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I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sugared water

Some of you might ask what I think about the news that CCP DrEyjoG is leaving CCP to become the new Chancellor of the University of Akureyri where he was previously the Dean of the School of Business.(1) My opinion might sound a little mean. That's not my intent but if it does, I apologize for that in advance. Ready?

I hate to bring up Apple references twice in the same week, but Steve Jobs legendarily asked John Sculley the most famous job interview question in history: "Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?" Sculley's choice was controversial but there's no question he chose to change the world. And that's exactly what he proceeded to do, whether you agree with how he did it or not.

After seven years of changing the world, Dr. Eyjo is choosing to sell sugared water for five years.

I congratulate him on a prestigious position! Presumably it pays well and it certainly looks excellent on a business card. I wish him nothing but the best. I also hope he continues to consult with CCP from time to time. But there are academics in the world by the hundreds of thousands and university Chancellors by the thousands. But only one person on planet Earth -- so far -- manages a virtual economy that drives an eight figure business. There's no question in my mind that in this way, CCP is showing us a small part of the future. Dr. Eyjo was the first. But now someone else will be doing it.


(1) Official title, "Rector", which is translated in various geographies as President or Chancellor. It essentially means he becomes the new head of the University.

67 comments:

  1. Elephant In The RoomMay 22, 2014 at 6:55 AM

    Hello, I am the elephant in the room and I want to introduce myself:

    CCP's resident economist for 7 years and in the last times responsible for improving player retention, is taking a once-in-life(?) chance to leave CCP as the numbers of players online dwindle and there are no foreseable turning points ahead.

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  2. Maybe Dr. EyjoG saw the writing on the wall, and didn't like it.

    Maybe it was declining subs, and CCP driving off a cliff full speed with the continued desolation of high sec profitability with this massive wealth re-distribution to null sec.
    Maybe he was tired of CCP listening to the null sec cartels more than him with regard to managing the economy.
    Maybe he was just tired of CCP.

    Who knows for sure, and whoever does is not going to say.

    It will be curious to see if he is officially replaced, or if CCP just continues to outsource more of the Eve economic management to the goons.

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    Replies
    1. Or maybe he's just an academic, who was offered the chance to run a university...

      Delete
    2. ^ this. I can't recall ever seeing Dr. Eyjo's name on a CCP financial statement, but maybe you could point me at where his name appears?

      He's an economist, not an accountant. I recognize that it's sometimes hard to tell the difference.

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    3. My guess is he got tired of reading posts from tinfoil maniacs that drink too much of their own kool-aid.

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    4. You mean they drink too much of their own sugared water?

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    5. Actually, DrEyjoG is just the latest victim of "pruning the dead wood" cost cutting which is going on at CCP, due to declining revenue. He was notified that his contract was not going to be renewed several months ago.

      His contributions to EVE were important in the earlier years, mostly as part of CCP's publicity plan ("see, we have an economist on our design team"), but, in the past few years, CCP has not been getting as much value from him.

      Dolan and Bro were let go, for similar reasons.

      Delete
    6. I thought this contract renewal crap was already debuked by former employees?

      Delete
    7. @ Anonymous May 22, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      Even Dinsdale admits that we do not know the "real" reason for the Docs departure. But you've even trumped Dinsdale this time by making up a load of unsubstantiated crap. Never thought I'd see the day, but I have! I'll celebrate by ganking a miner.

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    8. "I thought this contract renewal crap was already debuked by former employees?"

      As a general rule, someone who was laid off, let go, released from contract, or outright fired is going to be reluctant to say so. It isn't exactly something that appeals to your prospective new employers.

      It is also professional courtesy for a company to let someone know in advance that their contract will not be renewed, so that they have ample opportunity to find new employement. A lengthly period where you are unemployed doesn't really look good on the resume, either.

      From the company's point of view, too, it looks better if the employee appears to have voluntarily left the company for his/her own reasons. Layoffs tend to be portrayed negatively in the press, as CCP has learned previously.

      Delete
  3. Changing the world working for a small company losing subs like crazy with a niche game and no way to make it open for all the public because you and the others playing have CCP hijacked because your own view of the game is the only possible?

    Feeling a bit grandeur today jester?

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    Replies
    1. "a small company losing subs like crazy"

      How I wish they would drop just a bit more so I can fecking well get into Jita during peak time like I could a year or 2 ago.

