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A Year-Long Undercover Plot to Blow Up Eve Online's Most Notorious Space Station (kotaku.com)
478 points by omnibrain on Jan 11, 2019 | hide | past | web | favorite | 201 comments

Don't let The Initiative's propaganda machine disguise it: At the end of the day the biggest coalition in the game blobbed a smaller alliance, having 10x their total characters in their fleets. Somehow this is a great victory? Doesn't add up to me.

Only thing this proves is that the problem of gigantic blocks rolling over everybody in their path now extends to wormhole space.

I dunno. I might be biased (I was in BAERS when they were kicked out of Nova a few years ago) but this story is far more interesting to me than the one behind BAERS eviction which was, at the time iirc, the most expensive wormhole battle ever with a good 500+ billion isk destroyed.

Sure, there was seeding in both, but in the end there was only something like 15-20 caps seeded in Nova and they didn't win the battle. That battle was largely won by a small group of the prevalent untouchable meta at the time: slippery pete's, all of which fit through a single hole anyway.

I find the logistics of seeding 650 battleships and the infrastructure to support them in a hole much more interesting than rage rolling relatively few capitals into a high class hole.

Disclaimer: I won Eve shortly after the Nova eviction because I just didn't have time anymore after graduating and starting work.

>I won Eve

Lol, is this what players call leaving? I like this.

I infiltrated a large bloc, worked my way to a position of trust, eventually CEO, stole everything I could and then quit playing. I considered that winning the game.

A strange game. The only winning move is TO STEAL EVERYTHING.

Eve is not a spaceship game. It is a game of deception and pain. Space ships is what the medium is.


You've hit the nail on the head of what makes EVE interesting to people. ;)

Why does that sound sooo much like some winning CEOs in real life? Art imitating life imitating art.

It is indeed. It's a bitter sweet way of saying goodbye.

Except it wasn't clear that anybody would ever be able to do this to HK. Goons were considered utterly hopeless at wormholes and every previous attempt to take and hold wormhole space failed miserably. It's notable that massive coalitions like PL or CFC simply haven't recorded any successes against people like HK, ever. This was a monumental effort and it doesn't deserve to be swiped under the rug with a "ah, well, Init is bigger, so it doesn't count".

Did you just refer to Hard Knocks as a "smaller alliance"?

They've arguably had the most strategically advantageous position in the game for years now, and have exerted a lot of control over all of J-space.

Wormhole mechanics heavily favor the defender, and they have the most lucrative resource nodes in the game.

If we want to discuss real estate, stratification, and tiny renter alliances getting rolled or Borg'd, okay. But Hard Knocks does not fit in here.

Wormhole mechanics heavily favor _whoever has hole control_. Hard Knocks was busy knocking over some minor Russian farm hole, when Init took hole control of Rage.

>the biggest coalition in the game blobbed a smaller alliance

Eh, how do you figure? According to dotlan they're number 11 for space held [1] and number 8 [2] for total number of members.



Or are you just bitter vetting in which case carry on.

I was just kinda spitballing that INIT + CONDI form the biggest coalition in the game. Not sure if that's 100% true but when they're fighting an alliance that can field like 200 people maximum it might as well be. They're literally an order of magnitude larger.

Ah you're combining the goons and init? I suppose you can do that but this is about something init planned and executed, not the goons. And the article says

"Over 550 members of The Initiative logged in to answer the alliance’s call to battle. Elsewhere in EVE, allied fleet commanders in The Imperium and in Snuffed Out were asked to provide additional numbers to help the operation."

The Imperium is a coalition of corps with the goons but it's not exclusively made up of goons as far as I know. So it's kinda of disingenuous to dismiss this as a goon op when they weren't directly responsible for it.

If you look at the final battle report, goons outnumbered INIT dudes almost two to one.

I love how one sided narratives and politics in EVE end up leaking over here as well :)

Wait, did you just compare a PvP entity with a rental alliance? Hard Knocks Associates is not the same thing as Hard Knocks Citizens, which is the alliance in the story.

Only thing this proves is that the problem of gigantic blocks rolling over everybody in their path now extends to wormhole space.

Wasn't wormhole space designed to give smaller alliances a refuge from the bigger nullsec alliances? If it hasn't been formulated already, someone should come up with a law about Eve Online. Any game mechanic designed to keep gankers from messing up your stuff or large alliances from taking over will be subverted, or something like that.

A yearlong campaign of resource buildup to take down a WH alliance's previously-thought-invincible fortresses is worth noteworthy comment, even if the alliance in question has a massive amount of resources to do it.

The next question becomes: what possible protections could a WH alliance have against such an attack (or is there anything CCP should change to mitigate the math on such an attack---for one thing, it's a little odd that you can make a freighter un-attackable by logging out with its pilot, squirreling those assets away in-game indefinitely; maybe the balance of power needs to be changed on how freighters warp out at logoff?)

> for one thing, it's a little odd that you can make a freighter un-attackable by logging out with its pilot, squirreling those assets away in-game indefinitely; maybe the balance of power needs to be changed on how freighters warp out at logoff?)

It's actually pretty hard to seed such a big ship in a wormhole, which is why they had to time it for when HK had a small presence. People that live in wormholes tend to obsessively dscan (kind of like a medium-distance radar that lets you see when ships are somewhere nearby you) and rapidly scan down new signatures (which can be PVE sites or new wormholes that people could be bringing things through). On top of that, big ships like freighters are slow to warp and hence quite susceptible to being caught on the way in.

In the freighter example, in order to safe logoff as you describe one has to be uncloaked and relatively stationary (ie: not warping around) for 60s (longer if they've attacked or been attacked recently). This is quite a vulnerable time for such a large (and hence easily scannable) ship. A well skilled player in a well specced ship (like most higher-level wormhole players will be and have) can scan down, warp to, and attack (giving a 15 min logoff timer) such a big ship well within that 60s if they are paying attention.

Removing the option for people to safe logoff in dangerous space would heavily discourage exploration of basically anywhere outside of high-sec which, imo, is where the majority of interesting content in the game is.

Good followup; thank you for the detail. That 60s warp spin-up is definitely a challenge, but I can certainly see The Initiative being able to pull it off if they brought some scouts alongside the freighters to confirm how much activity HK was demonstrating in-hole.

Still, it's a hair-raising 60 seconds. ;)

You don't really need scouts around you for the logoff timer, you just need to watch dscan. Combat probes, which are used to scan down ships in space (in otherwise un-warpable locations) show up on dscan. Whoever is piloting the ship being seeded just needs to spam dscan the whole time. If combat probes appear on a short-range dscan they need to assume their current position is compromised and warp somewhere else immediately. This step is where a cloaked scout comes in handy, as they can easily and safely create a bunch of warpable bookmarks in space for you to use for this purpose.

It's a game of cat and mouse, where the mouse can sit afk with a cloak on for however long they like until they think the cat is bored or not paying attention. Also worth noting another trick if you have reliable internet is to stay afk cloaked until the daily downtime logs you off. This way it's impossible to be scanned down because everyone gets kicked from the server at the same time.

I've always felt that it takes a unique form of psychopath to enjoy playing Eve, and the constant drumbeat of stories like this one just confirm it.

