It's as if Apple dissolved Microsoft
February 6, 2009 6:25 PM   Subscribe

"Today we destroyed BoB." The giant sandbox-galaxy of EVE-Online (previously) was rocked this week by a defection from Band of Brothers, the largest alliance in the game (and no stranger to controversy), to the Something Awful-related alliance Goonswarm. The Mittani, the goon spymaster, explains what happened, after all of BoB's assets were given over, the alliance disbanded, and the name reincorporated by goons. Via

BoB controlled a huge swath of the galaxy, and had thousands of players under its banner. The actions of a few have changed gameplay for all of them in quite dramatic fashion.
posted by waraw (207 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
 
Please explain this for those of us who have wives and jobs.
posted by ColdChef at 6:28 PM on February 6, 2009 [152 favorites]


Sadly, this registers the same importance and interest as news about political change in the Philippines or Kazakhstan. Which says more about me.


On the other hand, getting news reports on how one huge galatic federation gave in to the horde makes me feel like I live in the future. I am going to hell
posted by The Whelk at 6:29 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wives and jobs? You act like they're different things!

I-I'm sorry. I'm working on my stand-up routine. From 1987.

But, yeah. I love e-drama as much as the next useless jerk, but Eve Online is, what, some kind of online galactic stock market?
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 6:30 PM on February 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Just to be clear: This doesn't affect Felicia Day at all, right?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:31 PM on February 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Still, how did they do it, the Goons? Surely there must be BoB loyalists who will carry the BoB banner to band together stranded and lost groups who are confused about the assimilation and ready to fight back with a New BoB? And other groups who form their own smaller groups, not wanting to be a part of either? Or am I over thinking it?
posted by The Whelk at 6:32 PM on February 6, 2009


This is great news because:
1) BoB are a bunch of cheaters who deserve to die
2) Eve is so lame is deserves to be fucked in the ass by the goons for the rest of it's days.
posted by carfilhiot at 6:33 PM on February 6, 2009


It's as if Apple dissolved Microsoft

Not to the overwhelmingly vast majority of the population it isn't...
posted by Brockles at 6:34 PM on February 6, 2009




There's some nice comparison images at the top of this page.
posted by flatluigi at 6:35 PM on February 6, 2009


I was totally into this game right after I came back from England. It's fun until they revoke your press pass.
posted by parmanparman at 6:37 PM on February 6, 2009


For the layman:

EVE Online is a game that involves very long waits of watching spaceships flying between stars, then occasional amusement from blowing up someone else's spaceship or trading at a spaceport. It involves more acronyms and drama than World of Warcraft.

Instead of guilds, EVE has corporations that control large swathes of the galaxy. Goons were a major corporation several years ago but BoB overpowered them starting a war. Then, two days ago, this happened:

Before

After
posted by shii at 6:37 PM on February 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


And this means what to us?
posted by mattdidthat at 6:38 PM on February 6, 2009


From a limited read-over I did yesterday, this is basically one officer who decided to wreak havoc and destroy the corporation. It could never happen this way in real life, because no individual person can ever have that much power -- it always takes cooperation to disband a large entity. But, in a world made of computer code, a single person with access can destroy a construct that has no other reality.

Overall, pretty much meh. One traitor doesn't make a very interesting story, and Goons just happened to take advantage, as far as I can see.

There may be more to this, which I could have missed in my cursory scan, but from what I can see, it's pretty yawn-inducing. The effects are somewhat interesting, as there appears to be a bit of a scramble to grab some of their assets, but that's just an outbreak of skirmishes in a virtual world.

So, eh. Big deal.
posted by Malor at 6:39 PM on February 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


And this means what to us?

It means your next shipment of unobtainium is fucked.
posted by The Whelk at 6:39 PM on February 6, 2009 [34 favorites]


Post not worthy.
posted by Osmanthus at 6:41 PM on February 6, 2009


Before this becomes laden with 'and this means what to me' comments, can someone more versed in Eve give some stats of how much real-life currency was lost, based on the current conversion rates?
posted by flatluigi at 6:44 PM on February 6, 2009


Game not worthy.
posted by jamstigator at 6:44 PM on February 6, 2009


uhhh, what?
posted by noriyori at 6:53 PM on February 6, 2009


I tried the two week demo, and by the time I had run through the tutorial missions, some storyline missions, had gotten a decent ship, and finally started to understand how to play....I was totally fucking sick of the whole thing. It is less like a game, and more like taking up a part-time CPA job where you pay them for working there.

That game totally sucks.
posted by GavinR at 6:55 PM on February 6, 2009 [11 favorites]


But aren't these shenanigans exactly the point of the game? It sounds like cyber-Diplomacy "with carsspaceships". What's controversial about when I have a hotel on Park Place and Boardwalk and decide to charge rent from Mr Wheelbarrow when he lands there?
posted by DU at 6:59 PM on February 6, 2009


funny, i just created a free demo account for EVE this week, played it like two days until my ship was destroyed. Graphics looked nice, but the game just bored me to death (consisted of 95% autopilot flying from system to system).
I'm too lazy to start campaigning again, so that will probably all the mmorpg playing I'll ever do.

Or does anybody know an actually fun SciFi game that one can play on a mac?

(on preview, what GavinR said)
posted by kolophon at 7:02 PM on February 6, 2009


It is less like a game, and more like taking up a part-time CPA job where you pay them for working there.

Which is to say, an RPG.
posted by DU at 7:05 PM on February 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Game currency price research puts an exchange rate for EVE's ISKs at .12 USD per million ISK. Given a 144,000,000 Million ISK 'GDP', if all of that virtual money could be converted at that rate (probably not, transaction costs being what they are), that would mean a real USD GDP of 17.8 Million dollars, or less than a thousandth of Kazakhstan's GDP. It does occupy an extraordinary amount of people's time however.

The interesting thing about this is how it impacts the ability of EVE online to be used for simulating markets and gathering data.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:07 PM on February 6, 2009


"See this map? See the big hole in the middle?"
That's empire you carebear........:)
posted by blink_left at 7:10 PM on February 6, 2009


I love this part:

This is really fucking awkward because I want to like..tell people about this shit but I can't exactly call up my friends and go "HOLY SHIT WE WON A SPACE WAR" because what the fuck.
posted by ook at 7:10 PM on February 6, 2009 [72 favorites]


The interesting thing about this is how it impacts the ability of EVE online to be used for simulating markets and gathering data.

I always got the impression that there are 15 social scientists doing research for every 1 hobbyist playing as the population of Eve Online.
posted by winna at 7:12 PM on February 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


I can't help but be reminded of Wired's Scenarios issue, specifically the morning e-ink newspaper with the latest updates from a global war MMO. Metafilter's kind of my morning paper, so this works. I'm living in the future.

I think WoW would be a lot more interesting to the rest of us if it had these EVE style political machinations.
posted by jeffkramer at 7:18 PM on February 6, 2009


I asked my brother, who plays a lot of EVE, about this, and his response was basically "eh, that'll happen, it's kinda the point of the game". Kinda interesting from an outsider sociological point of view, though.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:24 PM on February 6, 2009


jeffkramer Isn't that basically what Anarchy Online was?
posted by cthuljew at 7:25 PM on February 6, 2009


Sudden worldchanging events are interesting even when they're happening to a pretend world. The WOW plague was interesting too.

However I have no idea how significant something like this is in EVE, since I split my free time between doing only slightly less nerdy things than MMOs and scoffing at people who do play MMOs.
posted by aubilenon at 7:26 PM on February 6, 2009


Possibly, but I wasn't getting updates about it. From mmogchart.com it looks like Anarchy Online topped out at around 60,000 users. It looks like EVE Online has had steady growth to about 250,000. On the other hand, WoW's over 10 mil.
posted by jeffkramer at 7:32 PM on February 6, 2009


Meanwhile, somewhere, shit that mattered happened.
posted by nanojath at 7:33 PM on February 6, 2009


I've looked at all the links and I've read this entire thread and I still have no idea what the fuck you nerds are talking about. I'm gonna go have sex. With a LADY.
posted by ColdChef at 7:37 PM on February 6, 2009 [26 favorites]


Which is to say, an RPG.

Uhm, no....because some of them are actually *FUN* to play....what a concept!!!
posted by GavinR at 7:40 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


But aren't these shenanigans exactly the point of the game? It sounds like cyber-Diplomacy "with carsspaceships". What's controversial about when I have a hotel on Park Place and Boardwalk and decide to charge rent from Mr Wheelbarrow when he lands there?

Well, probably the main controversy is that the game interface and mechanisms for managing corps and alliances (the main in-game player groupings) is so screwed that this is even possible, basically. People managing corps and alliances have to spend a silly amount of time working around this shit.

Also, those of us who are in neither of the large camps involved aren't necessarily thrilled about a bunch of guys who think that, e.g. naming their spaceships after Nazi concentration camps, or referring to in-game money making efforts as "jewing" having more control/influence in the game.

I've looked at all the links and I've read this entire thread and I still have no idea what the fuck you nerds are talking about. I'm gonna go have sex. With a LADY.

Oh, fuck off. You aren't funny, you aren't original, and you're spending your day on a fucking blog postulating some sort of superiority over other nerd-related activity.
posted by rodgerd at 7:44 PM on February 6, 2009 [31 favorites]


Oh the one hand, yeah, NERDS. On the other hand, this 8-minute voice+transcript YouTube of one of the Goon players explaining what happened is kind of a brilliant sci-fi metapoem.

Apparently BoB can't easily reform, because 1. they tried to be tricky by hiding all their assets in non-player areas, but that means that they can't easily repel other claimants to them now that their title has been cancelled - and 2. Goon co-opted the in-game corporation that represented the Bob alliance for legal purposes. Or something like that.

What's sad and pathetic (but social!) is that these people were playing at being Machiavellian geniuses but had no safeguards of any kind against one disaffected member just handing over the passwords to the enemy.
posted by nicwolff at 7:46 PM on February 6, 2009 [12 favorites]


Yeah, I tried to fap fap fap to this, but try as I might, this just didn't get me hard.
posted by orthogonality at 7:46 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, fuck off. You aren't funny, you aren't original, and you're spending your day on a fucking blog postulating some sort of superiority over other nerd-related activity.

Heh. I assure you that it's entirely sour grapes on my part. I missed the entire online gaming revolution and now I feel like how my dad must have felt watching me play Super Mario Brothers. He'd sigh, shake his head, and go back to playing the only game he ever understood: Galaga.
posted by ColdChef at 7:52 PM on February 6, 2009 [10 favorites]


"Oh, fuck off. You aren't funny, you aren't original, and you're spending your day on a fucking blog postulating some sort of superiority over other nerd-related activity."

