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EVE Online's First Quarterly Economics Report Published

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the get-the-mineral-news-while-it's-hot dept.

Role Playing (Games) 80

The first quarterly report from EVE Online's very own economist has been released at the game's official site. has some comments from Dr. Guðmundsson on this first batch of numbers, exploring a bit of his methodology and the joys of working in EVE's closed environment: "Since life in Eve evolves at a faster pace than real life, we must use a so-called 'chained price index' rather than a representative basket. In real life, representative baskets are always used and in many cases the surveys for these baskets are done with very long time intervals. By looking at our results it is obvious how the fixed basket approach can overestimate the impact of price changes, just as predicted by theory. With consumer preferences changing faster now in real life than ever before (consumer electronics is a good example), this might be a lesson that could help us understand better changes in price levels and how we measure that outside virtual worlds."

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quarterly? (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354877)

It amazes me that nowadays quarterly figures are analyzed, you can't compare an early spring season with the christmas season, can you ?

Re:quarterly? (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355051)

Having an economist look at Eve Online is an interesting idea, but I question the practical value of studying virtual economies. I mean, does this research really tell us anything about how the prices of Tritanium, cybernetic implants, and frigate-class starships behave in the real world?

Re:quarterly? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355119)

It does provide a bit of a controlled environment that can be used to test economic theories. Ignoring for a moment that these economies deal in imaginary goods, they still provide the human/corporate reaction to stimuli.

You also end up with a pseudo real-life model in which factors cannot be hidden from the person conducting the study. Since all the information is stored and can't be hidden from the system you have fewer limitations.

Re:quarterly? (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355573)

Economics is all about models. They LOVE models, big sexy mathematical models, tying together figures on wildly different things to try to get a sense of the direction of the economy...Economists can pick some really silly stuff to plug into their models, so imaginary widgets isn't out of the realm of possibility.

In this situation, they can actually apply their model, and watch things play out through the actions of real people, even if they're all dealing in imaginary goods. It's really exciting stuff, especially since the changes happen faster than "real world time" so you can get a since of price fluctuations much more quickly than you could out in the real world. It's also a closed system, so you have access to ALL the variables.

Re:quarterly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21357593)

You know what they say... "Economists do it with models." Or... "Economists supply it on demand."

I'll be here all week.

Re:quarterly? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355921)

I thought it would be interesting to have an MMO where you can create a communist, socialist, capitalist, etc, etc guild and then study the results.

Re:quarterly? (1)

sendai2ci (629417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21357193)

I'm not entirely sure if any studies have been done, but there are definitely communist, socialist and capitalist corporations in EVE.

I'd say the majority of corporations are 'socialist' mission running corps. In mission running corps richer (usually older game-time) players help poorer players by giving them Isk, hard to acquire items and most importantly their time and their status with the NPCs in the game. Letting a newbie tag along on a Lvl4 mission goes a long way towards the newbie being able to do Lvl3 missions and improving their self-sustainability.

Re:quarterly? (3, Insightful)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358865)

It's a complex spectrum. There are mining guilds who are communistic, pirate guilds who are anarchistic, some who are fascist dictators of their guild, others who have highly stratified bureaucracies and still others who have little need for ranks or hierarchy. Most guilds are multicultural, yet some are nationalistic only having players of one real world country, and there are some who roleplay the ingame factions and only have players from their faction. There may be no ingame mechanic to set yourself 'socialist' or 'anarchist' but such a device would artificially limit the politics. As it stands, the EvE sandbox has the best political and diplomatic atmosphere of any MMO I've come across.

Re:quarterly? (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21366503)

From the Article:

"By looking at our results it is obvious how the fixed basket approach can overestimate the impact of price changes, just as predicted by theory. With consumer preferences changing faster now in real life than ever before (consumer electronics is a good example), this might be a lesson that could help us understand better changes in price levels and how we measure that outside virtual worlds."

Re:quarterly? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355073)

That's why real economists get paid big bucks to process the figures and turn out reports that reflect the variables that each quarter holds.

However, though EVE's timeline is accelerated and thus requires special attention in that aspect, it is much less subject to the seasons and holidays than a real world economy. Of course, if you wanted to try to be really accurate you could try to consider how the habits of the players would affect the economy based on regional holidays.

Re:quarterly? (1)

eison (56778) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355233)

Real world quarterly figures are compared to the year-ago quarter, not the previous quarter. If they say "up 3% this quarter, while last quarter was up 6%", they mean up 3% from this quarter last year.

Re:quarterly? (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21360935)

They sometime makes comparisons with the previous quarter (not the same quarter of the previous year). However, every time I've seen this, it was worded so you couldn't understand something else (the move from loss to profit is usually specified like this)

Re:quarterly? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355527)

Many places do week to week these days, because it's possible, and you may gain some insight. As the above poster pointed out, however, it's always this week last year or the last two, three, or ten years, depending on the type of business.

If you notice trends based on the preceding year, you can maybe identify a causal connection, and then increase your business by catering to it.

But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (3, Insightful)

Mark19960 (539856) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355061)

Isk farmers in eve are really out of control.
You can pull up a list of contracts on a farmer character and see trillions of isk flowing into the hands of isk sellers on ebay, report this and nothing is done....

I would ask their economist how rich players can afford the very best and how that shapes the economy in the game, when people cheat.

Cheating is going on, and I know it cannot be stopped... but it is even obvious to the layman by the quantity of isk farmer posts on the official forums.

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355143)

I've never played EVE so I'm going to assume that 'Isk' is something like ore or gold?

