Welcome to Jester's Trek.
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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quote of the Week: Competitive advantage

This week's Quote of the Week comes from Fanfest, held last week in Iceland.  But it doesn't come from any of the official presentations.  I'll have more to say about those in a post or two.  No, the source of the Quote of the Week will probably remain anonymous:
Some guy: "It's about changing the mentality away from large scale warfare."
"But we LIKE large scale warfare; that's why we're here!"
Have truer words ever been spoken about EVE Online?  The quote is from the EVE News 24 transcript of the Large Scale Combat round-table that was held on the 24th.  Ironically, this round-table was held in the smallest conference room in the conference center.  Have a look at the picture in the link.  There seems to have been a little bit of interest in this topic.  ;-)

In a few days, it will be April 2011.  And the most difficult 12-18 months in the history of CCP will begin.  CCP faces enormous challenges over the next year and change.  They have at least two major releases that have to go perfectly: Incarna and DUST 514.  And they have to release them right in the faces of three major competitors: World of Tanks, Jumpgate: Evolution, and Bioware's Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO.  All three attack EVE Online from different angles.  WOT has the "instant-on" combat thing going for it, and is enormously popular with EVE players, particularly the casual PvP EVE player.  Jumpgate: Evolution has the potential to be a terrific space combat shooter, and to completely dwarf EVE's "oh wow" factor for space combat.  And of course, I need not say a word about TOR.  I'm not even much of a Star Wars fan and I'll be trying that one.  TOR can kill EVE all by itself if it doesn't completely suck.

And if it's good?  If it's really good?  Yeah.

EVE has one advantage going for it right now, and Incarna isn't it.  Next to TOR, even the best possible release of Incarna in 2011 is going to seem laughably inadequate.  The first release of Incarna is a promise of potential, not a game.  CCP realizes this, and that's where the "EVE Forever" video sprang from.  But again, I'll have more to say about that in a couple of posts.

No, EVE's major advantage is e-drama.  It's the sandbox, and the fact that every EVE player plays on the same server as every other EVE player.  It's the fact that major battles in EVE Online draw gaming media scrutiny, and even the EVE meta-game gets articles in gaming websites written about it.  Small gang PvP is fun, and is my first love in EVE, but outside of the dozen or so people involved in those fights, nobody cares.  No, it's the enormous battles, the sov warfare fights, the betrayals, the successful campaigns and the reversals that everyone wants to hear about, read about, and watch that are EVE Online's big advantages.

Almost two years ago now, CCP released a trailer called The Butterfly Effect that was a beautiful illustration of this concept.  And it wasn't the 1v2 combat that opened that trailer that the trailer was selling.  Every trailer since has only expanded upon and broadened this concept.  For my money, the best trailer CCP has ever put out is the Dominion trailer a little over a year ago.  There are no small fleets in that trailer.  It advertises and brags on the fact that massive fleet battles are EVE's stock in trade.  Very ironically, people who hate blobs no doubt spend a good portion of their time reading EVE News 24 and other websites that keep EVE players up-to-date on what the blob has been up to.

Whomever said that in just a few words during the Large Scale Combat round-table gets that, and CCP needs to stop running from it.

CCP might bemoan the blob, but they need the blob.  It's the only competitive advantage they've got.


  1. There is deference between hating the blob and hating how the blob works.
    When blobs hot drop smaller fleets and smaller fleets are no longer a functional part of sov warfare there is an issue.
    Yes to big fights, but small gang warfare should still be effective harassment, isk denial, killing ships, and damaging assets.
    This is not the case when even a small fleet can be instantly hot dropped by a roving gang of super caps that are far more mobile than the roving gang.
    I don't believe people want blobs to disappear, but they don't want it to be the only option.
    There are many suggestions but blob warfare is an issue. Balancing how to fix it while maintaining big fights while still encouraging small fights is hard.

  2. "There is deference between hating the blob and hating how the blob works".

    Bang on.


  3. @Anon1011: You're absolutely right. There has to be a place in EVE for both the blob and the small gang.

    The main point to this post is that the blob generates EVE's competitive advantage in the marketplace, compared to other MMOs. If someone were to generate a list of "top ten stories" about EVE, three of them would probably be scams, one or two would be hilarious incompetence... but the rest would be massive fleet actions and the results of those actions.

  4. Jester, I think you are missing one other big thing. EvE is not Static the way so many themeparks are, and the means by which it changes is controlled by the players. Mechanics may change, Empire may change a little, but CVA, BoB, Goons 1.0, Kenny, IT, Atlas, etc. were destroyed by players. I agree that TOR will probably hurt EvE, and probably quite badly in the short run, but if all it offers is being part of a static storyline of jack-in-the-box bosses then people will come back to EvE for a chance to change things.


  5. I agree with you 100%. But how do those changes happen? I assure you, it isn't with small-gang, raid-style PvP. ;-)


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