Monday, June 16, 2014


Have you ever read something that was so off-the-wall wrong in your current worldview that you just have to stop and wonder what it is that they are smoking?

But you keep reading and reading and over the following weeks or months you finally hit on what it is that makes their worldview so different than yours when looking at the same world. Its all a matter of perspectives.

With that introduction I want to point you at the blog of Art Hornbie.

Its easy to think reading Art's posts that he does not like EVE, the current majority of the playerbase, the people on the Council of Stellar Management, or the developers at CCP. For a quick sampling:

Wutz Up Wit Infinite Growth?
It irks me no end that all of the POCOs I use are owned by pirates; well-connected, low-standing vets who exploit the fact that they rule, and Empire is essentially non-existent. Why would a Gallente citizen be forced to pay THEM taxes? What are they even doing in Empire space? If only the NPC Empire leaders behaved as real people would.
Speaking of disenfranchisement, the elimination of "standings" for POCOs sticks in my craw. CCP's harmonization of Eve toward null is a mistake. POCOs should at least have some standings restrictions placed on them to allay infinite expansion by corporations.

Rant rehash: What is the Choice?
I learn that the game is evolving toward permanent ship balancing. New ships always being introduced and new modules always coming along to make ships interact in different ways. Very sandboxy. Hollow, dry; not all that interesting. I hear WOW has motorcycles -- see, not interesting and not very intellectual.
I learn that Eve's superb cluster-faction storyline base is becoming ever more irrelevant as faction influence is deliberately whittled away for space-starved vets. It never really got past its initial, well-developed Empire factions and its tentatively developed cluster factions. Empire has CONCORD, but players never got to join Mordu's Mercenaries or the Guristas which, in theory have their own CONCORD equivalent -- after all, a Gurista would be just as safe in primary Gurista systems as a Gallentian is safe in Gallente systems.
So safety is defined in terms of just Empire. ISK is measured in distance from Empire. And resources are distributed in some perverse inverse relation to player inertia. It all spirals out of control as player groups clamor to skew the game in their favor. The loudest player groups being the most detrimental to the game as they cause the greatest skew.
Now CCP, clever beast that it is, has done an end-run around the vociferous vets. All by necessity, of course, as the vets would destroy Eve Online as certainly as fishermen would take the last fish from the sea. Fearful to stabilize Eve's death spiral, CCP begins instead the development of Valkyrieand Legion, flying and walking shooters, in an effort to add novelty to the dry, hollow game play created to placate the vociferous vets.

Rant Rehash: POCO Tax in Kind
This whole POCO thing just pisses me off. The vet bias inherent in it sticks in my craw. The lack of standing required for them also sticks in my craw. My craw is getting jammed full of hollow, dry, frustrating sand!
I've moved on from the lack of "standing." Moving away from standing as a driving mechanic is the game's death knell. But I've moved on. Nothing for it. Not sayin no more.
So here we are, staring at a POCO. It is owned by a Goon bigwig who lives in a tight little all-alt (presumably) 5-person corp. The POCO tax rate is abnormally high. It's on a rare planet in this area.

We have been launching material off of the planet, by-passing the POCO. It is time consuming, bothersome, and expensive to do this. The POCO is essentially abandoned yet still collecting taxes. It is just one of the things that just sucks the life out of doing PI. And each time I'm there I get more and more aggravated.
At first my reactions to these angry posts was the usual "get friends and do things", or to simply ignore them as the ravings of a bitter new player without the patience to work towards a goal. But over time as I continued to read his blog posts and consider them with an open mind, I realized that the issue is not his patience or ability to adapt, its the difference of a vastly different perspective on what Eve could be.

My Perspective

My perspective, and the one shared by the vast majority of the playerbase I suspect, is to view EVE's storyline and a lore as merely a backdrop to the actions and machinations of the player constructed entities, be they high sec manufacturers or null sec coalitions. I've often said that in EVE the players are the end game content and that roleplaying in EVE doesn't exist because players live the roles and don't need to play-act them.