      Seriously anon, your shit posting is becoming boring now. You have zero facts. Time to troll elsewhere maybe?

      Delete
    2. Feeling attacked little Jamie? Who's trolling now?

      Tell me where is the lie there.

      And my little goon cub, copying the same text as all your other friends do. For a bit of fact:

      Losing subs: http://eve-offline.net/?server=tranquility
      Small Company closing developments: Dust and WoD.

      And I told myself to not feed your kind see

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    3. See above. Dr.Eyjo is an economist, not an accountant. I'm sure he had access to CCP financial data but I doubt VERY much that it was a factor in his departure.

      Delete
    4. Why ppl changes work?

      Money, a challenge or better quality of life, the reasons surely being the first and last ones.

      Would you go to a country with 3 or 4 days of sun in all year, being payed less, for the chance of working in a company that preffer to listen (and favor) a small part of their clients instead de majority in your field of activity?

      Delete
    5. Um, it's an Islandic uni (*the* Islandic uni, I'd guess) he's becoming the head of. Unlike some of the others leaving CCP recently, he is a native.

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    6. No, it's a very small Icelandic university in the NE part of the country. Staff of 180, enrollment of 1600. Half the enrollment are remote students. The University of Iceland is 10x bigger.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_universities_in_Iceland

      Delete
    7. Then they have to pay him really well or maybe he was invited to left his work

      Delete
    8. @ Anon troll

      You were banned from reddit (and down voted into oblivion) for your pathetic shit posting and making stuff up. Now you're flinging your poo elsewhere due to the hostile reception you received. So sad.

      Give me the data on number of subs over time. What's that? You don't have it and are just making up a load of crap? Well I never...

      At first people thought you were role playing the village idiot for the amusement factor. Now we actually see you really are the village idiot, performing the same old act over and over again. Never mind, I'm sure your mother still loves you.

      Delete
    9. @Jamie - grow up.

      Jester posted that subs are down from last year, in his post on the CSM9 election numbers. No one, incl. CCP, is denying it.

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    10. The fact that he is going to lead a small university as opposed to "the" university in Iceland makes his departure more puzzling...

      ... but as I wrote t his, I wrote one special word - lead. He wants to lead. That, for some people, is a powerful incentive no?

      Delete
    11. @ Anon troll

      Firstly, "no one denying it" doesn't mean it's true. Secondly a drop in subs does not equal "losing subs like crazy". If anyone needs to grow up, it's the person making up sensationalist bullshit and spreading it around as though it's fact. I'm surprised you get so upset with me (and everyone else) for pointing this out.

      Delete
    12. "Firstly, 'no one denying it' doesn't mean it's true." - Jamie

      You are not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, are you?

      And, yes, the drop reported by Jester is rather alarming, since it is significantly higher than any previous year.

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    13. Keep the adhoms going - it makes it look even less likely that you have are sort of valid argument.

      "it is significantly higher than any previous year"

      Evidence. You have none.

      Even the pcu graphs that you believe to be an synonymous with number of subs shows that you are wrong as most time frames show a flat or up trend. for recent months. Not that this is anything to do with number of subs. But I don't believe you'll ever be able to understand that they are different things. We all get that you believe CCP has touched you inappropriately, but you're going to have to try much harder if you want to "get them back".

      You need to learn that screaming random baseless nonsense doesn't work.

      Delete
  4. Come now, Jester, as an EVE player you are surely familiar with the concept of risk vs. reward.

    Consider Dr. Eyjo's situation as Chief Economist of EVE. If the EVE economy continues to prosper, he will receive little additional credit, and if it tanks, he will be blamed for it -- despite the fact that much of the decision-making is outside his control. As an economist, he surely knows that the best time to lock in your gains is when things are looking good.

    This is why if 90% of success is showing up, much of the remainder is knowing when to leave.

    Also, this means what while he will have to deal with annoying academic committees, he will no longer have to endure dealing with the Council of Stellar Management. If that isn't bacon on his burger, I don't know what is.

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    Replies
    1. Also, while he was selling sugared water at CCP, at the university he has the chance of changing the world - or the Iceland's part of it. He can make the difference at the education of his nation's future workforce and thus truly make something that lasts as long as his nation lasts. At CCP his effect lasts until the servers are turned off, and even at CCP he is only small part of the whole. Not the boss.

      Delete
    2. I'd argue academic research may last longer than nations, or we wouldn't know about Plato, just to cite one simple example.

