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Greedy Goblin: “Welfare” isn’t an offensive word for recipients

May 30, 2014

After CCP announced that 50% of the paying players quit soon, 40% goes solo “leveling up their Raven” (and quit later) and only 10% gets involved in the sandbox, I suggested a quite obvious band-aid: let them level their Ravens much longer, by giving them PvP and jump-incapable highsec supercapitals. These ships would be bad choice as a tool for any job, but they would be an obvious “solo progression” goal, an “achievement” or “epic mount”.

The Goon propaganda brigade jumped into action, but not in the way I expected them. I expected them criticizing the ungankability of these ships, but probably even they realized that if the player quits, he can’t be ganked either. No, they came with the reasoning that such open disrespect of solo players would backfire on CCP, making them lose more players. Their point is that this would tell people “here, grind for a useless mining titan, you aren’t good for anything else” and they would get offended by this.

Sounds pretty true. However if it would be true, World of Warcraft and World of Tanks would be closed long ago. Both games give the bad players welfare. If you manage to fail a raid even on the easiest difficulty, you get a stacking buff for every wipe until you can kill it. You can also get “welfare epics” for trivial tasks, like killing enough random mobs or playing arena on 500 rating. In World of Tanks the matchmaking places you into a battle with near 50% win chance, regardless of your skill, so you’ll win half of your battles even if you are purposefully trolling. Yet the bad players don’t get offended by it.

There is more! “Welfare epics” isn’t a derogatory term used by “elite” players for the rewards available to lesser players. The term was used by devs on Blizzcon (the Fanfest of WoW) and this is the official term for it. The WoT matchmaking algorithm is patented, making it open what I called “cheat”. Mechwarrior Online openly uses ELO rating system without showing the rating, so playing bad has absolutely no difference from playing good. And yet the bad players aren’t offended. Good players are and these games are avoided by them, giving WoW its bad name.

But the crown jewel is yet to come: “welfare” isn’t a derogatory term in real life, despite we live in a world where you can get heat for calling your own team “Redskins”. Some extremists even consider “black coffee” racist. Yet “welfare” isn’t renamed to “rightful rewards for people who live for fun”, and yet no one got offended by it. Welfare recipients don’t consider it a shameful thing.

My point is that while you would be offended if a game developer would tell “you suck, but take some fake rewards for your lowly performance”, this cannot be generalized. You want to not suck, you want to win, so you want a game that gives clear and obvious feedback to your performance. Realizing that you got welfare epics would make you mad because it shows that the developer considers you incapable of improving.

The morons and slackers on the other hand don’t want to improve and see absolutely no problem with them being useless. They actually don’t see why should they be any useful. Their purpose isn’t to create or reach something but to “have fun”. A real life welfare recipient is fully aware that he isn’t doing anything but he still feel entitled for various things from the society. If he doesn’t get “enough” he goes and steal them. The point isn’t that they are leeches, the point is that they don’t find it a problem or a source of shame.

Socials don’t want to look useless, but they don’t value being good in something either. They believe that you must make an effort, but it’s not a problem if your efforts are futile. When Keynes suggested “The government should pay people to dig holes in the ground and then fill them up.”, there were no protests despite the obvious futility of the task. “You sound like Keynes” isn’t an insult. Recently the Hungarian government started a huge social employment program, employing 10% of the workforce in rather pointless tasks. The liberals thinkers were outraged by this and considered it a violation of the dignity of the ones made to participate. The government got re-elected with record numbers and their support among such “workers” were 80%+ according to the opinion surveys. They praised the government for creating jobs. Social people love the completely pointless “dig holes and fill them” jobs, exactly because you can’t fail in them.

The very idea that your work should be any useful is “being capitalist”. The worker is paid for his hours, it’s the business owner whose income depends on the results. If a shop sells nothing for a year, the owner gets bankrupt, the shopkeepers get their “well earned” salary.

CCP can safely introduce rewards for pointless grinding, the social players will love it and it’ll greatly increase their subscriber count. The only thing they have to be careful with is that these rewards must not be useful in PvP or competitive in ISK making, or they turn EVE into space-WoW and drive their current subscribers away. “Being WoW” means “sub-par performance gives competitive rewars”. I don’t suggest that. What I suggest is “sub-par performance should give sub-par rewards” instead of the current “you can’t get anything for sub-par performance” which drive the M&S and socials away, unless they are in a space-communist group where others carry them in turn of their occasional F1 pushing. F1 pushing is a perfect job for socials: easy, you are with “friends” and you aren’t responsible for the outcome (the FC is).

– Gevlon Goblin

If you would like to read more Gevlon Goblin articles, we invite you to visits his Greedy Goblin blog.

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