Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Two Years of the Code, Part 1

Happy Code Day, everyone! It was two years ago today, on June 24, 2012, that the New Halaima Code of Conduct was declared on EVE-O. (The link to this and other historic posts may be found on the Links page.) That's how it all began, with a simple forum post by a corp-less character named James 315.


...You might have heard of him.

As we celebrate the second anniversary of the founding of the Code and the New Order, nothing could be more appropriate than a bit of quiet reflection on where we started and how far we've come. It truly is a remarkable tale.

It began, of course, with that forum post. The summer of 2012 was a dark time for EVE. CCP's focus had long since shifted away from providing EVE players with genuine, content-filled expansions. Instead, the winter and summer "expansions" consisted primarily of nerfs to highsec aggression. The nerfs were aimed at pleasing the teeming carebear masses of highsec, whose subscription fees would supposedly float CCP on a wave of cash as they developed CCP's future: Dust 514 and World of Darkness.

At the time of the drafting of the Code, there were still more nerf "expansions" to come. Despite having already rolled out the summer 2012 expansion (a nerf to wardecs), August saw an "emergency" expansion to massively buff the EHP of mining ships and end Hulkageddon Infinity. For the next expansion, scheduled for December 2012, CCP planned to nerf can-flipping and aggression baiting. Not exactly the stuff of which video game legends are made.

And yet, almost entirely hidden beneath the thick darkness, there was a point of light. In spite of everything, in defiance of the vast, surrounding blackness, it still shone. It represented hope, the possibility that the spirit of EVE was alive, somewhere.

Obviously I'm referring to myself.

On June 24, 2012, I presented the EVE community with a different vision, a different highsec than the one they saw every day. Everyone believed that highsec was impossible to change. It would forever be dominated by bots and bot-aspirants, AFK carebears who would only input a few minimal clicks to receive their risk-free internet space money. These misguided players would continue to lobby CCP into skewing the risk/reward balance and fattening the highsec carebear population. In doing so, they would leverage their numbers to gain even greater lobbying power until EVE was transformed into the effortless theme park they desired--and which some believed would make CCP rich.

My forum post presented a radical alternative. I would do something about the carebears. A single player in a single ice field in a single system of highsec would perform an act known as "miner bumping". Carebears would be bumped out of the ice field, one at a time. They could escape this fate by following a set of rules called the Code. The requirements of the Code were extremely limited: A fee of 10 million isk per year, and the miners had to behave like players instead of bots. It was such a small thing--but far more than they had ever been asked before.

The EVE community reacted. Although the EVE-O moderators repeatedly moved the thread from one subforum to another (twice in violation of those subforums' rules), players found and read the Code. They were skeptical, but strangely fascinated. In a parallel thread in the Market Discussions subforum, I advertised the sale of New Order shares. Only 100 were available for purchase, to raise a total of 100 million isk. They sold out almost immediately. More were made available. These sold out even more quickly. Not a single miner had been bumped yet, but people knew something was happening in highsec.

Then the time came. A Stabber Fleet Issue named "Invincible Stabber" warped into the Halaima ice field. In a future post, as part of our continuing celebration of the anniversary of the Code, I will release never-before-seen logs related to the first days of the New Order. These logs offer insight into the pre-Agent, pre-MinerBumping.com era of the New Order.

Before the MinerBumping blog came into existence, highsec could only experience the Code by reading a few shareholder reports I posted in Market Discussions, or by making the pilgrimage to Halaima. A small following gathered, mostly inspired by curiosity. I announced that there would one day be a great empire in highsec, and that the Code would be followed by all. The miners found this claim incredible, the delusions of a lunatic. I was but one man. What possible difference could I make?

The rest, as they say, is history. A few people decided to join in the fun of bumping miners. They became the first Agents. At first, miners believed these Agents must actually be my alts, because no one else could be crazy enough to support the Code. Meanwhile, there was so much interest in New Order shares that the limits on their sale were lifted. The shareholders, too, were dismissed as my alts.

In August, at the same time mining barges were being buffed, MinerBumping went online. It was an instant success. Now people could experience the joys of the Code at their own convenience. The blog quickly became one of the most widely-read blogs in EVE. Players saw stories about Agents, and they wanted to join in. They also sent in more isk for shares, though no one yet knew how the isk would be used. It was simply deposited in James 315's wallet with the belief that it would somehow do some good.

In the first few months of MinerBumping, there was a vacuum of sorts. The August 2012 barge buff led to the immediate cancellation of GoonSwarm's "Hulkageddon Infinity", which reimbursed all players who ganked miners. Miner ganking all across highsec came to a halt. When the CSM winter summit convened, CCP reported that miner ganking was at an all-time low--though the population of highsec miners was at an all-time high.

