Tag Archives: Satire

Conspiracy Theory – CCP is Wrecking the EVE Online Economy to Promote Cash Shop Sales

I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

-Jacobim Mugatu, Zoolander

It is time to put on my Napoleon hat, start channeling Gevlon, and commence spouting crazy talk once again.  Crazy pills for everybody today!

I love a good conspiracy theory, and used to be quite the fan of watching them from afar, at least until we got a president who tried to run the country based on them.

Video games though, we’re safe there, aren’t we?

And today I want to unwind a theoretical tale about EVE Online.  Like any good conspiracy theory, there are some facts I can use to anchor it, after which I can spin freely into the stratosphere of nonsense.

We’ll start with the end point and work backwards from that, as one does when one spins such a tale.  And the end point is this, the Prospector Pack in the EVE Online web store.

Not player produced

The details, expanded, so you can see the full range of what you get for your $25.

The range of the offer

Now, this seemed like a really odd move to me.  Yes, CCP was pushing their mining changes with the patch earlier this week, and even running an event around mining, but part of the update was a new tutorial to teach players how to mine.  It seemed like a bit of a jump, that $25 Retriever pack.

And then I looked at the Jita market for the Retriever and saw that they were kind of pricey and not exactly in plentiful supply.

The market for Retrievers in Jita

It is possible that the Procurer, being more defense oriented, is preferred.  Or maybe the Covetor is better due to its yield and range bonuses.  The Retriever’s big thing is a lager ore hold.  But the supply of the other two wasn’t exactly indicating popularity either.

Meanwhile, the T2 exhumers had all gone up in price as well, which made me start thinking about why that was.

But we know why that was.  CCP has spent the last two years dedicated to strangling the economy in EVE Online.  The scarcity era drove mineral prices to all time highs, well beyond anything ever seen in New Eden.

Even now, in the so-called “age of prosperity” resources remain extremely limited when compared to the time before CCP’s economic changes and the mineral price index, while no longer at an all time high, still remains well above any point in the history of the game.

Economic Indices, Jan 2022 – Follow the yellow line

What was CCP thinking?

This is the part in the conspiracy theory where you start to pull together different pieces of data… the facts that are needed bear the weight of the crazy you plan to unload… into a single narrative.

CCP has hamstrung the economy, reduced demand, made life miserable for both resource harvesters and industrialist… and now they are selling what seems to be one of the ships affected by the these changes for cash in the web store.  What could all of this mean?

And then there is the great “AH HA!” moment that cements the facts together in a bundle of crazy.


It is all so simple, so clear, such an obvious solution to the problems that the facts present that it must be true.  All great conspiracies take silly, happenstance items and roll them up into a sinister plan dreamed up by an evil mastermind.  It is all connected.  The answer is out there.

Now, with that laid out, is time to cherry pick some supporting evidence, and there is nothing more fun that twisting someone’s words to fit your theory.  Enter CCP Rattati.

He has stated in interviews that he has the last word on what goes into the game.  Changes to the game follow his plan, so he must be the mastermind driving this.  He has certainly been the leading proponent of the economic changes, claiming they were necessary for the long term survival of the game.

But he DIDN’T say that meant player production and industry specifically.  And, in fact, his plan has gone out of its way to make those play styles much less viable.  Scarcity stopped wars, got capital ships to dock up, sent people hoarding raw materials, and generally caused a large slump in activity.

What if he isn’t a complete incompetent at economic policy?  What if he actually knows what “autarky” means, and that it being “anathema” applies to the whole of New Eden being self-sufficient?  What if this was the plan all along?  What if he meant “more cash flow” when he was referring to the survival of the game?  What if this was the plan all along?

But, is this out of character for him or CCP in general?  Would they go back on their much burnished statements about how important the player economy is?  Can we find another time when CCP seemed to be saying… or maybe even explicitly said… one thing, then did another?

Does such a situation exist?  DOES IT?

Why yes, yes it does.  Let’s talk about skill points.  I mean, sure, we could talk about how asset safety was said to be important to the game, until it wasn’t.  But skill points are… more to the point.

