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Posted: Mar 31st 2012 3:45AM PhantomX said

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I was just going through this article and noticed a lot of comments from people who seem to have a wrong perception of the Eve Online community. I decided to sign up and try to explain a few things and provide some extra background info on this issue. This is going to be a wall of text, but I want to put all the information in one place for those who care.

Let's make my point clear from the beginning: what The Mittani did is not representative of the community. That's the main thing I want to address here.
You could classify the community in 3 large categories:
- The peaceful players who avoid PVP and who focus only on PVE.
- The griefers who really enjoy annoying everyone, especially the peaceful players and who stop at nothing to get what they want. These players are the minority.
- And then there's a lot of people in-between, people who like PVP but who have some standards when it comes to their conduct and behavior. These players are the vast majority. I consider myself to be in this category.

It's also important to understand what kind of game Eve is supposed to be. A lot of players make the mistake of thinking that, like in many MMOs, the Eve universe is supposed to have areas where you are 100% safe. This is not true, some areas are safer but you should not take safety for granted. Griefers who kill peaceful players in the safer areas are not cheating or going against the intent of the game developers. They are not killing the game. And I say this as a non-griefer. They're doing what the game was designed to allow, although it can be said that they sometimes overdo it. Griefing that way is not something the majority of players enjoy or approve of, in fact griefers even have a reptuation as cowards since they'd rather put a lot of efforts into killing defenseless players than to hunt targets who can fight back. But regardless of that, killing people in the safer areas is a legitimate part of the game. If you understand this, you'll think of griefers as adding challenge to the game. But if you make the mistake of taking safety for granted, you'll think griefers are trash (to say the least).
As a non-griefer, I am very happy to know that I could destroy anybody's ship if I really wanted to. I'm happy to know that nobody could hide in an area of the game where the game mechanics don't let me shoot him. Sure, if I attacked somebody in one of the "safe" areas my ship would be destroyed in a few seconds by the NPC police, but I could still do some serious damage before going down. Even if I do not do this, the knowledge that I am free to do it should I desire to makes the game much more enjoyable.

Now that doesn't mean every kind of griefing is acceptable in Eve. For example, a few years ago, a guy joined my corp (guild) and pretended to be mentally disabled in order to gain our sympathy and take advantage of us. That kind of stuff is strongly frowned upon by nearly all the players in the game. Even some griefers don't approve.
Real-life threats, hacking and other out-of-game attacks are also a big NO.
Somebody in the comments here said that the community was full of hackers: this is not true, there are not more hackers than in WoW or any other games. Yes, stealing accounts is a business for some people, who will then sell your character and gold on Ebay. But I have never heard of a player hacking another player's account or computer out of anger or vengeance. It might have happened, but it's not more likely in Eve than in any other MMO.

Now about the issue at hand, I'd like to answer a few things I've read in these comments.

"The Mittani was elected to represent all the players".
First, it's important to understand what The Mittani was really elected for: The Mittani was elected as president of the CSM. The CSM is a small committee of players who are supposed to inform CCP (the company that makes Eve) of what the players want. It's like a class representative in high school. The CSM has no authority, it's just supposed to be the voice of the community.
The CSM is not very important. What they do is very limited and many players think that the CSM is just here to make the players think that CCP listens to us. To tell you how little the playerbase cares about the CSM - only 15% of the players bothered to vote in the last elections. Personally I have never seen the CSM do much to find out what players want for Eve, besides reading the forums (which CCP can do easily). So The Mittani, as president of the CSM, is not a very important person in Eve.
Also, The Mittani was elected by only 2% to 2.5% of the players - that how much he represents the community.

