Capping off the Great Star Wars Battlefront II Fiasco of November, Belgium’s Gambling Commission and the Dutch Gaming Authority both began investigating lootboxes/lockboxes to determine whether they constitute gambling and necessitate appropriate regulation. Now, the former has issued its ruling, and unlike the gaming-industry bodies ESRB and PEGI, it didn’t add to the BS smokescreen.
Indeed, the Belgian Kanspel Committee has indeed ruled that the practice is a serious problem. “The mixing of money and addiction is gambling,” it declares. Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Greens told VTM that he aims to have gambling mechanics stricken from games entirely, banned outright, throughout Europe. “But that takes time.”
The US state of Hawaii has joined in the fray too, as state representatives have lambasted EA’s “predatory behavior,” calling the game a “Star Wars-themed online casino, designed to lure kids into spending money.” Is it just one state? Maybe not.
With a strong focus on player government and politics, Ashes of Creation is giving careful consideration with how it will structure the leadership of each city. It won’t be hard to figure out where to go if you want to vie for power and position, as the city hall is being designed for such hobnobbing and meetings.
“Our government system is really all about letting players take control of the world they make,” the team wrote in this week’s dev diary. “The first step here is deciding how the city should feel, what laws should be in place and how it’s run.”
At the city hall, player leaders can meet together to make key decisions for the local town. Possible rulings include making people of a certain node “enemies of the state,” what to build, what to tear down, declaring war, forming alliances, activate festivals, and even create quests for other players.
The EVE Online
twitterverse exploded late last night with the news of a political twist so enormous that it’s become the largest recorded theft of in-game assets in the game’s history. In the middle of the night and without warning, major EVE
military alliance Circle of Two (or CO2 for short) was betrayed by its diplomatic officer
, a player with the ominous name of The Judge. In addition to cleaning out the alliance war funds and assets to the tune of over a trillion ISK, The Judge also transferred ownership of CO2’s 300 billion ISK keepstar citadel in its capital star system of 68FT-6 to a holding corporation, effectively stealing the alliance’s home space station.
News of The Judge’s betrayal trickled out of EVE all through the night, and it wasn’t long before the full extent of the incident was known. The 68FT-6 keepstar was sold to enemy alliance Goonswarm Federation, while CO2’s smaller citadels throughout Impass are now in the hands of TEST Alliance. The theft combined with the value of the citadels is estimated at over 1.5 trillion ISK, easily beating the 2011 trillion ISK Phaser Inc scam to become the highest-value theft in EVE‘s history. The actual damage done is even more extensive, injecting a huge dose of chaos into CO2 alliance and throwing fuel on the fire of the southern war.
Read on for a detailed breakdown of last night’s record-breaking theft, the reasons behind the betrayal, and the political situation that led us here.
Yes, you’ve read that headline correctly. It’s been an insane day for EVE Online
, as players awoke to the news that powerful military alliance Circle of Two had been betrayed by one of its top people. A player named The Judge stole over a trillion ISK worth of assets from the alliance and gave away all of its space stations to its enemies in one of the biggest political betrayals the game has ever seen. We’ll have a full report on the record-breaking theft and the current political situation in EVE
later tonight, but this story has already taken an unusual turn.
Circle of Two’s leader, a notorious player named gigX, was so furious to learn of The Judge’s betrayal that he went into full meltdown mode in the alliance chat channel. Not content to keep his rivalry in-game, gigX asked his alliance to give him The Judge’s real name and home address. He followed up the request by writing “The Judge feel free to use your hands by typing here” before adding “while you can” to make a pretty serious threat.
Just over a year ago, the largest PvP conflict in gaming history kicked off
in EVE Online
as war erupted between the game’s most prominent territorial alliances. Over 60,000 pilots were initially drawn into the interstellar war that came to be known as World War Bee
or The Casino War, and thousands of ex-players and newbies signed up during the war just to get involved. We followed the landmark battles and political twists
of World War Bee intently for several months as it unfolded like a living work of science fiction. Our coverage ended with The Imperium, a large military coalition led by alliance Goonswarm Federation, being kicked out of its territory in the north of EVE
and losing thousands of members and allies.