      Delete
  5. What Kool-Aid have you been drinking to believe that working for CCP is a world-changing career? There is literally nothing about the physical world we live in that changes whether CCP succeeds or fails as a company. Not a thing.

    As a through-and-through academic, I'm sure working at CCP was a great, unique, and interesting experience for the good doctor, but the new job *most likely* fits his personal ambitions much better. I wish him all the best.

    CCP changing the world? Good lord Jester. I agree with you 90% of the time, but not this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the meteoric rise of virtual economies and currency tied to real-world business through real-world currency didn't teach you differently? It hasn't spread to other video games yet, but I'm still convinced we're seeing the future here.

      But yes, I also agree that for an academic, it's a nice career change. It's just... dull. Safe. Trebor has it right even if he's trolling me: risk v. reward.

      Delete
    2. It appears that you do not have much grasp on what the job of university rector implies. It's certainly far from dull. Might be the least "dull" -if you need to use that word- job one can have in an academic setting.

      Delete
    3. As a McKinsey recruiter I can tell you that being president of a university, even a smaller one, bears way more weight than his current job. In strategic consultancy you won't get a free pass/job offer because you manage "a virtual economy that drives an eight figure business." the hard reality is that there is, with good reason, very little acknowledgement for virtual realizations, same goes for app wizkids.

      Delete
    4. It's a tiny university (see above) half of whose student body is remote. As I said, it will look good on a business card, and after five years of it, perhaps he'll be fit to command a cruiser instead of a frigate. ;-)

      Delete
    5. OP back again, @Jester:

      I see your point but I think your frame of reference in this case is a bit myopic. Just because his new job seems boring to *you* does not mean it is, in fact, universally dull.

      His work at CCP gave him an incredible opportunity to explore those very fields you mention. What CCP doesn't afford him is an opportunity to share that "research" (and you can be sure it is) with other academics. Returning to academia allows him to do so (NDA agreements and such notwithstanding).

      Who's to say that his continuing employment at CCP wasn't the sugared water? Maybe (likely?) he'll now once again be attending research symposiums, authoring papers, and doing other work that gets all the knowledge and experience he gained outside the stovepipe of CCP and into more "real world" circles.

      By accusing him of drinking the sugar water you're giving his interests short shrift. I bet he can do more to aid the rise of virtual economies outside of CCP than inside.

      ... or maybe I'm totally wrong, and he isn't interested in those issues at all anymore?

      Delete
    6. In USA universities may be powerless and insignificant, but that is not the case everywhere. In Finland Helsinki University has permanent seat at many government meetings - officially without influence, but being there they have quite a larger effect on the decisions than they would otherwise have. And with Iceland I would not be surprised if his influence on his home nation (as rector of the only university of the country) skyrocketed with that change. You might be content to be a mere employee of an entertainment company and skip a job that really matters. He clearly does not settle for something so little.

      Especially as he can eat his cake and save it too. He just has to negotiate with CCP projects that are mutually beneficial for both parties...

      Delete
    7. I've only got a little bit of experience with this and European universities might be different, particularly in such a small school. But in my experience, the position of Chancellor is much more concerned with administration, budgets, grants/funding, policy, and cross-school cooperative agreements (this one is apparently particularly important for Akureyri).

      There may be time for research and getting published and symposiums and such too... but somehow I kinda doubt it. Research and administrative positions rarely go hand in hand well.

      Delete
  6. Eve is just a video game. Dr Eyjo, like you Ripard, is a smart guy. He probably has the wisdom to see his Eve endeavor as an interesting side-track in his larger career plans. I love this blog- its the only Eve thing I read, but I'd also love to follow a blog of yours that is written around something actually productive in the actual world.

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  7. I find this post of yours rather odd to say the least! I'll ditch the matter about the extent to which Apple really changed the world.

    What effect did CCP had on the world in 10 years that compares to anything Apple did in the same a mount of time?

    How does sugared water compare to higher education?

    Above all what prevents young icelandic economists from changing the world?

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    Replies
    1. Nothing prevents young icelandic economists to change the world. Hey, they were a major player in the last financial meltdown, so I would say they have proven their ability to change the world already. ;-)

      Delete
  8. The idea that working for in the private sector for a video game company is "changing the world" while working as an educator for a major university is "sugar water" is about the most stupid analogy I've yet seen you advance.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I came to the comment section to express this exact opinion

      Jesus Christ it's just internet space ships

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    3. Me too.

