"A quick view of the Eve Online forums can always find someone complaining about being suicide ganked, whining about some scam they fell for or other such tears. With the Goons' Ice Interdiction claiming a vast amount of mining ships there were calls for an "opt out of PvP" option.
Should this happen? Should people be able to opt-out of PvP in Eve Online. Should CONCORD prevent crime rather than just handing out justice after the event? Or do the hi-sec population already have too much protection from the scum and villainy that inhabits the game?"
This is a debate which has raged a thousand times before, and I'm sure you can already hear the oft repeated arguments in your head - a binary clash between the griefer and the carebear, each with mutually incompatible visions of what Eve is meant to be, and both trying fruitlessly to impose their view upon the other.
In my opinion, Eve isn't meant to be anything - it is what we make it and if it changed tomorrow it would be that instead. However, it's still a meaningful question to ask whether the presence of non-consensual PVP in our Eve is a good or bad thing. I'm sure we've all had out own experiences with it, for better for worse - it permeates Eve in such a way that it's practically impossible not to encounter it. Let me tell you my story, and then you can decide for yourself.
I haven't always been a PVPer - for the first year or more my of Eve experience I lived almost exclusively in hisec as a mission runner. I lost my first ship to another player without even realising I was in lowsec. A number of times, a corporation of which I was a member was wardecced without provocation by players far more capable than ourselves. At the time, I saw these people as griefers and I was indeed angry - I didn't want to lose my rifter (or my subsequent pod) and have to travel the twenty-something systems to my destination again. I didn't want to have to put all other activities on hold for a week or two to focus instead on not dying to our wartargets. If there was an opt out option, maybe I would have enabled it.
But I didn't. I couldn't. I knew that Eve didn't work that way, and that if I wanted protection from these people I'd have to provide it for myself.
As a result of this, I was driven to learn. I learned how to navigate lowsec without being caught. I learned how to deny my war targets kills, and later, I learned how to form a fleet and fight back. I'd like to tell you that I was successful, that we drove our war targets into the ground, but that isn't true. However, we gave them pause, and there were a few moments where we definitely put a few over-inflated egos in check. We may not have won the war, but these are still some of the most powerful and lasting experienced that I've ever had in Eve.
There's a feeling, the first time you PVP - the first blue flash as you deprive your opponent of their ship just as they had intended to do to you. If you've felt it, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, you should - it's something I've never felt in any other game but Eve. If Eve hadn't forced me to fight back, if it hadn't pushed PVP on to me against my will, I never would have felt that - I never would have been driven to feel it. If Eve hadn't forced me to fight back, I probably wouldn't be here before you today; my sub probably would have lapsed a long time ago, as the bright lights of hisec faded with nothing to replace them.
And so, I believe in the importance of non-consensual PVP in Eve. Not because I'm a PVPer and believe that Eve is by nature a PVP game. Not because I believe that those who would avoid PVP are somehow inferior. Not because of some romantic notion of risk, survival, and Everyone Vs Everyone. I believe in the importance of non-consensual PVP in Eve because if it didn't exist, I would never have ticked that button, I would never have been driven to truly understand this game, and I never would have experienced some of the most defining moments of my gaming career.