What is risk aversion? Calling people ‘risk averse’ is quite common in EVE Online, usually associated with people who do not dare to fight, or do fight but on the undock with backup close at hand. But are these people actually what we say they are?
In general, people take larger risks the larger the benefit or reward is to them if the consequences are avoided or mitigated in some way. Risk = Reward, we’ve all heard it before. If someone is unwilling to take risks, this means they’re giving up the potential rewards, and have acknowledged that they’ve lost those potential gains but are still unwilling to take the risk.
So a player who sees a fight coming, sees no potential gains in the fight, and warps off when the danger gets close in the spirit of self-preservation, is not risk averse. They saw NO rewards in staying to fight, and did not acknowledge that anything was lost from the fight. They warp off and keep their ship (as good a motivator as any), and no fight occurs.
How about those annoying bastards playing station games and wardeccing every newbie corporation out there for the sole purpose of killing people? Are they risk averse, by not taking their abilities and equipment into low-sec where they could be utilised with more freedom and purpose, other than welcoming new players to New Eden with fire and pain? Well, maybe. We’ve got to know whether they see the benefits of living in low-sec. Whether they see any potential gains from leaving what they’re doing, and engaging in the more dangerous alternative. That is, do they see rewards elsewhere, and are they avoiding them because of the risks associated with the rewards? If not, they aren’t risk averse.
Comments are welcome to break down my logic and find any flaws, but that’s how I see it, anyway. Of course, this is from the point of view of the people who others call risk averse. A little bit of empathy, if you will.
Lets consider people who are supposedly risk-takers. These are the guys who see potentially great rewards in taking fights, and the risk of dieing in a fire horribly and having your crew vaporised whilst you’re sitting safely in a pod (whoa, whoa, I did NOT just go there), losing your ship and mods and even (god forbid) that implanted clone is worth it, because if it all goes okay, the thrill of the hunt and the climatic combat it yields leaves you buzzing all the way through the day, and if it’s night you probably aren’t going to sleep for a while. That’s how it is for me, anyway.
So we’re simply calling others cowards because we believe that since they just denied us the possible kick we get from PvP, they were just too scared to fight for that rush too, when in fact they don’t see it like that at all. It’s potential death, versus guaranteed survival. They see nothing that could be gained from the former, whereas keeping their ship means they live another day to fly around. Hell, maybe some pilots actually care about their crews.
Anyway, that was me on that topic. Not really mind-blowing, I agree. But this lets me make a ridiculous conclusion: because the guys who DO see great fun in PvP are the only ones who are ‘taking risks’, in the sense that taking risks requires you to see potential gain from it, then when we avoid fights, WE are being risk averse. Hypocrites, the lot of us. What do you know.