We have, of course, the now infamous past statement from the company regarding skill points and skill injectors/extractors:

It’s very important to note here that this means all the skillpoints available to buy on the market in EVE will have originated on other characters where they were trained at the normal rate.  Player driven economies are key to EVE design and we want you to decide the value of traded skillpoints while we make sure there is one single mechanism that brings new skillpoints in to the system – training.

Note also the reference to “player driven economies.”  That is important.

And we all know that how that went.  The promise that skill points would all come from what was trained in the game at normal speed fell by the wayside with Alpha Injectors, then skill point login rewards, then a new player focused, once per account skill packs on the web store, then skill points being bundled into other packs, then direct offers to buy skill points, and then, finally, just straight up skill points for sale in the web store.

Each step along the way was just enough to annoy people, but not enough to cause a revolt.  They were just baby steps and there was always some way to rationalize them.  It was boiling the frog slowly, and we didn’t realize we were cooked until it was too late.

We now have an established pattern of behavior… you just need two points to define a line here in crazy town, and you can just assume one of them… for the company, and from that you can draw all the parallels you need to fit any other behavior.

So who killed the New Eden economy?

CCP Rattati, in the conference room, with the dry erase marker.

And why did he do it?

To sell more stuff from the web store, because otherwise EVE Online players would just keep making things for themselves in the game.

Or so my crazy conspiracy theory goes.

But it is just a theory and I tend to attribute things to ignorance over malice most days of the week.  I mean, they are selling a fit Retriever, but then didn’t include anything for the rig slots?  For a $25 mining ship, I want all the damn slots filled.

But maybe they just want me to think they’re incompetent as a cover!  Hrmmm…

Addendum: Apparently if you run the new mining career agent you get the “buy a barge” offer as a pop-up in the game… with a discount!

A Handy Guide to Criticizing Games You Do Not Like

Something from the drafts folder.  I’m not sure what set me to write this back in August, but I fixed it up a bit and set it free today.

You know what it is like, right? All these new games keep getting announced, Kickstarted, early accessized, launched, and ported to this platform or that to the point that you cannot keep track of them anymore. And how can you possibly shit all over some game you’ve barely looked into to keep it on encroaching on the games you love and have sworn to protect?

Well your worries are over as I have put together this helpful list of ways you can badmouth games you hardly even know anything about.

Compare it Unfavorably!

Find the best, most popular game that bears any resemblance to the game you want to put down… it doesn’t need to be an exact competitor, or even that close really…  and dig right in with how this new game isn’t the one you’ve picked out.  I mean Path of Exile, Pillars of Eternity, and Papers Please are all pretty much WoW anyway, right?

I call this the “It’s not WoW” method, because in the MMORPG genre you can put down anything by claiming it isn’t World of Warcraft.  No matter what you’re comparing it to you can always claim that WoW somehow does it better and faster while looking good and being more fun to boot.  It must be a really effective tactic given how much it comes up in general chat in every single MMORPG ever.

It’s been Done!

Is the object of your scorn an entry in an already established genre?  Then you’re all set by declaring it to be derivative, unoriginal crap that has been done better, faster, and cheaper already.  This is basically the flip side of the first entry, because on the MMORPG front you can dismiss just about anything as simply being another WoW.  The best thing about this claim is that the more crowded the genre is, the more likely that you’re actually on the mark with this one.  It is like a double win!

Graphical Style!

If it looks like shit it must be shit, right?  It doesn’t matter if you actually think the game in question looks like shit or not, somebody out there does and if you say this enough times then somebody will agree with you and BAM you’re there!

And even if it doesn’t look like shit you can always go on about how you don’t like retro or pixellated or stylized or realistic or colorful or dark or whatever art style is being used.  You can trash them all with ease.

The One Feature!

Struggling to find something bad to say overall?  Then just pick on one feature!  Does it have PvP?  Toxic!  Non-consensual PvP?  Griefing gankbox! A Cash shop?  Pay to win!  A shooter?  Aimbots and hacks!  An MMO?  WoW clone!  Involves colorful fantasy? WoW clone! Does it have quests? WoW clone! Can you wield a sword? WoW clone!  Is its name three words with “of” being the second? WoW clone! Levels? Grind! Factions? Grind! Crafting?  Grind!  Also, WoW clone for those as well.  Really, is there anything that isn’t a WoW clone these days?

