Monday, 13 September 2010

The Butterfly Effect: Reality Edition


par·a·noi·a
1. Psychiatry. a mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions and the projection of personal conflicts, which are ascribed to the supposed hostility of others, sometimes progressing to disturbances of consciousness and aggressive acts believed to be performed in self-defense or as a mission.
2. Baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.
[courtesy of Dictionary.com]

...in layman's terms, EVE makes you bonkers. It has you jumping at shadows, suspecting every other player of possessing a machievellian agenda and plotting to kill you and/or steal everything you own. Although you only have to read about a few of Paul Clavet, Cyberin or Aiden Mourn's antics to know that those suspicions are totally justified.

Any veteran of New Eden will tell you that distrust should be your default mind-set, but as a test of where you on the New Eden Scale of Paranoia, let me describe a situation in which I found myself yesterday and ask yourself how you would have acted. Consider this 'The Butterfly Effect: Reality Edition'.

Having just entered a high-sec system in a newly-purchased PvE-fit faction battleship, an unsolicited conversation invite pops up:

Seismic Stan > hi
Schneizel Veiss > hello! i dont know you but im stuck and im looking for help 
Schneizel Veiss > i will lose my hyperion if i dont get it soon.....

Schneizel Veiss > there is a reward of 30mill if you will, im being warp scrambled =/

Schneizel Veiss > hello? =/


A minute or two had passed without response from me as I was suspicious and was information-hunting. Schneizel Veiss was a little over two months old but had joined his current harmless-looking small industrial corp on the day of his creation. A quick learner for a new player or an alt with prior knowledge of the game?

A minute or so before he convo'd me, this had appeared in local:

Schneizel Veiss
> a reward of 30million is on the table if someone, anyone will please assist!


Seemingly the tail-end of a genuine call for assistance, but my egocentric paranoia nagged at me, telling me it was an elaborate set-up. Despite my reservations, I was curious. I proceeded cautiously. Back to the private conversation;

Seismic Stan > So what would you like me to do?

Schneizel Veiss > idk if you have a combat ship you could warp here and help me kill the 4 small ships attacking me?

Schneizel Veiss > that would be extremely helpful lol

Schneizel Veiss > i could form a fleet with you so you could warp to my location. if you want of course but im totally pleading with you

Spidey-sense tingling, at this point I'm totally convinced this guy is a ringer and is almost certainly the alt of a nefarious ninja. I relayed the situation to the denizens of the Old Pond Pub, seeking a second opinion.

Seismic Stan > Never happened before, but I've just bought a faction missioning ship. Coincidence?
Vsmit > I got convo'd by a "newb German" after he saw me take my Cynabal out. 
Vsmit > Though he just wanted fitting help.

Pian Shu > I think I would let it go. It usually doesn't pay in EVE to be a good samaritan.

Pian Shu > Although I did save a KOS pilot in Assah one time when CVA was still in power, and we got a couple kills out of it.

Pian Shu > pirates were always worse than people who might be pirates.

Seismic Stan > I'm tempted to go buy a cheap frigate and fleet up with him.

Pian Shu
> what exactly is happening to him? mission getting him or ninja salvagers or something? You're still in high-sec right?

Seismic Stan > He claims he's stuck in a mission being scrambled by 4 NPC frigates. He's in a droneless Hyperion.

Pian Shu > Should be okay if he just shoots everything else. They couldn't possibly kill him. Then he could just log off

Seismic Stan > No way I'm fleeting with him when I'm flying anything valuable.

Vsmit > What kind of missioner goes into a Lvl 4 mission in a BS without drones?

Vsmit > Man...

Vsmit > Just let him lose it.


So, the milk of human kindness is clearly not a popular drink in the Old Pond Pub. Still questions remain unanswered and the mystery of the scrambled noob remains unsolved. However, there's about fifteen other pilots in local so...

Seismic Stan > Why me? 
Schneizel Veiss > because you have a high security status. your not a pirate and you wont kill and loot me as far as the security status indicates

Seismic Stan > So why can't you kill these four frigates?

