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Eve Online's New Chief Economist

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the getting-serious-about-serious-money dept.

Role Playing (Games) 52

eldavojohn writes "Recently CCP, the folks behind the online game Eve Online, hired a real world economist to advise them on their in-game economy. Says the new hire, Dr. Eyjolfur Gudmundsson, 'There's a lot of discussion in the game about inflation and that is my job, to find out if inflation is going on. This makes the consumers behave in a more natural way because they are competing against each other on multiple levels, not only on a tactical level in combat but for logistics and resources. That builds consumer behavior and patterns that you see in the real world.' Is this a serious step to keep Eve Online competitive in the virtual land of MMOs despite scandals, Ponzi schemes & scams?"

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the first step (1)

Paktu (1103861) | more than 7 years ago | (#20300753)

Maybe the first step towards keeping inflation stable is making sure developers aren't allowed to create epic/rare items repeatedly. That would be a good start.

Re:the first step (3, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | more than 7 years ago | (#20300901)

I think the main problem with the devs playing the game is that they are insiders. Just like you aren't legally allowed to trade stocks based on insider info, they shouldn't be able to provide their corp with an unfair advantage due to their insider info. Of course if the devs don't play the game, then they aren't as familiar with the ins and outs of it as they should be, so that can present problems too. If there's no strong oversight though, these problems will continue to pop up.

Form their own guild (2, Insightful)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301229)

Or the devs could simply, you know, form their own guild/corp?

Honestly, if the devs simply formed their own guild and (more or less) remained "neutral" there'd be no problem. Super-rare/powerful ships at their disposal? As long as their not selling it off to the highest bidder or using it to smash the other guilds, who cares? They know exactly where and when certain items will appear? Just toggle the dev-only invisibility feature and disable all outgoing messages for the devs then watch players go into a frenzy when someone finally spots the target. Devs REALLY want in-game experience? Limit which guilds they can join and monitor what information/equipment they have access to (for god sakes don't let them join the #1 guild and then expect the community to not suspect foul play.)

Re:Form their own guild (3, Informative)

tibike77 (611880) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301705)

People associated with CCP (the company that runs EVE) have a few special case clauses to their gameplay.
That doesn't include just the game developers, but also members of the volunteer staff, which have to sign a NDA to join the ranks of the bughunters, interstellar correspondents, moderators or be a part of event teams. CCP has a history of recruiting GMs and other staff from the ranks of volunteers, so there's enough incentive to join and perform well.

Now, the thing with "CCP accounts" is that they're public and have access to various "world manipulation" tools. All their actions are audited, and for over half a year (at least) there's something akin to an "Internal Affairs" department (like the one in the police) tasked with making sure they don't do anything fishy with their rights.

At the same time, all people ALSO MAY have (if they want) a regular account, which they pay for like any other person... and they are subject to the same rules and regulations like all other players.
Moreso, they are subjected to one EXTRA rule: they are NOT allowed to disclose the fact they are "related" to CCP.

In case they slip up, common operating procedure is to, well, *cough* "enter them in a witness protection program". They get a new name, a new face, a fake corporation history. They lose all friends they might have made so far. They basically start from scratch relationship-wise... and that's the most horrible thing to lose in EVE, IMHO.

Sure, they might have some inside knowledge, and there have been a couple of occurences of abuse, but all short of ONE incident were very harshly punished (and of course, they no longer work for CCP, except that one incident I was talking about).
CCP has been very forthcoming with player accusations, and as open to communication as can possibly be expected from a company.
Of course, many people still feel "cheated" or think CCP is hiding something, but what would be the world without conspiracy theory nutjobs ?

So no... they CAN'T just do the stuff you're afraid they can do, and no, they don't get away with it.

Re:Form their own guild (0, Flamebait)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#20302035)

Let's keep it simple, what with lawyers, politicians, corporations, marketing and now economists, eve online is about to become as boring as it is slow and clunky, just like the real world people are trying to escape from.

So the next big question is will eve online provide in game access to a different MMORPG that is actually an entertaining escape from reality ;).

Re:Form their own guild (3, Informative)

tibike77 (611880) | more than 7 years ago | (#20302091)

Heh. Really, really funny you shoud say that. I mean, seriously funny. Because... THEY ARE doing that :)
Check out http://myeve.eve-online.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&bid =401 [eve-online.com]
They call it "ambulation", everybody else just calls it "walking in stations".

