Some people play MMOs, some play EVE

To say that EVE is a different kind of MMO is perhaps the biggest understatement in gaming. Year after year events happen in EVE that no other game will likely ever come close to replicating, and the game’s depth, complexity, and sheer scale draw and hold some of the best and brightest players. There is perhaps no finer example of this then the most recent Rooks and Kings’ masterpiece, Clarion Call 4. It’s over an hour long, and my only criticisms is that it isn’t two.

There is just so much to love here. There is of course the utter brilliance of the tactics used, and the razor sharp execution of those tactics. But almost as amazing is the begrudging respect you hear from the victims. The name “Rooks and Kings” means something (usual quick death) to tens of thousands, despite the group being very small by EVE Corp or Alliance standards.

That kind of earned respect, over many years of excellence, just doesn’t happen in other MMOs. In WoW the ‘top’ raiding guild and roster changes yearly, if not monthly, and the excitement or respect generated by being a world first is both short lived and quickly forgotten. In LoL, which just had it’s amazing world championship (more on that in another post), who is king also changes year to year, and while the names and teams impress, they also quickly burn out of view. Who won season 1, and who was on those teams? Would even 1% of all LoL players know? Because certainly far more than 1% of all EVE players know R&K, and have known about them since before the first game of LoL was ever played.

That R&K have been around in EVE for so long isn’t an accident, just like the CFC being so large and dominant is no accident. It’s a reflect of what CCP has created, and a reminder that no one else is even close, and haven’t been for more than ten years now.

Edit: H/T to TAGN for reminding me to blog about this video.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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28 Responses to Some people play MMOs, some play EVE

  1. I am sure somebody could do an hour long video about World of Warcraft or EverQuest or Ultima Online that I would enjoy, but I have yet to run across even one example yet. Meanwhile, I spent a chunk of time this past weekend watching R&K videos because they are such good looks into the high points of EVE.

    And part of the brilliance of their videos is that they are completely devoid of trash talk on the part of R&K. They give credit where it is due, they don’t complain about facing long odds, they just adapt their tactics to deal with the situation at hand. It is like watching skilled professionals at their craft.

    • Ranamar says:

      I dunno… I thought CC4 was an hour-long rant about how they can barely get 25 people into fleet and can’t be relevant anymore with that number anyway because all of their tactics have been co-opted by larger groups. (They then try to paper over this with an “and I salute them for achieving that.) That said, R&K’s execution is amazing, and people are already joking that R&K will need to figure out how to pipe-bomb a capital fleet now that such fleets might start warping gate-to-gate.

      On the other hand, a lot of their videos are full of pioneering work. R&K is famous partly because they’re on the bleeding edge of new tactics in EVE. CC4 is like that too, for the most part, once you get past the silly (if impressive) art and overdramatized storytelling. And yes, the respect for what they can do is absolutely there.

      • Nothing delivered in such a calm tone and without obvious invective could seriously be called a rant in my opinion. At most they get a bit arch about their position in the null sec pecking order.

        • Rynnik says:

          As some one who flew in EVE both with and against R&K as a member of Agony Unleashed their real gift is in production value. Their propaganda is priceless and so well orchestrated that you can’t do anything but enjoy it and harbour no ill will against them, but they aren’t really that innovative in the particular circles of EVE they move in.

          It takes a bit of careful watching to see it but the POS starburst wasn’t a R&K thing at all. Nor were ngeddon or smart bombs first or best put into practice by them. No one else publicizes it like they can though!

          What R&K did better than anyone else was maximize their brand of risk adverse winning, so kudos to them for that, but as an example they were merciless about blobbing smaller PvP entities in exactly the manner they talk about being blobbed. All fair but they were very far from the altruistic sort of small gang GFers that Rote Kappelle or other Syndicate alliances tended to be.

          So don’t take anything away from R&K. Their ability to publicize through video is second to none! But as far as meaningful innovators or movers of the meta they are at best middle of the road for EVE alliances – they just take the best of work of others (as they should) and make sure that they never ever take a fight with substantial risk in order to maintain the highest success/stats possible while making the best video game videos I have watched ever…

        • Kara says:

          To reply to Rynnik: as someone who has also flown against and with them in AP, I think most agree they have done a lot to innovate and drive the metagame of Eve. In triage tactics they were the first with the triple triage cycling and the refitting stuff (‘Anatomy of Fight video’, also good video). The “Pantheon” tactic led to the Archon madness of now (not always a good thing for the game), and they made the Napoc battleship famous. Their Ironclad and Kaboose Guardian stuff set the standard in armour logistics and made me a logi pilot.

