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This is why we can't have nice things.
April 8, 2014 9:36 AM   Subscribe

"Naturally, the record for the largest and most costly single engagement in EVE history was expected to stand for some time. It didn’t."
posted by Evilspork (48 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder if the EVE community is following a general pattern of a large scale civilization collapse. The (presumably) increasing population, the increasing frequency and size of these engagements, etc. I don't know how this universe is set up, but if there is some sort of resource limitation, the dual pressures of population and supply demand could produce some interesting results.
posted by Think_Long at 9:42 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


Yess...
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:42 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I am sure that if I ever joined one of those online thingamebobs I would likely never again leave the house. That's why I play single player stuff only. Think of the peer pressure when your faction wants you for an an enormous battle but you have to go to work.
posted by fordiebianco at 9:43 AM on April 8 [13 favorites]


There are limits to resources but they're mostly in production quantities and logistics. Half the problem in carting things around is "mineral compression," where you build things that you can ship more easily, then reprocess back into raw materials to build other things.

I don't think CCP has ever considered just stopping the spawn of tritanium, ice, or other base metals, it would cause all play to grind to a halt as nobody could replace their ships. (Either that or everyone would fight in blinged-out rookie ships, which I have to admit would be pretty fun.)

EVE is blocked by the work nanny, so is this the clash on the Chinese server or was there another massive engagement while I slept?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:47 AM on April 8


This is why we can't have nice things.

FTFY.
posted by The Bellman at 9:51 AM on April 8


i don't know much about this game, but i love EVE threads for the window into all the intrigue and backstabbing. i would have liked star trek better if one of the enterprise captains had gathered his/her senior officers around and said "i'm tired of dealing with these starfleet assholes, we're gonna be PIRATES!"
'
posted by bruce at 9:51 AM on April 8 [20 favorites]


The fascinating thing about this particular story is it took place on Serenity, Eve Online's version in China. Eve is nominally one giant game, part of the appeal is 300,000+ people are all playing together in one giant story. Only there's actually two games; the main one running in Europe for most of the world, and a second one run by TianCity for the Chinese market.

I've been hoping to read more comparisons about how these two parallel versions of the game are working out. The Mittani has a few articles, look for the ones about "Behind the Great Firewall". One thing I recall reading is that the Chinese game had been more cooperative and polite, alliances staying in their own sectors of space beating the PvE game and avoiding the PvP. Apparently that's not true anymore. I love that a pirate alliance is one of the big players in this fight, not just the industrialists.

Here's server stats for Serenity, looks to be rouhgly 8000 playing at once on average. Compare to 30,000 for the main server, Tranquility.
posted by Nelson at 9:53 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Who won? That writeup doesn't say.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:55 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Is this game as much of a time sink as it appears? Who has the time to devote to something like this? Students?
posted by Jamesonian at 9:58 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


It will be interesting to see how warfare will evolve in the near future in EVE after these huge battles, and how the news of these huge battles brings in new players who are craving to be part of these huge "Michael Bay on Acid and PCP" battles even if it is almost at a slideshow pace.

The current situation has parallels with a lot of early to mid 19th century battles in a way. If you take the smaller tacklers and such and turn them into irregular infantry, take the mid size ships and think of them as cavalry and light artillery, and the capital ships as fortified cities that happen to be able to move, there are a good deal of similarities, especially when compared with the campaigns and wars of the Napoleonic era.

Continuing with that, as new features, ships, and fortifications are added over the next few years, it's possible that EVE might have it's own version of 'trench warfare' where two sides amass heavily fortified systems along a battle line, and the ability of capital ships to jump may be nerfed by having new fortifications built that can hamper that ability.

Don't take my analogy too seriously, though. There are so many ways that things can change and evolve with EVE, from multiple sides: the devs, the more experienced players, and the newcomers all using the available resources in their own way.

Although I no longer play the game myself anymore, I love to see how it evolves and adapts over time.
posted by chambers at 9:59 AM on April 8


One thing I recall reading is that the Chinese game had been more cooperative and polite, alliances staying in their own sectors of space beating the PvE game and avoiding the PvP. Apparently that's not true anymore.

