Previously, I wrote an editorial defending non-consensual wardecs against some of the new criticisms being leveled by members of the CSM and CCP. Another regular contributor to this website, Hilmar Keller, wrote a response, questioning the value of non-consensual wardecs. Hilmar's argument against wardecs culminated with this question:
"The attacker has many advantages, but most prominently, the attacker wants to fight. It's hard to call a lynching a fair fight, but James does it in so many words. So if I had one question for James315 — one that I hope he might answer without his typical self-congratulatory, messiah-complexed rhetoric — it would be this: Why do you so badly want to fight those who so badly do not want to fight you?"
I won't make any promises about my rhetoric, but I will answer the question. It's an important question, because although it may be simple on the surface, it cuts right to the core of EVE. What's so great about non-consensual PvP?
The question is almost exclusively raised in the context of highsec, even though non-consensual PvP occurs throughout the EVE galaxy. Before we tackle highsec, let's consider why it is that people only care about protecting non-combatants in highsec. For example, Hilmar offered the following suggestion to people who don't like highsec carebears:
"Do you want to be rid of carebears? Move to low-sec. You can shoot them whenever you want. Or null-sec, or W-space, or hell, go outside."
Putting aside the cryptic reference to the great outdoors, the invitation to go to lowsec, nullsec, or w-space is one that I receive often. Anyone who engages in PvP in highsec is bound to hear their "victims" complain that PvP'ers belong elsewhere. It's true that highsec carebears are generally incapable of — or uninterested in — fighting back. But this is also true of many people who live outside of highsec. Those who mine in lowsec and nullsec are no more eager to get shot at. People who are busy PvE'ing to make money do not wish to engage in PvP, regardless of where they are in the EVE galaxy. The frequent complaint, "Why don't you shoot something that can shoot back?" can be made anywhere.
Nullsec miners know not to whine to CCP when their ships get blown up. Most people recognize that by entering lowsec or nullsec, they are accepting the attendant risks. PvE'ing in highsec, too, carries a certain level of risk, even if it's much lower. Yet highsec players are not assumed to have accepted that risk. What makes highsec so special? It comes down to a carebear culture that's spreading across EVE. This culture says that risks outside of highsec should be accepted, but risks inside highsec should be removed.
Many scoff at the idea of a risk-free theme park in highsec. I think people tend to underestimate how easy it is to fall into the theme park trap. Consider whether you agree with the following statement: "People who have no interest in PvP and who just want to make money in highsec should be left alone." If they are left alone, then who is going to kill them? And if they can't be killed, where is the risk? Voilà, a risk-free theme park. The cold, harsh logic can't be denied: If we don't want highsec to be risk-free, then we need someone to provide the risk. These people are not "griefers", they are risk creators. And for the most part, they're wardeccers.
Having accepted that highsec needs risk, the question becomes, who would want to be That Guy who shoots at defenseless highsec carebears? Everyone agrees that it's perfectly fine to shoot at defenseless lowsec or nullsec PvE'ers, of course. But PvE'ers in highsec? They're the weakest of the weak, so surely only the most sadistic griefers in the game would want to pick on them. Right?