What level Dungeon Master are you?
posted by orthogonality at 8:00 PM on February 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have gleaned one word from the spoken-to-text from the YouTube "video" sourced in the OP.

"ragequit"

it is now my favorite word.
posted by Severian at 8:03 PM on February 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


ColdChef, don't sell him short. Galaga is awesome.
posted by JHarris at 8:05 PM on February 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


Back in the 80s I had a game (on cassette tape no less) for my Spectrum 84 that was remarkably similar to this. I could never get anyone to play with me because the other kids thought it was boring but I loved it. Apparently this is where my people have been hanging out all this time.
posted by fshgrl at 8:08 PM on February 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know, every time I see something like this, I think wistful thoughts about Puzzle Pirates. Maybe it's time to re-up that account.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:08 PM on February 6, 2009 [2 favorites]



I've looked at all the links and I've read this entire thread and I still have no idea what the fuck you nerds are talking about. I'm gonna go have sex. With a LADY.
posted by ColdChef at 3:37 AM on February 7 [+] [!]



the sex lasted 15 minutes coldchef ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:09 PM on February 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


the sex lasted 15 minutes coldchef ?

Is that even possible?

I kid because I love. I'm fascinated by online group dynamics. Especially games that have real-world ramifications. I just wish I understood better what the hell this was all about. And I envy people who have the resources to indulge their nerd-itude. *slinks away, dragging his Crown Royal bag full of childhood dreams*
posted by ColdChef at 8:13 PM on February 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is this something I'd need a computer and an internet connection for to understand?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:18 PM on February 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


I've looked at all the links and I've read this entire thread and I still have no idea what the fuck you nerds are talking about. I'm gonna go have sex. With a LADY.

What level Dungeon Master are you?

Yeah, LOL NEEERRRRRDDDDSSSSS! Seriously, this kind of shit could be written by a script. $SOCIAL_LIFE $PARENTS_BASEMENT $SEX_WITH_GIRLS $DUNGEON_MASTER. It might even have been funny the first ten million times, but I honestly can't remember. It's about as clever or original as Hallmark cards, bumper stickers or those cheap keychains they sell at gas stations. "Is this something I'd need to be a virgin to care about?" "Not all who wander are lost!" "Work is for people who don't know how to fish!" Pick one, they're all equivalent. I don't even play MMORPGs, but I can't stand people repeating tired catch phrases and thinking it's clever. If you want to make fun of people for having a hobby you look down on, well, it kinda makes you a jerk, but you could at least be original while doing it.

Plus, people who post daily on an Internet forum looking down on people who play games on the Internet are, to repeat another tired slogan, kinda throwing stones in their glass houses.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:18 PM on February 6, 2009 [24 favorites]


Meanwhile, somewhere, shit that mattered happened.

Thanks so much for shouldering your way to demonstrate your total indifference to us.
posted by fatbird at 8:19 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


DAMN IT OBAMA! WHAT DID YOU DO?
posted by ALongDecember at 8:21 PM on February 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


I found this linked-above post fascinating back when it was posted. I recommend it as a good starter for this post.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:23 PM on February 6, 2009


I have gleaned one word from the spoken-to-text from the YouTube "video" sourced in the OP.

"Emoragequit" is an even better word!
posted by Slothrup at 8:24 PM on February 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


To those who say that something like this couldn't happen in real life, remember how few people it took to build the house of cards that was Enron, and what sort of impact its collapse had. Key people can create massive damage.

The backstory here is that 1) BoB is a large, longstanding alliance that everyone hated, due to their longevity and a few scandals; 2) because of their longevity and their wealth, they were able to fortify the Delve area such that they were basically invulnerable--even when they lost massive swaths of territory to goonswarm, they still had a strong home country to retreat to; 3) that invulnerability was based on building infrastructure that made their territory basically impossible to invade; 4) that infrastructure depended upon having 'sovereignty' over a bunch of systems.

When the defector disbanded BoB, they lost sovereignty, which means they lost the infrastructure, which means they lost the invulnerable homeland. They still have all the players in their corps, but now they're just a bunch of players. It's like the castle walls disappeared. To survive, BoB has to regain sovereignty of those systems, and in Eve's time-based way, that'll take a couple months during which they're much more vulnerable if they try to make a stand.
posted by fatbird at 8:28 PM on February 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I tried to watch that YouTube video about this but it was as boring as the game is itself. They could have at least incorporated visuals to make it somewhat interesting. Dull and pointless. Those guys have no creativity, but I guess that is why the play EVE in the first place.
posted by GavinR at 8:30 PM on February 6, 2009


What level Dungeon Master are you?

Dungeion Masters don't have...

Oh.

Touché, sir.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:34 PM on February 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


Those guys have no creativity, but I guess that is why the play EVE in the first place.

Nail on the head. But then, do you really want your accountant or plumber getting creative? For some people, playing the accountant is as fun as playing the space commando. Granted, it's a small set, but it's at least a couple hundred thousand people.
posted by cthuljew at 8:34 PM on February 6, 2009


The interesting thing will be if goonswarm or someone else will actually organize enough to capitalize on this. If someone else manages to take Delve and Querious, BoB will be years in rebuilding, if they do at all--events like this cause a lot of lukewarm members to go to other corporations. It'll be interesting to see BoB's membership in a week.
posted by fatbird at 8:35 PM on February 6, 2009


It could never happen this way in real life, because no individual person can ever have that much power... But, in a world made of computer code, a single person with access can destroy a construct that has no other reality.

I dunno, a lot of reality is computer-generated these days.
posted by jacalata at 8:37 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of all the online games I don't play, Eve is by a wide margin the one in which I take the most interest. I don't think I would like playing it, but I'm really glad it exists.
posted by cortex at 8:43 PM on February 6, 2009 [22 favorites]


I fucking love reading about Eve. Could not get into playing it at all, but I don't begrudge those who do.

A few things make Eve different from other MMORPGs.

A) A unified world.
B) A real, functioning economy
C) Player controlled regions of control.

Why that makes things interesting is that, without a team of writers, they've created a place that has a real history. Things happen that matter -- War, Great Leaders, Betrayals, Crime, etc. Things that never, ever happen in World of Warcraft. War in WoW is a sport, a fun diversion. War in Eve has consequences, people lose real money, and real time.

You're talking about years of collective effort, by thousands of people, destroyed overnight by the betrayal of one slighted person.

It may not be Brutus and Caesar, but it is something.

And for those of you saying, "Get a Life" -- I don't ever want to hear about a football game or the latest episode of Lost from you again.

This is the endgame of a war that's been going on for years now. It's high drama, and I'm enjoying watching it unfold.

Previous Goonswarm spycraft here.

This may have been the act of a single defector, but defectors always have been part of warfare. It wasn't luckk, they cultivated a spy network for years, and it paid off for them.
posted by empath at 8:45 PM on February 6, 2009 [51 favorites]


YOUR FAVOURITE GAME IS PLAYED BY PEOPLE NERDIER THAN ME AND THEREFORE SUCKS x 10000

Seriously, we don't care about how you're too awesome. How about I come to your place and piss in your kid's cornflakes for liking Viva Pinata so much?

Anyways, for anyone who doesn't really get what's going on, here's a concise yet detailed account of why this matters to people in the game.
posted by chrominance at 8:45 PM on February 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


(p.s. I have never played Viva Pinata but I hear it's actually pretty sweet)
posted by chrominance at 8:45 PM on February 6, 2009


And for those of you saying, "Get a Life" -- I don't ever want to hear about a football game or the latest episode of Lost from you again.

How about the last Wilco concert I saw?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:47 PM on February 6, 2009


He was actually a part of an IGNE (GoonSwarm pubbie corp) recruitment scam but liked us so much that he told them he was a BNC/Executor corp director when we were going to kick him out.

His own words were that when he joined BNC they didn't even say hello, but when he came to us he was helped by everyone from the start.

The rest is history.


This is key -- Goonswarm was running a scam where they tell people that they'll let them join, and then take all their stuff and kick them out. But before they did, the 'victim' had so much more fun playing with them that he handed them the keys to the kingdom rather than get kicked out.

Wheels within wheels man, I love it.
posted by empath at 8:50 PM on February 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


It is less like a game, and more like taking up a part-time CPA job where you pay them for working there.

My understanding of Eve (from ppl I know [who work at a videogame company, so YMMV]) is that it isn't interesting enough to play unless you play 5 or so accounts (and have a WoW account or two to play during the downtime.)
posted by blenderfish at 8:53 PM on February 6, 2009


This episode illustrates why this game is ass. One guy with a username/password combo takes down an "empire"??? This isn't a simulation of real life, kids. This is a simulation of the computer network at your office.
posted by Nahum Tate at 8:55 PM on February 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Just so you can judge the impact this likely had on Eve. What's basically happened here is that the Soviet Union has collapsed, and the old guard is trying to hold on to whatever they can while being attacked from all sides. And I assume they're likely to start fighting each other as well.

What makes this more amusing is that the Band of Brothers people have really close ties to the game developers, and in fact, have been caught cheating with help from the game developers before.
posted by empath at 8:56 PM on February 6, 2009


Metafilter: I'm gonna go have sex. With a LADY.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:13 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also: Eve has had its own Bernie Madoff, too. And totally legal.
posted by empath at 9:21 PM on February 6, 2009


Wow, take a look at the "controversy" link in the post. EVE's developers seem to have played favorites, and BoB was the favorite in question.

I had thought from time to time about checking out just what the heck EVE Online is about, but after reading that, no way. Wow.
posted by JHarris at 9:25 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]



I expected more from Metafilter, as EVE is the ultimate Metagame.

But EVE players will be first to admit (and glad to admit) that it is definitely not for everyone. That's what all the other games are for.

Being involved in EVE either happens or it doesn't, and it's neither good nor bad. It just is.

It's the only MMO where once you're involved you feel like you're jacked in to an alternate reality and unlike every other game on the market, you can make decisions, like the ones made in this incident, that shape the scope and reality of the game for the other 100k+ people who call the game home, whether they realize it or not.

Highly geek. Highly cerebral. But for the few that fit the niche, it is an utterly intoxicating way to spend a few evenings a week.

"It wasn't luck, they cultivated a spy network for years, and it paid off for them."

