Experienced Points: Evony & Irony

By Shamus
on Nov 27, 2009
Filed under:
Column

Evony.

How many of you did NOT know what Evony was before you clicked through to the article? I’m very curious to see.

Bonus question: Have any of you played it?

Addendum: Yes, I know I should get the death penalty for the article title.

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  1. Groundhog says:

    I didn’t know what it was and, as you’d suspect, haven’t played it.

    Edit: Actually, after looking at the article, I remember those ads. I just never bothered to find out what they were about. I’m of the opinion that if you need pictures of tits to sell something, it isn’t worth buying.

  2. Haven’t played; have heard of. It was included in a big review of free MMOs somewhere. Came out pretty well.

  3. scragar says:

    Never played the game, but I want to, just to see what the gaming is like, I’m not going to though, anyone who needs boobs to sell their product has no faith in it’s own worth, and hence must either be some depressive genius or a sleaze ball hoping to get as many visitors as they can to try and make revenue somewhere along the line, likely at the cost of the visitor.

  4. Visi says:

    Haven’t played it, heard of it or seen any of the adverts before. But I’ve practically got adblocking down to an artform.

    I am slightly curious about what it’s like though.

  5. krellen says:

    I’ve played, but I clicked through on an ad that had no women in it, back before the game was called “Evony” (it was originally Civony before “launch”), and before they got served and had to change all the game artwork.

    It pretty much amounts to what you say: a bunch of spreadsheets, managing cities, etc, coupled with a bunch of undersexed, griefing kids developing strategies to basically make PvP raiding far more profitable and worthwhile than any sort of building, making one wonder why the hell anyone would produce things of their own in the first place.

    I stopped playing after less than a month. The playerbase is unpleasant. I ran into an alliance whose recruiting methods was basically to attack, see if you fought it off, then tell you to join or they’d attack again. And claim you started it so the rest of the alliance would join against you. I have better things to do with my time. Like watch paint dry.

  6. Jeremiah says:

    Never played it, but I’ve talked with friends about the progression of their ads back from when they were quite normal to what they are today.

  7. Alrenous says:

    All hail adblock.

  8. Groundhog says:

    Hrm.
    Feel free to ignore my previous comment.
    I was doing the internet equivalent of zapping between channels, see. And by the time I actually read through the article, realized that I was pretty much just repeating what he said.
    Thus making me look like a kiss-ass and a moron.
    And I managed to get first in line, too, only to waste it on nothing. Shit.

  9. Heron says:

    I hadn’t remembered what Evony was until I saw the ad again. Normally I browse with AdBlock enabled, so the only time previous to today I have seen the ads was when some guys on a forum were talking about the ads, so I turned off AdBlock to see what the big deal was.

    I never did bother to find out what kind of game it was. Thanks for saving me the trouble, Shamus ;)

    Oh, and if you want Medieval Tax Adjusting games, I’d suggest Lords of the Realm II. (Not III, but II. III sucked.)

    Good Old Games has the first two Lords of the Realm games available for $6. I’m tempted to buy their version just to get the updated compatibility… I’ve still got the original CDs in my CD case.

  10. Kdansky says:

    I have never heard of it. What a horrible piece of crap. Altough…
    I am not against more sex in games at all, after all, why not make a great game which also includes some porn? In movies, that works badly because finding actors up to this task are hard to find, and mostly because the west (the US) is so incredibly prude and/or hypocritical.
    The Japanese try to create these, but very, very rarely (check out Sengoku Rance) those games are actually good games and worth playing, sex or no sex. Usually they are just movies in flash form where you have to click once per line of text, and that is precicely not what I want. I want a great game with some erotica in it (and not cheap hardcore porn scenes). The Witcher tried, with a questionable degree of success (better writing would have helped).

    Imagine Eyes Wide Shut or Basic Instinct as the story for an RPG game, now that would be awesome.

  11. Jeffry Degrande says:

    I just thought you did a post on DMC4.

  12. Laura Gallagher says:

    Knew what it was, yes. I’ve seen ads for it, and read other articles talking about their ads. I would never play it.

  13. Crystalgate says:

    I did not know what Ebony was. I have seen the ads, but I didn’t memorize the name Ebony until this article. Despite being a heterosexual male, the ads don’t appeal to me at all and I just ignore them or scroll them out.

    The screen-shot does look interesting, but I won’t try out that game.

  14. Yar Kramer says:

    @Alrenous

    All hail adblock.

    Hear, hear!