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (2, Insightful)

flynns (639641) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355327)

ISK: International Standard Kredit. Gold.

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359665)

Technically Interstellar Kredit, but whatever. It's a play on the Icelandic Kronar, for which the international designation is also "isk".


Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (1)

flynns (639641) | more than 6 years ago | (#21374193)

bah, you're right. I wish I could donate my "insightful" point.

isk == interstellar kredits (0, Redundant)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355333)

Wikipedia says: "There is a single currency unit in EVE Online, the Inter Stellar Kredit (ISK), which takes its name from the Icelandic króna, whose ISO code is ISK." So yes, it's like gold.

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355453)

ISK is the form of currency in Eve.

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (2)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355201)

Not to mention spend any time in Jita or Amarr for more than 20 minutes you'll get eve-mail spam about sites to visit to buy ISK and it gets worse from there on (it does seem somebody has written a macro bot for this specific purpose).

You would think by now that CCP would go through at least a method of detecting such spams by analyzing eve mails for content to flag accounts for further investigation, but then again this is CCP we're talking about after all. :)

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (1)

flynns (639641) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355367)

maybe, but why in the world are you hanging around Jita or Amarr? Of all the places in the vast universe, ... ???

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (1)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355911)

For my alt to pick up large amount of items and then bring it back to me near low sec space which then I jump down to deep 0.0 where I base my operations. So, I really don't hang around those areas. :)

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 6 years ago | (#21356163)

Jita I can understand. Lag or no, it's the heart of the economy, at least until they come to their senses and allow market information on a galaxy-wide, or empire-wide basis.

Amarr though, seems a dead zone to me. Rens is much more active.

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (5, Insightful)

GearheadX (414240) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355371)

There's a very simple way to handle isk farmers in 0.0, thankfully.

It involves blowing them up.

(Isk farmers drop great loot, by the way.)

Sounds like a plan (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21356735)

While we're at it, do you think we can try it on spammers too?

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21360763)

Except it isn't that easy when they fly ravens with cloaks and possibly warp stabilizators, and instantly warp to a safe-spot and cloaks when someone enters local. Pretty much impossible to catch them when they do that.

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (1)

debrain (29228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355393)

Cheating is going on, and I know it cannot be stopped... but it is even obvious to the layman by the quantity of isk farmer posts on the official forums.
There are two types of cheating at hand. One, cheating to produce (farmers). Two, cheating to consume (buyers). I believe both types of cheating reflect fundamental faults in the economy.

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355717)

Is it cheating, or is it just trade between two related economies? If the game developers don't have a problem with it, that strongly implies the latter to me.

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21356139)

They claim they don't want it.

But then again, they almost endorse making characters to go destroy other factions with "espionage". Which in real life is ok, cause that person can only ever be that person, but on eve they just ruin years of work and make a new character or account.

Re:But they cannot fix the isk farming problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21359705)

"Cheating is going on, and I know it cannot be stopped..."

The same goes on in real economies, MIT has a financial engineering section that's all about predicting markets. Imagine knowing where the next capital flows and profits will be before those events happen, capitalism is no longer about meritocracy, it's about who's got the most resources and the best technology, working for them.

I am reminded of Ray Kurzweil talking about building an 'autonomous investor' to take advantage of markets. Most people do not have access to his kind of mind, or that kind of money. The strong get stronger and the weak get weaker, as usual. Every economic transaction is a political transaction... hence "vote with your wallet".

Link to the report (4, Informative)

ElMiguel (117685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355151)

The summary should include a link to the report [] itself.

1st post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21355189)


my thoughts (2, Insightful)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355377)

They need to work on making the game more fun... The interface and graphics are nice, but 1) combat is boring; and 2) there is nothing to do but repetitively mine asteroids and wait weeks for your skills to increase. During the weeks I played, I managed to buy a ship with a huge cargo hold and a nice mining laser. I would just park the ship on a big asteroid and suck it all in, which takes about three hours. For a while I would get up in the middle of the night or during shows to be continually mining 24 hours a day.

Finally, I realized that it was pointless because I wouldn't even be able to fly the awesome ships for weeks or months simply due to the skill system. I would never buy a Warcraft character online because leveling is 3/4ths of that game. The only way to get even a semblance of parity in Eve is to ebay a character that has been in training for 6+ months.

You can only train skills on one character at a time, so in order to be truly efficient you have to buy two accounts so you can train a mining guy and a combat guy simultaneously.

The auction system and the player crafting are the strong points of Eve. The foundation is there to be a fabulous game, but they need to totally revamp character development.

My dream would be to combine the pre-jump-to-light-speed Star Wars Galaxies ground game with Eve's space system. It boggles the mind why Sony didn't just buy out Eve years ago and do exactly this. Then, you could do missions and skill up on the ground, AND enjoyably fly around in space (JTLS was vomit-inducing).

Re:my thoughts (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355549)

Agreed. I started three different trial accounts (one mining, one trade, one combat) and got bored with all three before 14 days. By the way, a fun way to end your game on the last day is to go fly around in 0.0 with a noob ship. (It doesn't take all day either.)

Re:my thoughts (2, Informative)

Scorpion265 (650012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355567)

You need to get in with the right corp then. A 0.0 corp is where the action is at. Not to mention mining is the worst way to make isk in the game. Freaking go out and do some missions! L4 missions will bring in 20 to 30 mil per mission in loot + salvage. And that is all eclipsed when you do 0.0 ratting and complexes. and train your learning skills, weeks of training will be cut by half.