This is what the Goons will claim, but the consensus is they were given one hell of a late Christmas gift simply out of the blue.
posted by dopamine at 9:34 PM on February 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


This didn't take long.
posted by empath at 9:44 PM on February 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


And for those of you saying, "Get a Life" -- I don't ever want to hear about a football game or the latest episode of Lost from you again.

So the other day I went diving for a video on collegehumor where I was the butt of the joke (or something like that). It's long gone, but I did find a post on a car forum where a bunch of guys talked about what a dork I was.

Poking around in there led me to the posters photobucket album.

I'd love to know what he'd say if he knew I had three flavors of welding equipment and a CNC mill in the basement?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:47 PM on February 6, 2009


I fucking love reading about Eve. Could not get into playing it at all, but I don't begrudge those who do.

Me too. At least eve is a game. There are rules and social interactions beyond a/s/l, unlike Second Life. Id much rather live in a world where tech reporters wrote about Eve instead of Second Life and other digital barbie dress up worlds.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:56 PM on February 6, 2009 [4 favorites]




This episode illustrates why this game is ass. One guy with a username/password combo takes down an "empire"??? This isn't a simulation of real life, kids.

I would argue that is exactly how many "empires" have been lost in real life.
posted by fshgrl at 10:05 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


If this can lead to real-life losses, do the instigators attract some sort of liability for their actions? Could they be sued successfully in a real-world court?
posted by grouse at 10:05 PM on February 6, 2009


I hate to admit it, but ...

... this sounds very cool. The only thing that has stopped me from playing EVE is that some folks I know have been very upfront about what a time-sucker it can be just to maintain.

I will, however, accept "Get a life"-flavored comments from people who, when I click on their profiles, show up as having disabled their accounts.
posted by adipocere at 10:06 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Like cortex, I don't play EVE (tried a trial, got bored) but I love reading about it. So the Goons basically found a turncoat and got him to cough up his personal account information, allowing them to log in as him and then proceed to dissolve the BoB team and take all of their stuff.

In any other MMORPG I can think of, like World of Warcraft, I'd imagine mods would have stepped in and "un-allowed" the action as being far too meta-gamey. But the culture of EVE actually seems to encourage this type of meta-gaming, as far as I can tell. Especially if lots and lots of people get fucked over.

I dunno, I think it's kind of cool.

And while "ragequit" is good, "Goonwaffe" is better.
posted by bardic at 10:10 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


If this can lead to real-life losses, do the instigators attract some sort of liability for their actions? Could they be sued successfully in a real-world court?

Isn't all this crap the point of the game? That would be like suing someone for beating you in chess or something.
posted by delmoi at 10:11 PM on February 6, 2009


I was going to go have sex with a lady, but she's a little busy right now downing Sartherion with 3 drakes up on her Boomkin. So, I guess I'll go farm Arctic Furs since my spec was nerfed. Maybe I'll get lucky and her hand will cramp up, or perhaps Wintergrasp will crash the server.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:21 PM on February 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


NeoGAF's post is excellent. Here's a summary of what BoB lost:

1) All cynosaural generators and jammers.
2) All jump bridges
3) All conquerable stations
4) Their capital shipyards went offline with, apparently, 8 titans in them.

Since the introduction of capital ships, war in Eve has been dominated by them. Capital ships are big and powerful, but can't jump between systems through the normal jumpgates--they require a cyno field generator at the destination (provided by another ship or a cyno generator) to use their own jump drives.

1) means that BoB can't jump capital ships into their systems anymore without sending in a ship to generate the field. The absence of jammers means that they can't prevent other capital ships from jumping in. This was a big linchpin of Delve's invulnerability: they could move cap ships easily and quickly, and no one else could move them at all. That's gone.

2) is the network of jump gates that they owned and set up between stations, allowing non-cap ships quick and easy transit across BoB space. Another hit to their mobility, especially now that they're reduced to using the normal gates for a system, of which there are 1-4 per system. Those gates can be camped by the enemy, blockading them.

3) I'm not sure what this costs them. I don't know if this means all player owned stations or just some.

4) Capital ships require capital shipyards to build, but require sovereignty to operate. BoB not only lost 15 capital ships in the theft, but their capacity to replace them (and any lost in battle) is now gone.

So, BoB bravado notwithstanding, it's a big, big event in the Eve universe.
posted by fatbird at 10:23 PM on February 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Empath, that video is made of win.
posted by bardic at 10:24 PM on February 6, 2009


Everything I've ever heard about Eve Online suggests the entire game was designed to make it as pleasant a place for griefers as possible without making it obvious. The sheer ease of which the players can screw each other over for lulz and the damage they can do is ridiculous. It's like a bunch of people renting a beach to make sand castles - except that the sand castles take a year and a half to make, there's a bunch of assholes running up and down the beach kicking the castles down, and the developers give them a dollar for every time they do it. Oh, and if you hit them, you get banned - but they have the art of hitting you while the admin aren't looking down to a precise science.

All MMORPGs sound like pointless grinding and suffering to me, but Eve Online is literally the least fun sounding of all of them. Unless you grief, or you enjoy suffering, I don't know why you'd even give it a try. Even that old haven of the griefer, UO, can't begin to hold a candle.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:45 PM on February 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


Oh, and if you hit them, you get banned - but they have the art of hitting you while the admin aren't looking down to a precise science.

It's more like, for a certain type of player, it's not worth building something if there's no risk of someone knocking it down. Building and defending while knocking other's sand castles down is the point. Your sand castle analogy only works if you assume that everyone, including yourself, is a bully; building the biggest, best sand castle then is a much greater accomplishment than doing it with a bunch of toddlers in the pre-school sandbox.

Yup, it's a sociopathic approach to entertainment, but now and then you get amazingly huge lulz like this that simply aren't possible in other MMOs.
posted by fatbird at 11:07 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


This may have been the act of a single defector, but defectors always have been part of warfare. It wasn't luckk, they cultivated a spy network for years, and it paid off for them.

I've always had an interest in the game-play mechanics and sociology of EVE too, although I've never played. It seems deceit, spies and traitors play a large role in a lot of these epic fallouts. But I have to wonder, don't the use of out-of-band channels like IM clients make infiltration/spying way too easy? It would seem to entirely change the dynamics of spying. In real life, you risk revealing yourself when you transmit information, not so in this game.

Still, very cool.
posted by formless at 11:14 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can't wait until goonfleet dissolves into bitter infighting after the threat of a common enemy is no longer there to suppress animosities built up by years of petty slights.
posted by wayofthedodo at 11:14 PM on February 6, 2009


Sounds like the Goons blew up BoB's Ressurection Ship...
posted by cthuljew at 11:22 PM on February 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, reading this thread and studying Roman history at the same time is just awesome.
posted by cthuljew at 11:24 PM on February 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


fatbird: Building and defending while knocking other's sand castles down is the point.

Yeah, but there's regular building and defending, and there's this kind of thing. Something that should have taken thousands of people working together was accomplished by one jackass being a griefer.

It's as if the olympic event of swimming was decided one year because some asshole kidney-punched his competition.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:37 PM on February 6, 2009


It's as if the olympic event of swimming was decided one year because some asshole kidney-punched his competition.

More like, the Australians win the gold medal in a relay event, because one of the American swimmers just decides to stop in the middle of the pool, and point and laugh at his teammates.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:44 PM on February 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


"It's as if the olympic event of swimming was decided one year because some asshole kidney-punched his competition."

Lots of people would pay to watch this. Seriously.
posted by bardic at 11:45 PM on February 6, 2009


I am not a Goon, but one of my friends is, and he's the type of guy where everyone who meet him is just honestly proud to know him. Honest, real, funny, and smarter than anyone you could hope to meet.

I judge the rest of the SA Goons by just assuming they're a lot like him, IRL

I don't understand most of this post, but if it's good for my friend, then yippee, I guess
posted by Navelgazer at 11:51 PM on February 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Plus, people who post daily on an Internet forum looking down on people who play games on the Internet are, to repeat another tired slogan, kinda throwing stones in their glass houses."

It's that context that makes my tired repetition of the mined out, exhausted seams of ore-less memes, the funny.
posted by orthogonality at 11:59 PM on February 6, 2009


"1) All cynosaural generators and jammers.
"2) All jump bridges
"3) All conquerable stations"


4) All their base are belong to joo!?
posted by orthogonality at 12:04 AM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I find this *potentially* fascinating, but after reading through the links I still totally confused as to what actually happened. It sounds like one guy said, "I hate the people I play with online," gave someone else the password to login, and that someone else came in and hit alt-F4. I guess what is confusing to me is that I am having trouble differentiating between how much of this takeover occurred through in-game mechanics and how much occurred through out-of-game interactions. Perhaps there isn't really a difference in this case?
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:05 AM on February 7, 2009


"I am having trouble differentiating between how much of this takeover occurred through in-game mechanics"

As far as I can tell, none. It was a willing account-jack.
posted by bardic at 12:11 AM on February 7, 2009


Also, I have to second rodgerd big time on this:

Also, those of us who are in neither of the large camps involved aren't necessarily thrilled about a bunch of guys who think that, e.g. naming their spaceships after Nazi concentration camps, or referring to in-game money making efforts as "jewing" having more control/influence in the game.

I mean, the "goonwaffe"? Or The Mittani in the youtube audio talking about the "faggots" over at BoB? Come on. It's that kind of shit that drove me (and many people I know) off pretty much any online gaming.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:11 AM on February 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


As far as I can tell, none. It was a willing account-jack.

Not so, from what I've read. It would have been rolled back if the account was hacked or willingly given to someone else. Looks as though it was a willing collaboration with a high level executive.

Here's a thread on the Eve forums containing the initial conversations between the defector and his "recruiter".
posted by ODiV at 12:19 AM on February 7, 2009


The defection happened in game. Once the defector was pushed up to the Mittana, the head of the G.I.A. (goonswarm intelligence agency), it was taken offline for planning. According to him, they were initially going to do a smash-and-grab, basically just steal everything they could get their hands on and run, but he had a sudden realization that he essentially had the keys to the kingdom and could shut the whole alliance down. It was literally just a few hours from the defection to the execution of the plan, which was, again, all done in-game.

Some interesting interviews here.

I'm kind of amazed by how in depth these guys get, and the live reports from the front. It's one of those 'oh my god, i'm living in the future' moments.
posted by empath at 12:21 AM on February 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Or The Mittani in the youtube audio talking about the "faggots" over at BoB?

