More about Evony

Evony advertisement

This is a massive story, so I thought that I would expand on the original article. If it was in the automobile industry or the banking industry it would be front page headlines. But the old people who are in charge of the media don’t understand games. So firstly I will do some explaining.

Gold farming I have written about before. It is the practice of playing games to generate valuable in game items which are then sold in the real world to lazy Western players who can’t be bothered playing the game properly themselves. It is a massive industry employing around 400,000 people in asia, mainly in China. Gold farmers are often on the edge of legality and they use every underhand internet technique to market themselves. They generate mountains of spam as they attack blogs and forums with their advertising. They are amongst the bad boys of the internet.

Free MMO (Massive, Multiplayer, Online) games are known as persistent world games because they are always running and provide an alternative reality. The big names are Runescape, Habbo, Club Pernguin, Maple Story and Free Realms. They have many millions of players each, all around the world. Whilst the game is free to play they have revenue models based on purchasing in game items, playing an enhanced version of the game, carrying advertising etc. They are a huge phenomenon of our times and many people you know play them.

Eric Lam is a Chinese businessman who owns or is associated with a whole cloud of companies and websites. He was sued by Microsoft for online advertising click fraud. It is thought that Lam owns the gold farming company Wowmine and that he could be earning as much as half a million dollars a day from this alone.

Now it looks like Lam has decided to go first party with his own MMO, thus cutting out the middleman. That game is Evony. And its heritage shows. When you play the game, just about everything in the game can be obtained by paying instead of playing. A blatantly exploitative business model never seen before.

The game itself is a rip off of some very well known games. The game mechanic and some in game content comes from Sid Meier’s highly successful Civilisation series. Much of the graphics came from Age of Empires.

The game itself is so flaky and bugged that it is very easy for things you have paid good money for to just disappear. Lots of people are losing money this way. And, surprise, surprise, Evony never give a refund.

Something very devious is iEvony. This is an application that you download into your PC to invite your friends to join the game in exchange for in game rewards. This could very well be a Trojan designed to harvest email addresses messenger passwords and much else. Would you trust a Chinese gold farmer inside your computer? Many gullible people are.

The advertising for Evony consists of fairly lurid female imagery. These images were mostly lifted from lingerie catalogues and, amazingly, have zero relevance whatsoever to the game. Evony are carpetbombing game websites with these adverts using multiple accounts of Google AdWords. When website owners block one source of these adverts another appears. Site owners have complained repeatedly to Google, but to no avail.

But advertising isn’t the only marketing going on. Evony are using automated spam programmes to add comments to articles on blog sites. Not once or twice. No, they are blanketing game related blogs with comments that advertise the game. Exactly what you would expect of a Chinese gold farmer.

This article just skims over what is going on here. There is enough to write a whole series of articles or even a book. What is for sure is that Evony is best avoided by everyone. Go and play Runescape, Habbo or Free Realms instead.

Edited to add:

Is Evony Malware?

Evony advert ridiculed by PopCap.

Queen of Evony competition.

Evony breasts advertising

74 comments ↓

#1 Cornfed on 07.15.09 at 3:46 pm

They have been spam bombing me, too. Their marketing strategy has actually turned me off from checking this game out.

#2 James on 07.15.09 at 4:24 pm

“When you play the game, just about everything in the game can be obtained by paying instead of playing. A blatantly exploitative business model never seen before.”

Well EA having been doing this with DLC on the Xbox 360 for a long time. Many of their games offer DLC that unlocks everything in the game for lazy players.

#3 Bruce on 07.15.09 at 4:53 pm

Here is the story in the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2009/jul/15/games-evony-spam-internet

#4 captbasch on 07.15.09 at 5:15 pm

they bombarded me like 100+ evony spam comment (image here: http://www.mmogrindhouse.com/images/evony-spam.gif ). When we complained it to their support desk, they suggested me like:

If you block the string tsenseless from appearing in his URL, he will not spam you anymore.

He is using a 3rd party program to do that and I would suggest that you deal with it the same way you deal with other kinds of spam bots.

Let me be very clear. Your website is not our responsibility because we are not facilitating nor promoting this behavior.

Please don’t make empty implied threats like “I’m watching you. Thats a bit absurd and does neither of us any good.

…well they got pissed of with me when i did a “Meet the Parent” line…”I’m watching you”…hahaha

#5 johnnycake on 07.15.09 at 9:34 pm

I find everything you have described above to be 101% accurate. Now I am wondering if you have any insight into how much damage the game does to your browser, and your system in general. What I thought was very flaky software appears as though it may have malicious content. In Firefox, shortcuts have been re-targeted and attempting to fill in text fields gives mixed results.

#6 johnnycake on 07.15.09 at 10:02 pm

Oh yeah, it shut off my sound too.

#7 TheGirlWhoWouldBeQueen on 07.16.09 at 11:28 am

I will sheepishly admit that I am an Evony player and a female; and the players who give a damn are all aware of the issues and have been bombarding the forums and mods with requests for change.
Believe me, I hate those ads both as a gamer and as a girl and it makes it to where I can’t tell anyone that I even play the game if I want to save face.
The bottom line is that we complain, we rant, we get a warning, and then we hear that the change is coming but have yet to see it.
We still play because despite the advertising and bad rep, the game is actually pretty fun and is something you can play at work without draining bandwith. The commraderie and the ability to chat with your alliance real -time is the main factor most players have stayed this long; but most of us are getting fed up with it and if things don’t change I know that many of us will be leaving.

