On Live Events: The Historical Missteps

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I really hated this aspect of WoW - ANYTHING that is not planned and controlled closely has to be nerfed and removed completely. Developers tracked and removed certain aspects of the game that was there by coincidence , but was deemed highly entertaining by large groups of players.Short list of what i can remember - wall jumping exploration , engineering items nerfs, world pvp and exploration rendered useless by introducing flying mounts.Don't get me wrong , there is fun stuffs there that i would like to see in eve - cosmetics customizations to ships, emoticons in space (trollface on enemy overview while warping away:P), more reasons to be in an active group while shooting rats, instead of isk/h for 1 is better than 2+ together.But wow was really shackling players to do and only do what devs planed. While eve is mostly free. And i hope it stays the same!
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Life is a sandbox. And in that sandbox we have theme parks. Conversely EVE Online is a sandbox that sometimes has a theme park or two thrown in.Art imitating life I suppose.
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Please correct me if I am wrong but you seem to be trying to say that eve is more of a sandbox than other games but yet still could be more sandboxy? With the references to old CCP scandals being your proof that CCP sometimes script events?If I am correct why is this feature a two part'r?
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I feel the same way about live events in eve. If I actually had agency in affecting their outcome, I might take interest in them. Having joined in 2007, I heard cool stories about players impacting live events, followed by "but that's not going to happen anymore". I have paid distant attention to the events since, which is a lot more attention paid than most players. Every new event I hear of just feels too scripted, pointless. We as players develop our own narrative, why is it forced to remain segregated from the canon?We are supposed to be the demi-gods here, let us truly affect things.
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The problem here to me seems a lack of research on the part of Miniluv.Anyone who's ever been in a live event and killed a dev knows they have 20 slot clones, with special implants for 11-20 that dramatically increase the ship they're in.They've used those (we've killed them before with them in) and so in assuming that it would just be a "t2 tanked TTI" was a bit foolish on their parts.Did those shield extenders cross the line? No not really, when we went to fight 50 or so devs we brought nearly 200 ships, and the fight lasted about 3 hours in Great Wildlands (full Rokh fleet).I had hoped this would go away but it seems people will keep crying that the gank they had planed to spoil the roleplayers fun blew up in their face.I have absolutely no sympathy.
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They could have affected it, they didn't bring enough bodies to do what they wanted, and so in the end didn't.We've crashed 3-4 live events with dramatic impact, its in the planning.
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You are stretching a lot in trying to compare what happened at the event to the T20 scandal and another rigged event to give shinies to a specific alliance. It does not help your argument at all.I understand your opinion on players should be able to interact and affect these live events. I agree. But when the only interaction you want to do is ruin the event completely every time, well then I have no sympathy for your cause. Perhaps you should seek other ways to interact with events instead of, "Kill the main actor(s) and ruin the event completely!" as your only option.
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"If we can't gank the main actors and ruin the event, then there shouldn't be events at all!" - The MiniLuv Gank Team
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And they're right. That's exactly the point. If you do live events that can't be ruined then it's not sandbox.
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It sounds like MiniLuv should have expected something more than a slave set and t2 armor tank, but the gankers had no reason to expect a tank as heavy as the QA shield extenders. As CCP Falcon is quoted as saying above, "it's the first time we've used them." More "research" wouldn't have helped because the devs were doing a new thing.
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If the event is unable to be ruined, then it is not EVE. Only in a theme park MMO is the idea of invulnerable story characters acceptable; EVE is of course not a theme park, even in high-sec.
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I think connecting T20 to this is a stretch. One was deliberate deception for the purposes of profit, the other is a corporate above-board, if internal, decision around how scripted they want the event to be. While I understand your :disappoint: one is a fireable offense and the other was a clean decision you didn't like.Also, you missed Arek'Jaalan - an event that literally changed the landscape of the game (Eram) and yet was abandoned by CCP, its huge promise left wholly unfulfilled apart from the Site One build.
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Let me get this strait...some douchebags tried to be jerks and piss in someone's Cherrios only to find out the owner of said Cherrios were ready and turned the tables on them? And this is a story?!?