And he's apparently a lawyer in DC, IRL.
posted by empath at 12:22 AM on February 7, 2009


And he's apparently a lawyer in DC, IRL.

The man is a Something Awful forum Goon, if I'm not mistaken (not sure just how loose the association is), so he's using the terminology completely self-consciously. Not to defend it, but it's possible to be a decent person while still participating in the not-directly-violent practices of your peer group.
posted by cthuljew at 12:25 AM on February 7, 2009


Congrats goonies, last time I payed attention Goonswarm wasn't winning the war. I don't even play this game anymore but checking in on the politics sometimes is fun.
posted by thylacine at 12:30 AM on February 7, 2009


I mean, the "goonwaffe"? Or The Mittani in the youtube audio talking about the "faggots" over at BoB? Come on. It's that kind of shit that drove me (and many people I know) off pretty much any online gaming.

I would say that "irreverence" is the dominant Goon aesthetic; which is at once endearing and horrifying.
posted by blenderfish at 12:32 AM on February 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


I doubt I'll ever bother even trying the demo, but I hope EVE hangs onto its subscribers for a long time. I love these wild stories of interstellar espionage and betrayal. I absolutely love the image of former galactic tyrants gathering what petty goods they can salvage while their empire crumbles around them. There's something so mythic and so tragic about this hopeless escape attempt, carrying a meager fraction of their wealth and trying to outrun an angry galaxy.

I hope the fall of BoB is well-documented from many points of view. It sounds like every opportunist in the game will be swarming in to bite off a bit of carcass. I'm curious as to which faction will best capitalize on all that newly available territory. A question for Eve players - do the invaders have a shot at assuming control of the currently disabled BoB infrastructure, or do they have to bomb everything and start over from scratch?
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:39 AM on February 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


How large are these teams, by the way? 100 people? 1,000? 10?
posted by delmoi at 12:41 AM on February 7, 2009


shii, thanks for those links. That was the first thing I wanted to see when I saw this headline on Slashdot.

I played through the 21-day free trial of EVE via Steam. Was fun until I learned the gist of every major activity (though I didn't do much PvP). After awhile I understood the "grind" of EVE. It's not like other MMOs in terms of needing to kill monsters, but it does have its own grind: the waiting game. Wait for skills to complete. Wait to warp through 14 star systems. Wait for the mining lasers to finish filling up your storage bay. I grew tired of the game.

Cool concept, though. At least it's not another fantasy MMO. The politics/wars/intrigue is definitely the best part of the game, but I don't see that aspect being very easy for newbies to get to.
posted by wastelands at 12:48 AM on February 7, 2009


delmoi, someone on Slashdot said that BoB, if you included its affiliate organizations, was about 10,000 people. The core BoB was 2,800. But most corps are *much* smaller. And also technically Goonswarm and BoB and the like are alliance, which are groups of corporations.
posted by wastelands at 12:51 AM on February 7, 2009


Something that should have taken thousands of people working together was accomplished by one jackass being a griefer.

As stated above I too find the EVE game design scope to be awe-inspiring in its ambitions, if not the particulars of its actual execution.

So in this case clearly there were weaknesses in the design that enabled disproportionate damage.

EVE is still the game I wish I had had a hand in the making.

I got tired of WoW back in '85 when it was called "Wizardry II -- The Knight of Diamonds", but EVE is an attempt to bring the Traveller universe to life.

The technologies and moving parts the game designers have created are certainly parallel to, if not coincident with, the kind of alternate-reality persistent strategic-scale real-time massively-multiplayer role-playing game. Each of the adjectives in that last sentence required a total fuckton of work to realize in the EVE that people are playing now. Props to the creators.
posted by troy at 1:10 AM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Those forums are a headache to read, the noise is about 98%, and as an outsider it's hard to even know what 2% of the dross is signal.

"First page post"
"I am in threadnought"
"fofofofofo"

etc. etc.

Every time a thread links us to another online forum like this one, it reminds me why I love MetaFilter so much.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:17 AM on February 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was going to go have sex with a lady, but she's a little busy right now downing Sartherion with 3 drakes up on her Boomkin.

I hate to break this to you, but those 'ladies' that you're having sex with?

They probably aren't.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:19 AM on February 7, 2009


This is what I love about my shooters. None of this drifting in an empty void for hours, meticulously building a ship piece by piece, weighing the pros and cons of how to spend your money on what at some space port. No, sir. Touhou game play is a tried and true pattern.

La-dee-da, flying along, shooting fairies, oh hai mid-stage boss, shooting more fairies, then the end stage boss appears, and the following dialogue template commences:
You: I hope I can get to the bottom of this incident I'm investigating!
End-stage boss: Mu-hoo-ha-ha-ha. And what are you doing here?
You: I'm investigating an incident. Get out of my way!
End-stage boss: Oh ho ho. Is that right?
You: [ham-fisted pun of boss's name]
End-stage boss: Not funny! Now you die!
And then danmaku, curtain fire, bullet hell, shootshootshoot, bombing, grazing bullets, shootshoot, KA-BOOM! End-stage boss is dead. Proceed to next stage. Along the way, there's neat graphics, cool music, and a lot of swearing on your part. Granted, it would be pretty funny if you could go online and fight others playing bosses. I can definitely see the appeal.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:00 AM on February 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


"The defection happened in game."

Not really. That an alt was used means a major part of the defection took place out of the game (unless I missed something and the defector deliberately went out of his way to fake interactions between the main and the alt in game that both BoB or Goon could uncover).
posted by Auz at 3:05 AM on February 7, 2009


I don't know anything about this game or any other MMO, but this is sort of fascinating. And I do have some observations: It seems like a number of unusual and/or surprising things happened in order for this to occur... so many, actually, that I would be suspicious about the unfolding of events as related...

First, the Goonswarm guy who was approached by the "new guy" didn't scam him, which it appears it SOP in this sort of situation;

Second, as someone mentions in the forum, how does this defector, as a highly placed BoB guy, not know that this would be the standard response... that if he approached them as an eager joiner, they would just take his stuff and kick him;

Third, he gives them this out of the blue on a silver platter, free, gratis, no negotiating... he just wants to be a grunt and shoot s***;

Fourth, that they were so confident of the information and quick on the draw that they would be ready to act within hours of the defection... why the rush? It would seem more prudent to spend more time double checking that they weren't being suckered, and then more time to plan out the best course of action;

Finally, of course, that the BoB were so vulnerable that one disaffected guy could bring it all down in a day

That much oddness would make me wonder if it happened quite as presented... If so, it was all pure luck and no spycraft involved to any real degree. Interesting either way.
posted by taz at 3:07 AM on February 7, 2009


I will not buy this record, it is scratched.

My hovercraft is full of eels.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 3:23 AM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fourth, that they were so confident of the information and quick on the draw that they would be ready to act within hours of the defection... why the rush? It would seem more prudent to spend more time double checking that they weren't being suckered, and then more time to plan out the best course of action

If I'm understanding the Mittani's side of the story correctly, his POV seemed to be that a BoB director, as a spy, would be pretty useless, and just leaving him there to do whatever, over time, was risky. They didn't really know what to do. Fortunately, the former BoB director donated heaps of assets - fleets of ships, fuel, and such - as a gift to the Goons. Maybe as a show of good faith or just out of boredom.

It's pretty hilarious, the more I read this. Some big bad entity pissing off half the universe, and when one director is bored and jumps ship, the whole thing falls apart.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:24 AM on February 7, 2009


taz

I think the confluence of coincidence indicates that it was, indeed spontaneous.

1. He was about to kick him out when the new guy pretty much bartered for permission to stay in.

2. He was using an alt when he approached them, so they had absolutely no indication that he owned an account that was highly placed.

3. I’ll grant you this one almost completely, although if he was okay with joining the Goons, mayhem might not have been far from his heart anyway.

4. No rush, I guess, but there was pretty much no risk to them. All the information was flowing one way: from BoB to Goonswarm. And the lack of an organized assault on Delve (an important point to notice if you’ve been as studious in tracking this as I have) indicates that it was spur-of-the-moment and not planned in advance.

Finally, blame CCP for leaving in that exploitable point, and BoB for not noticing such a crippling weakness. Although according to the BoB spokesperson, the defector was given a directorship “in error.”

Yeah, uh... I'm waaaay too into this whole situation, and I only played EVE for two weeks ... a year ago.
posted by cthuljew at 3:38 AM on February 7, 2009


Another interesting aspect is that BoB hid almost all of their assets in NPC (non-player controlled) bases instead of in bases controlled by their member corporations. When BoB imploded the various corporations that made up BoB now had no control over the assets anymore and they were all looted by Goonswarm (who knew where everything was).
posted by PenDevil at 4:37 AM on February 7, 2009


heh, cthuljew; two weeks a year ago makes you an expert compared to me.

about item two, someone in one of the forums, a Goonswarm guy, said something to the effect of how strange it was that the defector didn't realize that approaching the goonswarm to join (in his alt personality) was pretty much a guarantee that they would scam him (as a newbie) - take his stuff and kick him out. In other words, I was saying that as an actual highly placed BoB guy, it seems like he would have been aware that they normally operate that way, and realized that it would be unlikely that his initial overture (just a regular guy) would work.

So, a question: if BoB is as thoroughly destroyed as it appears, is it even going to be fun any more for the goonswarm folk? Is there another big enemy that is worthwhile to them for play excitement, or is it all going to get boring after things settle down?
posted by taz at 4:56 AM on February 7, 2009


Also... if it happened just as explained, it seem a bit meh in the sense that it wasn't strategy or spying or outmaneuvering that gained them the victory, but just a plain old straight-up gift on a platter. I do understand that it's a wildly dramatic and breathtaking coup and goons are overjoyed, and everyone is reeling - but it's almost like somebody said "okay, stand here and take this axe," then put their own head down on the chopping block, uncovered their neck, and invited them to go at it.

Like if someone at the very top levels of a nation's administration just threw open the doors and invited the ravening hordes to plunder, pillage and destroy their own country... and that would never happen, would it? shoot me, I couldn't resist! aaargh!
posted by taz at 5:53 AM on February 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


So... VGA Planets, anyone?
posted by starman at 6:14 AM on February 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow.

I play Eve, but hadn't read this news. Saw it first here at MeFi.

It's a simply astounding turn of events in the Eve universe.