I would love to see someone analyze this from a cultural and historical standpoint and see how Chinese players perceive factional and alliance politics as compared to EU/US players, and how IRL regional and political factors from the distant past to the Communist era influence how the game is played there in a wider scale.
posted by chambers at 10:08 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Vizzini Law was only partially right as it apparently can be broadened now: You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is never get involved in a land war in Asia.
Serenity Corollary: Never get involved in a space war in Asia either.
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:13 AM on April 8 [19 favorites]


The thing that most changed that Napoleonic stalemate were, in gamist terms, cheap glass cannons: better artillery and, probably more importantly, machine guns. Cavalry becomes completely obsolete, and big fortifications and mass charges (swarm attacks) become the order of the day.
posted by bonehead at 10:15 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Is this game as much of a time sink as it appears? Who has the time to devote to something like this? Students?

I keep coming back to Eve and yeah, it definitely counts as a "hobby" and not just a game you can play now and then. Going on an mission with a group of other pilots to look for PvP can take anywhere from 2-4 hours, during which time you may not even find anyone you can engage! In fact a common tactic is to pose a big threat, make the enemy get everyone online, then not show up to the fight just to demoralize them.

That said, I get the impression that most people who play do it in the background while doing something else. Or they chat with other pilots in mumble, sing, tell stories, etc. And if you actually do get a fight, if it's not one of the really huge ones, it's usually over in minutes, maybe seconds. Part of what makes Eve so addictive is the long periods of boadrum punctuated with intense adrenaline-pumping fights. Part of that is also that it's your ship on the line and when it's gone, not only have you lost the cost of the ship, you've lost all the time you spent buying the pieces, putting them together, and shipping them to the right place.
posted by heathkit at 10:16 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Who won?

The miners.

(cf. Tritanium and other mineral prices spiked very briefly after B-R5RB, but have eased back toward the historical average since. Recent devblog on the subject.)
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 10:20 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


I would love to see someone analyze this from a cultural and historical standpoint

Yeah, but that's fraught with peril and probably says more about the author's own cultural and historical standpoint than the subject's. I mean gamers are gamers, people mine and build and blow shit up because it's fun. Those The Mittani articles are hard for me to read because the first impression is "I expect these Chinese act like a lot of collectivists".

But getting past that, there's some analysis on The Mittani about how the different cost structures of the games affect things. (Eve has a limited form of real money trade, the PLEX system, but then the cost of a Serenity subscription is different than a Tranquility subscription.) Also the way that rare blueprints have randomly been distributed is different in Serenity which ends up affecting the whole power structure of the game.
posted by Nelson at 10:21 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


"..long periods of boadrum punctuated with intense adrenaline-pumping.." reminds me of slots.
posted by Captain Chesapeake at 10:24 AM on April 8


They were fighting over a critical star system. Who held it after the battle was over?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:25 AM on April 8


Who has the time to devote to something like this? Students?

And diplomats.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:27 AM on April 8 [9 favorites]


The cavalry could still charge fruitfully in WWI, just not against trenches. Trench warfare was very situational, and, in a way, artificial: it was possible because the belligerents could completely cover a front going from the Sea to the Swiss border. The two sides couldn't manoeuvre around the shore, but they could have invaded Switzerland. On the Eastern front things didn't bog down that way because the continent is too wide to allow the formation of such a static front.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:30 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Is this game as much of a time sink as it appears?

I play probably six hours a week with the metafilter crew. There are enough ways to play the game where you can have fun playing a few hours a week or 24/7.

When we get together to blow people up we fly around in a small gang of 5-15. Honestly I think it's just as fun as the epic space battles.
posted by MillMan at 10:34 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


So in articles like this we usually see a stat comparing the ISK losses to real-world dollars. The 11 trillion ISK lost at B-R5RB totaled about $300,000 USD.

How much was lost in the Battle of Serenity?
posted by zarq at 10:35 AM on April 8


I don't play Eve, but I think my favorite aspects of the game as an outsider are:

* The game itself extends outside of the servers and involves real-world shenanigans
* It seems to me to esentially be indistinguishable in many ways from what a remotely controlled exploitation of the galaxy might look like, presuming the game "tech" was what actually occurred in the physical world.

Does the game-play for Eve presume your player is standing on the bridge of their ship, or that you're just remote-controlling what amounts to a fancy robot which can do some automated things but isn't sentient? I would think if the latter, that could solve some of the "real time" battle issues, where it would be perfectly OK to lose contact with your ship from time to time or in a large battle only have sporadic contact with it.
posted by maxwelton at 10:42 AM on April 8


How much was lost in the Battle of Serenity?

