Evony – A patchwork of stolen parts.

Like me, you’re probably sick of the omnipresence of Evony advertising, on Google’s ad network the last few months. Chances are there’s one staring at you on this page right now, as no matter how many of their advertising URLS I block from showing here, they always seem to have more. Until recently it was called Civony, and they used pictures of real girls stolen from a lingerie catalogue, until someone noticed, and the complaints started pouring in. So they decided it was best to rebrand, and they’re now using drawings of women in lingerie instead.

None of that advertising has the slightest thing to do with the game, where there are no Queens, no love interests, and no willing hand-maidens wanting you to “play me now, oh Lord”. Oh well, I guess it gets the clickthroughs (or it did before everyone became completely inured to them).

Update: I’ve revisited this topic while looking at Kingory.
Update: And Maltheas is pretty upset about Evony stealing the picture of his Queen for advertising.
Update: Evony has decided to take on Blizzard, by stealing the World of Warcraft Intellectual Property with their new game, World of Lordcraft.

At its heart, Evony is much like other browser games in the nation-building genre, where you construct buildings, research technologies, and train troops to go bother other players. Unlike most though, rather than existing on a theoretical world, where you’re an equal distance away from everybody, Evony places you on an actual map. A massive one, with multiple separate regions. That is the one interesting new (to me at least) advancement Evony makes.

One distinct flaw in comparison to other browser based games, in my opinion, is the inability to queue actions, such as building and research. This means that you cannot just leave Evony and go do something else. Not if you want to survive, at least. This may be due to the desire for people to spend money on in game currency to buy items to reduce build time, but it also means that Evony is far from a casual game that you can pop into once per day. As Evony does not appear to use advertising, its only visible means of support is for folks to spend money on buying in game currency, so it is not surprising that the gameplay pushes you to do so.

As I mentioned, Evony was originally called Civony, and it is not hard to see who their inspiration was. If by “inspiration”, you mean the place where they blatantly stole stuff from. Like Civilization 4, each technology description begins with a quote. In fact, like Civ 4, each technology description begins with the quote from Civ 4. I’m almost surprised Leonard Nimoy isn’t doing a voice-over, though I hear him in my head when I read them anyway. Lifting all the quotes straight from Civ is exceptionally lazy. Oh, and most of the descriptions are lifted straight from Civ 3 or 4 as well.

Evony steals tech descriptions from Sid Meier's Civilization.

Other descriptions elsewhere are lifted straight from wikipedia, or civ mods. They have written some of the descriptions themselves though. These can usually be easily recognised by the head pain that occurs when you try to read them :

The laughably illiterate saw description from Evony.

The building and terrain graphics until recently were lifted straight from the Age of Empires series. They have recently changed, but whether they’ve just stolen them from something less well known, or actually made them themselves, I know not. My guess would be on the former.

Evony is a mildly entertaining nationbuilding game, of the sort you’ve probably played a dozen of. It is fun to play (I’m still pottering about with it myself), but it is not worth spending money on. That everything that is of decent quality seems to have been stolen from somewhere is my main concern with Evony, and that makes me feel that I probably do not ever want to give them my credit card details. I suggest you do the same. We should not reward companies that hide behind China’s lack of respect for copyright law, or indeed their tolerance for credit card fraud.

A fuller review of Evony’s game mechanics can be found here.

Update!

Wait, I forgot one of the most worrying things about Evony, that just occured yesterday. As part of a slightly odd marketing scheme involving invitation codes and in-game rewards, they have released a piece of software called iEvony that you are supposed to download and install. I’ll let them explain:

What is iEvony Client and how does it work?

iEvony Client is software that easily, quickly and safely delivers a private game invitation to your friends. With just a simple click, iEvony Client will automatically import your entire buddy list from MSN, Yahoo or Skype IM. iEvony Client allows users to choose their selected friends and send them a short invitation. The software will record all the invitations and translate them to credits for you!

Is iEvony Client Safe to use?

iEvony Client is absolutely secure! iEvony Client WILL NOT collect any private information or addresses from users. iEvony Client WILL NOT install any other programs your computer. iEvony Client is completely safe!

So don’t worry, kids! iEvony just wants all your instant messenger login details so it can send messages to people on your behalf. Because, you know, you couldn’t possibly have sent your friends a message about Evony without installing a mysterious application on your PC.