          While people may have used bouncing POS tactics for things before, Starburst was the first time it was used like that in a huge fleet battle, and I think Rooks have many things like that up their sleeve to show when they need them. Every now and again they share one, like the crazy “Drebuchet” tactic (worth a google).

          As for smartbombs, later when I joined a nullsec alliance, a few hundred of us were just pinned down by two Rooks and Kings scouts, unable to move to our target in time because of pipebomb danger.

          I do agree they can be ruthless but I also found they are honourable of small groups and when I first met them, they helped our towers against a big force. But then maybe they just helped because there are more of the enemy than of us, so its more kills for them…

          The interesting thing about a small group helping to drive the meta is that maybe it has to be that way in Eve because it’s the only way to keep an edge. Big alliances can’t afford to change tactics so constantly because thousands of people have to be re-trained. This sort of thing is perhaps unique to Eve.

        • Kane Paws says:

          It would be crazy to suggest RnK haven’t pioneered a huge amount of stuff in Eve, to the point where I think they are a bit trapped by their reputation and have to keep coming up with something more shocking each time.

          But I don’t think they hate the big blobs. After all, their relevancy comes partly from the influence of their ideas and strategies. I’ve read about them recently being involved (directly? indirectly?) with the Chinese Eve server and hope they make a video about that stuff. A lot of people don’t even know about Serenity server.

        • Rynnik says:

          The point I am making is they didn’t PIONEER much of that stuff – they flew with other groups who did those things first or better. Rooks and Kings indisputably POPULARIZED them though – largely through their magnificent videos.

        • lordmaldoror says:

          Rynnik – what specific doctrine do you associate RnK with that we didn’t pioneer, or play an active role in doing so?

        • Rynnik says:

          Not sure if serious. Read my first post in this comment chain anyhow. The subject of Clarion Call 4 (amazing work on that video like always btw) pipebombing would be a pretty obvious one.

        • lordmaldoror says:

          There have been smartbombing camps since the early days of the game; our Agent Xer0 certainly remembers some of them from his days in m0o (m0o’s name, incidentally, has survived across an ocean of time to further underscore Syncaine’s point about Eve).

          Smartbombs are only one piece of the pipebombing puzzle, and no less important than Titans, cynos and bubbles. If you’re in system before the hostiles are in warp and committed to their doom, then it’s not pipebombing.

          One day we’ll disappear to dust and someone else will be advancing it, for such is Eve.

          As for your earlier post, even if the other replies here take the opposite view, it suggests that ‘propaganda’ must in fact be the least proficient part of our operation, if you hold those views. I’m not even sure what ‘ngeddons’ means. We’re not associated with Navy Geddons, so maybe “neut(ralising) Geddons?” Our development in that area was with Bhaalgorns and ships scanners, to the point where in our early days we were often called the ‘Ship Scanner Alliance’, until all Bhaals were fitted that way.

          The ‘blobbing stuff’ you mention is always in the eye of the beholder, and probably irrelevant here, so let’s agree to differ on that. Suffice to say CC4 isn’t our only occasion of helping an underdog. Paradoxically we try and play as gentlemen (but eat the rude) while at the same time being libertine defenders of the excesses of the Eve sandbox. An action only has meaning if you had the choice to do the opposite.

    • Pendan says:

      Eve is the only game I spend far more time reading about than playing. I have only played Eve 3 times on a 1 week trial with years between each but I have followed the stories of the game constantly.

      The only other game that comes close is WoT where I watch the pro play quite a bit and some youtube from players that give good tips. My play time far exceeds my watch time though for WoT. I imagine though that with the number of twitch viewers increasing that things are changing where others spend more time watching games than playing.

      • Anon says:

        You are so very correct. If yuo are not part of one of these corps/alliances that actively creates content, then Eve is really best read about. This is coming from a five year player who spent 3.5 years in nullsec and now lives in lowsec, which is ALOT more fun than nullsec when the blobs aren’t around … YAYTO THE END OF NULLSEC FORCE PROTECTION!!!!

  2. Rohan says:

    I’m not really sure this is true. The raiding community in WoW remembers guilds like Death & Taxes, Ensidia, and Paragon. Paragon’s Heroic Lich King video and kill is still considered amazing.

    Perhaps you’re right that the time at the top is shorter, but that’s true for Eve too. Band of Brothers is dead, as are many other of the notable alliances and corps.

    • SynCaine says:

      But is there a WoW equivalent to R&K or Goons? Because yes, not ALL Corps or Alliances last, but some do. Do ANY WoW powers last? Is D&T a raiding force of note today?

