CCP Should Build its Own EVE Online Kill Board

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.

Forget ZKill, welcome to GKill!

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?

8 thoughts on “CCP Should Build its Own EVE Online Kill Board

  1. mikeazariah

    Absolutely right.

    Above and beyond would be more recognition FROM CCP of the folks who do a lot of the volunteer things like the Eve Uni Wiki and Dotlan and zKill.

    Thing is? look at the wiki ccp once did have and then ceded the duties to Eve Uni. Their history shows them leaning MORE on the third party free labour, not less.

    m

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @mikeazariah – Indeed, you will find a dig at them about the wiki buried in this post. I have not forgotten how they threw their hands up and walked away from that.

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  3. Easy Esky

    With the historical change to Watch Lists and the now Delayed Local – CCP is opting for a “Fog of War” approach. My issue behind published Kill-Mails is the overwhelming amount of data given. If is just for the body count; then the data can be restricted to a hull count and a total isk value. The good thing about zkill, is I am not registered nor will I. It is an opt-out. If CCP did it, would I still have this choice?

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  4. Kryss

    Maybe they should create not just “killboard” but some sort “leaderboard”, with privacy options of course? With things like travel distance, ore mined, npc killed, mission acomplished and so on. Gamers love scores, maybe chance to become champion in other things then “killing” help with retention.

    Don’t know how idea stands with eve paranoid community of course.

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  5. SynCaine

    Right now when a killboard isn’t accurate, people accept it because its a free service by a volunteer.

    A CCP killboard would get people to bitch about the data daily, and blame CCP for everything. It would be bad PR, for something that, while cool, isn’t a must-have for the game (outside of null leadership and bloggers, how many people REALLY care about killboards?)

    What CCP should do instead is reward the people who run these key community sites beyond what they already do (free accounts right?)

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  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Kryss – That would certainly be another option. CCP could do something akin to The Armory that Blizzard runs, where you could get information about what you have been up to that maybe others could not access without consent. CCP has certainly tried to copy some things WoW has done, like achievements. But they never quite get there.

    @SynCaine – I think you would be surprised at how many people keep an eye on their kill board. Certainly anybody who does PvP regularly looks… and they are liars if they say different.

    As I said in a previous post, there is a social convention where being seen to care about ones kill board is viewed as being gauche, and anybody who talks about a “green kill board” is roundly mocked. But people still care. That there has been a long standing grumble about getting logi pilots on kills seems to bear that out.

    One of the issues drives interest in kill boards is that in a fight only the person who gets the final blow gets the information about the kill, the “kill mail” as it used to be. Even in if you’re out in a small gang, the odds are against you getting that final blow. So the only way to go look up what happened or how the target was fit is to go look at the kill board. Another example of CCP making information difficult. After a fight you may want to know what happened, why the target lasted so long or went down so quickly or how much you contributed. Among other things, there is a bit of a DPS meter aspect to it.

    Also, to a certain extent, a kill board is something of an “I was there” marker. This doesn’t matter so much when you kill some frigate on a gate, but when you blow up somebody’s Keepstar… well, there is a reason that we all piled in after midnight US time to take a shot at the one in M-OEE8. It is scratching your mark on the history of the game.

    And there is also the historical data aspect of it. The current version of the Zkill software gets you a summary of your combat record, showing you which ships you’re been flying for how many kills and such.

    I am all in favor of CCP doing more to support these sites. But, at the end of the day, a resource that a chunk of the community has come to rely upon is run by somebody who does it mostly out of the goodness of their heart and love of the game. That can change. People get tired, burn out, have changes in their life, and walk away. How many popular WoW addons, something considerably easier to maintain, have fallen by the wayside due to that? What happens then?

    As I noted, EVE-kill disappeared a few years back and I didn’t hear a word in advance. One day the site just wasn’t there. Battle Clinic announced they were shutting down and have been gone for over three years now. ZKillboard is kind of it now. If Squizz burns out a lot of data will no longer be accessible to the community and CCP will feel a pinch then.

    I honestly don’t think CCP will ever do any of this, roll up their own kill board, make a useful map on their own, or even provide more support to the people who run these things. But I write about a bunch of things that I think will never come about, and occasionally they do. Not because I wrote about them specifically, but because a bunch of other people also agitated for them as well. Maybe I can help encourage that sort of thing.

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  7. Estria Del (@del_estria)

    Over the weekend, I would say my gameplay was affected 10% by the local blackout and 90% by the loss of zKill/Dotlan. Trying to process HR apps by people joining your corporation is difficult when you can’t check their activity on a killboard.

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