    Also, I vote that this is the awesomest article-title ever.

    Another thing worth mentioning: apparently they also send spam-advertisements to blogs. And they allow you to download a program which, if you give it your AIM password (red flag there!), will spam all your contacts with ads for it. I’m also given to understand that they stole graphics and other assets from other games. I don’t know how much of this is still the case, but I’ve yet to hear of a single aspect of Evony’s ad-campaign which made it sound like a legitimate, non-sleazy business.

  15. Greg says:

    I not only hadn’t heard of it, I’d never even seen an ad. Isn’t adblocking a wonderful thing?

  16. Audacity says:

    I saw and ad for this once, can’t remember where, but assumed it was just some random porno site and blocked it.

  17. Danel says:

    The wondrous thing about Evony is that it’s doing things that is fairly common in advertising, but taking it to an absurd new level. It’s not unusual to attract attention using a sexy image… but the ads eventually got to the point where they were literally an image of some breasts, nothing else. It’s not unusual to play up elements of the product which aren’t that prominent… but there’s nothing of the sort at all in the actual game, to the point that official FAQ admits that there is no queen to be rescued.

    I’ve also actually heard that’s it made by a company that used to do gold selling for WOW.

  18. Aelyn says:

    Like a couple others said, I took a look at it when it was Civony and the ads were not so… erm… titillating. I played for the week until my protection ran out and I started getting killed by everyone. Since then, I have merely laughed at the ads.

  19. kasper says:

    a friend talked me into playing this. This was before I had ever seen any ads, and he seemed to like it, so i decided, why not. Never go play it! Not only does it have bad marketing, it has a bad userbase, and on top of that, weird, broken gameplay. Send 100 archers against 200 warriors: Archers die horribly, leaving 100 warriors alive. 100 archers and 1 warrior against 200 warriors? All opposing warriors die, you lose 1 warrior and 20 archers. Add a worker (whose only job is to carry foodstuffs for the rest of the army for crying out loud!) lose only 1 worker and 1 warrior… I stopped playing after a week, when newbie protection ran out and 3 guilds tried to “recruit” me in the same way krellen described before.

  20. SolkaTruesilver says:

    I have played it. After seeing my mother play at it, I asked her if I could give it a try.

    The same thing happened to me than at every single stupid game like that: I play, and when I get big ennough to affort a 2nd city/planet/harem, I just don’t want to start from scratch AGAIN. And I never come back.

    Strangely, I once saw the boobercial and felt tempted to click on it to see where it would lead me, right before my brain got a new pulse of blood that made me realies that I already played this game, and how fraudulous this add was.

    As opposed to Dwarf Fortress. Everything been said about Dwarf Fortress is 100% true, I bet ya my Adamantium Anvil Artifact on it. And the only kind of boobs you’d get to see are the ones of bearded dwarfets.

    I am soooo glad to increase the demand for Brain-bleach :-)

  21. Maldeus says:

    I’m playing now, but only because I’m on someone else’s computer (ruthless bastard that I am). Looking at it, I think it’s safe to call this thing “Ikariam, but stupider.” I’ll play out ’till the end of beginners protection at least, though. I have to give the horrible playerbase a chance to show off their fun-killing abilities, after all.

    EDIT: It just occured to me. Anyone impersonating a willing female would be able to get whatever they wanted from the playerbase in exchange for a few minutes cybersex. That thought would be brain bleach worthy if I weren’t laughing at it.

  22. I’ve definitely heard of Evony, but it was because of THIS LAWSUIT.

    They are a nasty, nasty company.

    Leslee

  23. Windblade says:

    I’ve heard of it. I’ve seen (and sighed tiredly at) the banner ads. I know sex sells and all, but this is just tiresome stuff.

  24. ngthagg says:

    I’ve seen the ads, never played the game. I have noticed that after escalating for while, the ads backed off to the generic knight in armor ones.

    I don’t think this sort of advertising is unique. How many of those romance novels really feature Fabio as a character? (Or that NES game, for that matter.)

  25. Sho says:

    Civony and Evony are the same thing? Huh. I thought they were just similar browser-based city-manager online games like hundreds of others out there.

    I’m not immune to the cleavage-trap (though it’s never gotten me to get involved in a game… I think), but oddly enough Evony’s didn’t work on me because it was way too obvious. They should at least pretend to be a little legitimate. Like those various online miniature game ads where the adgirl is also one of the minis.

