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How Eve Online went to the edge of apocalypse and back (theguardian.com)
225 points by omnibrain on May 13, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 114 comments

It's extremely odd that the article completely fails to mention the real apocalypse that almost broke Eve, and was the real motivator for the establishment of the CSM years before the Summer of Rage: staff cheating. In an MMO, not having staff play the game often leads to a strong disconnect between the company's interpretation of the state of the game and the reality, but in an MMO like Eve where the entire game is built on forging long term interpersonal relationships on a massive scale, having staff play the game can present a great danger too.

The most successful of the early 0.0 power alliances was fueled in part by having a developer who revealed his identity to the alliance leadership, funneled limited rare items (blueprints) to them which were used to fund the alliance's growth, and abused their GM powers to threaten other alliances.

The revelation was a massive blow to the playerbase's faith in CCP and the CSM was established in large part to increase the transparency and communication between CCP and the playerbase, as some of the foul play was long-suspected but the concerns unheeded.

It is odd that they didnt mention the T20 incident, but, I guess they went for the more well known incidents, and the GHSC and Summer of Rage are more well known outside eve, when compared to say, the T20 scandal or the 4 year unfixed duping bug which resulted in quite a lot of the T2 items in existence being there because of duping.

The T20 incident was massive but I would like to make make some points.

T20 never gave bob the t2s he keep them in RKK yes RKK was in bob and one of the original 4(5) depending on how you look at it.

Originally he just rented them to bob for a cut via his corp (which was very common in bob to share Tech). Yes Bob got access to some T2s they might not have otherwise but in no way is it the reason that bob got where they were in the EvE world. In the upper levels of bob (I cannot say 100% as I only spoke to those in my corp) people were not aware until the incident broke. A few people in his corp knew based on the originally leaked emails. I think CCP did mess up by not removing the T2 BPOs and being slow to deal with the issue but that is not what we talking about now

That being said you say "abused their GM powers to threaten other alliances." I have never seen this claimed or proven, I would be very interested if you can show me anything on this. T20 was never fired from CPP, the idea he was threatening alliances based on his job(GM powers) would have been instance dismissal

On a side note, the T2 lottery had meant that it was very possible he did have these BPOs. I had one friend have 3 alts, 15 research agents and he himself got 2-3 T2 ship BPOs and 10+ items. I got 2 from 1 research agent

The worst out of all of it from my point of view was that this derailed BoB and made us look like cheaters. Bottom line is we did not need those T2s to achieve what we did, they did not give us the edge. What gave us the edge was the trust between us all (Band of Brothers) which started to erode with this incendent and was smashed when bob was disbanded over night a few years later.

All Hail BoB and SirMolly. the true creators of the political/military structure we see today in eve.

The biggest impact of the T20 incident referred to here was on EVE-politics rather than CCP's policies.

Context: The T20 incident happened during a three year long galaxy-spanning conflict that erupted which pitted numerous smaller players against a dominant feudal-like political entity. As implied in the article, this war was not about resources or territory, but about ideology: "roleplay and serious business" vs. "we are bad at this, let's have fun". The T20 event was seen by many as evidence of corruption and organisational rot within the "serious business camp", bolstering the opposing camp's numbers and morale significantly. It should be clear from the article which side has won in the end.

In the post above, tinfoilman is giving a fine example of five year-old political spin of the aforementioned great war. Figuring out which side he was on is left as a trivial exercise to the reader.

I worked at CCP and was on the same team as t20 for a while. He definitely wasn't the reason BoB succeeded for as long as they did.

In random point, I (while a dev) was a member of ASCN. I was there the day Steve was unveiled and the day it died in C9N-CC. We lost to BoB "fairly" (everybody suffered from the state of the servers in those days, so maybe it was "CCP won"). There was some bad blood, of course; I'm still a little bitter about Steve's death. But the cookies crumbled and that was that.

Ultimately: I don't think t20's actions contributed substantially either way to BoB's ascendancy. Organization, good play, and a willingness to use all avenues (within the game) turned out to be pretty successful.

(Also... no longer employed by CCP, but still play EVE. 12 years later... still the best game I've ever touched.)

Some further information regarding the allegations from someone inside RKK at the time and who was heavily involved in the practical running of the corp.

I was involved in RKK from late 2004 to 2007, the period when BoB became a true powerhouse in EVE and helped out with a lot of the more delicate stuff. The allegations I can remember were T2 BPOs, inside information regarding upcoming features which weren't fully disclosed and placement of goodies (particularly plexes) in Delve.