Re:Form their own guild (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#20302935)

Now they just have to combine space stations/planets with a GTA IV style engine and it would be a space sim that I actually want to play :P I heard Frontier IV was going to actual model populations on each planet. Flying around in space is all well and good, but it's usually quite dull compared to being able to land on a planet and interact beyond some little 2D trading display/whatever.

Re:Form their own guild (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#20315633)

As it turns out temporary brain fugue, Secondlife was on my mind, as for Eve Online, never played it, perhaps one day. When it comes to keeping the game alive, specials tend to have limits, variations in game play, variations in required strategy, real variations in environment as well as 'reasonable' unexpected occurrences.

Accumulation of assets should not take over a game it should just remain a facet in completing other game goals. Carry out a sensible tax policy, as your game assets increase so do your expenses increase, depredations upon the game players assets might also be added lose bits not all of course and even in game taxation (for bribery and corruption just like real life ;) ).

Re:Form their own guild (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#20308839)

CCP has been very forthcoming with player accusations, and as open to communication as can possibly be expected from a company

Actually, no they haven't. CCP has a track record for denying or outright covering up these incidents for weeks or months at a time.

And in a company where REAL MONEY IS INVOLVED, these sort of accusations would've brought in the FCC months ago.

Re:the first step (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301057)

There are several ships that are the only one in existence. 1 of them has changed hands via sales and theft repeatedly. It currently resides in the hands of a ship collector. There are a few ships that no longer exist because people destroyed them.

The devs also have don't use standard equipment to my knowledge. All their ships belong to one faction and would take database editing for someone to be able to use.

Re:the first step (2, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301739)

"Maybe the first step towards keeping inflation stable is making sure developers aren't allowed to create epic/rare items repeatedly. That would be a good start."

Or just maybe don't treat a games economy like a real economy all together it's supposed to be a god damn game (no true scarcity), it's not supposed to be real. Our real economies are not very fun, oppressive, unjust and boring, indeed, people haved die over economic ideology and how the economy should be structured.

Re:the first step (1)

ryanryanryanryan (823277) | more than 7 years ago | (#20302433)

"Our real economies are not very fun, oppressive, unjust and boring" Eve online is not very fun, oppressive, unjust and frequently boring. It's sadomasochistic leanings are part of the appeal.

Re:the first step (1)

Branc0 (580914) | more than 7 years ago | (#20302461)

It so happens, that when playing a game, dying and killing for economic supremacy is fun!

Re:the first step (1)

ihope127 (1134557) | more than 7 years ago | (#20320143)

If the economy being realistic makes a game more fun, developers should strive to make the economy realistic--after all, games should be fun. But does treating a game's economy like a real one make the game more fun? Well, economics is all about trying to make people be most productive, and feeling like you've accomplished something is what fun's all about--part of it, at least. Does this mean that the better the economic system is, the more fun the game is? You tell me; I don't know.

Re:the first step (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#20325277)

"Does this mean that the better the economic system is, the more fun the game is? You tell me; I don't know."

The the real world you are doing things you don't like to survive, with some people finding work they 'do like' but even work you do like has times and aspects you don't like, but in a gaming world you are doing things you DO LIKE but you want some resistance, but also you don't want it to be TOO real, you want to have some control.

This is why games like world of warcraft, etc, there is no permanent death (i.e. you are capable of losing days/weeks/years of time invested) because THAT is not fun, in real economies that is more then possible, and while a few masochists like that. They are by and far away not the vast majority of the gaming population (not to mention the population as a whole).

The whole issue of scarcity is totally context dependent, most games revolve around balancing infinite resources by making those infinite resources hard to access through low drop probability, or high monster difficulty, or other barriers, not because they are truly scarce, just to give just enough resistance to make a person feel like it's an accomplishment.

We all like challenge because it's a part of learning, it's based on our psychology, for instance, when someone repeats themselves you'll start to get annoyed because he's repeating that information (thereby causing your mind to become agitated) because he's not giving you new information (whether it is interesting or not, etc). Now obviously in real life it's 'more complicated' but you get the idea.

Re:the first step (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 7 years ago | (#20303095)

Maybe the first step towards keeping inflation stable is making sure developers aren't allowed to create epic/rare items repeatedly.

