Stropp's World

Games And Gamery

Eve Online By Firelight

Posted by Stropp on April 27, 2012

Looks like the Jita Burning, Free Mittani event has started, a day early.

Some great pictures from TAGN, and KTR.

Time to run and hide!

Eve Is Mainstream

Posted by Stropp on April 25, 2012

One of the things I keep on seeing when various commenters write about Eve is the statement, sometime implied often stated, that Eve is not a mainstream MMORPG.

Actually it is.

Think about it for just a minute. Eve has 400,000 subscribers, more or less. There are not many games that can boast that. Sure World of Warcraft has in the high millions (not sure if it’s under 10 million yet) and The Old Republic has around 1.7 million. But what other games exceed 1×106 subscribers?

Warhammer briefly hit the million-ish mark, but is now down to one server (or is soon to be.) And back in the day, Everquest kept around 400K players happily entertained.

Of course there are the non-Western MMORPGs that have subscribers in the millions. And we shouldn’t forget the free to play games that have very large numbers too, but it’s harder to tell how these games are really doing in the popularity stakes. Subscriptions MMOs have that as an advantage. It’s easier to make an assessment of how many people are playing. As for the non-Western games, this is more about mainstream in the West, and I’m not sure exactly how popular the big Asian games are in the West anyway.

So why do we think that Eve isn’t a mainstream game when it has a subscriber base only really eclipsed by two other games?

QOTD: Anti-PK Corps In Eve Online

Posted by Stropp on April 11, 2012

When I played Asheron’s Call, there was a server called Darktide. It was an unrestricted server with Free For All PvP as its main drawcard. As to be expected, this meant that anyone playing on Darktide was a target of the Player Killer (PK) especially those players new to the server. Lot’s of these players got together and formed guilds on that server wholly devoted to ganking anyone that crossed paths with them.

The there were the players who liked PvP but were opposed to the wholesale slaughter wrought by the PKer. Like the PKers, these got together and formed the Anti-PK guilds that didn’t go seeking out the weak and alone to gank, but set out to help them by protecting them from the PKers, and actively fighting against the PK guilds.

Asheron’s Call wasn’t alone in this. Ultima Online also had players who banded together to oppose PK players.

I have a question for you. I hear a lot about the corporations and alliances in Eve Online that engage in PK activities where it’s encouraged to go out and gank all and sundry. Each year (or few months) the Hulkageddon event takes place where players vie for prizes for high-sec ganking of unarmed/undefended commercial spacecraft like the Hulk. The Goonswarm alliance is about to set Jita on fire, which means that lots of highsec non-PvPer players are going to get burned.

There seems to be lots of FFA PvP in Eve focussed on ganking.

But I hear very little about the player corporations that are set up to oppose that sort of behaviour.

Can you tell me. Are there Anti-PK corps in Eve Online?

Will Anyone Ever Fully Train Up In Eve?

Posted by Stropp on March 7, 2012

I had a moment of time wasting this afternoon and followed a link regarding Eve Online’s proposed changes to the way that ship skills work. Some of the concerns that Eve players had is that they won’t be able to fly ships that they had trained for. The devs reassured that this wouldn’t happen, and that the old skills would somehow translate over to the new setup.

That got me thinking about skills and training times. So I loaded up EveMon and spent some time with their planner creating a plan that trained each and every skill up to it’s maximum level of 5.

Considering that I’ve already trained up to 5,674,000 points on 128 skills on this character, I would need to spend 28,793,985,000 ISK on 367 unique skills (some of which I already know) for a whopping 9343 days, 5 hours and 18 minutes to train them all to level 5.

That’s 25.6 years of training time!

Considering Eve Online has only been out for around 8 years (since 2004 I think) then even the most dedicated and anal player would still need around 17 years to train it all.

This also assumes that the devs don’t add any new skills or alter (lengthen) any training times.

I wonder if Eve will even be around at then, no MMORPG is even close to that age yet.


CCP Layoffs

Posted by Stropp on October 23, 2011

The CCP layoffs have gathered a bunch of commentary over the last few days.

Tobold suggests that this means the company is in trouble, and that they will be gone within the next couple of years.

Others think that CCP isn’t in strife at all.

The truth, very likely, falls between these two extremes. I doubt that CCP will fold. In fact I think this is highly unlikely, but of course I am not privy to any of the company financial records, and don’t know for sure.

The facts though are that CCP has layed off a large number of people in its US office. They have cut back on development of the White Wolf property. They are also experiencing a downturn in subscriptions, possibly due in part to some poor customer relations decisions and by not focussing on what makes their core product great.

So yeah. It’s likely they’re not doing so well financially.

Their demise (and the demise of any company) depends on how early they deal with the financial issues. If CCP have acted early, and it appears they have, then they are likely to weather the financial problems they are facing. That’s why I think CCP and Eve will still be flying in 2013 and beyond.

It’s horrible for the staff being fired, and no-one wishes that on anyone especially at this time of year, but the worst thing a company can do (sometimes) is to not make the hard and horrible decisions early. No employer wants to let go of 200 people, but closing down the livilihood of 800 to 1000 is even worse.

Still, that is no consolation to those who now have to find a job in a tough economy.


