Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Ethics Of Can Flipping

I've seen and heard a couple people in the last few days give disparaging remarks about can flippers, along the lines of "those griefing losers who can't do anything better but try and get ganks on miners in high sec". For example:
So in my home system we have a corp of griefers/can flippers who are fairly active with it. Ion Heavy has lost at least one ship to an over eager pilot taking the bait. This corp (The Unit) seems to enjoy can flipping and view it as a valid profession within EVE. This is a debatable topic, but I personally find it to be a lame cop out that shows you don’t have the ability to achieve anything else.
Well, I've done a little can flipping back in the day and I've flown with people who did it a lot more than I did. While I don't think it is the most honourable of activities, I think you are very closed minded if you pass the people off who do it so quickly.

Its a form of hunting. Just like hunters who get in their camouflaged blinds with high powered rifles are hunting relatively defenseless deer whose only protection is paranoia and speed, a can flipper patrols the belts of high sec looking for the "deer" who are not paranoid and fast enough.

Will the miner bite and fire or sick his drones on me? Will he warp out and come back to fight? Does he have buddies in his corp nearby, awaiting cloaked in a Stealth Bomber? Its a game of patience and daring and sometimes you are rewarded with simply nothing but some ore that you nick from a can; other times you can get into a battle with two or three accomplished combat pilots. You roll the dice and hope for sevens instead of snake eyes.

The sad part is that there are so many ways that a miner can avoid can flippers.
- Anchored cans, while smaller, are password secured.
- Mine with a friend in a hauler... or an Orca.
- Mine in a quiet out of the way system.

And most of all if someone does steal your ore from a jet can, ignore them! Let them have a bit of ore but don't give them the pleasure of a fight and/or kill. Or setup a trap with corp mates.

But whatever you do, don't write them off as incapable losers. That simply says more about your inabilities than theirs.


  1. Erm.... isn't EVE supposed to be all about screwing your neighbor? Just saying.....

  2. Umm, no. Eve is about playing a game, one where there are multiple ways to enjoy the game. There are also conflicts between those ways, and people have to deal with those conflicts. Imo, can-flipping is lame, but if it turns someone's crank, then since there are counters available in game to this tactic, then it's valid.
    Can flipping is a form of competition in the game. Can flipping, gate camping, piracy, 0.0 sovereignty wars, empire wars, etc etc etc are all ways people compete in the game. Can flipping, among others, tends to force those who don't want competition (or a least that kind of competition) into it. Like lots of other games, you can force your opponent to meet you on your terms, to your advantage. Same thing here.

    Eve allows you to screw your neighbour if you want to (there are limits), but I don't agree it's all about screwing your neighbour. Facing him/her and defeating him/her, yes, but there are lots of ways to do that that aren't screwing them.

  3. Anonymous2:04 am

    As someone who used to to do a lot of mining, being flipped once in a while is never something to get irate about. If the flipper is then going to sit beside me for 15 minutes desperately hoping I am going to act on the aggression timer, well, their time wasted not mine. The chances are in that 15 minutes I will have mined a good deal more than ore lost unless I had done something really stupid.

    Though Kirith, considering how many flippers appear to write miners off as incapable losers (in local and on forums) perhaps it is hardly surprising that in many quarters the feeling is mutual.

  4. Liked the post, so I had to write my own blog post in response. I linked it to your post of course :)

  5. The ironic thing is that can-flipping is an artificial mechanic added at the request of miners a few years back. Originally anything jettisoned from your ship was free for anyone to take, so ore was being nicked all the time. Then the miners whined and got it so the contents of the jetcan are considered "owned" by the jettisoning ship, hence opening the way for jet can stealers to get kills when the miners react. Not to mention the bait and switch can method of getting miners.

  6. Anonymous11:39 am

    Given that using a jetcan itself to mine is a sort of accepted exploit, I'm not sure miners can complain all that much.

    Still, can flipping is not a highly regarded profession - even in my pretty good natured alliance, its an unspoken rule that active can flippers are podded and previous can flippers are KOS...

  7. It's funny. I remember being can-flipped, bait-and-switched, or something a while back, and the can flipper/pirate ended up ransoming my ship. He was so helpful though in pointing out my mistakes I actually paid him above and beyond the ransom.

    But if I'd had the means to fight him and pod him .. then by all means, kill the can-flipper!

  8. I think an important point to make is that not all can-flippers are alike. You may consider it to be hunting, a sport, but I don't believe that is the case for all can-flippers.

    The one time it happened to me I was in as high-sec space as I could get, in an Osprey and, perhaps most significantly, in a default corporation. It's not like anyone was going to rally around me or that I was perhaps an elite PvP pilot taking a break mining, so the can-flipper in this case was simply poking a newbie for an easy kill, no risk involved.

    There is nothing wrong with picking a fight in EVE Online, but it is hardly honourable or respectful to pick on players who may not understand the game mechanics, even under the flimsy guise of teaching them a harsh lesson.

  9. Anonymous7:10 am

    I agee with PJ harvey most of the time these can flippers are after the low hanging fruit. The newest players of the game are overwhelmed with info and new things to learn and these poor sots are the ones i feel a bit of pity for.

  10. Even before I mined for the first time I knew about the dangers of mining into a can. Never the less that hasn't really discouraged me from doing it with predictable results. I really can't bother my corp mates into setting a trap for these scumbags because it so rarely ever happens to me that I've learned to accept it. Besides - as a carebear you really get to fly your moralfag flag after such an event :D
    Accept the game for all it's liberties - including getting fucked over.
    Carebear miner out