The story could have ended there as alliances often collapse following a major defeat (in what players affectionately refer to as a “failure cascade”), but the core of The Imperium stuck together and vowed to one day get revenge. The group has since managed to conquer and hold the lucrative Delve region in the south of EVE and has been farming resources en masse for months, rebuilding its war chest and waiting for an opportunity for revenge. It looks like that moment has now arrived, as the group has reportedly moved a huge fleet up north to a staging system within striking distance of its former home.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at how the war brewing in the north of EVE got started and what shape it might take over the coming weeks.
If you’re averse to politics, science, and education, you might want to give ECO wide berth. Otherwise, Strange Loop Games CEO John Krajewski hopes that you and the upcoming generation of students might learn a thing or two about the impact of humans on a closed environment through ECO’s 30-day cycle.
“Within the experiential power of games, I believe we can find some of the power to untie the political knots that wrap up climate change, creating an experience in a virtual world where climate change is a problem you can see in front of your face, and it immediately threatens you,” Krajewski wrote.
Krajewski said that by allowing players to experience first-hand how the environment reacts to siphoning off resources and changing the world itself, the players might come to a conclusion through their experience. “Within ECO, the processes of climate change and societal impact happen over the course of 30 days, with a few dozen friends or classmates, in a world small enough to see all of it,” he said.
Valve’s Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson have confirmed that the company is working on a trio of VR-centric games, not cheapie experiments but full-scale games built in Unity and its own proprietary Source 2 engine. The discussion came as part of a press briefing in Seattle last night.
Newell also commented at length on the U.S. government’s travel ban, which was once again blocked by the courts yesterday. He explained that Valve employees have been directly affected by the ban, people who’ve “been here for years” and “pay taxes” but can’t leave the country to visit relatives or attend events overseas lest they become unwittingly entangled or trapped far from home.
Newell and Johnson further said that the ban (and the threat of its return in one form or another) also affects their ability to hire and their ability to host international e-sports competitions, as many pro players already had difficulty securing work visas. Consequently, the duo say they’d consider hosting the big-money Dota 2 The International tourney out of the U.S. if necessary.
Lockboxes have become a hot topic over the last couple of years. Last month, both our writers and readers crowned SWTOR worst business model of the year in part over its lockbox shenanigans. And several business model and lockbox-related articles made it into our list of most-commented-on articles of the year, including the Daily Grind on lockboxes and gambling.
So where do we draw the line between gambling and hobby gaming? Why are lockboxes acceptable? Are they really something MMO developers should continue to use in order to monetize their games?
I’ve done some research and even gotten some expert legal opinions about this based on American law (and some international), and I can’t say I’m entirely happy about my results.
In a calendar year dominated by politics, one game is putting a hard stop to its own election process.
Today, Skyforge announced that its in-development political system, the Council of Gods, is being postponed indefinitely. The system was to allow for the in-game election of a player council that would enjoy bonuses and be able to shape events in the game going forward. According to the team, evaluation of the system did not meet its expectations and so the Council of Gods will be need to be reworked if it is ever to arrive in the game.
“We have been forced to make a difficult decision and the political system will be reviewed,” the team said. “The concept requires a serious rethink and many of the mechanisms will need to be redesigned from scratch. This means that the Council of Gods will not be arriving in the game soon. We are very sad that this innovation has to be postponed. But it is our desire to deliver well-developed innovations that has made up our minds.”
Among the fun quirks of sandboxes is the political intrigue they can spawn. One such drama is currently unfolding in indie sci-fi sandbox Ascent: The Space Game, which boasts a full-fledged political election system. Players can run for colonial mayor, planetary governor, star system senator, and even president of the entire playerbase. Such players actually claim powers within the PvE game, such as the ability to rename planets, control terraforming efforts, and even approve gates. I think you can probably see where I’m going with this.
“We’re faced with a stark choice for their latest Presidential elections,” Fluffy Kitten Studios writes tonight, on the final eve of the in-game election.
