“You play EVE Online?”

Here’s a typical conversation regarding my playing of EVE Online with another gamer. She’s a pretty cool person that I follow on Twitter from back when Pownce was a thing. Random conversation picked up from resisting the call of the recently released Grand Theft Auto V into a mention of the iOS 7 beta breaking a lot of games. The conversation continues:

Now, I know that I’m not the best person that could possibly describe EVE Online to a non-player because I am pretty low on the ladder of respect in the community of the game as a whole partially because of what I’ve chosen to do with my time in the game. However, I think I hit the nail on the head in two major ways.

First, the actions that are sanctioned in a game like EVE Online could be considered to be a breach of other games’ terms of service, including owning multiple accounts and scamming. Owning multiple accounts is typically an indication that you wish to cheat the system of other MMO titles to benefit one particular character. For instance, doing multiple daily quests in WoW while sending all of the rewards for these quests to a main character. In EVE, this strength in numbers is an important part of being able to operate in the game world and trust is a pricey commodity. So the solution is simple: own multiple accounts so that you can run multiple instances of the game to have more efficient and/or more secure operations. Scamming is a huge part of what makes the upper end of the EVE universe move. Where particular high-level hulls cost on the order of billions of ISK to manufacture and tens of billions of ISK to purchase outright, one would assume the most precautions are taken in these deals. However, the game’s interface combined with a few tricks could make understanding these deals difficult, if not impossible, therefore rigging the game in favor of the scammer. If things go the right way, it becomes the most profitable activity in the game.

Second, that in the case of EVE Online, time and experience are two different things where they are the same thing in other games. Unlike WoW, where leveling up requires a player to constantly adapt to stronger enemies thanks to the difficulty curve known as the grind, EVE Online’s “leveling system” requires a certain amount of time to pass before a player is certified for a new class of ship or new variant of weapon. It forces the player to do something in the meanwhile—it forces a player to experience what the game has to offer as an open world. This is more important for players who are new to the game and have not traveled outside the relative order that is empire space.

Like I said, I’m sure that’s not really the best way to look at the game when trying to tell someone who doesn’t play about it, but it’s the truth. It’s not a game for everyone, in the same way that not everyone like comedy films compared to a live performance: one is formulaic in an attempt to be funny to everyone while the other can change from day to day and is generally never the same show twice. While some of the jokes might not change, it’s always a new experience.

That and comedy films are the absolutely worst form of entertainment that I can think of.

Can Guild Wars 2 be an esport?

From the turrbull.com board re: “Best solution for correction in Community Attitude?” 1

I think a decent way to go about how to improve community attitude in MMOs is to fucking acknowledge it for a change, but that might be too difficult of a solution for Guild War 2’s esports wannabeism since it requires a developer actually DO SOMETHING.

Generally, I’ve always considered MMO communities to be comprised of three groups of folks: the complainers, the intended audience, and the scammers. Complainers generally include players who consider themselves hardcore that groan at every considered change in a game that would constitute changing their play style. Scammers are looking to make a buck on the game or at least ruin the play for other players by griefing them into rage fits of agony.

The intended audience in MMO communities are only a handful of users at any given point in the game’s lifetime. These players are the casual players who play less than ten hours a week, the dedicated players who run group content more than three days a week, and players who are just flat-out interested in the game and the story that it generates. They’re not cunts like the other two groups of players, but they’re mild-mannered and they don’t speak out enough for outsiders looking in to truly appreciate them.

Some complainers might be the target audience for a lot of competitive gaming, but catering to them risks drawing the ire of the rest of the upstanding community who just wants to play their game with friends. RPGs like Guild Wars are generally viewed as the casual MMO where there isn’t a monthly fee and content is purely a la carte, perfect for the player in the intended audience group.

Adding competitive features to a genre of game with a pretty limited PVP experience (such as modern successful MMO, World of Warcraft, soon to be called World of Pay to Win), isn’t the direction to head in. It has competitive features already: it’s called PVP.

Spectating games like these also raises the issue of viewership—it is inevitably going to be shit without direct developer support and the level of reworking that Blizzard never gave to its 3v3 arena system.

For my last point, let’s get on the circular logic train for a moment.

  • Playing a game is the fastest way to get engaged in a game’s community.
  • The game’s community eventually wants to make PVP popular.
  • Making PVP popular requires playing the game.

HOOOOLD UP. Did you disembark the circular logic train? I hope so. Here’s the revelation you should’ve picked up: making X popular isn’t about making PVP popular to the rest of the community, it’s about persuading the community to PLAY YOUR GAME in the first place.

“Yeah, Guild Wars 2’s PVP is going to give a swift kick in the cunt to Soon-to-be-named-World of Pay to Win. It’ll be GLORIOUS.” No no no.

“Guild Wars 2 is going to be a great game because of [describe shit you can do in it that has nothing to do with PVP]. And the community isn’t that bad to boot!” YES. OVER 9000 TIMES YES.