In a series of articles for TheMittani.com, I criticized the direction CCP was taking EVE. As each new "expansion" was revealed to be yet another nerf to highsec PvP, more and more players agreed with me. The articles, along with posts on MinerBumping showing what the carebears were really like, changed the community's outlook. In their eyes, the carebear lifestyle was not a legitimate way to play. The carebears were largely AFK, sucking isk from ice fields with infinite ice. Aside from a few mouse-clicks per hour, they were identical to bots. They contributed no content to the game, but because of their numbers, they were able to persuade CCP to remove content from the game through nerfs.

And the carebear view of the game was more warped than anyone had realized: Many carebears genuinely believed it was against the rules to kill them in highsec. As MinerBumping posts proved, they were petitioning CCP because their spaceships were being shot at or bumped. They really did want to remove all risk from highsec, and in many cases, the carebears assumed non-consensual PvP was already against the rules.

As 2012 came to a close, two dramatic things occurred. On EVE-O, bumped miners had been whining endlessly about the New Order in thread after thread. The moderators were concerned. GMs knew that miner bumping was causing a lot of petitions to be filed. It had started with numerous petitions against a fellow named "James 315", but then other players were being identified as bumpers. From the perspective of the GMs, these petitions must have been mystifying. Getting blown up by a ganker was one thing, but why would the miners be so upset by bumps? Would the carebears force CCP to end the bumping? The situation was getting critical.

Removing or penalizing bumping was technically problematic. Innocent bumps occurred constantly in the trade hubs, so it couldn't be flagged. Besides, the physics of ship movement and bumping were probably coded by someone who had long since left CCP. Previously, CCP had to go to great lengths to deal with the legacy code of even minor aspects of the game, such as the billboards near stargates. There was also the sticky problem of the growing anti-carebear movement. If CCP nerfed something as harmless as bumping, CCP would make themselves look ridiculous all while validating James 315's criticisms. However, the carebears kept moaning. CCP was between a rock and a hard place.

At first, EVE-O moderators attempted to squelch all discussion of the New Order by locking all threads about miner bumping. They might have initially suspected these threads were publicity stunts made by New Order alts. But they weren't, and the angry carebears kept posting them. Finally, CCP took the unprecedented step of creating a special thread for community feedback on the bumping issue. If the carebears united, CCP could say that they were merely reacting to the consensus of public opinion by doing something about bumping. Years later, a similar strategy would be used during the Erotica 1 scandal. But this time, there was a major miscalculation: The feedback thread was put into the Crime & Punishment subforum. True, this kept it out of the sight of the widely-trafficked General Discussions subforum. But it also meant the feedback would come largely from "criminals" with no love for the carebears. Overwhelmingly, EVE-O posters condemned the anti-bumper crusade.

When all was said and done, the bumping mechanic survived without a nerf or a new rule. It was a small victory for the anti-nerf crowd, but it was the first. The carebears had been told "no". In attempting to ban bumping, they had overreached, becoming a parody of themselves. It was a major turning point.

Don't forget, I said two dramatic things happened before 2012 was out. The other one? The New Order began training Catalyst pilots.

To be continued...

47 comments:

  1. break out the stabbers and catalysts!!! happy Code day

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  2. Gretchen VonGaankJune 24, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    The Code always wins!

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  3. I suspect before the 10th anniversary of the New Order, as CCP continues to devalue the company and Erotica 1 and Mittens continue to grow their out of game wealth, these 2 will converge, and a magical thing will happen.

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  4. Happy Birthday New Halima Code of Conduct!! Huzzah James 315 !! \o/

    I remember those halcyon days where we were mostly all rookie Knights, honing our enforcement skills as one team. Continuously quizzing and comparing amongst ourselves who could fit the most DPS & counting down the days/hours, minutes till we could use T2 components. Ah yes, good times, good times ....

    - Guybertini

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  5. Happy birthday Code!

    The Code always wins!

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  6. Thanks to James 315, and to all the Agents, past and present, who have contributed to the outstanding success of the New Order.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the 'How the New Order Will Achieve Final Victory' series, and this looks like something in the same vein - a rousing, uplifting exploration of the most dazzling rise to glory I've yet seen in my short time with you all.

    Looking forward to Part II..

    Sasha.

    Sasha.