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thats the point, you CAN gank them, they just underplanned because they didn't know what to expect. When we didn't know what to expect we called a full PL turn out for 50 of their dudes.And it still took us about 3 hours and NCdot coming to back us up to kill them.
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So, they announce that these ships will be tanked heavily. You incorrectly assume it means armor tank, and fail at the gank. Why does this mean there was some inappropriate conspiracy on CCPs part?You fucking whiny kid. You are like an idiot high school kid who studied the wrong fucking chapter for a test and are now blaming the teacher. What the hell are you entitled to? Absolutely nothing. Fuck you and go back and study some more.
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One of the dumbest comments I've read in a long time...if the event cannot be "ruined" as you you so objectively describe miniluvs intentions, then it has no meaning at all. Eve does not need more backstory it needs more gameplay and the most proactive players get the most say in how that gameplay emerges. Don't like it? Do something about it...or cry like marlona, whatever floats your boat.
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I am surprisingly giving a big thumbs up to CCP for what they did. Any time you reverse the norm and cause the gankers to shed tears all over the web, is a good day in my book.Beyond that, this is an enormous stretch to compare this even to T20 or even the Aurora scandals. You were publicly warned, you made an assumption, and you were wrong. That's it. It's pure cut and dry. No secret scandalous activities to be seen here. Just a group of players shedding their own tears because they couldn't collect tears and shinies.This is simply one of those things where you want to play the game your way, and are mad that you can't. Do I think CCP went a little overboard on maintaining control over said event by using the modules they did. Yes, but going overboard as you are and comparing it to T20 and Aurora is just as sad, and dare I say more so, and a terrible attempt at warmongering.
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Yea they could totally suicide gank multimillion hitpoint subcaps in hisec.
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You're pretty angry for a dude who doesn't know what a QA shield extender is.
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The people that are climbing on top of their soapboxes screaming "this is breaking the sandbox" in reality don't care about the lore, don't care about the roleplayers, are not roleplayers themselves, and generally only seek to kill "for the lulz." While there is nothing wrong with that in terms of the big picture, the message doubles as "stop writing books, chronicles, don't move established characters of New Eden because we can't blob them," and that is bad.If the Nyx crashing into the Ishukone HQ during the Empyrean Age was a Live Event, there would have been no dialogue between the Broker, Otro, Mila. There wouldn't have been the side-narrative of Noir's supposed Gallentean betrayal, nor Korvin having to make split-second decisions on the field. Nope, it would have been about a Goons/TEST/PL/bigtimealliance landing on on grid and spamming Local with lewd ASCII art.No sympathy at all, simply because the complainers don't contribute at all.
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To address the points in your larger posts in turn:- "EVE is about clones" - except, for these people, it wasn't. While the pilots of the battleships were capsuleers like us, the delegates on the ships - the actual important people - were not. There's no guarantee they had clones; a successful attack could easily have offed a lot of important people.- "He could have flown in a covops" - but, this kind of invalidates the point of having a large, attention-grabbing parade of ships, doesn't it?- "We include an RP reasoning" - okay, and? Whatever your reasoning, the point remains that goons have repeatedly shown up with no in-space objective other than to blow things up.And most importantly:- "Inability to interact does not make people want to show up" - I agree entirely. However, look at it from the smaller person's viewpoint. If all they can do is show up and watch hoards of tornadoes and taloses make mincemeat of anyone important, is that anymore interactive? Why should they show up when the end result is "event actors tried to do things, [insert any null alliance here] said no, we went home" ?
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Again, the point wasn't to ruin the event or make them go home, it was to include us in the story. Any marginally competent story teller could have creatively navigated the challenges presented.
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Live events should be a catalyst for EVE gameplay, it should give people a reason to do eve stuff. Clearly those NPC ships should have been doomed in the first place, wether by player or NPC hands and spawned 1000 hackable cans across the system with shiny loot, that make u go suspect if you pick it up. A scendario like this creates real sandbox-style gameplay.
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There was actually a Test pilot pull a DBRB and jump (instead of bridge) into D-3 the other day leaving a solo erberus (well and a cyno-drake which was rapidly punked by the bombers) sitting there in our bubbles with his pants down. Unfortunately being far from home and with few online (It was in ANZAC primetime I think.) there wasn't much to be done except glare at this giant dong thrashing around impotently in the bubble until his buddies finally raced into the system to spring him loose. It was funny to see, but it was rapidly apparent we where not going to be repeating the comedy of Asakai