On the other side, we have Art Hornbie and I'm going to try and paint what I think his perspective is. Imagine watching a show you love for years and getting a chance to visit the set. You walk down the street and decide to walk into a store and discover that inside the door the building is empty. Not just unfurnished, but a shell representing a store and not really a business. And the next house is also fake, like those ghost towns they used to build for nuclear tests. In fact, every building is a placeholder for a real business or home or utility but on the inside they are merely facades, painted to look the real thing but are not.

If you approach EVE as a living and vibrant sci-fi operatic universe filled with millions of souls moving in cohesion or conflict, and the players are mere actors in this milieu, then you are going to be sorely shocked to discover its all a two dimensional backdrop to the players that occasionally gets a new coat of paint or picture but is static and unresponsive the rest of the time. Don't bother looking for a man behind the curtain, the curtain hides only a brick wall.

This disappointment is further compounded by a game that continually gives more power to the players, which if you are a "players are the endgame" proponent is a good thing, but can be frustrating for a newer player who sees only the resources fought over and gobbled up by the string and/or numerous, leaving scraps (if anything) to the casual newer players.

And from that perspective, I can see why Art Hornbie writes what he does. I don't know if I agree with it and I definitely thinking he's tilting at windmills, so I'm patiently waiting for the "I'm Quitting" post albeit with a bit of sadness. Its possible the game Art expected and wants might have been a fun game if the technology could be built to allow it.

But its not EVE.


  1. Good commentary. You're a good writer and a thoughtful person. Good description, too. Made me think of Jim Carrey and his movie, The Truman Show.

    Hope it sparks more discussion and player expressions of Eve's future.

  2. So the question is then, does the lore as CCP presents/uses it hinder or help new players to the game?

    If the lore/fiction/ect doesn't match the game mechanics, then that not only wrecks immersion, but it makes the game all the more counter-intuitive when learning to play the game and trying to understand how it is supposed to work.

  3. Yes. He comes across as very angry and harsh which masks a lot of his points. It is easy to wonder why he is playing and miss that he told you why and what he does like and would like to see more of.

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  5. [comment deleted and edited for errors]

    Art has commented a few times on my blog, which prompted me to read his blog... where I was also prompted to comment... well, to try... I started many, but never finished one… because no one will ever change Art's mind. He wants EVE to be more a Themepark, one that has far less non-consensual PvP, far more NPC directed and created 'content'... one that does not and will never exist.

    The men who created EVE want to make a player driven sandbox where ALL the Devs do is give the players a place to play and the tools to play with... ALL the rest... EVERYTHING, is up to the players... and Art, as far as I can tell... seems to hate that. He also seems to hate PvP… inna PvP game.

    When CCP first created EVE it had to have NPC content but that content was never designed to be awesome or awe inspiring or even very good actually. It was and is a way to make ISK and that was ALL it was ever supposed to be... and it is my impression Art really does not like this but as the years go by more and more of the game WILL be turned over to the players.

    We are the content... PvP, consensual and non, players working together and against each other… this is what CCP has always wanted and what they are going to work towards. No one is going to change their minds anymore than you or I are going to change Arts... You either accept this, or you will spend a lot of energy on something that will NEVER happen... like Art does.

    I too instigate for change... but what I fight for first accepts the direction CCP is GOING to go.

    I want to try to open the game to as many new players as possible. Yes we need better missions and such... to capture more of the large base of Themepark players who are CCPs potential customers. This is why I argue for WiS (new playstyles and places) and improved more adaptable NPC interaction (NPCs who fly PvP fits and tactics) and NPC fleet comps and responses that are not so static and rote and as easy to game as they are now.

    But I want these things in order to get more people INTO the game and so they can have ways of making enough ISK to afford to fly the fits and tactics that give them a real change against the rest of us...