But I'm glad Eve exists. As long as the griefers are playing Eve and griefing each other, they aren't playing (or at least aren't focusing on) all the other games.

The thing is, it's not griefing, that's the game. Without this stuff, no one would want to play, it'd be boring.

The northern bloc is so salty about this (I'm a 10 year goon). It's adorable.

OP isn't mentioning the hundreds of freighters worth of material that init manufactured and then spirited into the wormhole over an entire year without getting caught (either in transit through multiple wormholes or from spies sniffing out what they were up to). Freighters are not dainty snowflakes, one even getting sighted would have been disastrous since it's presence would have immediately alerted hard knocks to what was going on (there's literally no reason anyone would ever run a freighter through multiple wormholes except if they were setting up for an eviction).

Goons helped put asses in seats for the week the op was going on but what init pulled off over the course of a year is astounding. It also puts the obnoxious wormholer holier-than-thou 0.0-players-are-spod-brains space obnoxiousness they've spun as long as I've played the game to shame.

Well a giant block can roll over a wormhole, but only if they spend a year sneaking in materiel first.

I have zero interest in playing Eve, but I do enjoy reading about these enormous in-game events.

Absolutely; the way people are conversing here about this event, using the same kind of language they would use for events in meatspace, is fascinating.

It's one of those worlds that doesn't matter to outsiders but means everything if you're inside it. Kind of like academia, or prison gangs.


I find the whole affair super compelling.

No way I have time for it though.

Same here. It seems so interesting I don't dare touch it for fear of addiction.

You're not missing much. The game is like war: fucking boring for the vast majority of the time, interspersed with short periods of absolute terror. Watch any Eve online streamer and note how much time they spend sitting around or flying from one place to another. [1]

My experience with the game is that the PvE elements are entirely forgettable and uninteresting. The PvP elements could be amazing, but there are too many mechanisms to favor experienced players. It's almost impossible to find a "fair" fight, even as a person with several months of experience under your belt, to the point that it's kind of a joke.

Personally, I don't have that much free time, so I prefer games with a higher ratio of fun to boredom. That being said, if I had to pick a game to play all day for a long time, Eve might be a good choice, simply because of the diversity of experiences and complexity of optimization it offers.

[1]: I just checked. Out of the top ten streamers, nine are ratting (the most boring form of PvE) and one is doing PVP, but he just got killed by five guys after ten minutes of warping around.

This was exactly my experience. It was massively boring and time consuming, except for the meta-gaming/data analysis.

Then when you finally did deal with people, they were tribal dicks and any battles were 100% lopsided to the benefit of the experienced player.

Eve Online is everything great and awful about online gaming all in one lag-filled package.

The spaceship combat is incidental, the more important part is collecting enough people that you can go look for fights that are decisively in your favor.

the more important part is collecting enough people that you can go look for fights that are decisively in your favor

So basically, it's like real life. "Bigger army diplomacy," as CGP Grey says. I think this is also extending to social media space.

"If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn't plan your mission properly" - David Hackworth

Of course, in real life, this makes sense. In real life, you only get one life, and fighting is not generally for fun. But in a game, which needs to be fun, this type of construction is only going to appeal to a narrow slice of the populace. Which is fine! CCP has created something magical for the small subset of gamers who are interested in this kind of experience. But it's not for everyone. In fact, it's not for many people at all.

> But in a game, which needs to be fun

An assumption. Like RL, a game cannot be fun 100% of the time. MMOs are the Metaverse simulation Neal Stephenson wrote about in Snow Crash.

"It's almost impossible to find a "fair" fight, even as a person with several months of experience under your belt, to the point that it's kind of a joke."

This is why I prefer Starcraft and Dota. Both games start with a clean slate. No matter how many games played you have under your belt, you and your opponent are on an even footing at the beginning of the match.

Have they opened up the game to any significant automation? Does trading still require manually entering orders or can it (is it allowed via EULA to) be automated? Does travelling through systems still require ~1 minute minimum (assuming no scouting) per jump? Do they still prohibit any external app attempts at automation?

EVE is a job. It's a job that gives you an occasional adrenaline dump from some awesome or horrifying event, with no real-life consequences (other than memories), in a space-based violent virtual environment with no judicial system.

Anyone looking for something fun to do in real life, you're probably not going to match the addictive kind of "fun" you can get in EVE. The isolation from real-life consequences also isolates you from most real-world feedback that would discourage you from continuing to play. Spaceships, lack of judicial system, and the extremely long-interval-based variable reinforcement schedule of boring activities (trading, ratting, logistics) punctuated with very occasional great deals, great drops, or PvP or empire-building success, make it pretty optimal in terms of addictive "fun". If you want to dedicate a part-time or full-time job worth of time to achieve that fun, and you can stomach an environment that's often sociopathic, then jump right in, you'll have a blast... for whatever that's worth... but your real-life life might well suffer for it.

In a nutshell, EVE is a combination of paper-trading (it's not paper-trading in the virtual world, of course... virtual proceeds support virtual world activities), virtual logistics, virtual rock climbing with good loot at the top of each climb. And — for players who do PvP — that part is like WestWorld, with long stretches of anticipation-fuelled scouting and voice comms fun leading up to short, adrenaline-fuelled encounters with an enemy... with much of the virtual money and equipment gathered through trading and ratting being put on the line in combat.

Layered on top of that, on a corp and alliance level, it's like trying to build a real company, with factories and outposts and such, but in a virtual world, while trying to defend and expand the corporation's assets... again in a space-based world with complex but often obtuse game mechanics, and with no judicial system. That means a lot of successful corp and alliance activity centers around psy-ops and team-building to keep all the people in your corp or alliance happy and doing their jobs, and to demotivate and distract opponents... otherwise the corp/alliance assets will get blown up or stolen.

> Have they opened up the game to any significant automation? Does trading still require manually entering orders or can it (is it allowed via EULA to) be automated? Does travelling through systems still require ~1 minute minimum (assuming no scouting) per jump? Do they still prohibit any external app attempts at automation?

Automation remains prohibited at least as of the last time I played (~1 y ago). It's hard to picture that ever changing.

Yep, I don't see that changing either, but I wasn't sure. The game isn't like that because it's good for the players, but because it keeps the game on a very low-frequency variable reinforcement schedule, which is what makes it so addictive.

I wouldn't say so. Many game functions which are currently handled by players would be done much better by computers. But that means that much of the content of the game would now be consumed by computers. It's very expensive to develop content, so as long a significant fraction of your player base sees it as a worthwhile activity, you would not want to make it amenable to automation.

It's very dangerous.

I've been "dry" for about three years now but I still have to fight the urge from time to time!

I've considered playing it from time to time, but then I remember that I already have a job.

In theory, for me, it should have everything: a sophisticated in-game economy, spaceships and espionage/political drama.

And yet, I find it utterly dull to play, and only enjoy it with these yearly big events that seem to trickle out.

There's lots of fun stuff you can do in Eve, but partaking in huge battles is not one of them. Reading about them is way more fun. You can sit around waiting for hours for the battle to start, then IF it starts it's not much more exciting than sitting around waiting for it to start.

If you enjoy the more political aspects to space strategy games and the inter-alliance diplomacy derived gameplay, you might want to give my game a try: https://www.clicktaz.com

Too bad, only facebook login possible.

after logging in with facebook, there is a in-game sign-in if you don't want to use the facebook login. Due to ALTs we can't really allow non-fb signups.

