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Goonswarm didn't get where they are today by "playing it smart."
February 21, 2014 12:22 PM   Subscribe

The first issue of the new EVE Online comic book from Dark Horse comics is now available for free download (free registration required). What's particularly interesting about the "EVE: True Stories" comic series is that the stories are retellings of actual player-driven game events. The first story to be adapted is the downfall of the Band of Brothers alliance, which we talked about previously.
posted by 256 (40 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for that link to the previous post, I'd missed it somehow.

The comic might be a bit obtuse in some places for non- or newer players but the real draw is the [meta] consideration that this is content that a whole heap of people created* based off of some content other folks created** in a game made by yet another group of folks that created it in the first place**.

This post is very fitting, or I'm just overly philosophical because I'm having a good day in general. Who really knows?


* storyboarded, outlined, drew, inked, digitized, and published
** via learning, practicing, developing, industry-ing, transporting spaceship pixel things
*** ...thanks to some crazy fund-raising antics

posted by RolandOfEld at 12:39 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


Yay, free stuff!

It might be obvious, but I think I'm missing it. How do I download this?
posted by ODiV at 12:55 PM on February 21


I've never played EVE but I know that Goonswarm got where they were by being vey, very smart. Or at least their leaders did.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:03 PM on February 21


This has probably been said before, but EVE is simultaneously the perfect portrait and a devastating critique of a minarchist libertarian society.
posted by kewb at 1:14 PM on February 21 [3 favorites]


ODiV - click on the 'free download' link in the op, register an account, and it will show up in your browser.
posted by Think_Long at 1:24 PM on February 21


How do I download this?

Yeah, hmm. I guess "free download" means, "free transfer across the tubes into your browser," not, "free for you to save to wherever and read on whatever device however you want to get it there"?
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 1:24 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


There was a huge battle recently.

I thought it got weird when Anshe Chung derived actual millions from a virtual world. The Mittani in EVE made sense [not the effort or the why but as a troll].

It became really weird when EVE collected money and donated to Haiti.

The comic book seems a logical progression.
posted by vapidave at 1:29 PM on February 21


Erm, so the comic was actually kind of terrible, but I applaud the effort and I still like looking at spaceships.
posted by Think_Long at 1:32 PM on February 21


Yeah, I was looking for a pdf or something, but hey, reading in their website viewer or on android isn't terrible.
posted by ODiV at 1:37 PM on February 21


It is pretty cool that actual fake internet spaceship imbroglios are the subject matter or at least inspiration. I'm going to read it for possible tips on breaking tackle through clever use of drones.
posted by Mister_A at 1:43 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


if mario puzo scripted an EVE online encounter, it would look like this.
posted by bruce at 2:45 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


I read this via the Dark Horse app on my iPad and am sad to agree with Think_Long that it was fairly terrible. Nice art, but not much interest in the story. And I say that as someone who played Eve and followed the decline of BoB with great joy, those bastards having run me out of my home in Esoteria.
posted by Nelson at 2:58 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


We need a new word to be created that expresses the idea of something that "really happened" but those events happened in a fictional/virtual open world not directly controlled by a developer's storyline. It would be very useful for situations where you have a simulated world that operates by rules similar to the real world, where what has happened in the past and what will happen in the future are decided by real people making individual decisions.
posted by chambers at 3:03 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


For people who have actually read this comic, does CCP use the Goonswarm "fat bee" logo anywhere? I ask because that is a current topic of debate in certain EVE circles.


[Briefly, CCP is trying to grab ownership of alliance intellectual property (logos in particular) through various handwaving regarding the EULA and various click-through licenses. There is speculation this is because they wanted to use these logos in the comic.

As is often the case, the more prominent player alliances are both better organized and smarter than the game developers. So when CPP tries to seize ownership of player IP rather than requesting a much more reasonable irrevocable, non-exclusive license, they end up with a bunch of Goonswarm lawyers laughing in their faces and telling them they are dumb.]
posted by ryanrs at 3:16 PM on February 21 [5 favorites]


They use the Goonswarm name, but not the logo.
posted by 256 at 3:26 PM on February 21


Heh.
posted by ryanrs at 3:35 PM on February 21


The fact that a clan in an MMO has lawyers(and, i guess, that they hold potentially hundreds of thousands in digital assets) is completely hilarious and William Gibson-y in and of itself.
posted by emptythought at 4:27 PM on February 21 [6 favorites]


I initially read "Goonswarm lawyers" as meaning "Goonswarm players who are attorneys," but after reading your comment, emptythought, I think I prefer the parsing of it as "Goonswarm's legal counsel". I don't really care which is true, I like living in William Gibson-land.

