Tag Archives: Community

Making Friends and Influencing Capsuleers the Gevlon Goblin Way!

A couple years back Gevlon left the warm, themepark embrace of World of Warcraft to try his hand at the wild west that is EVE Online.  This was a match made in the heavens.  He tore into the game in his usual way… heaping scorn and derision on morons and slackers.

Not green in EVE

Not green in EVE

His start was a little rough… or at least a little rough to watch, as his lecturing tone pointed towards long known truths as though he were the first to discover them.  We all have those moments of discovery… just as a blogger you tend to announce them to an audience that is often a few pages ahead of you.

Some predicted from these early posts that he wouldn’t last long, but I always knew that he would be hooked on New Eden.  It is a Goblin’s delight, a game with no actual game except for what you define for yourself.

At some point, as is natural, Gevlon came into contact with Goons, which was one of those “Sparks, meet my friend kindling!” moments.  Gevlon’s demeanor is exact match, if you were looking for something to provoke Goon mockery.  A conflict was born, filled with ISK and stilted rhetoric.

Gevlon eventually decided to use the huge wealth has had amasses to fight the Goons.  During the Fountain War he threw in with TEST, paying them to let him join in.  Eventually he founded Grr Goonswarm in order to finance people willing to oppose the Goons.  Forever war it would be.  He has a summery up of the first year, and even mockingly offered Goonswarm an option to surrender. (The option and it’s reply is covered here.)

And you think, in a community where two of the main news sites can be loosely defined as “pro-Goon” and “anti-Goon” and the Goons already had plenty of enemies, that forming a coalition of the willing would be easy.  But that does not account for Gevlon.  It is reported that he can be trying to deal with.  He had problems with TEST back in Fountain.  He has had defections from his mercenary ranks for various reasons.  One of the ISBoxer stealth bomber pilots flipped sides, stopped camping YA0, and came along on a Reavers deployment because it seemed like more fun.

ISK is not everything.

And then something new came down the grapevine today which, if authentic, is a double punch of hilarity.  From Tora Bushido, head of the Marmite Coalition, it takes issue with Gevlon’s claims.  The killer here is that Marmite was already declaring war on null sec corporations in order to hunter their logistical operations.  Gevlon was paying them to keep CFC alliances on the list.  But he still managed to annoy them and now they want compensation.

I suppose we will hear about this from Gevlon if it turns out to be true.

—–

Gevlon : You’re Fired!
From: Tora Bushido
To: Gevlon Goblin, [and a few other interested parties]

Gevlon,

Of course we are doing these wars for free, as we make 0 isk on them. You are getting the service of killing your enemies for cost price. You know any businesses who would sell you anything for cost price? Exactly, none of them would. Not even the non-profit ones. For someone who is good with numbers, you can act pretty dumb. And we are doing this without any extra effort? Who do you think is paying for the ship losses we have every month because of these wars? Yes, we are, not you. So don’t give me this crap.

We have tolerated your blogs long enough, where you keep telling everyone how you are ‘destroying the CFC’. I call bullshit. You havent done shit. If anyone has done anything, it was Marmites doing the killing. It’s like buying a painting and telling everyone what a great artist you are. We knew this had zero impact on the CFC, but we were enjoying the killing, smacktalk, blogs, content. It’s time you get your wake up call.

Price just went up to 15B / week. You not willing to pay it, fine, we’ll go talk to the CFC and see if they want to support the wars against BL, Mordus, TRI, etc. and we will cancel your grrr….Goonies project. You can have it any way you want.

Go luck with finding people who work for free.

Tora

Ps. You are fired!

—–

Gevlon has his response to this posted.

The letter is being covered over at TMC, where I am sure the comments will be more… interesting.

MMO Blogesphere Feed – Version 3

This was going to be something for the top section of the month in review, but it ended up being a bit longer than I would like, so I’ll just complain about WordPress.com or something on the 30th.

So over there in the side bar on the right hand side of the blog, there is my latest attempt to create a unified feed for a small corner of the MMO blogesphere.  This is, of course, driven entirely from jealousy at the wonderful blog roll widget that people using Google’s Blogger platform have access to.  WordPress.com will never give us anything like this because, as I have been told by a designated representative of the organization, blog rolls are a thing of the past.

Such is life.