  26. JKjoker says:

    i had no idea what ebony was before i read the article, a few years ago i got pissed at flash ads blocking the whole page and playing sounds so i installed adblock, noscript and flashblock (i even take firefox portable in a pendrive with the plugins everywhere for when i use other computers), between those and my own subconscious ad filter i avoid most of them and forget the rest as soon as i blink

  27. ClearWater says:

    I knew what it was because I’ve seen the ads and wanted to know what it was so I googled it. I’ve consequently avoided it like the plague.

    Now off to read the article.

    Edit: Cheesecake, is that what they’re calling it now? And yes, I do roll my eyes every time I see any of their ads, especially if it’s on an otherwise respectable website.

  28. Nergal says:

    I’ve seen the ads plastered all over the internet but never bothered to find out what it was all about, then one day I came across this article.
    A game owned by a guy who owns gold farming companies, sounds lovely.

  29. Maldeus says:

    Hrmph. So, Evony is litigious, and while this machine, being a library machine, isn’t eager to let me into gawker.com, I’m guessing it’s the kind of litigious that…Well, that’ll give the librarians here a headache for my having played it.

    It’s actually not a bad game, though! I mean, sure, the playerbase is sure to ruin it for me once beginner protection is lifted, but the quest system, particularly the noble ranks, gives you something to strive for that most of these games don’t, which I find quite a draw. The game itself isn’t that bad, by my economically-challenged standards (there’s a reason I’m playing from a library).

    I weep once more for lost potential.

  30. Greg says:

    Maldeus: if you don’t talk about them, they’re not interested in suing you. See http://www.bruceongames.com/2009/08/25/evony-want-to-sue-me-for-telling-the-truth/

  31. Mephane says:

    I’ve never played it, but already read about this ridiculous campaign on codinghorror.

  32. Eric Meyer says:

    I only knew because Jeff Atwood wrote about it over at Coding Horror. Since then I’ve noticed the ads getting even more, um, suggestive. There’s one running now where I swear it looks very much like the model is listening to the Divinyls’ biggest hit.

  33. Falling says:

    Knew about it back when it was Civony with cloned Age of Empires graphics. For that reason alone, I never played it. I became subsequently frustrated with EverywhereVony and it’s ever devolving ads. (The first ones were actually relevant.)

  34. Davie says:

    Yeah, I’ve got to say, those ads are just about the most depressing internet-related thing I’ve seen. The fact that sites don’t mind hosting the advertisements, and the fact that people click on the site purely because they’re presented with a picture of boobs–it makes me kind of lose my faith in humanity. I can’t even believe the developers take themselves seriously anymore.

    Also, you get a pass on the article title, because Chris Livingston already wrote an article about it. With that title. Where he actually tried the game.
    http://www.firstpersonshouter.com/?p=577

  35. Jez says:

    I’ve heard of it but haven’t played it. I only knew it from the controversy surrounding their breast-filled advertising and their pending legal action against a certain blogger for suggesting that Evony was a little dodgy in some ways.

  36. Ell Jay says:

    I knew what it was, only because Chris Livingston reviewed it a few weeks ago at his First Person Shouter blog.

  37. Neil D. says:

    I knew what it was (and I love the title, BTW), but I’ve never played it.

    I did click through on one of their ads, though. Back before the ads went all slutty, their advertising slant was that it was a game you could play at work without being noticed. I had no interest in playing, but I was curious to see how they managed to design a game to be so inconspicuous.

    So I click the link, and BAM suddenly my screen is filled with a full-sized picture of the mammarily-advantaged beauty that would very shortly grace the ads themselves. Huge bronze-skinned knockers, right there in my cubicle. Yeah, thanks for all that subtlety and discretion there, guys.

  38. Arctem says:

    Just fyi, someone already made that pun. And actually dared to play the game, risking his life in the process. http://www.firstpersonshouter.com/?p=577

    Edit: Someone already mentioned this on the Escapist comments.

  39. Dev Null says:

    No idea what it was, but yes I’ve seen the ads. That would be because the ads are so obnoxious that I didn’t even care enough to pay attention to what the game might be called.

  40. Vladius says:

    I was waiting for you to finally get around to tackling Evony.

    Excellent work.

  41. RustyBadger says:

    Yeah. Played it before it changed to Evony. Strangely enough, it was addictive- but I suppose that’s how it was supposed to be. At least I never spent money on it- though there were guys in my alliance who claimed to spend $100 a month…ludicrous.