Schneizel Veiss > because my guns are too big =/ i could tank against them all night but id would never be able to get away from them. and i freakin left my drones at my last mission site when i warped out! ugh... lol

The oh-so-innocent-noob routine is almost too convincing. However, despite lacking the wherewithall to take drones into a mission he seems to have a pretty clear idea of what he wants me to do. It just doesn't add up.

But even with Pian Shu and Vsmit's sage advice, my vanity gets the better of me and I'm determined to give curiosity the chance to kill my cat. Or at least for curiosity to realise the cat probably isn't worth the effort.

Seismic Stan > Ok, so there's no rush then. I could go buy a little frigate and come help. 
Schneizel Veiss > yes. and there is 30million in it for you lol

Schneizel Veiss > and id get to save my baby! i love this ship XD

Seismic Stan
> Gimme a few minutes then, I'll go find an appropriate ship.

Schneizel Veiss > thank you soooooooo much!!! omg you have no idea how much that means to me! lol

Schneizel Veiss > ive been sweating bullets for the past 30min!

Schneizel Veiss > would you like a down payment on the frigate? ill give you like 7million isk right now to help you pay for the frigate and its fittings

Seismic Stan
> Heh, don't worry.

Schneizel Veiss > thank you sooo much like sincerely from the bottom of my heart lol i just got this ship not 4 days ago and i dont want to lose it soo quickly...

Seismic Stan > So is that your first battleship?

Schneizel Veiss > yes, and ive grown very attached XD lol i fondly call her the Avalon lol


He's laying it on a bit thick now, at this rate he'll have promised to pay me more than his ship is worth. Yet another reason to suspect foul play. But perhaps he is just really fond of his first battleship. I start to vaguely recall what it was like when I first started playing EVE. The wonder and the depth, the naive attachment to ships. I was reminded of Rixx Javix's post about new players and how we veterans forget what it's like. Oh dammit, I was starting to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Seismic Stan > Is this your main character then?

Schneizel Veiss > yes it is. this is my only character lol i started playing the game hardcore about two months ago, id played off and on before that for alittle while but im totally addicted now xD

Schneizel Veiss > especially now that im part of a corp and stuff.

Seismic Stan
> Heh.

Schneizel Veiss > they offered to help but they are all 28 jumps away so i didnt tell them were i was xD i didnt want them to jump all the way here.... their in the middle of a level 4 blockade mission anyway

Seismic Stan > So you've not grown to distrust everyone else in the game yet then?

Schneizel Veiss > nope lol well i have a healthy distrust for anyone with a low security status but i know that not the only indicator of a theif. lol

Schneizel Veiss > but i have good friends in my corp that are accomplished bounty hunters with many locator agents so im not too worried as long as i get to go on the vengence runs lol

Seismic Stan > People can be a lot craftier than that.

Seismic Stan > You see, the only reason I'm taking my time [to buy a low-cost ship] is that the cynic in me smells a trap.

Seismic Stan > Which is why I didn't come to your aid in my usual missioning ship. I don't want to risk losing it in some elaborate trap.


It's almost like I'm trying to remind myself not to trust him.

Schneizel Veiss > lol thats what i was afraid of. i knew i wasnt going to be trusted, i didnt want to give up on help though, i wasnt going to just sit here all night hoping i dont die or lose internet connnection lol
Seismic Stan > Well I figure I can't lose now. I'm either helping someone genuinely in a predicament or I'm about to lose a worthless ship and an implantless clone. Either way my curiosity will be sated.

Schneizel Veiss > thats a great way to look at it lol especially since that perspective will save my beautiful Avalon!

Schneizel Veiss > i take it that your almost ready? just tell me when and ill form a fleet with you

Seismic Stan > Nearly ready.

Schneizel Veiss > yay! lol

Schneizel Veiss > ugh this was supposed to be my last mission of the night too.... i have a japanese test tomorrow...... =/

Schneizel Veiss > first class of the day and of course, it has to be a 8oclocker....
Schneizel Veiss > lol
Seismic Stan > I remember losing my first cruiser. It was a Thorax I'd spent weeks mining for.
Schneizel Veiss > damn...... lol that sucks =/ my first ship to lose that i really felt the blow was my first retreiver....
Schneizel Veiss > after that isk came easier (not easy enough though =/) but easier so i havent dreaded a ship loss since. but i will if i lose my Avalon ='( lol this is a huge freakin investment...

