A Day of Remembrance

Someday, they might come for me. They just might ban Princess Aiko! A few months ago, Sievert Solutions reported me for seducing Kelroth‘s wife, and a steamy weekend in Toledo turned into a scandal which shocked EVE Online’s Mormon community. The news spread like wildfire, lesbian bondage is happening in Highsec, and then there’s also the matter of $25’000 (not to mention all the singing, and that dead dog)!

If you let jellybears tell this story, it sounds like I am an absolute space bully. A vindictive little witch who sneaks into your Teamspeak, and seduces your entire alliance. Hide your wife, hide your freighter, they ganking everything up in here!

These gankbears were both in CODE., and they are both super salty that I dunked them out of the alliance. Let’s be honest. They were cringy wannabe space bullies, who would obsessively write obscene things unto the miners, desperately trying to trigger them. They cried loudly when things did not go their way, and I found their content to be not quite up to snuff. New Order gankers are classy professionals, not teenage alcoholics.

I warned them both, I waited, and finally I put them down. James has no tolerance for rabid dogs, and I am the Sword of Justice. Now they have taken to the forums, spreading the ‘truth’ and desperately hoping to scam CCP into taking action against me. They are convinced, if they can find a way to manipulate public opinion, that CCP will wield the banhammer without regard for facts. If you read carefully, they also take issue with “the blog” and “salt farming”. That’s right, they want CCP to permaban James 315 (again).

***

I haven’t gotten around to writing about Kelroth, but the man was an absolute pleasure to do business with. We got along, and had a party. He decided to buy a wormhole, and invest in my Jita market hedge fund. Kelroth also wanted to purchase a lifetime mining permit. The first time he transferred me fifty billion isk, I asked him why? Why was he doing this? His answer was simple enough, “You are my favourite bitch.”

Kelroth liked the ‘bonus room’, which we now refer to as the ‘extra room’, to avoid negative connotations. He enjoyed singing I’m a Barbie GirlBehind Blue Eyes, and a host of other songs. He read the CODE. with gusto, relishing Princess Olga’s humiliations unto the dirty Drevlians. It was the typical situation, not unlike so many others, in which a Highsec miner decides to throw a lavish party and entertain his new friends. Am I going to get banned for simply sitting in a chat channel, accepting contracts, and encouraging a miner to calm down and have fun? Am I going to get banned for laughing? 

Sometimes, after the fact, miners will have second thoughts. It’s kind of like how a big spender might wonder if he really should have bought that third round of drinks. Perhaps they went a little far, dancing around with a lampshade on their head, and trying to grope their charming hostess? If you leave your waitress a thousand dollar tip, is she a monster simply because she has an alliance to bankroll?

***

There have been real life lawsuits, when a billionaire snorts too much Mindflood, and decides he was over-charged for exotic dancers. I get it, but what am I supposed to do? Should I politely decline these incessant contracts? Should I tell the miners, that they should instead contact Hard Knocks or send everything to Chance Ravinne (as agreed). Maybe they need to ring up Scooter McCabe, and he will do the exact same thing as me, except not as well and with a ‘space court’ theme.

In my opinion, the rules of the game are clear, the EULA is clear. The law is crystal clear. Just consider Mason v. Machine Zone, which the United States District Court of Maryland summarily dismissed, “Plaintiff paid for the privilege of playing with Defendant’s in-game currency, and she got precisely what she bargained for… It would be unjust to return those funds to Plaintiff after she benefited from the enhanced gaming experience that gold evidently delivers.” Likewise, I’m offering an enhanced gaming experience in EVE Online, and my content is very pricey. If you wanna fly with Princess Aiko, you are either gonna be ganking or you are gonna take a solemn oath of poverty.

I’m not going to write a treatise, but the international consensus seems to be settled. For example, the Australian Law Reform Commission of 2011 investigated this. They concluded that in-game currency is nothing more than ‘extra playtime’, which you gain or lose according to skill and whims of fate. You either lose points and get dunked into bankruptcy, or you get more points and keep playing. If you run out of points, you can hop in a Corvette, or pull out your credit card. If you lose the game, that’s on you. Of course, people get agitated about credit cards and PLEX, and I’ve got a suspicion how these miners are funding their tribute. Sievert Solutions told CCP that I “force” miners to buy PLEX, which isn’t true, but will CCP believe me? What am I supposed to do? I just want them to stop mining, but they insist on paying. They want my content, and they want me.