A Missing Feature!

Did somebody make a game and forget to include something that you are sure must be a standard feature for all games in that genre?  Is there a shooter without a single player campaign?  An ARPG without local multiplayer support?  An RPG without modding?  A strategy game without play by mail?  An MMORPG without housing?  Let that obviously lazy developer know what you think!  This is a slap in the face!


Is the game in question a crowdfunded venture?  Well, you’re work has probably been done for you then.  Even if it has shipped it was almost certainly late and did not deliver on all of its promises.  And if it hasn’t shipped it is probably both late and still asking for more money.  Make sure you let people know that “backers” is just another word for “suckers” and that the whole thing is certainly just a scam.

Developer Hate!

Don’t know enough about the game to even go after it?  Then go after the developer!  This is a slam dunk for any EA game, because we know they’ll fuck it up somehow.  But every dev has their weakness.  If the developer is popular, then the game has probably been dumbed down to appeal to non-gamers, which we all know to be a sin, and not worth $59.99 on Steam.  If it is an indie developer, then it is probably buggy as hell and not worth $4.99 on Steam.

If you want to get more specific, figure out any mistake or recurring trait of the studio in question, magnify it one hundred times, then project it on this new game.

For example, does Paradox Interactive have a new game?  Then it is probably an overwrought boring strategic sim with a confusing UI and an erratically bad AI that will force you to marry your adult son off to a six year old cousin just to secure your hold on power.

If the game comes from Blizzard then they have surely just stolen someone’s game idea, put colorful stylized graphics on it, simplified and watered it down so even your grandmother could play it, and put a $59.99 price tag on it.

Or if the game is from Riot then even running the tutorial would turn your sainted mother into a toxic, foul mouthed, misogynist douchebag.  Hah hah, just kidding.  You probably already love League of Legends, the only game Riot has ever made, will ever make, and need ever make.  Right amigo?

Objectively Not Fun!

Here is the big secret to game criticism.  Any game can be made to sound like it is no fun if you pull back and simplify it enough.  For example, with something like Diablo you can say, “So you just click on shit and that’s it?”  With an MMO like WoW you can say, “So you just press buttons and things die?” With a shooter like Call of Duty you ask, “So you just listen to some 13 year old swear at you while he kills you again with an aimbot?  Or with EVE Online you can ask, “So you just sit in your Rorqual watching your excavator drones and hoping not to get hot dropped?”

Then you follow that leading question with the big pronouncement, something like, “Games are supposed to be fun! How is this fun?” and bada-bing, bada-boom, you’ve scored your point even if what you have asked is so off base as to be a complete mis-characterization of the game.  (Except for EVE Online, which has been scientifically proven to be not fun.)

Corrupt Developer!

Hah, just kidding!  That is the sort of outrageous lunacy, sheer tinfoil, unbelievably biased, and unhinged craziness that will do more to sink your complaints than help them.  There is no point going there if it is just going to undo your hard work.

Make Things Up!

Let’s face it, this new game is a threat.  It could take players away from your game, and your value as a human being is directly measured by how popular the games are that you play.  So don’t let reality stand in your way.  Say whatever comes to your mind.  It is probably true to some degree in any case, right?

Special Bonus: Concern Troll!

If you cannot bring yourself to straight up attack a game (why the hell not?), then there is another route you can take.  You can pretend to like the game.  You can even say you like it a lot, but that you’re sure it could be even better.  And then you can start suggesting features and improvements that are pretty much contrary to the theme and focus of the game.  Just take whatever the game does and suggest the opposite.  Is it PvE focused? Then it needs PvP! Or if it is PvP focused, then it really needs a PvE server.  Is it vehicle focused? Demand avatar game play!  And if it doesn’t have vehicles, demand those!  Or pick a random secondary feature like housing and post over and over again how the game needs this.

But be sure to restate that you are a fan of the game in question, but you fear it is dying or incomplete, so you are trying to help the developer by posting your suggestions over and over in any comment thread about the game.  Never fail to bring up your pet suggestion, ever!  Maybe, by sheer volume of words, the developer will eventually waste time and wreck their game by trying to implement your suggestion.