I'm still not sure. He seems young and guileless, but it could just be Khalia Nestune going for an Oscar. Meanwhile, in the Old Pond Pub, Pian Shu was doing some digging on our hapless noob. Nice work fella. Schneizel had clearly had previous experience of ninjas, he was telling the truth about losing a retriever to Durty Nelly of Suddenly Ninjas. He'd also lost a Myrmidon in low-sec. Perhaps he is as he appears. I'll go with it.

Seismic Stan > Ok, I'm in system.
Schneizel Veiss > yay!

I accept his fleet invite and disappointingly find he is alone. I warp to him and find his Hyperion is in a deadspace area with two NPC frigates and a battlecruiser. Not the four frigates he mentioned earlier, but perhaps he was just confused or innumerate. I set about slowly whittling away at the offending rats in my junk-fit Merlin, the Suicide Samaritan.

Schneizel Veiss > thank you!!!!!! 
Seismic Stan > it's not a great ship

Schneizel Veiss > mine or yours? lol

Schneizel Veiss > haha

Seismic Stan > I built it out of loot I had in my hangar.

Schneizel Veiss > its doing the trick lol

Schneizel Veiss > thank you sooooo much dude....

Schneizel Veiss > damn the other elder corpii warp jammed me ugh i thought i was good to go for a sec lol


I dispatch the remaining NPC frigate.

Seismic Stan > Don't worry about the cash. I think you need it more than me.

Seismic Stan > You need help with the cruiser too?

Schneizel Veiss > no im good
Seismic Stan > Go and get yourself some drones.

He warps away, leaving me with the battlecruiser. I attempt to destroy it, but my loot-fitted Suicide Samaritan just doesn't have the DPS. Still struggling to grasp the concept of not being betrayed or entrapped, I idly wonder whether Schneizel intended for me to be destroyed by the battlecruiser. But it couldn't hit me. I warped out.

Schneizel Veiss > take the 15mil, its the least i can do to compensate you for your time

Seismic Stan > Thank you. It was a pleasure coming to help.

Schneizel Veiss > your welcome and thank you for helping...... some ppl can totally be trusted lol

Seismic Stan > Heh, not in this game. I have no way of knowing if the outcome would've been different if I'd turned up in a ship worth ganking.

Schneizel Veiss > lol fine dont trust me then. but check out my corp. perhaps if your a business man and in a corp that is willing, our corps could do some dealing.

Seismic Stan > btw - why didn't you kill that battlescruiser rat - it was worth 150k

Schneizel Veiss > i couldnt hit the damn thing! Lol

Schneizel Veiss > my guns are to big and my gunnery skill too low lol

Schneizel Veiss > im only doing these missions to increase my standing so i can get a level 4 research agent so i can go back to doing some real business
 Seismic Stan > You ever had your missions invaded by ninja salvagers? 
Schneizel Veiss > nope. i dont even know what that is lol

Seismic Stan > Your retreiver was killed by one.

Schneizel Veiss > really?

Seismic Stan > Durty Nelly of Suddenly Ninjas was your killer.

Schneizel Veiss > lol wow i had no idea i had information online xD

Schneizel Veiss > and that wasnt my first retriever loss.

Schneizel Veiss > see? you can totally see by the pilot details that i am not a fighter at all xD and no im too busy either working (i work at best buy) or doing homework for college lol

Seismic Stan > Yeah, you seem genuine, but a clever ninja would have a convincing alt persona. Eve is, after all, a game where people spend months infiltrating a corp just to steal everything. 
Schneizel Veiss > indeed lol

Schneizel Veiss > well thank you very much for you help, ive added you as a contact and i hope you dont distrust me too much as to not do business with me in the future (or my corp, i try to advertise as much as possible xD) going to bed and thank you sooo much! 
Seismic Stan > Sure, it's been a pleasure.

