Category Archives: Critical pieces

EVE Is Boring

Why you should take EVE stories with a grain of salt.


“HOSTILE BS ENGAGED, CALL YOUR POINTS AND BURN FOR BUMPS!”
“FC, Local’s spiking!”
“SHUT THE FUCK UP AND PRIMARY THAT RAVEN!”

I frantically try to get there in time, burning all my ships energy in the process. I’m flying through a fray of what must be at least 100 ships, with more jumping into the system every second. I might die just trying to tackle this one ship, but I will have done my duty. In this epic battle for space supremacy, we would be victorious this day.

Sounds a little exciting, doesn’t it? This is just one of many scenarios from the Epic Spreadsheet Experience of EVE Online. Not the largest MMO around, but one of the most consistently successful in the business. It’s a game crafted around that need to waste time, with a gigantic game world (or should I say galaxy?) and skills that can take up to a week to train. Many players get drawn in to playing EVE by reading about the exciting experiences within, through the GoonSwarm corporation, or one of the many youtube channels dedicated to showing just how amazing EVE can be.

                                                   And the crowd goes wild.

Make no mistake, epic space battles do happen in EVE, but they do not happen often. At least, they don’t happen to you often.

EVE may be somewhat unusual in comparison to typical MMOs, with spying and corporate espionage being actively encouraged by the game’s developers, CCP Games, but the pitfalls of the genre will be all too familiar for some. Grinding, an elitist community, long, boring travel times, a game world devoid of detail. While there is an extensive propaganda machine within the EVE (they literally call it propaganda) community, exciting stories seem to be somewhat of a commodity. World of Warcraft pulls in millions of subscribers, EVE only maintains roughly 350000 accounts, nearly 50000 of those being trial accounts. It seems that not only the developers participate in advertising for EVE, with the community doing all it can to draw in new players. It may not be unique, with word of mouth being a significant part of advertising for any product, but EVE’s is significantly more sophisticated than your typical “This game is pretty good!” endorsement.

Unfortunately, all too often, people find it’s nothing more than a giant time sink with an unforgiving rule set and steep learning curve. Even if they do somehow come to grips with the interface, most give up from boredom anyway.

Personally, I think one of the greatest failings of EVE is in its setting. Space is such an alien and fascinating setting, with the bizarre and beautiful, the powerful and dangerous. Yet EVE is devoid of any real detail. The one place left for man to explore is space, yet the concept of exploring in EVE is synonymous with boredom. My own personal experience with EVE was filled with disappointing realisations that it wasn’t space, not really, just black voids with a lightbulb in the middle of the area. The only dangerous things in EVE are NPC enemies affectionately referred to as “rats” and other players.

To get some perspective on the matter, I spoke to a high ranking mentor of an alliance with a major presence in 0.0 security space. He preferred not to be named.

Would you say there is a conscious effort among EVE players to create a sense of a vivid and engaging experience?
Eve is at its heart an economics simulator, it’s pretty damn boring and without the social dynamics that come from throwing half a million people into a small space with limited resources, it would continue to be boring.

Have you participated in any propaganda schemes focusing on recruiting new players?
No, my group is already of a large enough size and part of such a large alliance that people asking to join is not an issue, but one thing we really look for is people who has never played eve before then building them up.

0.0 Recruitment is usually by reference- spying is a major part of eve and recruiting complete unknowns is a risk, people without references can join but they will do so as an Empire member which has an environment geared towards newer players.

Do you find that, in spite of the engaging stories about EVE, that the game can be boring?
One of our directors once described that Eve is an hour for sheer borden followed by five minuets of pure excitement and adrenaline rush – her husband in channel stated that he went on a date like that once. There is a reason we have a browser built into the client, the game can get very boring if you play alone, the social dynamic keeps things interesting during boring times.

Do you think the somewhat cutthroat and unforgiving community can stop new players from carving their own niche in the community?
No, but new players should keep in mind that Eve is a game of months rather than minutes, it’s persistent and ongoing. Patience is key, people looking to get rich quick often get taken advantage of.

And you can never stand alone in Eve, power is not just based on economic prosperity or strategic position, you can never have enough friends.

Why do you think EVE’s propaganda is so much more sophisticated than regular MMOs?

Keep in mind that the average age of the eve player is around 38- the CEO of my corp just turned 60 and at the Sydney pissups there are only two people under 30, myself included. The older age means you’ve got a lot of people with experience in their RL professions; so when you get somebody who has spent the last decade in Radio or TV, that applies their skills to Eve, you are going to see some good stuff.