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Actually you needed 200 blastos.Plus Falcon admitted the loss condition was to rp.As in you know the whole point of an RP event is to RP!!!
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No, you could have done it theoretically. Just because you failed, it doesn't mean it's immersion breaking. Cry more.
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it was also noted that concord showed up very fast to the event compared to normal response time in a 0.5 system, while nothing wrong with that, it means tornadoes would probably be the preferred ganking ship.In order to alpha that QA fit TTI, one would need at least 600 well skilled tornadoes, to the tune of 60 billion, with no insurace payout. And GM's would probably remove the QA shield extender if it drops.
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It's hardly my problem if your crummy alliance is too small to scrape together the pilots to pull it off. With enough ships and enough pilots, you can gank anything that is physically destructible. The fact of the matter is that it was entirely possible, but the Ministry of Love didn't have the resources to carry it off.
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So what? It's not as if there aren't 600 well-skilled tornado pilots in the whole of EVE.
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I do not know the tanking ability of the TTI but just those two shield extenders alone, with NO resists needs 200+ alpha maelstroms / tempests to even attempt a gank (I think Gallente has an easier job of it but it's still a lot of ships)That is just not going to happen.efb V
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By merely logging in, you are taking part in RP strictly speaking.You can't have one group all 'Ye Old Space Knight' and another all 'Hurf-Blurf buttes-donges' in the same sandbox without taking both into account in these events.
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It should NOT be 'a reason to do eve stuff'. Creating your own goals in anything is what makes a sandbox a sandbox, these events should be neat little shows that Eve Illuminati puts on and let's people take part in (however they want) if they so wish.
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Nor did they have any reason to suspect how it was tanked.If it was possible or not was never in question, what is, is that it was totally unfeasible. I am not sure what you deem an 'un-crummy' alliance but there's no individual group in the game that could have pulled this off without prior knowledge of the QA Shield Extenders and money to burn.
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I had already suggested among these comments to have 'ruining the event' actually become part of an unfolding story.
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Eve isn't CCP's personal storybook paid for at our expense. If they want to press out vapid storylines with special meaning we should be able to merge our storyline with theirs as TRUE player characters who are telling the REAL story. "QA" mods in tranquility should only be used if they're going to make the blueprints available.
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On last roleplaying event I witnessed, Gallente FW players used it as tool to ban a known caldari FC for "rude language" when he insulted a GM's character in local.
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Oh give me a break - explain how you can't get 200+ alpha maelstroms in a fleet. I didn't realize that was an impossible task.
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My bullshit meter exploded. The point WAS to ruin the event, because killing targets of interest is not a plot point if the only thing a random group of players -can- do is kill, at least in this Live Event.
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Getting three supercaps into highsec for a suicide gank, it's so simple. Why on earth didn't Miniluv think of that!?!
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Well, okay.I was in AURORA. I started in 2004 as an EA (actor) and managed to work my way up to being a Captain right under Nebulai. We as Captains were responsible for approving events and even had GM roles on TQ, so I speak from a bit of experience and knowledge on the subject of AURORA.Was AURORA a perfect program without trouble? No. Were there scandals? Yes. Were some of them deserved? Some, yeah. We had some incidents where volunteers were let go for bad behavior, and yeah, some of that bad behavior was rigging or biasing events -- that happened. I won't try to say it didn't.However, this article states that it was common for events to be rigged. It wasn't. AURORA was, by and large, good people who worked hard to make interesting (or not, your call) content for EVE Online. If you want to point fingers at someone who did something bad then go for it, but don't malign the work of hundreds over years as entirely corrupt. It wasn't.AURORA volunteers, and ISD volunteers in general, worked (and still do, in some cases) their asses off to help CCP make this sandbox world we know and love (or hate, but why are you still here?). They are, by and large, good people who don't cheat.Thanks.
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If there is no real chance of disrupting or otherwise interacting with the live event, then why bother? You might as well watch a video of it on YouTube.
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islador: Wait... you purposefully gave them food that you knew they shouldn't/couldn't eat for religious reasons?alizabeth: yupislador: LOLislador: you're a fucking asshole.the_mittani: that GSF tag suits you well, alizabeth~