#8 TheGirlWhoWouldBeQueen on 07.16.09 at 1:39 pm

Heres a link to an Evony forum thread started by concerned players about this issue:
http://bbs.evony.com/showthread.php?t=31512

And Evony’s responses:
http://bbs.evony.com/showpost.php?p=259522&postcount=218
http://bbs.evony.com/showpost.php?p=259523&postcount=219

And here is some irony for you, when someone mentioned that there are no ads targeted for the ladies, these were made as a joke:
http://bbs.evony.com/picture.php?albumid=359&pictureid=2346

http://bbs.evony.com/picture.php?albumid=359&pictureid=2276

That person was warned that they had to cease and desist since the fake ads may be confused as real and may damage their perception…and this was before the blatant lingerie ads!
I dunno about you guys but these are funny and way more tasteful to me…

#9 Jinx on 07.16.09 at 2:08 pm

I’ve been playing this game for a while now, but I think this is the end for me.

The poster above me mentions the ads, but it’s more than that. UMGE is potentially harvesting emails for spam, spamming comments, scamming paying customers and violating copyright law left and right. The ads are the least of the offenses, as far as I’m concerned.

The forum thread to which this post was posted has been shut down by the “representative”, no doubt in an attempt to keep this swept under the rug. Even the people that posted in that thread didn’t see past the “hot girl” to the real meat of the issue. They’re blined by the boobies and lingerie. Still, even discussion on the hot girls is verboten in the Evony forums. Forum members have been banned and threads are locked left and right to stifle the discussion about this issue. That’s more important than the ads themselves.

Most of the players in my alliance are younger and don’t read blogs, so how would they know what’s going on? A couple of them are happily spreading their iEvony codes around and spending money to advance. What have they gotten into by doing either of those? That’s the greater question. Is UMGE going to take their parents’ information and help themselves to it? How safe is you PayPal information with that company? From the looks of this article and the links contained therein, I’d say it’s not very safe at all. I’ve no doubt that things will get worse with this game and company.

I’ll be leaving the game and I don’t wish them luck. Thanks for the indepth review.

#10 Bruce on 07.16.09 at 2:27 pm

Thought I would just make a point about just how big this sort of game is.
Habbo has 118 million avatars, with 75,000 new ones created every day.
Maple Story has over 50 million subscribers.
And a new one, Free Realms, is gaining half a million users a week.

This is a huge crop for the Chinese to harvest.

#11 Bruce on 07.16.09 at 5:47 pm

Evony now has 31 servers going.
That looks like a lot of players to me.

There again, Runescape has about 170.

#12 GG on 07.18.09 at 1:03 am

Evony just bragged they’ve reached the 5 million milestone. I can only imagine half of them being duplicate accounts for rewards.

Secondly, Evony developers obviously new having a referral system like the one they have setup will cause a bulk load of spam and I’m sure they enjoying the flood of traffic while they just blame it on the players.

#13 Wyatt on 07.19.09 at 3:01 am

Good grief that’s horrible. I knew about gold farming and the like from World of Warcraft, but I never knew it was such an industry. Having read all of this I’m pretty disturbed. I’m going to make sure nobody I know gets caught in this sort of mess.

#14 GharF on 07.22.09 at 5:11 pm

I don’t see the big fuss. I haven’t received any of those SPAM emails and if they’re the one’s sending them it’s bad. Really bad, but it won’t make me stop playing.

They use half naked ladies to get players. So what? It works! Detergent commercials also promise that all your clothes will always get clean…well do they? If you don’t like the game, don’t play it.

I started playing a bit over a week ago and I’m enjoying myself. There might be some bad elements in the game, but hey which game doesnt have that? The game is fun! I’m not paying a dime for the game, but if people are willing to pay, why not take the money?

The game is copied from other games? Well…tough shit, there’s loads of these kind of games.

#15 babablacksheep on 07.23.09 at 10:36 am

“Would you trust a Chinese gold farmer inside your computer?”
“Exactly what you would expect of a Chinese gold farmer.”

Now I find these two comments extremely racist. He is not Chinese! He is Chinaman! Its about time we have a special word to brand those despicable person coming from China. I am Chinese as well, but I hate Chinaman, extremely, and I speak from experience. Every encounter I have with them, is not a pleasant one.

To GharF: Yes, there are loads of games that copy other games, but these games just copy the overall game experience. For Evony, a lot of the building images are taken from Age of Empires, a lot of the written text are taken from the Civilization game, exactly the same.

#16 mike on 07.26.09 at 8:21 pm

The real irony is the Evony ad right next to this article. DAMN INVASIVE ADVERTISING!

#17 Steve on 07.27.09 at 4:59 am

@babablacksheep

“Chinese” is not a racist term.

Your suggestion that people from China should be referred to as “Chinaman” and that the term “Chinese” should be used for people not from China is absurd, not to mention racist with a chunk of sexism thrown in for good measure.