Also, I remember the "previously" post, but I don't remember it being so vitriolic. Has the tone of the site changed so much in 5 years? Or did I just not read the thread very well last time?
posted by agentofselection at 5:19 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Thanks for that link to the previous post, I'd missed it somehow.

There were also some threads about Eve last year. (Huge battle in EVE online and 2900 ships lost.)

rynars provided 30 comments worth of information in that 2nd thread about what was going on that I found very informative.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:36 PM on February 21


Huh, I thought the recent CCP changes regarding alliance logos, outlined here if we're talking about the same thing, was to make it such that alliance folks could, implicitly if not downright explicitly, do whatever they wanted to with content they created (aka logos) but still allow CCP to cover its own ass if a third party (aka not the alliance or CCP) attempted to utilize said logo.

I'm no lawyer, nor am I in any way impacted by this but here's how my thought process went when I glanced at that devblog post, blow by blow, because my cynic alarms went off, then subsided, then went silent again. Maybe I missed something and they should still be going off saying that CCP really is evil, bad, big-corporate on this issue....

While player-created Alliance logos are part of CCP’s IP, it has never been our intention to prevent Alliances from using them outside the game for fan support (including selling “Alliance logo” merchandise to help fund the costs of running an Alliance).

Ok, good, good, where's the evil hook....

Recently, however, some community members have had issues with third party sites when selling physical goods with an Alliance logo (such as t-shirts, mouse mats, and other Alliance themed merchandise). During regular and routine actions by our legal team to prevent others from selling unauthorized EVE products,
some online vendors also removed from their stores items bearing an Alliance logo (especially when paired with any reference to EVE Online), which ruffled some feathers among the community and caused several players to contact us. Over the years our community has created some amazing alliance logos and as such, we are not fans of this situation. To prevent this from happening again and to clarify any confusion on the issue, we've been in contact with the Council of Stellar Management*, and we’d like to update the Alliance logo submission procedure.


Ah ha! You did wave the legal stick and it caused some fallout damage for alliances that were using logos they created for their purposes. But wait... Oh, hrm.... ok, go on....

While CCP must retain ownership of Alliance logos that are submitted to us due to the fact that they are packaged within our client, and are part of our game IP, we do not want to overly restrict the way in which Alliances can use them. ... This license will be included as part of the Alliance name and logo submission process to give players the ability to use their Alliance logos in a broad manner, but still ensure CCP is able to undertake other exciting EVE endeavours that might include the logos, such as blogs, comic books, TV series, etc.

Ah, this is where you get into being all evil and setting terrible rules with regards to how they are used right?

We want to be extremely transparent in the way that we handle IP ownership and usage entitlement for player created Alliance logos, so we are sharing both the license and the revised Alliance logo submission procedure, for your information.

Huh, well that's nice I guess, but I'm still waiting for the evil that I know should be coming anytime now.

Of course, if there are any alliances in game whom feel that they would rather not have CCP retain copyright ownership of their alliance logo, then the executor of any alliance who feels this is the case can feel free to submit a support ticket to us under the alliance logo submissions category to have their logo removed or replaced.

Oh, so you can opt out eh... well that sounds... fair. I completely admit I didn't want to read into the depths of the legal-eese in the license itself and just took CCP at face value on their blog post but barring something there that doesn't jive with what was said... I guess I just don't see much to get up in arms about because it sounds like

1) CCP has some sort of basis, probably CYA-ing against other legal attacks or pirate (hehe) sales, to want to prevent non-CCP, non-Alliance folks from using player-created logos that also happened to be what shows up in the game when you click on an alliance, because it was, ya'know, submitted for that purpose.
2) CCP decides to change the rules, publishes the new rules and an explanation of why things are changing, and offers previously submitted alliances/logos the chance to opt out and have their logo removed if they don't agree.
3) In the new rules, or at least the overview thereof, they state that the changes are to make it so that Alliance folks can still do whatever the hell they want with their logo, CCP reserves the right to use said logos in media that references the game, and people that aren't CCP or the Alliance can't use them at all.
3b) Oh and don't submit stuff that's copyrighted elsewhere as your logo, plz, k, thx.