Umm...that really wouldn't affect inflation at all. Remember that inflation, simply stated is, "The nominal cost of all goods and services increases over time." Note the very important terms nominal and all. If the price of a single good (say, Telurian Apples) increases, this could just be because the demand for those items went up or whatever. The only way the price of all goods can go up is if the growth in money supply out-paces the growth in actual goods and services. A key of inflation is that not only do prices go up, but wages also go up. If all prices go up and wages fall (or stay the same), that's called a shortage, and while prices increase the overall economy doesn't grow because more money isn't there to follow it around (usually this is called "stagflation").

So, the ways to solve inflation in a game are actually easier than in real life, because presumably in a game environment the computer managing the economy knows exactly how much wealth is present in the system. If a ship gets blown up, that's a loss in wealth, and the system can extract currency from the system to compensate for this (basically, make it more expensive to buy some goods on the market, and then don't have the system "purchase" goods again to replace the currency units).

If you build a new ship, then the "System" will note that additional wealth and be willing to inject more currency into the marketplace.

The markets mechanism is already in place; it can keep inflation at bay by artificially keeping prices on "low-end" commodities low, so that new participants in the system aren't forced to pay inflated prices for those commodities (it can do this by always offering resources at low prices; alternatively, the system market could always offer crazy high prices for base commodities to artificially increase the "wages" for newcomers so they are on par with everyone else.) From some of the other posts, it seems this does take place to some extent, though not quite correctly (caps on mineral prices aren't the way to do this - the prices need to fluctuate accordingly).

If you want to see a *really* screwed up, inflationary economy, look at the economies of the original WoW servers; that economy does not have any market balance forces to eat up the supply of goods (the way to fix that would be to have NPC controlled auction offerings to help keep prices in check, or for NPC vendors to change their prices based on rate of exchange). Simply stated, there is no current mechanism in that game to check the economy because there is no mechanism to absorb the ever-increasing amount of cash in the game.

So, to summarize: Inflation shouldn't be an issue in EVE, because it has the "central bank" mechanism through the markets that can mediate it, if it was used properly. Systems like WoW, however, cannot avoid inflation because there is no mechanism to moderate the cash in the system.

Re:the first step (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304815)

Actually, in the EVE Economy, there are very few money "faucets" and many more money "Drains".

Faucets (Isk Generators):
-Bounties on NPCs
-Mission Rewards
-NPC Trading
-Default insurance payouts on uninsured ships

Drains
-Taxes
-Fees
-Office Rentals
-Repairs
-Cloning
-Insurance
-Corp and Alliance Fees
-NPC Trading

Note that creating items and mining, two of the most popular professions, do not inherently create Money. They use other resources which can then be traded for raw cash, but the amount of "ISK" in the game is actually *reduced* due to the fees and other drains to the economy in the process. Death by explosion can be both a faucet (default insurance pours more money into the economy that wasn't there previously) and a drain (the revived player needs to spend cash on a new clone, new items from NPCs, insure a new ship, etc).

As for raw material rates, there is an artifical cap on the price of minerals due to the availability of NPC items which have a finite price but infinite supply and can be reprocessed into it's components. The price of Tritanium, for instance, is capped at about 3.6 ISK per unit where a 9000 ISK Shuttle will yield about 2500 units of tritanium. In markets that aren't seeded by NPCs, the rates can vary wildly depending on local supply and demand, and that's where the real fortunes are made.

Re:the first step (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 7 years ago | (#20307937)

If that's true, then there shouldn't be any issue of inflation (at least ISK inflation) in the universe, so it seems the premise of avoiding inflation in that particular economy is a non-starter.

However, I'd question the fact that there are more currency sinks than sources, because if that were the case then there would be rampant deflation. While there may be more types of sink than types of source, it sounds to me like the system is fairly balanced as far as entire money supply goes.

The interesting thing would be to see if the insurance rates are actually done like real insurance; for instance, if every single person blew their ship up at the same time, would the system just pay everyone or would it default because there isn't enough cover? (Remember, insurance should use income from lots of people to pay for a low-likelihood event.) If the EVE insurance system always pays out the full amount, and the payout amount is greater than the value of the thing lost, then you could scam the system by simply pulling out a policy, blowing the ship up, collecting for a profit, rinse, repeat. (I only played EVE for about 2 months about 2 years ago, so can't remember the details of insurance).

