Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I cheat by following the rules...

The other night in the blogger channel the subject came up as to whether or not people use alts are cheaters. I didn't realize this was even a matter for debate, but apparently some hardcore players think you aren't a real Eve player if you have a second account. I wanted to address my views on this very briefly.

I personally think the notion that someone is a cheater because they have more than one account is bogus. There is one very simple reason for this.

It is allowed in the rules of the game, therefore, not cheating!

Throughout the course of my conversation I felt like I was dealing with someone who creates house rules to make the game favor them. It was like when I was told during a game of checkers that I wasn't allowed to simply leave my back pieces in place, or when playing baseball the winning team wasn't allowed to take more than a double. Similar to the people who create these arbitrary rules that differer from the established rules of a game this gentleman had all sorts of weak arguments, many of them the same as the arguments used by vindictive school children.

Argument #1 - "It unbalances the game."
First off, I would challenge anyone to provide proof that this is so. It may affect the game, Ore prices may be depressed because it is easier to mine if you have an Orca alt. Or Salavage prices might plummet, because having a salvager follow you around on missions saves you time and nets you more salvage. However, these are simply economic pressures that change the balance of the game. Or prices most likely fell when T2 mining vessels and Orcas were first introduced because they changed the balance of the game. Likewise, the upcoming planetary interaction may cause a huge market upheaval in terms of what is going to happen to established trade centers. There is a difference between altering the balance and unbalancing something. Furthermore, if the game is so unbalanced and broken, why keep playing?

Argument #2 - "It is not what the original intent of the game was."
This very well may be, but that doesn't change the fact that it is what the game is today. The game didn't originally have skill queuing. Does that mean that skill queuing broke the game? No. As I mentioned in another post, when you create a game there are always going to be unintended events. As a game designer you have to decide whether these effects reflect where you want your game to go or whether they are bugs. By creating PLEX and even promoting deals for people to open second accounts CCP has taken a very firm stance on how they feel about multiple accounts. If they wanted to restrict this practice they could do so, but they choose not to, which brings us to the next argument.

Argument #3 - "CCP only allows it because they want your extra money."
Okay, so? The question isn't why the rule exists, it is whether or not the rule exists. The entire purpose of Eve PERIOD is to make money for CCP. So to state that just because CCP may make an additional $15 off a multiple account holder is irrelevant. Are people who buy PLEX to sell them for ISK cheaters as well? Whether or not you agree with these game mechanics, they exist.

Argument #4 - "It lets people who have more money to spend have an unfair advantage!"
Frankly I think if anything it merely balances the advantage that someone else may have had because they had no disposable income and lots of time. Just because I have an alt doesn't mean I can skill up any faster. Yes, I can spread some of the responsibilities among two characters if I choose. I can make one focus on mining while the other focuses on production. Or I could have one focus on trade while the other focuses on piracy. Ironically on his own blog the gentleman who was arguing against me conceded in a post on the topic that he didn't mind people multiaccounting if their characters didn't interact with each other. Why is this so important? Well, there is his last argument.

Argument #5 - "It eliminates the need for people to work together in the game."
I disagree sharply. No one has ever engaged in large fleet combat with nothing but alts. No one has ever created an epic empire solely on their own. Yes, in small ways it may make me self sufficient, but I am hardly hiding in a corner just playing the game alone. I have corp mates who I sometimes work with, mission with, mine with. I am still interacting with other people and having them build things that are beyond my capability. Eve is such a diverse game that while you could potentially create accounts to fill every single role you desire filled, (trading, hauling, mining, combat, piracy, production, probing, etc) it would be ultimately futile. While I agree there is a social element to Eve I don't feel that should be forced upon players anymore than players are forced to become pirates or forced to become miners. The effort it would take for me to find another pilot who keeps my erratic hours and schedule who is interested in working with me as one of us flies and Orca and the other mines would be monumental and would detract from my enjoyment of the game.

Interestingly this quote is taken from the blog of the other player
"I am one of those of the opinion that multiple accounts do take away from the game. Do I feel like forcing this posture on other players? No not really, but I would hope to encourage other players who do have multiple accounts to use them for different purposes."
The other night his words were more to the extent of "people who can't play the game for real have to cheat and use alts." That hardly sounds like the words of someone who doesn't want to 'force their posture on other players.'


  1. Personally, I'm torn on this issue. I don't think there is a problem with using alts; I have one myself. I do think there is a problem if you use your second account's disposable alt (the one you're not skilling, don't care about the reputation of, and can recycle at will) as a scout through 0.0. It detracts from people actually playing the game. Sure, it's within the rules and I won't call it cheating, but it's pretty cheesy.

    And in reality, this is a problem with disposable alts rather than multiple accounts -- because you can do the same thing for your friend by scouting through very dangerous places using a disposable 'drone' alt.

    And it's not just scouting, but any action in the game. Scamming, for example, has exactly zero risk because once you've scammed a few people, you just recycle the alt and nobody is the wiser. Note that I am not saying "ban scamming", I'm just saying there should be consequences.

  2. On really important point that you bring up is that you could just as easily drone with a friends account, or even an unskilled alt on your own account - drone and then switch. Likewise, the 'metagame' element of having multiple accounts is diminished by the fact that two people could do everything that one person with two accounts could do. You could instantly relate locations via private or corp chat, you could create spies who join rival organizations. If nothing else it would be harder to do some things as 1 person on two accounts than as two separate people.

    As far as scamming, I think the biggest defense against this is if you look up the information on the seller. If they have only been around for a very short time and the offer they are making is too good to be true, my guess is it is a scam.

    I think the scamming issue is a different matter. That becomes a balancing act between player vigilance and CCP policing. I feel like CCP prefers to err on the side of non-interference, and while that can be frustrating it has also kept the game truer to form over the many years.

  3. that's pretty funny what he said. his logic, having SPAI accounts that have (obviously) no ties to his 'main' main account character(s) is legit and....not cheating? by whose moral standard are we going by?

    personally, i'm up to 4 accounts. all paid for by PLEX as of last month. I've never had anyone but my main join another corp other than my own, which ALL of my characters have at one point or another (my ganker alts. GASP. OMG EBIL. have my own corp in their employment records)

    i hate spying. i'd probably suck at it. i AM good at intel though. evewho has made my life alot easier in that regard.

    there are paradoxes in eve. Take his arguments you point out.
    1) economy imbalance? if it's not profitable people will stop doing it in droves and the price will balance itself.
    2) intent? you gotta be kidding me...CCP never had any intent other than make cold hard cash. I'd like to hear them once - just once - tell us their grand 'intent' instead of the cliched "we didn't intend that...[NERF]"
    3) redundant. see #2
    4) just because CCP is making cold hard cash off us doesn't mean players who have cold hard cash to spend are better off ingame. hardly.
    5) eliminates the need to be sociable in this M.M.O.G. Well, honestly, if his only need is some dumb orca pilot and some fool hauler pilot to fulfill his NEEDS then it's not us with the social skills deficiency.

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