To put it in terms that others might understand it would be something like this:

Cortex gives admin access to all MeFi sites to 4chan. 4chan removes admin access from everyone else. 4chan legally grabs all the domain names, server hosting accounts, etc. Metafilter as we know it ceases to exist in a day with no hope of being recreated. All internal email & IM messages between MeFi admins posted online. Names of all anonymous AskMe posters revealed. 4chan + rest of internets gloats.

BTW, Caldari Basilisk pilot looking for MeFi-friendly corp, evemail Dunk Dinkle in-game
posted by Argyle at 6:31 AM on February 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


This episode illustrates why this game is ass. One guy with a username/password combo takes down an "empire"???

Right, because history has never been changed by traitors and defectors.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:34 AM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


His own words were that when he joined BNC they didn't even say hello, but when he came to us he was helped by everyone from the start.

That's actually the most fascinating part to me. The goonswarm just defeated their most hated enemy by being nice to some random pubbie, who turned out to have the keys to the kingdom.
posted by graventy at 7:05 AM on February 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


I've heard of various "news making" shenanigans in this game before, and while I have no doubt it's important, awe inspiring stuff for those involved... as a guy who doesn't play (or care to), it all seems pretty meh.
posted by datter at 7:08 AM on February 7, 2009


I suppose this is what it feels like to be a teenage korean watching Meet the Press for the first time.
posted by krautland at 7:11 AM on February 7, 2009 [11 favorites]


Of all the online games I don't play, Eve is by a wide margin the one in which I take the most interest. I don't think I would like playing it, but I'm really glad it exists.

Yeah, exactly. I got bored with Eve after 6 months, same as with WoW, but it seems really interesting from the outside.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:16 AM on February 7, 2009


Here's a thread on the Eve forums containing the initial conversations between the defector and his "recruiter".

Okay, that was pretty fascinating, I must say. We are in the future.
posted by biscotti at 7:36 AM on February 7, 2009


I find EVE fascinating. This could never have happened in any other game. In any other game, someone goes and kills the Big Bad and *poof* the Big Bad respawns and waits for someone else to come kill it. Nothing has changed. But this, this actually changes the game.

I'm neither a Goon nor a member of BoB -- but this event changes how I play the game: I have a regular trade run that takes me deep into (what was) BoB territory. Is it still safe? Do I need to find an alternative route? Maybe a whole different market? Is the value of what I'm selling (mainly minerals and Tech I fittings, so nothing that exciting, really) going to rise or fall? To find out, I'm gonna hafta invest serious time and effort in-game scouting around. The actions of other players whom I've never met and probably never will have fundamentally altered the way I play the game. That's awesome.

That's what makes the game compelling. Ninety percent of time, all I do in EVE is log in to set a skill, take a glance at the markets, adjust my orders if needed, and log back off. Dull. But. It's the other ten percent, stuff like this, that keeps me coming back.

And if you need a Caldari missile boat/passive shield tank specialist with 20 million plus SP in your corp, MeFiMail me.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:46 AM on February 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm so happy I have no idea what this is.
posted by Zambrano at 7:55 AM on February 7, 2009


So… Why’d you left, guys? I mean, seriously.
posted by Flashman at 8:29 AM on February 7, 2009


What's sad and pathetic (but social!) is that these people were playing at being Machiavellian geniuses but had no safeguards of any kind against one disaffected member just handing over the passwords to the enemy.

I too love READING about Eve Online but not playing it. Online dynamics are very interesting, add money and gaming and ZMOG SPACESHIPS into it and you've got something I'll happpily read over coffee. Add a dew explosions and characters and maybe a sexy alien and you've got a soild Sci-Fi potboiler outta this.


Sounds like the Goons blew up BoB's Ressurection Ship...

it's more like one BoB gave all the access codes and defensive systems to the Goons. Oh wait-
posted by The Whelk at 8:40 AM on February 7, 2009


Every time there is one of these posts I try to read it a little and see if I can understand what it is people get from these games, because I know it must be something.

Not this time, either.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:58 AM on February 7, 2009


Metafilter: "throwing stones in their glass houses"
posted by Mitheral at 9:14 AM on February 7, 2009


Peter, she's sitting right next to me, so no worries.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:52 AM on February 7, 2009


So… Why’d you left, guys? I mean, seriously.

At various times I've spent 4-10 months in the game, skilling up Ted Shank and exploring various parts of the game. I've done missions through level 4, I've got a battleship, I've mined, I've traded, I've done reconnaissance in a cloaked ship, I've flown through 0.0 space in a ship I couldn't afford to lose, gripping my mouse so tightly that I cracked the case.

The thing is that there's a big cutoff point where, to get beyond it, you really need a corp (guild, whatever) of hardcore players who are willing to, like you, spend 20-40 hours a week playing to advance. It's much like WoW or any other MMO in this regard. I stopped there for the same reason I stopped playing WoW: I wasn't willing to take on a second job working towards a lot of virtual rewards. Unlike most who work through that point, I didn't find the social aspect of it that rewarding, but some do because you develop genuine relationships with a wide variety of people.
posted by fatbird at 10:05 AM on February 7, 2009


It's a shame that the relatively clear internal links, that made this coherent even to non-gamers like myself, didn't make their way into the initial post so we could move past the the snark and understand what was really happening here.

Chrominance's link has a very nice explanation. A small excerpt:

Past the direct losses of BOB themselves, countless more will lose ships, capital ships, and POSes in the wars that will rage over the former BOB territory. Many of facilities mining the highend moons, those responsible for putting minerals on the market for item production, have temporarily been taken offline, and likely won't stabilize for weeks, and this will very likely adversely affect the market for ALL players.

This blow is nothing short of staggering, and it would not be surprising to see the ISK toll into the trillions, and translated to real money, tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of assets and manhours lost.

This has been the greatest and most devastating heist ever performed in a video game, and is nothing short of a horror, a hilarity and work of art to witness. Its as close to a Greek tragedy as video gaming is ever going to get.

posted by mecran01 at 10:14 AM on February 7, 2009


This episode illustrates why this game is ass. One guy with a username/password combo takes down an "empire"???

"Yueh! Yueh! Yueh!" goes the refrain. "A million deaths were not enough for Yueh!"
posted by Bookhouse at 10:17 AM on February 7, 2009 [9 favorites]


In response to:

The man is a Something Awful forum Goon, if I'm not mistaken (not sure just how loose the association is), so he's using the terminology completely self-consciously. Not to defend it, but it's possible to be a decent person while still participating in the not-directly-violent practices of your peer group.

and

I would say that "irreverence" is the dominant Goon aesthetic; which is at once endearing and horrifying.

Maybe such people are "decent," they are still jack-asses. Someone starts throwing around juvenile insults, I'm not going to stick around to find out if they also give money to charity and have a fine taste in Romantic poetry. If I "self-consciously" go around calling people "niggers" and "faggots" or whatever else the "Goon aesthetic" or any other aesthetic demands, it's not going to matter much to the black and gay people around me if I say, "no, no, I'm saying it ironically."

I mean, I get it. In a past life, I was a total troll on BBS's and IRC chatrooms (although I was more of the "let's ruin someone else's fun" variety, not the "let's shout profanities so much that no one can get a word in edgewise" variety). So, I get the mentality. And I'm not one to say that humor has to be politically correct all the time. But, as someone who is now a sort-of adult, I also get how unbelievably stupid the mentality is. There's nothing clever about it; it's just slightly more purposeful than the 12-yr olds playing Halo on XBox Live who scream into their microphones, "Fuck you nigger faggot, I killed you cocksucker faggot nigger faggot!" There's nothing sophisticated about calling someone offensive names and then making fun of them for getting offended at it because they don't "get it."

Disclaimer: Never played EVE, so I'm not really sure how far such "goonery" goes in the game. My comments are based on my experiences in other online communities and gaming venues.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:03 AM on February 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about so I just made some stuff up.
posted by empath at 11:21 AM on February 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


yea, Chrominance's link is an awesome explanation.

'This is so uninteresting' group: if it's not worth a flag, just move on.
posted by jacalata at 11:38 AM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think you might be surprised at the number of MeFi's that are also goons.
posted by Samizdata at 11:41 AM on February 7, 2009


Been playing Eve for about 3 months, only just getting into 0.0 stuff so I can appreciate the magnitude of the change but don't see the effect in my little world yet. I love Eve primarily because it is ultimately based on my favorite game EVAR, Elite, which I played aeons ago on a Commodore 64! Eve is like Elite on PCP.

So I'm going to tell my Elite story, even though no one's reading this thread anymore.

Unlike Eve, in Elite you had to manually dock your ship with the space stations. This being 1985 or so, the space station was a big wireframe dodecahedron with a rectangular slot on one face, around which it rotated slowly. Your ship was a small wireframe polygon that could move in 3-d. To dock, you had to get yourself lined up with the slot so that your forward movement was straight towards it - no easy task, it sometimes took multiple runs at it. Then you had to gauge the rotation of the station vs. your ship - because your ship always rotated faster than the station did. Screw it up and lose a ship. It was a finicky, exasperating process that you had to go through every single time you had to dock - and docking was the only way to trade, and trading was the only way to get money, and getting money was the only way to improve your ship so you could do the fun part which was beating up on other ships.

One of the improvements you could buy, though, was a 'docking computer'. I worked my way up to the point that I could afford one and not feel like I was wasting money on a non-combat mod. And then came that beautiful day when I first switched it on. I didn't know what would happen, exactly. But what did happen was the best thing I've ever seen in a video game, period. The computer not only took control of my ship and docked it for me, which I expected...but it played the fucking Blue Danube Waltz to entertain me while it did it. Just like 2001. After dozens, maybe hundreds of times performing that painfully complicated docking operation, it was an amazing moment. I nearly wept, it was so beautifully liberating.

As for BoB and the Goons, meh. It's fun to read about, and it is really cool that such epic things can happen. But mostly I just like plowing through space in my funky ships and shooting at things.

And getting towed into the stations instead of having to dock.
posted by dragstroke at 11:53 AM on February 7, 2009 [26 favorites]


no one's reading this thread anymore.

The existence of the Recent Activity pages means that many of those who have commented in or favorited this post are still reading it.
posted by grouse at 11:56 AM on February 7, 2009


In my experience, this happens all the time, not on such a grand scale as this of course, but it's very common. You have a "guild/corp/clan bank" with assets, whether they be in game trophies or paypal cash reserves and these banks are accessible to a small group of leaders. If one of these leaders gets upset or feels slighted they take the loot and disappear. Every single group I've ever gamed with has had this happen in one way or another. Sometimes it's just some in game rewards taken, sometimes it has been dedicated servers hijacked and once it was around $2,000 in cash that had been collected from membership fees.