That said, I can only hope that neither these lowlife Evony spammers nor troublemakers like yourself manage to whip up animosity towards China in general.

#18 Danny on 07.29.09 at 4:37 am

We have a comic that sums up the ad campaign quite well.

http://toblender.com/comic/?p=438

#19 Monty on 07.29.09 at 10:48 am

Really interesting post – but spoilt somewhat by your repeatedly referencing the fact that Eric Lam is Chinese.

His being Chinese is hardly indicative of the fact that he appears to be very dubious and definitely not someone whose software you should be installing on your computer.

I just wonder if you would state the nationality of a fraudster, as if it were relevant to their fraud, every time you mentioned them, if they were American.

#20 Bruce on 07.29.09 at 11:19 am

I use the term Chinese in these posts because China is the home of the gold farmer and because there are other such games coming from China.

I have been to China many times and have great admiration and respect for the Chinese people and their culture.

#21 Vigalantee on 07.30.09 at 6:05 am

This game is free to download and play for the first hour or so, then you either have to wait forever or pay to play. I was enjoying it until i got stuck because i didn’t have enough game coins. They even want you to pay for the online chat in the game. What a bunch of crock!

#22 Tyler on 07.30.09 at 9:15 pm

While I am thoroughly disgusted with the completely irrelevant and explicit ads coming from this scam of a game, I do agree with a previous comment that some language in this post, intentionally or not, borders racism. As someone with partial Chinese descent, I find the repeated emphatic use of “CHINESE gold farmers” offensive. Simply mentioning that they are gold farmers would suffice, maybe with a statistical mentioning of their locale. Make no mistake in that I do very much despise the scam and low-taste that companies such as UMGE employ, yet I do implore that we lay the blames on these companies and individuals rather than pointing fingers at an entire race or country of people.

#23 jj on 08.13.09 at 6:33 pm

ive been a gamer for a while and while i do see how someone would find it offensive, the term “chinese gold farmer” was never meant as a racial slur. just at the outset, that ‘industry’ was almost all chinese employees from china. and from then on the phrase stuck, like pwn or leet. just another phrase in my book. i dont think he was emphasizing that they were chinese. in-game (WoW esp.), its been my experience that professional gold farmers are called chinese gold farmers – derogatory or not.

but yeah, evony bad, blah blah.

#24 Ryan A.k.A. Twiceborn66 on 08.22.09 at 5:46 am

hello everyone, i have been playing Evony- free forever for about 3 weeks now. I play on server number 43 on my character twiceborn66. I have to say it’s a pretty decent game. It may not be for everybody but, it’s for me atleast. i like how its not one of those game where you have to use real world money to be any good at the game. i started out just following the quests, you don’t really realize that while u are following them you are getting stronger and stronger. me personally this game is best when u wanna multi-task and play two games at once. especially when you progress further into the game and things take a while to build. like i said this game isn’t for everybody though, i have talked to quite a few people about it and most say it isn’t for them. but once i joined an alliance and started chatting with people while playing the game [166 words]that i reallly got into it most people get 1 look or spend 2 minutes looking at it and quit on my server (i notice due to all the people with 0 prestige), of course that wasn’t for me i though of quitting at first but i quickly realized that it gets better, especially once u get an army u can start terrorizing the players that just get out of beginner protection. if u want to play this game i recomend that u join an alliance as soon as possible, once you do player don’t want to mess with you because if u are in a decent alliance they have your back when u get into a tight spot, and they can help you get rid of whoever is bothering you. this is a low animation game so it runs well on my computer when i have another program running (my computer is ghetto). I RECCOMEND THIS GAME HIGHLY TO EVERYONE DON’T STOP TRY IT A WHILE U WILL GET INTO IT TRUST ME. some people say that the “explicit ads” annoyed them but they caught my attention and im glad because i probobly woundn’t have started due to them. [348 words] you may have noticed im counting my words, the whole reason im writing this is to earn evony cents for medal boxes. the only difficulty i have with the game is that u need to earn medal to upgrade the amount of cites you can have in the game (i currently have 2 cities). if u wanna try this game which i really recomend you do go to EVONY.COM and make an account u wont regret it if u have any comments on my blog please email me ryan_w66@hotmail.com.
you all have great lives
thankyou for reading my blog

#25 Levens on 08.22.09 at 10:48 pm

Evony.com is the games website. Its free to play and kind of has a civilization feel to it. You build a city, gather resources, build armies, conquer land, and battle other players.

When I started I could just play a little here and there and be content, now a week or so into it, I realize I’ve had the browser open and been messing around in it for the last 6 hours! I’ve been drawn in by the gameplay and the community. I’ve found that I can’t wait to see the results of a battle. Did my army win or lose, did I gain honor and prestige with some exp for my hero, how many millions of resources did I plunder this time?

Evony does have some draw backs though. It isn’t visually stunning, which the world has unfortunately become a fan of. Its a browser based game though, and for that I have to say the graphics are decent. They definitely beat the hell out of runescapes crayon drawn graphics. It also requires large amounts of time for the completion of constructing higher level buildings, defenses, and troops. Fortunately it trains in real time, so even if you’re not sitting at your PC, or even logged in your constructions continue to progress. My play times have easily been in coordination with my work schedule or my time spent in the Aion beta. Its been quite easy to keep my progression towards building my city / army going strong as well as maintain a constant flow of attack on numerous other players while working or playing an MMO.