You can play for free, or you can pay CCP for PLEX, skill points, and ultimately isk. You can grind it the hard way, or you can just ask CCP to give you a fat stack. Regardless, isk is not real. It is Monopoly money. It is not legal tender. When a Final Fantasy player lost the equivalent of 400 billion isk, his local police informed him that they would not investigate the ‘theft’, because in-game currency is “devoid of monetary value“. You lost your money when you paid CCP, and whatever happens after that is entirely on you. If you give it all to me, I’m gonna take it. We are playing Dungeons and Dragons, and the GM is selling purple loot. Go ahead and give me your stuff, that’s fine. Right?

Of course, if somebody has a gambling problem, or a mental problem – CCP should gently cut them off. I don’t want anyone to invest their life savings into a video game. I don’t want them to spend all their money at the liquor store either. I personally can’t tell if they are a teenager stealing money from a poor grandmother’s purse, or a wealthy tycoon in real-life. Regardless, I’m not a bad person for taking everything they have, because I didn’t actually take anything. I’m not a monster, simply because you land on my Boardwalk hotel. I’m playing a game, and I’m playing to win. Always!

Is it wrong, this thing I’m doing so very well?

James put it quite succinctly, “The whole situation is murky, and CCP should clarify the rules.” Six years later, we are still waiting for a response. Are we allowed to speak to miners, and take all their stuff, yes or no? Are we allowed to host karaoke night? Are we allowed to flirt? Are we allowed to smile? We now assume that we aren’t allowed to post a recording of some miner screaming at us. We’d sure like to, but we refrain. However, is it ok if we post screenshots of local chat? The galaxy wonders.

***

I haven’t gotten around yet to writing about the Princ3e yet, but according to him, he is a real-life prince of Abu Dhabi. He’s a student at Harvard, runs his own cigarette smuggling operation in New York, and he likes me — I’m a Princess. He sent a lot of isk, and I seduced him into moving his mining corporation to lowsec, where he lost a lot more isk. The mining witch also liked me, because it’s nice to hang out in comms with a real-life teenage Italian princess. He enjoyed telling me how much he wanted to see me naked, while contracting over all his assets. It’s not my fault that I’m a beautiful attractive young woman, and I’ve never once broken a real-life law, not even in-game. I’ve never offered to trade sex for isk. I haven’t even lied. I told Kelroth that I’d be happy to go into a wormhole with him, and I meant it. I’d love to shoot him in a wormhole. I said the same thing to the Prince, and we went to lowsec as agreed. As for the mining witch, as I will eventually explain, we had a falling out because he didn’t like my strong Christian values.

Will I be banned for talking to lonely men and taking all their stuff?

***

I caught up with Gripen ANM the other day. He was a little disappointed by what happened. He was surprised (and mildly amused) to see himself on the blog. He thought, “What have I done? How could I be so stupid?” His friends had a similar viewpoint. They said to me, “You are fucking brilliant mate! How could you do that? It was like you put a spell on him. He knew five people in wormholes, and everyone would have moved him in without charging anything. All he had to do was ask. Instead he accused us all of being Pandemic Horde spies, and you were the only one he trusted! That’s amazing!” Well, I’m pretty good at what I do, friends. I don’t know if I’m the best, but I’m definitely one of the best.

