It's often said that sci-fi MMO EVE Online
isn't so much a game as a giant online spreadsheet and that people pay a subscription fee in order to have a second job they don't get paid for. While that's little more than a joke to the majority of EVE
players, there are those for whom EVE
is genuinely played on a massive spreadsheet. In a guest talk at EVE Vegas 2014
earlier today, players Javajunky and Gossamer DT from the logistics division of one of the game's largest coalitions discussed the monumental amount of work that goes into the industrial and organisation side of running a nullsec alliance or coalition.
During the talk, Gossamer DT discussed an interesting piece of custom software he develops called Region Commander
that was designed specifically for organising player empires. The tool keeps track of starbase tower fuel, maintains a blacklist of players who have been kicked out of the coalition, and allows organisers to create and assign tasks to players in their command. Players who want to contribute to their alliance's industrial backbone can log into the system to take on work tasks due for completion, and the tool updates in realtime. The only thing missing is a punch card and a paycheck.
Using this tool, players have managed to combat the logistical and organisational challenges that would naturally make coalitions of thousands of players infeasible. Many third party tools have been criticised in the past for providing gameplay advantages to those who use them and increasing the gulf between new and experienced players. Players already have tools to help with
mining and trading, and even ones that parse data from your ship scanner into useful information for your Fleet Commander. It's clear that whether CCP or the playerbase approves of these tools, this djinn won't be going back into its bottle.