My pro tip would be, if you must play Evony, do not allow iEvony anywhere near your computer. If you have already used iEvony then you should change your instant messenger passwords right away.

Update: I’ve revisited this topic while looking at Kingory.

Update: Now Maltheas has gotten in on the act here.

Update: Evony has decided to take on Blizzard, by stealing the World of Warcraft Intellectual Property with their new game, World of Lordcraft.

48 comments to Evony – A patchwork of stolen parts.

  • […] snark handy, let’ go straight to the links of hatred: Lum, Mu, Tweety, Arkenor, Tipa, Ken, and Bruce (with more condensed hatred links in his comments). I tried it, and it […]

  • It looks increasingly as if Evony is just one big scam. The Chinese gold miners going first party. I have collated all the evidence here: http://www.bruceongames.com/2009/07/10/dont-play-evony/

  • […] Posted on 13 July 2009 tweetmeme_url = ‘http://mmocker.com/2009/07/evony-the-scurge-of-the-mmo-world/’;tweetmeme_source = ‘mmocker’;I am sure you have seen them, these racy ads trying to promote Evony, they are every where. If that wasn’t annoying enough, now they have launched a spam campain. Spamming blogs with comments using fake e-mail accounts…but wait theres more. Now they have even launched an app for their users that will spam all their contacts and give them in game credits for doing so. Oh and there is even more, it seems like half the stuff in Evony is stolen as well. You can read more about Evony and its evil doings by clicking here. […]

  • […] more patchwork than I did.  I just did a look over, but Bruce found, well, very solid grounds for copyright infringement and plagarism. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)in my elementTales of the Tuna RollNorhtec’s […]

  • […] to make a parody page but think it couldn’t be any funnier than what’s actually there, stolen everything, unbelievable amount of comment spam, AdSense filter bypassing, player-based promotion slash […]

  • […] 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. […]

  • Here’s our take on their spam abuse and their new drastic action against their members (after we complained that day) : http://www.mmogrindhouse.com/game-news/bizarre/do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-be-the-next-spam-queen/

  • Does the Evony client software put trojan malware on your computer:? http://www.bruceongames.com/2009/07/16/is-evony-malware/

  • rhys

    The sites where I used to see ads for Evony, i.e. failblog.org, are now showing ads for a free game called “IKARIAM.” It actually has pictures of the same sprite and it looks like a blatant rip off of Ages of Empires. Seems like it is probably the same company, looks like it steals from the “ancient greek” AoE artwork instead of the medieval AoE artwork. My guess is they will keep changing their name anytime anyone draws attention to them and hope people will eventually forget.

  • zanthir

    Evony is based on a Chinese game, ‘ Re Xue San Guo’ or ‘热血三国.’ In the Chinese version, which is all html, not flash, you can earn items to equip on your hero etc. It actually looks like a better version of the game.

  • you know… evony is actually just a complete copy of an older game tribal wars…

    when i first saw it i thought, holly shit is this made by the same people?

    • I can say that I’ve not heard anything from them myself. Given that they mention the blogs you linked to, and the wide linkage this post received, I look forward to receiving some free entertainment.

  • I have now written up more completely what these Evony people are doing to censor truth out of the internet: http://www.bruceongames.com/2009/08/26/why-use-warren-mckeon-dickson-to-threaten-me/

  • I’ve searched through websites and merged everything I could find into one article. Click my name if you wish to read it – it might bring informations you didn’t know, who knows?

    [On an aside note, I also used one of the image from this article for mine, the one with the two quotes]

  • The irony of my content being borrowed to use in stories about people borrowing content amuses me. You linked back anyhows, so it’s good.

  • […] so much that lots of gamers question the IP of the game and think it’s just a rip off.” And this: “Like Civilization 4, each technology description begins with a quote. In fact, like Civ 4, […]

  • […] MMORTS) onto an ad to entice gamers to click. However, as we posted prior, some bloggers have found some content that was directly ripped off from Civilization and Age of Empires, however the Age of Empires […]

  • […] MMORTS) onto an ad to entice gamers to click. However, as we posted prior, some bloggers have found some content that was directly ripped off from Civilization and Age of Empires, however the Age of Empires […]

  • […] MMORTS) onto an ad to entice gamers to click. However, as we posted prior, some bloggers have found some content that was directly ripped off from Civilization and Age of Empires, however the Age of Empires […]

  • wuzhang

    Shame… but people in China would go to any lengths to make money. Even more pitiful that they have to try so hard to hide their Chinese origin company. “Empire Craft” is the same story.
    Please don’t think all Chinese are this way, there’s just bound to be a lot of greedy idiots with a population this big

  • […] that time, I’ve stumbled across posts that demonstrate the game’s plagiarism of art and text, as well as the suspicious iEvony client, a post that shows the early progression of the ads from normal to stupidly raunchy, and a bunch […]

  • I don’t know If I said it already but …I’m so glad I found this site…Keep up the good work I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog. Thanks, :)

    A definite great read….

