This article has a lot of inaccuracies and feels like more propaganda from the group they are interviewing.
I’d be delighted to know more.
I submitted mostly because I was interested in the general concept of a metagame, and the cultural aspects of youtube recruitment videos, etc. Not the specific details of which faction is winning. Numerous games/movies/shows have advertised themselves by instead advertising fake in universe products (HBO’s True Blood a notable example), but I haven’t seen actual players of a game doing so.
Some weeks ago I watched a documentary about LOL players, and the real life adventures that go into building a top team, but it was mostly just “hey, let’s invite this cool player to come live with us”. It’s not a major facet of the game.
I could write for hours about this. Off the top of my head, here are the highlights from about three years of play on my part, that leads to the kind of play and activity you find interesting. Feel free to reach out if you have any further questions.
At a high level, the player’s behavior with regards to the advertisement and promotion of the game is directly related to a few key design decisions on the part of CCP.
Before I start, a few points of prominence that the article left out.
These points end up converging into the situation we see today, a group of players playing for the game and a group of players playing to game the puzzle. Those trying to game the puzzle need the support of people wanting to log in to accomplish tasks such as:
The salient point here is all of this needs motivated players. This is what leads to a lot of the “propaganda” coming out of the game. Convince someone their time is better spent doing something else and you have an innate advantage. It also drives all of the out of game recruitment, attempting to attract new players into the game. The more people you can throw at an objective the easier it is to win it¹. Communities such as SomethingAwful or Reddit makes it very easy to expose new players with these player run advertisements which end up being better than what CCP and provide. Almost all of them didn’t just advertise the game, they also offered help in learning how to play / how to acquire assets in it too.
Groups would also bolster their numbers with player forged alliances and collations. Using the game provided api, players have scripted entire single sign on systems with the ability to track membership, look for bad actors, provide forms / voice chat / jabber, all with a simple² registration process. These services tended to be cobbled together as labors of love and not necessarily engineered to work well.
Finally, timers. In EVE, most of the exciting gameplay (e.g. the stuff that makes mainstream news) revolved around a timer. One side would trigger this timer by attacking something owned by another group and “throw down the gauntlet”. The other side would:
Some players would take this way too far. This is where most of the spying, DoSing, and “intrigue” comes from, people wanting to win their timers. Shutting down a line of communication, knowing when to attack, or just demoralizing a key individual would grant you a significant advantage.
All of this ended up congealing together to form the “true” Eve. Less an actual game and more of a $15 a month Game of Thrones esq role playing group with an inattentive game master which happened to use a MMO over rolling dice to resolve conflicts, desperate for new players to keep the story alive.
1: Back when I played the servers had a habit of dying, or locking you out of places past the 2000 player mark. Eventually they just made the game slow down, but that lead to a whole host of new issues.
2: Kinda, I wrote three iterations of one, massive UX issues all around.
Cool. I like reading about Eve because it’s exactly the game I wish I played, but aren’t willing to dedicate enough time to. :) The enormity of it all is a little off putting, so it’s awesome to see the recruitment that develops in response.
I also enjoyed the description above of the motivations behind the propaganda. The game itself looked like a boring way to convert people into recurring revenue for CCS when I read about them in Cracked. Their anarchy at least makes for occasional, good stories. I mean, there’s at least one Eve stunt every time Cracked puts together a list:
There were other nice ones on Ultima and Wow. I particularly like one ended up in bioterror texts. I honestly thought Eve would end up in one first, esp an economics lecture.