A week full of big EVE news occurred while I was away in the wilds of
northern Michigan on vacation, sans internet. Nothing provides
entertainment in New Eden quite like wondering what the beer-addled
Devs are going to pull out of their hats next, and between Unholy Rage
and Dust 514, alliance leaders across the galaxy are bracing for the
unknown - or, more accurately, grabbing their ankles.
At last, the much desired pogrom against macroers and RMT abusers has
occurred! Says CCP: "The war against the RMT element continues. We
strive towards driving their operating costs to unsustainable levels.
Our objective is to get rid of them, plain and simple. They are a
heinous nuisance and a serious drawback on our systems and resources."
All well and good - except that, as best as we can tell, these efforts
are largely confined to empire space, and haven't impacted the rampant
RMT that explicitly funds certain eastern bloc alliances, such as
Red.Overlord, home of SerLordex the aluminium magnate. I expected to
return to hear reports of multiple Titan characters banned and the
balance of power in 0.0 radically altered, but either CCP hasn't
focused on the outer segment of the galaxy yet, or there simply aren't
any RMT activities in nullsec.
Aside from the massive improvement in CPU cycles, the biggest impact
from Unholy Rage has been in the isotopes market, which temporarily
seized up in a bout of speculative terror. It's important to note that
CCP is attacking RMT isk-sellers while simultaneously pushing their own
'legitimate' alternative, the PLEX timecard system. Unholy Rage is a
method of enforcing the use of PLEX, but not a general attack on all
those who cheat. Macro-miners and macro-ratters still infest the game
at every level, and I think it's unlikely that we will see CCP take
mass action against them. While RMT traders cause CCP a headache with
fraud and liability implications, the non-RMT macroer is the foundation
of the low-level economy in New Eden. 0.0 is absolutely full of
macro-ratters, and if CCP actually enforced the regulations against
macro-miners in empire, the price of tritanium would double overnight.
No one sane wants to manually mine veldspar for hours on end.
One day later, we're gifted with the announcement of href="http://tentonhammer.com/node/72882" target="_blank">Dust
514 at GDC Europe. Information
first leaked when enterprising EVE-players noticed href="http://www.massively.com/2009/08/04/ccp-games-trademark-filing-hints-at-new-game-dust-514/"
for a series of trademarks with the US Patent and Trademark Office in
early August, complete with silly logo and mysterious name. An href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8PDbU0Fl5k"
target="_blank">extremely sexy trailer
showed a Planetside-esque console FPS set in the EVE universe,
apparently developed by the Shanghai office over the past three years.
All well and good, so far. The chaos began during his presentation when
Hilmar (CEO of CCP) broadly stated that what happens in Dust 514 will
have an appreciable, significant impact on what happens in EVE. EVE, of
course, is a PC-only game; Dust 514 is presently console-only. Unless
that platform restriction changes by release, EVE players will need to
purchase a console and practice their FPS skills if they want to
safeguard their assets against the Halo crowd, since the explicit
intention of CCP is to merge two disparate gamer communities (console
FPS and strategy MMO) in one galaxy.
Needless to say, this has aroused skepticism in the EVE community,
especially among alliance leaders. As one critic put it: "Imagine
you're playing chess on one table. On the other table beside you, a few
kids are playing Ludo. Suddenly, the kid who won at Ludo comes over to
your table and takes your queen." It's no secret that CCP has been
mulling over some sort of 0.0 sovereignty revamp, since by and large
sovereignty wars are an exercise in frustration and hair-pulling, but
no one could guess that CCP would solve these problems through a FPS on
a platform many EVE players do not own.
Of course, these worries are all very premature, as we don't know much
about Dust besides wild speculation and a five minute presentation. Yet
worries and wild speculation have a tremendous impact on the politics
of New Eden. If you find yourself thinking that nullsec has become
abruptly stagnant in the last week, that stagnation is likely to
continue until the Fanfest in the beginning of October, when CCP is set
to announce more details about how Dust will improve and/or ruin our
Is my level of cynicism unfair? EVE rewards a 'prepare for the worst'
mentality, and CCP has a track record of breaking the game and fixing
it later. The T2 BPO lottery system and Titans both threw game balance
out the window and it took many months (years, in the case of T2 BPOs)
before CCP fixed the balance. The current nightmare scenario is that
DUST will run roughshod over conquests in EVE, since a round of FPS
tomfoolery takes far less than an hour, and a sovereignty contest in
EVE can take weeks for control of a single system. To prepare for the
unknown, many alliances will be hunkering down, hoarding their
resources and throwing down additional outposts - just in case, of
course. Meanwhile, the market ramifications of the Unholy Rage purge
aren't yet clear. The upshot? Until October, New Eden is going to be
very, very quiet.
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