There has been a lot of talk lately about high sec players and how they ruin Eve for everyone else. I find the volume of chatter unsurprising, given the resent Ivy League and Goonswarm Shrugged antics. What I do find surprising is the lengths to which each side goes to delegitimize the other side, and using the “Eve is a Sandbox!” argument to make the point.
A sandbox game is in general a game where the world is laid out for players with rules and mechanics to govern interaction, but without an endgame provided by the developer. I would posit another fundamental assumption of sandbox style games is that if the mechanics allow for something to occur, then it is a valid play style unless it is explicitly addressed by the developers. In other words, every play-style that a player can engage in is valid, until restricted.
So it seems very funny and shortsighted to claim pirates are bad or miners are evil just because you think the mechanics of the game favor or hinder a play-style. The fact that you can mine, and the fact that you can gank shows that both play-styles are valid. So is a market trader that never levels the station, the missioner that grinds for hours and the Sov warrior who does whatever it is that sov warriors spend their time doing.
My assumption is that anyone who tries to argue that a play-style is completely invalid and should be spurned or banned is in fact one a few sort of people. The first is the person who got burned by another player. The second is someone who cannot, likely for ability reasons, compete with other players in a specific play-style, and so seek to disparage it. The last, and alternatingly most entertaining or insidious one is the true griefer, who plays games not for the game in front of them, but the metagame of making someone else angry. I don’t want to get into semantics of competitors versus griefers, save to say there is a difference.
And these reasons come through in the arguments often seen against pirates and miners. They have no basis in actual mechanics, and devolve into ad-hominem attacks on the players themselves. Miners have no souls and might as well be the bots they claim to hate. Pirates are horrible people with no hearts who are probably social miscreants in real life and shouldn’t be allowed to play. One of these arguments is meant to inspire angry forum posts, and the other fails to grasp the inherent meanness built into the human race, but both miss the point of the sandbox.
What makes Eve interesting is the fact that it encourages both play-styles, even though they are openly antagonistic to one another. And both styles are generated by the players. If miners, carebears or pirates were eliminated, Eve would fail. Each plays a vital role in the ecosystem, and pays for subs. So if you want to debate fairness of mechanics, or imbalances that push players in a certain direction please be my guest. The sandbox should be constantly tuned to increase and balance player options, thereby generating more play-style options! But if you just want to use personal attacks, well, I suppose everyone loves to feed the trolls now and again.