In fact, they've become rather open about it, if you ask them. In years past, the carebears at least claimed to believe there should be some violence in highsec, though they wanted to limit it. Now they're calling for an outright ban to anything that disturbs their AFK little mining ships.

If you don't believe me--and until recently I wouldn't have believed it myself--then simply go to a chatty highsec mining system and ask them yourself. Miners told me the insurance nerf would end the suicide gankings, and they were terribly wrong, but they're still just as confident that things will change in their favor. Now the conventional wisdom among these carebears is that the Sony tie-in with Dust 514 will result in Sony pressuring CCP to end non-consensual PvP. It's also popular in these circles to claim that after the unpleasantness with The Mittani at Fanfest, CCP will finally classify non-consensual PvP as "cyber-bullying."

You may think I'm joking or exaggerating. I wish I were, but I'm not. Just last week, after killing some highsec miners and informing them of my protection fee, I got petitioned. The miner told me that the GM explained to him that ransoms and protection schemes are not against the EULA. That's right, ladies and gentlemen. There are highsec miners out there right now who need to be told piracy is allowed in EVE. When you shoot them, they petition to ban you for griefing. That's the new carebear. I'm sorry to say that they do exist.

...And they're everywhere.

Like it or not, these are the kind of people with whom CCP interacts on a daily basis. Who do you think is sending in all the petitions the GMs have to read? It's not the nullsec alliances who lose their fleet or territory in a war, it's the carebear who doesn't understand why his ship is allowed to go boom. This necessarily warps the perspective of the people who run the game. That's why they think what the players really want from the next expansion is another round of nerfs to PvP.

To be sure, there are still some carebears who claim e-honour and dress up their whining with a facade of EVE-ness. They make their arguments for why the hulk and mackinaw ships need to be buffed. At the end of the day, it all boils down to, "Another ship shouldn't be able to blow up my ship. Even if I'm alone, defenseless, un-tanked, and AFK."

That kind of carebear has been around for a long time, but the new carebears don't even bother with the pretense. They call for an outright ban of hostile activity. And there are thousands of them lobbying CCP each and every day.

* * * (Proceed to section 10.) * * *

CODE.
#10 - 2012-04-27 01:30:16 UTC
LESSONS FROM AN ORCA HUNT

In writing this Manifesto II, it is not my purpose to brag about all the ways I have punished the highsec miners for their crimes. At least, it's not my central purpose. Not my only central purpose, that is. At any rate, I have lately taken an interest in the Orca-class capital industrial ship. The Orca is frequently used by highsec miners both for ice mining and mining ore. The ship itself does not mine, but provides bonuses and a large cargo space for the exhumers in its fleet. Typically, a highsec mining operation will have an Orca along with a few mackinaws or hulks nearby. This configuration is considered much more efficient than using an anchored container and haulers.

The Orca is largely considered to be invincible in highsec. With the standard tanking modules used by Orca pilots and accounting for resistances, they often have around 100,000 hitpoints. In addition, they possess some special features that make them an even less-enticing target for suicide gankers: Orcas have a corporate hangar array and a ship hangar whose contents cannot be scanned, dropped, or appear on killmails. For this reason, Orcas are also commonly used as freighters.

It shouldn't be surprising to learn that many carebears do not believe it's even possible for an Orca to be killed in highsec. During the entirety of the Goons' Gallente Ice Interdiction campaign, thousands of exhumers died, but only 22 Orcas were reported killed. Orca gankings were highly organized and involved more than a dozen gankers striking simultaneously. Since the combined effort of the same number of gankers can inflict more damage by taking down multiple exhumers, the Orcas are almost always left alone.

For the foregoing reasons, I recently became fascinated with the idea of solo-killing an Orca in highsec. As one cannot expect to solo-kill an Orca through can-flipping or suicide ganking, the use of wardecs was an obvious choice. And since CCP is planning to nerf wardecs, I felt it would be fitting to commemorate the wardec system by letting it go out with a bang. I'm sentimental that way.

I flew around the belts (particularly ice fields) in highsec and started watchlisting all of the Orcas I saw who were members of corps, planning to wardec them all. I realized most of these pilots and corps would take measures to evade the wardec or simply wait out the week of war. But I was also confident that some percentage would simply ignore a wardec if it were made by a one-man alt corp. The highsec miners were thus presented with a choice: Either they could all stop mining, or they could show their true colors by joining an NPC corp or abusing the corp-dissolving non-exploit, or they could expose their ships to some risk by continuing to mine during the wardec. It was a win-win-win, as far as I was concerned.

