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The Gray Moral Morass

You may or may not have been following the whole EVE cyberbullying thing.

Syncaine being Syncaine, he is both morally repugnant and technically correct in his deconstruction of the argument. What exactly can one do in defense against the emotional blackmail of “I’m suicidal?” Is that not carte blanche acquiescence to every situation, including purely PvE concerns of “loot didn’t drop, so I might as well”? And what about the in-game incentives CCP purposely built into EVE to encourage competition, subterfuge, and retribution?

So, on a whim, I decided to check EVE’s Terms of Service. And I don’t even recognize what game they believe it’s for (emphasis mine):

As an Eve Online subscriber, you must observe and abide by the rules of conduct and policies outlined below, as well as the End User License Agreement. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in the immediate termination of your account and you will forfeit all unused access time to the game. No refunds will be given.

1. You may not abuse, harass or threaten another player or authorized representative of CCP, including customer service personnel and volunteers. This includes, but is not limited to: petitioning with false information in an attempt to gain from it or have someone else suffer from it; sending excessive e-mails, EVE-mails or petitions; obstructing CCP Employees from doing their jobs; refusal to follow the instructions of a CCP Employee; or implying favoritism by a CCP Employee.

2.You may not use any abusive, defamatory, ethnically or racially offensive, harassing, harmful, hateful, obscene, offensive, sexually explicit, threatening or vulgar language. (Alternate spelling or partial masking of such words will be reprimanded in the same manner as the actual use of such words.)

3.You may not organize nor be a member of any corporation or group within EVE Online that is based on or advocates any anti-ethnic, anti-gay, anti-religious, racist, sexist or other hate-mongering philosophies.

4.You may not use “role-playing” as an excuse to violate these rules. While EVE Online is a persistent world, fantasy role-playing game, the claim of role-playing is not an acceptable defense for anti-social behavior. Role-playing is encouraged, but not at the expense of other player. You may not create or participate in a corporation or group that habitually violates this policy.

Did I pick the wrong ToS? This is for EVE – EVE – right?

There was also Rule 9:

9.You may not advertise, employ, market, or promote any form of solicitation – including pyramid schemes and chain letters – in the EVE Online game world or on the website.

…but after some thought, it was probably intended to prevent IRL pyramid scheme spam.

So, assuming that CCP enforces their own ToS, there clearly are lines in-game actions can cross, the people behind the pixels are protected to an extent, and it is not the exact free-for-all that it is made out to be. That said, I do wonder about the degree of dissonance between the “no harassment” policy and in-game bounties, war-decs, and general grief potential. Is there any evidence that CCP has acted on this policy before? Is it harassment if I get shot down by a Goon ship every time I enter Goon territory? They just won’t leave me alone!

Incidentally, here is Blizzard’s stance on harassment on PvP realms:

Ongoing Harassment
The Ongoing Harassment policy does not apply when there is a PvP resolution available on a PvP realm, as physical confrontations are considered a facet of PvP combat and players in opposing factions are unable to communicate verbally. Characters have the ability to address their conflicts through combat and GMs will only involve themselves in extreme circumstances.

In related news, the deal will probably be over by the time this post goes up, but did you know this happens:

Cheaper than most F2P games!

That’s… almost tempting. And kinda ridiculous at the same time.