    Game engine sucked. The combat mechanics were never explained, you were simply expected to experiment to figure out what worked. One a week, they nerfed all the ‘exploits’, which meant your mechanics changed radically and you usually lost your entire army attacking some guy 5 levels below you because you didn’t take along any ballistae.

    UI sucked. You can’t zoom the map, only panning is supported. Since the visible area is so small, you’re constantly panning around to jump from one spot to another.

    And there’s NO boobies. At all. Even when they held a cheesy “Queen of Evony” contest to find the hottest female player (WTF?).

    Just stay away. For the love of all that is holy.

  42. Moddington says:

    Oh, I’ve definitely heard of Evony before. While never actually seeing the ads (go AdBlock!), I did see a couple articles about the ad campaign. Wanting to know a bit more about what the heck kind of company launches a campaign like this, I quickly came across a blog by one Bruce Everiss (http://www.bruceongames.com/), who’s being sued by the Evony owners for merely cautiously criticizing the game.
    Looking at the game itself, it’s been subject to a whole slew of controversy, from ripped graphics and text (from AoE and Civ), the in-game gambling using real money and being accessible by minors, and has even been revealed to contain a variety of datamining process by reverse-engineering to get the source code.
    I’d advise everyone to not play Evony, even to check it out, as it’s a game seemingly built around extorting money from people expecting a free-to-play game, while stealing information off of their players’ computers to sell to other clients.
    Neat video documenting some evidence linking Evony to WoWMine (known for scamming its customers) and Eric Lam (being sued by Microsoft for $1.5mil in click fraud), among other things: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFb9QKkNDU8&feature=player_embedded

  43. SharpeRifle says:

    Knew what it was.

    Never Played.

    End Of Line

  44. Maldeus says:

    You know, someone could knock Evony off its perch real fast by making a similar game and simply having the questline offer a plot (as in the Evony spin-off Kingory, presumably of the same company as Evony) which contains boobies. Patching up the combat issues wouldn’t hurt, either.

  45. Aufero says:

    Evony has also advertised by heavily spamming message boards and blogs, possibly via bot. (See Broken Toys and West Karana for examples.)

    (A quick Google search shows at least six previous posts on various blogs using Evony and irony in their titles, so apparently a lot of other people deserve the death penalty as well.)

  46. Rutskarn says:

    I never get tired of seeing Evony verbally flogged. Chris Livingston (Concerned guy) did a write-up a while ago that’s worth reading: apparently, it’s a pretty terrible game on top of everything else.

    http://www.firstpersonshouter.com/?p=577

    Huh. Looks like he used the same pun. Well, horsewhippings all around, then.

  47. Atarlost says:

    Sounds like it might be fun…

    If it were run by someone with some concept of morality.

    And the userbase weren’t the typical PVP MMO userbase.

    There aren’t enough singleplayer medeival spreadsheet games.

  48. LintMan says:

    I’ve heard of it before, via Atwood’s Coding Horror and a few other places that picked up on it around that same time.

    No one here has yet linked the excelent parody ads from Popcap: PvZ-Evony ads

  49. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Yeah,these “free” browser games are the new trend Im avoiding.Like with MMOs,Ive tried them when they were young and just starting to get steam,I got some enjoyment from them,and then I quit,never to look back again.

  50. ehlijen says:

    Not that I want to defend evony in any way (for it deserves no defence), the bruceongames blog that was linked to here seems not entirely without it’s own problems:

    “Obviously legitimate western games like Runescape and Habbo can be trusted. But what about games from Chinese gold farmers like Evony and Empire Craft?”
    http://www.bruceongames.com/2009/07/16/is-evony-malware/

    The answer to bad people trying cheat you is not racism (nationalism? Culturerism?)!

  51. Fon says:

    Never heard of it until this article, however, I didn’t use adblock at all…. But since I don’t usually visit many sites, so I guess it is natural that I missed it.

  52. Chad says:

    I had heard of it and played it. For about a week. It got boring for me.

  53. Sleeping Dragon says:

    A flash gaming site I frequent was flooded by these for a while and I don’t use adblock as a rule (that place is ad sponsored and it shares the revenue with developers… I’m playing the games for free and I am capable of ignoring the ads. Plus I got at least one great MMO through those) so I experienced that stuff first hand you could say. I’ve never decided to give it a try, as far as browser games are concerned I’m more of an either RPG genre or, in case of strategy, SF setting.

    There is, however, at least one reason why I’m very fond of Evony ads. They created one amazing meme on the net, I can think of at least three places out of the top of my head that parodied these ads (Plants VS Zombies [which LintMan already linked], Bloons TD 4 and a webcomic Darken), and that’s without even trying or looking for them on purpose. The “Do something now! My Lord!” might well become a new joke in gamer/geek advertisement (unless Evony sues).