Re:the first step (1)

Achoi77 (669484) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314007)

If you want to see a *really* screwed up, inflationary economy, look at the economies of the original WoW servers; that economy does not have any market balance forces to eat up the supply of goods (the way to fix that would be to have NPC controlled auction offerings to help keep prices in check, or for NPC vendors to change their prices based on rate of exchange). Simply stated, there is no current mechanism in that game to check the economy because there is no mechanism to absorb the ever-increasing amount of cash in the game.

there was a discussion on a mud dev mailing list regarding how inflation is dealt in WoW. Most sharp inflation occurs when gold farmers constantly bring in a steady stream of gold (and people buying it in the thousands). What WoW does is find the source of the gold income, and does a massive banhammer strike, removing thousands of accounts at once, and billions of gold along with it. I've seen this first hand, when playing the week before and after the massive ban - auction prices for a particular item would be roughly 5000gp range, and one week plummeted down to 1500gp range (which is still a goshdarn large amount of money for an item). Outside of the gold farming banning, to combat regular inflation, blizzard uses and controls the flow of money drains, modifying auction fees to go up and down, and with armor repair costs.

IMO I beleive WoW does a pretty good job controlling inflation. If you REALLY want to talk about a messed up economy, EQ is where it's at. :-P

Scandals link (1)

Renig (1090765) | more than 7 years ago | (#20300813)

The scndals link is broken. Just throwing that out there.

Re:Scandals link (0, Troll)

Detaer (562863) | more than 7 years ago | (#20300849)

Sounds like someone's frat brother needed a job.

More than just Titans and Mining... (3, Informative)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 7 years ago | (#20300869)

This is interesting, since CCP is actually preparing the introduction of T3 equipment. For a very long time, they've had a very particular way to work with T2 (better than T1) equipment, and that's to raffle the Original Blueprints for T2 items. This was a compromise between many different systems that didn't work very well, but gave many people unfair monopolies over much-wanted items. They've been stepping further and further away from this by introducing invention (which lets you 'invent' limited-run blueprints of T2 ships and modules). I wonder what this new economist will have to say about T3... I don't think there's been any official mention of how the T3 market is going to work.

I am not a ship (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301145)

[Insert rant here about the importance of identity in role play games]

I guess around the 4th of never someone will finally make a space sim that has realistic physics, and lets you float around your ship, board space stations and other spinning bodies, go down to planets, etc. Oh, and try to make it fun.

Which is not to say that there's anything wrong with Eve Online.. at least they have enough sense not to offer a free trial.

Re:I am not a ship (2, Informative)

Kagura (843695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301207)

They do have a free trial on the EVE Online [eve-online.com] homepage.

Re:I am not a ship (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301267)

There goes that virtue. Free trials are "please dis me to everyone who will listen so you don't have to pay even though you really want to" invitations. Personally, I think this phenomena is proof that MMORPGs are not addictive. After all, you never hear people saying "don't try crack, it sucks, I tried it once and wasn't that great. Seriously, crack sucks and I don't know why people take it." Unless, ya know, they mean it.

Re:I am not a ship (1)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | more than 7 years ago | (#20311247)

I dunno, I tried EVE and kinda liked it. It seems a lot more mature than most other MMORPGs, in the sense of less-cartoony. It is, of course, also a massive time-sink, as with all MMO games, and so I didn't partake of a subscription.

Re:I am not a ship (2, Insightful)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301695)

Was it Vendetta Online that had twitch-based combat?I know there's some space MMO out there that does it. Either way, I personally enjoy EVE's combat system. It's very technical, lots of micro-tweaks and spreadsheeting, which is very different from most MMOs I've played out there. I'm also under the impression that a twitch-based space sim would be very very hard to pull off with current technology (or technology from 4 years ago), while still keeping the obscenely huge size of EVE's single-'shard' cluster. Heck, the cluster barely holds up as-is. Also worth noting that there's an 'Ambulation' feature in the development process, with videos already out. They're starting with just basic station walking and access to basic station resources through that interface. Going on planets has also been explored, and I've seen concept screenies, but that's just another one of those things that just doesn't seem to be needed right now. CCP doesn't get enough credit for the stuff they do. All people cry and moan about is a couple of controversies involving a few employees, which CCP definitely went and took care of. I'm amazed how just because a bunch of butthurt SA Goons make a big fuss out of something, EVE is considered the most corrupt MMO out there. It's as if everyone suddenly forgot all the s**t other major MMO companies have pulled (discriminatory bannings from Blizzard staff, major, high-rank GM corruption in AO, EverQuest, and UO after the move to EA, the destruction of SWG, and that's just a couple of the ones I've played...). Eve is a solid game, with a very good company behind it, regardless of what the /. and Goonfleet fear-mongering likes to make it seem. No, I don't work for CCP, but I've played enough MMOs to be a bit startled that EVE takes so much flak over relatively minor offenses.