Now, there are any number of ways with a sufficient application of effort, technology, and/or money, I could enable a comparable feature on my own side bar.

Hell, I could just move to the Blogger platform.  Simple and done.  I just happen to like just about everything else about WordPress.com better than Blogger, up to and including the whole not being an insignificant part of Google and thus always in danger of being discarded for some new vision of the future or if Sergey is having a bad day.  WordPress.com and I disagree on any number of things, but being a blogging platform is their thing.  Plus my blog is too big to export at this point, so I am stuck with them unless I want to start again fresh.

Anyway, while I could throw money and ~effort~ at the problem, I am both cheap and lazy.  So I have sought out solutions that were both low effort and low cost through various iterations of the project.  The story so far…

Version 0

My original plan was just to stick the VirginWorlds feed in the side bar.  That was a fine solution back in the day.  Viva Brent!

But since about 2009 or so, when Brent wandered off with other priorities in his life, it has been less and less of an ideal.  The site is still up and running, and its accompanying feed is still in my side bar.  However, the site no longer gets updated with new blogs any more, so the feed itself tends to be dominated by Massively.  Not that I dislike Massively in general, but I want to promote my fellow bloggers and not a commercial site.  So I started looking for a way to add a new, more blogger focused feed.

Version 1

Back before the advent of Google+, Google Reader was a wonderful thing.  It was fast and simple, tied in with your Google account, and generally the standard across the board for online RSS readers.  The only reason not to use it was fear of the monster Google might become.

And among its many features was the ability to flag items from your reading list to be posted to an RSS feed.  And so I used the WordPress RSS feed widget to put that feed in my side bar, flagging new stories for inclusion every day.  This was probably a bit more “hands on” than I wanted… somewhat akin to the early days of VirginWorlds, when each link on the site represented a manual submission… but it worked.

The came Google+.

google-plus-logo-640

Google proceeded to wreck Google Reader in both form and function in a transparent effort to get people to stop using it in favor of Google+.  Amongst the feature casualties was the RSS output.  So while Google was busy kicking me off of Google+ for using a pseudonym (then quietly asking me to return) and generally annoying people by forcing integration with other services (Remember when your YouTube account HAD to be linked to Google+ for about a week? People were pissed.) they managed to alienate just enough Google Reader users to be able to claim the service was in decline and to shut it down.

Google Reader had fallen so low that when they finally turned it off, the resulting diaspora of users literally swamped all of the competing services to the point of making them unusable due to excess load.  I had to swap to Feedly at a too late date when The Old Reader staff threw their hands in the air at the onslaught and walked away. (They later returned, realizing that they could, you know, make money at this, but I had already moved to Feedly.)

Which is to say, it was still pretty damn popular.  Just not popular enough.  That was also the fate of Google+ which, when it did not eclipse Facebook (and dear Lord, Facebook only looks good when compared to Google+, which is simply awful when it comes to usability) was “De-emphasized” in favor of other initiatives.  Like finally closing down Orkut and figuring out exactly where the line is between “evil” and “not evil.”

Version 2

So, even before the end of Google Reader I was out looking for an alternative.  I tinkered with a few things, including Yahoo Pipes.  Pipes actually looked promising, but I could never get it to create output that would work correctly with the WordPress RSS widget.

Eventually I found a site called RSS Mix.

They don't really have a logo...

They don’t really have a logo…

The service was free… so it met that requirement… and was relatively low maintenance.  Basically, you gave it a list of RSS feed URLs and it would mash all those together and give you an output URL for the combined RSS feed.  And it mostly worked.

It was a bit of a pain to maintain.  Every time I wanted to update the list of blog feeds to draw from I had to submit the whole list again for a new RSS feed, which meant keeping revisions on hand locally.

It also wasn’t terribly reliable.  About half the time I would hit the blog, the feed to fail to load.  That was irksome, but when it did load it did the job.  The service just wasn’t meant to be polled every time somebody showed up at the site, and the WordPress.com widget doesn’t keep a cached version or anything.  So a lot of the time people just saw this:

FeedDown

Then a few people began to note that something about the whole thing was causing ping-backs on Blogger based blogs, including one serious “stop doing that!” complaint, at which point I pulled the widget and started looking for a new solution.

Version 3

I played around with some different options.  Mail Chimp offers a free RSS consolidation feature.  However, it appears to be completely static.  It takes the URLs you hand it, makes a feed, and then never updates it.  Not terribly useful, but it was free so what do you expect.