    Arts blog states very clearly, "In the EVE Online universe, I pretty much only affiliate with family and friends... that is why he will never change his mind and why EVE will never be the game he really wants. Cause that is not the game CCP is ever going to make, and he needs to accept that...

    and I'm not gonna wear myself out trying to change his mind, that would be like trying to make Dimsdale believe he should join Goons.

    1. the thing is art represents all those millions of wow players that people seem to think eve needs to survive. Personally I feel eve isn't for everyone. Some people want a rule filled world where they have no freedom or consequence of action. Where the devs take care of everything and its a happy fun place with no conflict. Basically where eve is trying to simulate the horrible things humans do to each other, other games try to remove that. Then humans being humans game the systems and take advantage. And there is nothing ppl.can do in game to stop them. For some reason this theme park crap is more acceptable to the masses. Besides its easier to blame a Dev for making a bad game then actually learning how its played

  6. It feels to me like CCP is currently on a content upswing, which I think is great news for all of us. There's crunchy technical stuff going on, which I obviously love, but also new story, new territory, and new mystery on the way. Which I love even more.

    It's not enough to build the world once and then rarely touch it, and CCP obviously gets that. Unless the environment grows with and responds to the people who live there, it fades to near-irrelevance, and we might as well be hovering in front of a green screen on an empty sound stage somewhere instead of flying around in a dangerous, changeable, interesting universe.

    I think there has to be a balance. In the D&D games I run and play in, we generally want a mix of sandbox and set pieces and plot hooks. It has felt to me in the past like CCP was taking much more of a hands-off approach to content creation, at times to the game's detriment, and I'm glad to see them putting more effort into developing the world.

    EVE's never going to be a pure theme park, and I honestly haven't heard many people saying that's what they want. On the forums, what I *do* hear a lot of is people saying that's what other people are saying they want. :-)

  7. 1) great summary of the guy's gripes
    2) i call bullshit on your idyllic misconception.

    let me point something out so painful you're going to cringe: Remember "The Cult of Tetrimon"? betcha don't. It was a storyline arc that the playerbase found attractive enough to actually try to immerse themselves in it and enjoy feeling a part of eve's official story.
    Guess what happened? CCP, in it's infinite wisdom, axed the storyline and killed off all the main characters arbitrarily.

    CCP hasn't a fucking clue about how to write proper storyline arcs, so this new player is not only naive, but he's missing the point: Like the pocos he despises, one has to adjust to the mechanics that EXIST and not to your own unique perspective of how eve should be...because it'll never be that; because CCP is incompetent.

    So enjoy what the retarded vikings spew out and try to enjoy the game despite that.

    1. ...because CCP is incompetent. & ...retarded vikings...

      (1) if CCP was incompetent EVE would not exist
      (2) CCP is not in the Themepark business, so they don't HAVE to write storyline arc etc.
      (3) they wrote the original ones to give the players
      (a) something to do back in 2003 while the playerbase was building and
      (b) to give them a way to make ISK.

      so, once again...

      (4) You are incompetent for not knowing and accepting the above and for being as much a ragemonkey as Art, just in your own way... IE ...your own unique perspective of how eve should be...

    2. (1) competence today (or lack of) does not equal competence of the past.

      (2) having a story that makes sense to create the world is important for getting people involved. it may not be what keeps them, but having shit make sense helps.

      (3) since they are one of the primary sources of liquidity in the game I would hope they would get some love. Eve is not a place to give or get trust quickly. we all know to fear the unknown (those that survive long enough) CCP might see that 10% number go up if their content held people longer, and gave those who don't come with a group a chance to find one.

      and 4... CCP needs to be in the business of keeping the doors open to assume that they would never screw over their user base if they could grab 10x the number of users is just being naïve about what it means to run a business. so it may be better for both the long term health of the game, and your continued enjoyment to look at the things that would actually keep the carebears around long enough to make a difference. or the change could pass you by.

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  9. [Tur showed me it's cool to delete and edit posts to add in whole missing sentences. Don't post before morning coffee, kiddies]

    "But its not EVE."