What is an ALT?

It means Alternate account. players are pretty bitter about the use of ALTs because they're used to join opponent alliances and then spy on them. hence, most alliances now have a pretty rigorous "getting to know you period"

Asinine License Terms?

One of the things about Eve Online that's fascinated me is how "open" they make the game for third party developers.

Why bother with a spreadsheet, when you can dial it up a level and use their data export and your favourite "Big Data" analysis tools to look for interesting opportunities?

Maybe you enjoy blowing up space ships, but can't think of an in-game method to fund your habit? Build a tool other Eve players will use (and pay for with Isk) instead.




The IT infrastructure of some of the more organized groups rivals that of real-world corporations. Industry-oriented groups build ERP and financial monitoring systems, notifications with Slack, "office hours", etc.

Heck Sean Smith (who was killed IRL in Lybia) worked for the State Department IRL and was a high level diplomat-ish guy in game (roles seem pretty fluid in Eve thus the "ish").

Aye, I spent some time in TEST and ended up working on a whole bunch of projects before canning the lot. There was a market system that was managed by Goons, IIRC, but they pulled it from TEST so I built a similar system which was actually pretty involved. Had it working for a couple of systems and with the success of it, GS and TEST leadership came to some sort of agreement, and my system was dropped in favour of the old one. Well, that was enough for me. Lot of wasted time, so I dropped that and stopped working on the other tools – membership management tools not unlike employee management tools, resource management not unlike typical ERP systems, the lot. This was 2012/13 IIRC.

Going down this road is what started my programming career.

At the time I played, Brave had a better auth/sso system than the top 10 web property I was employed by.

I work on the IT/infrastructure of one of the larger coalitions. We have a team of roughly 10 people who support alliance services which have been maintained for just under 10 years now. There's also a spattering of third party developers who develop against our alliance API endpoints.

Feel free to ask questions, there's a ton of interesting technical problems I've been meaning to write about, but I wasn't sure if people would find them interesting

Please do - what kind of services are we talking about and how much data is involved? Bear in mind I have no experience with the game itself.

The spot where most alliance service providers have to start is IAM - controlling how your members are able to access mission critical services such as voice chat and text chat. This is usually done using the EVE SSO, which exposes an oauth2 provider that we can authenticate users against. Authenticating users is just the tip of the iceberg though, you also need to authorize the users to verify they're in your corporation/alliance/coalition, and reject their access if they leave the group ingame. We use the EVE API to query authorization data like that, but it's really the tip of the iceberg of what can be done.

The workflow for a new user joining a major alliance generally looks like this: 1. New user creates account on your central services site 2. New user uses EVE SSO to link their EVE characters to your central services site. This also gives us access to advanced EVE API queries that we can use to monitor everything from who the user trades with, what they own, where they're located in the game universe, and all of their EVEMail. This data is used by corporation HR representatives to check for spies (a whole other topic entirely) 3. If the new user is accepted into your corporation, the central services site needs to figure out that the users character's are now in your corporation and grant them services. 4. When the user navigates to an alliance service, they're presented with a _separate_ oauth2 authorization that uses our central services as a provider. This is how we can quickly integrate new services since oauth2 support is so prevalent.

That's all great for IAM, but it's a small part of the equation. Data federation is another big-deal problem. Many times people who aren't on our IT team need access to their corporation's data - we don't want to expose the EVE API keys of each user because of the high security risk, so instead we expose a plug-and-play proxy. All the user has to do is plug in the URL of our central services proxy instead of the EVE API endpoint, and they can obtain access to their users data without requiring each and every user to go through the oauth2 authorization process twice.

Another interesting mechanism we support is our tax calculator. Many EVE alliances implement an alliance-wide "npc farming" tax that has no ingame mechanism for enforcement. In EVE, corporations can easily levy a 10% tax on its members, but there's no ingame mechanism for an alliance to levy taxes against its member corporations. What we do instead is query the EVE API to find out how much each corporation is taking in in tax, then calculate how much that corporation needs to pay the alliance. We can even track payments using the journal API endpoint. The technicals behind this are fascinating - a months worth of raw, unprocessed tax/journal data represents 5-10 million data entries, and requires about 5000 queries to the EVE API. When you have to run all of that including alliance services on a tiny Hetzner box, things get interesting pretty quick.

If you wanna see what the EVE API looks like, there's a swagger documentation page here: https://esi.evetech.net/

This. Many years ago, Eve's awesome internal market and (much less evolved) data tools gave me my first intro to quant finance. I had a lot of fun building a TSP-like solver to find profitable trade routes -- before realizing that the real pros maintained inventory and orders at many stations and made the goods come to them.

Reading it like this makes me a bit sad - but only a bit. They managed to survive and maintain the first Keepstar for over two years, and it took a huge and long winded infiltration to finally destroy it.

I'd argue that it proves that you have a big tactical advantage in wormhole space, but you're not invincible or safe. Nobody is, anywhere.

Which at the same time is a bit of a shame; I wouldn't mind having my own space station in high security space with no risk of losing it by another corporation. I'm more of a casual base building turtling kind of gamer than the pvp type.

If you attack a very strong defensive structure in very defensible terrain it shouldn't be unexpected that it would take an overwhelmingly superior force to achieve it.

The number of bodies was a very small part of the story. Like real wars this was won almost entirely by logistics.

For me, when I've read “in wormholes you don't immediately see everyone in the system on the map,” my question was why it isn't the default behavior because it sounds way more fun.

Though I suppose, in the vast emptiness it might be difficult to find someone else. But a ‘radar’ that helps with it could have a limited range.

The only thing that's different about wormhole space is that you don't see a list of all players present in the system. This just means that you can't enter a wormhole system and immediately get an idea of how crowded it is, which makes it much more dangerous but doesn't actually change the dynamics of radars and scanning all that much.

Thats only a small part of what makes wormhole space truly different.

The entire topology of wormhole space is constantly shifting with wormholes appearing and disappearing. Hole control is paramount to fighting on jspace.

Sorry, I shouldn't have said "the only thing that's different", because there are lots of other things that make wormhole space interesting. :) I just meant it with regards to the scanning mechanics.

In normal space you do not see everyone on the map either, you must launch scan probes to track people down if they are not on the same grid as you. The difference is in wormhole space you not only need to scan down their location, but you need to be constantly scanning in order to know someone else was in the system at all.

Not really familiar with player owned structures, but how would a small corporation be able to build a station? In high sec I assume that any other corp could just declare war and blow your stuff up. Doesn't the game have any mechanic to encourage small groups of new players?

Prior until very recently, the war declaration mechanic meant anyone could declare war on any player-created group. This meant if you wanted to take a half a dozen of your buddies and form a corporation just so you can mine together, any larger group could declare war on you and camp you until you quit playing. This would force people to stay in NPC corporations because you cannot declare war on NPC corps.

CCP finally decided this is not how they want the wardec system to work. Now, a corporation can only have war declared on them if they own a structure in space. Most small corporations have no need for, or enough money, to anchor a structure in space. The idea is if you have structures in space, you should also have the means to replace them if they're destroyed or be able defend them in the first place.

