On Militias and Awoxing
[Disclaimer: The views below are expressly the opinion of Schwigg, and are in no way representative of CSSYN or its leadership.]
One of my pet peeves is the overuse of certain words or phrases. Love. Hate. Good job. Awox.
What is awoxing, anyway? Let’s go back to the original awoxer: Awox. Though he varied the approach from time to time, Awox would insert a low-skilled alt into a hostile corp in nullsec. He would then use the alt to tackle someone friendly (read: blue) to that character. With the target pinned down, Awox (often with a friendly gang in tow) finished the target off himself.
This worked marvelously as long as you the awoxer are logged on, and not in station, as you cannot be kicked from the corp. That’s right. Logged in. Undocked. Couldn’t be kicked. I’m not sure which person at CCP thought that was a brilliant idea, but that’s the way the system worked. That means Awox’s alts could tackle blue, after blue, after blue without their CEO’s being able to do a blessed thing about it. As long as Awox managed to log his alt in after downtime before that character’s CEO or Director, and as long as he left them in space, the rampage could continue.
Of course, there were some “extreme” ways of handling the situation. The alliance could kick out the alt’s corp. Other corporations within the alliance (or coalition) could set that corporation to negative standings. Naturally that latter option only works if people are employing good overview settings. And all of the above requires :effort:, which people are commonly unwilling to expend to deal with the actions of one pilot.
Why do I bring any of this up? Because the word has begun flowing out of the mouths of Cal Mil members in an unending torrent. “These people are awoxers!” “No those people are awoxers!” “I’M an awoxer!” “He awoxed me!” “Set these people KOS, they awoxed.” Not only do I think the term is being overused, I will posit that it isn’t being used properly at all.
Let’s take a look at the specific definition of awoxing, and then apply it to the B2K conflict (the corp most recently labeled “Awoxers”). Awoxer: A character or corp that uses a spy with good standings to attack/kill people by holding them there long enough for their mains to arrive and finish the job. Now, has B2K engaged in this type of activity? Not that I have heard of. There haven’t been outcries against people being tackled by others in their corp, or in the militia, and B2K swooping in to finish them off. As a result, B2K does not fit the specific definition of awoxing.
But what about a more general definition? Blue-on-blue killing/spying/disbanding has become a more common, non-specific definition for awoxing. So in this case an axower is: A character or corp that shoots blues (read: allies). There’s a very simple problem that arises in applying the common definition to B2K…
…B2K has never been blue. Based off the default color scheme CCP uses, people in the same militia default to Purple. This is an important distinction. Corps/alliances have to intentionally set someone/a group to blue. This is a thoughtful action, one usually (but not always) reciprocated by the other party. It’s a statement of, “We’re best buds, committed to helping and aiding each other. BFF!”
Purples, on the other hand, they’re people you may/may not even know. They’re the neighborhood strangers that happen to live nearby. My wife and I moved into our current house in October. Half of those living around us are still strangers, despite the cordial waves as we pass each other on the road. These are the people in your militia (Purple). They aren’t your friends (Light Blue). They aren’t your allies (Dark Blue). You should consider them like any other stranger you meet in EVE: deranged psychopaths out to make your corpse just one more orbiting object in whatever solar system you’re in. So are B2K axowers in the non-specific sense? Nope. They’ve shot (and been shot at by) Purples, not Blues.
I’m not here to try and defend B2K. Nor am I saying they’re faultless in the current situation. What I’m instead saying is that CCP is to blame. With factional warfare and militias, CCP seems hell bent on teaching EVE players that you can trust other people. As soon as you join a militia, you have a shared chat channel and people marked on your overview with froo-froo Purple. It screams to the uninitiated, “Everything will be okay. These people are friiiiiiends. Work with them. They like you. You should like them too!”
As a ten year bittervet of EVE, I can tell you that there is one rule that should govern all of your interactions in-game: Trust no one. Other people in the militia aren’t your friends. They aren’t your allies. They are simply collections of people with a common enemy. You shouldn’t trust them. You should do your best to use them, avoid them, or destroy them, whichever is more applicable at the time. But never, ever believe that they have your well-being at heart.
To compound CCP’s lack of foresight in giving new pilots a misplaced feeling of inherent trust toward other militia pilots, there is a distinct inability to remove troublemakers from factional warfare. Going back to the original Awox, one of extreme solutions in those scenarios was to kick the offending corporation. With the corporation out of the alliance, the offending pilot(s) shows up differently in local. No little alliance star, deep in 0.0, typically means you’re the prey instead of the hunter. You can’t do that in the militia. Corps come and go as they please, rather than the militia pleases. They have all the access and convenience, with none of the accountability. This is a problem.
Similarly, there is no way to enforce resetting a corporation with negative standings. In a typical 0.0 alliance you follow the party line and reset the troublemakers “or else.” Fail to do so, you might find yourself on the outside looking in. Again, not possible in FW. I can’t enforce BORG’s standings. ATONEMENT can’t affect CSSYN’s. Thus while some parts of the militia might have B2K (as an example) set to negative standings, not everyone will. The State Protectorate as a whole cannot. Thus they see “friends firing on friends” and don’t know how to react.
So what have we concluded here in this massive wall of rambling text? Maybe a little. Maybe a lot. I’d like to posit:
- Awoxing as a general term should not be applied to militia-on-militia action. It doesn’t fit the specific or non-specific criteria of the definition. These people aren’t your allies. They aren’t your friends. They are strangers who should be treated as such.
- Per the above, B2K are not awoxers. They’re not the devil in disguise. They don’t sacrifice virgins on an altar. They’re people that want lots of targets, and the drama within the militia was the perfect excuse for increasing the number of people they can shoot at.
- CCP is responsible for much of the confusion/hurt feelings that arise within Militias. The FW feature treats people like they’re in an alliance (Purple + shared chat channels), without giving people any of accountability tools available to alliances.
- We should all stop shooting each other, and aim more of our guns at the Gallente.