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Monday, October 8, 2012

Mabrick's Link Stew

One of the things that really sets Eve Online apart from all other MMO's I've ever played is the economy. When I first started in the MMO world, I was playing Ultima Online. It was truly a love-hate relationship. I remember spending hours chopping wood and making crossbows so I could earn enough to buy some better armor. It was truly mind numbing game play. It was far worse than mining. At least when you're mining there are beautiful stars and nebula to look at.

So, the first thing I want to share in this Link Stew post is a Washington Post article in which Eve Online figures prominently.

The economics of video games by Brad Plumer.

It is a widely known fact that CCP employs a full time economist to oversee New Eden's economy. His name is  Eyj├│lfur Gu├░mundsson. He even has a staff of eight assistants that produce reams and reams of reports on the day to day activities within New Eden.

What this Washington Post article points out is the Eve economy, though virtual, is so real that economists are practically salivating at a chance to "play games" themselves. With hundreds of thousands of consumers driving the market and practically everything being made, sold and used by those consumers, the Eve Online economy is an excellent testbed for new economic ideas. Games like Eve Online just might be a boon to a field that hasn't seen any appreciably advancements in thinking for the past half century.

But you don't have to take my word that this is an excellent read and worth your time. The BBC News Magazine also shares my opinion. They listed it in their Seven of the week's best reads article.

The next set of links brings back some not so fond memories. Remember the "summer of rage" that culminated with thousands of ships wrecking extreme vandalism on a public monument in Jita? It was over the Incarna release, or as we know it, walking in stations. In came the Captain's Quarters. Out went silly ship spinning. Up went the graphic card temperatures right in lock step with player's ire. It was a tumultuous time. It was a time of upheaval and deep soul searching for CCP and for its player base.

Last month The Verge had a great article on those times featuring some very candid interview quotes from CCP developers. It is much more than a simple stroll down memory lane. It gives a view inside CCP that I've never seen expressed so openly.

At war with fans: 'EVE Online's' fall and rise from infamy by Emily Gera.

We all know the public reaction from CCP and how it went from arrogant to humble. We all know the official line. To paraphrase, it went something like "we lost sight of what was important." That is not what makes me put this article in Link Stew. It's comments like this from CCP Producer Jon Lander,
"With various other games that were released around the same time we were obviously looking at our numbers and going, 'Oh my god; is this idea actually going to transform into a successful business?' And it's tough when you're going around the office and everybody is playing a different game and you're like, 'Come on — gotta have faith; gotta have faith.'"
So you have a champion level MMORPG and your own developers would rather play another company's game? That has to be hard to admit. This one article does more to persuade me that CCP has seen the errors of their ways, and made corrections, than anything I've read or heard them say since Incarna. It did not make me self-satisfied to read Kris Touburg's recollections of going through Something Awful last January and finally seeing good things said about Eve Online, but it was a relief.

And out of all the personal reflections given in this article, my favorite quote is and, I think, will always remain Sveinn Kjarval saying,
"I think, it's kind of healthy to experience a little bit of failure and realize that you're mortal."
It reminds me of a character in a James Bond movie that perhaps didn't get frozen by liquid nitrogen because of his arrogance. If you know the character I refer to you ARE a geek. But before you think all those dark days are behind us and Incarna is dead and buried, think again. It is still alive and it isn't even on life support. CCP continues to actively pursue it though not at a "production" level.

Whatever happened to EVE's "walking in stations" update? by Steve Hogarty

This does not upset me. I said it before and I still feel that having a mobile avatar in Eve Online is not a bad thing. I still remember the discussions pre-Incarna of having virtual bars and casinos where Eve Players could just relax and socialize. If you can't get to Eve Vegas or Fanfest, it's the next best thing to being there isn't it? How's that a bad thing so long as it doesn't interfere with serious Internet spaceships?

And there is an even better possibility. Since I now live in a wormhole system, this possibility really excites me. In fact, just last night I was running one of these...
 ...with Spiralnomad and he asked if we could loot the structure. Alas, I had to tell him it was futile to try. Then I remembered this demo video posted on YouTube and smiled.
Someday...

Fly Careful

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Be civil, be responsible and most of all be kind. I will not tolerate poor form. There will be no James Hooks here. We are all better than that.