Just finished listening to the new podcast over here.
I have to say, I felt it was a little one-sided. I'm not sure that either Garret or Jon plays EVE, so I'll give them the benefit of doubt.
Now I can't speak for all players of EVE, especially not newer ones. But for myself and probably many others, I think what the EIB did was completely within the bounds of acceptable gameplay.
There are other games which won't even let you play Bingo. I find this odd, which is why I don't play them. At the end of the day though, there is always competition, and there is a limit to what GMs can do. For example, above simple game mechanics, there is always social dynamics, and people can be a bigger challenge than anything in the game. Got a dispute with a guild lieutenant? How you deal with it is a measure of your personal charisma and personality. You can leave for another guild, sabotage their reputation, foment overthrow at a plebian level, headhunt some of the better members and leave to form another guild, or you can just shrink down and knuckle under. Unmitigatable reality.
In EVE, we have a cruel universe inhospitable to the human condition. There is no golden rule in play. And that's just how I and quite a few others like it. There are trillionaires in game. Guess what, they played the odds, and possession is 10/10s of that universe's own "natural law". I'd love to have billions like that, even better, I'd love to have [b]their[/b] billions.
The scammer might not quite have "won EVE," simply because winning is a vague and arbitrary statement in a free form, but the assessment that he "has missed the point of EVE" is downright wierd. But as I said, you guys seem to be outsiders to EVE culture, so maybe you can't be expected to understand it.
There are a lot of metagaming groups in EVE, which is where I put most new players and outsiders. These are the guys that play nice and don't take risks. Some corporations though are properly hypercapitalistic corporations. Some will dismiss you outright if you absorb more capital than you produce and will tell you to clean out your desk or simply make you Kill On Sight to the corporation. Many will reject you unless you have excellent credentials. There are whole swaths of content that may stay remote from the plebian classes. Now most of CCP's content is accessible to the truly determined. However, much of the content is also created by the players, and they are very paranoid.
Why is paranoia acceptable? Because we are operating in a [i]free[/i] space. It's not perfectly free, but it's pretty close. You have liberty not only in ideas and positions, but also that total license in movement and action which sometimes replaces the former. For some, liberty is the means to do right by others, and hopefully to be recognized for it. For others, it's do to wrong and try to get away with it, or get known for it if you prefer. We can do business here, have free associations, and conspire to do harm. Additionally, we can do it all on the basis of very limited trust.
There is always the possiblity that one can achieve through talent what one cannot achieve through persistence. There is also the possibility to horribly and embarassingly fail. I think it is the possiblity of failure that gives a little bit of meaning to any action or relationship. Any game can have this, but no game has this if the people involved aren't thinking about trying to inject it in anywhere it can slip past.
The EIB was pretty much a simple Ponzi scheme in the end, but as an out of game service, it held interesting promise. Most people involved were just thinking, "oh, absurd interest at the end of the week" and they pretty much deserved to be scammed for being greedy imbeciles. There are lots of other Initial Public Offers or other investment opportunities in legit EVE businesses which are worthwhile, but which generally pay at a reasonable rate. Some of these OOG or ingame services are innovative and expand the possibilities of gameplay. These are to be welcomed. I myself was interested in the EIB simply because I thought it would give me more tools to make trades.
I didn't invest in the project, but I did attempt to use the service to see if it would be useful later on. That money is probably gone although the remaining members of EIB are liquidating assets to return to clients. That money is gone, but I don't really mind. I know to keep my assets in diversified portfolios in case of risk. That loss was a measured risk and doesn't really cripple my enterprises at all. I will not be seeking it back. That was my little sprig of figs, and it's what you use to determine whether a group of players are on the level or not. If I'd invested, there was always the possibility that the organization could go bottom-up even with the most well-meaning of project managers.
You talk about value being stolen or lost in the game.. value had to be
created in the first place, and then agreed upon. Because people play
EVE for what it is, sometimes the time in that space has value, but
it's a contingent value that relies upon EVE remaining what it is. All
gain is relational. All assets and reputation are merely tools to get
others to do something similar to what you want. Because there are no
safety nets, reputation is the most valuable commodity in our little
You don't even have to scam to do things that are horrible to people. If you're into the RP of EVE, nobody is innocent. You can target miners or industrialists, or hire other people to do the same on an anonymous basis. You can be a gangster or a predatory lender, or be a ceo that takes in new players and basically farms them because of their generous and eager nature. All completely acceptable and in some cases, so common the players in question won't even mind or realize what's what. A huge swath of the playerbase has no imagination to do more than grind npcs or go semi-afk next to asteroids. Plenty of alliances use their members as a meal ticket with only the promise of npcs for the man hours they extract from them. Why should you feel bad about taking advantage of them? What ground do you stand on to condemn anyone else for doing so? Now if it's profitable to hunt them down, well go for it. However, you are probably going to make more money through a successful entrepreneurial venture that gives thoughtful and profit-oriented clients the ability to make more money if they pay you. They will walk a tightrope with no net if the potential reward is out there. They'll take a risk on the basis of [i]real[/i] trust.
What sort of ventures are these? Well, when you get right down to it, new ventures are concieved everyday to make the life of an average player easier or more efficient through organization and specialization. The limit really stops at the player's imagination. Real entrepreneurs are like artists though. If you have the talent but not the vision, you're just going to emulate others. If you have the vision, and not the talent, then nobody is going to hear you. If you have both, then fate takes a hard look at you.