    But maybe it should be. If CCP truly want to attract and keep the 90% of people who try EVE then leave then maybe they need to work on the NPC lore and the ability of players to interact with/be a part of more of it. What better way to keep new customers than provide what they come looking for? Familiarity breeds, well, more familiarity. With that people branch out into more diverse activities.

    I spent the first year and a half playing EVE essentially solo doing PvE. This was reinforced by two bad experiences with hisec corps. Now I have my own corp of 75 pilots and an alliance of over 325. I am also one of the first to suggest going to shoot at people for fun and giggles.

    I was a very slow starter and it took my perseverance to get here. Many people have less patience than I. Imagine where we could be if they also got drawn in by the game...

    1. It is not EVE and the guys who created it do not EVER want it to be.
      They want EVE to be as true a sandbox as possible. Player created and driven content, using Ddev created space and tools...

      This is CCPs goal, and none other. They accept that this means EVE will be a niche game, that EVE will never challenge real Themeparks such as WoW... and they never want to.

      They want to make the worlds best and most immersive true sandbox MMO, period. Again this is why I argue for thigs that can happen in EVE under that context... thngs that might just draw in more players and widen the niche a bit.... but EVE will always be a niche game... always.

    2. One big problem with putting so much of the game world into players' hands is quality control. Another is the overall health of the game. An individual content creator may be driven only by making the game fun and profitable for himself and his friends, and the rest of the universe can go hang for all they care. And they may have no clue how to create content people actually want to consume.

      The game world and its content are CCP corporate assets. It's a mistake for them to cede too much control to people who a) don't work for CCP, b) may not have the skills to develop decent game content, and c) don't necessarily have the game's best interests at heart. I'm convinced there are people who'd happily burn the thing to the ground for the lulz.

      Players are a big part of the equation, but the hands on the steering wheel need to be CCP's, IMO. And that includes actual content creation.

    3. It's a mistake for them to cede too much control to people who a) don't work for CCP, b) may not have the skills to develop decent game content, and c) don't necessarily have the game's best interests at heart.

      You can't say that because no one has ever done this before in the context of a Science Fiction MMO. The truest sandbox game I know of is Minecraft. While I don't play it, my dottir does and Minecraft has no story at all... none.

      EVE however could not work that way... there has to be some basis for the people and the ships and, well, everything... which Minecraft does not need in order to work because Minecraft is not a true virtual world, it is a pure sandbox primarily about building stuff while EVE has aspirations to be a true virtuality with all that implies... which requires a human history and background as a framework.

      Players do not have control over the sandbox, only what happens inside it...
      players do not need development skills, the content they create is not developed, it is emergent... it occurs through their actions, interactions and reactions...
      players do not need to have the games interest at heart. And ALL of us create content just by being here. Miners who interact with NO ONE create passive content by being gank targets, by mining and selling ores, or by refining and selling minerals, or by combining them and selling modules and ships...

      Content is created by players logging in... period. I am a content creator and I have never once actively tried or even thought about creating content... I rat, I run sites, I PvP... I do it for ME and I do it for and with my friends... and I do it to make the game fun and profitable for myself and my friends, and the rest of the universe can go hang for all I care.

      I am willing to bet CCP prefers it when the players focus on their own best interests... (though I do hope CCP is wary of those players who would sabotage the game for the meta fame, as you put is so well, the lulz, that could come of that...)

      Like I said, CCP creates the box, and the sand, the players (if CCP does it right) only get to make castles and kick them down creating, passively or actively, the 'content' we experience and read about... There is no 'steering wheel' on the sandbox.

  10. "But its not EVE."
    And what is EvE? What you dream about? What Art dreams about? Or maybe what I dream about? If EvE is really a sandbox, it should be all our dreams together, and not just yours...

  11. What we need is to recognize that EVE is divided in two games set in the same persistent game world, just as EVE and DUST are two games in the same universe.