Re:I am not a ship (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301733)

You should probably go back on the lithium.

Either that, or buy yourself 20 cats and start throwing them at people who walk by.

Re:I am not a ship (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301873)

I'm also under the impression that a twitch-based space sim would be very very hard to pull off with current technology (or technology from 4 years ago), while still keeping the obscenely huge size of EVE's single-'shard' cluster. Heck, the cluster barely holds up as-is.

Probably true.

AFAIK, the best effort in that direction so far is Freelancer, which offers twitch-based multiplayer for a few dozen players per server. Scaling that up to 30.000 seems a big step to me, even if you distribute the load over multiple computers in a cluster.

Vendetta Online is twitch-based as well, but cannot keep up with the graphics and fun factor of Freelancer. When I tried it a year ago or so, the size and population of the game world was not much bigger than what is possible in Freelancer. So it does not count as proof that large-scale, twitch-based space sim MMOs are possible ;-)

Re:I am not a ship (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 7 years ago | (#20302591)

I stopped playing eve because of freelancer, I thought the action was much more fun in freelancer than eve (also CCP decided to nerf my guns during maintenance while I was in a 0 system, cost me a ship and a shit load of grinding).

Re:I am not a ship (1)

tibike77 (611880) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301745)

Do you know why no multiplayer "space sim" has completely realistic physics ?
Because realistic physics SUCK for fun.
And you want to have fun in a game, don't you ?
That's why all "space sims" actually handle (ship motion-wise, that is) like a very futuristic "submarine sim" instead.

Yes, you can invoke Elite here, but that's not multiplayer, and couldn't be made multiplayer.
There's also a work in progress game called "Infinity" which tries to pull this off, by mixing something resembling a BSG Viper sim (so, fighter combat in a small area of space) with an Elite-like handling of longer distances (only "local time" gets accelerated, and you seem to go FTL from "outside").
I'm curious if they can pull it off in a "fun" way eventually.

Re:I am not a ship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314297)

You're right, but EVE is still NOT FUN.

Is it fun to make a couple to a ton of friends, and then lose them all cause some jackass is getting "retribution" on one other person and billions are lost, resulting in everyone leaving?

Is it fun to play in a system where you dont actually control how your ship moves, and skill or ingenuity don't matter, just packing the dev favored ships with T2 equipment and utilizing your untold months of training?

Re:More than just Titans and Mining... (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 7 years ago | (#20302495)

By invention again, except you put T2 BPC's in and (hopefully) get T3 BPC's out. Atleast thats the last I read.

T3 market (0, Flamebait)

partowel (469956) | more than 7 years ago | (#20300983)

No offense, where did you get this T3 data?

I've never seen it. I know its theoretically possible. T3, T4, T5, etc, etc.

Can you provide a link.

As for eve's economy. One word. Monopoly. The corporations in power are using piracy and extorition to

stay in power. EVE is a world where crime pays. Eve is a world where charging 500% in royalties is legal.

Eve is an insane economic system.

Don't forget the "endless" npc pirates that guard 0.0 space. NPC pirates have one economy : infinite money, infinite resources.

In reality, they should be destroyed. There are enough people pirates around. No more npc pirates. They're a joke.

Economy. Yeah. Eve is only interested in making things as HARD as possible. 2 Billion isk for a capital ship.

Right. I'm sure everyone earned that isk in eve. They more likely bought it.

Eve allows selling GTC for isk. What a joke. Buy your way to the top with REAL money.

Eve's economy is fubared. Its going to get MORE fubared.

I personally think if you can add modules to ships, you should be able to add the cloak module to your pod.

Make pod killing a LOT harder.

Or at least be able to buy a cloakable pod.

My definition of research : reverse engineering.

Its done in the REAL world, but not in eve.

I guess eve scientists are retarded. IQ of Zero.

Make your own bpo.

This bpo lottery is a scam. A scam to control the economy.