Things to Remember

  • The more often you say something on the internet, the more true it becomes.
  • You’re totally normal, so everybody else who is normal agrees with you, so you should make sure people know you pretty much speak for everyone in your statements.
  • Negativity is all people listen to anyway.  If you want to be heard you need to go negative early and often.
  • Reason and compromise diminish you as a person and taint your family out to four generations.
  • People disagreeing with you have no feelings and are probably bots or being paid to say what they’re saying in any case.
  • You cannot definitively rule out that you are just a brain in a jar and that this is a simulation being run to test you and your ability to defend your game of choice.

You Won the Battle! Now to Convince Everybody

Fleets clash! A battle is fought!  A thousand ships or more duke it out in null sec!

This is what you and your alliance live for!  These are things no high sec capsuleer ever sees!  For a time, the fate of empires hang in the balance.

But no battle lasts forever.  At some point the opposing parties disengage.  Fleets dock.  People log off.  Kill boards are checked.

And then EVE News 24 puts up a story about the battle and they either completely get it wrong and imply in some way that your side was not totally victorious, or they fail again to moderate the lying comments of your enemies, who are claiming victory for their own side.  And we all know that any forum open to the public that does not delete a message clearly endorses it.

Isn't it obvious we're winning here?

Or else somebody posts a bogus account of the battle in one of those awful forum threads at Kugutsuman, that wretched hive of scum and villainy, claiming victory for themselves.  There ought to be a law!

Either way, somebody on the internet is wrong and it is up to you to fix it.

Fortunately, I have done the ground work for you.  After reading through various comment and forum threads, I have distilled down how to claim your victory online to 10 easy concepts.

Now you have the tools.  Now you can make sure that random strangers on the internet will not be deceived into thinking you achieved anything less than total victory.  After all, what value is there in winning the battle if you lose the meta game?

1 – Define Victory by Your Own Standards

Did you get more kills but lose the ISK war?  Did the enemy save their tower?  Did you fail to save your own?

Do not worry, the outcome was still a clear victory.  More kills shows superior skill… unless the situation was the reverse, in which case doing more damage in ISK shows how you made the enemy pay.  Of course, sometime neither of these work out for you.  Even then, you were making the enemy react to your moves which clearly shows you were in control of the situation.  And that counts for a lot more than, say, that crappy tower they managed to save… this time!

Make it clear that, from the only right, and true perspective (your own), the whole thing was an indisputable victory and imply that it was all part of the master plan.  Or just come out and say that last bit.  We have a master plan, bitches!  You have the enemy right where you want them!

2 – Complain About the Battle Conditions

If the odds were against you, your enemy obviously lacks fighting ability.  If they hot-dropped super caps on your sub cap fleet, clearly they only want cheap kills and have no interest in a fair fight.  Was the enemy able to re-ship and return to the battle quickly?  Blob tactics require no skill.  No matter what, things were stacked against you.  Your enemy was distinctly without honor, using their momentary advantages against you.  For this they must be despised.

3 – Reveal Your Foe as a Coward

Bring up early and often how your foe won’t ever engage in battle unless they feel they hold a significant tactical advantage.  What sort of messed up cowards insist on a good chance of winning before diving headlong into battle?

4 – Play Down Your Own Advantages

If you are complaining loudly about how the enemy was able to reship and return to the fight, be sure to omit that the battle occurred within your own territory, practically on your own door step.  If the foe came in elite PvP ships like strategic cruisers, call them out.  Just don’t bring up how your Drake fleet out numbered them 3 to 1.

5 – Blame CCP

Titans should not be able to kill sub caps.  Strategic cruisers are too weak.  Drakes need to be nerfed.  Time Dilation clearly benefits your opposition.  Sovereignty is totally screwed up.  Local chat should not show who is in system.  Overview bugs screwed you again.  Plus, people who were at one time associated with your enemy now work at CCP and are obvio0usly conspiring against you! (Otherwise, you know, that stuff would have been fixed ages ago!)