Why would a small corp need to build a station in high sec? You can just keep your stuff in indestructible NPC stations.

One reason a small corporation might want a structure is to pursue industrial activities (building stuff, refining ore, etc.) that are either not available in the area or for a lower tax rate. You are correct that it wouldn't be to protect assets.

If you’re interested in more of this kind of player-made history of Eve, I highly recommend Empires of Eve, both the book and the podcast series:


The podcast is very well produced and has interviews with the major players from the early years of Eve.

Occasionally when I get the craving to play Eve, I also end up listening to a few episodes of Talking on Stations, an eve podcast that gives fascinating in depth analysis of a world I’ll never have time for.

>$3,165.21 for the hardcover


Well, it's cheaper than building your own ingame space station ...

Amazon Marketplace!

Better wait for the second edition: https://www.empiresofeve.com/

There’s also an $8 kindle version.

Excited to see there’s going to be a second volume!

I was in Faraos Cigarer in Copenhagen two months ago and they had a copy for sale.

Might be cheaper.

Wow... What the?

it's out of print and amazon merchant bots are being merchant bots.


I've listened to the podcast and own the book from their kickstarter. They're both really well done.

What an amazing sounding game.

I've looked at gameplay videos of EVE before and it looks so boring, but the stories that come out of it are so evidently not boring.

Strange dichotomy.

> gameplay videos of EVE before and it looks so boring

it is boring - but the game isn't the gameplay, it's the meaning behind it and the consequences. A game like World of Warcraft has fun game mechanics. But that game has no consequence, nor does the actions in the game have meaning beyond the game's lore.

EVE is different in that any action has a direct consequence on somebody else in the game - you kill a player's ship, they really lose that ship and have to replace it with another ship, which costs resources and time to acquire. You can steal from people, betray them - and make enemies. Real enemies, not fake 'factional' enemies from the lore (like the alliance vs horde).

Playing EVE is like living a second life. That's why they say 'winning' at EVE is quitting it.

> EVE is different in that any action has a direct consequence on somebody else in the game

This is part of it, but more than that. Your actions can change the state of the entire game. One person here came up with an idea and executed it. In doing so they have changed the landscape of WH alliance behaviour - and there are many many examples of this throughout the games history. Eve Online rewards long term thinking, meticulous planning, and innovation to an unprecedented scale in my opinion

> 'winning' at EVE is quitting it

Does that imply that there's wide-spread addiction to EVE (among those playing it)?

I wouldn't call it addiction as such, since the game doesn't really have addicting gameplay elements itself - like idk, lootboxes or flashy graphics or things like that.

Instead, it's a game that can pull you in through its community, its galaxy-wide events, its huge space battles, all of which are coordinated by and performed by real people, real communities.

Of course, in most cases, in a space battle you're just one of many and the main thing you need to do is lock onto the target being called out by the fleet leader and hit F1 to start firing. It can be quite passive in terms of gameplay itself.

I read it more as a "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play" sort of thing.

I'd agree with this. As an engineer you'll find yourself spending more time building tools than playing the game, sat in a station most of the time, and easily spend longer on that then on your actual job. To play is to lose.

There probably is addiction to EVE, though I don't think that's what people imply when they say this. It's more that you'll probably invest so much time into it with so little in(and out)game reward that you're better off not playing it.

If what you crave from a day of life is experience and memories you can greatly enjoy your time with Eve. If you need material gains to show for some period of effort you willed yourself though, Eve has very little to offer you.

I would say the opposite, eve’s extremely boring game play only works for people focused on getting stuff.

PVP due to the permanent destruction involved must inherently be a rare or meaningless event. PVE similarly must involve winning 99% of the time.

If you want to test this hypothesis, try out something like https://zkillboard.com/ that shows people dying in realtime.

Keep in mind that on average there are 20-30k people online at any time. PVP is pretty much all of the Eve game. Not just pure combat but the markets and basically everything else is tied directly into player competition.

It’s showing ~3kills per minute that’s under 1 fight every 55 hours for the average player. Sure, it’s going to spike in a big battles but again those are rare and relative to the player base don’t involve that many people.

PVP is a tiny fraction of gameplay. (Assuming 20k players 3 deaths per minute 1 death and 1 winning player 20000 / 3 / 2 / 60 = 55.6)

That's not the right way to look at it.

We can probably assume that roughly 20% of the players account for 80% of the PVP combat in the game.

Those players frequently encounter PVP scenarios, while the ones who aren't looking for it don't encounter it as often.

Still, it's ludicrous to think even a timid player only encounters a PVP scenario every 60 hours of gameplay.

Even the outliers are unlikely to break one PvP encounter every 1/2 hour on average. Most people would call that boring.

(Total kills) / (player base) is going to tell the real story for most players. Some of these numbers are of bots and players piloting multiple ships waiting for an ambush etc.

However, as PvP destroys wealth much faster than it’s created PvP must inherently be rare.

PS: I don’t see any listing for daily ships lost. But 1 per 60 hours of gameplay seems about right from what I recall.

From memory, most of the time I was double or triple logged. PvP + merchant (+ scout/misc).

I would say I actively engaged in PvP ~10% of my play time. During that time, I would say we got into 1 fight per ~45 minutes. Nullsec gang patrolling with gate bookmarks or gate camping. That's not counting any time spent in larger fleet actions.

And granted, this is ~10 years old vs current features and meta.

So that would add up to... 1:7.5 hours (clock time) or 1:15/22.5 (2x & 3x logged net)?

Sounds about right, you probably spent more time than average in PVP. Though I suspect that’s just combat, your ship losses are lower than that and presumably stayed very affordable.

All games have a gap between the actual experience of play and the "mind's eye" game when filtered through the player's imagination, expectations, and out-of-game material. For Eve this is very large. But that's mostly because the mind game of Eve is so tremendous and all-consuming, while the real game involves a lot of waiting.

Note that the "mind's eye" game exists even for games that don't, or haven't yet been released - people build it from promises and trailers. This can go very badly (No Man's Sky) or well (Star Citizen) for the developers.

I played Eve for a while, and enjoyed it. But it was also clear that it absolutely required sealing yourself in a bubble for every play session, and at higher levels letting it take over your life.

Other people told you about the metagame, but I'd also add that the actual gameplay might look unimpressive the way fighter's cockpit looks unimpressive — all those little gauges and dials and whatnot. EVE is similar: if you're flying small ships (e.g. "interceptors"), you only need a very basic far-away display showing current 3D configuration of forces around you and a big list of ships of interest with distances and angular velocities on it (because as soon as either the former or the latter drops too far, you're immediately dead, all it takes is one successful shot from a big ship). Granted, you pilot your ship with point-and-click instead of an actual joystick, but it doesn't matter much when you get used to it, weaving 3D trajectories around is still exhilarating. Corkscrewing around a small enemy fleet accelerating towards escape and preventing high-value targets from doing so, while at the same time staying out of range of stuff that can slow you down to kill and in range of your warp scramblers… That brings good memories.

It's boring exactly the way going about your daily life is boring, 99% of the time it's nothing very interesting. But unlike other MMOs Eve has these insanely high stakes.

If someone blows up your ship, they destroy and steal real value that you spent time earning. Suddenly all that time spent being bored and grinding weighs on your mind when you contemplate a fight. It means you actually have something to lose.

