Ever since Eve was launched, there have been people who feel they have been violated by other players and the game mechanics they use. Usually, people will contain their frustration, but occasionally some will let others know of their anger. Thus, tears are born.
Considered to be a valued commodity by those of many different play styles, 'tears' are generally defined to be the thoughts and comments of an angry player. They come from all corners of space, producing a wide range of insults depending on how the player has been displeased. A nullbear in Providence may be enraged by the presence of an AFK cloaker in a system. When he tells the AFK cloaker his feelings about this interruption to his play style in an aggressive manner, tears are created. A member of Test who recently lost a jump freighter may be riled by CFC members spamming 'nomad pls' in local. He tells them what he really thinks about their coalition - tears are generated.
Tears can have a surprisingly powerful effect. They are perhaps valued most for their entertainment value, and many people will go out of their way to try to obtain the maximum amount of hatred possible. James 315's infamous site is a prime example of the recreational value of tears, relaying the emotional feelings of miners that have been - in their opinion - griefed by other players. The influence they can have is not to be underestimated however; it's believed that many changes affecting highsec in the past couple of years have been brought about by the dissatisfaction miners and other highsec dwellers have experienced. But why don't their counterparts cry?
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MINDSET
Many highsec dwellers believe they are entitled to a risk-free game, a land where they can escape the troubles of real life and relax. Unfortunately, Eve is not the best game for this. Once they discover the peace and tranquility of their own world never actually existed in the first place, they whine to their foes. The person who delivered the space-pixel wound will not despair if he meets the same fate as the mission runner or miner he has just attacked; he understands that, due to the nature of Eve, his ship will eventually expire, and takes steps to prevent the damage this will cause him.
Similarly, a nullsec ratter may believe he deserves a risk-free game as well; after all, he is in his alliance's space where he should be protected. Using local chat, he is able to monitor the system to detect if he is in danger. When this measure fails thanks to the planning and skill of his attackers, he blames anyone and everyone he can, occasionally petitioning CCP. He's promptly laughed at, even by his own alliance members, and told to man the fuck up. So why do people still do it?
A CRAVING FOR ATTENTION
When a toddler is hurt, they cry for attention from their mothers. When a carebear is ganked, they cry for attention from their kin and CCP. "Why should I be victimised in this safe zone for having a different play style? These people must be griefing 10 year olds and CCP needs to stop them" are common thoughts highsec dwellers seem to experience after being exploded. Whether they died because they were mining in a Gallente icebelt in Autumn 2011 or because they were autopiloting a Badger with ten PLEX in its cargohold, the need for support draws them to complain.
More rational players will realise that they're only digging a hole by venting their frustration in local chat. Instead of advertising their tears to the whole system, and in extreme cases the wider Eve community, they will find another way to release their anger. Whatever method they choose is nearly always better, and is less likely to result in the owner of the tears being repeatedly tormented. They may think they are gaining respect with others of their kind, but in reality they are just making a fool of themselves and losing their pride and dignity - if they had any in the first place.
WHY DOES IT HURT US PRECIOUS?
People assault tear producers for a variety of reasons. Occasionally they may hurt their feelings by accident. For example a miner may be offended when the Orca next to him is called a 'pestilent cancer', and he will try to defend the Orca pilot while appearing enraged. Other times tears are a produced as a by-product. The main reward for a lowsec pirate attacking an out of place Skiff may be a killmail, but if the Skiff pilot is unprepared for his loss he will be most displeased. This displeasure normally leads to anger, which may in turn lead to tears.
In the case of the first Gallente Ice Interdiction, the ultimate goal was not to annoy carebears but to increase isotope prices. The logical solution for miners, to move out of the ice belts, would have resulted in very few tears being produced. However the miners will most likely stay in the region, either because they were not aware there was an ice interdiction happening or because 'fuck g00ns'. Thanks to this, the CFC line members, the eager spectators and Goonswarm's finance division all achieved their goals.
Scamming is another activity that can induce physiological distress. Due to the nature of people who fall for isk doubling scams, their tears are likely to be slightly different to those that are produced by carebears and nullbears. Petitioning is generally more common, along with evemailed comments such as "I am petitioning CCP, enjoy your ban. We are not tolerating scammers in Eve Online."
Of course none of this would be relevant if people didn't find tears funny, but thankfully they do. A large proportion of Eve's population will have a good chuckle at some tears. Perhaps it's the ridiculous insults they covey, or maybe the sheer hatred that flows through their words that people enjoy. Whatever it is, it's not likely to be the carebear's theory of 'enjoyers' being "12 year olds who get bullied irl so tey hve 2 take it out in eve on peaceful people".
A NATURAL CYCLE
Tears are produced every day in Eve. Concentrations of tears can appear at different times of the year, corresponding with different events such nullsec wars, Burn Jitas, ice interdictions, and Hulkageddons. These events can involve concentrated losses of isk, assets, and reputation, depending on the nature of the occasion. During these episodes of excitement, some of the most inventive and original tears are forged. Who would've thought that someone would post a thread in General Discussion which contained a letter to CCP stating a basic message of 'I'm quiting because of gewns' spread out over several paragraphs thanks to Burn Jita 2. I'm sure very few people saw that coming.
The Caldari Ice Interdiction, which starts later this month, will be a great opportunity to see some tears being made. Expect general 'y did u fcking gank me kids' tears and 'gewns ruin game' tears, as well as interesting new varieties of tears. Towards the end of the event, look out for "you killed my hulk 8 times, and I even put a tank on it by the 5th time!" Don't be afraid to evemail or even start a conversation with a person like this; you may find it a fountain of merriment.
Next time you see some tears, don't just laugh at them and move on. Analyse the tear, examine the tear, scrutinise the tear. Think of the action that caused to tear to be made, and speculate the reason why the owner of the tears is releasing them to the world. Then thank the crier. Thank him for his contribution to the Eve community.