City progression is simple. For the first seven days you’re awarded protection from being attacked by other players, so its important to take advantage. You start of small with few buildings available to make and a small population of people in your city. Eventually you build more cottages for the peasants to live in and provide them with jobs in the fields for food, lumber mills, stone quarries, and iron mines. As your population grows and you build resources you begin building more advanced buildings such as an academy for various boosts to many different attributes of the game or a barracks to make your army with. You can also build walls around your city and put defenses on them such as archer towers to keep invaders from stealing your resources and taking your city.

As for the combat aspects of the game, once you’ve built your city up and started making troops, you can choose to march on another players or on an NPCs city. The NPC cities are more trouble than they’re worth to conquer, but they typically provide good plundering loot (resoources). Player cities also provide good resources and as you progress through the game and get your title (similar to level) up you can have additional cities, these can be started from scratch like your first city, or conquered from other players. You build up your army and then unleash hell on your chosen target. How much pain you cause them is up to you, as you can repeatedly attack them, or just hit them hard once and walk away with all their gold and resources.

They have forums out there as well with lots of great info to help beginners. bbs.evony.com are the offical forums, so start there. If you need additional help and find yourself on server #43, look me up, my username is Levens.

#26 Jeff Atwood? on 08.25.09 at 5:09 am

How come the game, EVONY, cripples my ability to train archer towers after some number and actually disallow me to train anything, although I have tons of money and lots of resources?

#27 Dereck on 08.26.09 at 4:38 am

I’ve made an article about this game on my blog, which is more of a mixture of what I could find over the Internet. Feel free to read it!

#28 Dr on 08.26.09 at 5:26 am

Makes me glad i accidentally misspelled my e-mail on sign up

#29 Jedi Master on 08.26.09 at 8:50 am

You want the boobies? Head on over to iStock. That’s where they got that image and several others. It’s not even all that well ‘shopped in. But I’m a designer and notice these things.

#30 Dan Thompson on 08.26.09 at 4:49 pm

This seems like a lot of inflammatory nonsense. I played the game for a month or so when it came out and moved on because it really wasn’t my thing but I can see why so many people play it.

This article seems misleading to me in the following ways…

1) You are never forced to pay for anything in the game; chatting in your alliance is free and if I remember correctly private messages are also free.

2) Once you click the ad you never see the buxom beauties again in the game. The ads are mildly offensive but have you ever seen a beer commercial? Have you ever received a bikini-clad woman in your case of Coors?

3) Show me a game that doesn’t borrow any elements from other games and I’ll be amazed.

4) You don’t provide any proof that the game is linked to gold-farming… it’s all fine and good to speculate but unless there’s proof you’re simply misleading the reader to generate hits.

5) I do not understand the allegations of the game using trojans or other types of malware. My PC is hopelessly outdated in terms of anti-virus protection but I never had a problem while playing or afterwards.

That iEvony thing must be new because I didn’t see it when I played… admittedly, it sounds a little spammy and I can understand that concern.

Again, I don’t play this game anymore (because to be honest I got bored with it after a while) but the content of this article doesn’t sit well with me. I appreciate the hard-hitting ‘journalism’ but there’s too much speculation for this to be considered a thoroughly credible piece of work.

My advice to gamers is try it out with a fake e-mail if you’re really concerned. If it isn’t for you move on. It’s really not as insidious as this blog and some of comments make it out to be.

Just my two cents.

#31 EWW... on 08.26.09 at 7:13 pm

I’m so glad that there is a nice discussion going on here about the invasiveness of Evony’s advertising. I also find it incredibly distasteful. My kid sister is a regular on Crunchyroll.net and it’s suppose to be a clean, all-ages site and this Evony trash is polluting its pages. Earlier ads were more representative of the game but all this reliance on in-your-face-sex to sell screams of desperation. What a turn-off. As one commentor mentioned, advertising now simply relies on a heavy, heaving bosom. Besides, I couldn’t help but notice something about the last model pictured and even pointed it out to my sis… Pictured is a guy-turned-girl with huge implants bolted to the chest. The dimpled chin look’s suspiciously male and it is turned down to disguise an Adam’s apple. The point is, Evony is THE PREMIUM SITE you want to click on if you want to consort with trannies. End of story. And if you look closely at the synthetic heavy, heaving bosom, it’s from the aforementioned model. This is just speculation on my part, of course……

#32 Mike on 08.26.09 at 10:25 pm

I play Evony, I’ve never received spam from the game, I’ve never paid for anything in the game, however really it is worth paying for.

The game play is easy yet complex and well balanced, the help is there from day one; and the community is fantastic.

The adverts… L O L, I played on recommendation from a friend – I’ve only seen the averts in articles about the game… Anyone who takes offence at the adverts needs their head examined, a pretty human girl poses for something… L O L, they must be afraid of their own skin too.

The graphics are poor, however the gameplay more than makes up for it, as with games of old – gameplay is excellent which eclipses any faults. Bugs? Really? I’ve been playing for what is coming up to 2 months now – not seen any to speak of.