So the inside information regarding upcoming features is true to a certain extent. Before the CSM they bounced some ideas off players in the corps they were playing with. This was not BoB only. Also, sometimes things slipped from their mouths when speculation ran amok on TeamSpeak. Again, I cannot imagine it being BoB alone. The directorship also tried very hard to limit this information, so when the T20 incident broke out many were surprised.

Now... onto the T2 BPO:s. At the time RKK was setting up its industry for replacing all the ships in the expensive wars. Before it had been up to members, but we wanted to build up a model where we were somewhere half in between the pure communism that existed in Evolution and the pure capitalism that existed in ATUK/DICE (iirc they were the capitalist corp). What we borrowed from T20 were 2 or 3 T2 small ammo BPO:s (all of them pretty much useless) and one Interceptor BPO which was the Malediction. As anyone who played at the time remember the Malediction was near the bottom of the Interceptors (Ares was worse I think?) and so wasn't worth much. The corp allowed members to buy them for the ridiculously cheap price of 5 for 20 mill. That's how little they were wanted on the market. And that's it... nothing more was gotten. We did have a Deimos BPO, but that one we bought for a heavy price (range of 20B at the time I believe, and everyone in the corp pitched in to buy it) which had a terribly ROI and frankly... we should have bought that damn Vagabond BPO instead (money printer for 4-6 years maybe?).

Then the issue of Delve which turned out to be an incredibly good region. There were 3 reasons: Moon goo, plexes and easy to tank rats. But first... a bit of history. BoB, which at the time was not an alliance, but rather a loose collection of corporations, decided to attack FA (Fountain Alliance). We decided to do that through Delve which was a region FA claimed, but did not have a lot of presence there. At the time you had your three basic stations in the region (before you could build your own stations) and they were fairly awkardly placed. After having driven out FA we (RKK) started to scout the region, because at least 2 of the corporations in BoB wanted to set up place somewhere. At the time we were building up our industry to support our war efforts and had started to look into setting up an entire production chain, as well as selling stuff for that lovely ISK. We did an entire scout of all the moons (I was involved, and boy was it boring. DAMN YOU CCP), did an inventory of the minerals and what we found was that Delve was a fairly defensible place (1-SMEB was not yet connected to empire) and you could box yourself in at the bottom at one of the arms of Delve with a defendable station, there was a good distribution of all the minerals, the tunnel to the A2 system and the Y2 system would give us ample time to prepare for defence and we had an angry neighbour in the form of FIX which gave us fights and kept the rabble away. Pretty sweet deal. Then with the T2 production chain (moon goo... pure money printer) we discovered we had nearly all the important moons in Delve (and this distribution was given before T20 even had joined the corp). So... we settled down there, took out FA, had a ton of good fights with the germans in Cloud Ring (those tempest volleys were just wiped you out). Then we discovered that you could easily tank the 6/10 plexes by yourself and that they dropped incredibly valuable platings. This was eventually nerfed. Then they added 10/10 plexes for the blood raiders which gave even better loot (was needed, every pirate faction needed 10/10 plexes) and the Blood Raider stations (did not like those... and in the eventual war with GoonSwarm and all their friends they proved to be a crucial weak point). The important factor though is that Blood Raider space is very cramped compared to the other factions. It's only 3 regions, which means that by its very nature resources are more compact which makes for good 0.0 living.

And that's it... that's the defence I can give and I hope it will put some doubts to rest for the people who were involved in that amazing and time sucking game which have caused I don't know how many dubious real life legal activities just to gain insider information. I mean... that's just crazy when you think about it. Espionage and cracking servers, just to gain an in game advantage :D.

Random trivia: dmZ and Haze from RKK wrote the original killboard. When other killboards sprang up some enterprising individuals though it a good idea to scrape the original killboard for killmails. Haze did not like that and so set up a pollution system for the scrapers giving out fake killmails. It ran for years pollution all the popular open killboards. He was very proud of this fact ^^.

Finally... for all the people out there who did play the game during this time. All we ever wanted was to give drama to the game, give you someone to hate and above all... we wanted you to attack us so we could have good fights. And take over 0.0 as well... you gotta have goals in life. Kudos to the ones who finally brought us down, even though you had to backstab us to do it. Which shows how macho we were ;).

All Hail BoB and SirMolle, the evil mastermind :D

Edit: Sorry for wall of text

All hail SirMolly for his bbqs of awesomeness!

I never went to the bbqs being young and poor when I was in bob but damm was I jealous about not being there. Sitting in IRC as people were there was fun tho

Anyway I logging out, even a thread about eve is taking up my frigging day.

o/ Still playing though left BOB and ended up in PL for a while now pretty much play the skillpoint game.