      • Rohan says:

        I’ve believe Premonition is still going strong. They’ve been in the Top 10 forever.

        We’ll see when the first WoD raids are released. The edge raiding scene has been pretty quiet because of the long content drought.

      • It is hard to tell who lasts and who doesn’t, outside of a few big names in WoW. We don’t really touch other groups as much in a PvE environment. Groups persist. I have been in the same regular group for 8 years now, but does anybody besides our group and a few blog readers know? How could they?

        EVE is definitely different in that regard, especially for Sov holding alliances. When you’ve been on the big map for a while, people remember. There was a post the other day about a Romanian Legion jump freighter being killed and, like a lot of people, my first thought was, “Romanian Legion still lives?” They had sov down in Period Basis back in the day and they are still around somewhere.

        • Gearedup says:

          I think it may be that things can connect to you in Eve. In your story on this on TAGN you mentioned people in your fleet being pipebombed by RnK. In most games the video would be disconnected from your experience since it would be on a different server or killing a raid boss. You can’t reach out and touch it.

  3. magnoz says:

    I read about the video over at TAGN, too. Haven’t watched it yet — I wasn’t sure I’d understand anything about it since I never played EVE. Still I find this game fascinating enough to read most of their dev blogs ^^

  4. Jenks says:

    Everyone in Everquest knew the top guilds, or at least the top guild on their server. Fires of Heaven, Afterlife, Triton, Legacy of Steel, etc.

    The relevant difference between Everquest and every PVE MMO since is instancing. The uber guild wasn’t getting to their raid instance, and clearing their raid instance first. They were in Permafrost, killing Lady Vox. It wasn’t abstract video game bullshit. If you zoned into Permafrost (and made it past the traps) you could watch. It was “really” happening.

    This is hugely different from a game like WoW, where everyone is just playing their own video game. Guilds going for world firsts are just people playing Donkey Kong trying to get the high score.

    • Jenks says:

      I should have ended that with the point – the reason people know R&K, and knew FoH, was persistence. Everquest and EVE exist in persistent universes, whereas instanced PVE MMOs do not. No one really* kills Ragnaros or Garrosh. RnK really* kills large groups of enemies, and FoH really* was killing raid bosses.

      *inside the reality of the game universe

    • Asmiroth says:

      Instancing + the server model. EvE has 1 server and no instances, so anyone, anywhere can see those folks play. EQ had half of it (and naked gnome runs for the other half).

      WoW guilds have had more exposure outside the game and a fair amount of impact on dev of them too. But the content model, very themepark, means that you only hear about them 3 weeks every 6 months.

      The only thing the games have in common is that they have numbers, are online and support many players at once. Would be nice for EvE to actually have competition that didn’t blow so we could compare more apples to apples.

  5. weritsblog says:

    It’s a good video. Reminds me of bomb groups in WAR, but with more planning.

  6. lordmaldoror says:

    On behalf of RnK, thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you found the material interesting. I think it’s certainly true that the freedom of Eve Online makes it uniquely suited to this kind of thing.

    I see that the question has been raised as to whether a similar documentary could be made in worlds like those of Everquest and Warcraft. Obviously a sandbox world has certain inherent advantages to emergent gameplay and, therefore, stories. However, I wonder if – thinking aloud – another advantage of Eve lies with the strong visuals. These visuals focus on ships rather than personified avatars, and so it is easier to present scenes of battle in the same manner that a war documentary might serve up its grimy war machines.

    Cartoon avatars may play against the seriousness of the disembodied comms recordings and make it harder to imaginatively invest in. If Eve ever truly does get ‘walking in stations’, it’ll be interesting to see whether the layer of a ‘gaming avatar’ to represent the person’s gaming self, insulates slightly against the personal nature in which Eve is often perceived by its pilots.

    Nonetheless, I’m sure that there are a great many remarkable stories in a great many games, and they could all be told in the manner of Eve stories. I remember when I first read about Lord British being (unexpectedly) killed by a player in the Ultima Online beta. I didn’t have a suitable modem to even play the game, nor any clear concept of what the game was actually about. And yet part of me immediately thought, “this is the future”.

    Well, the future is here now – and yet it still feels like online gaming could go ‘either way’, so I’ll have to carry on fighting for it, in my own small way.

  7. hurr durr says:

    I don’t know about LoL, but certainly in Dota the teams are remembered. If not the teams themselves, the players themselves are remembered in a way that for instance R&K members are not.

    Not many people know individual R&K players, and those that do would probably struggle to name any other than the narrator of the Clarion Call movies and those pilots he mentions by name in those movies.

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