Money? SHOCK HORROR! Someone is trying to make some money from a product, well bugger me – nobody else ever tries that!

Copy ideas from other games? Like that hasn’t happened before… Really the guy who wrote that article is just an ass.

#33 Shane on 08.27.09 at 1:51 am

umm, why is there an ad on this page to some other scungy looking ‘free’ mmo/rpg game when you’re (rightly so) paying out on the crud that is Evony? :D

#34 Flext on 08.31.09 at 3:50 pm

I have heard on the news that one of the managers of the game has actually been involved in under-age pornography, but not charged.

Maybe that’s why the ads are so sexual?

Seems like they’re just a bunch of old guys trying to get young people to play their games to prey on them?

Also this site seems to be full of evony staff pretending to be game-players (saying the game is good) to cover up the fact that this game REALLY IS LAME and going down-hill fast…

#35 Deekoo L. on 09.01.09 at 12:57 am

>3) Show me a game that doesn’t borrow any elements from other games and I’ll be amazed.

Dan Thompson: He’s not talking about borrowing IDEAS from other games. He’s talking about copying actual _graphics_ from them because Evony’s producers were too cheap and/or lazy to hire their own artist.

> 2) Once you click the ad you never see the buxom beauties again in the game.

I have no problem with breasts in game ads. I put breasts in the ads for Tentacularity at every opportunity. However, this is because Tentacularity is a hentai game. The breasts are _in the game_. I don’t like having marketers trying to get my attention with breasts just so they can try to sell me something that has nothing to do with breasts.

(And, unlike United Multiplayer Gaming Entertainment’s product, the art in *my* game was actually made for use in that game. Although, admittedly, the concept was unusual enough that it would have been hard to find suitable art to steal.)

#36 IronBob on 09.04.09 at 6:30 am

Guess what Bruce. China isn’t the only country that gold farmers live. Believe it or not, there are loads of American gold farmers as well set up on smaller scales. I really detest the use of the wording. “Chinese gold farmers”? Also your insistence that the people that buy it are lazy doesn’t hold water. Spend more time on the pay for play online games.

Spend some more time writing about some of the detestable farming routines players have to go through in order to stay competitive. What Blizzard does along these lines is despicable compared to what Evony is doing. At least with Evony, they actually give away freebies to millions of players EVERY night.

#37 boBnorI on 09.09.09 at 3:16 am

Guess what IronBob. China is the country in charge of this piece of crap game. Believe it or not, there are more gold farmers there than anywhere else. He uses the wording “Chinese Gold Farmers” because this game is run by people from there.

Spend some more time providing links to prove that other companies do the same thing in order to stay competitive. You have no idea what Blizzard is doing, stop pretending like you do. And Evony sure does give freebies out (but not to millions of players, they don’t have that many). They give you disconnections from their servers, rip you off and take your money, and ban you from the message boards for saying anything bad about them. All for free! How can one resist?

#38 James on 09.09.09 at 12:33 pm

I have been playing evony for 3 months now on server 9, never spent even a single cent on it. Aside from similarities with Age of Empires, other activities include conquering level 10 npc’s ( non-playable characters/or castles, if you will ) and farming level 5 barb towns , as we call it, to support the massively growing army of archers, ballistae and catapults. Occassionaly, I send reinforcements to other players who are under seige and once in a while do some attacks on other members of hostile alliances. I have earned the rank of General with the title of Duke, with a prestige of 680K, a ruler of 7 cities. No big deal, since some have achieved 1.7 million prestige with 10 cities and a title of Prinzessin.

All was well, then suddenly the “Call of the warlords” gimmick shows up. Basically, it crams all the players of 5 servers into 1, without regard to their prestige level or number of conquered or owned cities. They did this with a one-day notice before actually doing it. Cost cutting or otherwise, I personally think it was an under-handed move to cut down on the number servers they have or force players to battle it out in one over-crowded server and “kill-off” the weaker smaller players and anyone who is unlucky enough to be off-line when the attack begins.

Whatever the motivations of the developers were in doing this “Call of the Warlords” campaign, they ruined it for me and some of those who have been playing this game.They did this to server 1 to 5 and merged it into a single server called wn1.Alot of players lost cities, accounts and supplies. Many complained, no explanations were give. Now, they have merged server 9 with 4 other servers and by tommorrow, we will be battling it out, if and when we do get to go online again.

Maybe Evony is an Age of Empires clone. But I enjoyed every minute I played it for the past three months that I have kept my account. However, things will turn sour pretty soon. I won’t bore anyone with the specifics, but to maintain a massive army in an over-crowded server is not fun, and the cynical side of me is starting to think that this is what we get for players not buying game cents from a supposedly “free game’ and is a way to cut down cost in maintaining this on-line game.

#39 timbre on 09.12.09 at 10:26 pm

You have to take this game for what it is, a come-on to get you to spend money for not much. All you get for your thirty dollars per package is a bunch of medals, some game items, and maybe a package of something. The sad thing is, You are offered these “free” packages two and three times a month, for the same price, for the same items. I figured up the cost, if I had bought all the “free’ stuff. well over $300 at this point, and none of it is any different than the first package.