For me it's made playing any sort of game that requires leveling a character unplayable. I've invested hours and hours in groups with people helping them level and we've pooled resources together just to see everything dissolved because someone else felt left out.

It's fascinating reading about this but I have to say if I was playing EVE and this somehow effected my game play in a major way I would probably walk away. I'm interested in seeing how the non-GIA non-BoB players are going to react.
posted by M Edward at 11:58 AM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


grouse, you're right, my apologies. I'm usually so far behind reading MeFi that I just sort of assume that discussion is dead by the time I get to a thread.
posted by dragstroke at 12:01 PM on February 7, 2009


This episode illustrates why this game is ass. One guy with a username/password combo takes down an "empire"???

It's not quite as simple as a few mouse clicks, though it's close. Alliances have to pay a multi-hundred million credit fee every month to continue to exist. They timed the defection (defector and goonswarm) to fall on that deadline, so that when the defector cleaned out the corporate accounts (from which the fee would be automatically withdrawn), the alliance fee lapsed.

When the defector removed all privileges from other director roles, it had a 24 hour activation period just to avoid someone locking everyone else out. But timing it with the lapse of the fees short-circuited the 24 hour period, preventing anyone from stopping it. So there was some mild cleverness in the execution that was akin to a defector pulling the fire alarms to evacuate the building and lock the vault doors to cover his escape.

And as many BoB members have observed, their empire isn't destroyed. They lost a lot of high end infrastructure, and are now in for a big fight to survive. Many are quite happy about it, publicly, since it's an exciting time to play.
posted by fatbird at 12:04 PM on February 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about so I just made some stuff up.

Not quite, but if that's what you want to believe, OK.

Note, though, that I'm not talking about the Goon-smash-BoB story. I'm still not exactly clear on what happened (in the sense of all the details), but I do find it interesting that the mechanics of this game are such that something like this could happen. I'm talking about people who use "faggot" as an insult, whatever the context. It's offensive, but even more so, it's fucking stupid and pathetic. It doesn't really matter if it's part of some self-conscious, ironic, irreverent aesthetic; it is still dumb. It's not really a big deal in a global context, and I'm sure the people who are part of that aesthetic don't give a shit what people like me think, so whatever. I personally just don't see much difference between a seemingly intelligent adult who casually throws it out in conversation and a 12-yr old with internet-Tourrette's.

I think you might be surprised at the number of MeFi's that are also goons.

Probably not.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:18 PM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow that audio interview on Eve radio is pretty amazing in that he appears to be speaking to the two key players of each faction. Key detail, especially relating the the debate in this thread over how true such almost arbitrary defection and trickery is to actual political history: The Mittani said that he was inclined to immediately reject the opportunity as obvious bunkum, when he remembered from a book he had recently read about the history of the KGB how IRL intelligence communities experience this sort of thing relatively frequently.

Reading this thread has been great vicarious fun. We really are living in the future. And where is my flying car? It is a virtual but mutually accepted construct to be schemed over and stollen.
posted by kaspen at 12:19 PM on February 7, 2009


the very hungry caterpillar: My nipples explode with delight!


Samizdata: I think you might be surprised at the number of MeFi's that are also goons.

Why would we be surprised? They're both popular web boards that expect members to pay a one-time fee for membership, and that have raised snark into something of an artform (although in different ways). Something Awful is kind of Metafilter's evil twin.


Bookhouse: "Yueh! Yueh! Yueh!" goes the refrain. "A million deaths were not enough for Yueh!"

I am suprised that I remember the source of this line. I've only read Dune once, and didn't like it, yet I remember it.


graventy: That's actually the most fascinating part to me. The goonswarm just defeated their most hated enemy by being nice to some random pubbie, who turned out to have the keys to the kingdom.

It's fascinating to me too. And it illustrated that, ultimately, the void at the center of human existence, and the need to fill it with something.

Dammit, why couldn't Dick Cheney have found his heart while raiding in WoW with the ACLU?
posted by JHarris at 12:22 PM on February 7, 2009


They timed the defection (defector and goonswarm) to fall on that deadline

See... this is another thing; in one of the links I read, it mentions that everything happened within hours from the time the defector made the offer. Did it just so happen that all this went down at exactly the right time to serendipitously fall on the deadline for the Alliance fee? In addition to the other coincidences I mentioned? Or am I misunderstanding?

I'm not really getting the "I don't get it" comments, either, because people spend time on all sorts of pursuits... making miniatures or models, for example. Difficult, fiddly, time-consuming, and you can't really do anything with the end result except look at it. So why do they want to do it? Because it's fun for them. I read constantly and do crazy, masochistic puzzles. My husband plays flight simulator for hours, or sits hunched over circuit boards for an entire weekend of joy. People do things. Other people do other things.
posted by taz at 12:23 PM on February 7, 2009


The Mittani said that he was inclined to immediately reject the opportunity as obvious bunkum, when he remembered from a book he had recently read about the history of the KGB how IRL intelligence communities experience this sort of thing relatively frequently.

I'm reading The Mitrokhin Archives right now, itself an example of a defector handing over an unbelievable amount of stuff, and yes, the CIA and the KGB both struggled with defectors who would walk out the door and proceed to burn down massive swaths of operational territory. For the KGB, Mitrokhin himself is probably the biggest. For the CIA, look at Philip Agee.
posted by fatbird at 12:24 PM on February 7, 2009


"This episode illustrates why this game is ass. One guy with a username/password combo takes down an 'empire'??? This isn't a simulation of real life, kids."

I don't know about that. One guy with a pseudo username/password back in 1983 probably prevented a massive nuclear war that, even if we'd survived, surely would have us too busy to do much than scrabble for survival. If Stanislv hadn't been tapped to cover a shift it's entirely possible, even probable considering this was less than a month after the shooting down of KAL flight 007, the commander that night would have brought down two empires.
posted by Mitheral at 12:39 PM on February 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


See... this is another thing; in one of the links I read, it mentions that everything happened within hours from the time the defector made the offer. Did it just so happen that all this went down at exactly the right time to serendipitously fall on the deadline for the Alliance fee? In addition to the other coincidences I mentioned? Or am I misunderstanding?

It's not totally clear, but from what I gather, the defector and Mittani had a couple days during which he was about to be kicked out, begged to stay and provided proof of his alt's directorship, and the plan was hatched. The timing was fortuitous, but not miraculous.
posted by fatbird at 12:39 PM on February 7, 2009


One thing that's always fascinated me about this game, is the creativity in propaganda. Back when I played, BoB had destroyed a much larger alliance I was in, ASCN, with a very clever mix of propaganda and internal sabotage, probably one of the first times in EvE that it was done on this kind of scale...and it was a shock to many who presumed you could build a roman-like empire in deep space and expect it to thrive.

My contempt and respect for BoB ran deep. Here was a smaller, yet much more coordinated alliance that simply played to win, that used the idea of a "pendulum swinging" to demonstrate that they would slowly chip away until their opponent was defeated. ASCN was simply a large mix of industrialist players who were casual and more focused on the building of an empire...and sadly easily demoralized.

Then a year later, Goonswarm has sizably grown to be an alliance similar in size to ASCN, but with the mindset of having fun at chaos rather than building an empire....similar to BoB in propaganda and spy infiltration....but much better...and they demonstrated effectively had nothing really to lose, and that BoB did. Amusingly, the pendulum bit was easily used back on BoB. Years of fighting and this finally happens....honestly even though I don't play anymore, I check in on forums every once in awhile...and this brings a huge smile.

For a little more on Goonswarm, check these videos...they have a very Starship Troopers recruitment style...but the amount of creativity from other members is simply amazing:

- Little Bees
- Little Bees - Live
- most ecent recruitment video
- back when goons started to put the pin on BoB (2,3)
- one of their better combat compilations (more)
- plenty more
posted by samsara at 12:47 PM on February 7, 2009 [6 favorites]



"Yueh! Yueh! Yueh!" goes the refrain. "A million deaths were not enough for Yueh!"
posted by Bookhouse

More like: Lets gank him and loot his wreck, then pod him repeatedly until he ragequits on the forums claiming a "hack" or exploit.
At this point the requests for "can I have your stuff?" will begin.

More on the often racist, allways ass sucking goons (wired) in general.
posted by blink_left at 12:50 PM on February 7, 2009


most ecent recruitment video

Wow. That really makes me want to play.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:55 PM on February 7, 2009


One guy with a pseudo username/password back in 1983 probably prevented a massive nuclear war that, even if we'd survived, surely would have us too busy to do much than scrabble for survival.

Also in 1983, one kid with a modem nearly started a nuclear war but managed to teach us all a lesson about futility with a simple game of tic-tac-toe.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:15 PM on February 7, 2009


If any MeFites want to try Eve, you can play free for 2 weeks. I'll be happy to throw some ISK (money) or ships your way to help get started. MeFiMail me or EveMail me as Dunk Dinkle.
posted by Argyle at 2:16 PM on February 7, 2009


Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Reykjavík-based gaming company that runs EVE Online, CCP, has been hoping to withstand the credit crunch but recently ran into trouble after the collapse of the krona. Their global business model, reliant as it is on foreign currency transfers, has put them in a bind. If they're unable to negotiate an arrangement with the Icelandic government over currency restrictions, they'll be forced to relocate the company internationally. While I find MMOs diverting, they're rarely as fascinating as their context.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:30 PM on February 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I just came to scoff. SCOFF,SCOFF,SCOFF. Now, having scoffed, I'm considering taking Argyle up on his offer.
posted by MikeMc at 2:45 PM on February 7, 2009


empath: "I'm kind of amazed by how in depth these guys get, and the live reports from the front. It's one of those 'oh my god, i'm living in the future' moments."

Meh. If this were really the future, we'd be talking about actual galactic empires. Where's my hyperdrive?
posted by octothorpe at 2:49 PM on February 7, 2009


re: Argyle's offer -- Me too, actually. Got some house-related stuff taking up my weekend, but probably next week.
posted by waraw at 2:53 PM on February 7, 2009


most ecent recruitment video

Wow. That really makes me want to play.