Feedly sent out an update about a site called Zapier.  If you were a Feedly Pro subscribe, and I am, you could take advantage of the data integration tools that Zapier offered.  This included some RSS feed tools.  I got that to work, but to have more than a couple blogs in the feed I would have to subscribe to Zapier as well, which wanted monthly fee in the subscription MMO range.  That failed the cheapskate test.

Eventually I stumbled onto a site called IFTTT, which is short for “If This Then That.”  This was mentioned at one point as a service that could access Feedly Pro features.  It could take output from Feedly and turn it into something else, I just wasn’t sure what.

I signed up for an account, which was free and thus right in my price range, and started tinkering with it.  I couldn’t get it to output directly to anything in WordPress that seemed useful, at least not for a side bar widget, but I found that,  among the things it could output to, was a site called Pinboard.

Pinboard is described as a “social bookmarking” site, akin to what Delicious was at one time.  I had never used Delicious, but reading through the descriptions at Pinboard, it could take bookmark input and would turn it into an RSS feed output.  That sounded like the ticket.  However, in order to keep spam and such down, Pinboard charges an up front, one time fee to join the service.  It is based on how many people use the service already, basically you have to pay a penny for everybody who got there ahead of you.  My total to join was $10.46, which was well within the cheapskate budget if it worked out. (I suspect that they would change that pricing policy if a lot of people started showing up.  I think a $10 barrier to entry is fine, but if it had been $35 or $50, I might have walked on by.)

Between the three services, I was able to create a rule that takes updates from my MMO Blogs category in Feedly (making me glad I set up categories when I started using the service) and posts them to my Pinboard account.

FeedlyPinboard

And it basically worked.  Items showed up in Pinboard and they were tagged correctly so I could pull them from an RSS feed associated with that tag.  All I had to do was get the data being passed to work with the WordPress RSS widget.  That turned out to be the tricky bit.  It took a bit of trial and error to see what worked and what did not, something that went a bit slowly because I had to wait until somebody posted something new before the feed would update and pass along my changes.  Ideally I wanted something similar to what the Blogger side bar widget offered, with Blog Name, Post Name, and how long ago it was published.  Eventually, paring down the data being passed to the bare minimum, I got the WordPress widget to display what I wanted.

The IFTTT Recipe

The IFTTT Recipe

And I ended up with something that is mostly what I want.

It doesn’t put a nice little icon next to each blog title, the format or title and blog name differs depending on which service is being used, and the the published time is displayed as an absolute in Pacific Time rather than a friendly “2 hours ago” sort of way.  But it mostly works and, now that the one time expense is out of the way, it is both cheap and easy to maintain.

Furthermore, it is flexible.  I can sort our who goes into the feed easily, by just moving things around in Feedly categories.  I moved some of the blogs that are in the VirginWorlds feed to a special “no feed” category, since I still have that feed in my side bar as well.  Trying to limit double exposure there, which mostly affects Syp and Tobold at this point.  I can create additional RSS feeds from my Feedly account.  I am looking into making one for EVE Online blogs for my other site and another for official game company feeds to put somewhere on the sidebar here. (There is currently an experimental version down at the very bottom of the side bar, if you scroll way down.)

So, mission accomplished!

Yeah, But Why Bother?

So all of that work… and all of those words… later, you might well ask why I deemed this important enough to pursue at all.

Yes, there was a certain amount of envy that Blogger based blogs had a feature that WordPress.com hosted bloggers lacked.  But that envy was based on the empirical observations that such a dynamic side bar widget actually attracts clicks.  Both the stats related to who sends traffic here and where people here click out to, a dynamic side bar widget attracts attention.  People will click on something that is both identified and visibly new or updated.

I can see from my own outbound traffic that almost nobody clicks on the static blogroll on a daily basis.  But with the new feed up in the side bar, I can see multiple clicks going to specific posts that have popped up and been displayed.

I did it because it is an effective way to send people to other blogs in our little community.

Blaugust in Review

As August fades into our collective rear-view mirror, so too does Blaugust, Belghast’s event to drive away the typical August malaise.

Blagust_No_BR

Fifty blogs set out to post at least once a day for the duration of the month.  Thirty made it to that goal.