Re:my thoughts (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21356627)

Yeah because missions are way more fun then mining! Oh wait, it involves doing the same set of a dozen missions over and over again? And salvaging is more boring then mining? Damn, I guess I'll sit at a gate camp for two hours and kill the occasional innocent traveler.

Re:my thoughts (1)

1lus10n (586635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21360425)

Going down the list of options for new players: A) Mine B) Missions C) Canon fodder in large corp (or a frigate based corp) D) Market work (trade, transport, building etc) But the game is not meant to be played solo, you need to get into a good corp where you get groups of people together to do ... everything. Trade in teams, build, distribute etc, run missions in groups with different types of ships (try running a l4 with a handful of AF's or inties if you fear low-sec/0.0). Then you can get into market scalability, invention etc etc None of this even touches on doing stuff like roaming gangs, fleet combat or the like. Eve is only limited by your social skills, and your interest.

Re:my thoughts (2, Insightful)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355623)

Yes you obviously must be a WoW player. Sorry but not every game is going to allow you to be uber l33t in just a week. You have to actually work hard in this game. That is one of the many reasons I love EVE. It does away with the carebears and WoW players, and has a more mature player base.

You say combat is boring? Yeah you obviously never been in a hundred man op before either. Once again if you dedicate some time to the game and put forth the effort you might get something out of it.

This isn't WoW and it never will be.

Ahh the Eve elitist mindset. (4, Insightful)

juuri (7678) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355841)

You have to actually work hard in this game.

Reread your own statement multiple times if you don't see the fault in it.

Working hard *at* a game is one thing, working hard *in* one is completely different.

Re:Ahh the Eve elitist mindset. (2, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21356313)

I think the point is that Eve is not as instantly gratifying as WoW. And that's fine, different people will like it for just that reason. You have to work harder but you get a bigger reward in the end making your sense of accomplishment feel all the greater.

Re:Ahh the Eve elitist mindset. (2, Informative)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 6 years ago | (#21361553)

It can be if you meet the right people. My first week in EVE pretty much went like this. My friend who got me to try it out showed me the basics. Then I started making friends in the NPC corp I was in. Started doing missions with my newfound friends. About the 3rd day, one of my friends got killed by a solo pirate in a deadspace in lowsec. We got about 10-15 people together from the NPC corp, went to where my friend died, and low and behold the pirate was still there. Pop went the mighty Ferox he was flying. Then we killed his pod too. It was a huge rush for all of us, even though I'd laugh at any Ferox that tried to attack me now. Right there, I started a new corporation with the people who had formed up to kill him. We started going into lowsec hunting for pirates on a dayly basis, running missions together inbetween. I've been the CEO of an 80 man 0.0 corp, am currently in charge of the capital fleet of an alliance and own a Thanatos and Moros, but those were some of the best days of my EVE experiance.

Simple toys for simple minds. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21361747)

There's little work involved in EVE. One of my corpmates runs a side corporation that pulls in several billion ISK every two weeks.

He logs on for an hour a day, if that, and spends most of it bullshitting with corpmates.

The 'problem' with EVE is it requires a functional brain; you can't just sit around mashing buttons, stuffing your face with e. coli infected party pizzas while drooling and pointing at your monitor while bashing cartoony orcs. :p

Re:Ahh the Eve elitist mindset. (1)

Jaeph (710098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412007)

People work hard to improve their golf game - are you going to play semantic games with them too?

Some forms of entertainment are easy (TV); some require effort if you want to play well (golf). This isn't a "right vs wrong" scenario here, it's all a question of what you personally enjoy.


That's Not It (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21356457)

He judged EvE from lowbie character. It would be like judging WoW based on a level 10 character. For a lowbie, grinding a million isk in EvE is about as difficult as grinding a single gold in WoW. Start a brand new guy on a new server in WoW and see how long it takes you to get a gold, especially if you're just soloing quests.

Plus there's the learning curve of knowing which skills to learn, the learning curve of space combat (For lowbie's it's really just point and shoot.) In WoW you have to optimize your spec and you have to know how to deal with each different class if you PvP. In both games you have to learn agro management (Don't agro all 15 rats in the mission at once or you will die, don't agro all the groups in the dungeon at once or you will die) etc.

WoW feels much more up close and personal, EvE feels more remote and laid back. But on the chat channels you're initially exposed to in EvE no one will call you a noob for asking a newbie question and so far I've seen relatively little douschebaggery. It seems to be that you can be more successful soloing in EvE than you can in WoW, but both games obviously put a lot of value on multi-player content. If the GP had recruited two or three people to help mine, haul and defend they could have gone into low-sec space and made more money. Or the could have all gone combat ships and done some higher level ratting.

This might not be WoW, but there are more similarities than you might think.

Re:That's Not It (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21357485)

Start a brand new guy on a new server in WoW and see how long it takes you to get a gold, especially if you're just soloing quests.

If you have access to the AH... you'll have your first gold by level 8-10 by selling herbs / ore / skins. By late-teens, you should have a few gold banked (unless you spend it all on the auction house). I've done this recently (trying out a character on the opposite side from what I normally play).

(I played EVE for about 9 months, and while I still have characters in training... as in two accounts... the game has pretty much lost its luster. I'm not interested in 0.0 politics and the rest of the game is very much grind grind grind for either ISK or standings. Mission running in teams is over-rated - nowhere near as enjoyable as a dungeon crawl in other MMOs. The only teamwork in EVE is "focus fire" or staying out of aggro range.)