I was concerned, because Gripen Aikumi is such a nice young lad catgirl, and I didn’t want him her to be upset. I didn’t want her to be sour. I reached out to her recently, and we had a chat. You know what? Gripen is still playing EVE (on another account, of course). She’s back at it, and she is inspired. She no longer wants to mine. She no longer wants PvE. She wants to play the game for real. She wants to do PvP. She is in nullsec, and she is happy. She realizes now what the game is. She is suddenly alert. Those people selling a nullsec system might be scamming her. They might be giving her a titan, just so they can shoot it. Of course, they are gonna let her transfer all her stuff into a citadel. Of course, they’d love to have her join their fleet. She gets it now. She likes it. She even said, “Thank you. I re-assessed one of my real-life relationships, and saw what was happening. I would have lost a lot of real money, without this wake up call. Thank you.” I told Gripen, “Look, you bought a lot of Catalysts. If you ever want to come gank, just let me know, a friend of the New Order is always welcome in my fleet.” So she just might start ganking, and she wouldn’t be the first person to lose everything, and be saved. That’s the miracle of Halaima.

Of course, Akumi still seems a little confused…

***

You know, it all started in Runescape, that’s where I first met James. We were social workers, trying to liberate the same group of Filipino sweatshop farmers. When I realized James had his own car, I wound up drinking pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks, while he droned on about some stupid first-person shooter. Before long, those lattes turned into cranberry vodka, and we were doing karaoke. We had a great time, and I’m sure he woke up one morning and thought, “What have I done? Did I really just waste $350 on champagne?” Well yeah, I mean, why would I want the cheap stuff? Eventually, we discovered World of Warcraft, where we made some new friends: Siegfried, Globby, Tweeps, and Ehnea. James became the notorious scatman, and we all enjoyed Friday night Teamspeak karaoke. Before long, I figured out how to enchant a spacecraft, and we traveled to a distant galaxy. One day, after a long night with James, I had a sore throat. So we asked the miners to sing, and they seemed to love it. It’s not a scam, it’s just space karaoke! 

At some point, Erotica 1 joined our merry little group, and he liked me very much. In fact, he still does. It’s no secret that Erotica wants to marry me (in real life), and he actually has proposed to me on multiple occasions.

 

He’s not a bad guy, he’s really not. Sure, he’s done and said some things which annoy me, but the stories are exaggerated. The legends are distorted. If a miner smears peanut butter all over their face, that’s not because anybody has a fetish for peanut butter. It’s just that sometimes miners do these things, and we really can’t stop them.

The sheer amount of sexual harassment I endure is staggering, with grotesque comments, pornographic pictures, and detailed instructions for just how exactly I am going to be fucked. The miners are far worse than Erotica 1, of that I have no doubt. So why doesn’t CCP ban them? Why did they ban Erotica, and so many others? Sometimes, it feels there is a bit of a double standard. Perhaps, it’s because people in CODE. are reluctant to report inappropriate behavior. We simply take screenshots and post it on our blog. We believe in public shaming, instead of crying to mother CCP. Honestly, if I reported every outrageous thing that was said to me, then I would be continually sending reports.

It’s my opinion that CCP shouldn’t ban anyone for ‘bad behaviour’. Unless someone is breaking a real-life law, unless there is an active criminal investigation, CCP should ignore it. Miners should be allowed to rant and rave, crying as loudly as they want, and men will settle disputes like men. There’s no point in trying to censor content, all that does is create this weird situation where ‘white knight’ hypocrites run around reporting everyone, while they themselves engage in worse behavior. I don’t even care about bots or input broadcasting. I honestly don’t. I will hunt your bot down, I will find a flaw in your programming, and I will dunk you. CCP could even advertise botting as a feature. Imagine a game where scripting is not only allowed, but actively encouraged, with some of the best and brightest competing to develop an effective AI. It might even improve the game, if CCP makes the effort to add engaging content and intricate game mechanics.

***

Unfortunately, the ban wave of September 10, 2014, continues to be remembered as an injustice. CCP was willing to retract its ban of Brisc Rubal, concluding that they over-reacted. A similar appeal should be granted to victims of Septembergate. Imagine whatever you like about Erotica, but he wasn’t the only one banned for accepting isk and contracts, while enduring hours of subpar karaoke. Some of those banned did nothing at all. They were simply invited to a channel, sat there AFK while they went to work, and suddenly they were permabanned — purely because of a chat channel invite. Guilty by mere association! Indeed, if you set someone as a contact, they can bring you into a channel with no option to decline! This is true, even if you set them to terrible standings! Meanwhile (and yes, we still have voice recordings), individuals such as Scooter McCabe were active participants in the ‘Bonus Room’. Why was he not banned? Is it possible that CCP steps on little people, who lack name recognition, and treats celebrities with a velvet glove?