"The players elected this guy to represent them"
Only 15% of the players voted in the last CSM election. And only 15% of the voters have voted for The Mittani. In a game where there are 400,000 to 500,000 accounts, only 10,000 voted for the guy. That's 2% to 2.5% So no, the community as a whole did not choose him.
His victory is also not really due to his popularity among players. A few things you should know about the elections:
- First, The Mittani won the election with 10,000 votes. The guy who came in second had only about 4000 votes. The guy who came in third had 3700. And everyone else after that was not far behind each other (Official results: http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=28529 ). So the gap between The Mittani (#1) and the guy who ranked #2 is way, way bigger than the gap between anybody else. This shows that the elections were somehow biased in favor of the Mittani (and I say biased, not rigged!). If the elections were fair, the gap would not be that big. He might have still won, but not with such an edge. We can only speculate how the elections were biased exactly, but statistically, this result is highly unlikely without bias. So what can this bias be?
- The Mittani is the head of a huge alliance of players in the game. A griefing alliance (known as Goon Swarm or just "the Goons"), no less. The alliance has about 8000 members. It would make sense that griefers would vote for their leader, in the hopes that he can use his position as President of the CSM to get his alliance some advantages in the game. So you can bet most of the members of the alliance voted for him. And in fact, many Goons have voiced their support for The Mittani. They aren't really hiding the fact that their entire alliance was supporting him in the elections. So 8000 out of 10,000 votes are just the guy's in-game buddies.
- About 8500 voters were accounts created less than a month before the election. That's out of 60,000 votes in total in the elections. This number is highly suspicious for various reasons, and many players suspect that a lot of these new accounts were created just for the purpose of voting.
The first reason why these accounts are suspicious is because the game does not normally have that many new subscribers each month. It's also suspicious because even if 8500 new players had really signed up, those elections aren't something new players should care about. Again, the CSM is not really important and new players don't even really hear about it or know what it is until a few months in the game. It doesn't make sense that so many new players would care to vote.
And finally, these new accounts are suspicious because 8500 is also the number of people who voted and whose accounts are between 1-8 month old. This is a statistical anomaly: if 8500 of the accounts created in March have voted, then logically about 8500 accounts created in February should have voted. Same with January, December 2011, and so on until August 2011. But the fact is, 8500 March accounts have voted, and on average, only a little over 1000 February accounts have voted. Same with January, December 2011, etc... What makes players who signed up for the game in March so special that they care much more about voting than the players who signed up in the previous months? Nothing. Unless of course these accounts were created for the sole purpose of voting.
Ok, but how does that prove that these fake accounts voted for The Mittani and not somebody else? Well, creating an account costs $20 (note: trial accounts can't vote). You don't create an account just to get an extra vote unless you know it will make a difference. Obviously, people who created fake accounts knew it would give them an edge in the elections. And the only way fake accounts could give you an edge is by creating many of them. Now who could afford to create so many fake accounts? Either a very rich person, or a large group of people who were working together. Guess who this makes the #1 suspect then? Yeah, The Mittani and his Goons.
Of course this is not proof, but it's suspicious enough that nobody should assume The Mittani was elected by a large variety of Eve players: he was mostly elected by his Goons. I'm not saying he cheated, I'm only saying that there's enough weird stuff that went on that it's foolish to assume The Mittani received the approval of most of the community.
Finally, there were too many candidates to give The Mittani any competition. The Mittani has the support of his 8000-member alliance. This is automatic popularity. Other candidates don't have an alliance to back them up, or at least not such a large one, and as a result they need to introduce themselves to a lot of players in order to gain votes. They need to campaign harder. Maybe if there were only 20 candidates, somebody else would have won the elections, but there were dozens of candidates I don't know how many candidates there were exactly but when I looked at the list, I estimated there were at least a hundred, (possibly a few hundred even).
So Mittani is this guy who gets an automatic 8000 votes because he leads a large alliance in the game. The other candidates are less known and need to campaign hard to get 8000 votes. That's really hard to do when there is so much competition, and even if they succeed in reaching 8000 votes they're only equal to the Mittani. Reminder: the guy who came out in second place had only 4000 votes.
As a voter, I really wish there were several rounds of elections, so that in the end we'd have only a handful of candidates to vote for. It would make things a lot more fair. But then again, the CSM isn't that important so it's not really a big deal.
Anyway, there you go, The Mittani wasn't exactly elected by the community. He was mostly elected by his friends, who happen to be the majority of griefers in the game.

"Most players on the Eve forums approve of what The Mittani said"
Eve has between 400,000 to 500,000 players. And on the forums, it's mostly the peaceful players who hate fighting and getting shot at, and the griefers who speak. These two groups are a minority in the community.
And because these groups are so fundamentally different, even opposed, of course it creates a lot of arguments and controversies on the forums.
So the main reason why you see so much approval for the Mittani's actions, is because the forums are just filled with arguments and verbal fights. People who strongly oppose what he did have opened no less than 20 topics to express their disaproval! Obviously this is going to cause griefers to flame and argue.
What I'm trying to say is, it's the same debate, the same people saying the same things over and over again, and because they do it in 20 topics instead of 1, it looks like it's all the community cares about.
Also, most of the people supporting the Mittani are the members of his alliance, the Goons. They're the griefers of Eve. If you drop a magnet in a bucked of pellets, when you pull it out all the metal pellets will cling to it but that doesn't mean the bucket doesn't contain many plastic pellets.