Consequently, PVP in Eve comes with a shot of adrenaline. On top of that, there's an incentive to raise the stakes even more in PVP: spend even more time/money on better ship equipment and you have a better chance of winning (at the cost of making losses even more devastating).

This also means having allies is a real thing. Not just buddies who play with you, but friends who you rely on to keep you safe, and that rely on you doing the same. It really brings to the surface feelings of comraderie that I can only imagine one must feel in the military.

The big alliance level stuff is awesome, but it takes months to play out. The daily experience that keeps people coming back is very similar to the rush one gets eating spicy food: it hurts a lot, but it gives an incredible rush

Exactly. Thus the problem with loot boxes, gold ammo, premium accounts, etc. Pay to win.

Uh... what? How did you get that out of OP’s wall of text?

>spend even more time/money on better ship equipment

How is that not pay to win.

Whenever my friends who do play Eve talk about the game, they talk about tactics and strategy and politics (internally in how their corporation should be organized and externally with whom to ally or going to war) and logistics or are theorycrafting ships/fleets. They are not talking about spending more real money to win more.

It's a design decision: the creators wanted to make a sandbox in which players have to create their metagames themselves. In this regard, EVE is a masterpiece.

It's a bit like D&D, which exists mostly as stories in people's heads and maybe a crudely drawn map, a character sheet, and some dice.

It's really more of a corporate espionage and spreadsheet simulator.

Sort of like dwarf fortress.

Or Dark Days Ahead.

Ever since I've discovered this, I'm fascinated by the divide between what you see with your literal eyes and what you see with your mind's eye when you're playing this.

A good analogy is books. When you read, you see it all, but at the same time it's just symbols on paper. That's where the medium's power comes from, compared to say movies: in a movie, you have to find a way to visualise or audiolise something, so the film-maker's capability to do that is the upper-boundary of what can happen, but in books the upper-boundary is the boundary of your imagination.

Related to your comment about books (but unrelated to the game):

Interestingly, I recently picked up reading fantasy. I picked up "A song if fire and ice" and am almost through the book.

When people say that you use your imagination to fill it in, I kind of wonder what that's like. Because I see the words etc, but I don't have a 'vision' of the look of the characters etc. (I've not seen Game of Thrones). If I read about a fight, I'll just.. read about the fight. But I don't imagine the fight.

Usually I have like fragments that I can 'imagine' (afterwards, not while I am reading), but most of what I read, I read more as 'matter of facts'. For example how I'd read a history lecture, without imagination.

I wonder if other people really do have vivid imagination of the events they read about in these kind of books. :P

For me it's gradual.

0 -> 15 minutes, I'm in what I'd call "conscious reading" mode.

15 -> 45 minutes, I start to see the world in front of me, but I'm still consciously reading.

After 45 minutes, I completely forget I'm reading at all - the process of going from words to imagination is automatic. For the most part, I'm just seeing a movie unfold.

Of course, this varies by book and what my mental state is at the moment. Some books are very heavy on descriptions, others heavy on plot. Some books, I never reach that "watching a movie" mode.

How absolutely fascinating!

For me it is instantaneous. I pick up a book, and from the very first sentence I'm in the book's world. Sometimes I get jinxed by thinking about 'these are just letters'. That's almost like remembering that you're consciously breathing or being aware of the size of your tongue.

But I can get rid of that within a minute of determined reading. On a related note, if I'm sick and I manage to get into a book despite the initial discomfort I can ignore my pain/sickness completely.

I wonder the same sometimes. If I want to build up a visual idea of what an in-book character looks like, I have to stop immersion and instead sit and meticulously mentally model as I go through phrase by phrase. I'd never do that when reading for pleasure - it takes effort and slows me down and I don't tend to feel I gain much from it, because I'll forget it again right afterwards.

What I do remember tends to be abstractions of concepts, not imagery. That's the case even for memories of things I've done.

I took my girlfriend to Nice last year, for example, and have strong memories of sitting at a beach bar with her one evening as the sun went down, but I can't picture it for the life of me. I could "model" the scene from my memory of it, but it'd be more like recreating it step by step in my memory. It'd be precise in many ways as I can recall lots of details down to irrelevant bits like the construction of the furniture, but I'm also very much aware that when I visualise memories it's more like constructing a diorama with props and dolls whose appearance are a synthesis of multiple memories, not necessarily what it looked like that specific moment.

It's interesting, because on one hand I do rely a lot on visual impressions - I remember code by appearance on screen, for example, and so care extraordinarily much about syntax because it affect visual patterns that affect how easily I make connections between them. But I conceptualise it in the abstract based on those visual impressions rather than visualise how it actually looks.

Maybe you have aphantasia


For me, when I read an engaging book it's like my brain is seeing a movie of the events, complete with color, motion and even sometimes audio. There's nothing in my field of vision but my brain is stimulated in the same ways.

I also experience this when recalling vivid memories.

That's interesting, I thought everyone does it like me. When reading Song of Ice and Fire, I found it particularly pleasurable to imagine the scenery, visual, textural, the audio, what it would be like to touch something, the wind, the heat, the cold, fear, tiredness, angst, etc. etc. etc. I probably enjoyed being teleported to another place as much as all the story telling devices.

Though, now that I think about it, when analysing poems in school, I did fine looking for patterns and devices, except when it was something to do with how the words sound. For example, I would never find rhymes, or when some sound is used alot. Somehow the part of my thinking that deals with sounds is latent, and I've not found a way to access it consciously.

Poetry, at least IME, tends to benefit most from being read aloud. You feel a little silly if you're by yourself, but reading it aloud enhances any lyrical aspects that are present.

Note that this doesn't work for all poetry, something like 'the wasteland' wouldn't benefit and I don't think it would be possible to read EE Cummings aloud at all.

I absolutely do imagine aspects of what I read, but not visually.

Ironically I absolutely did not "do fine" looking for patterns and devices in poetry. Technically, maybe, I guess - I could do it. But I absolutely detested it. I found it destroyed all enjoyment of a poem to me. When I read, and when I wrote (I haven't written much for years, but I have a pile of a couple of thousand poems I wrote in my youth), it was about trying to capture emotions and imagining things. Just more abstractly rather than visually. Even so, I would often evoke visual cues when writing.

Yeah, we do. You read the book and you hear the characters and see moving pictures in your mind’s eye.

Just the notion of that is strange to me. When I get really engrossed in a book, it is as if the book (as in the page of text) expands to be the only thing, and an abstraction of the text is clear to me, but never a visual representation of the actual scene.

Never even considered that you would also _hear_ things. That is completely different from me. I can imagine parts afterwards, but the characters have no voice.

Phantasie is fascinating as from my perspective an extraterrestrial alien could not think more differently.


If I ask you about the number of windows in your house (or parents/friends house) do you „just know“ the answer or do you imagine with an inner eye to visit each room and count virtually?

Can you imagine, like an inner mirror, the face of your parents or significant other?

I'll give my view: I can mentally count, but to the extent there's anything visual about it, it's more as if I'm reconstructing from a spatial memory rather than seeing anything. I can "force" a very vague outline, which is more constructed than remembered (I know where the bed is, so I can "force" myself to sort-of see an outline of a bed, but it will be a generic bed, not my bed until/unless I focus on explicitly go through the details of how my bed looks).