Like many of the other bloggers, there were bits that pushed me to post more.  If you look at my archives, you will see that 31 posts in a month is generally no big deal.  I meet or exceed that number most months.  But I usually do not post on Saturday or Sunday.  It just isn’t part of my normal routine.  I will often start posts, take and edit screen shots, and actually play the games I write about, but getting together an actual post and pressing the “publish” button just doesn’t happen all that often.

A number of us jumped on a couple of common post themes to help us along through the month.  There were the ten questions about WoW, the gamer quiz, the question about how you ended up with your blog’s name.  I didn’t run with that last one as I already had too many posts and, honestly, there isn’t a good story behind the name.  It just seemed amusing at the time.

In the end, I made it.  I posted every day in August.  I put up a total of 39 posts, 37 of which met the basic criteria for the event.  (I could have made those other two fit… I think one would have met the ten sentences mark by merely cutting a couple of my awkwardly phrased ones into a few simple declarative sentences.)  And I linked those 37 in the Anook community that Belghast set up for the event, my 37 mixing in with the more than 700 posts so linked.

A number of bloggers took some time… often using their last post in August/Blaugust… to sum up how things went and what they learned.  Here are a few that I saw.

There are still some prizes and badges to be awarded to those who participated and to those who completed the challenge of Blaugust.  When there is an overall summery, I will link it.  Wait, here it is.

I definitely found some new blogs to read as part of the whole event.  It was fun.

Meanwhile, I figured that I would link to all the blogs that threw their hats in the ring and at least accepted the Blaugust challenge.  You will find them after the cut.

Continue reading

World of Warcraft – 10 Years 10 Questions

Over at ALT:ernative chat there is a survey request centered around the impending World of Warcraft ten year anniversary.  Since bloggers do it for an audience, I will answer the questions in the form of a blog post (as bloggers were encouraged to do.)  You are encouraged to respond as well.  Please go to the site linked for recommended response methods.

Victory over VanCleef

Victory over VanCleef 2006

1.Why did you start playing Warcraft?

Back in the day a number of people I knew from EverQuest started cajoling me to come over and take a look at WoW.  They had left EverQuest, spent a month or so in EverQuest II, then hopped to WoW, never to return to either SOE title in any serious way.  Meanwhile, Gaff and I and a pack of TorilMUD players stuck with EQII.  In March of 2005 I gave in to the calls to come try WoW, as EQII was having problems and Vanguard wasn’t ready yet.

I did not like WoW all that much on my first venture, leaving after two months.  A few months after that our EQII guild pretty much abandoned the game and came to WoW.  That was fun, but we were a bit of a group without a rudder.  It wasn’t until late 2006, just after I started this blog, that the regular instance group got together and began its journey through Azeroth (and a few other games).

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

I rolled up a dwarven paladin on the Hyjal server, and that character was part of the reason that WoW did not stick with me initially.  I didn’t like the dwarven character models (I’ve since grown used to them), I didn’t like the dwarven starter area (snowy zones are all just bland white), and I didn’t like the Paladin (this was the age of no ranged pull for paladins, so a lot of running to mobs only to have some mage zap it before you got there).  That character has long since been deleted.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

Faction choice was entirely dictated by what my friends were playing.  I have since played characters on both factions, but everybody I knew was playing alliance when I started.

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

When our standing five person group killed Archaedas in Uldaman for the first time back in 2007.  It was our third run, it was after midnight, we had wiped already, and we won just by the skin of our teeth.

The Moment of Victory

The Moment of Victory

I found that I was shouting loud enough after the fight that I woke up my wife in the other room.

There have been lots of other memorable times, but for some reason that particular fight stands out even seven years later.

5. What is your favorite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

The five person group content, the single group dungeon crawl.  We have a standing group that has been doing that content off and on since 2006.  That is the structure around which the game revolves for me.  I do lots of other things in game, but that is the baseline.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

Not really.  I used to have a very same-ish leveling path for characters back in the day, but Cataclysm and other changes to WoW have killed that off.  Now I am all over the place.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

I have been playing off and on since March 2005, but over too many characters on half a dozen servers such that I am not going to go add them all up.  (Plus that might be a very scary number.)  In that time there have been about 20 months where I have not been subscribed, most of that coming after Cataclysm.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

