Editorial: Stratics Sweet 16

Hi all!

As we are now turning 16 it seems that what we do, see and accomplish … is something that even real people turning 16 can do too!

We can now drive a car, drink booze (in some countries) and also in some countries even do the naughty monkey dance!

As we look ahead at the options that become available to us as we are coming out of our teens, I wanted to look back at what has happened these last 16 years on this portal.

 

If you are already playing EVE, you will of course imediately think: “Hang on … EVE Online have NOOOOT been running for 16 years!!”

EVE Stratics is that bastard Stratics child that kept the awkward silence going for the better part of 6 years. And then not quite.

The Evolution of the Sandbox

Stratics.com supported Ultima Online (and still does) since 1997 and for the most part Ultima Online was actually one of the first PC games that was labelled as a sandbox MMORPG. Not because it was primarily role playing that really pushed the boundries but because with mechanics that supported enhancing your character, stealing from and killing other players with perma death and land grabs, it was a ruthless place. The game matured and so did the players and changes were made along the way. Changes that made it more difficult to grief other players. This was in 2000. The sandbox persisted, the rules changed, the audience changed. The game changed.

More MMO’s inspired by the Sandbox blosommed, and faded as they were unable to cater to the very core of being in a sandbox – the freedom to make choices. By putting boundries as to what was possible, some games provided perceived freedom. While others provided similar options to the first versions of UO in different settings. As players slowly gravitated towards more freedom, more choices and more complexity – EVE slowly started to grow while others fell apart. From 15,000 users, to a rough estimate of 50,000 simultanously logged in users and 500,000 subscribers that participate in killing eachother in the largest possible battles of the industry with client and server code that makes it possible to put 4,000 players onto the same server and successfully conduct war.

The fact that CCP has usually supported ‘Emergent Gameplay‘ propably has a big part in that. It can be hard to look at what you have created, and see unexpected results happen and then still have the ability to say to yourself; we didn’t expect it, but we’re not going to meddle with the Sandbox. This speaks to previous experiences where that choice, had negative consequenses.

The team that helped create UO game are now veterans in the genre and are often quoted around the internet and projects they get involved in often get a lot of attention. If you pay attention to MMO projects, you will often hear names dropped such as Richard Garriott and Raph Koster.

Ruthlessness has a place in the gaming industry

Other people that once were regular PVP’ers in UO are names such as Nathan Richardsson and Kristoffer Touborg just to name a few relevant people.

There are credits to be made to UO in many ways.

As you can propably guess, UO played a role in how PVP enables the ever grinding war machine in EVE. You kill/die, and things have to be rebuilt. Eve developers provided instruments to both aspects. Without the killing, there could be no building. Its a symbiosis. Both aspects is dependant of eachother for success.

For Stratics its been a major point of focus for as long as UO has been running, and since EVE was launched it has been a mix of CCP teams and Stratics staffers that has made it possible to really create content for the portal, but more importantly – for the regulars on Stratics (ie. you – the gamer).

As with the continually grinding symbiosis that the wheels of war is, I would like to point out that the content on this portal has been created by Stratics, in combination with CCP and players. We have had a long history with the game and different teams inside the walls and will continue to have a great coorporation. Building content for you requires a coorporation and understanding of both sides.

Why?

Because it creates value for you when we can provide you with new information or exclusive content and it gives us purpose.

Symbiotic relationships

First, there was Misty.

Misty created EVE Stratics – the EVE portal, and had a long history with Stratics. She served for over 9 years with Stratics. Later she joined the CCP Community team and for the players, she was known as CCP Fallout and could usually be spotted on the forums where she was very active.

Loktofeit took over from Misty in 2008, but quickly followed Misty and joined CCP as a copywriter. Players know him as CCP Loktofeit and he is still with the team and will join us on Sunday during the Stream.

Then Speranza (Kevin Dudenpostel) took over. He had a background with over 6 years with Stratics and ran the portal for roughly a year before he was scooped up by CCP as Community Rep.

We had a few people that ran it for a few months and by the time I took over, due to server changes there really wasn’t much left. Both Misty and Kevin were laid off along with many other CCP employees in 2011 and have moved on to other challenges but still pop in from time to time.

If you are now starting to see a tendency here, you are right. And it also falls in line with the new focus for Valour corp, which is the new staff run corporation that owns Stratics as a training platform for people wanting to get into the industry (and also why we are now able to pay our volunteers). Impressive, huh?

All of this meant for the EVE portal that the content was at times sporadic at best and for our visitors it was unreliable. When I took over, we had rougly 500 visits per month. At this point we are still low compared to the overall network traffic, but I will share our success. I will tell you how we have grown and I will continue to support Stratics and deliver content as long as I am here. Helping it grow.

New leafs, from the same tree.

At some point in the past a database was added, but when I took over this had all gone to shambles and the remaining pieces of content had to be re-structured. This was when we built the new wordpress based portal you see now.

At this time TGN had purchased Stratics and claimed ownership. It worked well for the most part, we got a bit of support with resources, but it was still an uphill struggle to get things in good shape on several fronts.

Old content was in a different format and had to be manually reposted to the new site. There was a lot but we didn’t manage to get everything over before Stratics was once again sold to another Canadian Company who was about to shut us down as they were unable that they had even aquired us.

As the battle went on to free us from the clutches of evil empeiralists, I spent some time in a limbo not really knowing when or if I could continue work on the portal. Finally, Valour corp was formed and made up by Stratics staffers it was able to aquire Stratics and put it back in the hands of the volunteers. The new structure meant I could resume to doing what I wanted to do, which is to write stuff about EVE and to form connections between players and CCP.

The new leaf comes in as Valour corp has a positive netflow and so we are also now able to actually pay for content creators. This was amazing news, beacuse the people that had previously shown interest in joining our team became equally disinterested when they heard that no pay was in store for them due to lack of funds.

 

Our roots; Strategy and statistics

  • We managed to change the portal to wordpress and port over some of the old content. Not everything, but at least for a full year of writing. New content is added regularly as an ongoing process.
  • While the old portal had gained roughly 20,000 visitors in a time span of 3 years, just one static page on the new site has beaten that number – and no it’s not the front page and traffic continues to increase as more content is added.
  • We’ve managed to secure several exclusive interviews with players and CCP staff in the past, and have been at several live events as well – while at the same time our coorporation with CCP has improved so you should expect more interviews in the future.

Hard numbers are showing that we are getting better at providing the type of output that our customers consume. This is Stratics.

Strategy and statistics. Our roots.

Every Month we add to the library of static pages that provide useful information for players, and even though that interviews are exclusive content and pulls in many players over a short period, great static pages actually adds more value to alot more players.

 

If you want to join our team, and get paid for your work – that is entirely possible. Let us know!

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