19 January 2014


The communications available in EVE are a total disaster. This is a problem you realise when you spend long enough playing the game socially. Initially you see the expected channels - local and corp - which every MMO I've played has an equivalent to. You also have the EVEmail system, a feature of many if not all MMOs. As time goes by you add in a few more chat channels, and before long you have several windows of blinking tabs which you generally ignore except when there's nothing to do. Right now I have 15 open chat channels of which I check maybe half when also doing stuff.

So far so good and you're wondering why this is a disaster. This is so bad because all these communications are poorly supported out of the game, if at all. Of course we have EVE Gate for checking emails, calendars and contacts. Excuse me if I don't get excited about that. If you've ever tried to use mail in EVE gate from your phone you'll know exactly what my complaint there is. You get a tiny little broken textarea to type into which displays exactly one word. Sending anything useful from there is traumatic to say the least. If I have to be at a proper computer to use EVE Gate why don't I just log in to the actual client? But if I'm logged into the client why would I want to be sending mails? What makes EVE Gate worse is you can't do basic things like create links to websites, characters, corps or items. Have you ever tried to change tags on mails or work through old pages of emails? The constant page refreshing drives me nuts, especially when said refreshing takes you from page 8 back to page 1!! The calendar at least works, although editing events can be torturous as the edit modal appears half-hidden in landscape mode and moves of the side of the screen when holding the phone in portrait mode.

All the wonderful real-time chat channels are even less accessible. There is no known way to interact in real time with corpmates when not actually in-game. I totally understand why this would not be desirable in many other games as the aim is to have people online and playing as much as possible to generate content through conflict. I would say the opposite actually happens in EVE. I often get distracted from doing anything other than chatting as scanning while holding several conversations is not any fun. Additionally, my experience with the jabber server I provide for my alliance is that the result is usually to draw people online from other games when site running starts or potential targets appear in-system.

The Answer

Obviously I have a solution to the above problems otherwise I wouldn't be writing this. Let's take each item one-by-one:


Since 2003 there has been an internet protocol for accessing remote scheduling information. CalDAV supports multiple clients accessing and updating the same calendar concurrently. It is also possible to configure a lot of calendaring software to access and update this information, all without ever having to log into the game. This makes it possible for 'content creators' to schedule ops from locations where it is not possible to log into the game or EVEgate (and by that I mean from work).


This is a biggie for me. I don't want to log into the game to handle email. As a corp CEO and alliance leader I have plenty of mails I could be handling without logging into the game. Wouldn't that be some much easier from a proper email client sending and receiving in-game mail over IMAP and SMTP? Also, with most phones supporting email these days it becomes a more responsive way to get a hold of someone quickly.


As mentioned above, I provide a jabber server for my alliance to chat out of the game. There are plenty of different servers available for the open protocol of XMPP. There are also plenty of clients out there for all OSs. If we had live access to all the chat channels all of the time I predict many more fights which escalated quickly resulting in mass destruction of more ships. Exactly what CCP, and the rest of us, want. Another effect of this could also be to reduce the number of people who are online just for the purposes of social interaction. How many of the 30000 people are only on to chat? How many more would be in chat, ready to jump online at a moments notice of some excitement they would otherwise have missed?


My summary to all the above would be to go take a look at how Google handle their massive infrastructure. All the above is similar or identical to how Google provide their services to a much larger user-base than CCP have to support. Making communication easier for all the people playing EVE can do nothing to harm the game. Further more, as all these protocols are well defined and code already exists to support them, the development cost to CCP should be tolerable. Many, if not all, the major alliances provide out of game communications in the form of forums, TeamSpeak, jabber and some even have their own calendars. When this becomes so wide-spread it should be a clear message to CCP that the equivalent services they provide in-game are lacking and need replaced.


  1. The only problem with that out-of-game chat client, that would probably decrease online numbers. While good for the hardware, but bad for PR.

    1. As I said in the post, I think the out of game chat would bring more people online when it mattered. What makes better press, having 35k people online all the time doing nothing or 33k people online most of the time all shooting at each other?

    2. If it's not a thousands vs thousands fight, then it won't get to the press. These parties also use other means to communicate, not just the in-game chat.
      And imho the difference would be bigger than just 5-7% as you think.