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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2012-05-25 03:56:55
The events that transpire in EVE Online are astounding. It's initially like other MMOs, with a handholding newbie tutorial segment wherein players learn mechanics by accomplishing simple quest tasks for NPCs.
Then it opens up. Every player logs onto the same server, so every event that transpires is "canonical". The narrative is player generated, written by the same drama of ambition and hubris responsible for real world history.
The first time I became of EVE Online, it was through a story about a corporation (the equivalent of guild or clan) that had organized an assault against another faction's headquarters. When they jumped in, they were crushed by an armada prepared and waiting for the attack. It turned out that the raiders had a mole (or moles) chilling in their ventrilo. As my buddy told me about this, my eyes widened as I realized that far beyond the simple mechanics of the game, players were engaging in ESPIONAGE via forums, emails, and voice communications. These spies were engaging in intelligence work, investing untold hours to infiltrate enemy networks...FOR A GAME. Fascinating!
This sort of espionage work hit a crescendo with the Guiding Hand Social Club heist. After spending over a YEAR of undercover work, these infiltrators were granted trust in the form of access to Ubiqua Seraph corporation hangars. They promptly stole over 30 billion ISK (~$16,000 REAL MONEY) and assassinated the target CEO and destroyed key spaceships on their way out. This all started because a player offered a bounty equivalent to $500 to hit that CEO. Fuck Ocean's Eleven; EVE Online is the real madness!
Another player "cally", managed to build up a functional bank. This EIB (EVE Intergalactic Bank) took deposits and paid interest, and loaned money for higher interest. "cally" had employees who assisted in all of this paperwork, and they built a genuine financial empire. In a game. Then one day, he just cashed out. Took 790 BILLION ISK (~$170,000), bought himself a decked out Death Star, and PUT A BOUNTY OUT ON HIMSELF, taunting people to come get him.
EVE Online has a professional financial advisor on staff, to maintain the intricacies of its in-game economy. So when a group like Goonswarm pulls a stunt like the one described in the comic strip, it's enthralling to see A) a group of players pull it off, and B) the moderators of the game to not only allow, but ENCOURAGE these sort of shenanigans that implode their meticulously crafted universe.
If you watch any livestreams, Goonswarm are hilariously dickish griefers. They engage in tactics like loading up cheap, small craft with a single, powerful weapon. The rate of fire might be garbage, but these kamikaze fighters only expect to get off a single shot anyway. Armed with the willingness to be destroyed, they wield an immensely destructive force:cost ratio. Another similar mindset resulted in the creation of bait ships, equipped with a high yield explosive device. Once enemy vessels are within range, they simply detonate. They too provide cost effective destructive force, since they don't need features that would belong on vessels that, y'know, PEOPLE WANT TO KEEP.
While every other major MMO is more or less a variation on the World of Warcraft template (which in turn was lifted from EverQuest, EVE Online does it the right way. You don't have to wait for new, scripted raid dungeons; the content in EVE is player generated. If you have the ambition and vision, that content could be generated by you.
Now all of this begs the question: why aren't these players tackling THE REAL WORLD? They should be corporate raiding real assets, hostile takeovering real companies, and making real bank.