Seismic Stan > By way of explanation as to my mistrust, some further reading for you:

Seismic Stan >
http://www.mylootyourtears.com/
Seismic Stan >
http://podlogs.com/findersandkeepers/
Schneizel Veiss > bastards all of them

Schneizel Veiss > ttyl comrade

Seismic Stan > lol, laters


So what did you make of that? How would you have played it?

Was I paranoid? Was he a ninja in diguise, secretly disappointed that things didn't go as he had planned? Or was he just a hapless new player struggling with the complexities of EVE? Would you have helped him? Ganked him? Can anyone really be trusted in New Eden?

And where is that damned butterfly?

10 comments:

  1. "Congratulations. You saved the Kobayashi Maru with a frigate, by changing the terms of the scenario."

    Well played; I would've done the same thing. As for whether he was or wasn't, you didn't pay to see those cards (at least not yet).

    And that's okay. The words "discretion" and "valor" come to mind, and they're much nicer words than "paranoid" and "delusional."

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would have:
    1) check his corp for being at war. At war = No Deal.
    2) create the fleet myself, so I can control who is in it.
    3) Go get a Drake.

    But really, I think they nerfed the Lofty scam and this was mostly a safe endeavor.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This makes me wonder how easy it would be to get him to take some drones from a can I jettison... And what the difficulty would be with ganking a Hyperion.

    But seriously. If you can't hit BC rats with large guns, you shouldn't be flying a BS.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, I was wondering how the story turned out. I didn't quite get all of it in the Old Pond Pub that night.

    And I got mentioned. don't use this issue to wipe up the bar.

    As Vsmit said, the lesson he needs is that he's not ready to do level 4 missions. Even if I'm paranoid about helping him, it's often better to learn this lesson without having to spend the isk for a new Hyperion.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Meh, I'm more paranoid than anyone these days. I say when you didn't show up in your fancy faction ship, he decided to try and "befriend" you a little to make you less wary in case there is a future opportunity.

    Don't fall for it. Ever!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hm, im not a mission guy, but what were you even afraid of?
    I mean, if you didnt loot from his wrecks, worst thing he could do was suiciding you in the very same way he could have at any gate.
    Or am i forgetting something horribly obvious here?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Interesting to see some folk assuming he was as new as he seemed, whilst others share my creeping paranoia.

    I am inclined to agree with Anonymous and Mynxee in that he changed his gameplan for the long game when I didn't prove to be a co-operative mark. I may take liangnuren's advice and prepare a Drake for any similar situations in the future.

    In answer to De'Vadder, it was exactly that nagging concern that I'd "forgotten something horribly obvious" that was setting me on edge. I believed I would be safe as long as I didn't do anything stupid, but was unsettled nonetheless.

    I didn't specifically know about the Lofty Scam at the time, but I'd argue that it's existence (albeit now nerfed) simply justifies my concern.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can understand your paranoia to some extent, but I don't see how you're getting something threatening out of this particular incident. I've done this several times for various noobs; fleeting up with someone no longer gives them the ability to shoot you.

    If you're that worried about it, just make the fleet yourself, and go swap to any random cheap ship. The worst thing that can happen is a suicide gank, but as long as you're in control of the fleet, that's not a problem.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have to agree with mynxee on this one. My 4.5 yrs in eve have shown me just how freaking paranoid I can be as well as how much I like to find the cracks in other peoples defenses. I honestly believe that if you had shown up in something more worth it the hyperion pilot who is obviously not ready for level 4s would have tried something. Alas you did not and you took the smart route but me being me I feel he is trying to string you along for another time and another opportunity at something juicier. Maybe one day people will be able to trust others like we trust chribba. Wait I actually said that of course that will never $%^&*! happen hahaha.

    ReplyDelete
  10. As the damsel in destress let me set a few things straight lol

    1. it wasnt a level 4 it was a level 3

    2. my avalon was a very significant investment..... i had no isk to replace it

    3. I didnt have the proper skill set to fly a BS effectively. i had trained to be a miner but i needed corp standing for my future plans so i was running missions

    4. i had drones, amazing drones, i just warped out of the last mission zone and completely forgot them

    ive learned alot since this encounter XD thank you again!

    ReplyDelete

Lay it on me.