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Role Playing (Games) The Almighty Buck

EVE Online's First Quarterly Economics Report Published 80

The first quarterly report from EVE Online's very own economist has been released at the game's official site. GamesIndustry.biz 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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EVE Online's First Quarterly Economics Report Published

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  • SOE boggles the mind (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @06:28PM (#21355753) Journal

    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:my thoughts (Score:2, Interesting)

    by smonner ( 468465 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @06:51PM (#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.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @05:17AM (#21361279) Journal

    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.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"