Over the weekend we were once again reminded about how much CCP and the EVE Online community depend on unpaid third party developers for much of the game’s knowledge infrastructure. As part of the null sec blackout both ZKillboard and DOTLAN EVE Maps hid data that we have grown accustomed to having, with ZKillboard going completely dark for the weekend. This led to glee, annoyance, and reactive behavior by various parties.
When Monday morning rolled around the data blackout was removed and the sites returned to normal and, while it was a cute stunt to hype the blackout idea, it also made the point that information we have grown very used to accessing depends on the goodwill of people neither beholding to us nor CCP.
Squizz of ZKillboard and Wollari of DOTLAN both deserve our gratitude and respect for what they have contributed to the EVE Online community, but part of me has long felt that their stepping up largely came about due to CCP’s failure to do so.
EVE Online is past its 16th birthday and CCP has yet to create an in-game map that is half as useful as DOTLAN. (Or, for that matter, GARPA or the PDF maps that one guy made back in the day or even the old book of maps from EON Magazine, errors therein included.) In fact, they managed to create a new in-game map that was even less useful than the original one.
How do you manage that? Seriously, WTF CCP?
So you can see why third parties step in and end up filling an important role for the New Eden community.
Still, the blackout behavior was, as I started with, a reminder of how much we depend on these third parties and how much things would hurt if they got tired of their mostly thankless tasks and decided to move on. And, while I hate to get all “EVE is dying!” the game is old and has seen better days and higher PCUs. So I think it might be time for CCP to step up and start owning some of the services to which we’ve grown accustomed.
And my proposal is that they start with an official kill board.
Why a kill board?
Well, for openers, they have demonstrated that they cannot create a useful map… or, Lord help us… a UI comprehensible by mere mortals. But a kill board is just a web site… they can do those, I’ve seen them… which displays data drawn from a database.
Then there is the fact that we’re pretty much down to one community-wide kill board. EVE Kill is long gone… remembered via some dead links here on the blog… and Battle Clinic likewise shut down back in 2016.
Also, the software used for ZKillboard is open source, so they could start with that.
The whole thing could be setup at the data center in the UK, so it would have direct access to all the information needed to populate it. And, after a modest start CCP could expand upon it, adding features and reports.
The upside would be a single reliable source for kill information as well an opening to perhaps a more advanced version of a kill board. There has long been talk about getting support ships like logi on kill mails. I am a logi pilot and I am against CCP wasting time trying to get logi on kill mails. If CCP ran the one true kill board, it might end up being easier for them to pull data in order to create battle reports that would list out all participants, including logi, boosters, and whoever. And, if CCP ran it they could also tune the amount and type of data that gets posted.
The downsides though… well, it would likely take up a dev resource that might otherwise be working on something else, and they would have to maintain it over time. As a company they couldn’t even maintain the wiki they used to have. A lot of people don’t like kill boards for a variety of reasons. And, as attractive as a single source of truth kill board and battle report tool might sound, the flip side is that it also becomes a an intel tool with perfect recall. None of the kill boards have ever come close to 100% coverage, and when there were three big kill boards running they were at times comically at odds with each other. But with CCP holding all the data, they could lay bare every kill whether you wanted or not.
I don’t want to put Squizz out of business. But I also don’t want to be left with the anarchy of no community kill board if he tires of the work or the lack of gratitude from the community.
Does this seem reasonable? Or should CCP tackle something else, or maybe just leave well enough alone for now?