The Demise of BattleClinic

One of the notable thing about EVE Online is its dependence on its community to make the game accessible.  If all the web sites, podcasts, forums, addons, and what not related to WoW suddenly disappeared, you could still play the game pretty well.  There are probably a couple of addons you would really miss (Healium and Master Plan for me), but I would wager that a lot of subscribers have none installed anyway.

But if you took away the EVE Online ecosystem… I think we’d have to recreate it to carry on.  DOTLAN EVE Maps and zKillboard and EVE Fitting Tool and Pyfa and EVE Mon and all manner of sites and forums carry information that a lot of us feel we NEED to play the game.  And so you have to ponder what it means when a bit of that ecosystem fades away.

In this case BattleClinic, long a part of that ecosystem, has shut down.  The site is still there, but its functionality has effectively been put in standby mode.  You can poke at bits of it and see things, but there are bits that are clearly powered down.  The kill board stops at December 19 and you can no longer look up pilots and such.

BattleClinic

Most of us probably know the site mostly from its association with the indispensable EVEMon utility, which it has hosted for years now.  On of my first posts back in 2006 was about EVEMon, and it linked to BattleClinic.

But BattleClinic, which supported various other games since its launch in 2001, including the remaining Star Fleet Command community back when I first saw the site, was also a source of information.  It hosted a forum, had a section for ship fitting where you could propose fits and people would rate and comment on them, and ran its own kill board.

They actually did a big revamp of the site about a year back which added some nice touches.  It allowed me to write a post about which ships I had gotten on the most kill mails with.  Their kill board, which in some ways seemed to be the odd duck amongst the big three, had a number of cool features.

Back in November though it was announced they were going to throw in the towel.

November 29, 2015

We are closing the site in December 2015 and will archive it and Griefwatch for 6 months.
BattleClinic was run, designed, maintained and staffed by 2 part time people: SghnDubh and MrCue, with volunteer support from many fantastic moderators over the years.

It’s been a fun and occasionally frustrating time, and we hope that you’ve enjoyed our offerings. We were the first and most innovative major killboard for Eve, and the first site to allow players to share Eve loadouts. We provided Evemon a permanent home and assisted many other projects. We were the first fansite to display a booth at Fanfest.

We hope you continue to enjoy Eve Online and we wish the founders, staff, and of course the players well. Fight smart, fly safe.

And so it goes.  I did not see anything about why they decided to shut down, but one can make a few easy guesses, not the least of which is that the world, the internet, online gaming, and no doubt the founders themselves, have all changed a lot over the last 15 years.

As noted above, the site itself aligned itself with a number of games over the years.  The archivist completionist me would like to create a definitive list, but then lazy me steps in and mentions effort and how we could be doing something else.

BattleClinic banner circa 2011

BattleClinic banner circa 2011

But poking through the site itself and shuffling through the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive, I can at least list out the following:

I had to look up some of those games… and some I looked up and couldn’t find anything about them.  I am still not sure what Galaxy Online was, only that there is a Galaxy Online 2.

It looks like things started out with Freelancer and Star Fleet Command, but once down the EVE Online path they went, forever did it dominate their destiny.  Consume them, it did, until the site itself was left only with EVE Online. save for a few mentions about copyrights and trademarks.

Not that being an EVE Online site was a bad thing.  As I noted, it is a game that requires… almost demands… an ecosystem of support sites.  There was room for a lot of people in that pool.  And with its API and the ability for sites to make a little money through selling Time Codes, there was clear support from CCP for the EVE Online ecosystem.

It also helped that, from 2003 into 2013 or so, EVE Online was a growing game, bringing in a steady stream of new players who would set out on the internet in search of something to help them figure out what in the hell was going on in New Eden.

It just isn’t that time any more.  And it certainly isn’t 1999 or 2001 or 2005 any more, when you could throw together a half-assed site like the original Alakazam site for EverQuest and become a sensation and sell your site for a mint.  We are in a different age.

I’d like to thank SghnDubh and MrCue for doing what they did over the years and sticking with it as long as they did.  I think I may have even said hello to one or both of them at GDC one year… 2007 or 2008 I think… when they setup a booth to try and attract some dev attention in order to support more games.  I just wish I had found the site back when Star Fleet Command was still a viable thing, as I used to love that game back in the day.