      He was curious about managing a virtual world's economy. He's had a chance to do so for what, seven years now? He has all the data he will ever need on that subject. Now, instead of making Hilmar richer he can shepherd an institution of higher learning.

      The potential future significance of virtual economies notwithstanding[1], it's not that hard to make a case that he just stopped selling sugar water, and is now out to, at the very least, change Iceland (which, lest we forget, has extremely high unemployment).

      [1]I could make a snarky joke here about the way that high finance already does this, with our pensions instead of our subscriptions...

      Delete
  9. I join with the other commenters in confusion at your analogy. Presiding over a large virtual economy is certainly a very unique and interesting position. But in terms of absolute impact on the world, is that greater than presiding over the education of tens of thousands of bright young people? I sincerely think not.

    I think you may be underestimating the prestige of his new position. Chancellor of a university is pretty well near the pinnacle of an academic career.

    As a side note, Valve has (or had) an economist too: http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/economics/it-all-began-with-a-strange-email/

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    Replies
    1. Hundreds of young people. Not tens of thousands. The university enrollment is 1600, which means he'll preside over the education of 20 hundred young people.

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    2. Jester,

      That assumes only one year's worth of enrollment. If he holds the post for just five years, then assuming a 25% turnover of graduations and new students each year and no growth, he'll oversee at least part of the educations of double that. Granted, it's still not tens of thousands, but who is to say he may not extend his career further than the initial five years?

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    3. The chancellor is just the seniormost administrator. He doesn't actually do much except head up meetings (often dozing off), attend public functions esp. fund raisers, and interact with heads of other colleges, government agencies, and companies, as necessary. He has almost no involvement in the education of any students. He also doesn't have all that much power, since there is usually an executive board who makes the substantial decisions for the college.

      Delete
  10. Chancellor is sugar water and CCP finance is changing the world? You're out of your freaking narrow-minded skull.

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    Replies
    1. a) Narrow-minded clearly doesn't mean what you think it means.

      b) Jester made his argument very clear: there are thousands of Chancellor positions around the world that have been filled by tens or hundreds of thousands of Chancellors over the years. No one else has ever managed a virtual economy of that scale in history. To prestigious and well paid over doing something unique and unprecedented is the definition of selling sugar water.

      Talk about narrow-minded.

      Delete
  11. I guess it's all just a matter of perspective, Jester. To many, working a job in the entertainment industry making video games is very much the "selling sugar water" side of the equation, while the prestige of heading a university is the opportunity to "change the world."

    In the end, that's all EVE is, a bit of entertainment. Despite what Hilmar would like everyone to believe, and the hype of a chunk of stone in a cold Icelandic harbor, this is a game. It's just a bit of inconsequential fluff in the lives of a few hundred thousand gamers. What impact does it really have on the world at large?

    Now, as an academic in a position of authority (regardless of the size of the university in question), he can apply what was learned at this game to affect the real world. The knowledge he gained can be spread beyond this corner of the entertainment world, and can be used to shape things to come. The position adds weight and credence to his name which will ensure his future works draw attention, much more than being a game developer ever could.

    The more I think about it, the more I have to conclude that your analogy is completely backwards.

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  12. That's not true. Valve also has an Economist on staff that helps them make decisions with in game economies. He's less visible, but he has published a few things on Valve's games, and I'm rather certain those are more profitable than Eve.

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  13. Jester,
    sorry mate you have rocks in your head if you think education is equivalent to "selling sugar water" - how do you know that his university isn't currently educating the person who is going to cure cancer, invent FTL travel or maybe create the next big virtual economy - you cant do this without education and you cant do it by playing internet spaceships.
    Getting an education can and is often a world changer, especially for the person being educated. I grew up in a reasonably remote part of the world and was close to the local indigenous people who where even more remote. having access to education was definitely a game changer for both myself and them.

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  14. Peddling digital crack will not change the world, Jester, no matter how pretty your graphs are.

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  15. Ishtanchuk FazmaraiMay 22, 2014 at 11:57 PM

    Better jump than be pushed, ain't it? I gotta love reading between the lines on what's going on in Jester's head: He sees the writing on the wall but refuses to agree to it. Is EVE dieing? No, it can't be, it would hurt so much...

    But the fact is that us, the despicable 80% who just level up our Ravens and leave, are leaving, as we have been doing since 2011, and now there's no more of us left to fill back the server.