Same for faces. I'm badly out of practice when it comes to drawing, but I can draw objects and faces with a lot more detail than I can visualise them.

EDIT: Reading post, to him it certainly goes far further than for me. I absolutely do imagine things, just not visually. I can describe things verbally without having to remind myself of the words the way he describes, but I don't see them. Consider how a blind person might remember what you look like and be able to recall and describe it based on memories of having touched your face. A bit like that maybe, except without the touching your face part.

I certainly do dream with some degree of visualisation, though I can't remember any of that visually once I'm properly awake.

Thats interesting. I feel that i am actually there and have a visual experience when reading. I assumed eveyone did, thats why the GPs expressions make perfect sense to me. I think you might be the outlier

That's interesting :)

I suspected that I might be an outlier. But I do still enioy reading though.

I like the prose and the story even if it is just a story without image. I am unsure how to explain the pleasure I get from it.

You're not the only one. I'm deeply embedded in a story when I read, I feel like being there, but I imagine only sometimes, when a place is described enough.

I do. It takes a bit to enter that space. Need a couple hours of reading to get the most vivid experiences.

And it can be spooky. There is a scene in Lord of the Rings, where frodo is talking to a lord in a castle, near Mordor. They look down at a pool, and see Golum enter, catch a fish.

When I watched the movie, I found many places familiar, but that scene, where Golum enters, the pool all matched my minds eye well. It was deja vu.

I said to my wife on first viewing:

There it is, I see it, Golum will be over there...

What you need to do is read slowly at first, close your eyes and try to see it. It can help to physically turn, point, and imagine the feel, sights, sounds, smells. What you need to do is invoke your ability to create. Trying to actualuze a scene in your mind takes some effort at first.

I think some of us just do it. But I think anyone can, if they seek it and are helped along some.

Then read more, alternating, until you reach a point whrre the worfs flow and so does that scene in your minds eye.

I remember one of my first. Was the ooening paragraphs in "Lucky Starr and the Pirates of the Asteroids." It talked about a ship, on the moon, sleek, shiny... as a little kid, I saw it vividly. Went and drew it, just savoring that sight.

Others observing me reading say I will read a chunk, pause, read more, and sometime look choppy doing both.

To me, once I am in that state, I am not aware of the pauses. It is just reading, flow...

Try watching a movie first. I usually reccomend the other wsy, book first. If you do not visualize well yet, a movie may really help as you will have msterial to draw on.

The book will expand on the m9vie considerably. What shoukd happen is your mind will fill in the blanks to give you new "scenery."

It can also help to read simpler, but vivid books.

Try different things. You want this to happen for you. When it does, books becomr amazing!

Ever play old text adventures, like ZORK? Words are the ultimate canvas.

And ever notice how sound can trigger spatial sensations?

What you may want to seek is a little like that.

The "WOOL" series is amazing, and it starts in modern day, familiar settings. As it takes off, you should experience this "mindsight" (my personal word for it) easily and vividly.

And, if you enjoy horror, Stephen King "paints" some of the most vivid pictures there are. He can be quite remarkable.

I construct a conceptual and spatial view of what I read, but never visual. Not even my memories are visual for the most part. I can force fuzzy, dark outlines of things, and "construct" imagery of sorts, but even staring at something, closing my eyes and trying to visualise it will at most give vague outlines.

If I were to do that and draw the object instead of visualising it on the other hand, I'd generally do it with ease and quite precisely.

Similarly my memory of books and movies tends to be very strongly focused on the underlying concept and logic rather than visual impressions.

> Try different things. You want this to happen for you. When it does, books becomr amazing!

Books are amazing without it. I've read hundreds of books, through 35 years of reading, and I've never understood why people care so much about wanting to visualise something; it's not needed to enjoy a book. Maybe that's why I care so much about language, and it may well explain the type of books I prefer (I will often skip overly descriptive language by skimming over it unless the language in itself is beautiful to me).

Seeing the other references here to Aphantasia, I'm curious to what the distribution of visualisation is in the population as a whole, and to what extent there is a correlation - if any - to whether or not people enjoy reading. I could see some would find reading boring if they can't visualise them, maybe, but while it's a possibility, I don't think it's at all a given that it's a major factor - I often prefer to read to watch movies, even though one gives me that visual experience and the other doesn't, and that extends to often preferring the book relative to a movie version of a book.

>skimming over it unless the language in itself is beautiful to me

I appreciate that too. And you are not wrong. Books, sans visualization are amazing.

Language can invoke many things.

I once fixed a black and white TV for an elderly woman. I could have set her up with a color one.

Didn't need or want it. Her apperciation for the programs was sans color.

Totally hear where you are coming from.

The comment is also for passers by who may well feel differently.

There are times when I skip descriptive parts of a text myself. It is not always germane to the overall experience.

Sorry for "line noise" in that one written too quick on mobile.

That's interesting. I can "force" vague images, but it takes effort. I can get very clear image when dreaming, and on occasion when meditating (I had one experience where I experience what I could best describe as "being in a movie set" - it looked and felt absolutely real, but I knew it was not, as if on a set rather than being there), but when e.g. reading it's always abstract.

It'd always seemed weird to me that some people seem to visualise so much detail.

I think books like Game of thrones are harder to visualize as compared to books like Name of the wind or Lies of Locke Lamora. I am not sure why though.

You will have to see the movie and see if you will have reactions like "this person looks/sounds different then I imagined it".

I personally found DDA much less overwhelming to start than EvE or DF. Then again I started contributing to the project at the same time I was playing.

Exactly. It's the emergent events that makes it. This book by Tynan (RimWorld) is a great read, you /really/ delve into the psychology of games. Even if you're not a game designer, I recommend reading it. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Designing-Games-Guide-Engineering-E...

> I've looked at gameplay videos of EVE before and it looks so boring

I completely get how it looks. But if you talk to most Eve Players who engage in PvP (including me), they'll tell you that they get a bigger adrenaline spike from Eve combat than they do in any other game. An intense 1v1 will often leave your hands shaking.

Hats off to the writer for this epic account. Made it pretty clear how this event transpired even though I've never played Eve.

What's the motivation for this attack?

The write-up says this operation was quite costly - 600 billion ISK in resources spent to destroy a station that cost "hundreds of billions of ISK" in the first place. Did the Initiative gain in-game resources and advantages that were worth this costs, or was it mostly just done for the challenge of doing something no one thought possible, and proving their might?

This quote from the article seems to answer your question fairly well.

> No one has ever done anything great in EVE without someone else wanting to destroy it.

> 600 billion ISK in resources spent to destroy a station

It's not like they lost that money. Unlike cars, internet spaceships retain their full value after leaving the lot. They can just sell those battleships back or keep them around as part of the fleet.

The primary motivation is that players' understanding of the current meta suggested an attack like this was impossible.

This is the kind of thing CCP puts up in-game memorials for.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

I wonder why we find stories like this so compelling. We see it time and time again: players work long and hard to destroy things that other players worked long and hard to create.

I'm not mocking those that find these stories compelling. _I_ find them compelling. But when I stop to ask myself why, I dont have a good answer. Why is a successful attack (and less so, a successful defense) so much more compelling than the initial construction?

