This is a collection of short in-character fiction pieces about Awakened Industries, a group of capsuleers and their crews living in the enigmatic and dangerous regions of Wormhole Space in EVE Online. None of the protagonists are actual characters or corporations in-game. All similarities with persons fictional or real are possibly coincidental and only sometimes intentional. - Emergent Patroller

For an introduction to this blog refer to this link. You may also want to check out the guide for new readers

: The stories on this blog contain mature themes involving sexuality and violence and are not suitable for minors or sensitive people.

18 Mar 2014

Blog Banter 54 - The Definition of a Hero

I have not written anything here in quite some time, and my latest story is still stuck at the cliffhanger before the final confrontation. But rejoice! There is a Blog Banter to contribute to. Here is the premise:

Do classic heroes exist in EVE? Is such heroism even possible in EVE? How would you go about being one without opening yourself wide open to scams? Is the nature of the game so dark that heroes can't exist? How do you deal with that irony? What effect does this have on us and the psyche of new players coming in from other MMOs? Is it something special that we don't have classic heroes, or should we? Are our non classic heroes more genuine?

And I would add to this, who have we elevated to the level of larger than life heroes ourselves in the game, and do they actually deserve it?

Do you know what the definition of a hero is? Someone who gets other people killed. - Zoe, Serenity

Drackarn at Sand, Cider and Spaceships argues that there are no heroes in EVE. Capsuleers are all mass murderers and even the best among them have countless deaths to account for. At first glance he is not wrong. Clearly New Eden is a world of Black and Gray morality. In such a world, heroes are not necessarily nice people, though. As a matter of fact, the idea that heroes are morally impeccable, or even always doing the right thing, is not one that has always applied.

Quite fittingly for my argument, the question asked in the Blog Banter itself refers to the concept of the Classic Hero. Many of those were actually tragic figures doomed to untimely deaths and bound to cause tragedy and despair despite - or sometimes because of - doing heroic things: Oedipus unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother who commits suicide upon realizing what had happened. He gouges his own eyes out.
Heracles kills his own children in a fit of madness and in another similar episode murders a whole royal family when the King breaks his promise to let Heracles wed his daughter. The guy also commits quite a few scams to achieve his famous twelve labours ... basically he's gaming the system in a very EVE-like way.
Odysseus - upon his return from Troy - slaughters all the suitors of his wife who have taken residence in his house, and then he has all the female servants who slept with any one of them hanged.
Jason scams the king of Colchis and runs off with the Golden Fleece and the king's daughter, whom he betrays later to marry another woman for political gain. Speaking of that daughter, Medea: She helps Jason betray her father, kills her own brother to cover their escape and tricks the daughters of a king to cut their father to pieces. To round it all off she kills the girl that Jason marries instead of her and also the two children she had with Jason.

The list of examples like that could go on to cover almost all the heroes of classical Greek myth. Things were not so black-and-white at all in those stories.

Looking at it from that position, New Eden definitely has it's heroes. The Mittani is a hero for Goonswarm. He was instrumental in bringing down their arch enemy and then in the buildup of the largest and most prosperous empire currently in existence. Elo Knight is a hero because he tirelessly leads Black Legion's fleets to victory after victory, often against superiour forces. The same can be said for the great FCs of Pandemic Legion and NC. Makalu Zarya once was a hero who lead Against All Authorities in an epic but doomed defense of their homeland. In classic hero fashion he then abandoned them after a bitter failure. Progodlegend was there for the same heroic defense that Nulli Secunda lost, just like -A-, and he remained a leader throughout the time that Nulli Secunda rebuilt and returned to be a major power in nullsec again, leading up to the largest fight ever in gaming history.

... and then there is Chribba, but Chribba is not a hero, he is a saint. See the difference?

Indeed, New Eden's player-generated narrative is full of heroes in the classical sense. Heroes with all their dark sides, their tragedies and failings who do indeed get people killed. It doesn't even have to be those larger-than-life alliance leaders and fleet commanders. The wormhole pilot who collapses a hole at the loss of her own ship to lock out part of an invading force. The Interdictor pilots who know that they will be primaried but make sure that the rest of the fleet can beat a bubbled enemy. The logistics people who keep large alliances alive risking their immensely expensive jump freighters on a regular basis. All of them are heroes in the sense of the classical definition.

Heroic deeds just usually do involve lots of bloodshed and tragedy as well.

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