Also never had time or when I did the money for the BBQ's, certainly looked fun.

Sadly only a Havoc missile T2 bpo on my 6 agents, pretty meh one as well.

Yip, it can be a time sync, more so dependant upon the FC, fun times.

I wonder how many other PL members are on HN.

Hello from Snigg.

I was on my way to being an eve trillionaire once. I hacked the game client to make a network of market arbitrage bots. They had human reflexes and took frequent breaks, ate, slept, even took vacations. I had a quarter trillion isk in assets and cash by the time I was detected and banned. OracleOfJita was my main account. Eve is a pretty crazy game with an insane learning curve. Thanks to being a python veneer over a bunch of network services, it's also very amenable to automation.

Some of the hacks on the eve client you would not believe they were very impressive and who knows what some of these alliances are running now

Now EvE servers (as all MMOs should) log every request from the client but this little hack went for 6 months without it being caught. They used the internal web-server in eve to stream a copy of their display to a website. This is 2005 maybe a little later. I guess now adays this is not that impressive and stuff but 2005 it was so useful.

The idea was that we could have one 'page' where we would collect the feeds from different scouts. It worked

CCP banned the developer once they caught it, they were rather reasonable, if he wanted to reinstate his account they wanted copy of his code. They then told him what rules it broke and even recommended how he can make changes to his code to stop the violation. They were really rather good about it.

The line was at the time that you could modify the client as long as you did not modify the way it handles data between the server and the client.

Miss eve :( but it becomes life

I did something similar thing with Python and Guild Wars 2, probably not as advanced though. It would place buy orders for under priced wood logs which were brought very quickly, and then sold them when the market price fluctuated higher.

Fifa Ultimate Team is easily gameable as well, the web frontend uses a surprisingly well made API which makes it super simple to automate trading of cards. It was interesting to see how the PS3 and XBox economies differed (a lot).

Python is surprisingly awesome for such tasks I find.

Python still lets you get working code faster than anything else; it tends to be less maintainable in the long term / large codebases than something with a stronger compile-time type system, but with this kind of small bot you're likely to completely rewrite it as the API changes rather than wanting to maintain and add features to a codebase.

This has been my experience with python. When I was younger I wanted the fast out iteration times and speed of coding. Now that I work on a large python project I really miss having a compiler. Go offers a great tradeoff with fast iteration time and good speed of coding while scaling to large teams and codebases well. I actually find the iteration time faster than python because the tests run so much faster.

Go's pretty limited in what you can encode. I couldn't go back to having to write explicit test cases for stuff I can get the Scala compiler to check.

If you don't mind my asking, how did you go about mankind this? How did you go about unearthing the API?

This type of tinkering seems like something I'd REALLY enjoy playing with! But I've no idea how to get started. I'm just a back end developer who lives tinkering but doesn't quite have the expertise.

If the website has an API, just use it directly. If not...

Load up the website in question, open your browser's debug tools' network tab, and perform each action that you'd like to be able to programatically do. Record the destination host/path, request type, and all the params that can be sent to it. Then, implement a function in your language of choice for each action that you want to be able to do (some actions require multiple requests).

Package up the functions into a class/library/whatever and extract out common functionality. Then post it on HN for lots of karma and feedback.

For a simple starter task, create an account on http://www.nationstates.net and write a bot which logs in each day and randomly picks a choice for each decision you are asked to make for your country.

Even easier way to log requests is to use something to man-in-the-middle your own connection, like MITMProxy (which, coincidentally, is written in Python).

I've used it a lot to unearth APIs and make programs that utilize them.


Wow, nice. Bookmarked. Thanks for the link!

In Guild Wars 2's case, there's a significant portion of the API made available to the public, including the trading post. https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/API:Main

I don't believe this includes "write" operations like buying or selling, but since the in-game trading post communicates through the same web-based, it probably wouldn't be too much of a stretch to piece it together.

I attached a small DLL at runtime which just called pyeval with a little bootstrap REPL running over a socket. Then I'd connect to it and use pythons introspection abilities to poke around the internal services and their methods. It took some tinkering, but I have no reversing or hacking experience, so it wasn't that hard.

Ah, I remember your name cropping up from when I used to do lots of market stuff in eve.

back in 2007 I did something similar on Travian[0], but my bot was made for taking game decisions. The game mechanics was send attacks, gather resources, and develop cities .. the bot was playing so automated that I lost the interest in the game itself, and stopped playing

I wish to have made a backup :)

0: http://www.travian.net/

Any idea how you were caught in the end? Were you consolidating your isk to a single account?

