April 13, 2014

The Current State of Bounty Hunters

I'll be tackling the current state of bounty hunting in EVE with a series of posts and interviews, just as I did for the mercenary series. It took me a while to figure out how to tackle this topic, as it's very complicated and nuanced (like most things in EVE!), but I believe I've got the angle of attack figured out now. I hope you enjoy part one.

As someone who is interested in learning about a game, you can imagine that one of the first places someone would go is the game's actual website. Browsing www.eveonline.com can provide one with
a a lot of information. You can see how big the EVE universe is, for instance, or take a look at a large number of the awesome spaceships you'll soon be flying. Or you can get a few tips on how to focus your time in EVE via a few sample careers.

Let's focus on the bounty hunter career.

I remember when I was first getting into EVE. My imagination was limitless. I was going to make a name for myself. I was going to be someone to be feared. I can imagine a lot of new and would-be players may have a similar mentality when first exploring EVE Online and it's amazing that our game can support those dreams. Sometimes.

Bounty hunting is a classic career path for anyone living in a sci-fi universe. You can't turn around in the sci-fi section of your local library without bumping over a shelf full of books about mercenaries. It makes sense after all. Bounty hunters have a large part of their origin in the American West, back in the 1800s. The Wild West was the ultimate uncharted territory where anything could happen and there were no rules. Space is the modern day equivalent of that in many stories, and bounty hunters are just as necessary to the untamed reaches between stars as they were in the wild-open praries. So what's the issue?

Unfortunately, CCP has no idea what a bounty hunter is. Ok, I get it. You're from Iceland. The Wild West isn't part of your national identity or folklore. But honestly, there's no excuse for what you've turned the bounty hunter into in your game, CCP.

The ultimate carebear.
Look at that picture - expand it if you need to (or click this link). Do you see what CCP is saying a bounty hunter is? Yeah, that's right. According to CCP a bounty hunter is someone who is 86% focused on killing rats and doing missions. "Outlaws with bounties" is the only reference to players in the entire page, and that's not even obvious.

What the hell, CCP? Just because you needed a convenient term to make the rewards for killing a rat sound more sci-fi does not mean you should go all the way towards neutering what should be a thriving, cut-throat career for those who have what it takes. Unfortunately, before bounty hunting can ever really be made into a viable, entertaining career path for players, CCP has to first understand what is and isn't a bounty hunter. I think I've made it pretty obvious what a bounty hunter isn't, but I'll reiterate.

What a Bounty Hunter Isn't

Someone who missions or rats and then receives an ISK payout for doing so is not a bounty hunter. Plain and simple. You don't get a free pass by hiding behind a technicality in your terminology, I'm afraid, CCP.

What a Bounty Hunter Is

A bounty hunter is someone who tracks down and brings anyone who has a price on their head to fiery justice.

It's that simple.

Now, historically, a bounty hunter is someone who ensured that an accused showed up to court. You've surely seen a western movie with a wanted poster with huge block letters saying "Wanted: Dead or Alive". Well, people like this did exist. They're referred to as bounty killers in real life. In EVE, we go by the traditional science fiction bounty hunter definition though, and in that realm a bounty hunter brings someone to justice dead or alive in every situation. Obviously in EVE dead is the only real option. That's fine, but bounty hunting needs to be focused on players with prices on their heads and taking them to task for whatever reason. There's no criminal intent at play here, either. Did Boba Fett only hunt criminals? No, he went after whoever he was paid to. EVE follows the same guidelines: if someone is willing to pay, there is someone that is willing to do the work. You don't have to be a criminal or have pissed CONCORD off somehow to have a bounty put on you, and you shouldn't have to be a criminal to have a bounty hunter take you down.

Unfortunately, until CCP realizes that a bounty hunter's only focus in the game is against players and shifts their mentality to reflect that, we'll likely never see any forward progress on making bounty hunters a dynamic, enjoyable career path for people.
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April 7, 2014

My CSM 9 Ballot

Below are the 14 candidates that I am voting for and why. I look for people that I feel are able to work with others with the big picture being a better EVE for everyone, no matter their own personal politics. Knowledge, experience, and communication skills are equally important.

1. Psianh Auvyander - Knowing my experience in community management, coupled with my years of playing as a mercenary, I strongly feel that I am an excellent candidate for this year's CSM. Furthermore, as a CSM member, I know that I would earn the position through my work ethic and determination. Being an objective member of EVE, politics don't play a factor into my decision making - ensuring the game is FUN does.

2. Ali Aras - Ali is one of the CSM incumbents that I take a lot of cues from when it comes to her personal dedication and drive to get work done, her passion for reaching out to the community, and her ideas for how to do it. She absolutely deserves another years in the CSM and if she's not chairwoman, I'd be disappointed.

3. Sugar Kyle - I've spoken with Sugar a lot over the last week or so. I was already impressed with her CSM thread and support. The conversations we've had have only driven that point home. She's looking out for lowsec in its entirety, and she has the passion and know how to help the CSM get it done.

4. Proclus Diadochu - Proc and I have also spoken quite a bit lately, and his words have also left me with no doubt that he is my first CSM candidate. Knowledgeable, opinionated, but able to converse, you couldn't do better than having him on your CSM.

5. Jayne Fillon - Jayne has shown that he's a small gang PvP specialist, experienced and knowledgable. He's not afraid of the spotlight, and he's willing to work to get things done. I look forward to working with Jayne to create a fun, engaging environment for small and medium gang PvP.

6. Mangala Solaris - Herding cats isn't easy, yet CSM is required to flex similar muscles to do their job effectively. Mangala has proven that he is willing to put the work in and intimately familiar with the game that we call home to give us another year of great CSM service. This man deserves a second year, at the least.

7. Steve Ronuken - Steve has really blown me out of the water with what he can bring to the table, and I think it's vital we ensure that he has a place on CSM. Representing third-party services is something we should see more often!

8. Mynnna - Mynnna is another one of the standout CSM members we've had this year. I've personally been very impressed with Mynnna's ideas concerning nullsec and would love to work with him to improve our game.

9. Mike Azariah - Another incumbent, Mike represents a style of play that doesn't get much attention. It's important we have his voice in the mix to keep EVE fun for people.

10. James Arget - Yet another incumbent that I really hope we see on CSM 9. Wormholes have so much potential, but they often are left out of the plans of CCP. We need to ensure we have strong candidates who can lend their weight behind those areas that are overlooked.

11. Pyschotic Monk - I think it's very important that we have people who are concerned with the well being of high sec. The balance is very delicate, but PM's voice and ideas will help make the area a more fun place for everyone without letting things get too soft or too difficult.

12. Corbexx - Corbexx is a candidate that wasn't on my radar . . . until I saw how much support he was getting from everyone else and those I trusted. Reading up on him, I would love to work with.

13. DJ Funkybacon - Funkybacon has a focus on faction warfare, which I can really appreciate. It's important that FW continue to improve and iterate over the years, and that CCP has someone who is part of that community.

14. Xander Phoena - You know, I don't really agree with a lot of the things that Xander has said, but that's ok. You don't want a CSM that all have the same ideas and thoughts. I know he's more than willing to talk with others, and that's important. He seems to have a rational foundation for his opinions and he's got a loudspeaker pointing at the community. He'd be a very helpful addition to the CSM.
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