If you take the game at face value, it’s fun, you can play solo or alliance, however–the upward limit of lvl ten comes very quickly, and once you get there, (usually in about two weeks) there’s nowhere to go but another server (they are up over 60 now) and start again from the bottom.

It has a very limited life per player, and I suspect a huge turn over of players who max out and suddenly discover the same game every time.

The Ievony thing is a true rip, as you are expected to involve your friends by giving out their email addys to evony (my friends would have me drawn and quartered), who Im sure then bombard them with invitations. the draw? You get 500 ‘free’ game cents.

big whoop.

Im on my third time around, and it’s starting to get old very fast. Finally got my third fort, and I think thats about it for me.

I just wish the kids who use the chat function could spell…lol

#40 Neromler on 09.19.09 at 11:28 pm

I am very angey that they ripped out the graphics of one of my favorite games of all time, and “Age of Empires 2″ is filtered in the chat…

#41 Mike Byron on 09.25.09 at 6:50 pm

Quick note:
http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r200/Cream137/FAIL.jpg

Don’t take the “dumbass” part as personal; I did not intially think that I was going to post this here, but then I realized it would be a nice addition to… Well. keep on reading.

You have to realize that if you’re going to preach against one, you should also preach against the others, also blatantly (yet less obviously) exploiting the female image.

#42 Dan on 09.30.09 at 12:52 am

I’ve seen ads for 4story and Empire Craft running along side these Evony articles. The very fact Google allows these kind of companies to utilise their advertising services is an insult to everyone who displays these adverts and even more-so those who have to view them!

#43 Grand Poobah on 10.14.09 at 12:52 am

The ads get placed by Google. Google places its ads in a context-sensitive way, so basically it kind of stupidly sees an article slamming “free” browser-based games that make you pay to make them truly useful and it places ads promoting same.

Until he sees those ads coming in and specifically blocks them. Though they have ways around that, as well.

So Mike Byron and Dan, you’re dead wrong.

#44 ronl on 10.16.09 at 1:56 am

Read his article on Evony called “Evony and Irony”.

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

#45 Aussie Chic on 11.15.09 at 10:42 am

James (above) – it’s not cynicism mate – it’s fact.

#46 Chase on 11.17.09 at 12:58 pm

Evony uses a special system within the game that rewards spammers as “recruiters” they get paid in “cents” evony’s online currency that can only be obtained by luck, recruiting, or real life cash. In a way they are paying people to spam spam spam. The more people they get to follow their URL and register to more “cents” worth real cash they get for free. Its called iEvony.

#47 Josh on 11.19.09 at 5:54 pm

Are you all serious? I play the game.

IEvony is simply their affiliate program. Have any of you heard of affiliate programs? They are simply paying people with game cents who help being them more players. It’s SMART business. That’s all it is. There are millions of affiliate programs all over the Internet.

Evony is not telling people to spam other people. The people who are spamming are the ones who aren’t following the rules. You are’t supposed to spam others.

I have had technical difficulties and their technical team SUCKS, but Evony is not a criminal website like you all make it out to be.

And Evony isn’t spamming your websites. They are paying for ads from Google. If you don’t want their ads showing up on your website, you simply go to your Adsense account and block them. My God. Get real. Seriously.

#48 Amanda on 12.15.09 at 3:38 am

When i first saw the adverts i thought it looked nice.
but then they had all these racy pictures i started thinking it was one of those porn games.
I would never play that, its Napwar for me definantly.

#49 How now brown cow? on 12.24.09 at 7:31 am

“Would you trust a Chinese gold farmer inside your computer?

Exactly what you would expect of a Chinese gold farmer.

This is a huge crop for the Chinese to harvest.

China is the country in charge of this piece of crap game.”

So Chinese are the scourge of the planet, I take it.

#50 mysterious on 01.02.10 at 1:43 am

it is the first RTS online multiplayer game I have ever played, its pretty fun. But if its true that the game is a copy then the other ones are probably better. I have been playing for a week now, and havent spent any game coins or real cash. I dont intend to, the starter pack has filled me with guidlines. The thing about the game is be patient or pay, but I have played plenty of games like this, for example Club Penguin is just a forum with penguins without membership and Runescape has limited armours and weapons without membership, you become a member about level 70 because you basically have to, to make the game interesting.
Although I take into account of the file being a trojan, although it cannot effect my computer as its just a trojan, however, telling them your contacts probably isnt a good idea.
I might give these other games you say a try. But I might just play evony :p

#51 mysterious on 01.02.10 at 1:47 am

oops instead of trojan its shortcut, lol, I scanned it with avast, its not a virus

#52 Snickers on 01.09.10 at 2:44 am

babablacksheep and tyler, give me a friggin’ break. EVERYONE knows that China is the number one source of pirated dvds, software, spam and viruses. Chinese is just a descriptor of where most gold farmers are located. With over a billion people there is bound to be good and bad. No one is saying that the Chinese are bad. If it was described as American gold farmers, you wouldn’t be saying jack. Stop bringing race into a simple discussion of spam.

#53 Trevor on 01.09.10 at 11:04 pm

I think that this is all really fascinating, and I’m glad you are writing about it. I do have to say, though, that I disagree with you about the pervasive use of “Chinese” in front of “gold farmer” and in conjunction with “piracy” etc.