Carebears will point to this as evidence that the wardec system is unfairly stacked against them. Preposterous. The only reason that their options were such as I described them is that they refused to defend their mining ops with PvP ships. An all-mining corporation simply should not exist. A corp with no ability to defend itself only belongs in a PvE game, not EVE.

These "corp" miners are among my least favorite in EVE. They are the bourgeoisie of highsec. They are little more than the bots they strive to distinguish themselves from, but they play at being "legitimate" EVE players by creating corps. Simply by declaring war, I was able to induce many of these players to drop the pretense and join an NPC corp for the duration of their EVE career. I consider this to be worth the effort, as CCP takes miners less seriously if they belong to NPC corps. It also prevents the NPC corp miner from gaining further political influence, since they are alienated them from the alliances they might otherwise join.

Over the past few weeks, I have declared war on more than 70 different corporations. This is a large enough sample size to draw some basic conclusions about the response of highsec miners to a wardec. As expected, virtually every single corp refused to defend itself. More than 90% of the corps did something other than adding defense ships to their mining ops, thereby flunking the "Are you really an EVE player?" test.

The vast majority of the miners either dropped into an NPC corp, dissolved and immediately reformed their corporations (corps as big as 12 members used this not-an-exploit-anymore device), or remained in corp but ceased mining during the war. The split was roughly even, though remaining offline/docked was probably a bit more popular than the other two options.

Then there were those who simply ignored the wardec from the 1-man corp and went on mining. Those were the fun ones.

* * * (Proceed to section 11.) * * *

CODE.
#11 - 2012-04-27 01:30:37 UTC
Evading wardecs has become part of the popular culture among highsec miners today. Years ago, it was considered a humiliation, something even most carebears were too proud to do. Sure, they might stay docked up for a week, but abandoning their corp was considered undignified. Dissolving and re-forming the same corp would get you banned. Things are different now. In this Manifesto II, I have been attempting to raise awareness of how "new" carebears view things in a manner unfamiliar to most of us in EVE. As I went about highsec wardec'ing the carebears, I was surprised by how often the "description" label of the corp, or even the bio of the pilots themselves, would proclaim their willingness to evade wardecs. One miner corp's description even said that the corp was "founded on the principle" that highsec should not have PvP, and warned would-be wardec'ers that the corp would dissolve. Some might suppose that they were all bluffing in order to discourage wardecs. In my experience, they were simply being honest.

Finally, some miners couldn't be bothered to alter their routines, and they went out into the belts to mine as usual. I don't know what they were thinking. Maybe they were so used to years of peaceful mining in highsec that they didn't believe they could be attacked. If so, they were mistaken.

After scouting a miner corp with an alt, I sent their bookmarked locations to my main, who joined the appropriate war corp if he wasn't already a member. Then my main went to the target system and did what every good EVE pilot does to war targets. My ship of choice was the Ishtar, a drone-wielding heavy assault cruiser. I chose the Ishtar for a couple of reasons. First, I could stuff the midslots with a bunch of warp disruptors and tackle as many of the Orca's mackinaw/hulk alts as possible. Second, the Ishtar's drones allow for a decent amount of DPS while leaving the highslots free for something special that I'll explain later.

I soon discovered the real reason why many of these miners chose to continue mining, defenseless, during an active wardec. They used bots and/or proximity alerts that enabled them to immediately warp back to a station if a war target entered local. At first, I was puzzled by their ability to react so quickly. I was able to eliminate the possibility they were using watchlists--my main joined the warring corp shortly before entering the system. Nor were they scouting the gates, since there were usually multiple gates, no one present at them, and/or all of their corp members accounted for in the belt during the initial scouting. And it couldn't have been that they were merely monitoring local for people with the war target tag, since the systems often had as many as 100-200 pilots. Yet some miners were able to immediately initiate warp from the moment I entered the system. The conclusion was obvious: Highsec miners were using cheats to protect themselves during wardecs.