*EVE's player elected reps that fly to their offices every so often and discuss the state of the game. Also a cool thing to me.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:40 PM on February 21


So, yes, I agree that the writing is pretty uninspired, but it still brings me great joy to see my favourite pretend spaceships rendered by a professional comics artist. More significantly, though, I love that emergent gameplay events and player-driven drama are being used as the explicit basis for the story.

I think there are probably some better stories they could have chosen, like the Guiding Hand Social Club caper or the possibly apocryphal titan blueprint scam. I'm sure they're hoping that this tale of Goonswarm victory will move a few thousand copies to patriotic goons though.

One thing that's definitely worth noting is that Goonswarm's spymaster-cum-dictator, The Mittani, was a story consultant. Which means that Goonswarm's surprising robust and successful propaganda wing now apparently includes Dark Horse comics.
posted by 256 at 5:44 PM on February 21 [3 favorites]


We need a new word to be created that expresses the idea of something that "really happened" but those events happened in a fictional/virtual open world not directly controlled by a developer's storyline.

A virtual, unplanned/non-deterministic event?
posted by ersatz at 6:02 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Goons are smart, but many events in their favor are due to other corps/alliances being so un-fun that players are willing to spy/flip for them.

They excel at utilizing this disenchantment to their benefit. This is their true gift.

7o
posted by Argyle at 6:12 PM on February 21


I initially read "Goonswarm lawyers" as meaning "Goonswarm players who are attorneys," but after reading your comment, emptythought, I think I prefer the parsing of it as "Goonswarm's legal counsel".

It's definitely Goonswarm members who happen to be lawyers. Of which there are a lot. Who would have thought a game based on esoteric, complicated rules that reward clever trickery would attract lots of lawyers, huh?

So while Goonswarm doesn't have a staff of attorneys as such, their own membership is quite capable of advising the organization on these matters.


just took CCP at face value on their blog post

Heh. Don't do that. That dev blog is just lies and misdirection.

The whole bit about "oh man, better give us ownership of your IP so we won't have to send complaints to your CafePress T-shirt shop" is just a cover for them to patch over their past logo copyright process which was poorly conceived and unlikely to resist legal scrutiny.

While CCP must retain ownership of Alliance logos that are submitted to us due to the fact that they are packaged within our client, and are part of our game IP

Oh, bullshit. The game client includes an embedded Google Chromium web browser. Does CCP have ownership of that IP too? Of course not. They have a license.

They don't own the alliance logos either, and never have. The logos are all player created, therefore the players own the copyright. In the US, copyright ownership can only be transferred with a signed instrument, so all their game EULAs and click-through legalese can take a hike. In some other countries, like Germany, ownership cannot be transferred at all (except via inheritance laws after death). Sure, it's perfectly reasonable for CCP to want a license, but claiming ownership is a greedy grab unsupported by law in the US and a lot of other places.

CCP's lawyers know their use of alliance logos is highly suspect. Now that they want to use the logos in stuff like this new comic book, they are worried. So they are trying to grab ownership. Most of the largest alliances understand what is going on, and will not cooperate.
posted by ryanrs at 7:44 PM on February 21


That dev blog is just lies and misdirection.

Maybe that post. But in general that dev blog is full of awesome, interesting details of what it's like day to day to operate, improve, and balance a giant MMO. Seriously, there's a lot of gold in that dev blog over the last 5 years, from realtime network diagnostics tools to Stackless Python to crazy economics to complex game balance. CCP is amazingly willing to share technical details of how they implement the game, and bless 'em for it.

Also, I disagree that alliance logos are some incredibly valuable intellectual property worth fighting over. Just make all the logos public domain or CC0 and be done with it. I mean, really?
posted by Nelson at 7:58 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


Yea, I read through the logic, and I don't contest it, that CCP never had the copyrights despite what subtext they put on ye olde submit box a while back.

And again this doesn't impact me so it's all playing devil's advocate from this end, but why would the alliances care about this if, as you say, all CCP is wanting to do is use the logos in comic books and, perhaps, prevent people who are not The Alliance (whatever that means, which I admit could be a bit of a puzzler) from selling bootleg merch?

That dev blog is just lies and misdirection.

I don't discount the possibility, but I guess I just don't comprehend the situation well enough to understand what there is to get up in arms about. Unless the alliances are not able to withdraw logos submitted under the old agreement, as CCP says they can, or CCP really is trying to prohibit folks from using the things they've created, which they say they're not, while the only thing they seem to want to do is to use a logo in a desk manual or comic book, which will likely only benefit the publicity/prestige of the alliance in question and, hopefully, EVE in general anyway.