Brisc Rubal recently sent me isk, so am I going to be banned for accepting it? Am I going to be banned for continuing to chat with Erotica on Discord, and being polite as he tries to seduce me, even though he knows I already have a wonderful boyfriend? Am I going to be banned because I like karaoke, and I enjoy singing songs with my friends? Am I going to be banned, because I click accept on every 0 isk contract and trade that a miner decides to send me? My goodness, they send so much stuff, and I often don’t even ask for it. Sometimes I even discourage it! Am I wrong to click accept? 

***

The Sokhar Bonus Room was a dramatic moment in EVE history. Sokhar went on and on in local, proclaiming to everyone that bonus rooms are a scam. However, he wasn’t so sure. Indeed, it’s not a scam. It’s an audition. If we like you, if we enjoy singing songs with you and hanging out in Teamspeak, then you are going to be joining a very exclusive club with the coolest people in EVE. On the other hand, every contest has its fair share of losers, and Sokhar was not a winner. He was drinking, his wife was drinking, and like so many families they began screaming and shouting. Someone suggested his wife should calm down, and that didn’t seem to help. My lord, what a shrill trainwreck.

However, despite Ripard Teg‘s carebear ranting, no real harm was done. Sokhar and his wife would have been screaming at each other, even if there was no Bonus Room. They would have been throwing things and arguing about who was responsible for turning out the bathroom light. After the fact, much like Gripen, Sokhar made it clear to everyone that he was fine. He was playing a game. He even had a good time. He made some mistakes, but all in all, he was happy to have been a contestant in the galaxy’s greatest karaoke contest. Ripard, for all his concern about the manner in which we ‘tortured’ Sokhar, immediately threw Sokhar under the bus, concluding that Sokhar wasn’t competent to judge his own situation. Somehow, inexplicably, CCP went along with this. They banned so many good people, so many wonderful nice people. They banned my friends.

Ripard tried to claim that what we did was outrageous, because (he said) it was done purely for humiliation, and not for the isk. This is completely absurd on so many levels. When an antiganker jams my Catalyst, he isn’t doing it for isk. The only thing he wants is to ‘humiliate’ Princess Aiko, crowing about her ‘failure’. When we invite you into comms, to sing a few songs, we just really want to hear you sing. If you are good, great, everyone is gonna have a blast. If you are terrible, yes, we are gonna laugh. However, let’s be completely honest. What we also want is your isk, your assets, and everything you have. If you would like to just contract it over, without any singing, that’s totally fine. In fact, the ideal ‘bonus room’ is not a drawn out torture chamber. The script goes about like this:

Q: Do you pledge everything you have to the New Order, accepting High King James 315 as the one true God, and Princess Aiko as the Sword of Justice? Do you swear fealty unto us, here and now, accepting that we are your sovereign overlords who rule by divine right?

A: Yes, of course, here is everything I have. I exist to serve you.

We look back on the Great Banning and wonder. Will CCP ever do the right thing, and review this terrible decision? Will they finally acknowledge that people have been singing songs and transferring assets for eons? Will they admit that this content is not merely part of the game, but in fact IS the game. You can join any nullsec bloc today, finding endless porn and cringe. People screaming in comms, contracting stuff back and forth, and yes, they are singing songs. They are crying, wailing, shouting, plastering channels with content, and desperately trying to move upward by doing whatever ‘leadership’ wants. EVE is a game of social cliques, and you either make it to the next level, or you get dunked back down. We do it in Highsec, and we do it well, but it’s neither wrong nor unethical. 

***

Maybe someday CCP will ban Princess Aiko. They might snuff out the light of Highsec, and a terrible darkness will fall upon the galaxy. I don’t know. I wince every time I accept a contract, but when you offer to give me Park Place, I’m definitely gonna take it. I think miners are on a molasses spectrum. So why don’t you go ahead and do what I say. If you don’t mind, I’ll queue up the next song for you.

 

 

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