It's another fitting demonstration of the hypocrisy of the carebears. They defend themselves using the "sandbox" excuse, all while trying to get the rules changed so other people can't do what they want. Having successfully lobbied CCP to bend the rules in their favor, they're still not satisfied. They'll use any bot, cheat, or exploit that they can get their hands on, breaking the very rules over which they exert so much influence.

They only had one problem. Orcas take a long, long time to align for warp.

After I realized the miners were cheating, I did everything possible to shorten the time between my entry into the system and my arrival at the target. You see, while mackinaws and hulks could easily get to warp in time, Orcas take 40-50 seconds to align, depending on skills. So by the time their cheats had warned them--or in the case of bots, simply initiated warp on their own--the clock was ticking, and I was hurtling toward the Orca. If you're familiar with a ship type, you can tell by its speed whether it's almost done aligning. On more than one occasion, I came out of warp and tackled an Orca the very moment before he was able to escape.

And when I tackled these cheaters in their Orcas, do you think I showed them any mercy?

* * * (Proceed to section 12.) * * *

CODE.
#12 - 2012-04-27 01:30:58 UTC
I do not wish to give the impression that all of the highsec miners are cheaters. During my Orca-hunting operation, I found that only a ridiculously large minority of them cheat. As for the rest, they were taken completely by surprise when my blinking-red Ishtar came barreling into their ice field. Unlike Orcas, mackinaws and hulks can align to warp relatively quickly, but you normally get about 5 seconds or so of warning between the time someone lands on grid and when they can start locking you. When they didn't use cheats to get away before I arrived, the Orcas' exhumer alts always got tackled--unless there were so many that I ran out of warp disruptors. And if they were AFK, sometimes even the extra miner alts got popped, since my Ishtar could go through them, execution style, at a rate of about 20 seconds per miner.

Even without counting the unknowable contents of an Orca's corporate hangar and ship hangar, Orcas are pretty valuable ships. They're currently selling in Jita for over 700 million isk, and the price is going up all the time. But because the miners don't abide by the rule of only flying what you can afford to lose--since they think they can't lose anything--they'll spend as much money as they've got fitting them out. Before I began killing Orcas, I thought tech II cargo rigs were basically a myth, added to the game for the sake of completeness. But no, a highsec miner will spend another 800 million just to squeeze in some extra ore per hauling trip. An Orca is so valuable in fact, that an Orca pilot might actually pay a hefty ransom to save his ship. If not, he'll often pay a post-death protection fee to prevent further destruction.

But as I quickly discovered, the highsec miners don't put their real wealth into their ships. There's only so much isk you can spend fitting out your mining fleet. The real money is in their capsules. If you think highsec miners are confident they won't get their ships blown up, they're infinitely more secure in the knowledge that they will never, ever get podded. Highsec, unlike nullsec, does not allow the use of bubbles of any kind. If you want to save your pod, you can select a celestial body and mash the "warp" button over and over while your ship is burning. It's an old trick, and it takes advantage of the fact that if you can repeatedly send a command in advance, lag will work in your favor. For those with less e-honour, you can also use the classic "logoffski," causing your pod to warp out the very moment your ship goes boom. Because of lag, even an interceptor hyped-up with sensor boosters can't catch a pod if you do it right: A pod pilot can hit "warp" in advance, but the attacker can't start trying to lock until the pod appears in the overview--by which time he's already in warp. A pod has zero align time. It is conventional wisdom that in empire space, a pod with a good pilot can always, always escape.

I liked being able to kill Orcas and their exhumer teams, but I didn't like the idea that they were still able to get away with all those expensive implants. I decided it was important to teach the highsec miners that until they break EVE for good, nothing--not even a capsule--can be taken for granted in highsec.

I have to say, I have always held a special place in my heart for smartbombs. Back in nullsec, with the aid of a well-placed bubble, I used to kill many ships with nothing else but those lovely, green, amoeba-looking smartbombs. Since an Ishtar's DPS comes from its drones, I had no need of weapons in my highslots, leaving them free for smartbombs. I knew from experience that two large named explosive smartbombs can one-shot a pod. Since I had no familiarity with medium-sized smartbombs, I went to the drawing board. After doing more math than is proper for a video game, I found that if properly chosen and activated in the correct order, four medium faction smartbombs can insta-pop a capsule. If the victim has maximum skills, it just barely works, almost down to the hitpoint.

Even with the necessary weapons, podding an Orca pilot was still just a dream. True, a slow pilot could be popped by smartbombs much more easily than he could be tackled. But if a pilot uses the warp-mashing technique or the logoffski, his pod might be just as invincible as everyone has always said. Orca pilots are extremely protective of their pods. It takes three minutes or more for my Ogre IIs to chew through an Orca's massive hitpoint buffer. As his shields, armor, and structure are slowly stripped away, an Orca pilot is thinking about only one thing: Rescuing his pod. You have the occasional dullard, but nearly all Orca pilots are ready to warp out in an instant.

I knew all of this. But you have to understand that I really, really wanted to kill these guys.

* * * (Proceed to section 13.) * * *

CODE.
#13 - 2012-04-27 01:31:19 UTC
I began with the assumption that the conventional wisdom about unkillable pods in highsec was wrong. I had no factual basis for this; I simply wanted to believe that I could smash the Orca pilots' implants. I took a close look at a video I made back in 2007 in which I smartbombed a bunch of Band of Brothers ships to death. I usually killed their pods, but that was because I was operating in nullsec with a bubble. From the video, I knew it was possible to activate smartbombs too soon: If you activate 7 large smartbombs within range of a shuttle, the first couple bombs will kill the shuttle, but the subsequent bombs will not kill the pod. Thus, there is some time during which the ship is dead, but the pod doesn't yet exist to be hit.

Going frame by frame through the old video, I saw that the destruction of a ship and the emergence of a pod takes place in several steps. First, the locked target pop-up window (showing the hitpoints of the ship) disappears. Next, the overview shows the ship listed as the ship type, rather than the name of the pilot. This is when the ship is deemed to be empty, but not yet a wreck. Afterward, the pilot's pod appears on the overview along with the empty ship. Finally, the ship disappears from the overview and become a wreck.

I determined that pods become vulnerable when they first appear alongside the dead ship. At the next opportunity, I fired smartbombs the instant I saw an Orca's pod emerge. The bombs glowed green while the pod was still on the overview, but then the pod casually warped off, unharmed. Perhaps the conventional wisdom was correct.

It was the power of lag. I found it easy to see why people couldn't lock pods: By the time you are allowed to try locking them client-side, they're already in warp server-side. But unlike locking a ship--and like pressing the "warp" button--it's possible to fire smartbombs whenever you want. I decided to try using the smartbombs at the earliest visual indicator that the ship was dead: The disappearance of the locked target pop-up window. The pod would not be vulnerable--it would not even be on the overview yet--but with lag, maybe the timing would work itself out.

A few days later, an Orca pilot gathered his exhumer crew and went to work abusing a highsec belt. In doing so, he unwittingly presented himself to me as a test subject. As the Orca's structure ticked down, the furious pilot logged off, guaranteeing his pod's safety. Normally I would have been annoyed, but I recognized that if I succeeded in killing his pod anyway, the results would be incontrovertible. Otherwise a podkill could be the result of a slow pilot who didn't properly use the "mash warp" technique.

As soon as the locked target window disappeared, I jammed my fingers on the F-keys. After the briefest pause, my smartbombs glowed green, seemingly at the very moment the pod appeared on the overview. Then the pod dimmed, like ships do when they warp off grid. But the pod's speed didn't change. I looked for it, and there it was.

A corpse.

Pods do have lag on their side. And it's true, they have an align time of zero, sending them immediately to warp if the pilot does things right. But as it turns out, they also take a second--perhaps a fraction of a second--to actually warp away. If the smartbomber times it right, he can fire his bombs during that incredibly small window of time and vaporize the contents of a highsec miner's pod.

From that point forward, an Orca pilot's chance of escaping with his pod intact went from about 100% down to about 0%.

Killing the pods changed everything. The ships were expensive; the pods were often much more expensive. There were Orca pilots with well over a billion isk worth of implants. Even implants in their exhumer alts' pods contained absurdly expensive stuff.

In one strike, I killed an Orca, his three mackinaw alts, and all four of their pods. Curious, I went over the killmails and researched the prices on everything to tally up the cost. In a matter of minutes, I had set back the highsec miner over 8 billion isk.

* * * (Proceed to section 14.) * * *

CODE.
#14 - 2012-04-27 01:31:59 UTC
At first I was simply amazed by the figure. Then I puzzled over how an ice miner in highsec got that much isk in the first place. I wondered how long it would take him to grind all that isk back. Then I started to feel something else...regret.

For most people, losing stuff in EVE makes a difference. I know how hard people can take the big losses. Normally a loss of the size I inflicted on that miner would be spread out across an alliance of many players in nullsec. Or maybe some insanely rich RMT'er. It certainly wouldn't be concentrated on a highsec miner, toiling away in the ice fields, spending years in total safety punctuated by a single, ghastly attack. I had noticed that some of the Orca pilots I had killed went offline and remained offline, even weeks after the attacks. I wondered whether it was a good thing that I was doing, inflicting such harm on random EVE players I'd never met.

But then I remembered.

I remembered how they killed nullsec PvP. I remembered how they inflicted nerf after nerf on the game, and how they bragged and gloated each time. I remembered how they botted and cheated and hypocritically sought to dictate the rules while breaking any rule they wanted. I remembered how they nearly brought an end to EVE with their precious Incarna. I remembered how each and every day, they continued their efforts to mold EVE into their own twisted image.

And I remembered what they did to The Mittani.

Suddenly, I was filled with a different kind of regret. I regretted that I didn't have the power to take every last isk from every single miner in highsec. I tell you the truth, if it were possible--within the bounds of the EULA, of course--to completely bankrupt each of the thousands of carebears in EVE, I would do it in a heartbeat, and afterward I would sleep like a baby.

This might be a good place to put a "Moby Dick" reference, but given the fact that orcas are whales, it would be a little too on the nose. I'll just spare us both the trouble, reader.

So the killing of the Orcas continued. I went on hunting them, leaping from corp to corp, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that the next Orca would have tech II cargo rigs, a mining foreman mindlink, and maybe a few friends with Michi's Excavation Augmentors.

Sometimes they fought back, digging into their drone bays for anything that could tear through my shields faster than I could slog through their enormous hitpoint buffers. But they discovered to their amazement that their drones simply evaporated--another reason why smartbombs are a ganker's best friend. The other mining corps sharing the belts noticed the "James 315 has started trying to warp scramble" notification and witnessed their friends' demise, but lazily resumed chewing their ice without comment. In desperation, a tackled Orca paid the ransom I requested. He must have known it was a futile gesture, but when his ship continued to be fired upon, he demanded an explanation all the same.

James 315 > You're my enemy. I lied.

As any ganker will tell you, there is great satisfaction in the killing of hulks and mackinaws. But having tasted the delicious flesh of an Orca, and having savored the most delectable pods that they conceal within...It's ruined me for the less-exotic carebear hulls. To understand, one must review the killmail of a freshly-popped capsule, one ripened to its fullest extent, nearly bursting with its list of strange and wonderful implants. It is an experience that must be taken in slowly and thoughtfully, like enjoying a fine wine.

Many carebears took their losses in silence. When they did speak, it was always the same. "WTF?" and "Why?!" They always wanted to know why someone would kill a miner.

Looks like someone didn't read my first manifesto.

If a carebear wanted to engage in conversation, I always listened, patient and courteous. I listened to them because CCP listens to them. In these unguarded moments, the carebears confessed everything. They admitted that they wanted all non-consensual PvP to be removed from EVE, and for all highsec to be a purely safe, PvE zone. In so doing, the carebears unknowingly convicted themselves of the crime with which I charge them today.

There's no doubt the new carebears are guilty of viewing normal, sanctioned, essential EVE play as "bullying" or "griefing." The question remains, however. Should the carebears be granted their wish? Is this so-called "griefing" worth keeping in EVE, or should it be discarded in the hopes of creating a kinder, gentler EVE? Any normal EVE player would recoil at the suggestion. But let us not take anything for granted. Let us consider the worth of the "grief," about which these thousands of carebears daily complain to the GMs.

* * * (Proceed to section 15.) * * *

CODE.
#15 - 2012-04-27 01:32:23 UTC
THE CONFLICT OF VISIONS

At the heart of the ideological battle between the carebears and the rest of us, is a conflict of visions. There are two completely different visions about the way EVE should be. There is no room for compromise. Maybe you believe there is a middle ground. Through an endless series of nerfs, those favoring PvP (or "grief") have indeed been forced to compromise. But if the carebears were interested in compromise, they would have stopped bleating for nerfs long ago, as they already received more than their fair share of favors. The carebears continue in their efforts--accelerating them, actually--because they are not interested in compromise or middle ground. They, too, understand that you can only have one vision or the other: Either a ship in highsec can be killed, or it can't. As long as the mining ships aren't invincible while AFK, the carebear is not satisfied. Thus, you either have a PvP game, or a pure PvE game.

Some carebears still claim to be moderates, expressing a wish for "more limited" or "balanced" PvP in highsec. That argument may have flown years ago, but since the demand for nerfs has never ended, it's fair to say that they can only have one aim in mind. The "new" carebear, as earlier described, offers no such pretense, openly crying for a guaranteed safety zone.

Therefore, everyone has a choice to make. Either you stand with the carebear vision of a PvE game, or you support the vision of EVE as it has always been, a PvP game. Which is better?

If EVE has value, it isn't because of its mining interface. EVE is valuable because it is unique: It is the only game with consequential, non-consensual PvP. That means you can blow up someone else's ship and it matters. Destroying or defending assets in EVE makes a difference. The assets have worth because they can be lost.

EVE's success in the video game market has always come from the fact that people can find something in EVE that they can't get anywhere else. Because actions have consequences in EVE, players become motivated. In an intense battle, players on both sides find their hearts racing. When a pirate chases down a hauler carrying expensive loot, both the chaser and the chased experience a surge of adrenaline. In their desire both to build and to destroy, EVE players have gone to great lengths, committing acts of extraordinary courage, deception, creativity, leadership, brutality, and perseverance.

My Orca-flying victims only wanted to be left to play EVE in peace. I contend that they weren't playing EVE in the first place. They may have spent years logged in, but did they ever experience anything? The first time the game evoked a genuine human emotion from the miner is when he saw me kill his ship. When he was spending his years carting around ore, it was not EVE--it was a joke. When I arrived in his ice field, having carefully crafted a way to destroy his supposedly invincible ship, and having painstakingly calculated the means to kill his supposedly unkillable pod--that was the first time he ever played EVE. He would say it was an act of griefing. I would call it a masterpiece. He should be, if not grateful for being killed, at least appreciative of the art.

And what about the carebear's vision? What do carebears want to do in their fantasy EVE, a sterilized PvE game? For the most part, nothing. They wish to be AFK, occupied elsewhere. I must say that for my part, I don't see much financial success for a game where people need to be so disengaged. It's not much better when they are at their keyboards, for the carebear vision of EVE involves logging in, shooting some rocks, hauling them, and logging out. The same thing, day after day, month after month, year after year. Carebears call that "relaxing." Yeah, and I guess coffins are relaxing, too.

On occasion, a carebear requests some distraction from his undead playing style. Incarna was the epitome of this, focused as it was on pants and monocles. Recently, one of the major carebear candidates for CSM was asked point-blank what he would do if he could add anything to EVE. His answer? The ability to take off his pants while in station.

The contrast between the two visions of EVE could not be more clear. On the one hand, you have the "grief" of a game where both victory and defeat are possible. Its culture is represented by the great wars of EVE, the sweeping epics of powerful alliances rising and falling, the grandeur of capital fleets, the sophistication and technical brilliance of trans-galactic logistics, and the striking displays of every aspect of human nature.

On the other hand, you have the carebear vision of a safe EVE. Its culture is represented by the last few weirdos dropping trou in Jita 4-4 before the servers slip into a permanent darkness.

My point, ladies and gentlemen, is that grief, for lack of a better word, is good.

* * * (Proceed to section 16.) * * *

Minmatar Republic
#16 - 2012-04-27 01:33:04 UTC
first

There should be a rather awesome pic here

CODE.
#17 - 2012-04-27 01:33:06 UTC
HOW WE CAN STOP THE CAREBEARS

It is not my intention to bring to light a problem without also providing a solution. I'm not here to spread a message of hopelessness. I believe that as serious a threat as the EVE community faces today, we are fully capable of meeting the challenge. I know that we can defeat the carebears, because we have done it before. When the carebears pushed Incarna and drove EVE to the brink of death, the EVE community fought back. As I said, the cancer is only in remission. We haven't much time. We need to move quickly, and with purpose.

If we chose, we could stand idly by and wait in silence for the carebears to destroy EVE. If you want an alternative to that, you've come to the right place. Having made the decision to fight back against the carebears, what weapons and tactics should we employ? All of them.

First thing's first. We cannot win this fight unless the people of EVE realize there is a fight. Most EVE players haven't the slightest idea what the carebears have been up to, and they don't see them as worth thinking about. That's the carebears' greatest strength at the moment. As long as the carebears' efforts to destroy EVE remain invisible, it will be impossible to defeat them. So to begin with, we need to wake people up.

If you've made it this far, you know what the carebears are all about. But your friends and allies don't. Odds are, you have access to a lot of people: Corp members, alliance members, coalition members. Players you do business with or see in local every day, players on forums. Get the word out. Tell them in your own words what's going on, and direct them to this Manifesto II. If you've got access to an outside forum, it wouldn't be a bad idea to copy & paste it, or link the eve-search version; I cannot guarantee this thread will not be censored, deleted, or locked at the carebears' request.

In short, we must make the activities of the carebears famous--not to praise them, but so that we can raise the awareness needed to stop them.

Since the struggle against the highsec miners is primarily an ideological one, we must focus as much on ideas as actions. To survive, EVE must undergo a cultural revolution. Today, the profession of highsec mining is seen as pitiable, but tolerable. This can no longer be the case. We must make highsec mining utterly unacceptable as a practice going forward. The carebears' "sandbox" rationale cannot be allowed to stand any longer. Not while they're busy emptying the sand from the box and trying to ban the very PvP that makes EVE worth playing.

Henceforth, the carebear should be viewed as a corrupting, intolerable influence in EVE. They should be held in the same low regard as furries, bronies, and former BoB members. Ideally, social pressure should persuade miners to change careers, and for new players to avoid taking up the profession altogether.

Carebears use every tool at their disposal to spread their hateful vision of a neutered, PvE-based EVE. We outnumber them, but we must make the effort to combat them. Don't let them dominate forum threads either here or elsewhere. Don't allow CCP to think the carebears represent the playerbase of EVE. If the highsec miners flood the forums whining for "one more nerf" to PvP, then flood the forums right back.

If you have a position of influence in a corp or alliance, it's time to set new rules. Not only should you tell your membership that highsec mining is no longer allowed, you should explain why it's not permitted. To drive home the point, you might want to make the announcement with a demonstration: Schedule a mining op, and when everybody arrives in their mining ships, have them killed.

In the same vein, if you are an ordinary member of a corporation, take advantage of the fact that you are permitted by CONCORD to kill corpmates in highsec. Attend your next corp mining op in a "defense ship" and blast the friendly Orca. Make sure to get the pod, too--you know my methods.

Alliances can do this on an even greater scale. Invite some highsec mining corporations to join your alliance. They may be eager, since this provides them greater protection from wardecs. Once they're on board, crash their mining op with your own miner-killing op. Your op will probably be the more successful one.

There's one final group of players who can do their part to stop the carebears--the highsec miners themselves. If you are a miner, then you need to recognize that what you're doing is incredibly destructive. You need to stop mining and find something else to do in EVE. It could be anything: Scamming, suicide ganking, anything. But you cannot remain a carebear. If you won't stop, someone will be along shortly to make you stop. Did you really think you could go on like this forever, killing EVE? Didn't you think we would eventually find out, and that there would be consequences? The party's over.

As for everyone else, continue to use suicide ganking, wardecs, and corp-infiltration as long as they're still permitted. Find the carebears and kill them. And let everyone in local know the reasons behind your actions.

* * * (Proceed to section 17.) * * *
CODE.
#18 - 2012-04-27 01:34:03 UTC
The carebears will say anything to save their own skins. When you come for them, they'll make up stories about having powerful pirate friends or connections in nullsec. They'll claim be stay-at-home moms on their last PLEX, or disabled war veterans who can only calm their nerves by collecting ice crystals AFK. When they ask for mercy, show it to them--by killing their ships and encouraging them to change careers. And do not spare the newbies, who putter about the belts in their cheap little retrievers. They may seem cute and harmless, but they grow up. When fully mature, that newbie will be a carebear demanding an end to PvP. Remove them, root and branch. As Mithridates VI said of Rome, the carebears "...will blot out everything, or perish in the attempt." All highsec miners must perish from the face of EVE forever. There can be no exceptions.

