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To many gamers, EVE Online is simply known as the place where amazing heists and acts of deceit happen. To capsuleers, EVE is the place they met many of their best friends, and many people they would trust with everything. Many games have sought to replicate EVE and put their own spin on things, and many have fallen far short, in favor of simpler design concepts. Star Citizen is the next in line to strive for the seat of EVE 2.0, but there are many signs it will falter.
During a recent perusing of Star Citizen’s forums, I stumbled upon a thread discussing the potential for in-game deception and piracy. Many suggest the only acceptable forms of piracy should be finding people in space and blowing them up. This would then be met with in-game security status drops and potentially getting locked out of UEE space (think Empire). All other piracy should be met by out-of-game measures like bans and suspensions.
Others think that infiltration, team killing, and social engineering should also be allowed, so long as illegal out-of-game methods aren’t used, and are entirely accepting of in-lore punishments being used. The first group completely hate this idea. The first group is also wrong.
For one, Star Citizen will apparently not have any loot drop from destroyed ships. This, combined with lifetime insurance, essentially makes the “profession” of piracy entirely meaningless. They want pirates, just not pirates that matter. Pirates with nerf guns.
Secondly, learning how and who to trust is the most beautiful thing EVE does for gamers.
The following is a quote from Quintero on the SC forums:
“Taking everything well-meaning players donated to help work towards a common goal isn't "outsmarting" them. It's just being a sociopath. It's wildly anti-social behavior that undermines the fabric of community trust, leads to paranoia, and decreases willingness to contribute to communal projects.”
He makes the case that allowing deception and theft will simply lead to nobody ever trusting anyone because the risk is too high.
The immediate counter to this argument is heavily prevalent in the very game he repeatedly bashes. Despite the numerous reasons to not trust anyone in EVE, including real life friends, people still do it. Despite the damage a spy or rogue director can cause, people still give others roles and access. Despite the fact a member of your corp could light a cyno for you in the middle of Black Legion’s dread fleet, people still trust each other.
Early on in my life as a capsuleer, during the fledgling pubbie phase many go through without proper guidance, my corporation experienced multiple setbacks. We had a director run off with a few billion isk in assets. Later one of our pilots had his Obelisk destroyed in highsec because he trusted someone. These were risks we accepted, despite never really understanding that they would eventually happen.
Yet we pushed on. Now we’re a PVP corporation, allied with the CFC, and we live in a wormhole. Capsuleers that I trust will even know when my very valuable Paladin will be out in w-space slaying sleepers, or my Ark is jumping into lowsec/null. Multiple directors have access to hangars with billions of ISK worth of ships that don’t belong to them. Every member of the corporation could run off to CFC ratting space and kill some blue ratters and run off with some really nice loot, leaving me with the responsibility to pay for the loss.
Yet still we trust. Despite all the reasons you could list as to not trust anyone in EVE. Despite of the fact someone could take away in an instant what you've worked towards for months, we trust. Coalitions of tens of thousands of pilots exist, all being trusted to different degrees.
In World of Warcraft, what is the most you trust your teammates to do? Heal you during a raid so that you don’t have to spend a few gold repairing your armor? What about League of Legends? That they won’t just be bad at the game? Trust doesn't matter as much in these games, because there is simply no reason to not be trustworthy. No one has anything to gain by being a double agent.
In EVE, many have more to gain through deceit than they could ever hope by playing it “straight”. Trust here matters, whether it's trading someone your Archon so they can get some of their stuff moved because they don’t have their own carrier, or making a name for yourself as the one truly reputable third-party in super sales, trust matters.
What many are trying to do by removing deception and theft from Star Citizen, is just make another MMO where nothing really matters. Where friendships don’t matter because there is no reason not to be friends. Where piracy doesn't matter because their is nothing to be gained by lying.
EVE has been my most rewarding video game experience due to the friends I have made because I dared to trust them. I’m not afraid to say that some people I don’t know in real life have access to my accounts, and these people have far less in-game wealth than I do. I know CCP won’t insure my things from being stolen, and yet I gave this access anyway.
Trusting people that can’t hurt you is easy. Trusting people that can ruin you is hard. It’s a beautiful thing that in a world where your friends can hurt you more than your enemies we are still given to trust.
EVE truly is the last haven of the trustworthy in gaming. Let’s hope RSI makes the right decision with Star Citizen, and lets the liars and thieves show us what it means to trust.
EDIT: Since this was originally written, it seems RSI has better clarified their stance as not trying to replicate EVE. Not that this changes what the fanboys are hoping of it.