Why is an Eve battle that destroys tens of thousands of dollars of value (or more) more gripping than a minecraft world with tons of detail?

For me it comes down purely to the coordinated attack aspect. There are people spending more time per day than I do at work clicking buttons in an imaginary world. Seven days a week. 52 weeks a year.

Sure that sounds like I’m setting it up to be a whole “hey, look at these losers!” kind of thing, but that’s not it at all. I’m jealous. They have something they care about _that_ much and I can’t imagine ever having that.

Eve in particular also has appeal to me because of all the other aspects that so accurately mirror real life. There isn’t any other game I’m aware of that does that.

So in reality it’s not about the destruction or construction or whatever. It’s about the depth and dedication.

> "I’m jealous. They have something they care about _that_ much and I can’t imagine ever having that."

I identify with this so much. I have some friends who just pour time into games, and sure you can say that's a waste, but to have the human experience of caring that much about something must have some merit.

The only other thing I can think of that people have such a love/hate dedication to is their kids, and sometimes I worry that eventually I’m going to have kids and not find them interesting for the same reasons I don’t play Eve (plus, you know, the poo).

>Why is an Eve battle that destroys tens of thousands of dollars of value (or more) more gripping than a minecraft world with tons of detail?

Minecraft isn't an immersive universe, and it doesn't really have that much detail to draw one's attention outside of gameplay.

Eve, meanwhile, has social and political depth and the complexity of its space opera setting, and its stories would make for interesting sci-fi drama even without the real world financial consequences.

It's basically the difference between the lore of Super Mario Bros and Game of Thrones.

Humans like interactions. Doing the interactions, reading about interactions, etc. It's why we have drama in the first place. War is the ultimate form of interaction as every participant is using 100% of their capacity to influence a certain series of events. Every action is important and possibly carries a risk of death. It's gripping to see others engaging in the most pure form of interaction that humanity has available to itself which is why war stories and things like this Eve story are so engrossing to us. It's pure and real.

Instinctively the natural interests of many humans - especially male humans - tend to tribal violence (war) and resource acquisition and exploitation (business and politics).

Building stuff is some way down the list, and not nearly as obsessively compelling.

We've done well to sublimate some of it into online games and sports without having to act it out for real quite as much as we would otherwise.

Off the top of my head: because humans find conflict compelling. If I'm in Minecraft just building away without resource scarcity or random events, sure it's cool but it's just a painting. It doesn't have a story. Whereas these people are having to do planning and execution that mirrors actual warfare.

There is one common theme that exists throughout all sorts of media: we like hearing about competence. Why do we like sports? Player competence. Why do we like antihero stories? The antiheroes tend to be super-competent. What makes Ironman everybody's favorite Marvel superhero? His devil-may-care attitude is backed up by his supreme competence.


If it was an epic story of how a group of people went through a massive epic quest to collect all the resources they needed for a build in Minecraft, sure that too could be compelling. My son has watched hundreds of hours of roleplaying in Minecraft on youtube that boils down to finding resources in survival because someone wants to build something in their survival world.

But I also think that for Minecraft a large part of it is that most large scale Minecraft servers tends to be focused on minigames or more casual interaction than large scale drama.

I don't find this compelling. I will probably read this article, but only after I'm done trawling through all the comments. I read the first story like this that I ran into, because it was interesting that such coordination and planning could happen in the MMORPG world. But when these stories of coordinated griefing and betrayal are the only things you see coming out of EVE, you have to wonder if the people playing this game are all just a bunch of dumb cunts.

This isn't a story about the destruction of a starbase (you'll note that the actual destruction occupies about one sentence). It is a story about destroying the means of control of the resources of a sector and accomplishing something previously considered impossible. It is a story about a victory in the Great Game [1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Game

I think part of the reasons is the parallels to real-world war. Humans are naturally pre-disposed to warfare, but (thank god) never have a chance to experience it in day-to-day life. This attack was probably closer to some of the epic battles of history than most real battles today, so reading about it is as interesting as reading about WWII or the Mongol conquests.

I installed the game again during christmas, but on the login screen I was greeted by the happy little message that my carrier is currently parked in space. Will have to get the other account subscribed first just to scout the area out before activating the other.

You could run an Alpha character out there now. If you've not played in a couple years there are now free to play account types with ship / skill restrictions. You can't log an Alpha and an Omega (Subscribed) accounts on at the same time, but it could give you an indication if the coast was clear.

Couldn't you just have someone else scout for you? Or you don't know anyone else in the game anymore?

Also, is multi-accounting allowed or common?

My corp has fallen apart it seems and me telling anyone will make sure that I will be without a ship a few minutes after logging on.

When you get into carriers or larger ships having multiple accounts is almost a must. The large ships used to not be able to use jumpgates to move around and the largest still can't afaik, so to move you have to log another character in the location you want to go to and set up at temporary beacon (in a sace place) that you can jump to.

What you do is you get a second account and fill your character slots with low-skilled characters who only have the skills needed to fly a cheap 'cyno'-ship and place them where you need them.

The negative being that others could figure out who always jumps into system after that one low skilled character shows up.

Multiple accounts is both allowed and common. The only rule is that input broadcasting to control multiple accounts at once or using the alternate accounts to bot is not allowed. (And even input broadcasting was legal until a few years ago). Being logged into 2-3 accounts and alt-tabbing between them is perfectly permitted.

This is the fascinating start of an amazing trend -- happenings in massive alternate realities are becoming newsworthy in their own right (because the complexity, scale, realism, immersiveness, and mass-participation of these simulations). RPO is well on its way to becoming real.

What start? I've been reading these crazy stories about EVE Online since at least 2006. And before that there was interesting stuff happening in Ultima Online, e.g. the assassination of Lord British.

I've gotten into the opposite, quirkly games that alternate your reality.

Papers Please, Grow Home, factorio, Minecraft/terraria, steam indie games, etc...

Ive already done my time with lengthy MMOs and RPGs and FPS. Next gen gaming may be related to our limited attention spans.

But so far Eve Online is the only game delivering this. All other games are IMHO too much dedicated to be a game, to support such trends, or simply not successful enough.

Maybe Star Citizen will one day become a second one?

I think a lot of the difference with Eve vs. other MMOs is that it's all a single shared instance rather than multiple separate "servers"

I like to think about Eve vs. other MMOs as in Eve is an unsupervised sandbox without any adults where all the kids from neighborhood come to play and other MMOs are more like going to a theme park with your parents.

It's amazing how much time and effort some people are willing to spend on make-believe. At least in pro sports and entertainment there's big money on the line.

(Don't get me wrong. I admire cleverness, devotion, and capacity to organize. And this event demonstrates all three on the part of those who made it happen. But you'd think they could turn these skills toward more useful ends.)

A lot of milennials are eschewing running the rat race working 9-5 jobs to be in debt, rent, and not own anything their entire life for gaming. Once inequality reaches a certain point, everyone either checks out or revolts.

An Eve Online player who logs in for 1-hour / day will spend less time playing Eve than Sports people who watch roughly 3-football games per week.

~3-hours a game == 9-hours of TV Watching time.

1-hour / day == 7-hours / week of Eve Online.