Perhaps because I am Chinese-Canadian I am more sensitive to this than you are. But really, just ask yourself, is there a reason to include Chinese in the sentence? In other words, are you trying to say that *spamming* is bad, or are you trying to say that *chinese spammers* are bad?

The way the article is written, it sounds like you are trying to point out that China is the source of these spammers and gold farmers. But that’s really beside the point, isn’t it? I think you would agree that spamming is a problem, period, and any company that exists to foster and feed off of spam is a problem. That’s why we are all concerned about Evony.

So I would personally appreciate it if the improper use of “Chinese” was acknowledged. That said, thank you for all of the writing you have done on Evony. I already appreciate that, and it is very valuable to us all.

#54 asdf on 01.15.10 at 3:14 am

You guys are being way too sensitive to the “Chinese” thing.
The games are from China, the man is from China, his employees work in China, and the majority of the gold farming and gold scamming involves China. Ergo, they are Chinese.
If you think it’s an attack on your character or something, then you should be over there fixing the problems so your telepathic link is more healthy.

#55 Hiernonymous on 01.15.10 at 4:38 am

Trevor,
There IS a reason to tack ‘Chinese’ in front – and it has everything to do with rule of law, and nothing to do with racism. The pertinent fact is that the gold farmers are operating within a political and legal system that is opaque, indifferent to intellectual property rights, and unlikely to offer you any redress whatsoever if you have problems, whether they involve hacking, commerce, or copyright. That’s a function of the Chinese government, not ethnicity, but it IS quite germane.

#56 x-evony player on 02.04.10 at 6:46 pm

“I played Evony.. and all i got was a sore wrist!”
(see website: http://played.xlt.bz/)

the onlything *I* think this ‘campain’ is good for, is to keep people from spending MultiMassive Amount of time online, playing a game.

#57 QuakeGod on 02.14.10 at 5:26 pm

While Evony is a mildly entertaining game to play, the ad banners used to generate traffic to their subscription servers are complete trash.

It’s called false advertising, and although it may be considered a minor offense, you can be sued for it. Unfortunately, false advertising is becoming more and more common in ad media, both on the internet and on television. McDonald’s and similar fast food restaurants have been doing it for years. Game companies use exquisitely rendered CG sequences to sell their games instead of actual gameplay footage.

And although the ad states that Evony is “Free Forever”, the gameplay is completely focused on getting you to pay real world money. You can’t even say “Are there any new players that could use some help?” in chat without having to pay for “speakers” to say it. Insanely long build times sucker a lot of people into buying “speed-ups” so they don’t have to wait. But, that’s our instant gratification world today, and the makers of Evony are using that to their advantage each and every day.

#58 John Wayne on 02.27.10 at 3:39 am

Read how Evony (Reagan Mercantile) is stealing your money for a supposedly free game.

http://screwevony.freeforums.org/

#59 Damn CHINESE gold farmers on 03.01.10 at 4:38 am

Yeah that’s right,I said CHINESE gold farmers.Why?Because they are CHINESE.If they were African,I would call them damn AFRICAN gold farmers.Or European.I guess I’m racist because I am stating a fact.

#60 Jefferson on 03.01.10 at 4:35 pm

If you are stupid enough to play evony you deserve it. Making money is a serious business and ripping off the suckas is even more so.

#61 Forain on 03.02.10 at 8:03 pm

Scary stuff. I’m not sure the fact that the goldminers are Chinese is particularly relevant, however. The fact that their ethnicity is mentioned so often is a little discomforting.

#62 Wahmbulance on 03.07.10 at 9:32 am

SOMEBODY GET THE WAHMBULANCE! WAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

#63 Shuu on 03.15.10 at 8:23 am

Yeah it’s weird… I see all these ads everywhere… The first time I saw it I was really attracted but I didn’t click on the link. Instead, I googled it and realised there was nothing to do with women so I lost interest immediately.

I found a new ad that was supposed to be those scroll-across-types and I have took screenshots to piece them out.
It’s on my blog.

#64 Norwegian on 04.13.10 at 2:44 pm

Bruce

Thanks for your impressive works.

After beeing addicted to Evony for 3/4 of a year, I am finally free!!!!
And today was the first time I found reference to your work, inspite of playing and checking out Evony resources daily. Just tells how successfull their deleting strategy is….

BUT. Your Adwords has an ad for Evony II…….

kind regards

#65 Kroltan on 05.03.10 at 4:36 pm

man hat is 200% accurate! my site sometimes get some ad-comments (even with no-one viewing it) and i need to delete them…

#66 Charley Scene on 05.15.10 at 1:53 pm

LMAO you spelled “Club Penguin” wrong!!!!!!

#67 Charley Scene on 05.15.10 at 2:01 pm

ok first off, i doubt you can play evony in china, their retarded communist leaders have a fire wall on their internet. plus in the game RuneScape, most gold farming has been put down as it is illegal in that game. and you cant farm in Club Penguin. as for Evony, thats just the type of game it is. i dont think they coppied any other games eather. i was slightly dissapointed that the chicks in the adverts wernt in game. but i was looking for a free game to play and i quickly got addicted to it. the downside to paying for stuff in the game is that you can get attacked and farmed.