An open economy lets anyone copy anything, just like the REAL world.

Do you honestly think that amd and intel don't study the microchips they put out?

Do you honestly think that the best cars in the world are not "reverse-engineered", then re-invented.

Reverse-engineering is something EVE will never do.

Someone should reverse-engineer EVE, then release an open source mmorpg. If thats even possible.

Make research really profitable. Not just copying bpo's.

Get a photocopier. Not that hard.

You don't need a lab to make copies.

That's just bullshit.

Re:T3 market (0)

Kagura (843695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301161)

I'm glad some EVE players with a clue had mod points today. I've never seen a worse troll in my life...

Great! (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#20300999)

Now they just need to hire programmers, artists, story writers, customer service reps, and auditors that monitor the employees and they will have a great game! (kidding...mostly)

No Way! (2, Funny)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301097)

What a silly question, Zonk. No way is Eve doing this to stay competitive! Why would they care about that? They just think economists are fun at parties!

Baloney Economy (1)

Bananas (156733) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301149)

There is no functional economy in Eve, because current real-world economic models are based on the concept of scarcity. Given that there are (theoretically) infinite resources in the form of mineable asteroids that respawn twice a week, infinite pirate bounties that spawn ala-WoW-like into existance from nothing, and other ludicrist ideas, I find it difficult to understand how there can be any scarcity whatsoever.

Eve's economy is capitalism at its finest - the people at the "bottom" subsidize the people at the "top" through first-mover advantage, monopoly practices (having done reporting on mineral pricing, I know it exists), scams, etc. So long time-players keep making a mint (and playing the game for free, given that they can trade all of that easily-made ISK into game time via GTC's), and new players end up subsidizing them in the process.

Get the developers out of the game. It's one thing to have a WoW game master pull you aside to see if you are running macros for farming, its another to have them actually interact in-game. There is NO reason for this kind of interference. CCP even condones this practice by turning a blind eye. I have seen it, and many other abuses, that have completely turned me off of the game. Couple this with the near-impossibility to get into any kind of social interaction (all corporations want 3 or more months experience, and while I easily have more than that, many mistreat their members and are demanding) and you can see why such a good idea has gone bad. Eve was a great attempt, and had many innovations that I wish I could see elsewhere, but at the end of the day, CCP has decided to condemn the game to a slow, painful death by apathy of its players. Being logged into the server and not seeing a single person in a system is a sure sign that a MMO is dying.

CCP, fix the game, admit error, remove your devs from interference, get rid of the "infinite economy", and we'll talk, and who knows, I might even sign up for a year. Keep up the errors, and, well, it was nice knowing you.

By the way, your tools for allowing players to perform economic analysis suck donkey. Really, I mean having to dump the data from a CSV into a homemade MySQL databases so that I can do aggregates over ore pricing was a painful, 3-hour ordeal. Not because it was hard to pull the data out, but rather, it took 3 hours of "flying around" to collect all of the necessary data. You want real economics? Fix your data collection. And make a stock market that REALLY works, not this "you can buy 100 shares of a corp at 1,000,000 ISK each" crap.

And for those current players who think I don't know what I'm doing, I have a 9-month-old character with 9 million SP, a niche market based out of Hek, I have run mineral pricing on 9 regions over 5 weeks with composite pricing (and got paid for it by real subscribers), and I am also an experienced builder, with only capital ship parts being beyond my skills. All of this only playing two nights a week for 4 hours a night. In that short time, I have been through two corps, one of which is one of the oldest in-game. I have seen auction and escrow scams, I have seen pirates skirt high-sec systems with loopholes in the game, and many other things that have convinced me that the game is fundementally broken from the start. Tell me how what I have said is NOT true - and I mean in a real, quantifiable way - and I'll consider coming back.

I'll even give you a name - my game name - if you feel like you need someone who can run factory slots at maximum build efficiency from 10 jumps out. Give a real reason to come back... crass answers will only indicate that there is no reason to come back, and verify what I say is true - and indicate that the game should die a slow death anyways. No social interaction = death of an MMO, and smartasses need not apply.

Re:Baloney Economy (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301233)

You're absolutely right. Quite apart from the fact that this is a game, and therefore obviously a real economy is not going to work. Why? Because real economies are based on work and who wants to do work in a game. The purpose of economics in a MMORPG is to balance everyone's ability to have fun whilst maintaining some level of challenge. I wish that real economies were interested in those goals.