    We're pulling the plug and the hardcore guys keep singing "la la la, we don't need you", as CCP kills WoD right before beta and promises new games without a budget nor an actual workforce behind.

    Paraphrasing to The Clash:

    "You can crush us
    You can bruise us
    Yes, even shoot us
    But oooh -that empty server!"

    Better jump than be pushed. Totally.

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    1. Shut the fuck up with your bleating about poor hi-sec. Hi-sec has had nothing but buff after buff for years. You're hurtbutte because WiS is dead and not coming back, the end.

      The drop in PCU isn't hi-sec: hi-sec is doing just fine TYVM. The drop is 0.0 players quitting in droves because half a decade of neglect (in contrast to the multiple empire-focused expansions since 2009) has finally exhausted the patience and interest of the most dedicated and involved players.

      Delete
    2. A little bit testy today, aren't we Malcanis? You might want to get a handle on that before posting, as you're spouting nonsense that makes you look even more foolish than usual.

      Delete
    3. Ishtanchuk FazmaraiMay 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      Malcanis wrote: "Shut the fuck up with your bleating about poor hi-sec. Hi-sec has had nothing but buff after buff for years. You're hurtbutte because WiS is dead and not coming back, the end.

      The drop in PCU isn't hi-sec: hi-sec is doing just fine TYVM. The drop is 0.0 players quitting in droves because half a decade of neglect (in contrast to the multiple empire-focused expansions since 2009) has finally exhausted the patience and interest of the most dedicated and involved players."

      Who are you, Dinsdale's Bizarro twin? Or maybe that was a very failed attempt at sarcasm?

      But yes, I am aware that WiS is dead after WoD was untimely cancelled so CCP could fire 70 developers without much questioning. I comfort myself by being mean about EVE's growth prospects now that CCP Seagull has geared the development of the Hallelujah Plan into 'Full Retard' speed...

      Delete
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  17. I had the opportunity to hear Dr Eyjog answer the question has he learnt something from eve that he can apply to the real world. His answer was stop government intervention let the banks fail if the need to fail. If he teaches this to his students it is definitely not sugar water. Agree or not this is more like fire water.

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    1. "Fire water"? So now he's a huckster selling moonshine masquerading as medicine to indigenous peoples?

      Yeah, now that I think about it, that does sound like most academics I've known.

      Delete
  18. So CCP DrEyjoG is now changing name to Ridcully?

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  19. Bad post, Jester.

    No one knows enough to declare that the good doctor's decision was based on a lack of faith or courage. Yet you present it like that.

    I would be just as inclined to believe that his decision comes from 'having accomplished what he set out to do in EVE' and wanting to re-immerse himself in his passion (economics).

    But the point is: 'Who knows?'

    Apparently, you don't either.
    You try to infer from the data you have about the man's and the University's public knowledge.

    Shall I dare-say it's because the message you got from that move is that EVE is not as attractive to its staff as it was in eons past?
    And you reacted to that when, in fact, the move itself probably had nothing to do with it at all, whether or not that's true.

    my 2 cents.

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  20. He might be a great guy and by all accounts he is. Having said that, I think this is no great loss for CCP because the guy didn't do a whole heck of a lot. He was a part-time employee at best and his measurable work product could be measured with a micrometer.

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    1. You really haven't got a clue, have you?

      Delete
  21. I think the importance of our little interweb spaceship game is a little overstated in this one Jester.

    As an EvE economist he could have a profound impact on a virtual economy in a virtual world enjoyed by a few thousand people for a few years more. Then again, as a Chancellor of a university he can have a profound impact on many thousands of people's real lives for the rest of their lives.

    I know which one I would choose...

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  22. It's a prestigious posting. congratulations are in order. It's sad to see him go but i wasn't very interested in his workings ever since the quarterly economic reports stopped being published.

    What probably motivated him to leave was the game changing industry 'fix' that most likely throws all his statistics out the window. He'd have to start fresh and i think he thought so himself.

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  23. To be completely honest, I think coca-cola has changed the world much more than Apple did. They are one of the big driving forces to commercialize water all over the world. They control the waster supplies in vast areas of the world and use this to cut people from natural water resources and so they have to buy their products.

    Besides that, DrEyjoG always said the wants to use to data gathered from eve-online for his research, so it is only natural that he has to go back one day to university. Hopefully he will not crushed by campus bureaucratics and politics. :)

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