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Seriously? PvP not optional?

Doc, the vast majority of EVE players are as loss-averse as everyone else (high-sec to non-high-sec population is what, 5 to 1?). Those who initiate PvP are a tiny minority of the overall player-base. The key distinction of the Libertarian Dystopia that is EVE is that there are no social repercussions for toxic behavior. Sure, ganking in high-sec causes limited economic repercussions (and gate guns to add a tiny bit more challenge to gate camping), but those are easily overcome. And even though the River Kingdoms as described in Pathfinder source material are effectively EVE null-sec (warring fiefdoms, no laws save a few loose tenants, rudimentary trade, etc.), Ryan, and GoblinWorks, seem to be intently focused on ensuring PFO is decidedly not that.
But before they do that, they need to implement the other pvp mechanics.
Loss averse is a good term.

I'm loss-averse, so I adjust my tactics and level of play to avoid loss.

That's very different from:

I'm loss averse, and I don't like losing stuff so people shouldn't be able to take my stuff.

But generally, I get what you're saying.

One of the main problems here, like I said, is that GW invited a lot of PvP-avoidant people into a game where you can't really avoid PvP. They also invited a lot of people who like PvP. There is no high-sec, realistically. I'm not really sure if that is going to work with all of these non-PvP people. I seriously don't believe the "stick" is going to be sufficient to stop non-consensual PvP. So what do you do?
Ryan Dancey
So here's my perspective.

Several weeks ago the complaint was "nobody will PvP because the reputation penalties are too harsh". And lo, there was not very much PvP.

Then we made a change to make the rep penalty system a bit more lenient, iterated on that a couple of times through Crowdforging and ended up with what seemed a reasonable compromise.

Then the complaint was "nobody will PvP because there are no targets". And lo, there was not very much PvP.

And I said: "Why aren't you camping out in the places where you think there will be vulnerable targets to attack and ambushing them like real bandits?" And lo, there is now PvP.

So to my friends who are now the targets of bandits who have decided to play like bandits, I say: "Act like the world is a dangerous place and you have big bullseyes painted on your characters."

Scout: Send someone without vulnerable inventory through dangerous territory to see if they draw bandits or are ambushed. If they do, don't go there.

Run Silent: Don't chatter on in-game chat about what you're doing, where you are, and what you are carrying. There are lots of free/very low cost communication options. Use them.

Don't fight if you can't win: This tip has several subtips.

A: Offer a deal. Tell your attackers you'll give them half of your inventory if they let you live. They know they'll lose 25% no matter what if they kill you. Plus take a rep hit. Plus get flagged. Both sides take a risk - you take the risk that they kill you anyway after you hand over the ransom. They take the risk that you're lying about what you have in inventory and you'll short change them. Believe it or not, even in such a low-information situation deals can still be struck. Coin can always lubricate such a transaction. By the way, people who break or welsh on these kinds of deals get marked as untrustworthy, basically forever. Prisoner's Dilemma, anyone?

B: If you're not good at PvP, don't PvP. People acting as sophisticated ambushing bandits know what they are doing and are likely to be very good at killing characters. If you don't have overwhelming numbers, or have spent a LOT of time practicing your tactics as a group, trying to "Fight back" will just get you killed and the bandits get more loot. Swallow your pride and don't engage.

C: If you feel "trapped" in a hex, send everyone off in a random direction and at full speed. The bandits can only ambush one of you. Pre-arrange a place to meet after you get out of the dangerous area.

D: Call for help. Get on the forums and soon General Chat and ask for assistance. It may cost you something. Guards aren't free.

Here's my biggest piece of advice:

Small Settlements are not designed to be viable. There are a dozen large, complex Settlements that have matured to the point where they have established security and overwatch of some territory. You need to think seriously about joining those Settlements until such time as you have learned enough to be good enough to try and make a stand as a small group. I am virtually certain that if you asked one of those Settlements if you could join as a Company and keep your internal cohesion, they'd be happy to take you as a unit. It's a win/win for them.

You will have more fun. You will feel more secure. You will get taught important things you need to know.
Well said, Ryan.
I kinda feel like that post should be made into a small PDF like the combat/new player guide, and linked too in big bold letters on the Launcher.
Ryan, I completely agree with everything you say and don't want anyone to think I'm arguing that anything should be done to make small Settlements more viable than they are. I'm also not trying to side with the folks who expected no PvP.

The only thing I would remotely call a complaint - and I really wouldn't because I have accepted that the game will be under development for years before we see anything like full-featured systems - is that the consequences for random player killing - that negative feedback loop doesn't have any teeth yet.

I'm going to do whatever I can to use the systems available to impose my own costs.
Nihimon murmurs in sheer ecstasy as the magic courses through his veins
You keep saying that it doesn't have teeth yet, and we keep telling you your misinforming people The majority of the PVP that happened was in a PVP open hex so our rep WOULDN'T go down. That means we don't want to deal with low rep, so it clearly has enough teeth.. And I'm the only one who really tanked my rep, and I'm paying for it dearly.
Ryan Dancey
Yeah, the rep hits clearly mattered at some point because people seemed to opt out of PvP unless they could do it without Rep penalties. It's possible we've overshot the mark back the other way (and that doesn't surprise me too much since I expect that the ideal value will change all the time anyway.)

But what I heard about from players today via was not what I would call "griefing". Characters carrying valuable stuff to a vulnerable location without taking precautions got ambushed. They attempted to retaliate and got whacked en masse. That lead to a bunch of folks deciding that the PvP was not fun and deciding to suspend playing the game.

None of our currently designed feedback mechanisms would have suppressed those bandits, but the bounty system would at least have made them interesting targets after the fact.
The OP has a point about the current state and direction of the game. Regardless of stated intentions we are heading towards a game which is far more dangerous than EVE which at least has hisec, SOV renter space and the ability to dock up or AFK cloak in any system anytime.

Now clearly it has been crowdforged that way and it may well be a GOOD thing for the game that it is evolving to be more hardcore PvP than EVE- but it is also not what was advertised in the early stages.

Renter space is nothing but extortion/tribute.

I haven't heard a single word yet of anyone actually offering tribute for protection or PvP exemption. Not saying it hasn't happened, just that if it has it has escaped my attention and I imagine my mates would have brought it to my attention.
He who wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.
-Edmund Burke
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