Re:That's Not It (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21367605)

Yes but how many people completely new to WoW realize that? Sure an experienced player can start out on a new server, grind his way from 1-10 in about 2, 2/12 hours, outfit himself with the correct gear for his class and start working his spec in the direction it needs to go. Lets go over how many skills that takes which someone completely new to the game will need to learn:

1) They need to learn the geography of the area and where to go to find resources (The auction house being one such resource)
2) They need to learn how to fight effectively with their character since the only way to level is by killing mobs (Or doing quests to kill mobs.)
3) They need to figure out the best way to make money (If you're a WoW newbie, selling ore from mining is about the most effective way to make gold to fund your early ventures. Hmm. Another mining simulator!)
4) They need to understand about the skill system and how to start setting up their spec efficiently. A lot of people don't even realize they can DO that until they hit 20-25 or higher. I've heard of level 40+ characters finding out for the first time that they can apply talent points into skills they can use to make their lives easier.
5) They need to know what gear is appropriate for their class, what constitutes good gear and how much they should be paying for it.

I'm sure I've missed a few here. Blizzard actually does a incredibly good job of making the learning curve easy. You can just jump right in and start swinging your sword or shooting your fireballs and more of the game will be exposed as you need to access it, but there still is a learning curve and the first time you log in to WoW you're as completely lost as you are the first time you log in to EvE. You have no idea how big the world is and the first at least couple weeks of the game are spent just learning the basic skills needed to play the game.

And I'm not even covering the advanced stuff here. Take pulling. Pulling is an underrated art in the game. You really need to understand pulling early on so you can avoid getting stuck fighting a group of 3-4 (or more) mobs, any of which could kill you on its own. But even a lot of high level people aren't very good at it, mainly because they don't think of it in those strategic terms (Inexperienced pullers are much more prevalent at 60 than 70, though.) Likewise marking in dungeons is an underrated and important skill. You always need to consider what type of mob it is you're marking and give it to the appropriate party member to deal with it (Especially, hunters should never be given caster mobs to trap. Personal pet peeve of mine and I don't even play a hunter.)

Anyway the upshot of that is I'm not trying to flame anyone, I'm just saying that it's beneficial when commenting to remember what it was like when you were a complete newbie in the game (As I am at the moment in EvE :-) and also to realize that when you are new to a game that you are not and will not be seeing the full scope of the game anytime soon. Both EvE and WoW benefit from having a high level character show you the ropes (I have one in EvE and I've been one in WoW.)

Re:my thoughts (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 6 years ago | (#21367987)

Except work in Eve is pay CCP money and switch skills on occasion. That's the work required to hop into a hull/do something. I made 1 billion isk in a 0.0 corp within my first month. My options are to buy a character, or timecard/continue to pay CCP money so my skills train up and I can actually fly things that require anywhere near that kind of cash.

The SP system is fucking retarded, tbqh, and the game manages to be decent in spite of it. It'd be nice as backup/passive training, but not being able to do anything in-game to speed up the process of getting into that next hull discourages even logging in unless you've already found a niche you enjoy. Tackling on large fleet ops is fun. Shooting POS/ratting you can do pretty competently relatively quickly, so there are options, but you get relatively good pretty quickly and then are left staring at an enormous IRL time skill switching grind.

That's not work. There is no work to gain skills in Eve. You gain them at a fixed rate according to your attributes, and that's IT. It fosters an environment of elitism because if you start RIGHT NOW, you will never, ever have as many SP as I do, and I in turn will never have as much SP as people who started before me.

For instance, I fly covops atm, working towards recons and dictors. I have a production/research alt and a mining alt. The only thing stopping me from flying that stuff now isn't not putting work into "earning it" it's not having had my character long enough to rack up enough SP to be able to step into the hull and fit it properly. Cruiser V is an almost month long grind. I can reduce that a bit by spending lotsa cash on implants, but not by an enormous margin. I can even avoid having to do RL work to pay my account fee, or in-game work to earn isk to timecard, by just setting the skill and cancelling my account, and resubbing when the skill is finished.

Re:my thoughts (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21368175)

That's not work. There is no work to gain skills in Eve. You gain them at a fixed rate according to your attributes, and that's IT. It fosters an environment of elitism because if you start RIGHT NOW, you will never, ever have as many SP as I do, and I in turn will never have as much SP as people who started before me.
Who cares if someone has more SP than you? The great thing about EVE is that someone with 20 mill. It is a skill based game not (Who has more l33tness in their character.)

Re:my thoughts (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 6 years ago | (#21368471)

There are plenty of entities, mostly in 0.0, that are entirely elitist when it comes to SP, and have strict SP requirements. The exception to this is of course Goonswarm, but you can't get into that unless you've been a member of the Somethingawful forums for a while. Of course you also have empire corps, which are much less restrictive, but Empire isn't fun unless you like the market or missioning side of the game.

Skill? Skill in eve is fitting/poopsocking, theorycrafting to give you the best chance to do something. Actual combat is all strategy and reaction based. Except large fleet POS warfare, which is pray to the desync/lag gods, roll the dice and hope things shake out for your side.

Having more SP gives you more options. You can fly a wider range of ships, fit a wider range of gear, and thus be more capable at more situations or be incrementally more capable in a single area or ship class. This is the player as the individual. For groups the dynamics are different, since a large swarm of low-skill ships can be highly effective. This is of course frowned upon by the old elite. LOL, frigate swarm.

And if SP doesn't matter, why not let everyone fly everything on Day 1? Right because then the only grinds are IN GAME. Can't have that, how will the bitter vets feel special?