Posted by Stropp on June 29, 2011

With apologies to Mental As Anything (Apocalypso)

Santa Claus is playing Eve
Trying not to worry
Hearing things he doesn’t want to hear
Cause he’s in a hurry to say goodbye
To say goodbye

Santa Claus is drinking gin
Trying not to worry
Stops himself in the Noble Store
Cause he’s in a hurry to say goodbye
To say goodbye

Monocalypso – its a special dance
Monocalypso – tell me why oh tell me why CCP’re trying to wipe the
Smile off Santa’s face

White sheets and bright lights in the sky
Shining through his window
Santa Claus is wondering why
There’s nothing on Eve Radio – it must be time
To say goodbye

Repeat chorus

Repeat verse 1
Repeat chorus

Tell me why they’re trying to wipe
Trying to wipe the smile of Santa’s face

Wipe the smile off Santa’s face and charging him a fortune
Blow the roof off Santa’s drake with store bought ammo
Blow that smile off Santa’s face and charging him a fortune
Blow the roof off Santa’s drake with store bought ammo

It’s Eve-a-clypso

Developers: Now Is The Time To Release A Sandbox MMORPG

Posted by Stropp on June 27, 2011

or at least if you have a Sandbox MMORPG on the market, boost your advertising.

The fuss caused by the Eve item shop isn’t anything new in the world of MMO games. Players threaten to rage-quit over the silliest of issues, and as far as the numbers show, rarely carry out that threat.

Occasionally though, players do quit en-masse. I suspect the Real ID fiasco Blizzard set in motion a while back was one of these times. Lot’s of players said they quit and indicated Real ID as the reason, and within a fairly short time, the normally unmovable Blizzard backpedaled. It’s hard to tell, though, if this was the cause because the company is in control of the stats and generally only release them when they look favorable. I doubt CCP would do any different.

Still in the case of the Eve shop debacle, there are signs that players are jumping ship.

Remember Perpetuum? I had a quick look at this game when it was released late last year, the folks there emailed me an early access key and I spent a couple of hours tooling around in my robot. My impression was that it was effectively Eve Online but groundside.

Well, it seems that the similarity to Eve is giving it a boost.

According to Massively, Perpetuum is experiencing an influx of Eve players to such an extent that the Perpetuum devs have had to put a login limit in place. That’s right. Perpetuum, a six month old game we haven’t heard that much of since release is now experiencing the (equivalent of) server queues. Even if Eve players aren’t quitting yet, they are trying out the competition.

This might be a good time for developers of other sandboxes to either announce or release their games.


I’m Not Paying For A Licence, CCP

Posted by Stropp on June 16, 2011

With the news that CCP is preparing to create a commercial licence for Eve (and presumably Dust) that applies to those who use Eve IP in a money making way, a new storm has erupted. The fuss, it seems, is about the proposal to force blogs to licence the content of they are in any way monetised. (There’s also the aspect of forcing non-monetised blogs to acquire a non-commercial licence, which is a bit stranger.)

I have to admit though, that when I first heard about this earlier today it seemed like it was simply about applications that used the Eve API to get data out of the system. Evemon being the first example. The mention of websites only made me think of the kind of sites that extract data to present to visitors. Zam, and some of the WoW item websites came to mind there. A blog wouldn’t come into that category because there is no direct link to the CCP API.

For someone running a Eve fansite that gathers data from the API, $99 is a hassle, but isn’t really that onerous. After all, a player avid enough to be running a dynamic fansite is likely to be running one or more accounts on Eve. An extra $8.25 a month isn’t going to break the bank.

The only thing that seems to indicate that non-linked websites will need to be licenced is this statement in the FAQ.

Will corporation and alliance websites require a commercial license?

No, private websites do not need a license. However, if you have an external facing part of the website that uses the EVE IP you will require a non-commercial or a commercial license, depending on your use.

I don’t know if corporation and alliance sites actually access the Eve API, I wouldn’t have thought they did, so this seems to indicate that at least these kind of sites need a licence. However, there is no mention of blogs here, at all. There’s a lot more emphasis on Apps.

Having said that, look at this update on the announcement from CCP.

Feeback thread discussion

thank you all for your input so far. Based on your comments, I feel I should step in to clarify a few things and address some concerns.

1) The blog represents the first draft of what our bizdev department is thinking of in terms of the license agreement. We published it to get feedback from you guys. This is not the final word on the matter and we want to build this service up with you so that it’s fair and empowers you to build these applications and services which better the game.

2) Regarding this clause: Q: Will services for in-game currency require a commercial license? A: Yes, if you require any sort of payment for your services you will need a commercial license. I’ve spoken to Biz Dev and this is something that might be revised, possibly to exclude ISK payments. I’ll let you know as soon as I know more.

3) This project is not about CCP making money. Whether we charge $100 or $50 or $10 for a commercial license won’t make a big difference to our balance sheet. $99 is the lowest that we estimated that we could reasonably go and still justify the cost of the service. If this is too high for app developers, this is something that could possibly be revisited.

4) Nothing is set in stone. We’re willing to reconsider anything you deem unfair about the program. Donation and ad supported ventures is a tricky thing to allow without any sort of a commercial license though and that’s a legal slippery slope. Whether that license needs to be $99 per year is something we might reconsider.

Please help us by continuing to give constructive feedback into how you want this service to be since our motives are really to empower 3rd party development and not to try to squeeze money out of starving programmers.

Our Biz Dev department will give us some more answers and clarify ambiguity. Rest assured this will change to suit your needs and our aim is to make you want to develop software and services for EVE and not to throw obstacles in your way.

It’s not time to panic. Yet.

The quote above clearly states that the proposal is a work in progress. It’s highly likely that CCP will moderate the rules so that small time websites and blogs that take a few screenshots and talk about Eve and Dust won’t be required to pay $99 a year for a licence. I imagine the various news sites like Massively, Rock Paper Shotgun, and the like will also be exempted. CCP relies a lot on the buzz about their game. They’d hardly want the gaming blogs to start ignoring them.

Still. If they do decide to try and force bloggers with a bit of Adsense or a donation button into paying for a licence. Well, good luck with that. They’ll spend way more than $99 in chasing down each blog that doesn’t get a licence. How much does a lawyers letter cost again?