So that's the situation: the peaceful players who hate PVP are excessively outraged over the Mittani's actions, and they voice their opinion loudly. Mittani's friends, the griefers, rush in to defend their leader.
And the more moderate players, who are the large majority of the community, just sit back and refuse to join the debate, because as much as we dislike what the Mittani did, there's no point yelling "Outrage!" over and over again in 20 different topics on the same forum.

"CCP did not punish The Mittani properly"
CCP's hands are tied. They did not write specific rules for the Eve Fest (the convention where the incident occured), so it's difficult for them to say "this was against our rules, you must be punished". They banned the Mittani for 30 days, and in order to do so they had to say that the game's TOS applied at the Eve Fest too - this is a big stretch already since they only decided after the incident that the game's TOS applied.
Yes, CCP were naive not to write some rules for Eve Fest, but it's hard to imagine anyone would come on stage and say what the Mittani did. They will take steps to avoid this for the next Eve Fest though.
Yes, the Mittani probably got away lightly, but that's because CCP could hardly do more. I'm sure CCP is not happy at all about it, and they probably regret not having planned for an incident like this. From the public statements they have released, and by reading between the lines, you can tell they are very embarrassed about this, or at least that's how I felt it. And remember, Mittani is the leader of 8000 players. CCP angered 8000 players when they suspended him 30 days. The ban itself is a controversy CCP could have done without, and I think it shows they took their responsibilities seriously. Anyway, they really don't approve of what happened. I think this is what matters most if we're going to judge their character.

"But Eve is still a game for griefers, people back-stab each other all the time or are extremely paranoid"
I just want to say, Eve is actually a great game with a good community full of interesting people. The difference between Eve and other MMOs is that in Eve, it takes longer to learn the ropes. The Forums are full of the most extreme players from both end of the spectrum (the absolute PVP haters, and the griefers). The average players just don't speak on the forums much. Of course if you don't know that, you'll get the wrong impression. But trust my experience, the people you meet in game are very different from the people on the forums. Sometimes it's hard to believe the forums are for the same game.
The game is also not meant for people who want to do nothing but PVE. You can focus on PVE, but you need to be prepared to get involved in PVP at any time. Like I said in the beginning of this post, there's no safe place in Eve. That's because Eve is a real sandbox - if you couldn't shoot people who do PVE, you'd be very limited in your options.
And yes, there are spies who infiltrate corporations (guilds) to gather intelligence of steal ships and money. But again, that's what makes Eve a bigger sandbox than any other game. Maybe this is not your kind of game, but it doesn't mean Eve is broken: it's tailored for people who are willing to make sacrifices to get much more freedom in the game they play.
And yes, it all makes everyone paranoid and distrustful. You don't accept just anybody in your corporation, you don't usually band up with strangers to go kill some NPCs... But you still make friends and find people you trust and who trust you. In Eve, your corporation is almost like your family. You rely on them a lot, so you always have their back, no matter what. It's really awesome how tightly you band with your corpmates. If a corp member gets into an argument with a stranger, you don't ask questions, you jump in the argument and smack-talk the other guy, even if your corpmate was in the wrong. The only thing that matters is you and your corp - your brothers.
Once you find the right crowd to hang out with, it's an awesome social experience. But I understand why most players who are new to Eve get the wrong impression and don't hang around long enough to learn the game and realize what it really is like. It usually takes 3 months to really get comfortable in Eve and most players give up much earlier. If you do start Eve (or decide to give Eve a second chance) either document yourself extensively about it (so that you don't have the wrong expectations), or find a tutor who could really guide you through the game for your first few months.

Posted: Mar 31st 2012 3:25PM Humbug said

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@PhantomX
"That's because Eve is a real sandbox - if you couldn't shoot people who do PVE, you'd be very limited in your options."