As for EVEMon, I read somewhere… and I cannot find it now, which is typical me and explains why I write stuff down and bookmark things… that so long as you have the current version, which is 2.2.2, it will update correctly with the next change.  Development of EVEMon will go on.

So that is my post.  BattleClinic, 2001-2015.  It was originally going to be part of a Friday bullet point post, and then I hit the 500 word mark and decided just to run with it.

Is there anything special you remember about the site?

12 thoughts on “The Demise of BattleClinic

  1. zaphod6502

    I used Battleclinic for ship fit ideas, EVEMon, and when I was still playing EVE for timecodes. It was a great site. Sad to see it go but I give a big thank you to the two people who maintained and operated the site.

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  2. Dinsdale Pirannha

    It truly blows me away the dedication, even obsession, that so many 3rd party dev’s have for the game. I can’t even fathom the effort these people put in. Whether their work is appreciated or not seems to be an afterthought for many of them.

    My reputation as someone who dislikes the CCP devs and their orverlords is well known. But I have the utmost respect, gratitude, and even awe for the devs of BattleClinic, and their peers, in the so many sites that keep Eve afloat.

    I too would like to thank SghnDubh and MrCue and all that worked before them for BattleClinic, and all the other sites, past and present, that provide the player base with essential tools, even if CCP does not acknowledge the value added you bring to the game.

    Kudos to you, and safe travels.

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  3. Anabaric (@Anabaric_EVE)

    Will be sadly missed by many, myself included, I worked as the community manager for a few years before my EVE retirement. The database of killmails, stretched all the way back to the very first killmails in EVE Online far earlier than the alternatives, in early 2015 was larger and more comprehensive than any other public killboard. This collection was well over 25,000,000 mails and expanding at an exponential rate. As you can imagine the server(s) running the site were very expensive to maintain. The site was bankrolled by deepspace supplies ETC / plex shop. Sales of ETC fell in the wake of somerblink and it’s many clones which were allowed to give isk for RL cash. I haven’t spoken to Chris and Steve recently but I know that the site was already starting to lose profitability back when I was working there, if that trend continued then it was an inevitable outcome.

    Good night Battleclinic.

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  4. MrHooke

    I’m speechless. I was browsing it for nostalgia. I am married now with a family but I always reminisce on the days when I had my apartment playing Eve-online till 4:00am. and uploading kills to battle clinic. Thanks so much for posting this explanation. I think CCP did not realize what a gem they had in that website.

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  5. Paul

    So absolutely sad.

    I used battleclinic now and again to review old kills (don’t play eve much) and to remember the wicked good times I had with those involved.

    When I started playing, battleclinic was the ‘must use’ tool to squeeze out the best in a fit before committing the rare Isk as a noob.

    It was by 2012 a photo album I used to remember old friends…will be missed and as already stated it must’ve been quite the obsession to put out such a well known resource for gamers. Will be missed for years to come…

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  6. UnicornsRock

    I think the reason why the tools for EVE Online are rather limited is the fact that they have to be offered for free. Well last I checked hosting isn’t free. And the time to Develop said tools isn’t exactly free either. CCP wants to be the one making all the cash on EVE, therefore, it will never have really nice tools.

    Some fellow Industrialists asked for a tool, we kicked around some ideas. The UI mirrored that of the ingame UI fairly well. I had software that could consume player data off the CCP Web Services using the APIs for authentication, the static data dumps for lookup tables and the EVE Market data. Such that you could see everything associated to those APIs in a tree structure that broke down into Region -> Solar System -> Station -> Hangar -> etc. Was working to aggregate and work in the market prices into the UI on mouse hovering inventory items. Eventually features such as contract price quoting for entire fitted ships, no need to break out a calculator or a spreadsheet, this would account for everything. Eventually maybe work in a feature like EDI – lets say I produce a tier 5 product but I only gather half of the tier 4 products that go into that tier 5, have the system auto dispatch a purchase order/notification to my supplier with perfect logistics (What, When, Where).

    That was just a few things we wanted to work toward from the get go, who knows what else might have evolved from that…. Did I mention hosting isn’t free?

    EVE Online is awesome in concept, but a fail in practice…

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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @UnicornsRock – “I think the reason why the tools for EVE Online are rather limited…”

    I have to stop you right there, because I would have to say that the tools people have made for EVE Online go well beyond most other MMOs I have encountered. Probably only WoW addons go further. Blizzard, by the way, also won’t let you straight up sell addons or utilities.

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