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Video game phenomena and thought experiments

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Aristophanes Posted: Sat, Apr 28 2012 12:22 PM

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Some people just want to watch the world burn. Goonswarm, EVE Online's famed alliance of griefers, are known to do things that are simply astounding. Their latest project has been months in the making, and it's lighting up the space around Jita, the largest trade hub in-game.

"Burn Jita" is a campaign by Goonswarm to destroy EVE's delicate economy by assaulting all the trade and industry ships in the game's largest hub. The alliance created about 14,000 thrashers, a small attack vessel worth about one million ISK, EVE's currency. Since you can buy ISK with real world money, you could say that this fleet of ships is worth upwards of $38,000. And that's without the cost of weapons or fittings.

Most developers would put a stop to this. Not CCP. They love it. Jon Lander, EVE's senior producer said  "I tell you what, it's going to be f***ing brilliant, absolutely brilliant." CCP have even gone so far as to set up Jita on a separate server, just to handle the massive player load. They want players to be able to do whatever they want. If they want to mess things up, then they can mess things up.

The devs go so far as to even say that this could be a good thing in the long run. By destroying a lot of expensive ships, those players will be forced to work their way back up again. In high-security space, it's possible to fly a very expensive ship for a long time without having to buy a new one. If enough of these ships are destroyed, players will have to buy or build new ones. This will cause an influx of money to go to things that might not be a part of the current stable economy. 

Whatever the reason for it, or whatever the actual impact may be, it sure is pretty fun to look at.

Good thing these devs don't think like real political leaders...or is it the other way around?

I thought this was cool as hell.  There is nothing to make a game more interesting that literal pirate/terrorists.  I only wished I played this game so I could fight them.  Just think, would you sacrifice your actual money to fend off people are have no intent other than to destroy (or to spend so much time and/or money in order to destroy other people's time and money?  Would you try to help strangers virtually?

So is this Schumpeter's version of creative destruction or is it Keynes promoting the broken window??  Would you help defend against or partake in the destruction?  Why?


"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
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Wheylous replied on Sat, Apr 28 2012 1:00 PM

The video game world is in some ways inherently different from the real one. The video game world has a dual purpose: 1) to make money for the devs, and 2) to be interesting.

Hence, having a lot of destruction makes things interesting. Furthermore, if players will guy more in-game gold, this makes money for the devs.

Note, too, that while there is some amount of entrepreneurship in the game with the guilds, it has real limitations past which you cannot go, unlike the real world, where research and development push the capabilities of society forward.

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bloomj31 replied on Sat, Apr 28 2012 2:26 PM

Man I wouldn't spend thousands of dollars on an mmo.

I spent a few hundred on Aion but that was spread over two years of playing.

If people wanna dominate that bad I say let em.

I'll just go play GW2 when it comes out.  Maybe Tera too.

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That's far more amusing than what typically goes on in MMOs.  An MMO is a place for young males to be something, because they can't in the real world, and griefing is the rule rather than the exception.  This looks like a grandiose spectacle of collective nerd action, which is the fundamental purpose of the game.

I would get in some shots for the defenders just to grief the attack.wink

Hence, having a lot of destruction makes things interesting.

That is also the real world.  Most people play politics like a game.  Press a key to kill someone.  Too easy.  So is crawling out of a hole every 4 years and stroking a ballot, or planning the fate of millions over shitty university cafeteria food or from behind a computer screen.  It's just an interesting game for some whilst some others find themselves unfortunate enough to be the game pieces though they never wanted to play.

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When I am not fulfilling my role as an engineer/mathboy, I play this game in my free time. I am an industrialist / trader. 

There're are a few additonal pieces of information missing from the story. The first being that the creators of the game are removing one replenishing resource pool and after the burning of Jita an event called 'Hulkageddon' will commence. Hulkageddon is an event whereby people will receive a substantial amount of money from the Goons when they destroy ships that extract resources or haul resources. The burning of jita, removal of a resource pool and Hulkageddon all will serve to reduce the supply of resources for the purpose of increasing prices. The burning of Jita is not as important as they anticipate it will be because there're several other areas where a large amount of market transactions take place. Ergo, investment will move elsewhere.

All of this was common knowledge in advance. People such as myself stock-piled resources and capital in anticipation of prices rising. I have been making a large amount of money out of all of this. Those who don't keep themselves informed ended up being blown to hell by the Goons. It is interesting to note that prices started rising when information of these events became wide spread.

A few groups turned up for a fight but not to protect anyone. They were there for the fight. 

Without this destruction economic activity would have occurred anyway. The destruction merely changes the nature of economic activity taking place.

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