They're trying to calculate it in bitcoin: Overstock.com says one low-end queen mattress and a fairly tacky floor lamp; that "hip" bakery place says a baker's dozen of "kitchen sink" bagels, plus a small decaf coffee.
posted by maxwelton at 10:45 AM on April 8 [15 favorites]


This Eve Developer put the Serenity 49-U6U losses at 26T ISK, so about 2.5x the Tranquility B-R5RB fight. I hesitate to convert that to real currency because I don't understand the Serenity economics well enough. That real money comparison is all a bit bogus anyway.
posted by Nelson at 10:48 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


bruce: "i don't know much about this game, but i love EVE threads for the window into all the intrigue and backstabbing. i would have liked star trek better if one of the enterprise captains had gathered his/her senior officers around and said "i'm tired of dealing with these starfleet assholes, we're gonna be PIRATES!""

As far as I can tell, playing EVE is like placing Frank Underwood at the helm of the Enterprise.
posted by schmod at 10:51 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


House of Picards?
posted by kmz at 10:55 AM on April 8 [36 favorites]


Man, I loved EVE. It was the first MMO experience I could stand for more than a few hours. So many hours flying with friends from around the world. I helped build the first player owned-station (well, flew security for the op.) Experienced the collapse of our alliance due to treachery from one of my good "friends" who turned out to be a Goon mole. Such amazing heights and lows.

I haven't played in years, and even though reading these after-action reports tempt me to get back in to check things out, I'm afraid my dissertation would suffer pod destruction. Not sure I would even recognize the landscape, much less know how to get my various assets out of whatever hostile stations they are located in. Ah well.
posted by insert.witticism.here at 10:58 AM on April 8


fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit: "

I don't think CCP has ever considered just stopping the spawn of tritanium, ice, or other base metals, it would cause all play to grind to a halt as nobody could replace their ships. (Either that or everyone would fight in blinged-out rookie ships, which I have to admit would be pretty fun.)
"

When I played EVE I had quite a collection of ships. I specialized in stealth and avoiding interdiction. But the most fun was in a Rifter (a Tech 1 frigate) PVPing. It was cheap to replace and could hold its own 1 vs. 1.
posted by Splunge at 11:00 AM on April 8


I haven't played in years, and even though reading these after-action reports tempt me to get back in to check things out

I'll stop here, but I plugged CCP's very recent announcement of their Recall Program in the, mostly wound down, most recent 'Mefites Playing EVE and Loving It" MetaTalk thread. Figured it might benefit some folks like you to see the same info here.

Come join us if you'd like, I'd be glad to help and would funnel all proceeds, if any, into the PINTO coffers.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:02 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


I played Space Invaders at the mall when it came out. I had to wait for my turn.
posted by user92371 at 11:04 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


But the most fun was in a Rifter (a Tech 1 frigate) PVPing. It was cheap to replace and could hold its own 1 vs. 1.

This is still very much a thing. Pinto just had a rifter only roam that went really, really well.

Much fun. Very spaceship. Wow.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:09 AM on April 8


from one of those links:

Titans, the largest ship class in EVE Online, take thousands of man hours to produce, take months to train to fly, and are capable of fitting massive doomsday weapons that obliterate lesser ships with a single volley.

Does it actually take months for an individual to learn how to fly the ship? Or do you just have to wait a few months before the game allows you to fly it?
posted by spacediver at 12:12 PM on April 8


Basically, the latter.

Any in-game character who wants to pilot a Titan needs to dedicate several months towards capital ship training lessons before the game allows that character to assume the helm of one.
posted by ceribus peribus at 12:27 PM on April 8


EVE uses a time based skill leveling system. So, if you chose to spend the time based EXP points (err, pretty much) on capital ship piloting, you can unlock the license to fly X class of ship in X hours.... but you are neglecting all the other skills that may or may not be useful. Then, of course, in addition to the license to fly something, you have skills that improve said class of ships, and so on.


All times are COMPLETELY made up, here.

Say your character gets 100 skill EXP in a day.

A cruiser license might cost 1000 EXP.

A battleship license might cost 50,000

And the big-daddy king of space Titan license might cost 500,000 EXP

I hope that makes sense/is still accurate
posted by Jacen at 12:28 PM on April 8


Does it actually take months for an individual to learn how to fly the ship? Or do you just have to wait a few months before the game allows you to fly it?

Kinda both. I guess it's like if your dad gives you a Lamborghini or a Tanker Ship or something like that. You could maybe drive it around without any real training... but not successfully or for long...