Does that even matter? All transactions are logged, including money transfers.

At the end I was probably close to 10% of market volume, by number of trades, in Jita. No way to hide that. There were also players speculating on the forums that I was a bot.

What tools do you use to reverse engineer the client/server communication.

Are these just xml/json requests going back and forth with market listings and orders or was it lower level than that?

The requests were pretty opaque, so I reversed the service object APIs instead. There was no documentation, but with some experimenting I figured out how to call them. Python inspect helped a lot.

Could you have cashed that out as USD? How much would it have been?

A PLEX goes for $17 purchased from CCP directly in bulk and ~850M isk (isk = game currency) in the game. So if you have 1 trillion isk / 850M isk, that's 1176 PLEX (which have the utility of giving you 1 month free playtime, redeemable any time in game), and it's theoretically $19,992. Re: cashing it out: Maybe... but good luck finding a buyer at anything like $20k

I was planning to, I had a site setup for buying blackmarket isk and an untraceable distribution plan. I was still growing by 10% a day so even conservatively that could have been a six figure income, assuming sufficient market demand.

Cool stuff... I'd like to try it out, but I'm afraid I'll get sucked into it and wake up 5 years later wonder how the time went by so fast.

Great article. One of the best video game trailers I've ever seen has come from Eve: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdfFnTt2UT0

I will never, ever, ever get sick of watching that video.

I played EVE for a fair while, CEO'd a decent sized corp in a major alliance and took part in some of the biggest battles, and had to stop (aka: winning EVE) because "Life™".. but that video makes me want to get back into it SO badly. It's the most insane, addictive, complex, fun, rage-inducing, adrenaline-charging game I've ever played, but it will CONSUME you.

EVE looks like how I imagine TradeWars 2002, and considering the countless hours I've sunk into that game, I'm going to stay _VERY_ far away from EVE. (So shiny!)

Eve is tradewars with graphics. All the stories that are told about the crazy hijinx in EVE take me back to 2400bps modems and tradewars.

That is five percent of EVE.

The other 95% is spreadsheet manipulation and waiting for your kitchen timer to go off.

Join a PvP corp, fly cheap ships, do just enough missions/exploration/pirating/trading/mining/whatever to keep yourself in ammo, and have a blast shooting people. EVE only turns into Spreadsheets in Space if you make it that way.

In all seriousness, my theory is that the more you want to solo in EVE, the more it turns into Spaceships and Spreadsheets.

Rome was not conquered in a day!

but man they are the most fun spreadsheets in the world :-P and addicting.

I want to make more isk.


So that I'll have more isk of course!

I love that video.

The article was also one of the better articles written about Eve.

EDIT: Not as emotive as the "This is Eve" video, but the MoMA exhibition video is also fairly good https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGuDUbZIo_o

Playing in a PvP corp in a major alliance, I always related more to this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgcUwTmHY74

Wow, I've never see that one, it just makes me feel like playing it right now :D

As a follow up, this "documentary" of sorts of the Rooks and Kings "pipe-bombing" campaigns is enthralling. I've never played the game, but watching this documentary made me feel like I've played months of it. "Rooks and Kings: Clarion Call 4" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNUu75fH8Uc

I recognize some of the voices in that video :)

Back when I used to play Eve, I ran with the BRAVE corp/alliance, they were good people to play with.

Rahadalon is still my spiritual home.

Aah I recognise Rooks & Kings... The Clarion Call videos (see youtube rooks & kings clarion call) are absolutely brilliant.

> [...] Low Security, a more dangerous patch of cosmos where unscrupulous bandits hijack vessels to sell them on for profit. The third, final and most notorious territory is Null Space, the galactic wild west where even the most well-tooled characters live in a state of constant peril.

When I played a couple years back, low-sec was considered the most "wild west, dangerous, insecure" space you could be in, even when with fiendlies. It was made no safer due to my participation in FW, so Amarr/Caldari FW fighters could be added to the usual troves of pirates and gate campers.

The reasoning was for null sec if you joined a major alliance and stuck to their space, the actual realized danger was no greater than that of high sec. While null and low-sec both don't have CONCORD (NPC police), low-sec was typically teeming to the brim with pirates and gate campers due to the lack of sovereignty and major alliances kicking them out like null-sec has.

FW was major fun in low sec, heard they revamped the system, hope it's been revitalized!