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  7. Without emergent player driven game play the sandbox does not exist.
    For me the CODE represents the heart and soul of what makes Eve so great. That guiding vision that eve was built on - give the players the tools, and they will shape the sandbox. Without it we would just be orcs and elves on rails with spaceships instead of swords.
    I know many players don't like or get the New Order and the New Halamia Code of Conduct, but this is because they can't look beyond their own greedy short term interests to see the bigger long term picture. The truth is James 315 is actually helping all of us in Eve to make the game a better more fun game in the long term. Without James and his actions many people would quit Eve through self inflicted boredom, not knowing there was a whole world of PvP out there in this glorious PvP sandbox. You read about all those amazing record breaking epic space battles, and empire shattering espionage that change the course of Eve history and fire your imagination to the max and make you long to play Eve, and then you settle down to several hours of AFK mining. What???? You can't have those epic story events that shake the single Eve shard to the core in a world where you can go AFK with no risk. James is working very hard to make sure it the stories of legend Eve that wins out over to the zero interaction spreadsheet Eve. We all owe James a huge debt of gratitude for this.
    If you can't see beyond your own short term profit why should the rest of us suffer for your inability to understand the fundamentals of what makes Eve so great? Thankfully the sandbox offers the tools for players like James and his agents to actually influence the game and I for one am so grateful he's put so much into a game he so clearly loves and cares about. Without James and the New Order agents I would be long gone from Eve. Think about it, 0.0 is pretty much a blue doughnut, James is in the process of establishing sov in highsec, is that not an exciting example of player taking the game and bending it to their will beyond what the game developers imagined? How much more emergent does it get? Get over yourselves for a second and genuinely think about what the New Order highsec means long term versus a highsec where nothing ever happens, are you telling me a nothing game is better? I'd be gone in a shot if you chose a nothing happens highsec.
    Look at any movie - they don't work without bad guys. The better the villain the better the movie. Bond is crap if he doesn't face a decent bad guy. Are you telling me you want touchy feely everyone is nice to each other Bond movies? Because fuck you buddy if you think that's a recipe for cool.

    Even if you still disagree with me, but if I haven't plucked at least one heartstring and made you think just for a second, then I fear for your lack of imagination, and how you think you getting everything you want on a stick for zero effort will make you happy. When you pay the Iron Price that which you earn has meaning, if it's handed to you on a plate, it has no meaning at all.
    The Chinese have a saying - "may you get what you wish for". It is not a desire that ends well for the recipient.

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    1. wow, thank you for all the additional evidence on how brain-washed the members of CODE have become. I will be sure to save this for future reports as I collaborate with others to have this alliance removed from the game. It's amazing how short-sighted you have become. Actually,... sad. very, very sad.

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    2. So let me get this straight Anonymous 2:38 AM, the CODE has brought you content? Seems like the CODE wins again \o/

      You speak about being brain washed but what about all the brain washed freighter pilots who still auto-pilot and STILL go through Aufay thinking its safe?

      Officer Arutha

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  8. NotTheSmartestCookieJune 24, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    I remember reading the share offer in Market Discussions and wondering what the scam was. Would anyone genuinely spend that much time bumping miners. The next day one of my alts was passing through Halaima and I saw a familiar name admonishing miners in local. The rest, as they say, is history. Congratulations.

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  9. Seems so long ago when I first took my Reaper to Halaima to witness minerbumping in person. I laughed myself silly watching his Stabber zip around and reading the tears in local.

    I have long since stopped playing EVE, but I visit minerbumping.com everyday.

    o7 thanks to everyone who is a part of this wonderful movement. You are the best of EVE.

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  10. Love ISD Dorrim's comment when he locked the original thread:

    'I'm locking this thread on grounds that it is a poorly constructed rant and doesn't offer anything useful to the community.'

    Turns out he couldn't have been more wrong.

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  11. One of the few things to make Eve actually interesting in a long time. Thanks CODE

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  12. Anyone who reads this website and this blog can plainly see that this is a violation of human rights at its basic level. And I have taken a snapshot of this page and the rest of the website to make it a demonstration. CCP has now been informed via a full report on the activites of your alliance and of your degrading mindset towards players. Another report is being generated from research demonstrating its inappropriateness as a public blog hosted by Google. I suggest you rethink what you are doing, and stop this nonsense immediately. Having your groupies systematically post support of your blog posts won't save you.

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    1. I have no doubt that CCP employees are familiar with both James and the contents of Minerbumping, it's probably made more than one of them laugh.

      As for the human rights issue, get some perspective. It's a game, not Syria or Sudan where people are actually dying everyday.

      Delete
    2. not sure if serious......

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    3. I'll take you to the candy shop...

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    4. Luminous Spirit, is that you? How did those reports to the FBI and the Humans Rights Watch go earlier this year?

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    5. Everything involving game mechanics and player interactions that New Order Agents use are valid game mechanics and well within the EULA/ToS. Please do some research before posting next time.

      It will never stop, this has been said for years, get used to it, buy a permit, adapt, fit a tank, move systems, do something that actually involves you to play the video game instead of whining on blog forums.

      Delete
    6. (reposting as a reply, as it was meant, not a new post)

      CCP being aware of James and the alliance as opposed to knowing the specific inner workings and philosophy are two different things. CCP may be aware, but they have received a researched report on specific violations and that I'm sure will not be taken lightly... information gathered to give them reasons to act. I suggest you end this ill-treatment of players now. It has no place in a gaming world where people come to relax and have fun. Just because you have stayed under the radar for two years doesn't make you are immune to penalty. The bubble has to burst sometime. If not with this report, then with ones that will follow. Start respecting the EVE community.