Anyway, I mirror an article by Gil Breau called Online World Economy [insomnia.org] which you might find remotely interesting, if you're into these sorts of things.

Re:Baloney Economy (2, Insightful)

tibike77 (611880) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301789)

Funny you should say that, because EVE's economy IS based on work, and almost exclusively work.

Killing NPCs in asteroid belts for bounties and loot ? Work.
Running missions ? Work.
Mining ? Work.
Setting up a scam ? Work.
Ransoming people ? Work.
Research ? Invention ? Manufacture ? Trading and/or hauling ? Begging people in Jita for money ? Work, work and all work.

Sure, different kinds of work, different amounts of "boring" versus "fun", different amounts of attention vs smarts needed, but work nevertheless, in all cases.
So, sure... nobody wants to work in a game, but you pretty much have to, if you plan on getting in-game wealth.
That's why you have so many "ISK farmers", that's why GTC prices have gone up through the roof, that's why there's so much scamming and whining going on.
Because nobody wants to work, but everybody has to.

Re:Baloney Economy (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 7 years ago | (#20302447)

You pretty much summed it up. Eve is just too much work, and pretty much the only fun is griefing other players, be it through piracy, ganking or just plain scamming and sabotage. I disagree with your last sentiment though; no one has to work in Eve. Which is why I quit for more fun games, and left working in the real world.

Re:Baloney Economy (1)

Galeric (1145507) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301235)

You sound just like a Goon

Re:Baloney Economy (2, Informative)

Bananas (156733) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301273)

Except I'm not. I'm in a much smaller corp. I mine, I build, I sell. I fight if I have to. And still, the game grinds on - not because I'm trying to grind for the "leet" gear, but because it takes forever to do anything. Eve rapidly devolves into a time (and money) sink that has you snoozing on a late night at the keyboard, because drilling a 'roid in a 0.7 belt is boring enough to peel paint. You still didn't give me a reason. Yes, I realize that it's a game, and game economies should be fun - and that's kinda my point. Eve's economy isn't in any way, shape or form fun. Now if there were 10-20 miners during a mining op, or a guild of builders that work with each other, then that would bring some kind of social interaction, ie. "fun", even if it was just shooting the breeze about nothing in peticular. But no...it's just you, your mining barge, and some floating rock. Wake me when we need to run the jetcan back to the station (yawn).

Re:Baloney Economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20302097)

eve-pirate.com [eve-pirate.com]

Re:Baloney Economy (1)

Diss Champ (934796) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304029)

It's your choice however to be in that small corp solo-mining. There are corps that do those 10-20 person mining ops. There are corps that are basically builder guilds. There is plenty of social interaction in many of those, as well as in my PVP alliance (IRON). I ran a mission corp for a while, plenty of talk on the corp chat, and we did harder missions and complexes as a team, similar to grouped instance-running in other games.

In order of the economy to be effective, everything can't be free. There has to be something scarce, and it's player time rather than veldspar rocks. You can spend that time solo, as you have been doing, or you can spend that time working with others. If you don't pick a good group of others, at best your experience will be a poor substitute for a single-player game. But thats true of any multiplayer game.

It amazes me how many people bring out that solo-mining thing. I have been playing more than 2 years. My mining skill is trained to like level 2. I feel no compulsion to mine. I have no need to mine. I achieve my goals in game just fine without ever taking on an asteroid one on one. Solo-mining isn't even a very efficient way to mine for people who like mining- that 10-20 miner gang is pulling in a lot more ore per person per hour if they are well organized, and a lot more valuable too with a bit of excitement if they are operating in dangerous space.

There are things in the game that take a long time to achieve. Some are meant to take a lot of team effort to achieve. That you can do them solo with enough time and planning doesn't make that the most fun way to go about it, or make it mandatory to do it solo just because it's theoretically possible. Ideally, you do things you enjoy with people you like hanging out with- working on a goal that adds some spice, but not primarily for the destination but the road traveled. Don't pick ugly roads.

Can I have your stuff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20301831)

Now that we've had the traditional reponse, have you actually seen all the new export functionality implemented in the last release?

