4. EVE Online

If EVE Online did not exist, somebody would have to create it just to give the MMO blogsphere a focus.  It is the horn of plenty for MMO bloggers, whether you like the game or not.

First, there is the legendary learning curve.  EVE Online is hard and dispenses information like a miser parts with loose change.

The oft mentioned EVE learning curve

There is a tutorial, which teaches you the basics of the game the way pre-school teaches you everything you need to know about international patent law.  It seems like you learn a lot, then it kicks you out into the “real” game and you find that you know very little indeed.  This frustrates many people.

Then there is the fact that it is what is known as a “sand box” game.  There is no story to follow, no final objective laid out for you.  You have to figure out what you want to do.  This also frustrates many people.

Third, the game is avowedly biased towards player versus player interaction… which essentially means that everybody is potentially your enemy.  And you’ve been thrown into the game untrained and have no idea what the point it.  So the first person who offers to help you will undoubtedly really be trying to scam you.  This frustrates a lot of people.

And then there are the pirates.  And the suicide gankers.  And the can flippers.  And Hulkageddon, where bored players get together and try to kill other players who are just minding their own business.  And it happens in space that has security that is supposed to dissuade this sort of thing, yet they get away with it almost every time.  This is, of course, hugely frustrating.

Which brings us to the scams and scandals.  When we look past other players killing you for any reason, or no reason at all, we find that the game also thrives on new and interesting ways for players to cheat each other out of vast amounts of currency.  Phony banks, traitorous corporate officers, Ponzi schemes, it is all there… like Wall Street without the SEC.  This seems totally unfair and frustrating, as there is usually nothing you can do once you’ve been taken.

And the company that runs the game will sell you a token, called PLEX, that you can sell for in-game currency,which is seen by some as biasing the game towards the rich, causing much frustration.  Plus, this also provides a real world exchange rate calculation that allows people to assign a monetary value to the aforementioned scams, which just helps build rage and frustration in some.

And then there are The Goons.  They are the dominant alliance in the game, and they do all of the bad things above and more, but they tend to bring it to a new level.  They want to have fun… and what they find most fun is making other people miserable.  When they make somebody quit the game, they see it as a win.

Goons will be Goons

And you cannot even join them unless you are a member of the Something Awful forums.  But they will try to recruit you in the game.  You will give them some money and your stuff and they will say, “Buh-bye!”  Because, of course, it was yet another scam.

And then there is the company that brought this whole mess into being, the in-aptly named Crowd Control Productions, or CCP, a band of rapping vikings from Rekjavik for whom “Politically Correct” is just a show hosted by Bill Mahr. (If you’ve been to any of their parties, you know what I mean.)

CCP seems to alternate between embracing their user base in a giant love-fest of hugs and doing their damnedest to alienate or just generally piss off their most loyal followers.  It is like the Christian ethos got through the first couple of layers of their hides, but down deep there is still that inner Viking that wants to burn, rape, and pillage.  That cross on their flag… it might be a sword.

All of which could add up to one of the mightiest train wrecks in gaming history. Even those who hate the game cannot look away when fireworks are going off in EVE

And yet the whole thing seems to work.  It staggers from crisis to crisis, the scandals make the BBC news, people scorn it and predict its demise.  Yet the game is a success.  It continues to grow and thrive.

And more importantly, it gives MMO bloggers something to write about, something to praise for being unique or something to complain about for being the most wretched hive of scum and villainy in the MMO space.

We love it, even when we hate it.

[And since I posted this, a really dark look at EVE Online players was posted over at Ten Ton Hammer, fittingly written by the chief Goon.]


Posted on August 30, 2011, in Entertainment, Humor, MMORPG and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Your article on EVE Online was very interesting to me. Having been an avid player for the past two years, I have a few observations:

    1. Yes, there are scores of scammers in EVE. Or so I’ve heard. I’ve never been taken in by one, so they’re not a problem.

    2. I’ve heard of Goonswarm only in EVE news and history; I’ve never encountered any of them in the game. Being a member of a corporation/alliance has innumerable advantages, but it takes time and trial and error to find a good one. The one I’m currently in one full of players whose interest in EVE are similar to my own. It took me about a year to find them.

    3. I could not agree more with you about the in-game tutorial. I tolerated them until I learned the basics and then turned it off. Most of what I’ve learned since then has been through fellow corporation/alliance members and off-game resources, such as the pdf “Industrial-Sized Knowledge Base.”

    4. EVE is not a game I would recommend to the immature or impatient. Although I have not experienced most of the frustrations you mention in this post, I have had my share of them. Every one of them could have been avoided had I only adhered to the advice clearly given in the game. I now regard them as hard-earned lessons and they have served to make me a more wary player.

    You review many online games in this blog, and I realize that takes time; you may not be able to actually try out every game you review. Even if you do, I think that to properly evaluate games like EVE requires a commitment up front. Those who go into EVE with an assertive attitude will undoubtedly discover EVE’s otherwise enigmatic popularity.

  2. Actually, I review no games on this site. I am not even sure how you could get that impression. And I started playing EVE Online in 2006, so how much more time should I spend with it?

    This site is meant to be a humorous look at the conventions and biases of MMO bloggers and is thus prone to exaggeration and tends to focus on things which that particular sub-group rants or raves about. Any similarity to your own perception of reality is purely coincidental.

    If you want to get scammed, or see people scamming, spend five minutes watching local in Jita on a Friday night. Or spend some time browsing contract offers. After five years, I know my brain edits all that stuff out, but it is easy enough to find it you go looking for it.

    As for the Goons, I guess you missed the great Goon exhumer hunt, which pre-dates Hulkageddon, but which had the same idea, and the epic battles in Lonetrek when BoB and the Goons took their fight to empire space for a couple weeks. It was lag-tastic.

    As a side note, you bring up one of the biases I will no doubt cover in some future post: MMO reviews bloggers disagree with are almost always dismissed with the argument that the reviewer did not spend enough time with the game.

  3. Please pardon my initial impression. I’ve written humorous articles myself. Since your post was meant tongue-in-cheek, it makes more sense to me (and it IS funny).

    I’m very new to WordPress and am hoping to create a blog dedicated exclusively to EVE. Yours was the first EVE related post I found and I’m afraid I was somewhat disappointed.

    Since you’ve been playing EVE for several years, you no doubt know the game much better than I. Please understand that I meant no offense.

  4. No worries. You can go look at EVE Online Pictures. I think that has a decent list of EVE blogs in its side bar.

    But yes, if you were looking for serious EVE coverage, I can see how my post would have rankled.

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