#68 Jougal on 05.27.10 at 8:53 am

The phrase “Chinese Gold Farming” is not racist. If it offends you, fine but its not racist. Is a “Mexican Hat Dance” racist or “British Bull Dog” racist or even a game of “Russian Roulet”. Gold farming was as far as I know invented in China. If it wanst, I stand corrected but the Chinese did perfected it. If it was invented and perfected and done primarily in Italy it would be “Italian Gold Farming”.

The chinese people as a race have just as many scammers and shady individuals per capita as every other race. Deal with it. If you are of Chinese decent the phrase “Chinese Gold Farmer” doesnt apply to you nor is it directed at you. Unless you also farm gold for real world money.

If bruce wanted to make it racist he would have left off the gold farmer bit and just said “Would you want a Chinese person in your compter.” Im not a racist and I dont defend racism. But Im sick of reading and hearing people cry foul of racisim simply because they feel insulted. Lets all grow an extra layer of skin.

Be Well!

#69 Derrick on 06.03.10 at 7:18 pm

Hey Bruce i wanted to add something here…..I played evony.I spent $120 on the game.Not only did the game “Glitch” a little while afterwards i lost everything i paid for.I tried contacting them the only way they have available.Which is thru email.Its been over 1 month and still no response.I did how ever get an automated response that everyone gets when they tried to contact evony.

#70 Derrick on 06.03.10 at 7:22 pm

Also if u guys want to warn more ppl u should go to their Facebook official page.Yes evony has expanded to FB now and are stealing ppl’s money by the minute now.

#71 J6 Aqw Mod on 06.06.10 at 10:02 pm

When i saw this blog i felt myself so sad of the people that pay there money to this at least i can’t play the game because it won’t let me go on the server they just copy world of warcraft,runescape some other games and now more scams are coming evrybody lets kick these scammers A**

#72 Jerry J on 07.15.10 at 4:09 am

I was suspicious of Evony after the first week.

1: English language accuracy was low level, resulting in huge confusion for beginners (ie – the persistent use of the word “valley” , when its actually a resource location)

2: Confusing terminology between Rank and Title

3: Wiki page is too extensive covering basics, but lacking in specifics. No usefull search engine therein !

4: Subscribers who initially enjoy the game, become frustrated with lack of advancement, so they have to purchase items to continue.

5: Now it gets insidious. A Medal Box is advertised as 88-cents to purchase. Its real cost is $10 USD minimum

6: You will never understand all the rules ! There are so many products and enhancements to achieve or purchase, for you to continue. Your better devoting the time to get a real Law Degree.

7: The game is full of ‘shills’ If you make a negative comment in World Chat, you will get 4 or 5 immediate whispers countering your opinion. Then, unsurprisingly, you don’t have enough cents to further comment in public chat. But you can purchase cents to allow you to continue. Strange, huh ?

8: There is no end result or winner ! I suspect the top ranked Hosts and Lords are game employees, managing and farming the game.

9: You cannot appeal or dispute an action or result that you have incurred. Because ………….

10: The developers are making up the rules as they go along As well they can adjust settings, tables, algorithims or what ever they want to their advantage.

CONCLUSION: Try the game. Don’t get too emotional with it. Quit when you feel your compelled to buy a Medal to advance. These developers make me nervous about protecting my c/card.

#73 DejaVu on 07.16.10 at 12:15 pm

Ok, I must admit I played the game for a year and a half and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I even spent the occasional $30 US on it to get items to allow me to enjoy it further. That is until last month….

June 18, 2010 numerous charges appeared on my paypal account to Regan Mercantile which is evony’s source for payments through paypal. I recognized it from the few times I actually did pay. What was wrong this time? Monthly recurring subscriptions at $30 US a pop repeatedly that I did not authorize, the end total came to a bounced checking account of over $1100 US!!!

Between paypal and my bank account I have a fraud investigation going as there is no way in hell that I would allow this to happen. Both are being extremely helpful and understanding. They also brought to my attention that it was further a weird situation that even after my bank account and c/c had refused further action and was rejecting the payments, suddenly money was being sent back into my account so more money could be charged against it. My bank said they had never seen anything like this.

Now to evony’s side of the issue. After they were contacted about the issue the only answer I got from them was to pay for all of the rejected payments in full. They refused to go back and restore my account to what it was before this happened. They did not care that my paypal account was somehow accessed without permission. The end result on their side is that my account is permanently frozen in holiday mode and they will not unfreeze it until they get the money they want which is a ridiculous amount.

On my side, I am done with the game completely. I have closed the paypal account and the associated bank account due to this issue. I now have gone back to the games I used to play and am spreading word everywhere that I can to warn others from getting caught in this same scam. I have told them I will not pay for something I didn’t authorize them to take in the first place.

#74 Lisa on 10.21.10 at 3:28 am

I find your persistent stress on the phrase “Chinese gold farmers” quite confusing. Granted, the guy is Chinese, he owns a gold farming practice in China, but what does that have to do with Evony itself? Because Evony, as a program, does gold farming, Chinese style?

Seems like an ad hominem attack.

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