Propaganda in Eve usually aims to entertain- however, while the humour is the main point, many pieces use sophisticated techniques in order to convince pilots to support or appose a particular cause or alliance.

Is it effective? I don’t know, I tend to live in a very insular environment and only ever visit forums related to the game when bored or if something big happens. However, I would not dismiss it. Does it effect recruitment? Of course.

Goonswarm recruitment propaganda

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This Is Why We Aren’t Respected

The whole industry is a joke

There’s a question that keeps me up at night: will video games critics ever be respected? I have a feeling that the answer is probably yes, but how long it will take for that to happen is probably the saddest answer to that question. There are many reasons for this, such as the negative stereotyping of gamers as a whole, but the fact that the most popular video games critics out there are largely immature, ego fueled morons who soil the profession just by putting pen to paper is most likely the main reason. One of the worst offenders as of late is the illustrious Spoony of spoonyexperiment.com.

I believe that an over inflated ego does nothing but hurt the work of a critic. Once you insert yourself as a person into your work, it destroys any value or insight that you have. Beyond being reasonably eloquent and erudite, a critic must be mature, as their opinion should be looked up to and respected, not derided and challenged simply because you dislike the person that wrote it, which is impossible when these video games ‘critics’ decide who they are as a person is a very large part of their reviews. It’s obvious that their personality may dictate their opinion on a game, but ego and personality are separate.

Unfortunately, Spoony has a giant ego.

On the 5th of August, Spoony posted a video review for the downloadable Xbox Live title Deadliest Warrior. The very first words we’re subjected to are “this game is fucking retarded”. Oh, great, a critic with the vocabulary of an angry teenager. The review goes on for about 5 minutes and addresses what are some pretty valid points, albeit in a tone that conveys just how right he thinks he is. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of confidence in one’s opinion, but the tone implies that the very idea that you could disagree with him is absolutely ludicrous. He criticises the game for ‘senseless gore’ which is ironic, considering his rather gratuitous use of ‘fuck’. I love to say fuck, when used appropriately for emphasis, it has a way of punctuating an idea that few words can equal. But with Spoony…it’s just there. Senseless gore, if you will.

That’s all fine, I can deal with that. It irritates me that he’s so popular and it drags down the perception of critics as a whole, but fine. Whatever. Some critics are bad, I can deal. I swear to god I can deal with it.

But what follows is quite the tale of cognitive dissonance. The absolutely unthinkable happened, people disagreed with Spoony – on the internet!

People dared to challenge and poke holes in his review, which Spoony decided to respond to directly. Literally. He used a camera is a basically what I’m getting at. His initial review only had about 4 minutes of actual content, but his rebuttal, with said camera, lasted an excruciating 22 minutes. 22 minutes. In it he addresses what are no doubt the most major dissenters, picking out choice quotes and telling them why exactly they’re stupid and wrong. The worst thing about this is that many of his insights are valuable; they’re just presented in the absolute worst fashion. There’s no decorum in it, no tact. It’s an obnoxious ego fueled rant coming from a perpetually pubescent caricature of a real person.

During the 22 minute rebuttal, Spoony mentions that the developers of Deadliest Warrior responded to his review.

“Thanks folks, we know the game is not perfect and are working to fix things in the TU. These kinds of reviews from people that don’t really give the game more than a glancing look are discouraging but the feedback on these forums helps us as developers see what real gamers think about the game. It was discouraging that nowhere in the review was mentioned the price point, the dodging, stamina or parry systems but oh well… you can’t please everybody.

The fact that DW is even in the same sentence as Tekken, SF, MK is good enough for us. Even if they are only comparing them to tear the game apart. If we had 20 million dollars and two years to build a game I wonder what that would be like? Oh we can dream… When you pay for milk and expect honey you’re going to end up with milk and be pissed about it. It’s not our fault that you are delusional.

I’d love it if someone on this board made a comment on spoony that shed some light on what this game is all about.

But thanks again for your support!

cheers,
Spike Games.”


He carefully responds to the major points raised, but for some reason, in the written article after the posted video, his ego rears its ugly head.

“And next time, Spike, spell my fucking name right. It’s Spoony. With a capital S. As in, your game is Shit with a capital S.

Remember it, because people listen to what I have to say.”

And it’s a fucking shame that they do.

Further reading: http://spoonyexperiment.com/2010/08/06/deadliest-warrior-the-game-follow-up/

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