“A candidate by the name of Donald Trumpet, or a more established player named Leprosi. Donald Trumpet aims to ‘Make the Inner Nine Systems Great Again!’ by building a wall to keep pirates out and making the pirates pay for it. He plans to fix the economy ‘I have the best economic plans’ although it is unclear how any of these goals will be achieved. Promising to grab Developers Fluffy Kitten Studios ‘by the kitten’, Trumpet suggests he will force the developers to fix more bugs. Previously completely unknown to the playerbase and with no apparent government or political experience, Trumpet is pitching against against establishment candidate Leprosi, who has been a Star System Senator for several terms and has numerous achievements and alliances within the community.”
Niantic announced last night that Pokemon Go is due (“soon”) for a nifty new feature that introduces RPG-like skill-leveling mechanics to the game — you might even call it skill-by-use.
“We are adding a new feature which grants a catch bonus when you earn medals based on catching certain types of Pokémon (Kindler, Psychic, Gardener, etc.),” explains the mobile studio. “These new bonuses will give you a better chance of capturing Pokémon with a related type. For example, as you reach a higher tier for the Kindler Medal, your bonus to catch Fire-type Pokémon such as Charmander, Vulpix and Ponyta increases. Trainers can work their way to a new tier by catching many Pokémon of the same type. If a Pokémon has multiple types, your bonus will be the average of your bonuses for each type. For example, Pidgey is both Normal and Flying type. Your bonus in this case would be the average of your Normal-type and Flying-type bonuses.”
Recently we’ve been following the story of the biggest war in gaming history kicking off inside EVE Online and its far-reaching consequences for the EVE universe. The conflict that has come to be known as World War Bee has seen EVE‘s largest and most dominant military power (known as CFC or The Imperium) face off against a huge coalition of alliances calling itself the Moneybadger Coalition. The story so far reads like something out of a sci-fi novel, except that it’s playing out right now inside EVE Online, so if you’ve missed it, then I recommend going back and reading our coverage of the war from the beginning.
In our last report, the Imperium was up against a wall and unable to match the fleet sizes fielded by MBC. The group walled itself up inside the uncapturable lowsec system of Saranen and switched to guerilla strategies, employing interceptor and stealth bomber fleets. Since then it’s lost billions of ISK in strategic assets, it’s given up dozens of star systems and stations, and it’s been shedding members by the thousands. The Russians have unexpectedly entered the war, director level spies have been discovered, and Goonswarm’s home fortress in Deklein is under assault. Now The Imperium itself looks as if it may be shattering, and its only hope may be to consolidate its power into one massive super-alliance.
Read on for an update on the latest from EVE Online‘s World War Bee, the toll it’s taking on the alliances involved, and The Imperium’s plan to form what players are calling a super-alliance.
For the past week we’ve been closely following the events of a monumental war that has kicked off in sci-fi MMO EVE Online. The conflict that has come to be known as “World War Bee” has recently exploded into the largest PvP war in gaming history, with thousands of players taking sides and forming massive fleets. The war began with the game’s largest military power (known as CFC or The Imperium) invading low-security space to capture moons from the fractured alliances that lived there. In an unexpected move, those alliances put their differences aside and joined forces to repel the Imperium forces, then took the fight to the coalition’s home.
The war took a quick and interesting turn following this when Imperium alliance Circle of Two severed all ties with its masters and joined the attacking Moneybadger Coalition, bringing with it military secrets such as the locations of supercapital shipyards. The politics and fleet movements in World War Bee have proceeded at a rapid pace ever since, with both sides attempting to spin the narrative of the war in their favour and adapting their strategies to counter the other. Yet the most impressive news to come out of the war is undoubtedly the spike in player activity and new player signups over the past few days, as each day breaks new PvP records and thousands of players return to kick some serious space ass.
Read on for an update on the EVE Online war, from the shifting strategies of the attacking coalitions to the effect on player activity and the distinct narrative of good versus evil that’s playing out in-game.