Re:my thoughts (1)

kionel (600472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21368211)

Yes you obviously must be a WoW player. Sorry but not every game is going to allow you to be uber l33t in just a week. You have to actually work hard in this game. That is one of the many reasons I love EVE. It does away with the carebears and WoW players, and has a more mature player base.

As a World of Warcraft player, I have to disagree with these comments:

1. My wife and I play WoW to have fun. It's our "cheap date night", and allows us to laugh, have some coffee with Bailey's, and relax.

I should also point out here that my wife and I have been married for twenty years, that we're both IT professionals, and that we have other hobbies outside of our PC gaming. I point these things out to establish that it's not a real stretch to say that we represent at least part of the "mature" player base.

2. We created these characters in November of '06. In a year of casual play -- with six months off for Spring and Summer to get outside to hike and bike -- we've just reached level 52. That's hardly "uber l33t" in a week.

3. We chose WoW because it encourages casual play. We don't have to "dedicate ourselves" to the title. Instead, we log on to have fun.

I get that some people really enjoy the number-crunching, ship-tweaking, asteroid-mining game play of EVE. Good for them. I'm glad they have something that they enjoy. But, having tried the title myself, I'm going to have to agree with the OP and say that it's definitely a niche market title.

4. In my opinion -- and that's all this point is -- EVE's gameplay wasn't terribly compelling. This coming from a guy who preferred Starfleet Command II because of its micromanagement. This from a guy who loved Elite. This from a veteran MMO player. I never felt "hooked" by the title, so I left after my 14 day trial.

I think that was the OP's point. The game could be a lot bigger if it addressed that central issue. What's the hook to keep a new player around? If they're satisfied only appealing to their niche market -- which, I admit, has grown -- well, good for them. But with WoW hovering near 10 Million subscribers, and the quarterly report indicating that EVE has a subscriber base of approximately 195,000 users, something tells me that appealing to a broader base might not be a bad business decision.

I just wanted to offer up a WoW player's perspective here.

Re:my thoughts (1)

ThatMegathronDude (1189203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355643)

You don't "get" Eve. It's not your fault, you just never left Empire.

Unfortunately, it takes more than a month to train up a character and/or learn how to do more than mine/run missions.

SOE boggles the mind (3, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355753)

SOE boggles the mind, there fixed it for you.

I have a theory for why MMORPG's are the way they are. The companies behind aren't run by gamers who enjoy gaming as a hobby.

I will tell you a couple of game elements. SWG's jedi XP grind where as a fully experienced character you had to trade regular XP from killing into jedi XP at a 10:1 or worse ratio. Endless amounts of killing for a slow level up of your jedi skill, so that you could kill things a tiny bit faster.

SWG collectible items, a dozen incomplete sets clogging up your inventory. Lotro's reputation system, that involves farming items for measly rewards. Lotro's deed rewards that involves killing hundreds of critters so you character can go from 10% fire resistance to 11% (which means you still are 89% vulnerable).

WoW's repuation grind for.... eh what was it for again? Special mounts or something?

Eve's online levelling system where you have to keep logging in to select new skills to level up while you are logged off.

Vendor trash, an area populated with half a dozen different critters all who drop 4 different kinds of vendor trash (looted items that have no value except to sold to NonPlayerCharacters, cash but cash you have to have inventory space for) so that you need 24 empty spots in your inventory just for one area, trash like teeth that stack only to ten, while you can carry life sized statues with no problem and go swimming to them.

They are ALL delay tactics. Stuffing your inventory with junk forces you to travel back and forth. Rep grinding is just a way to keep you busy.

The odd thing is WHY? Well, because they want us to pay the monthly fee right? Well, no. Think of it, see gaming as a hobby. Is 14.95 that much? I have a friend with a hobby of scuba diving, he pays he would LOVE to be able to do his hobby for my complete costs of PC, internet and monthyly fee.

Even in gaming, plenty of other games have long lasting appeal without forcing the player to grind. Imagine if MS Flight Simulator only allowed you to fly a 747 AFTER you grinded 1200 Cessna landings. Imagine if Half-Life only allowed to to play multiplayer AFTER grinding the tutorial 100 times.

Imagine if before you could connect to a multiplayer map, you first had to spend several minutes running around a single player map to set up the story.

Plenty of single AND multiplayer games have long lasting appeal without introducing a grind, so why do ALL MMMORPG designers have this desperate urge to inject it into their games?

Would you keep playing a MMO (and more importantly paying the fee) if the pure grind like the reputation grind was removed and the only lasting appeal was the gameplay itself.

Would you raid the same instance if you didnt need to in order to get all the items?

Other games can pull that off, are MMORPG's as games that bad that they got to hook us with something else then the fun of gaming?

No, I don't think so, but it seems MMORPG designers think so.

Oh well, no time, got head into misty mountains and collect rings, almost at exhalted status, so I can get a new skin for my horse.

Re:SOE boggles the mind (1)

RobinH (124750) | more than 6 years ago | (#21356709)

The only MMO I played that wasn't like this was Planetside, and it wasn't an MMORPG - it was an MMOFPS. It was fun nearly 90% of the time. It had an experience system, but a brand new character could still beat a veteran any day - because there was skill.

I think the grind you're talking about is due to the RPG genre. It comes from D&D. You have to build a character, and it takes time. The fun is in the imagination. When you play WoW, you're not relying on your own imagination - you're expecting the game to provide the excitement for you, but the model is still D&D... they provide rules, you provide the story. If you're not willing to imagine a story that your character is living, then why play?