AKA - griefing
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Posted: Apr 1st 2012 5:36AM halfcaptain said

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@Humbug

aka griefing? no, not really. pve and pvp in eve are two sides of the same coin. it's not necessarily one or the other; we're all part of one universe, and a constant sense of risk or vulnerability is part of the appeal/lore. so, no. 'griefing' is a pretty pedestrian way to look at it.
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Posted: Mar 31st 2012 5:12AM Ban Me said

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It's a shame the same fate will not come to be for all of those that have threatened "The Mittani's" IRL family. They continue to receive death threats. Most of his personal info has been made very public. Despite all this, people still say he deserves it all.

At Fanfest, "The Mittani" never mentioned anything more than that other player's in-game name. Even though, at the time he did know that player's personal info.

Give the guy a break ! He was drunk at the time. He even apologized for his actions before most of the internet sh$t-storm started.

If that ain't enough... CCP employees reviewed and approved "The Mittani's" speech before he did it on a live video feed!!!


Posted: Mar 31st 2012 4:27PM Lenn said

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@Ban Me "Give the guy a break ! He was drunk at the time."

In vino veritas.
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Posted: Apr 2nd 2012 2:24PM StClair said

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@Ban Me
"Give the guy a break! He was drunk at the time."

Yeah, that one's a big hit at DUII hearings.
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Posted: Apr 3rd 2012 10:15AM Humbug said

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@Ban Me "It's a shame the same fate will not come to be for all of those that have threatened "The Mittani's" IRL family."

Screen shot or it didn't happen.
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Posted: Mar 31st 2012 6:39PM Graill440 said

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Thoughtless actions are the norm in EVE, and this behaviour is encouraged by the devs and the game mechanics, proof being this latest drama and incident.

The thought proccess of some of the people here, mainly EVE supporters is fantastic in scope, many feel that things shouldnt be taken seriously.....WTH, the majority of these people are the ones you would not associate with in the real world. Fact, thinking like this is dangerous, whether the clowns in EVE make statements to the contrary.

Your mouth and your keyboard can get you into all kinds of trouble, the choice is yours using either conscious thought or simple upbringing and being clueless as to what you type or say, both have accountability and consequence, it is the foolish person that laughs it off and states no big deal "i always do that in game".

These are the same people that are quiet little mice in the real world, when surrounded by their likeminded cirle of friends they are loud and boisterous, yet when singled out and confronted are rather pathetic and weakminded. This type of personality is dominant in EVE, and the devs encourage it, now they pay a nother price in more bad press.

Some things never change, some people never learn. Lets begin the lesson again for the tenth time....Turn the stove burner on....thats right, now touch it.



Posted: Mar 31st 2012 11:23PM ScottishViking said

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Any Goon who hunts this guy for the next month is a f*cking idiot. Seriously...they're just asking to get grief-banned.
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Posted: Apr 1st 2012 6:10AM (Unverified) said

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Dear CCP: Just add a checkbox waiver to the game login screen. Like the warnings on cigarettes.

“I declare myself to be in a rational mental state. I am not suicidal. I am aware that playing internet spaceships with the EVE community is harmful to my health. Many of my acquaintances find this habit absolutely disgusting.”

Of course, half the EVE players I know are deranged drunken lunatics. Give mittens another jagerbomb.

End of fuckin story.

Posted: Apr 1st 2012 6:14AM (Unverified) said

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Dear CCP: Just add a checkbox waiver to the game login screen. Like the warnings on cigarettes.

“I declare myself to be in a rational mental state. I am not suicidal. I am aware that playing internet spaceships with the EVE community is harmful to my health. Many of my acquaintances find this habit absolutely disgusting.”

Of course, half the EVE players I know are deranged drunken lunatics. Give mittens another jagerbomb.

End of fuckin story.

Posted: Apr 2nd 2012 2:56AM Acharenus said

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People are surprised by this from eve's community?

The whole game has been built and maintained as a freeform grieving simulator.

To succeed you have to be a pirate/bandit/ruthless exec. Made all the more terrifying by it's links to RL.

Posted: Apr 4th 2012 5:06AM Khanadir said

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EVE Is a wonderful game designed to bring out the worst in everyone.

Posted: Apr 4th 2012 7:23PM tenfootgoatman said

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Its totally wrong of anyone to threaten this guy or his family it makes you no better than he is . What I suggest if you dont like what hes done is emailing a link to the story to the Madison Wisconson police and inform them of his activities and let them deal with him . Its far better for the authoritys to deal with his crime . Also contact CCP and encourage them to do the same .

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