EVE: Required reading

January 30, 2014

CCP dev blog about the longest and one of the largest battles in MMO history. If you consider yourself an MMO fan, consider it required reading, start to finish.

A few quick notes:

CCP gets it. Not only does the blog contain a ‘sales pitch’ at the end (something I know from personal experience hocking DF1 works amazingly well), but they also acted quickly to immortalize the event with the in-game monument. How many other MMOs have done that? How many devs have been so quick to do it? How many MMOs are even capable of anything close to this type of event?

This is the type of event that hammers home the sandbox theory of peaks and valleys and its importance to retention. I think its very safe to say that not only will this battle result in thousands of new players learning about EVE and giving it a shot, but will also server as reason for current null-sec players to keep going. This is the type of event that justifies shooting structures, mining ore, or running PvE content for ISK. And a large part of WHY it works so well is it’s rarity. If a battle of this scale happened often, it not only wouldn’t make news, it also wouldn’t serve as such a huge catalyst and motivator.

This type of event is also why EVE is the only MMO still growing after 11 years. It simply has content so unique to itself that it’s impossible to ‘burn out’ on all of it. Players take breaks, yes, but most pilots that get beyond the training stage never fully leave, because you are never really ‘done’ in New Eden, and there is always some hook pulling you back. It’s amazingly discouraging that seemingly no other developers are capable of creating anything similar in the genre, even after the blueprint has been out for 11 years.

Finally, there is a bit of sweet irony in the timing of all of this; as SOE shuts down so many of it’s failed MMOs, the ‘niche’ MMO that dwarfs all others in scope has one of its biggest event to date, one that will likely trigger at least a bump in continued growth.

ESO CE: Racist

January 29, 2014

The only pay-to-play (beyond, um… having to pay for the box and the sub…) race in ESO will be Imperials, found ‘only’ in the collectors edition.

Imperials are the ‘white people’ of ESO.

So if you pay extra, you get the privilege of playing a white person.

Once in-game, whenever you see a non-white character, you can just safely assume the person behind the character is too poor to afford the privilege of playing a white character.

Only thing missing is a farming-based crafting skill, where you can hire other characters to pick the crops for you, and only the Imperials (for lore reasons, obviously) can’t be selected as farm hands. Bonus points if the Redguards (dark skin) get a bonus to farming speed.

Edit but not really an edit: I originally had (blacks) after Redguards, but went with the safer and more PC (dark skin). Meta layers everyone.


Economy: Sinks, as only EVE can do them

January 28, 2014

So this happened.

3 TRILLION ISK. Edit: Make that 11 trillion.

I’m sure in a few hours/days you will see fully detailed reports, not to mention wildly inaccurate crap from the now-reliable sources, but yea, only EVE with this kind of stuff.

So McQuaid it hurts

January 26, 2014

I have a feeling SOE shutting down a bunch of “F2P ALL TEH WAY!” titles is going to lead to a lot of blogging gold, especially things like this nugget: Brad MqcQuaid, who made the now dead Vanguard and is really proud of it, is asking people for money to make soon-to-be-dead Vanguard. At the same time, said-guy-asking-for-money was wondering if he could buy dead Vanguard from SOE.

Brad, were you going to open another Kickstarter to buy dead Vanguard, or use soon-to-be-dead Vanguard kickstater money to buy dead Vanguard? Or do you have enough money for dead Vanguard personally, but like Lord British, you figured you might as well collect some dummy cash off dead Vanguard fans for soon-to-be-dead Vanguard because hey, if making one embarrassing video is all it takes to (try to) get 800k, you might as well right?

This is what I’m working with…

January 26, 2014

Per ForumFall:

EVE online is a hybrid theme park game with the biggest safe zone of any pvp mmo ever in existence. EVE has sandbox elements that are manifested in 0.0 space where alliances can drop permanent stations that can then be taken by warring alliances. This is very sandboxy but in truth every single member of any alliance in eve is able to utilize the massive safe zone(empire) to make as much money as they want in safety. As a player you can become rich solo, with a corp, or with an alliance in relative safety, much more so than in DFUW in its early days or now. Eve is truly only a sandbox in terms of its market, and its developers have never fucked with that, they have only ever added content. DFUW can learn from that last bit.