Re:SOE boggles the mind (1)

halycon404 (1101109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359833)

God I wish Sony hadn't messed Planetside up. As an idea, it was beautiful. But they rushed it to the door instead of taking time to really polish it. The controls never did "feel right" after coming from much twitchier and tighter controlling games like Quake and Unreal. Half the things they announced at launch still aren't in the game to this day. They then added in things no-one wanted, and worse yet, that broke existing play mechanics. But the worst, the absolute worst thing about the game, is the sameness. They had an entire world with a decent backstory to play with, and what do they do? They build 2-3 bases and then simply copy them over and over again for every control and capture point in the game. No matter where you were at, or what you were doing, it always felt the same, and you always knew exactly where to go. They completely missed giving players a since of wonder and exploration. Even if its something as simple as finding out you can jump from point A to B and then finally to C to get to a very good sniping position. Planetside completely missed it.

I'll never really forgive SOE for Planetside because they bet small on it. They figured if they built it to the lowest common denominator of FPS gaming, and just added in alot more bodies, that it would be a success. Because of that the hardcore FPS player never took it seriously. If Sony would have just bet bigger, if they would have made a game for FPS players first and foremost, it would have been beautiful, they would have made millions. But by betting small, they ruined the entire idea for anyone else who wanted to try it afterwards because of the horrible returns it generated. I thought then, and I still think now that the idea of Planetside could work if a company took it seriously. I guess we'll have to wait for Valve, ID, or Epic to give it a try, because no-one not already inside the FPS genra will ever take it seriously enough to merit the attention it deserves after Sony's absolutely huge fail at it.

Re:SOE boggles the mind (1)

GuyWithLag (621929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21362065)

That's exactly why I'm still playing EvE and now WoW, EvE provides a sandbox where the players will set up their own content and drama.

Re:SOE boggles the mind (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21357517)

You don't really make any sense considering your gripe is on MMORPGs other than what SOE is responsible for. I think the fact that millions of people pay an online subscription to WoW just demonstrates how wrong you are. WoW has grinds in them but they are largely irrelevant. If you enjoy questing and the story line, you don't really care about level 70. It's only a grind for people with the mentality that they have to have the best of everything and get to the top as quickly as possible. I guess I think the people at Blizzard now a whole heck of a lot more about designing games that either you or I do. Sounds like MMORPGs aren't for you. So play all the great single player games that are out. Let the millions who do enjoy MMORPGs to their happy little grinds.

(Disclaimer: I have subscribed to FFXI, WoW, Eve and shattered galaxies...but don't play any now. I am addicted to TF2 however)

Re:SOE boggles the mind (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21357667)

Most people - most game players nowadays even - are not computer geeks like many of us here at /. So they are lacking that innate aversion to repetition that we programmers have (we write code to do repetitive stuff for us!). The grind is popular because it actually appeals to a lot of people.
Personally, I just try to avoid it with as much variety as possible, taking advantage of the different aspects of the game and simply not participating in things like reputation grinding or re-running instances for rare drops. I managed to play WoW for several months a couple years ago without rep or xp grinding and I never did instances more than 2 or 3 times to explore all aspects of them. (mostly I explored, did all quests involving/leading up to a particular instance so I could complete them all with the instance run when I achieved the right level, contented myself with mostly blue gear and also did a lot of PvP) PvP is saved from being repetitive a bit because you are dealing with human opponents with a wide range of skill and evolving tactics. :)

Like, duh... (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21360137)

Plenty of single AND multiplayer games have long lasting appeal without introducing a grind, so why do ALL MMMORPG designers have this desperate urge to inject it into their games?

Because an MMORPG without grind is a FPS.

If everyone in EVE could fly a Titan (the most skill intensive ship to fly) the first day they logged in, you'd have a first-person shooter, not a role playing game.

Although I do agree that having to log in to change skills is stupid.

You mistake grind with levelling (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21361279)

The grind happens when you already levelled, but still have to do the same thing an INSANE number of times to advance tiny amounts.

For WoW and LOTRO this is the reputation grind. For Eve it might be mining.

Let me explain how the rep grind works in lotro.

Say you want the gain reputation with the hobbits. You can't do this until you are 39. To gain rep, you need to get special loot items that drop from human enemies past level 35 BUT with a max level. They drop rarely. 10 mathoms (the item) is 300 points, once you gained enough reputatin 10.000 points you can also turn in well preserved mathoms 500 points (for one item), but these drop even more rarely.

Each level of repuation is a shitload of points that if you calculate the drop rate for you need to kill a fucking large amount of things.

Now here is the most obvious grind element. There is NO WAY IN HELL, to collect these items WITHOUT levelling up to the point that the enemies that drop the items become to low for you.

So you are just slaughtering mobs that provide not the slightest bit of challenge in the hope of getting enough items to get a tiny bit more reputation.


It is NOT about levelling up, or questing or doing quests that ask you to kill ten X, go back, kill ten more X, etc etc.

It is when all pretense of questing and story telling is gone and the game just tells you, go and kill a million of this critter that is challenge and I give you a shiny.

In counterstrike you got to earn money to buy better weapons. That is fine. Now imagine counterstrike and to get money you had to shoot a whale in a ditch with a shotgun for money. 100.000 times. For a slightly better pistol. A machine gun? 10.000.000 times. Oh and you can try hitting the broad side of that barn over there, with a nuke. Come back when you pressed the attack button a gazillion times.

This OBVIOUSLY does not happen in most games.

Again, I am NOT talking about people who call levelling up grinding. I am talking about past that. For instance in Eve where you might realise that to buy anything you first need to mine asteroids for an unholy amount of time.

Perhaps you are right and it is part of the nature of MMORPG's but I think there are better ways.