Whatever your particular beef, you must make it clear that it isn’t merely your cowardly enemy, who couldn’t find honor in a dictionary, that is the problem.  The whole freaking game is rigged against you.  People ought to be in awe that you were able to pull off the victory you did, given the circumstances.

6 – Outright Lie

Look, the ends clearly justify the means.  So find a messed up kill board total on eve-kill.net.  Rig one yourself on dog-net.org that omits half your allies.  When faced with indisputable facts, call bullshit and refuse to elaborate.  Be Saddam Hussein at the end of the First Gulf War, stand in the street, fire your gun in the air, and tell everybody how you were totally victorious.

Would I do this if I had lost?

That analogy worked for Steve Jobs, and look how well he did in the end!

But remember, only use the First Gulf War as an template, not the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.  That does not further your interests at all.

...at least not during down time.

Some of you are probably too young to get that joke.

7 – Foretell the Future

Make sure you let everybody know that even if this might seem like a loss, which it clearly was not, any future engagements will clearly and unambiguously show that your alliance owns.

Don’t be afraid to get personal on this one.  Your foes are, after all, cowards and racists scammers who line their pockets with the spoils of their illicit RMT and mining bot operations.  Their existence harms game itself, exploiting, as they do, the very mechanics of EVE to make mockery of the work of CCP.  The time will come when other alliances will see the light of day, join together, and smite this abomination from New Eden.

Don’t worry about going overboard here, nobody ever remembers this sort of thing.

8 – Remain Steadfast

Regardless of what occurred or what twisted “logic” your detractors might bring up, in the grand scheme of things this was clearly a strategic victory for your side.  Brook no dissent.

9 – Claim the Battle Did Not Matter

If your enemy is marshaling his lies against you, you may not be able to get 100% of your audience behind you assertions.  At this point, you may need to change the focus of the argument.  You still did not lose the battle.  Remember item 8.  But your enemies claims are now made meaningless, since their attempts to display themselves in a winning light are shown to be empty boasting.

You didn’t need that tech moon, that titan, that fleet, that system.  They were superfluous to the real strategic objectives of the alliance, a feint, a ruse de guerre,  and anybody who cannot see that is a damn fool.  Remember item 1, you have a master plan and the enemy is dancing to your tune.

10 – Don’t Be This Guy

Poor Zarks.  He lost his titan and then admitted it was his fault!  He obviously needed to invoke items 2, 3, and 5 (and possibly 7 and 8) to support his alliance.  Instead, both he and his alliance lost face in the all important meta game.

Bonus Items – Remember, posting your comments anonymously gives the impression that you are an unbiased external observer, and will add weight to your argument.  Also, be sure to use sock puppets to support your claims if at all possible.  Just make sure you know what that really means before you start.

Lambchop agrees, we're on the road to total victory!

Remember, this isn’t just idle smack talk in local, this is about winning the game!

Calm Words in This Time of Rift Crisis

A fresh translation to sooth your troubled heart:

And you will hear of hype and rumors of hype.

See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the ship date is not yet.

For blog will rise against blog, and comment against comment, and there will be exaggeration and flames in various places.

All these are but the beginning of the release pains.

Then they will deliver up to the official forums and ask to sticky any apostasy, and these will be hated by all nations for the game’s sake.

And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another

And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.

And because beta access will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

And then the release of the game will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the ship date will have come.

It gets a little less clear after that, taking after some guy named Dan in accounting and then heading into a passage which I think means you should take the launch date off from work, unless you are pregnant or nursing.

But I think the main gist conforms to Keen’s graph.

Anyway, let these words comfort and guide you through these trying times.


SynCaine and Tobold can bicker all they like about whether Darkfall has actually added more content in its 10 months since launch than World of Warcraft has in its five year history.

But they are like ANTS arguing over the relative merits of CRUMBS in my eyes!

Their talk of “sandboxes” and “amusement parks” are just a smokescreen to hide the complete insignificance of their positions relative to what I am about to reveal to you!

Truly, this revelation may be so shocking that I have to hide it behind a “more” link.

Take a deep breath, but only click through if you are prepared to have your view of the gaming world turned upside down and give a fierce shake!

The most awesome force in the gaming world is…

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