About 60% of the time I only look the objectives, which sometimes gets me in trouble.  I always seem to not pick up the magic dingus next to the quest giver that you need to finish the quest at the far end.  You fail to read, you pay the price.  If a quest is clearly related to the story being told in the zone, I usually stop and read it.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

Nothing significant.  There are always plenty of, “I wish I knew this before I set out…” sorts of moments, but that goes for anything and they sometimes lead to the more memorable situations.  Failure is often more interesting that success.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

WoW itself?  Not a lot in general, as I was playing online games for nearly 20 years before it came along.  I do play with my daughter and my mother, so there is something of an out-of-game bonding that comes along with the shared experience of the game, which is great.  My daughter and I can go on for hours in the car talking about WoW, though that does drive my wife mad at times.  And there are lots of fine memories.  I even did a video at one point about the first year of our regular instance group.

All in all, a fine game.  Four and a half stars, would play again.

You can find a listing of other blog, video, and podcast responses to these questions here.

Hot Blaugust Nights

August is in the wings, waiting to bring with it the usual end of summer ennui on the gaming front.

Nothing new ships.  Very little gets announced.  The releases we are looking forward to are generally somewhere off in autumn.  At times it feels like you should join half of France and just take August off.

Over at Tales of the Aggronaut, Belgahst has proposed something to help bloggers get through August.

He calls it Blaugust.

Blagust_No_BR

The basic idea is simple: Put up a post a day on your blog during the month of August.

There are of course rules as to what counts, but to sweeten the deal there is also a community cross-linking thing going on, some potential prizes, and some topic suggestions that you can use or ignore at your pleasure.

Belghast explains it all in The Gospel of Blaugust, including the whole Anook aspect of things, which I am still pondering.  Go check it out.

Now, I suspect the immediate reaction from some will be that more posts are not necessarily better.

True enough.

But over the long term… just about eight years at this point… I have often found that longer “thinking” posts sometimes get overtaken by events and look horribly naive or just uninformed even a year later.  (Granted, that might just be me or just the things I write.)

On the other hand, some things that I have hesitated even to post, things like a game launched, an expansion shipped, some numbers were announced, or the ever amusing quote of the day, turn out to be nuggets of information I fall back on later.  Nothing like having a library of past Smed quotes when he is off on his latest bout of enthusiasm.

Basically, never stop posting.

Anyway, we shall see.  I come pretty close to posting once a day as it is, and Belghast looks like he’ll give us a pass if we get in 31 posts during the month, so I might actually be able to play video games on the weekends still rather than writing about them!

Newbie Blogger Initiative 2014 Starts Today

Over at the official, permanent NBI HQ site, the kick off for the 2014 campaign has begun.  There are community building activities planned for people who want to start new blogs as well as current bloggers who want to help a new crop join their ranks.

NBI_Logo_450

I am not planning to do much myself as part of the 2014 NBI campaign.  I’ll join in a group blogging topic if one comes up, but I haven’t signed on for anything in particular.

Mostly that is because I am not sure I have much to add… certainly nothing new since last year.   Or the year before.  And for all my talk about community, I am bad at community.

I wrote a post almost two years back that had nine items I thought were useful to consider if you going to start a blog.  And of those, I only felt one was important.  I’ll repeat that one, so you don’t even have to go back and look at my old post.

Be The Blog You Want to Read

Even that seems to be sort of a “duh” statement.

But seriously, I presume that you have decided to jump into MMO blogging after having read some other MMO blogs.  And those blogs have probably made an impression on you.  And I bet some of those sites had aspects you did not like.  Don’t do those things.  Your blog should be the example you want others to follow.

Anyway, if you want to start a blog, the NBI is a fine way to get some support and advice on blogging.  The only thing I would flag is that most everything is opinion based on what has worked for that individual.  Certainly my own list linked above is pretty much what has worked for me.  It may not work for you.  Hell, you might not even want to write a blog you want to read for all I know!

As an example, over at Contains Moderate Peril, there is a post up about starting a gaming blog that has a very heavy emphasis on writing as a craft.  Excellent stuff in that post.  If you are starting a blog and you want to be taken seriously as a writer… say you want to become a paid games journalist or find a way into the game industry… you should live those rules.  They are excellent.

But I wouldn’t say they were strictly necessary to be a blogger.

