Sunday, February 10, 2008

Put the smackdown on smacktalk

Short version: Don't do it.

Long version: What are people trying to accomplish when they smack on local radio frequencies? It seems that in any encounter--win, lose, or draw--I must put up with smacktalk from my victim, killer, or target.

When I kill someone, I am frequently warned not to do it again. People assure me I just got lucky; normally (if they weren't targeting an asteroid, for instance, or if they'd been ratting in their Vagabond) I wouldn't have stood a chance. Furthermore, it seems I have an uncanny habit of killing people from large, powerful corporations and/or alliances; no doubt the only reason I'm alive to write this is I am too insignificant for them to waste their time on. Others eschew the threats, being content to educate me as to my character: a** this, f** that, and sometimes of distasteful ancestry. I guess these people are trying to save a little of their dignity. Little do they realize that their most entertaining comebacks end up being tacked on the bulletin board of our corp wardroom.

Lately, I've even been smacked several times for failed ransom attempts. On one occasion I had to endure a lecture on how I should have reminded my target that he may be wearing implants--this after he scorned my quite reasonable ransom offer, insulted me, and dubbed me with offensive profane names. Another time I did take the time to raise such issues; my target offered me 500k ISK instead of the 10M I'd demanded, then later told me I should "suggest" an amount. Because he suffered from poor reading comprehension, I was once again reviled and cursed. One other target even chewed me out for not asking for a ransom--that Brutix pilot, who according to his public records had only been piloting for a week, informed me he was immensely wealthy and would have paid me several times the value of his ship to protect his rare implants.

When I die, I must endure some smug goading. If my Thorax was just killed by 2 Dominices, a Typhoon, 3 Ravens, a Brutix, a Vagabond, and a Drake at a gatecamp, I get a pithy lesson on traveling in lowsec. If my Incursus is interrupted in its efforts to kill a Merlin at an asteroid belt by an Astarte and Hurricane duo who show up on the scene, I'm fed comments that assume I thought I was god's answer to belt trash and invited to admire the chest size of my manly betters. If I gallantly charge into a mining party of several cruisers and frigates all by myself, I'm told to count how many are my enemy before leaping into action next time. Once, I attacked a ship named "Bait" at an asteroid belt, only to find out he was bait for a trap. Chagrined, I joked that next time he should name his ship "Bait" or something. My killers pointed out with derision that I should have looked at the ship's name--it already was "Bait." The irony lost on them, they didn't see the humor even when I tried to explain. I guess that's why momma always told me not to explain jokes.

And then there are the times when I neither win nor lose. Alone in a frigate, I cautiously approach a ratting battlecruiser; by the time I judge I can take him and kick in my microwarpdrive, he manages to escape--but not without a smirky smiley and a "Not fast enough!" on the local public communication channel. If I test a Punisher or a Drake, find I can't break his tank, then disengage and go my way, my "gf" is answered with crowing and chest-beating, as though the cows who just sat their in their cookie-cutter setups had pulled a major coup. And if I warp to several belts, moons, and planets before realizing my quarry is at a safe spot in space, he's likely to speak up with some insufferable quip about the low value of my time.

Of course, my own civility prevents me from using the vocabulary of typical smacktalk. Suffice it to say that I have received an education, and have had opportunity to ponder situations, portions of anatomy, and modes of death I find quite distasteful and would have preferred not envisioning. In the end, however, the meaning is that pirates are bad; surprise, surprise. (I must comment here, to my former Caldari masters, that at least pirates are open about their character, and do not hide behind government protection.)

For myself, I don't talk smack, and I don't like flying with other pilots who do. My actions speak for themselves--win, lose, or draw. No "spin" I can put on a violent action in cold space will change the ISK looted or lost. My mistakes are my mistakes, your decisions yours, and I seek the truth about each. Many true combat pilots share this code (while others who talk smack are no less true). Out of mutual respect come friendships, alliances, rewarding rivalries, and knowledge. Out of smacktalk come revenge, griefing, disrespect, and yellowing slips of paper on the wardroom bulletin board.

My Vexor was being killed slowly by a fast-orbiting interceptor. As my cruiser lost integrity and morphed into twisted tendrils of scrap metal I broadcast a simple "gf." After I escaped in my capsule, the interceptor pilot and I discussed the action with civility and courtesy. He did not offer to "make it up" to me--he was the victor and the spoils were his. I did not ask for mercy or quarter. But in the end, I was invited to join a new corporation.

1 comment:

Hexapuma said...

A senior executive once told me before an important series of meetings. "If you feel the need to say something - Swallow it. Sleep on it and if it still needs to be said the next day, mail me."

During PVP engagements some people loose their cool, and when they do loose it they get all emotinal about it and it spills out into the local channels.

I don't smack talk but I have to bite down my tongue to manage ^^