Wednesday, April 18, 2007


...well, not really, but it kind of feels like it a little.

Yesterday, I went through the list of what I'll need for my upcoming class, packed up my dessie with as much of it as I had lying around at various Gallente stations, and headed out for where the class will be held, a 20-jump trip into Caldari space. Upon arrival, I emptied my cargo hold, bought two shuttles to pick up a couple of Tristans and bring them over to where I am.

Another new record...I've actually been outside of Gallente space for more than 24 hours. A silly record, sure, but hey, I'll take 'em as I find 'em. So, I suppose at some point in the near future, I'll start collecting all the modules I need and bringing them to where I need them. Also, sooner or later, I'll take one of my shuttles back to Gallente space and pick up my it a hunch, but I've got a feeling it might come in handy.

I guess it's really a working vacation...though, really, when one's playing an MMOG, the term can take on an entirely different meaning, can't it?

Of course, of most interesting news is CCP's recent dev blog announcement that the price of declaring war is about to become a lot more expensive then it's been, which cannot help but put a dent in the Griefateers' operations. I think this will prove out to be an excellent solution as war declarations will have to be chosen much more carefully in the future. If you consider how realistic this game is in so many ways, you understand both why this move makes sense from both a gameplay and a business standpoint.

In RL, even George Bush knows that declaring war on 70 countries at the same time isn't rational as it would bankrupt any nation that ever tried something so ridiculous. Hell, even Hitler wasn't THAT nutso! Yet, until now the wardec system in EVE has allowed the Griefateers to do exactly made no sense and it needed fixing. What the Griefateers have been doing is taking advantage of what is not an exploit in the classic gaming sense, but a loophole in the system. In the best EVE tradition, they found a way to use the existing game mechanics in a new and unexpected way. Perhaps they do deserve points for creativity, but just the fact that they thought of it before CCP did doesn't mean they're using the system in the way it was intended to be used or that it's anything more than a way to do an end-run around the intended consequences of certain in-game behaviors, one that needed to be corrected.

Let's take a step back from the game for a second here and try to see this through the eyes of someone who's where all of us were at one point: Someone who's never played EVE, but is looking for a cool MMOG to play. Perhaps, like me and maybe you, the D&D/LOTR/WoW theme just doesn't do it for this person. They see the EVE screenshots and drool. The read the almost uniformly positive and high-ranking reviews and are impressed. Then, if they have any gaming savvy at all, they go to the popular gaming discussion forums to see what the players are saying...

You see where I'm going with this? What will a potential new player read when they go to these forums? Will it be about how the PvP is amazing, the depth is unparalleled, and the possibilities are almost limitless...or will it be about how the PvP is so relentless and brutal no noob can survive for long, so don't even bother to try?

Consider how quickly word of "Devgate" found its way to the front pages of just about every major gaming site on the web...and now consider how popular an E-O forum topic the Griefateers have been recently. Add to that the personal experiences of many who encounter them in-game and talk about it on these boards. It doesn't take a journalist or media expert to see that how quickly it can happen, just as quickly as EVE became publicly known for being the game where the dev was caught cheating, and this has been going on for a lot longer.

"Devgate" hurt the game and cost it a significant amount of players, both those who left and those who might have tried the game but chose something else because of all the bad press...anyone who cares, really cares, about this game has to know that. EVE can ill-afford to also become known as a game where griefers are allowed to run wild and victimize noobs at will.

The revision of the wardec system is, in my opinion, a commonsense response by CCP...not a nerfing as some have called it, but simply the closing of a loophole that really shouldn't have been there in the first place. It doesn't prevent the Griefateers from doing what they do, it just stops them from doing it on the insanely large scale they had been. While the jury is still out on whether this will have the desired effect it's definitely a step in the right direction and CCP is to be commended for dealing with this issue head-on and (hopefully) effectively.

Nice job, folks!

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