I guess it's a function of 'internet spaceships is serious business' and all that. Respectable, I suppose, when I think of it that way but still above average on the crazy scale.

On preview: What Nelson said. I'm new to EVE with regards to alot of folks who have been playing for years but from what I've seen I've yet to be really, really upset or disappointed in how news/fixes/changes have been disseminated from CCP. This logo thing is no exception.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:03 PM on February 21


Yeah, in general I think that the EVE development team is pretty awesome and their engagement with the player base is pretty great (aside from a few notable exceptions).

Of course, in the realm of IP, licensing, and legal matters in general, it doesn't surprise me in the least that they are adversarial against their customers. That seems to be de rigeur.
posted by 256 at 8:04 PM on February 21


[Briefly, CCP is trying to grab ownership of alliance intellectual property (logos in particular) through various handwaving regarding the EULA and various click-through licenses. There is speculation this is because they wanted to use these logos in the comic.

As is often the case, the more prominent player alliances are both better organized and smarter than the game developers. So when CPP tries to seize ownership of player IP rather than requesting a much more reasonable irrevocable, non-exclusive license, they end up with a bunch of Goonswarm lawyers laughing in their faces and telling them they are dumb.]


You would expect a group like that to be litigious. One of the problems of making a conquer-the-pocket-universe MMO game is that you're going to attract people who get off on the rough and tumble of conflict.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:25 PM on February 21


It's definitely Goonswarm members who happen to be lawyers. Of which there are a lot. Who would have thought a game based on esoteric, complicated rules that reward clever trickery would attract lots of lawyers, huh?

The job is about in-depth preparation.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:31 PM on February 21


Wow, those battles are so dense. All the ships are jammed together so close. Its like the weapons are short range or aiming long range isn't easy.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:35 PM on February 21


It's very difficult to maneuver ships in the largest battles because the game servers choke. You end up with one big ball of ships shooting each other.
posted by ryanrs at 8:49 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


I initially read "Goonswarm lawyers" as meaning "Goonswarm players who are attorneys," but after reading your comment, emptythought, I think I prefer the parsing of it as "Goonswarm's legal counsel".

I prefer to think of it as something that players can do in-game if they're not keen on mining or brigandage.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:28 PM on February 21


I prefer to think of it as something that players can do in-game if they're not keen on mining or brigandage.

Yea, there's a skill for that.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:30 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


I find Eve the game totally impenetrable and kind if not fun to play (I tend to gravitate toward much more kinesthetically pleasing games). I find Eve the community endlessly fascinating. Thank you for posting this!
posted by to sir with millipedes at 1:47 AM on February 22


I wish they would build some kind of Ten Forward into the capital ships so you could chill out with other players' avatars and watch the battles out the window. That might get me to play the game.
posted by fraxil at 6:32 AM on February 22


Oh man there's a long and awkward history with player avatars, aka "walking in stations". CCP finally realized that's not the game they're making and have stepped away from doing it. I think it's the right choice; the way you are embodied in your spaceship (and inside that, your pod) is an interesting psychological quirk of the game.

Star Trek: Online tried to have a dual spaceships / avatars game and it was terrible. Not just for that reason, but that reason too.
posted by Nelson at 7:44 AM on February 22


Star Trek: Online tried to have a dual spaceships / avatars game and it was terrible.

Star Trek: Online as a game was pretty terrible. Especially the ground missions.

Star Trek: Online as a Star Trek outfit designer/dress-up game was FANTASTIC!
posted by thecjm at 8:25 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


EVE characters are best thought of as severed heads in jars, wired to the ship's computer. The zombie-like portraits of the old characters really reinforced this idea, which was neat. The new avatars pretty much ruin it.
posted by ryanrs at 9:15 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


I find Eve the game totally impenetrable and kind if not fun to play

I hear you, but I disagree. A year ago I was logging in several times a day. Now I probably log in a couple of times a month. I invested a lot of time back then and found it very rewarding, and in no way impenetrable. I just don't have the time to put in anymore, but despite that I check the app on my phone daily - I have items up for sale on the market and skills training and I'm harvesting goods through Planetary Interaction, and I check what's going on by reading the corp emails - even when I'm not playing, I'm still playing. That said, I'm sure I would have quit early on if I hadn't joined a corp - the social aspect and the sense of being part of a team (no matter how small in that big universe) really helped in breaking through the (penetrable) wall of EVE.
posted by Elmore at 4:43 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


The Most Thrilling Boring Game in the Universe
posted by lalex at 5:32 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


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