I've never been a big fan of Goons in general, being a longstanding member of the Fark faction of the goofy internet website wars, but I gotta give 'em credit for the vids.
posted by MikeMc at 2:54 PM on February 7, 2009


Nine-tenths of pwnz0rship R teh Lolz.
posted by markkraft at 3:30 PM on February 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


If the U.S (or anyone) had any foresight, they would tap the Goonswarm for propaganda videos. They make *me* want to join and I hate playing Eve.
posted by The Whelk at 4:27 PM on February 7, 2009


I wouldn't worry too much about CCP. Like the Guardian piece says, they're one of the few companies in this country still generating a profit, even after the krona's collapse. That's saying a lot. And I agree that it is fascinating, indeed - the tech industry is little explored in Iceland, still in its infancy, really, but could very well be the next emerging business model in the country.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:30 PM on February 7, 2009


Speaking of "Spreadsheets Online", I just discovered that the leader of my alliance has an MS in statistics :).
posted by Slothrup at 5:29 PM on February 7, 2009


The goon video is just another item of evidence for the whole "Something Awful claims to be from 4chan, which claims to be from eBaumsWorld", very similar style and production values as the anti-scientology videos.
posted by amuseDetachment at 6:22 PM on February 7, 2009


man i wonder how they turned this guy, like offering him ladies and candy or what? the more elaborately obscene and seedy the better, this is a good story.
posted by doobiedoo at 7:09 PM on February 7, 2009


The offered to kick him out and steal all his stuff.
posted by cthuljew at 7:34 PM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I suppose it says something about Band of Brothers that to the defector that counted as nice.
posted by Kattullus at 7:52 PM on February 7, 2009


It'll be interesting to see BoB's membership in a week.

The lightweights will be gone. The heavyweights will probably resubscribe.

What makes this more amusing is that the Band of Brothers people have really close ties to the game developers, and in fact, have been caught cheating with help from the game developers before.

Of course, the Goons key allies, now mostly disbanded, in Red Alliance, we involved in longer-standing, farther-reaching cheating than anyone else in-game except maybe some of the G/D2/Ev0ke corps. The fact no-one remembers this is, I guess, testimony to the effectiveness of the Goon propaganda machine, if nothing else. Well, that and their being more devs with Goon mains than any other 0.0 alliance.

This is what the Goons will claim, but the consensus is they were given one hell of a late Christmas gift simply out of the blue.

It's a pity Suas didn't cut and run a couple of weeks later. Then there could be even greater counter-drama.

All MMORPGs sound like pointless grinding and suffering to me, but Eve Online is literally the least fun sounding of all of them. Unless you grief, or you enjoy suffering, I don't know why you'd even give it a try.

And that's different from any multiplayer FPS on the market how?

If my play is limited to effectively playing the computer, I may as well buy an RTS or offline RPG and pay once, play forever. It's the other players who make it interesting.

I judge the rest of the SA Goons by just assuming they're a lot like him, IRL

So how was he on the classy Goon move of mocking a player whose son died, because father and son were both on the "other side"? Dovetail with his sense of deceny? Big fan of the "Lady Scarlett is fat" campaign that they took to youtube and blog spamming when they were told they'd be banned if they kept it up ingame or on the ingame forums?

Or is ot one of those, "I can behave like a sociopath online, because no-one will be able to knock my teeth out" deals?

I would say that "irreverence" is the dominant Goon aesthetic; which is at once endearing and horrifying.

I would say "A small number of clever and creative humourists and a pack of raging fucktards" in the dominant Goon aesthetic. But, you know, I don't think there's anything particularly clever or edgy about throwing around "nigger" or "kike" or whatever for a 3-year-old level 'getting a reaction' thrill.

Finally, of course, that the BoB were so vulnerable that one disaffected guy could bring it all down in a day

This is really a failure of the in-game interface and controls - the wallet and asset management for corps and alliances is terrible. There's no way to force countersigning of key activities, for example.

The thing is that there's a big cutoff point where, to get beyond it, you really need a corp (guild, whatever) of hardcore players who are willing to, like you, spend 20-40 hours a week playing to advance.

That's not really true. I play maybe 10 hours a week, have tons of fun with a bunch of mostly like minded players pewpewing about the place. Some of them are a bit more serious business than me, but, honestly, unless you want to play the 0.0 territorial game, there's plenty of low-overhead fun to be had.

but I gotta give 'em credit for the vids.

Stahlgren is definitely one of the "small number of clever people" I was referring to earlier; hell, I know how boring POS wars are and his vids make me want a Moros.

I suppose it says something about Band of Brothers that to the defector that counted as nice.

I can't say I'd like to play in BoB, or any of the serious business alliances. I had a go at that in D² and, well, meh.

The thing that's most lollerific about this for me has been watching the ArsTechnica contingent yukking it up. It's only a year or so ago some of them were in full NERD RAGE mode when their in-game corp's CEO kicked all his members out and stole all their stuff. At the time it was, apparently, the worst, shittiest thing anyone could do in-game, and marked him as a worthless human being. Then they joined the Goons and this is apparently the Best Thing Ever.
posted by rodgerd at 10:58 PM on February 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


What is 0.0?
posted by grouse at 11:10 PM on February 7, 2009


Eve doesn't have PvP and non-PvP servers, like most MMOs. Instead, it's got the idea that different parts of space have different security levels.

0.5 - 10.0 are usually called high sec Empire space - they're owned by NPC empires, they're fairly safe. People can blow you up, but if they do the space police will come and blow them up.

0.1 - 0.4 is low sec. It's still Empire space, but there are no space police; there are sentry guns around stations and jump gates, but it's much, much easier for people to come shoot you.

In Empire and low sec if you do shoot people, you also lose "Security status"; if it gets low enough, you are kill on sight to the space police and are locked out of high sec.

0.0 is the free for all. Nothing you do is punishable. Some 0.0 is owned by NPC pirates (who don't care what you do) and most of it can be claimed by players - the "sov game"; if you erect assets (POSes) in space, you can claim it, build your own space stations, and so on. This is where a lot of the high-end conflict of the game takes place; the stations and POSes are moderately expensive, and to destroy or protect them effectively you need capital ships, which are an order (or more) magnitude more expensive than the normal, sub-capital ships most players fly. It's a big time commitment to create the wealth to hold 0.0 space, and another big time commitment to manage it. BoB was, and Goonswarm are, major 0.0 alliances, holding huge swathes of the available 0.0 space, and indirectly controlling more through alliances or fear.


(Oh, yes, the other charming terminology from GoonFleet: the name of their anti-BoB coalition was "The Rapetrain." "The Rapetrain has no brakes." Hilarious.)
posted by rodgerd at 11:31 PM on February 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hm. I'm getting the feeling that their structure is composed of a few intelligent adult, elite players at the top who are doing all the real gaming, and then a huge contingent of witless teenaged swarm drones for cannon fodder who are just terribly excited to be transgressive and part of a group.
posted by taz at 1:01 AM on February 8, 2009


taz, to a certain extent that's a good mix for the 0.0 part of the game. Someone once described territorial wars as "An RTS where most of the players are pieces, and the guys in charge of the alliance are the real players", and that's not entirely untrue.
posted by rodgerd at 1:26 AM on February 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hm. I'm getting the feeling that their structure is composed of a few intelligent adult, elite players at the top who are doing all the real gaming, and then a huge contingent of witless teenaged swarm drones for cannon fodder who are just terribly excited to be transgressive and part of a group.

I can't claim that I fully understood it (or even fully parsed it), but wasn't this the message of the Little Bees video? "Always follow orders, little bee"?
posted by Netzapper at 3:58 AM on February 8, 2009


Ha! Haha! I guess so, Netzapper. I didn't even watch that.
posted by taz at 4:30 AM on February 8, 2009


Hm. I'm getting the feeling that their structure is composed of a few intelligent adult, elite players at the top who are doing all the real gaming, and then a huge contingent of witless teenaged swarm drones for cannon fodder who are just terribly excited to be transgressive and part of a group.

so what we need to do is set up a "get off my lawn" alliance of cranky immolation
posted by doobiedoo at 5:59 AM on February 8, 2009


I sure wish there were other MMOs were this kind of complex skulduggery were possible.
posted by Nelson at 9:46 AM on February 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


You know, every time I see something like this, I think wistful thoughts about Puzzle Pirates. Maybe it's time to re-up that account.

Don't do it. The fun times when this sort of thing could happen in Y!PP are distinctly over. I had a blast being behind some of the more amusing machinations that went on there for a year or so, but I, and most of my friends, have long since quit. OOO started making too much money from micropaying Runescapers, and the Ringers made it their focus to make the game as carebear-friendly as possible. This meant that backstabbing, outright aggression, and coordinated in-game attempts to destroy one anothers' litte empires -- everything that was fun for a mature player -- became increasingly frowned upon, and development on interesting features relating to flags, war, and PvP stagnated.

Now it's all about pets and clothes and everyone owning a familiar and the creation of ever bigger and shinier PvE challenges... but let's not dare call each other names.

I do log on every now and then to see how things have developed. I went through a small burst of activity when they released the Ironmongering puzzle just long enough to get Ult at it, and in that amount of time had enough interaction with both the old and new player bases to confirm that I just didn't enjoy it any more.

I really miss the fun old days when stuff like this happened there.
posted by jammer at 10:59 AM on February 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Someone once described territorial wars as "An RTS where most of the players are pieces, and the guys in charge of the alliance are the real players", and that's not entirely untrue.

It sounds like EO alliances are a good bit larger than Puzzle Pirates flags were, but that would be an extremely accurate description of what the high-level game was like there when I was playing it. There were maybe a dozen people on each ocean who had real, ultimate power, and maybe two score who were direct lieutenants and associates of them. They were the doers and the schemers, and they used PR and propaganda and social control to direct the doings of potentially hundreds of other players who were in it just to be in it.

As a member of the controlling triad of one of the big PVP flags in the game when I was playing, I can directly say from experience that a large number of our members and fans were involved solely for the lulz of being part of a transgressive movement.
posted by jammer at 11:23 AM on February 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


DoktorZed: That's the most interesting about Eve (to a non-player anyway). Using figures posted above there's 250,000 players and a "GDP" of $17M USD (which sounds about right). Even if those figures are exaggerated CCP, with a payroll of 300, has to be a big deal in Iceland right now. I find it curious that banking regulations are hampering the company and wonder if that has something to do with IMF guidelines or just part of the chaos surrounding Icelandic banks at the moment.
(This is something TerraNova should be discussing but they seem more interested in gaming social dynamics rather than economics the past couple of years.)
posted by CCBC at 2:14 PM on February 8, 2009


Hey EVE players: please post some more links? How is it spinning out, what is the new BoB alliance called? Who is claiming SOV in Delve? I can't wade through all the forums, is there any links where a light / casual observer can follow this as it is happening? Can we see another one of those galactic maps, form more recent time?
posted by Meatbomb at 2:16 PM on February 8, 2009


From what I've gathered from browsing the forums, the replacement alliance for BoB is Kenzoku, and a horde of ships descended on Delve as expected, and a lot of Bob and their pet corporations have evacuated Delve, but that Kenzoku has put up a hell of a fight and lost almost nothing so far, and that Goonswarm space has been invaded as well (by, I think, Against All Authorities).