      Delete
    7. You're adorable Anonymous 2:32

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    8. "Anyone who reads this website and this blog can plainly see that this is a violation of human rights at its basic level."

      LOL

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    9. Holy shit this is the most adorable thing. You're so precious. Human rights violations. lol. Mind = blown.

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    10. could I get a copy of this report?

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    11. They are not bumping "Humans"

      They limit their activities to capsuleers... There entities are immortal demigods, that stand above such things like human rights. This can be clearly seen when they steer fighters worth billions of isks through warzones on autopilot... No sane human would throw their live away like that

      Delete
    12. After a hard day in w-space I come out to high sec to relax and have fun by ganking CODE violating miners. Are you trying to take that away from me? Is that in itself a breach of human rights? :P

      Delete
    13. Anon @11:44PM (DE,IZ,LS or the other one?)

      I think that you should publish your no doubt damning report on the forums so that the rest of the community can also ridicule you in the appropriate fashion.

      Human rights violations my arse.

      Delete
    14. I would also like to see this report.

      Delete
  13. Happy Code Day, been an amazing 2+ years!

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  14. Happy CODE day to everyone!

    Here's looking forward to many more years celebrating the sandbox and creating emergent gameplay!

    I have a feeling this next year is going to be magical. Of course, when you are with the CODE - every day is something magical :)

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  15. Brings tears to the eyes...

    I'm trying to put into words the feeling that I get when I think about the fact that there was once canflipping in EVE. The first PvP loss I had was to a can flipper, and even today, no other gameplay experience has been more memorable - it is quite simply the reason I still play EVE. And CCP nerfed that honorable playstyle out of existence. The first billion isk I made was ninja salvaging - a profession where every day was filled with adventure and surprise. And CCP nerfed that play style virtually out of existence too. The first mining fleet I joined as a newbie saw a random low-SP character turn up in a Thrasher and bank a Hulk in 0.7. And CCP has done away with that playstyle too, forcing us to go to extreme measures to gank miners.

    Today is a sad day for EVE, when we should remember all that we have lost, but James 315 and the New Order are a light in the darkness. I only hope that CCP can see...

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  16. Being aware of James and the alliance, and knowing the specific inner workings and philosophy are two different things. CCP may be aware, but they have received a researched report on specific violations and that I'm sure will not be taken lightly. I suggest you end this violation now. It has no place in a gaming world where people come to relax and have fun. Just because you have stayed under the radar for two years, you are immune to penalty. The bubble has to burst sometime. If not with this report, then with ones that will follow. Start respecting the EVE community.

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    Replies
    1. this was not meant to be a new post.. my apologies.

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    2. Anonymous 2.30 you can research a detailed report on me anyday. Ooh, I've been a naughty pilot. Penalise me, Violate me until my wuv bubble bursts all over us MARRY ME YOU TERRIBLE SPACEBEAST

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    3. Did you remember to include all of our schedules?

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    4. We've been trying to stay under the radar for the last two years? Crap, nobody told me, I've been doing the opposite!

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    5. As a New Order diplomat and a RL lawyer, I take charges of improprietary and malfeasance very seriously. Please forward a copy of this report to me by in-game mail.

      Many thanks in advance,

      Dr Tyler

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    6. Yes, because someone publishing one of the most read EVE blogs is trying to stay under the radar lol

      Delete
  17. I remember well that fateful day when 290xanaots said to us in Abudban, something along the lines of, "hey, wanna try suicide ganking?"

    A great day for Highsec.

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    1. I'm so happy you remember that and are still around, Alana. I am so proud of all of this. CODE, The Knights, that graph... I own a small piece of that. It's my "butterfly effect." I know that I'm not alone in saying that the greatest part of Eve is the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful community. We all own a piece of it. We should all be proud of what we have helped create.

      Massive thanks to all those involved with the New Order. As long as there are people playing Eve, the New Order will be here, and as long as The Order is here, I'll be here. o7

      Delete
  18. I have to say James 315 I have to admire your dedication.

    It makes my hardcore dedication to playing with my tiny penis like a occasional hobby.

    Keep up the amazing work.

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  19. If you find CODE.'s gameplay emergent, you've probably found the right corp/alliance.

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  20. Happy Birthday! I don't have any gifts handy, but I have an idea...

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  21. Happy birthday \o/.

    And may you continue to supply us with delicious tears and outrageous killmails, good stories and evil cliffhangers (I'm looking at you James ;D ).

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  22. Without the New Order I would have quit this game in March 2013. Hisec is worth saving, and I aim to stick around until it has been.

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