Liore of Herding Cats once asked me on Twitter how I find the time to write so many posts.  My response was:

…Low standards. I cannot emphasize how much just wanting to write something, versus wanting to write something good, helps out.

It made an impression on her, and has worked for me because if I spent the time to work at my blog like it was my profession, I would drop to about 10% of my current output.  Instead of a few quality posts, I push out a lot of crap. (Unfortunate comparison intentional.)

Most of what you read here is banged out and posted in pretty much a first draft state after something like an hour or less of work.  You can pretty much assume I have pushed the “publish” button too soon for any post.

Sometimes I have a post that sits for a while and I add to it over time, but that often ends up looking just as bad.  My thoughts change over time, and you can see, sometimes in the same paragraph, or even the same sentence, where I went away and came back with a different impression of what I was about.  And the typo density remains the same.

So my stuff tends to be short bits… short being a relative term here, I seem to be able to bang out a thousand words pretty quickly… that often reflect not only something that happened recently, but how I feel about it at that moment in time.  And that latter can change over time.  Part of what is interesting about the blog for me is charting my own opinion on things, my focus, my enthusiasms, and how they shift and change.

So it is important for me to say what I want to say when I am as close to the moment as I can possibly be.

That said, I do go back and fix my typos.  I am embarrassed by them.  I find them distracting.  I do not want them to be there.  I am just incapable of seeing them until a post has been published.

As an alternative to the CMP post linked above, there is a more philosophical post on starting a blog over at ALT:ernative Chat.

My point is really that you shouldn’t take anybody very seriously who says you must do “X” to be a blogger.  The blog will be your own and, if you stick with it and enjoy it, you will work out what is important to you.

Finally, I will say that my only real regret as a blogger is that I did not start sooner.  I really wish I had a chronicle that went back to the launch of EverQuest II, or to the early days of EverQuest, or my time back in TorilMUD, or my days back in the 80s playing games like Stellar Emperor or Air Warrior back on GEnie. (Of course, there were no blogs back then, but you get the idea.)

I can write about those times as bits of history, but I can never really explain how I viewed those games and the people in them at the moment I was there.  Lots of little bits of detail and color have been washed out of my brain over the years, to the point that I can now remember a sense of a feeling of excitement over something that might very well have happened to somebody else.  See what getting old does?

So, if you’re going to get to it… well… then get to it!  You may regret the time you waste.

Oh, and link whoring.  Must not forget that.

See?  I totally had nothing to say about the NBI. (Word count: ~1,000)

A Horrible Community…

The latest Blog Banter in action right now, number 52, is looking at the current average online user plateau in EVE Online and asking what lies beyond it.  Is this just a breather in the game’s growth or is this a peak and are we now looking at the inevitable decline that afflicts all such games over time?  The main evidence of a plateau has been presented in the form of the concurrent online users graph from EVE Offline, which has stubbornly sat at about a 30K user average through a time of subscription growth and peak concurrent player records.

The Graph

The Graph

The answers from participating bloggers have varied.  While the most common response seems to be along the lines of “nothing new to see, nothing new to do,” other ideas have bubbled up.  There is no plateau.  The graph is a lie.  The pool of potential players isn’t big enough or MMOs in general have ceased to be a draw.

And there is my own view, which is the game is too hard and requires too much of a commitment to play for it to be a reasonable choice for most people.  That came up a couple of times.  And when you have to give lessons on how to play your game, that argument might have merit.

There is a reason I have been playing a lot more World of Warcraft than EVE Online lately.  It isn’t that I don’t enjoy EVE.  It is the fact that, with a limited time budget, I can log into WoW and accomplish something right away.  I have very few wasted evenings.  No hoping for a fleet only to find you can’t get to it or don’t have the right ship handy.   No waiting on a titan for an hour only to stand down because the hostiles went home.   No sitting on a gate hoping you’ll catch somebody coming through.  I can log into WoW and run an instance or do a few dailies or harvest or work on an alt.  There is a convenience factor there that is hard to beat.

So that is my response to the plateau question.  The game is difficult and niche enough to the point that you really have to love it to put up with it.  We ought to be surprised that at least 200,000 player can make that commitment. (Using the highest accounts to individuals ratio estimate I have seen, which was 2.5.)  We are not going to find a large pool of new players.  The best we can hope for is that CCP will add new features to the game that will get burnt out older players to return to the fold.

