Apologies dear readers if this grows tedious for you. I use this blog sometimes as an aid to memory, and so I tend to include stuff that happens all in a rush even when it doesn’t make a lot of dramatic sense to blog about it. If you’re just now joining us, there’s a rush of incoming love notes from Vampire Zim. If you prefer sequential chronology to this reverse-bloggy stuff, start with Love Letters From VampireZim, then read But Wait, There’s More! and then come back to here.
For those just joining us, in a previous post I called VampireZIM a liar for claiming he was “making every effort to right this issue.” Last night just as I was logging off, he responded:
Obviously I meant that I was making every effort to right this issue without losing face. If I back down after the wrong you have done me, then I look bad. So that being known, unless we find another way to right this, and I think I have taken a big step in calling for this cease fire, that you have declined, then I dont see this ever ending.
Losing face? You’d think the guy in his ninth fruitless war would have started to notice he’s not exactly saving face by declaring and maintaining them. But, maybe that’s just me.
Just before I logged out for the night, I wrote back:
Do you honestly think anybody but you thinks that some POS modules you lost two years ago are a matter of honor? It’s like the first caracal I ever lost to a pirate, I’m the only one who cares. It’s EVE, sometimes you lose shit.
I suppose that wasn’t nice, but it’s how I see things. Readers, tell me — does anybody here have a low opinion of VampireZIM that stems from his failure to avenge some laboratory modules lost in 2006, which low opinion will be revised upwards if he successfully blows up some Ironfleet ships and pods?
Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?
Anyway, this morning I woke up to more love letters. I tell you, things don’t look good for the forces of detante. Where’s Jimmy Carter when we need him?
Responding to the last two paragraphs of my last blog post, VampireZim writes:
First, of all I dont need permission from an FC to pursue you into low sec, if that was my intention, it would have already happend, like the first two times i asked for fleet, I knew you were entering tama, why didnt i set up my camp on the other side waiting for your arrival.
Second, I offered this cease fire for the benefit of the fleet, I very much want to kill you, but I am not going to cause problems in a fleet where I am expected to watch my “brothers” backs.
Zim’s trouble here is that he’s got a credibility gap. Why didn’t he set up camp on the Nourv gate in Tama? Because he lacks the forces required. That gate is usually too hot for two pilots (which is what he had in Nourv yesterday) to sit on. It would be a waste of his Ishtar and Max Threat’s Onyx, and he knows it.
The pious “for the benefit of the fleet” would cut more onions if he’d ever previously volunteered for this or any other of the fleets leaving Nourv at that time of day. (There are time slots when I’m rarely online, I can’t speak for what fleets he joins at those times.) Bluntly put, I don’t believe that he is “not going to cause problems in a fleet” that he joined for the express purpose of finding and killing me. It’s simply not credible.
His next EVEmail, responding to the one above that I sent just before logging off last night, the one in which I asked if he seriously thought anybody else in the game cared about his two-years-gone POS modules:
No, that is the difference, you lost a ship because you were stupid and entered low sec, my POS was my home, it was supposed to be safe in high sec, but you exploited a bug that allowed you to attack it without concord agression. Thats why it was telling you that you were committing an offence against concord, but they didnt show up, you knew you were doing something wrong and you did it anyway.
In addition, it doesnt matter what others think, I think its a matter of honor and thats all I need.
I am fascinated and astonished that VampireZIM thinks I “exploited a bug” when I attacked his off-line POS (apparently home maintenance is not a vampiric strength). At the time, in 2006, there was no Concord response to such attacks. I searched the forums to find out whether Concord ought to be responding, and found nothing but a few conflicting opinions; nobody seemed to know. I didn’t know squat about “the rules” for high sec POS warfare, so I figured hey, shoot first and ask questions later, that’s what everybody else in this game seems to do.
Moving on: Does anybody else see a conflict between the statement “If I back down after the wrong you have done me, I look bad” and the statement “it doesnt matter what others think, I think its a matter of honor and thats all I need”? If it doesn’t matter what others think, why care about looking bad? How can someone fret about “losing face” who doesn’t care “what others think”? Somebody needs to quietly re-examine their inner motives.