The stories from Eve certainly are awesome. I always feel I want to be part of that, but at the same time I'm also sad that this amount of energy is not put into something more meaningful. The main part is building a huge community right? That you fly around in space ships is secondary at some point. Then why don't people exchange that secondary part with something like organizing free food for homeless people, or building shelters instead of space stations, or making computer cheaper so every school can afford to put one on every desk?

*edit: That nobody has to become defensive here: All time spent on that kind of activity is time lost for humanity at all, in my books. It does not mean someone else need to have the same priorities. I can be sad about it without wanting to tell anyone that they need to change their ways. Keep your ways. But allow me to be sad about it.

It's a good question, but I guess the answer is - people just don't work that way. You can't separate the form (community) from the content (space ships). These are not substitute goods, you can't just replace Eve with World of Warcraft or with helping Red Cross.

And the reasons people choose games instead of life? I guess it's complicated. I am guilty of that too; I could be building real rockets and learning real aeronautics instead of wasting 400 hours in Kerbal Space Program and I'd be probably much more qualified than I am now. But I know that I wouldn't find the strength and willpower to pursue "the real deal" instead of a fun game that approximates it.

I sometimes am sad too, just like I am sad about the world's focus in general. Most people waste even more time on even more useless things that Eve players do on Eve. It took 12 years from first artificial satellite to putting a man on the Moon. If people could maintain that kind of focus and channel it to the right goals - ending poverty, illness and death itself, we'd live in a paradise before the end of this century.

(IMO it's actually a huge mistake that a lot of people in the field of educational games make - they try to make education apps pretending to be games, instead of making games that educate as a side effect)

> * I could be building real rockets and learning real aeronautics instead of wasting 400 hours in Kerbal Space Program and I'd be probably much more qualified than I am now.*

I think part of it, as well as EVE vs. feeding the homeless, is the ability to walk away when it's not fun.

If you walk away from three years in college studying aeronautics, you're throwing away everything you sunk into it. If you're walking away from a homeless shelter, a family might go hungry.

If you're walking away from Eve or Kerbal, well, some bits don't get exchanged, and I guess maybe someone might lose a fake spaceship. No guilt.

True. You approach the game out of interest, stick to it as long as it's fun, and take a break with no guilt if you don't feel like playing or are busy doing something else, only to maybe return to it later. The lack of real responsibility can be (and in my own case, very often is) really motivating.

Also very reasonable argument!

Just this morning I've been reading yet another book on US railroad history, and collecting copies of historical documents about railroad corporations. With an eye toward eventually (someday (tm)) writing a book about it myself.

All because of an interest created by Railroad Tycoon many years ago.

Yeah, your arguments make sense. Especially the last part. Educational games are often quite boring, at least as long as you play them by the rules.

The main reason is that Play is really, really important to making us better humans, so humans really, really like to engage in the form of Play no matter what the content. One of the cultural challenges that humanity faces is making Play align with bigger goals -- for example, if you love carpentry, you might volunteer with a shelter building program for all the "wrong" reasons, but yet... houses get built and (probably most important) carpentry skill gets developed in humans.

I would agree that Eve might be a complete waste of time, along with soccer and chess and (my favorite) Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, but I think the instinct to Play is very real and very productive, it should just be channeled intelligently.

I also love chess and DCSS. It's just the older I get the more I feel I'm wasting time every time I'm engaging in a game with that much focus.

>I'm also sad that this amount of energy is not put into something more meaningful.

Why are you on HackerNews in the middle of the day, lecturing people, rather than feeding homeless people and building shelters?

Many people have expressed here that EVE takes up an inordinate chunk of your life, to the point where you ignore other things you should be doing. Perhaps OP is assuming we know that, and is making the point that some of the excess should be directed toward something more meaningful? That's my charitable reading of his post, but I could be wrong.

To be fair, you can replace EVE with HN in that sentence, and it still works for many people (myself included at various times, for both EVE and HN)

I like the charitable view, but I can feel for the sentiment in the parent comment as well. It's unlikely everyone is going to devote every minute of their life to charity. I can give plenty of money and time to charity, and still have time to play games sometimes.

Lots of people quite easily spend as much time watching tv as people like us play video games. I'd argue playing games is at the very least slightly less bad. We are engaging with other people (most of the time), working reflexes, strategy, hand eye coordination, etc. Everyone needs some relaxation and play time, and I suspect video games are a better use of time than a lot of competing alternatives.


The same is true of anything for some people though.

Sounds a little like harsh criticism, but it's actually a really good question! Yes, it's not so different if you have meta talks about life or if you discuss how to kill the CEO of a virtual space corp.

EVE can be played while you do other things, for short intervals during the day and spending $15 or less per month.