The upside is that I don’t think numbers are going to plummet barring any really bad move by CCP.  With EVE, once you have accepted the commitment it requires, you hate to give it up.

But out of all the responses to this blog banter, there was one response I expected to see repeated multiple times.  But only one post (now two) zeroed in on this.  I expected to hear a lot more about the EVE Online community.

Because it is pretty much an accepted point of fact that EVE Online is a terrible game for terrible people.  It is full of scammers and gankers and sociopaths whose sole enjoyment in life is ruining the game for other people.

So are we all blind?  Is this Blog Banter a demonstration of cognitive dissonance or some sort of mass blind spot we share?

Certainly EVE Online allows behavior that would get you banned in other games.  And you don’t have to go very far to find scams.  Local chat in any one of the key trading hubs, Jita, Amarr, Hek, or Dodixie, will have a constant stream of “double your ISK” and “Contracts for Nothing” scams in them.

But all in all, after more than seven years playing the game, player behavior that one might reasonably consider “bad” has been no more prevalent in  EVE Online than in any other online game I have played.  I have never fallen for a scam.  I’ve been suicide ganked once.  And I had my mining can flipped once.

For the suicide gank I was AFK hauling expensive cargo in a cheap ship and the can flip happened in a system that was the equivalent of a dark ally in a bad part of town for miners.  I basically stopped doing the former and moved over a few systems for the latter and was never bothered again.  Everything else that has happened to me in EVE has been done with the knowledge, or at least the acceptance, that risk was involved.

Compared to “bad” player behavior over my time in World of Warcraft, that is nothing.  People in EVE have, in general, been pretty nice to me.  Even people that kill you will often engage in a post action discussion about what happened.  But I also try not to be an ass.

So I went and Googled variations on the phrase “Horrible Community” and found that somebody out there thinks just about every game has a horrible community.  Some results:

  • This community is horrible – World of Warcraft
  • Horrible community destroying awesome game – FFXIV
  • Great game but the community is horrible – League of Legends
  • DotA 2’s Horrible Community – DotA 2
  • COD4 = Horrible community!!! – Call of Duty 4
  • Great game, horrible community – Tribes: Ascend
  • Horrible community – Rust
  • Great Game… Horrible Community… – Path of Exile
  • Minecrafts HORRIBLE community – Minecraft
  • You People are a HORRIBLE Community – Killzone
  • Rift community is horrible – Rift
  • Horrible community – Heroes of Newerth
  • pvp community is horrible – SWTOR
  • Horrible People In GW2’s Community – Guild Wars 2
  • The community here is something horrible - TERA
  • Why is the TW community so horrible? – Total War: Shogun 2
  • GTA Online has a terrible community – GTA Online
  • Possibly a good game, ruined by the horrible community – Tibia

Not at all a scientifically valid set of results, just what bubbled to the top of searches.

Oddly difficult to find for that particular term was EVE Online and EverQuest.  The top variation I came across for EVE was on the site I Hate MMORPGs, which is a great idea for a blog, but I wasn’t sure how much weight that should be given.

And EverQuest… well, I know EverQuest had community problems.  I think its absence is just a matter of that game having peaked so far back that we’re all sporting rose colored glasses on the topic to a certain extent.  We certainly saw a return to bad behavior on the Fippy Darkpaw server with players and guilds resorting to all the same tactics that were used back in the “good old days.”  And SOE had to fall back on the same responses it did back then.

Basically, all communities are horrible, if you define horrible in all the ways that were used in my list of results.  The reasons communities were called horrible ranged from  “nobody will do my heavy lifting for me” to “people say annoying things in general chat” to “somebody told me I was bad at the game” to “my personal, unpublished, and anything but universal set of etiquette rules was violated” to “people insist on speaking languages other than my own.”

When people are allowed to interact, there will be friction.  Don’t get me started on the local PTA, homeowners associations, or cross-functional project teams.

And while there are legitimate gripes about gaming communities and what we sometimes tolerate when perhaps we shouldn’t, the most common complaints sound like a bunch of old ladies complaining at the grocery store checkout.  Sorry, was that misogyny? We seem to gloss over a lot of that.

Or such is my view of the world.  I am sure somebody will come by and tell me I’m wrong.  That is part of the whole community thing.

Here are some of the other responses to Blog Banter 52: