Monday, August 23, 2010

EVE Blog Banter #20: Pirates and Griefers

Welcome to the twentieth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!
With the recent completion of the 3rd installment of Hulkageddon last month, @CyberinEVE, author of Hands Off, My Loots! asks: “Griefing is a very big part of EVE. Ninja Salvaging, Suicide Ganking, Trolling, and Scamming are all a very large part of the game. What do you think about all these things? You can talk about one, or all…but just let us know your overall opinion on Griefing, and any recommendations you may have to change it if you think it’s needed.”

Mynxee has given up on the life respectable and is returning to her criminal roots.  Her return to piracy has been generally hailed as a good thing.

I agree.

I’m not a pirate, but if I’m going to be a victim of piracy I want to be robbed with a bit of √©lan and a cheerful approach to thievery. I mean, if you’re going to steal from me, at least make it interesting.

Nobody likes being ripped-off by the mouth-breathing 7th graders who appear to do NOTHING but camp outside stations in Jita, Amarr et al and wait for targets to emerge. I assume these players are Junior High students off school for the Summer, because anyone with a fully developed frontal cortex would shoot themselves after about 12 hours of that action.

Despite their differing approaches, both Mynxee and the aforementioned mouth-breathers are in the same business. They are both members of the piratical profession. They are colleagues, if you will. They are two peas from the same pod; co-equals in the ancient brotherhood of galactic larceny.

I get pirates.

Piracy is an ancient and storied profession.  They play, fight and steal in the shadows of giants like Jean Lafitte, Edward Teach, Henry Morgan, Francis Drake and Johnny Depp. The pirate’s primary motivation is financial. It’s about the loots – the big score – with some excitement and adventure thrown in.

The griefer is another matter.

Now, when I say griefers, I don’t mean pirates. Neither do I mean the mouth-breathers outside Jita, ninja salvagers, scammers or lowsec campers. They are minor pests who cause annoyance to all players alike. Nor do I mean anyone operating in nullsec – griefers tend to rely on empire game mechanics to hide from a stand-up fight. Once they enter nullsec, a griefer’s just another neutral to be podded.

When I say griefers, I mean “true” griefers; the lads flying solo or in griefer corps (aka “High Sec Wardec Corporations”) whose sole purpose is to attack weak highsec players and corporations. Beyond buffing their PVP stats, their only purpose is to abuse and bully with little or no risk to themselves.

A true griefer’s primary motivation is pleasure derived from inflicting pain. Griefing is about putting a hurting on someone who can’t defend themselves. They stand in the shadows of the schoolyard bully and the kid who loved pulling the wings off flies and staking the bodies of dead animals out in his back yard. 

The hallmark of the hard-core griefer is his/her abnormal lack of empathy displayed alongside strongly amoral conduct.  In real life such behavior, combined with the ability to mask the behavior and appear outwardly normal, is called Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Yeah. You heard me. The true griefer is a psychopath.

The anonymity of EVE combined with game mechanics relieves the griefer of the need to hide his/her behavior. That same anonymity distances the griefer from his/her victims; reducing the possibility of empathy.  Finally, the virtual nature of EVE makes it easy to rationalize the griefer’s actions.

After all, it’s just a game. It’s pixels. Nobody actually gets hurt, right?

For good or for ill, the griefer is part of the fabric of New Eden. Most players tolerate them. A lot of players celebrate them.

For myself, I don't much like bullies - digital or analog. I put hard-core griefers on the social scale somewhere between cyberstalkers and refrigerator mold. I can’t help but wonder how they treat their friends and families when they’re logged off.

Sure hope one’s not living next door to you.

 Other Blogs in Banter #20:

A Merry Life and A Short One - Logical Fallacy
Diary of A Pod Pilot - Griefing, Not just for the Tears
Venom's Bite - A Very Simple Proposal
Where The Frack Is My Ship - Think Like a Capsuleer
mikeazariah - Blaming the Victim 
Freebooted - Dear God, Please Kill Them All 
Planet Risk - Griefing in EVE


  1. Thanks for the mention...and the differentiation! I tend to agree with your assessment and wager that maturity level is involved when it comes to griefing vs. pro pirate behavior. While there are some pirates who live to grief, I have found that most mature players who adopt the role of "professional pirate" are courteous to an almost amusing degree-especially when confronted by an angry victim hurling even angrier words.

  2. Fiddler's Note: My original post didn't define what I mean by 'griefer'. As my definition is narrower than most, I've added text to clearly define the term.