How would one organize free food for homeless people during one's commute, for example? Or build shelters in the 1h lunch break? Or make computers cheaper by expending less than $15/m?

My mother is a member of Refood (a org that redistributes surplus food from restaurants to people that need it), but she could never do it if she had a regular 9-6 job plus commute.

I can see your point and agree with it. But at the same time I feel motivated through your questions. Why should it not be possible to do something for the real community in 15 minutes in a bus if you can do something in that 15 minutes for your virtual community? If a world as big as Eve and a company of 300 game developers of all kinds can be financed by $15/m, why could we not find a way to bring food to 3000 homeless?

Also there are other meaningful things one can do that a perfectly possible with these ressources. One that I spend a lot of time doing is learning another language. Clicking through a few vocabs on Memrise is certainly possible on the bus. I do that for years now. And it's also quite possible to pay for online/skype lectures with 15 bucks a month. What do you think about that? I think that's also doing something for this world. Learning a new language will make you better and will bring you closer to another culture, and by that brings both cultures a tiny step closer to understanding each other better as well, because your friends will read your FB update about that awesome book or movie you enjoyed in that other language, and you will start explaining how things work in your country to friends using that other language you've learned. What do you think about that?

Learning a new language makes you better, and is something you enjoy doing. It's certainly not helping any homeless people out. And then through that you maybe learn about another culture, and it brings cultures imperceptibly closer.

By that same token, by playing Eve you can meet people from other cultures all around the world, share social experiences, and learn about each other. Maybe then you actually go visit those people in real life and you get actually exposed to a new culture and experience how it works first hand. And now you've made the world better by playing Eve.

What do you think about that?

Maybe I'm just getting a little aggressive vibe because it's Monday morning. The argument seems valid, though. Nice addition, thanks! ;)

I'm not sure how useful it is to pass judgment over whether other people are wasting their time. If I'm doing something that's fulfilling to me, is that really a waste?

Besides, we really don't need most people to spend their time feeding the homeless or building shelters. It takes money, not work, to feed and house people. Our economy can easily sustain enough food for everyone and enough homes for everyone without anyone (including poor people) having to work any harder.

The fact that we're not feeding and housing everyone isn't really a reflection of how hard we're working.

People can do more than one thing. It is not an either or option.

Whilst ingame? They do things like this https://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/plex-for-good... https://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/plex-for-good...

Yes, there are people who play the game who decide to spend additional time/energy on positive things. But having a limited number of hours per day and a limited number of days per life I'd say it is either or. The time one invests in killing a CEO in Eve is time that can't be spent helping people in Nepal.

And that nobody has to become defensive here: All time spent on that kind of activity is time lost for humanity at all, in my books. It does not mean someone else need to have the same priorities. I can be sad about it without wanting to tell anyone that they need to change their ways. Keep your ways. But allow me to be sad about it.

If you expand this kind of math to the entire day of a typical person, you'd realize that we all should just donate everything we have, live as cheaply as possible and spend every minute not dedicated to sustaining our bodies on helping the poor, hungry and sick. And yes, if everyone did just that, we'd probably solve all problems within a year.

Unfortunately, humans not only just can't coordinate like this (coordination problems are a very sad thing in my book) - they can't mentally endure it. That's why I like the idea of Giving What We Can[0] - just dedicate 10% or more of your income to helping the poor and feel discharged of your basic moral obligation to them. 10% may sound like not much, but people can't handle 100% dedication, and it's better to have them all at 10% than not at all.

[0] - https://www.givingwhatwecan.org

If everyone gave 10%, it would immediately be a solved problem. No need to spend every possible minute working. 10% would be so much more than is needed.

Exactly. And it seems more effective to convince people to give just 10% than dump the moral weight of the entire world on them.

Can we be sad about the time you are wasting on HN lecturing us about our game playing?

Everyone needn't be helping the poor 24/7. There's plenty of room for giving of time and money to better causes and also still having some time to relax, play games, and have fun.

working 24/7 is a recipe for burnout. No reason to be sad about people resting a bit from their work.

I understand your point. There have been times when I played "too much" EVE or other games. There have also been times when I worked too much. (In fact, I'm taking a break from work to read a bit of HN, right now at 10:45 local, which is stupid, lol).

In general playing games isn't wasted time for humanity though. We could easily feed and shelter everyone with our current prosperity, without making everyone spend every second of their free time working on the problem. Just needs a bit of money.

Apologies if it came over as defensive, that was not the intention at all.

So when are we allowed to have fun? When there are no homless people? When computers are free? When we reach singularity?