And then — the fun never stops! — two more emails in the queue:
I have always warned you, out of sight out of mind, since you joined militia, you have been in sight alot, that is why you are perma dec’d. It was easy to forget you and move on, but now you are always where I am, that is the problem.
I will not cancel this war until we are back to that point, you on one side of Caldari Space, me on the other side.
You make alot of assumptions, I join fleets all the time, you dont seem to notice, I play eve 16 hours a day and I have 3 accounts, just because you dont notice the times I am in fleet, doesnt mean i never do. When I am in fleet, i have a job to do, i dont give a fuck about you, im not going to sacrifice my position in fleet and make myself look bad just to kill your “fully insured T1 replaceable ships”.
But while you are flying around stealing peoples shit, blowing up thier POS modules or whatever the hell you CLAIM to be doing with your time, I will fuckin hunt you till i pass out.
Thirty six minutes later:
In addition and I really think you would be doing the few people that read your blog justice by adressing this. You keep coming back to this SMOKING GUN, that I promised not to attack you if you stopped blowing up my shit, and then afterwards war dec’d you.
Lets put it like this, an evil man breaks into your home, while you, your wife and 5 children sleep, you wake and confront him, he stars shooting one child at a time. You in an act of desperation, tell him you will open the safe and give him all your money if he just leaves, he agrees, then you pull a gun out of the safe and shoot him. In your twisted little mind, are you a dis-honest person or justified in taking revenge on your attacker, someone who has done you harm?
You were blowing up my fucking shit, I negotiated with you to get you to stop blowing up my shit, you are NOT the rightious party in this situation, so get the fuck over yourself already!
The first email speaks, I think, for itself. The second one, since he asked me to address it here, I shall address.
VampireZIM entirely misconstrues and misunderstands the significance of his broken promise to me the night he first encountered Ironfleet. Although I am enormously entertained by the comparison of Ironfleet’s mighty Caracal fleet to an evil child-murdering home invader, I have no problem with the essential mechanics of the analogy. This is called situational ethics, and it’s highly pragmatic — the idea for people like VampireZIM is that you make the promises you need to make in order to get what you want, and then you break them as soon as you’ve gotten what you want.
Situational ethics are pragmatic, but they are not “honor” in any normal sense. Someone with situational ethics cannot be trusted, because they will break a promise whenever it is convenient. And that is why I “keep coming back” to my first encounter with VampireZIM. He speaks of honor, but he doesn’t practice it. And then he wonders why he cannot negotiate with Ironfleet. I think he’s genuinely confused about that part. Because he’s full of his own sense of self-justification, he doesn’t see that he’s forever destroyed his capacity to be believed.
Now, as it happens, I think “honor” tends to be pretty silly in an internet spaceship game. These modern-day would-be samurai who smack-talk anybody who won’t “come out and fight” are figures of derision for me; I see EVE as a very modern war of all against all. Picking your fights and arranging for uneven fights, avoiding the ones you aren’t sure to win, strikes me as the very essence of enlightened self-interest, and EVE is a game that rewards self-interest.
What is not silly, despite all pointless notions of honor, is a reputation for keeping your word and doing what you’ll say you’ll do. Even pirates, the good ones, try to develop a reputation for honoring their ransoms. In a game where many fun and interesting activities require trust, a reputation for situational ethics — for giving your word lightly and breaking it just as lightly — is a bad thing to have. And that’s the reputation VampireZIM has earned with Ironfleet. It makes negotiations between VampireZIM and Ironfleet virtually impossible — a fact he does not seem to grasp or comprehend.
I have never claimed to be the “righteous party” in Ironfleet’s dispute with VampireZIM. On the contrary, I’ve freely admitted that we did him an injury in the hope of financial gain. That’s what Ironfleet does, unless we’ve given our word not to. (I defy anybody to name an instance where Ironfleet has given a promise and not kept it, though. The closest case I can think of was when I accidentally podded Aktala at a time when she thought, wrongly but with good reason for thinking, that we had a no-podding agreement; and I resolved that by paying her the price she named for her implants.)
Nope, the only reason I keep mentioning VampireZIM’s infamous lie (and his repeated statements that he doesn’t feel bound by his promises to Ironfleet) is because he keeps going on about his honor. What he needs, and does not have, and now cannot get because of his repeated denunciations of the very idea, is a reputation for keeping his word.