Somewhat tangential I know, but I say that because you could actually, in theory anyway, go to the EVE online forums today, buy a character from someone else that was trained for a Titan and owned one, do the song and dance with CCP to make the character yours, and be in one without having flown anything else in the game.

Would you be able to do anything with it besides get blown up? Nope, but you could still do it I guess...

On preview, what Jacen and ceribus say is also completely correct as well.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:30 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Yes, EVE is a time sink -- certainly for new players. You've got to find solid chunks of time to create a character, and then start doing the tutorials -- which give you ISK, skills, and ships, as well as teaching you how to play the game at a very basic level.

If you have a long weekend, sign up and play then. Do not start on a weekday night if you have anything resembling a job.

EVE is best suited for people who are at least moderately obsessive and detail oriented. If you like being challenged, and trying to figure out stuff (including wondering, "What would happen if I did THIS. . . "), then you should enjoy the game.

Once you're done with the tutorials, find a player-run corp, and dig in. Once you have a home, so to speak, you'll be better able to structure your playing time and commitment around that corp and its activities. There are mining corps with regular mining ops. Corps that just do missions in high sec. Exploration corps. Faction warfare corps. Et cetera, ad infinitum. Mining tends to require the least time investment; nullsec alliance-centered corps or wormhole corps probably require the most time investment.

I've been playing for 15 months and I love it.
posted by gsh at 12:32 PM on April 8


Further, regarding training times, the EVE University (a player operated group that is really geared towards teaching new players the ins/outs of the game) has a writeup of virtually every ship that anyone would ever fly that includes training times that serve as a bare minimum guide for how long a training plan it would be for you to be able to sit in that ship (not including actually doing anything in it or fitting guns or other fun things that do stuffs).

Take this Erebus, which is a Titan, for example:

Training Time what's this? 266d 23h 49m

Other ships, like the Rifter that we mentioned above, are less insanely skill intensive:

Training Time what's this? 0d 0h 24m
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:36 PM on April 8


If you could just reintroduce the img tag to MetaTalk, we'd be that much closer to a MMORPG.
posted by phaedon at 12:37 PM on April 8


As far as I can tell, playing EVE is like placing Frank Underwood at the helm of the Enterprise.

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:16 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: long periods of boredom punctuated with intense adrenaline-pumping fights.
posted by bowmaniac at 1:16 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


schmod: " As far as I can tell, playing EVE is like placing Frank Underwood at the helm of the Enterprise."

That sounds like Star Trek: Borg. At every big decision, John de Lancie's Q character would speak directly to you, to help guide you in the decision making process. Or to mock you when you did something stupid.
posted by zarq at 2:00 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


At one point years ago I thought about getting a license plate frame that read, "My other car is a Rifter." Rifters are great.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:01 PM on April 8


"i'm tired of dealing with these starfleet assholes, we're gonna be PIRATES!"

♫ Burn the land, boil the sea... ♫
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:04 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Behold the shattered Titan
All that remains of
The dreams of space warriors
posted by Sebmojo at 3:14 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


"New to EVE? Start your 14-day free trial today."
posted by Eideteker at 5:59 PM on April 8


Yeah, but that's fraught with peril and probably says more about the author's own cultural and historical standpoint than the subject's. I mean gamers are gamers, people mine and build and blow shit up because it's fun. Those The Mittani articles are hard for me to read because the first impression is "I expect these Chinese act like a lot of collectivists".

Fraught with peril? Absolutely, and examining and questioning those kind of expectations casually voiced by The Mittani and others is what I'm talking about. With most FPS games, cultural differences probably have little to no effect on playstyle (gear up, blow up, wash, rinse, repeat). However, the scope and depth of the EVE universe with such a large simultaneous population may be big enough to provide some empirical evidence on a macro scale that may indicate a different approach and manner of playstyle that could be due to the cultural background of the player population.

Economists often reference EVE as an interesting model to examine, why not look at it from a comparative sociological angle? Let's see if any of those assumptions hold up against the evidence. There are 11 years of data to mine in the EVE universe that could reveal all sorts of things that have not even been considered before. Dig into the data, question everything, mark all assumptions as suspect, and see what comes out - that's what I'd love to see happen one day.
posted by chambers at 6:47 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Alas, Tranquility/Serenity operate with slightly different parameters. Those differences make comparisons of activities between the two servers problematic.

I highly suspect that the business entity behind EVE definitely wanted it this way just so that the behaviour of the players between the two servers could not be scientifically analyzed by deliberately disabling/muddying potential control conditions between the two data sets.
posted by porpoise at 8:48 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


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