Saturday, July 16, 2011

Scammers and Bad People

Are scammers bad people? I’ve had conversations with several friends in Eve Online regarding ethics in Eve Online. Some say that they wouldn’t do anything they wouldn’t do in real life, such as stealing, lying, scamming, etc. Other say it’s just a game, so why not?

A corp I was in a number of years ago had several scammers in it, including the CEO. I didn’t find out about it until later. They weren’t your typical Jita scammers, but the kind that pretend to be 3rd party dealers, or ‘alts’ of 3rd party dealers and scam people out of the ISK for their motherships and titans. It would often take months to set things up, and the final ‘grab’ would be worth billions.

They offered to train me in the finer points of scamming, but I never really had the stomach for it. Especially after they told me that some of their ‘customers’ would sell some of their toons in order to be able to afford the ship they were buying.

So, maybe it wasn’t because I couldn’t stand thinking of the thought of scamming someone out of billions of their hard earned iskies. (Maybe there was a little of that.) It sounded like so much work, and being a trader, I preferred a passive income that didn’t deal with…well…people in general. I’d rather look at entries on a spreadsheet or lines in my wallet.

I never could reach the point of thinking that these ‘scammers’ and thieves were evil. So long, of course, as they operated within CCP’s rules. Granted, it felt like cheating. But I didn’t necessarily think they were bad people.

There are many other aspects of ethics that have come up in the 4+ years I’ve played EVE. For instance supposed ‘space honor’ and the like. Honoring 1 vs 1s is a big one. It’s almost a crime in many pvp corporations to not honor this unspoken rule. You are considered to be somewhat noob if you disregard it.
For me personally, I struggle to find where I draw the line between in-game ethics and game play. I’m a pvper, so blowing people up on the one hand makes it difficult for me to judge other people doing other things within the scope of game-play. If this were real life, of course I wouldn’t steal or scam people out of billions. But I also wouldn’t kill people.

So, where do you draw the line? When does it cross the realm of game play and become something unethical?

1 comment:

  1. The line is determined by the respect for your fellow players as humans, with all their failings and feelings that implies - and in this, EVE is no different than any other game. This also means that you as the player have to be able and willing to make judgement calls depending on the exact circumstances and people you play against, with no hard written rules telling you what to do. Because in the end the goal of a game is for everybody to have fun playing - 'winning' being just a motivator.

    That means that sometimes it's decent to blow up ships and smack their pilots in local, sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's perfectly valid game play to rob a corp blind, and sometimes it's not. To co-opt a popular saying: Game mechanics don't determine ethicality, people do.

    Hardcore Leet Gamerz of course hate this stance, since it would require them to think and care about more than their precious little selfs.

    But as far as I am concerned, one thing that games have in common with sports is that they reveal one's true character.