Yes, important questions. First of all let me state again, to keep that in our heads: nobody is allowing or forbidding anybody anything. And that's also not what I meant.

The point I'm trying to make is that there are talented people who put a lot of effort into keeping that game going. Some people (about 300 according to the article) work full time on it. Others don't get paid but still spend a significant amount of energy and time to keep their corps going. I'm hugely in favour of spending five minutes here and there to just slack off. But building a 1000 people big corp and owning a huge part of the EVE space is something different, right?

Also, the task of keeping that virtual corp going is the same as keeping a club going that secretly washes other people's cars at night. As a corp leader you mostly schedule regular work, prioritize tasks, convince people to do them, discuss with people when they are unhappy about they're tasks or if they're unhappy about other corp members. That job is not so different, no matter what the actual tasks are. And it certainly is a job. It's more fun to some than to others, but even of the most enjoying people it takes energy and time.

And let's face it there aren't even many people on this planet who are able to run a community of 1000+ people.

The main part is playing games as part of a team. The community exists to support the game-playing. You might as well make the same complaint about any sports team.

To a degree, I agree with you.

But Eve online provides entertainment, happiness, and sometimes a social life to many of the people playing it. It does have many positive aspects.

I always am entertained by Eve Online stories. It is always amazing that months and years of work are thrown into battle and the stories of betrayal and demise are epic.

I played in beta for 6 hours and sadly I was done with the game. I am spoiled by RTS and now MOBA were the fun is quick hectic and doesn't require so much patience.

This is a rather old post. I think last year there was a space battle where 70 titans perished:


I don't playe EVE anymore because of the (80% preparation 20% fun) rule but I did nearly everything in the game (trading, mining, pirating, exploring) and it was fun but I don't have the time to do so anymore.

It is not an old post, it was published yesterday.

I do not play eve anymore because I found myself just sitting in the chat channels, and not even bothering to trade anymore, so now I just hang around in the IRC channels instead.

This is just niggling. The post was published yesterday but the event it describes was almost 10 years ago.

If the entire article was about that one incident, I would agree with you.

However, the incident is one part of the article, which goes on to describe events up to recently. So yes, if you only read the opening, then this article is old news, and is only about the event.

If you read the rest of the article, it is about how Eve and the community have developed over time.

I see your point.

Who's spinning the ships?

A good point! resubs to spin more ships

It reads as though it were written years ago and just re-touched for a new release without much in the way of updates

Might be a tiny bit exaggerated, losing 1% of your subs is no joke... but it wasn't the edge of apocalypse. Eve had 50k users around the time of this event in April 2005. Losing 500 players isn't exactly the end of the world. In fact, despite subs cancelled, the amount of subs never dropped during that time and grew to 100k before year's end.

I know there's a bit more context to it but this is just another hyperbolic title to an otherwise fun and interesting article :-/

Not sure where you got 1% from? The cancellations at the time seemed much higher based on player login rates and I saw much larger numbers bandied about in the press.

I played during monocle-gate and during TEST's holding sovereignty down when they lost it all. Login rates went from peaking around 50,000 online at a time (and averaging above 35,000) to about 26,000 today. That's a huge drop.

But don't take my word for it, read The Mittani's blog - he was mentioned in the article - https://www.themittani.com/features/graphing-eve-online-hist... - for yourself.


500 cancelled in 2005 is 1%. It certainly were more than 500, don't get me wrong, but still the subs rate never dropped and in fact doubled that year.

I can't find anything about the loss of players due to that event in the link you sent. But you mentioned monocle-gate... we're talking about two different things here. I'm talking about the 2005 event when 500 players cancelled their sub which the article talks about. Monocle gate was more than half a decade later and not something I said anything about, the article does mention it but not in reference to the article's hyperbolic title which referred to the 2005 event after which, the article said, EVE was on 'the brink of destruction' and 'skirted apocalypse', which I'm disagreeing with.

Monocle gate was different, they actually lost significant subs (including myself, for that and other reasons). But even then they didn't skirt apocalypse. Subs didn't drop more than a few percent and they ended the year with more subs than they started.

EVE is definitely struggling with online users. But that's a function I think of the game's design and the nature of MMORPGs. Few people play for a decade, and there is an easy character transfer mechanism, and an easy way to buy ISK legally through plexes. In other words, it's relatively easy to buy characters and money nowadays. And when you do train, you may get a sub and just keep it offline to train. The entire entry game and mid game is basically useless for 95% of players. So you get high-end gameplay, which is mostly people who login every now and then to run some builds off a blueprint, fuel a tower, jump drive some freight, or login for a large alliance battle. You can sustain all this gameplay on very few logins. The days of many thousands of people mining, trading by traveling through gates instead of jumping around the universe, new players doing lvl 2-3 missions, piracy and small corp warfare etc are gone. It still exists, of course, but not at the scale it used to. It's too easy to mine & trade & build with fewer ships and in less time, leading to fewer logins, and fewer targets for pirates.