Tough love? Sure, but it's not as if we have an overabundance of alternatives. Know this: If the carebears aren't stopped, EVE will be shut down. The carebears will lose everything they have anyway. Merely robbing them of the ship (and preferably, the pod) that they're flying is therefore an act of kindness and generosity.

Highsec miners do what they do because they get lots of money for little risk. It's a simple equation. If you want to stop them, you must increase their risk and decrease their money.

The war with the carebears is a conflict of visions and a struggle for the very soul of EVE. My strategy for this war is simple: We win, they lose.

A CALL TO ACTION

People of EVE, you've heard the evidence. You have seen the carebears demand and receive an endless series of nerfs to highsec violence. You watched them divert wealth from areas of risk to areas of safety, thus eliminating most forms of nullsec PvP. Each day, you see the carebears clamor for increasingly absurd favors and buffs. You know from history that there is only one logical endpoint to the highsec miners' demands: Total invincibility while untanked, unescorted, and AFK. They do not hide what they have done; they revel in it. Each time CCP gives them what they ask, the carebears indulge themselves in an orgy of gloating and self-congratulation.

And you know, too, where it leads. You saw, in the days of Incarna, how the carebears almost took down EVE entirely. You saw how only through the most valiant effort on the part of the true EVE community was CCP rescued from extinction. Now the highsec miners are putting all their effort, each and every day, into forcing EVE back onto the road to oblivion. This is not a murder mystery, with the culprit escaping into the shadows or hiding behind a mask. The carebears are out in the open, waving their blood-soaked arms in the air, screaming their guilty cries for more nerfs at the top of their lungs.

I know most EVE players do not want to look upon the highsec miners as a threat. The carebears are a pathetic lot. Viewing them with seriousness honors them too much. Yet the fact remains that behind their dull eyes, vacuous smiles, and broken English, the carebears do wield power, because it is thoughtlessly given to them by CCP.

Unlike the great nullsec alliances who earned their power through bloodshed and ingenuity, the carebears do not deserve to have any influence. The present crisis, however, cannot be solved by wishing it away, or saying "it shouldn't be so." I remind you that even the Band of Brothers of old, with all of its crooked connections, and even the Goons with all of their tenacity and vigor, were not able to stop the carebears from killing most of nullsec PvP. Nor could all the titans in EVE stop the shift to Incarna. Only the power of a united playerbase can change the course of EVE.

Let there be no confusion about the stakes here. When the servers go down for good, everything you have built in EVE will be wiped away forever. In the meantime, if the carebears continue to lobby CCP as successfully as they have in the past, they will march through your elaborate defenses and transfer your wealth to highsec, where it will be protected from all harm.

So yes, let us give the carebears the dignity of seeing them for the threat that they are. Mindless and unworthy, perhaps. But they are not scenery. They are your enemy. Treat them accordingly.

* * * (Proceed to section 18.) * * *
CODE.
#19 - 2012-04-27 01:34:29 UTC
What is the alternative? Nullsec alliances, when someone enters your territory and attempts to take everything away from you, what is your response? Do you not defend yourselves? Do you not fight back? If possible, do you not kill them so they won't try it again?

Some believe that EVE's transition to a PvE game cannot be stopped. They say that by fighting the miners openly, we only accelerate the process, intensifying the whines of the carebears and triggering more nerfs. I do not believe it, but suppose it's true. If the death of EVE is inevitable, I say let it come now, on our terms. Should we let it be said that we allowed EVE to go down without a fight?

The people of EVE had to fight once before, to save the game from the Band of Brothers. Now we must fight to save it again. Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution--but from annihilation. We're fighting for the EVE community's right to live, to exist. We can't be consumed by our petty differences any longer. We will be united in our common interests, against our common enemy.

It's not enough to know the truth; you have to act upon it. Some say the EVE community is too divided, diverse, and disinterested to act. I'm not worried. I am confident that each of you will do what is necessary. Once you feed upon the highsec miner's blood and drink of his tears, you will be a changed man or woman. You will never again doubt the righteousness of our cause or the rapture found in its methods.

And even if you are completely focused on your own alliance, your own ships and assets--even if you have never so much as suicide ganked a retriever before--I know that when the day comes, when you log your character into a carebear zoo that a few months before was your favorite PvP game...

...You'll know what to do.

END OF MANIFESTO II


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Minmatar Republic
#20 - 2012-04-27 01:34:42 UTC  |  Edited by: Mentorm
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