Sunday, December 2, 2007

Chapter Ten Epsilon


ISK Balance: 5,446,895.93

A few days ago, I got an EVEmail from one Rudy Metallo - one of those pirates who truly values his -10.0 security status as one might covet a valuable gem - signifying his availability for an interview if I were so inclined. Of course, given the chance to base an entire entry off of a conversation while I was nestled deep inside a station, I jumped at the chance. I'm not sure whether that sentiment is rooted in lethargy, a desire to prolong my journey, or another facet of the metagame. It's hard to write about Rudy - after all, I'm figuring he's going to see this.

In any case, I contacted Rudy from my temporary firebase in a Berta station. After a bit of lollygagging over this story and his introduction to and general repertoire of experiences in EVE, we started talking about pirating.

I was pleased to find from the onset - beginning with his description of the first Tristan he took into the pirate-infested treacheries of low security - an impression of pirating in general that was glorifying and near-romantic, tinged with pragmatism and awareness of the unique pirate condition. In some ways, I'm tempted to call it the ideal pirate outlook; both in terms of EVE and the real world's pirates of old - both are driven to piracy in a large part because of the romantic notions behind it.

Rudy's aforementioned pragmatism was best illustrated in his staunch stance that "lowsec is where only the strong survive." However, I began to get the sense his full fledged pirate self was, in some way, a "I do what I do" attitude; especially from his slight digression into the certainty that if he was able to effectively manipulate markets for profit, he certainly would - but because he was a pirate, he would continue to be a pirate. Despite the fun of pulling off that difficult ransom, the badge of that -10.0 standing and the harrowing grind to repair it, maybe the conviction of "because I am" is the only greater reason people remain pirates.

Rudy's two most interesting views were those on antipirates and pirate gatecamps.

He seemed to harbor a resentment towards antipirates that he tended only to touch on. But more interesting than anything, he viewed them as the victims of a stance that perpetuated the general EVE community's fear of pirates; something that seemed to manifest itself in two ways - in those that cowered in high security stations, and antipirates. I'd assume the vast majority of pirates enjoy the fear and hatred directed towards them, or at least accept it, but Rudy seemed displeased with the result - "for the most part...smacktards with no personal pvp skill at all." He didn't hesitate to suggest they were an entirely expected reactionary development to the existence of pirates, but "people associate 'griefer' with 'pirate'...much to us true pirates' dismay," and he implied this unjustified assumption was the root of his misgivings about antipirates.

When I asked him about the risk versus the rewards of low security, he told me that gatecamps were the "ONLY way a pirate can earn money in most situations." I immediately thought back to Ral Khek's suggestion that with enough work, the rewards of low security could surpass the risks - it didn't seem to be this way with pirates. Pirates, as it was becoming evident, relied on other players more than any other category of player in EVE.

Despite all of this, my favorite thing Rudy said the entirety of the conversation was "for people like me it [requires a certain degree of irrationality]. We can't explain our love. We're at home in the in between ground, on the fringes of society and the beginning of wilderness. You love the *** rats, the crap targets, the smacking antipies. We love it all, and couldn't imagine living any other way."

So is piracy in EVE more about taking unbridled, glorified joy in the impossiblity of living in such an inhospitible, neglected strip of EVE than the simple pleasure taken from another's reactor core breach? For so long I had thought about pirates as the iconoclastic small-scale players that didn't care for the greater pictures being painted in high and no security - when in reality they may be the most capable of objective introspection and a truer perspective than all of us.

This is just one pirate, though. On this note, Rudy pointed me specifically in the direction of Veto. I'll see what they have to say...just as soon as I manage to undock in Berta.

Also: I've really got to stop doing these early morning updates.

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