Re:Baloney Economy (3, Interesting)

tibike77 (611880) | more than 7 years ago | (#20301893)


1. Yes, the current state of "the stockmarket" sucks donkey balls, because there isn't any. It's all player-driven, and trust-based. No in-game support for a genuine stockmarket exists, we barely have three decent features: paying out dividends, corporation votes and voluntary share transfers.
As you might have noticed that most developements in EVE were originally player suggestions... it usually takes at least a year to see it in-game if it's a decent and heavily requested feature, but I am sure we'll eventually get an actual stockmarket and many other corp-related tools.

2. Yes, the way the market is handled sucks even more, especially the recent nonsense with "contracts".
They should just merge these two features into one single comprehensive whole, with the ability to buy/sell/trade/auction stuff everywhere in the galaxy from anywhere else, with extra rules and limitations based on personal/corp/alliance standing with the entity you interact with in that transaction.
I have my doubts this will ever happend, though... but you never know.

3. The "monopoly" is all but broken in most of the cases. Everybody and his dog's mom can manufacture T1 or "find" named T1 gear by himself, and with a little bit of effort you can get just about anything T2 by yourself too.
Sure, those that USED to have the monopoly have a financial / "first mover" advantage with their more efficient manufacture methods, but the days of 10000% markup are long-time gone.

4. Mineral pricing is the trickiest possible issue in EVE. It's not actually a free market, it has very "heavy" limits both on top and bottom for most of the individual minerals (the harshest caps are for "low end" minerals, least cap for "high ends"), but also a very narrow bottom AND top cap for an agregate lump of minerals of all kinds. You might be simply mistaking simple game mechanics and smart refiners and traders making a profit for "price fixing monopolies".
If anything else just might, minerals simply CAN'T possibly be monopolised for anything but a very small timeframe and with huge effort.

5. So what if raw resources are infinite ?
I'll tell you what resource is NOT infinite : manpower.
That's right, for each and every bit and piece of "mineral" you see out there, somebody spent time getting it.
EVE's economy is based on that resource mainly... namely, time of its users.

Re:Baloney Economy (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 7 years ago | (#20302635)

Couple this with the near-impossibility to get into any kind of social interaction (all corporations want 3 or more months experience, and while I easily have more than that, many mistreat their members and are demanding) and you can see why such a good idea has gone bad.

My current corp frequently takes on newbies and is quite nice towards them. The only major restriction is strictly limited hangar access, which we have introduced after a newbie cleared out most of the corp hangars one day (turned out she was an alt only created for such theft).

I'll even give you a name - my game name - if you feel like you need someone who can run factory slots at maximum build efficiency from 10 jumps out.

Thanks but we can that handle this ourselves. My own char (8 1/2 months, 10.5 million skillpoints) also has Production Efficiency at 5. Capable of building most T2 stuff and currently skilling up for Invention.
All that is missing is the remote skill, and there was little need for that so far...

Update: Kind of ironic (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20309355)

Kind of ironic they make such a fuss about their economics now, considering today they've announced the closure of their official moderated Trade forums. [eve-online.com] Their suggestion? For everyone to use a third-party site.

The most likely reason? Because they're terminating their volunteer service departments [scrapheap-challenge.com] who did most of the forum moderations. While this might be an effort to try and erase their image as having players cheating at these levels, it doesn't mean much for those who still trusted CCP and EVE to maintain a fair and effective way to trade in an out-of-game setting (say, from at work). Now who's to trust?

It's a sad day for CCP.

Re:Update: Kind of ironic (1)

FlameWise (84536) | more than 7 years ago | (#20310469)

I wonder if he had his fingers in this. One hopes not, really.

I've rarely seen a thread rocketing at over 60 postings per hour CREATED BY CCP, with universal agreement from all sides, even some historic CCP supporters.

I mean, it's not really a surprise: Their forums aren't the best. What other forum has built-in search by google and still manages to drive people to a third-party forum search engine made by a fan in flocks?

Re:Update: Kind of ironic (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20311089)

Well, it is official, about the volunteers getting the boot. [eve-online.com]

Their forums are fun for a read and keeping up with the game's goings-on. Though you're right, not really designed very well -- they only just came off the "main" servers so that they dissapeared when the game went down. Kinda funny when the game's whole website died when there was a nodecrash, the first few times.

Pralay says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20311035)

"Is this a serious step to keep Eve Online competitive in the virtual land of MMOs despite scandals, Ponzi schemes & scams?"

Eve Online is popular and competitive because of it's complex and real social/economic system that allows scandals, ponzi schemes, & scams!
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