Do you consider it equivalent to reading fiction? I spent a lot of time on that.

I don’t know that it’s the start, supposedly reputable news sources such as the BBC have been reporting on what happened on Twitter as if it was news for years

How do you hide ships in EVE? Is the playing field just an infinite space where you can move a ship so far away that they are essentially hidden?

No, when you are not under attack and log off, ship disappears from world and reappears when you log in.

Oh, okay thanks.

With some games, the earlier you join them, the more virtual wealth you get and the more you can do as a consequence.

Is EVE Online something a newbie can join today and not feel just like food for the lions?

Even the most oldest, most experienced players are just food for the lions most of the time.

The real trick is knowledge and specialization. You play long enough to understand what you want to do, then create a character that specializes in that and that alone.

I don't play Eve anymore, but when I did, my favorite character was a solo stealth bomber pilot. I spent most of my days in the game running around nullsec, cloaked, looking for targets of opportunity. Every once in a while I'd come across someone trying to sneak an industrial ship out into or our of nullsec and ruin their day.

Once again Eve proves to be much more interesting to read about than to actually play. I love these stories though.

I still have an archive of other people's videos (which I'd guess are still on some web archive or youtube channel, but maybe not) from the earlier days of EVE. The videos are far more entertaining than playing the game was 99.9% of the time. I even discovered some music via player-created EVE videos. What you see in most videos took many months to years of character skill training, a long period of trading or ratting to get ISK, and dozens to hundreds of hours preparing for just the event seen in the video. Most of those requirements (except experience of how to use the ships and equipment you acquire) can alternatively be acquired by spending a lot of money (easily running into the $1000s, at least when I played, and some people would spend that, just to find the whole thing tedious and quit shortly after) on good characters and ships and stuff, but even then PvP is mostly boredom (masked and made "fun" by adrenaline).

Someone with the idea that they want to be just like one of those characters they see in a spectacular EVE video, or that they hear about in an EVE story, is like the kid seeing or reading about astronauts and thinking they want to be an astronaut. Except most people who grow up wanting to be astronauts never become astronauts, and same with any particular goal in EVE. And what happens in EVE stays in EVE. Even if you achieve something notable in EVE, something that requires a lot of effort... it's still in someone else's virtual universe sandbox that could be turned off or changed on their whim.

The chance that you'll ever be directly involved in corp- or alliance-level "big events", other than as cannon fodder, is almost zero unless you know ahead of time you have what it takes to join or build, and then run and manage that kind of enterprise at the equivalent of the c-suite level. Still, 99.99% of your time will be taken up with ordinary stuff. It's a job.

I quit EvE a long time ago (2005-2010), and these stories remind me why the game got so stale. Meta-gaming mixed with betrayal is fun to write about, and is a great example of bugs becoming features, but being part of it isn't actually all that enjoyable. Its just something to do when you want to do something that has an effect on someone, because the game has no interesting challenges left to offer.

In the end game you can highsec carebear, or you can sit in a nullsec blob. WH space was a band aid trying to cover the fact that they ruined the risk/reward system between high/low/nullsec, but it was enjoyable none the less.

It was still a great game, and back when I played there was nothing like running around lowsec at -10, or just pulling security for small gang mining operations, or any other small group/solo stuff.

>With all of the assets finally in place, there was only one thing left to do. On December 8...

So, Pearl Harbor?

The politics of EVE are incredible. I just don't understand how anyone finds time, though.

That was an exciting read.

I'm almost tempted to try out EVE again.

What I remember of playing it 12 years ago was that I became quite adept at spreadsheets.

That's one aspect of the game, mostly industry or mining IIRC. That's an area that could use some shaking up, because it's pretty much impossible to be profitable if you're a beginning industrialist. Mining works (that's one thing I started off with), but it can get kinda boring if you're trying to optimize it.

The game could do with a bit of modernization in the beginning player's enjoyment and positive reinforcement feedback loop (if that makes any sense). I'm wondering how best to achieve that; maybe make the missions a lot more streamlined, add a bit of story to it, some more cutscenes and voice acting maybe.

I'm imagining a questline where you end up building your own safe base now; one thing I don't like is how you can't really build your own starbase without constantly having to shut it down or rebuild it due to war declarations. What I'd like to see is something like player owned housing in other MMOs where you can build your own starbase inside of an instanced, unreachable pocket.

It would need to have some restrictions, I guess, in e.g. how much you could store there and how much money you could earn there - Eve is all about risk vs reward, and all reward with no risk won't work.

But anyway, a questline to eventually build a starbase, and follow-up quests that develop the base in a variety of directions would be neat.

I've not played Eve in years, since well before player owned structures existed, but I could see this sort of thing evolving to you owning a hanger space on one of the NPC corp's stations. It would seem to me that gets around the issue of people being able to directly declare war on you, but gives a smaller scale version of actual player owned structures.

How well would it work as a testbed for learning algorithms? I heard that you get good access to game data etc. Would it be feasible to be profitable at mining if you have a great prediction algorithm? I know nothing about the game but that would sound interesting as a nice dev-sideproject for structured data algorithms. Can you automate/script the trading/mining etc. or is that forbidden/considered botting or whatever?

Mining is a venture that benefits less from predictive optimization and far more from operational scale. Barring black swan events, having perfect market prediction is nowhere near as valuable as being able to strip mine systems with an Orca/Rorqual account boosting a fleet of miner accounts.

Have there been any "viruses" or "hacks" within the game?

Was the problem that Hard Knocks didn’t patrol the inside of its wormhole?

Not exactly, but that certainly matters.

The problem is that to maintain total control, you have to have players available nearly 24 hours a day who are willing to put in the legwork to find every wormhole in and out of the system as the game auto-generates them. This is tedious work, and so it's basically impractical to have that level of control.

The attackers utilized small gaps in the otherwise extensive hand-monitoring of wormholes that HK undertook to move freighters full of ships through wormholes. Then the player controlling that freighter logged out of their account, and when a player logs out, the ship they're controlling warps off "to infinity" automatically and is completely safe.

For HK to protect against this attack completely, they'd have to have ships on patrol at all times AND those ships would have to be sufficiently equipped to catch and kill a freighter before its player can get logged off and the freighter auto-escapes. It's a tall order.

... and it's worth noting that even given those constraints, this attack was basically thought to be impossible. The Initiative took a year to make this work with enough freighters to shift the balance of power.

I don't play Eve. Is it possible to patrol inside the wormhole? If possible, is it practical? (e.g., if there's a lot of volume to be covered it can be possible but not practical.)

If so, this is going to be a one-off event most likely.

It's time-consuming and tedious to monitor every wormhole that is created and destroyed. In practicality, player teams (corporations and alliances) monitor their local wormholes while players are logged in, but most teams don't have enough people in enough timezones for anything like total situational awareness.

Is there any other game that has been consistently making "the news" for a decade?

Minecraft I would say, but for creations, not stories. Eve Online so far seems really unique in being the only sandbox-game which also hosts a massive number of players in a single instance. Without the impressive numbers those stories would be more casual and less interessting, probably not even happening.

While reading this account with interest (I'm never played this game) I realized this is how it must feel to a non-bitcoiner to read so much jargon and descriptions in just one short account.

Why'd they do this?

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