    A PvE and PvP game. Both are real games but deal with different things and appeal to different players. 10% of the players is interested in PvP EVE. The other 90% wants to play PvE EVE with the connection to PvP EVE to add some risk/adventure or to allow for a change of scenery.

    Btw: I wish players could still see standings of other players towards NPC faction/corporations.

  12. I appreciate your... ummm... perspective. But I don't think you get what Art is complaining about. Art wants EVE to make sense. It currently makes no sense at all. Unfortunately, most EVE players are so buried in the preconceptions that CCP has drilled into us about the game that we can't see EVE doesn't make sense. Art seems to have missed this drilling.

    You can make a list a thousand items long of things in EVE that don't make any kind of sense.

    An example: why can -10 pilots dock in high-sec? At all? Why isn't CONCORD waiting to take them into custody if they try to dock? If a known terrorist walks into a Sears store, the FBI isn't going to wait outside for him to come out.

    Art's skewed perspective asks questions like this, the questions that make other EVE players -- including you, apparently -- defensive about the game. That's why it's easier to dismiss him as a nut.

    1. Yea... there are a LOT of inconsistencies in EVE... I will give you that... and I don't know how to fix em any more than you did man... (but I dint stop talking about it and fighting for it...) yet. =]

    2. Actually Ripard, The Empress loves me, like a lot. Why would she allow CONCORD to violate the sovereignty of the Empire to arrest somebody she likes.

      Real world Theocracy Iran doesn't generally care much what Interpol would like either, so uhm, yeah somebody who is much beloved of the Amarr Empire should be able to dock in a highsec Amarr station even if CONCORD considers them a terrorist.

    3. While "Iran doesn't generally care much what Interpol would like", they won't go against them in cases of clear violation of laws, since they also signed Interpol's constitution. If they would do, they could risk Interpol's total ignoration of Iran related cases. Including attacks against Irani citizens.

      The same could (should) apply to EvE. The Amarr Empire signed CONCORD's constitution, so Amarr citizens get the same "protection" by CONCORD as anyone else. By denying CONCORD to arrest one of it's lawbreaking member, the Empire should risk the decline of CONCORD protection of Amarr citizens. The Empress can protect her citizens in the Empire, but most probably not anywhere else. In the event of CONCORD withdrawing it's protection of amarrians, a joint minmatar-gallente offensive might happen. The Empire is big, with a large amry, but fighting a multi-front war might not be in her interest. Fighting a bloody war on her own territories without pretty much any gain, for just a single capsuleer (who most probably don't care about the Empire anyway, or can change his/her allegiance anytime)?
      At least that should be the case from lore and logical point of view imho. You might think I'm living in a fantasy world, since the real one doesn't work like that, but it should. And there's a good chance you're right in your opinion about me.

    4. I would like the game to make sense. It bugs me the lore, game mechanics, player actions and basic logic/common sense clash so badly at times.

      I don't think it would take a lot of changes to make work. It would take a good rewrite of the lore and some changes as to what can happen where in game.

    5. For those of you looking for a proper fit for CONCORD in Iran, I present the concept of the Mutawwi:

      You're welcome to disobey, but I don't recommend it, because the beatings are rather painful.

  13. When I explain Eve to people who have never tried it I don't really spend more than a minute describing the background story and lore. I try to make them understand that the real stories of Eve are what the players do. The rise and fall of null sec empires, the rampages of notorious pirate groups, and things of that nature. To me Eve is not about the factions, it's about what you can do, how you can do it, and whom you can do it to. Everything else is just window dressing.

    1. Parisma, let me ask you then... If you started EVE and there was no Lore... no backstory, nothing to explain who the Empires were and why this verse was here and well... everything the Lore explains... how would you feel or react to such a game?

      I bet I am wayy in the majority here, but I would want to at least know there IS an explanation for everything... even if I decided not to take the time to read it.

    2. When I explain EVE to someone I never mention anything lore related. I talk about game mechanics like high/low/null sec.

      Lore is needed as a background though.