>The most famous of Eve’s players is Alexander Gianturco, alias the Mittani.

Ugh. Way to keep a low profile, CIA: http://www.gameranx.com/updates/id/9639/article/glenn-beck-t...

There should be a fanfic about Eve's universe raiding SecondLife or vice-versa.

If this article interested you, keep an eye out for an upcoming book "A History of the Great Empires of Eve Online"


Istvaan Shogaatsu ended up in my WoW guild. Never quite realized the magnitude of what he did in Eve (though to be frank, I never bothered to care at the time). What a badass! Thanks for the nice read, OP.

> It presents a cosmos of 7,500 interconnected star systems

Is that counting the Wormhole systems? Don't think so.

Could anyone tl;dr that?

I guess those "The long read" articles are not for me. That one is a very long article with almost no visible structure. It only has paragraphs, but no sections, summary, or anything like that.

It's a medium read at 5,000 words. Took me about 10 minutes to read, and even a slow reader should get through it in about 15-20 minutes.

It's an excellent review of the history, mechanics, people, and themes associated with Eve Online. Worth the 20 minutes of your time if you have interest in online communities, and aren't already well versed in Eve. Might be and interesting read for people who are well versed in Eve anyways.

I actually started reading it, but was rather bored with it quite quickly. It just didn't appeal to me.

I do however, greatly respect the HN community and if this was interesting enough to get to the front page, I found myself curious as to the reason it got a significant number of upvotes.

"Edge of Apocolypse" is VERY hyperbolic and meaningless, but the TLDR; that was eventually posted at the very least satisfied my "curiosity gap" I for one am thankful that the TLDR has been posted.

tl;dr: Someone got betrayed by an ingame friend and lost approximately 10K pounds (real money) worth of virtual assets. Players were pissed the developer didn't do anything, and 500 people left the game over it. The game almost collapsed. Then there was a news article about the incident, and 5000 people joined the game.

And, importantly: That incident was way back in 2005 and set a precedent for how the game would be played in future: espionage, counter-espionage, huge complex teams, and battles and sabotages that cause damage to in-game assets with real-world values estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars.

edit: see also recent metafilter comment discussing the lengths people go to in espionage/counter espionage in EVE online http://ask.metafilter.com/278002/Are-there-any-hobbyist-espi...

the metagame in Eve also happens way outside of the null sec areas, figuring out which character is a new incarnation of an old scammer by many hours of internet digging is an entertaining way to spend time while waiting for your wallet to blink, as well as digging deep to find links between people who are setting up loan and bond offerings.

Not as much impact on the game as the null sec meta-gaming, but nonetheless it is oddly satisfying when you have had a "feeling" about someone, and then after working with a few others with chat log cross-checking, internet digging, and generally being very suspicious of everything you end up finding the final pieces which put it all together, and (hopefully) put paid to their loan/bond/trading scams (until their next alt pops up).....at which point the whole thing starts over again.

Thanks! A straight answer to a straight question. Much appreciated. Sounds like it will be worth the time to read that article.

No - it's not trying to make a point, it's a history of Eve. It would be like trying to tl;dr Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain.

I wouldn't call that a tl;dr.

TL;DR - Eve Online went to the edge of apocalypse and back.

Posts like this are always downvoted but they are very valid. Many people read at a 5 minute break at work. You can't spend 30 minutes on a full blown article in that time frame. So thanks for posting that so I didn't have to take the downvotes! ;)

But at least we know to scroll right to the bottom for the TLDR

Are you saying that this article has a summary or TLDR at the bottom? I didn't find any.

I'm saying that the HN comments have a TLDR at the bottom, because everyone downvotes it

>It only has paragraphs, but no sections, summary, or anything like that.

Almost like a book. I pity the "tl;dr"/buzzfeed generation.

> Almost like a book

Books do have structure. They have sections, although these are named chapters. They have a summary at the back. Also, many books provide an "Introduction" and/or "Abstract" section (frankly, novels don't have that, but there are more interesting books out there than just novels).

> I pity the "tl;dr"/buzzfeed generation

Me too. When deciding what to read, I think it's better to filter the article to read by their summary (if they had one), rather than merely by their short, link-baity titles.

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