Theme Park vs. Sandbox

The nature of EVE, compared to other MMOs, lends itself to epic story arcs and the possibility that players can persistently shape the world around them. Other MMOs have different servers for their players. World of Warcraft (WoW) is a good example. There are dozens of servers for North America alone. What happens on one server has no effect on other servers. A dungeon unlocked on Boulderfist (a WoW server) may not be unlocked until months later on Malfurion (another WoW server). There are also instanced raid dungeons. Each player will have a chance to do the same raid as another player. It’s the nature of a theme park. Just because someone rode Space Mountain before another person doesn’t mean the ride is closed. Because of these factors, the story usually progresses with certain heroes accomplishing key events, aided by adventurers—the players. Illidan, an end-game boss and key element of the storyline, was killed not by my guild, but by NPCs Akama and Maive Shadowsong—we just helped.

EVE is not a theme park; it is a sandbox. One of the beautiful things about EVE is that when things happen, they don’t ever quite happen the same way again. The Asakai fight will never happen again. There may be future battles in Asakai, but the ships, tactics, and parties involved will not be the same. That makes the game fun. When I logged into WoW, I knew that a raid starting at 1715 would last to 2200; we would do the same dungeon we had done last week and we would kill the exact same bosses. When a player logs into EVE, they don’t know what is going to happen that day. They might have a general idea of what to expect, but they never know. The Butterfly Effect and Causality trailers are great examples of this.

Another great feature of EVE, one that CCP advertises a lot, is that players shape the universe. Each player can affect the world around them. In null security, regions change hands, and giant wars are fought. The map changes. The destruction of the enemy and their assets has real consequences. The death penalty in EVE is whatever ship one is in at the time. In a theme park MMO, sometimes there is not even a PvP death penalty—there is not one in WoW—and the PvE death penalty is very light. In low-sec, pirates and faction warriors can also affect the world around them. Rancer has the reputation it does because of pirates. An industrialist in high-sec can produce the ships that keep the war machine going, selling on the open market to both sides of the conflict for maximum profits.

A Chequered Past

That’s a lot of words to explain the sandbox. Most readers will understand that it’s the sandbox that drives people to EVE and keeps them here. If CCP had interfered in the CFC’s war against the Dot Bros, in any way, there would have been a giant uproar. It’s already happened once. The T20 scandal fundamentally changed CCP. They added the Council of Stellar Management and the Internal Affairs department. Contrast that to a certain time in my WoW days where a Blizzard executive (not a developer, but someone higher up in the company) caused a boss to drop a legendary piece of gear. There was no outrage. There were no legendary threads on the WoW forums. Why? One reason was because the guild managed to keep it quiet. Not only that, but that one legendary item dropping did not imbalance the game, unlike one alliance having several original tech two blueprints did EVE.

Sadly, the T20 affair is not the only time where CCP has rigged, or tried to, the outcome of events in the sandbox. CCP Nebulai, an EVE developer and Band of Brothers (BoB) member (the same alliance that T20 was in), was the lead of the ISD Aurora program, a group of CCP devs and player volunteers. Aurora started in 2002 before the game was even launched. They ran live events where ships were handed out to players as prizes for winning the event. As it would turn out, these events were rigged horribly. Insider knowledge was given to Lotka Volterra, a BoB-allied alliance, allowing them to complete a certain event that netted them a Hel-class supercarrier. The Aurora program was shut down when Mirial, the executor of the Aegis Militia (AM) alliance, gained access to the internal ISD website and found that the events were rigged. Graelyn, a former ISD member and member of AM, explained what happened. His story was included in an open letter to CCP. Aurora was ended amid furor by the community in 2007.

Learning from Past Mistakes

Fast forward to late 2012 where Verone, a long time roleplayer and executor of Veto Alliance, is hired by CCP. Now named CCP Falcon, he, along with a few others, works in a group known as the EVE Illuminati. This group is tasked with organizing and running live events in EVE. This is complicated by them not actually being able to determine the EVE storyline. That falls to CCP Abraxas and CCP Gnauton. CCP Falcon's group started in September of 2012  and built up slowly.