The Goon plan was to abandon their home space and take Delve, but it seems not to have panned out yet and Goonswarm may actually be worse off than they were before.

But its hard to pick out the propaganda from the truth. What no one seems to disagree about is that there have been some tremendously huge battles for the past few days.

Kenzoku can't get back sovereignty back for weeks, still, so it'll be hard to say what the end result will be before that. They can win a lot of battles early and still just get worn down by attrition because they can't build replacement ships, etc, while Goonswarm and the rest can.
posted by empath at 5:18 PM on February 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


CCBC: I find it curious that banking regulations are hampering the company and wonder if that has something to do with IMF guidelines or just part of the chaos surrounding Icelandic banks at the moment.

It's part of the chaos. I think that it's been fixed, but I'm not certain.
posted by Kattullus at 5:31 PM on February 8, 2009


FWIW: I apologize sincerely for the stupid, dismissive comments I made in this thread towards the gaming community.
posted by ColdChef at 5:57 PM on February 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


What are you, a spy?
posted by ODiV at 6:33 PM on February 8, 2009


FWIW: I apologize sincerely for the stupid, dismissive comments I made in this thread towards the gaming community.

You should totally buy Left 4 Dead and play with us, Chef. I'd think the whole zombie apocalypse thing would be right up your alley, you know, what with the Louisiana voodoo thing and your career in undertakery!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:41 PM on February 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


So how does Adama get control of his ship back?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:09 PM on February 8, 2009


Here's a random fact I found out about EVE Online in the past couple of days. It appears to make substantial use of Stackless Python! I'm not quite sure how, it seems too much to expect that the servers are programmed in it, but I find it interesting to speculate on what its purpose is.
posted by JHarris at 1:31 AM on February 9, 2009


I'm no coder, but there was much ado about Stackless IO in Eve a few months ago as a new implementation saw huge performance benefits. Here's a short article on the upgrade of Stackless Python in Eve.
posted by Argyle at 6:56 AM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought that was pretty cool, I didn't realize anyone used Stackless in production. But what is StacklessIO?
posted by grouse at 7:05 AM on February 9, 2009


The real question is: is this all part of Hari Seldon's plan, or is the Mule involved?
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:46 AM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm not quite sure how, it seems too much to expect that the servers are programmed in it, but I find it interesting to speculate on what its purpose is.

It's actually used across the board - the client code is largely Python, as well, with the performance critical stuff in (I assume) C++.

Hey EVE players: please post some more links? How is it spinning out, what is the new BoB alliance called? Who is claiming SOV in Delve? I can't wade through all the forums, is there any links where a light / casual observer can follow this as it is happening?

You might like Warp Drive Active, which has regular podcasts (as well as some moderately amusing cartoons).
posted by rodgerd at 2:08 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]



All MMORPGs sound like pointless grinding and suffering to me, but Eve Online is literally the least fun sounding of all of them. Unless you grief, or you enjoy suffering, I don't know why you'd even give it a try.

And that's different from any multiplayer FPS on the market how?

All games involve winning and losing; it only gets into 'grief and suffering' when loss potential becomes unfairly disproportional to win potential. Almost all FPSes are divided into relatively short 'rounds' of less (often much less) than a half an hour, so the most 'damage' a griefer can do represents only a small amount of 'work' on your part. (You may build some sort of meta-game asset, such as Level or Rank, but other players can't generally take that away from you.) Also, unlike most MMOs, most FPSes are explicitly PvP, so you don't get into the 'trying to do some PvE content while some griefer keeps corpse camping/podding you' situation. Finally, generally in an FPS, you can switch servers at will, so if there _is_ some kind of griefing, for example, you're playing a FPS and some jerk keeps team-killing, or two people across teams are colluding, you just call the last 5 minutes a loss and find another server.
posted by blenderfish at 2:14 PM on February 9, 2009


Looks like there hasn't been a podcast since January 16th, unless I'm missing something...
posted by cthuljew at 3:26 PM on February 9, 2009


rodgerd: And that's different from any multiplayer FPS on the market how?

Because FPS gameplay is intrinsically fun. It is very similar to a fast-paced sport or game of skill, except without the exercise (regrettably.) The point is just to have fun, you don't spend tons of time joylessly grinding toward some meaningless goal that might allow you to grind 5% faster. The point is just to log in, have fun, and go.

MMORPGs are similar to office jobs. The everyday gameplay is not intrinsically fun - it consists of activities that are fairly tedious, like endless crafting, killing the same mob hundreds of times, waiting for a rare spawn for ages, etc. You do it because of the progress toward an eventual goal - usually for equipment or levels that allow you to grind faster (alas that the drop rate / experience gain rate inevitably plummets as you level up.)

The difference between the MMORPG and the office job is that the office job counts for something. The MMORPG time counts for nothing. You didn't enjoy most of it, and in the end, nothing you do really matters. You never actually save the kingdom - everything resets half an hour later. In games that try to make it matter, like Eve, the state of the game universe is usually so chaotic that it fluctates violently. And even if it doesn't, what's the point? You get more territory so you gain more power so you get more territory faster. You still never win, and it won't ever make the space combat fun or interesting.

Sure, FPS games often do that on the maps. I guess I never really capture the intelligence once and for all. But the intelligence was just a flimsy pretext for something that was actually enjoyable. The level-raising or territory-stealing wasn't. It was the actual point.

Think of it this way - would anyone play a MMORPG if all of the characters were reset every night? No, because there's no advancement and the game's not fun by itself. Would anyone play TF2 if the achievements, special weapons, etc. reset every night? Sure, it would only be a minor annoyance - the gameplay is the point, not a means to some distant and ultimately unsatisfying end.

(Note that I will say that MMORPGS are improving their gameplay substantially in the recent years. But they still need to stop dragging everything out mercilessly - any MMORPG that uses the concept of the 'rare drop' or 'rare spawn' is not worth playing, at least to me.)
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:26 PM on February 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


MMORPGs are similar to office jobs. The everyday gameplay is not intrinsically fun

That's am over-generalization. I think a big part of why World of Warcraft is so successful is that the gameplay is intrinsically fun. I'll agree that the Eve Online gameplay, the actual button-pressing, isn't so much fun as other more successful MMOs.

But what makes MMOs interesting over FPS is that the outcome of your gameplay does matter. At the end of an FPS match it's all over, reset, nothing new. But in an MMO the result matters; you got a bunch more ore so your corp can build more ships, or a new sword, or some experience.

And in Eve Online the result of your office-job like gameplay matters even more, because the politics are so much grander. BoB ran a feudal empire involving thousands of serfs directly working for them and tens of thousands of players subject to their whims. The BoB subjects had fun, too, the relationship was not purely exploitative. But for that giant edifice to be brought down by one of its own, well, it tastes delicious to those who were BoB's victims.
posted by Nelson at 9:29 AM on February 10, 2009


Also: BoB has been really good sports, at least publicly. They seem to be relishing the idea of making a courageous last stand for civilization against the incoming barbarian horde.
posted by empath at 10:03 AM on February 10, 2009


Human_Being has done some excellent summarizing in this thread on the City of Heroes message board.

The most recent update is that KenZoku made a final 19-hour long last stand and suffered a humiliating defeat, losing the last of their major ship assembly arrays, their leader having lost his fourth Titan ship, another legendary ship ambushed and destroyed, and most of their stations having been killed by Goonswarm.

Delve now has tourists from other corps visiting to see the carnage and salvage the wreckage, the major fighting seems to be over.
posted by empath at 9:17 AM on February 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


That's a really fascinating read, empath.

And funny too! The story of Shrike had me laughing at many points (and it even had a stunning reveal at the end). For those who've clicked through to the link, keep going in the forum as human_being keeps updating with more that he's learned.

As it stands now it really seems like the Goons and their allies Tau Ceti and Pandemic Legion have triumphed against BoB/KenZoku and its allies.
posted by Kattullus at 10:15 AM on February 15, 2009


Human_Being has done some excellent summarizing in this thread on the City of Heroes message board.

Thanks, empath, that was fascinating.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:22 AM on February 15, 2009


For those of you who haven't kept up with Human_Being's updates from the Second Delve War that empath linked basically the situation is like this: GoonSwarm, Pandemic Legion, Tau Ceti Federation and the rest of the Northern Alliance basically have the entire Band of Brothers fleet (now renamed KenZoku) blockaded inside this one station and are methodically taking over the former BoB star systems. Unless KenZoku pulls something spectacular out of its collective sleeve or a whole bunch of other corporations decide to join KenZoku it looks like GoonSwarm and the rest will take over the star systems currently belonging to KenZoku. GoonSwarm decided to abandon its old haunts and move en masse to KenZoku space. Human_Being keeps reporting the news as quickly as he gathers it. I find this incredibly fascinating and admit that I'm sorely tempted to join up, but I simply don't have the time necessary.
posted by Kattullus at 9:47 PM on February 18, 2009


I just finished reading Human_Being's updates myself, Kattullus. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one completely sucked in by this.

I'm still not totally clear on all the details, but all the available data suggests a deeply damaged moral for BoB. All of the field reports are either from overjoyed Goons/PLs or disgruntled BoB allies.

The most fascinating element for me might be the way the Goons have harnessed classical barbarian strategies (quick, lightly armored troops, with no homeland and thus no supply train to be harassed, high morale warriors with loose discipline, but still with strategic-minded leaders at the top, etc.). As many people have pointed out, they're essentially space orcs. And, if you're fielding your troops out of Something Awful, treating them like Space Orcs is a good idea.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:00 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Probably the last update.

Band of Brothers/Kenzoku is no more. (They formerly controlled the southwest corner)
posted by empath at 1:55 PM on March 4, 2009


But what next? What will happen to the remains of the GoonSwarm territory in the southeast? Will Against All Enemies and the Northern Alliance go to war? Can United Legion hold out? Will GoonSwarm take out Executive Outcomes?

Why isn't there an EVE online newspaper?
posted by Kattullus at 9:24 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


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