How can that much dumb be squeezed into one paragraph?

Edit: Above quote is from someone who played on a PvP server in EQ1 and considers that ‘real PvP’. Totally makes sense now. (And yes, this too is SOE’s fault).

SOE: Still a one-hit wonder

January 25, 2014


SOE continuing to show that if you get one MMO right (EQ1), you can basically screw up everything for the next decade and still be ok.

But don’t worry SWG fans, SOE is working on a title just for you! No chance they screw it up. Zero. That would only be possible from a studio that pulled off something like the NGE, which totally isn’t SOE…. oh wait.


The basics of RUST, and it’s lessons for the MMO genre

January 22, 2014

If many recent MMOs are 3-month titles, a game like RUST is a one-monther. Now, before you start raging, that’s not an outright ‘bad’ thing; many games aren’t design for prolonged play, and that’s perfectly fine. Unless, you know, your business model is based around keeping people long-term, but more on that in a bit.

What’s great about RUST is it gives you that sandbox feel without the usual buildup to get into a sandbox. The only character progression is finding and learning blueprints for crafting, and even that is somewhat optional since you can get and use everything in the game from other players; blueprints just allow you to craft the stuff yourself should you want to.

The other ‘core’ aspect of RUST is collecting stuff, and building a base/home to store said stuff in, yet again RUST is short-term here; there is only so much stuff you can collect that you need, and once you have built a few bases, that novelty wears off as well. At the same time, you don’t need to spend weeks/months playing before you can get into this aspect; you will likely build something in the first day.

What’s left is hunting zombies, fighting other players, or raiding an enemy base. Hunting zombies is an alternate path to collecting/crafting stuff, and zombies shortly stop being a threat once you have a firearm. Fighting other players is crude fun, but if you are really interested in FPS action, you can certainly find much better in other titles. Raiding a base is generally simple; bring some C4, blow through some walls or doors, and loot some crates. If you don’t really need more stuff (and if you have plenty of C4, you likely don’t), taking the stuff is more about the other guy losing it than you needing it. Again, you get a rush the first few times you do it, but beyond the novelty and the grief aspect, there isn’t a lot of meat here.

Basically, RUST is shallow, but thanks to being shallow you can get right to the good stuff quickly and enjoy yourself for a few weeks or so. If RUST was an MMO, it would be a disaster. As a standalone game, it’s great, especially as it and the mods around it develop more, making revisiting it at a future date appealing.

At the same time, I think it’s a perfect example of what’s really needed to make an MMO work. Just being a ‘sandbox’ isn’t the key, because RUST is most certainly a sandbox. For your MMO to work, you need long-term progression. You need some form of a working economy where players see value in things longer than a few weeks. Basically, you not only need variety in content, but that variety has to be a sustainable cycle. I do A to build up for B. Doing B gets me to C. C is the ‘fun stuff’, but doing it causes me to need to go back to a version of A (different not due to the content itself, but the player change and approach). Rinse repeat, add in D and E to provide additional options for the players as dev time allows.

Far too many MMOs today allow you to finish A and move on to B, never returning to A. Once you finish B, the ‘real game’ starts with C, which often is highly grindy, repeat as needed stuff. Because C is ultimately unsustainable, you ‘soft reset’ (expansion) everyone and put them in at the start of a newly developed version of the A->B->C cycle. That’s very hard to sustain, and each cycle you run the risk of alienating people who really enjoyed the previous version, or hate the new one, or simply don’t want to restart the chain yet again.

If your content is sustainable, you don’t force these resets on your players. Rather, you allow them to keep doing what they are doing if that works for them, but you also expand the appeal and options with D and E.

Sustainability, it saves the planet, and MMOs.



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