A week and a half ago, it was announced via in-universe news that some Minmatar tribal representatives would be traveling from certain systems to Pator in “heavily tanked” ships. I had good reason to believe that the aforementioned ships would be Tempest Tribal Issues (TTI), a ship so rare that it might as well be unique. Since they were going to be traveling through high-sec, I contacted the only people I knew that had a chance to pull off a kill: the Ministry of Love (MiniLuv). MiniLuv is a group of GoonSwarm and allied pilots specializing in high-sec terror. They’ve gained quite a reputation for killing freighters loaded with expensive goods. After figuring out who to talk to, I spoke with Powers Sa, a MiniLuv leader. I gave him the relevant intelligence and explained the TTI angle. He presented it to the other leaders of MiniLuv, and it was decided that a gank would be attempted. Powers Sa and I specifically discussed what the "heavily tanked" remark likely meant, determining that a tech two armor tank with slave implants was likely. This gave the TTI an excellent tank for a subcapital and did not make it a loot piñata.

As it turned out, we were wrong. The TTIs were fitted with QA Large Shield Extenders, adding one million shield hit points per module. The MiniLuv gank team never had a chance. The ghost of Aurora, it seemed, had possessed the new Live Events Team. A group of players had gotten together to kick over a sandcastle only to find that it was made of rebar concrete. The outcome of the event was never in doubt. While knowledge that the winning side was not lavishly rewarded with ships did assuage some of the outrage, there was still a considerable number of upset players. Players discussed the issue on the Live Events section of the forums. The Live Events Team, however, listened to the arguments made. CCP Falcon posted in the thread: “It's the first time we've used them, and as far as I'm concerned it'll be the last. I can and will promise outright that they won't be used again, and will not be factored into the future schedule given the reaction that we've seen from last night's event.” I consider this to be one of the best posts ever made by a CCP employee.

Interview with Elise Randolph

I had the pleasure of talking with CSM Representative Elise Randolph about the Live Events Team's presentation at the CSM Summit. The whole interview is too long to be printed in this article, but it can be found in its entirety here. Here are the notable parts:

Now, did anyone on the CSM bring up Aurora in regards to this new team? Were there any concerns? Or did CCP address that in their presentation?

When the live events thing started, CCP were very, very deliberate in their RoE [rules of engagement] and who can be involved and what can be done, et cetera. Most of the CSM argued that they were a bit too strict in what they could (or rather, could not) engage.

When they were talking about lore, how much did they talk about players being able to affect the story or the outcome?

… [S]o that was a big thing that both the CSM and CCP brought up. Seleene remembered an event "back in the day" where they players did something completely unexpected—it had to do with escorting a Titan that the Serpentis had stolen—at least I think that's what it was—but everyone on the Live Events Team were completely for the players having a say in what happens.

Going Forward. How to Give Agency to Roleplayers

"What I can tell you … is that the people who coordinate the Dev and Lore events are incredibly passionate and excited over what they do. If there was one thing I could take away from the meeting, it was just the pure passion and joy from not only doing the events, but witnessing the community's reaction." — Elise Randolph

Now that we understand the past, we can look to the future. The key issue with EVE roleplay, and not just live events, is one of agency. How does a player affect the world around her and control her destiny? This is easy to do in space, as she is able to blow things up, join different corps and alliances, build things, rat for money, etc. On a metagame level, she can make alts, join other corps, spy, post on forums, be a diplomat, etc. In terms of the EVE story, there is not a lot that she can do. Some of this is due to game design. For example, an alliance wishing to declare war and fight Sansha’s Nation will find they cannot really accomplish anything concrete. It is not possible to take stations in Stain and there are no real strategic objectives. A Blood Raider roleplayer reads a news article of a Sani Sabik cult being held by the Imperial Inquisition and wants to use their resources as a capsuleer to liberate their brothers and sisters in faith from the Amarr, but they're helpless. There are plenty more examples that could be listed.

In the sandbox, players should make the story. Obviously, there are certain story points that need to be made for game design reasons or an expansion's storyline. Beyond that, however, players should be given free reign. Rather than sit in the smoke-filled back rooms of CCP headquarters discussing what is going to be happening, the Live Events Team should be on the forums, in the Live Events chat channel, and on Twitter gathering ideas from players, working on making those stories happen. Everything in EVE should be an interactive sequence with endless possibilities, not just a cutscene. Svetlana Scarlet will continue examining the future of better live events in part two.

Writer. Twitter: @AlizabethVea