Re:You mistake grind with levelling (1)

Rhys (96510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21363931)

In some games, leveling up is (or has been) grinding. Take Asheron's Call. Your character stopped meaningfully improving (versus NPCs) at about level 100 to 110. Your skills were already within 5-10 points of cap (on a inverse tangent system, so the last couple points don't help very much as long as you're already ~30 points over the target skill). You weren't going to get enough skill points to really train new skills (skill points stopped at 125) before the "max" level of 126. You could earn XP to raise skills beyond that, but it was mostly irrelevant to the quality of your character.

If you calculated out the "level" of a toon based on XP in skills, some people were up at 250 or so, beyond 126. That's either a love for unattended combat macroing, or a love for the grind.

The Eve Grind (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21367285)

The Eve Grind:

Log in.
Check to see if skill is done training.
If not, go have fun.

If so, change it, then go have fun.

Eve doesn't wear out your mouse buttons, clicking on rabbits. It wears out patience, which too many people have far too little of.

Are there "other" ways to advance? Yeah -- but there is more than one way to earn an isk, as opposed to the "Go kill 1000 innocent woodland creatures of a semi-rare variety"

Re:Like, duh... (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 6 years ago | (#21368129)

If everyone in Eve could fly a Titan on day 1, that wouldn't address that Titan's are fucking TOUGH to build. It takes months of effort by entire corporations to assemble the components, and 3 months of RL time to cook the Titan itself. There are plenty of people with titan skills that do not have Titans because of this.

Same with supercaps and other large ships. There are enormous isk investments and time requirements outside the SP system.

The SP system is fucking stupid.

Re:my thoughts (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355759)

You played inefficiently and in a boring way. You should have jumped in a frigate and flew around in lowsec space (0.4-0.1) for a while.

Eve combat is the only game where I *still* get so hyped on adrenaline that I shake so hard I can't control the mouse. Combat is far more fun when you really got something to lose (or win) rather than just respawning to zerg it again.

Re:my thoughts (1)

JDAustin (468180) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355883)

Mining in EVE is boring so dont do it. There are many other ways to have fun and it doesnt require high skilled characters either.

Re:my thoughts (2, Interesting)

smonner (468465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21356101)

I have played EVE for a little over two years, and I think I might have mined once for less than an hour the first day. I'm not sure why you felt trapped into playing EVE as a mining simulator. I never felt even the slightest urge to do that.

In the early days, I made my isk ratting (killing the NPC pirates that infest the asteroid belts). That admittedly became a bit of a grind, but not anywhere near as bad as the mining experience you describe. That being said, I hate grinds, so when I discovered that you could make isk on the market, I went to that. My point is that there are lots of ways to make isk in EVE, and mining is probably the least attractive of them all.

As to character development, I have to completely disagree with you. I find EVE's system to be the one reason that I'm still playing the game, as it takes the grind (that thing I hate) out of developing your character. You decide what you want to train for, set the skill to training, and then go off and make isk or pvp. That's fabulous.

I think you are also too fixated on "awesome ships". Even a T1-fitted frigate is useful as a tackler in pvp situations. Even a T1-fitted industrial is great for hauling minerals during group mining operations. You don't need battleships and T2 ships to be effect in EVE. In fact, in the early days you probably won't have enough ISK to support flying such expensive ships anyway (only fly what you can afford to lose).

EVE is a great game, and if CCP doesn't screw it up, I'll be playing it for years to come.

Re:my thoughts (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21356987)

Sorry man, but any MMORPG that allows exploits like the Guiding Hand Social Club [] 's is incredible. I don't think there's another game out there that allows playing on that level.

Re:my thoughts (1)

Transdimentia (840912) | more than 6 years ago | (#21364153)

Yes but this is considered boring by the drones of reviewers that quit before the trial is up. The midas 'get something for nothing' attitude is prevalent here. Why Do people really expect to become the unstoppable uber miner/missioner/pvp'er during the trial?

Re:my thoughts (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21357029)

Actually, the way the skill system is designed, at 3 or 4 million SP, you could be on par with a guy who has 15 or 20 million SP. It's more complicated than SP directly translating into ability to kick serious ass. Even T2 equipment is no guarentee that you'll be able to achieve something.

The game is more complicated than setting your guns to autofire and sitting back and waiting for the pop. You have to manage your capacitor and make sure your drones aren't getting blown up. In PvP, it's even more complex and nerve-wracking because of the unpredictability of human players. We can spend hours discussing what to fit and who's going to take what role based on fitting and ship type. And the Pvp system is very rewarding. We've gotten starbase structures in battle before. People drop their equipment after you've killed them. Often you can take this equipment and use it yourself. And it's possible to be effective in these fights with T1 frigates, provided you fit them out correctly.

Just think of Empire space as levels 1-30 in WoW. You're not actually playing the game at that point, you're just being introduced to the mechanics.

And the enjoyable thing about character development is that I can train skills and advance my character without needing to be online the whole time. I like the way that pans out, so that it's not about me hacking away at the giant skeletons for six hours so I can collect enough bones to make a wicked sword of the boner which will give me a 4% increase over my current stats. Instead, I can skip all that time wasting farming for stat bonuses and go straight to actually playing the game. The Social Darwinistic idea that I am only as strong as my mind allows me to be is something which no game I've seen can duplicate. If you're an idiot, EVE is unplayable because you can't figure out how to properly fit your ships, when you should activate certain modules, or even where you should be in combat. There's a huge numbers game lurking underneath the surface that you're missing out on.