  54. Carra says:

    I knew I’ve seen those adds before. On a site that has nothing to do with games. On codinghorror. Yeah, I’m a programmer…

    It shows the evolution of the adds. The first add was normal. And it clearly gets worse with each add. The last add just shows two boobs.

  55. Simply Simon says:

    Haven’t heard of it and thus never played it, I thank adblock for that.

  56. midget0nstilts says:

    @ehlijen:
    Ethnocentrism. There actually are good “legitimate” Chinese games, although probably no one on this site has actually heard of them, because they’re not available in English.

    Shamus,
    I have seen the advertisements ALL. OVER. THE. FREAKING. INTERNET. heard of Evony, and I find it funny. Anyone who clicks on them thinking they’re going to see/meet/talk to girls deserves whatever they get! :P

  57. Zak McKracken says:

    I don’t know Evony.
    This means: I haven’t conciously seen any of the ads mentioned in the first post and the first sentence of the article, which is as far as I have read it. I only inferred from the question in your blogpost that it is probably a game of some kind.

    And now I’m reading the article …

    … and I do agree with it. Whom you advertise for is whom you get. In case they are earnest about trying to offer a good strategy game they might be compared to that girl running around with a pink belly-free top, flirting with everyone she meets, laughing at every joke and complaining that all of her boyfriends were jerks and she’s having such a hard time finding a nice guy who loves her for her personality. The same personality she’s pretending so hard to not have.

    Whoops, that went kind of off-topic.

    Zak

  58. skizelo says:

    I knew what it was, but hadn’t played it. Mostly because I own Civilization (this was back when it was called Civony) and then because I make it a rule not to click on boob-centric ads, Because of, you know, common sense.

  59. Zetal says:

    Played it for a month. After my free protection week expired, I joined an alliance. We had a good week or two before we gained TIF’s notice. TIF was an alliance that attacked as a method of recruitment. After losing my city that was 12 hours away from finishing a week-long research process, I walked away. “If you don’t want to play a wargame, why play Evony?” Apparently “Because I like building cities and chasing titles” wasn’t a good enough answer…

  60. KitsuneFather says:

    Saw the ads, didn’t really give it a second thought. Then, one of the members of my gaming group came over, and talked me into signing up, and the early bits were interesting for me, from a SimCity mindset of building.

    Within days, he’d quit and I was at the point where anything I did that was meaningful was going to take me 3+ days to accomplish. I’m a WoW RPer, so I’m used to ignoring the chat channel, and my city has not (as far as I know) been attacked ever, but the dull tedium it becomes in short order all but ensures I’ll not be checking again.

    The part that annoyed me is, once you sign up and play for a bit, if you go a few days without signing in, they send you a little e-mail guilt trip to get you to come back. Now I just want to go back and piss my city off until they oust me.

  61. Shawn says:

    I played for about 15 minutes a few months ago. I made a character – Baron Von Tits, and was highly disappointed by the resounding lack of cleavage in the game itself. I did not see one single heaving bosom anywhere. Just a castle and a town I could build and defend my farmers against someone or other.

  62. Pickly says:

    I’ve definitely seen the adds for a few months now (The are/were the most common adds on probably most TV tropes video game tropes), and it was kind of odd to see them go from pretty typical middle ages game style add to breasts (and now back again).

    The funniest of these game adds, though, was probably the Kingory one promising “oriental, exotic, gameplay”. There is a part of my mind that still wonders what sort of gameplay this could be, but we sure do know wo it’s being marketed to. :)

  63. Vadimirin says:

    I feel vindicated in defending my playing the game… I joined in the first two DAYS of the game opening, I’m on Server 1, and they’re up to 100 servers now, with over 30,000 people each (or at least 30k accounts). I was in the top 100 for a while… *sigh* those were the days… I even saw the war that erupted on the forums when they were looking for a “Queen of Evony” which was going to be the spokeswoman / eye candy for the entire game, not this multitude of women.

    Of course, the whole game is run by gold spammers on WoW, Eve, & other such games. But you CAN enjoy the game without buying things, I’d just suggest paying a little money (say 5 bucks) and from that point forward your account can go inactive, but it can never die from inactivity.

  64. Elda says:

    I played it for a while, got bored and stopped. I pop in every now and again and upgrade something, but not if I have anything better to do.

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