Posted Tue, Aug 30, 2011 by The Mittani
Authority - and the hierarchies which accrete around it - are so problematic in modern society that they are intellectually repellent to most people. Yet unlike the reluctant victims of Milgram’s experiments, the exercise of authority in nullsec attracts recruits in New Eden en masse, perhaps because it promotes a sense of group belonging so quickly. These structures are by nature violent, constantly seeking outgroups to demonize or consume. With no laws, mechanics or regulations in the sandbox to act as a mediating force like in other games, the scope and vehemence of conflict between player societies in EVE rapidly erodes any confidence in quaint enlightenment values such as liberty and free will.
If these ideals were truly close to our hearts, EVE would look much more like the visions of the Star Fraction, a tiny roleplaying group who have achieved mild notoriety for writing lengthy expositions on their anarchist ideology. Their argument is simple enough: people who cannot die that can travel at light speed in fantastic starships don’t need to squabble over territories or obey feudal-style pecking orders. If there ever was a place where “No Gods, No Masters” should catch on, it’s a place like New Eden. Instead, fear and conformity rules the outer galaxy; the players choose Stalin over Bakunin every time, and have done so consistently since the servers opened.
One of the most disturbing comics I’ve encountered suggests that Huxley’s dystopia is far more real than Orwell’s. Yet the worrying lesson of EVE is that both may be correct. Not only might we devolve into the reckless and coddled ignorance of Brave New World in hisec, many of us in nullsec have already gleefully opted for 1984.