For example, in combat my Micro-warp drive adds a 525% increase to my signature radius while in use, translating into making it easy for a battleship to hit me with guns. But in exchange for this increase I can get close enough to the battleship that its guns can't track me as I'm orbiting it. When I turn the MWD off, I've eliminated the signature radius increase but not the radial velocity increase that this tactic bought me. This means that now the guns both can't track me and can't resolve my ship well enough that they can hit me.

However, to negate this tactic the Battleship pilot can fit a smartbomb, which deals damage in a small radius around the ship. This prevents me from moving to an extremely close range, giving him more of a fighting chance. A stasis webifier can directly reduce my radial velocity, making it much easier to hit me.

EVE is less a traditional hack and slash RPG, and more of a CCG, where you assemble your options in battle by fitting your ship. Just because you have turret slots, it does not follow that you must fit turrets. Some really effective PvP setups do not use guns at all.

Re:my thoughts (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21357203)

You were mining in a hauler, I assume? (one mining laser, big cargohold) You probably found the most boring thing possible in the game, and did it poorly. No wonder you quit. Ironcially, what you did was not even remotely efficient use of time.

Here's a hint: You don't need to mine to make money. At all. Ever. Train your combat pilot and run combat missions. If you fancy PVP, then go do that. I guarantee you, the real thing holding you back from using whatever awesome ship you're talking about isn't skilltraining. It's the money and support structure to properly utilize it.

Re:my thoughts (1)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21413805)

Based on your post, I reactivated my account and figured I would give it another shot. I am having more fun this time, but I still don't think I quite get it.

I have my hauler which generates $400k of money with two mouse clicks at 3 hour intervals (the boring mining thing). I also have a cruiser ship which can three-shot kill npc's in 0.8-0.5 space. This only generates about 100k isk per hour of active playing, most of which is spent trying to find npc's that someone else hasn't already killed.

Any advice on better ways to make money?

Re:my thoughts (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21414449)

Find an agent, preferrably something combat related. (Any of the navy corporations, for example. Or any agent related to security) Run combat missions. You get semi-instanced encounters with a lot more stuff to deal with, and far better rewards.

If you havn't run the chain already, I recommend going through the mission sequence that your starter agent gives you. The reward at the end is a stat boosting implant, along with a sizable standing gain with your faction. Standings determine what quality agents you can use. (increasing your rewards)

Even mission running can get tedious after a while. But it's good money, and alot more consistent than hunting rats in belts. If you really want excitement, you should get involved in the PVP scene. I don't recommend doing it solo though. Find a group thats willing to teach a new guy. (More outfits will do this than you'd expect) Dispite popular belief, a new pilot can be very useful for fleet engagements with only a few weeks of skill-training under their belt. You would most likely start out as a tackler. A frigate that locks down a bigger target while the rest of the team kills it. It's exciting, educational, and most importantly: CHEAP.

Yay Sony? (1)

GeekDork (194851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21361441)

OP []

It boggles the mind why Sony didn't just buy out Eve years ago and do exactly this.

I'm glad they didn't. Just look at their current leper Vanguard... They acquired it and almost immediately started dumbing it down. If they got hold of Eve, they'd probably rip out the entire economics part just because it's complex. Now, just to appease the Vanguard players: I've got a copy and a dormant account lying around. I still think the game has massive potential, but judging from the patch notes, it still needs a lot of work. It started out very ambitious, but didn't manage, which I guess was at least in part the fault of the original producer. However, SOE is trying to make it a direct competitor to that other game, which obviously won't fly. Eve on the other hand is aimed at a completely different demographic which gives it its own (spacious) niche. Sony will never go niche.

I also kinda like Eve's combat system. True, it's a bit strange, but with the variety of weapons (long and short range, different damage types against shields and armor, ...) I find it quite neat so far. It comes close to being what Freelancer should have been.

Re:Yay Sony? (1)

GuyWithLag (621929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21362455)

The white elephant in the room is that EvE is much much more friendly towards players with a life outside the game. If you have a life or kids, you can still have a meaningful progression in the game, as the skills progress over time, not with skill use or XP gained. Don't have time for the next 3 months due to a deathmarch project at work? No problem, spend 3 minutes per week to login, set skill training, logout.

Re:Yay Sony? (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21366355)

Exactamundo. And, since the game is so complex, you still get better (although in Eve, you get better instead of your character) with practice, so somebody who does that but never plays is still going to be basically worthless. Even better though, if you're smart you don't have to spend quite as much time on it.

Re:Yay Sony? (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 6 years ago | (#21368649)

I love that aspect of it, but I also hate it. Since everything is at a fixed rate regardless of what you do.

I wish there was a way to improve skills outside the SP system, so if I have a large chunk of time, I can spend it on actively grinding say, my probing skills by doing exploration missions or scouting or something.

I really do think a hybrid of a UO/Galaxies style skill system, where skills level up as you use them, with passive attribute based offline skill increases ala Eve would be ideal.

The actual report. (3, Informative)

fava (513118) | more than 6 years ago | (#21356565)

So we have a story that talks about the economic report, that links to a story talking about the report, but doesn't actually link to the report.

The report that the story is actually about (but doesn't link to) is available here. []


Re:The actual report. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21361019)

Thank you was really pissing me off that I couldn't find a link to the damn thing. GG as usual editors

Doctor What ? (1)

psergiu (67614) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369493)

What is that third letter in the chap's name and how do you pronounce his name ?

Other economic reports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21405909)

Another couple of EVE Online economy reports coming from the same guy.

Minerals and economy []
The economy behind spaceships manufacturing []
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