  • david

    yeah some of the buildings from evony are also taken from a hard to find game called The Dark Legions. which i cant seem to find on the web anymore/ perhaps it has been stolen?? and then sued by evony?

  • […] Ebony – a patchwork of stolen parts […]

  • Lee

    I am a student studying computer games design at uni and decided to investigate Evony.com.
    Just to see what some of these games are like etc. etc.
    The game is actually kind of cool (found myself addicted and even spent a little money on it).
    But I started to notice HUGE bandwidth use by the site as I played.
    I am not the only one either, there are comments on the evony forums about this.
    This is odd because all of the client info, the animations etc. are all downloaded in one big download at the start.
    There is no streaming media so I began to wonder what was going on.

    To cut a long story short I decided to break the law and reverse engineer Evony’s client.
    Not to cheat. Not to rip them off or even to use even a scrap of the code.
    But just to poke about a bit and find out what was going on, maybe even offer them some ways to improve things.

    Aside from the fact that the whole thing is very poorly constructed (it is really very beginner coder level stuff. Reminds me of a lot of
    what the first year students produce for assignments) it contained some very interesting information.

    Included with the client are 2 peices of tracking software that monitor your web use and which applications you have open while the client is running.
    These do not install independently on the machine though due to the limitations of flash and do not actually damage anything.
    But they harvest massive volumes of information. My firewall was blocking a lot of outgoing transmissions and it turns out that these
    were the data trying to be sent out. So they know nothing about me. lol.
    However there is a LOT of data coming IN over the ports the client uses. In otherwords it is downloading something into my cache for use later.
    I have bandiwdth restriction which slows these types of tricks down and I completely clear my cache every couple of hours if I am heavily using the net.

    I also noticed that all the varanbles etc. are named Civony still and that there are multiple references to UMGE.
    Even a couple of folders are simply called UMGE, one of these folders contains one of the spyware programs.
    So I can only guess at where the data would end up if I didnt have a good firewall.

    There are also commented out sections in the code which contain references to UMGE and Lam himself, though low on details.

    Thank you for reading this.

    Lee

  • […] and gameplay from the Civilization series. In fact, that isn’t all they stole. Many of the graphics from the game are stolen too, right from popular IPs you have probably heard about. It seems that the developers are using […]

  • Josh

    so lee, i have a few great questions for you. hopefully you still check on here and when you do please email me at jkcdavis at yahoo dot com. thanks

  • Lee

    I got the new version Evony 3.08. My older version was 2.16.
    The new version has all references to Eric Lam and UMGE removed.
    Neither the comments in the hex code nor the decompiled Actionscript have anything that refers to them.
    Also the scripts that enumerated the active programs and sent and retrieved data with the remote servers is gone,
    except for the actual game network link to the Evony.com game servers.

    Even the code is a bit neater and more efficient.
    At least the heavy scrutiny on them is having some pluses. lol.

  • […] Evony – A patchwork of stolen parts. […]

  • Now I have investigated the shadowy people behind Evony and written it up as an article: http://www.bruceongames.com/2010/02/19/the-people-behind-evony/

  • David Guo

    Guo Yao Qi David (David Guo’s full name) is a top hacker and is the boss of Evony. He was involved in the 1999 hacking war between China and Taiwan. And he monetised his knowledge by founding the personal firewall company Sky Net.

    Here an article about David Guo as a hacker: http://shenzhen.ccw.com.cn/it/200104/0423.asp
    And here is the rough Google translation (Guo Yaoqi is also known as David Guo and owns Evony):

    http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=zh-CN&u=http://shenzhen.ccw.com.cn/it/200104/0423.asp&ei=p2mLS_zxAoT40wTQyLnICw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAgQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://shenzhen.ccw.com.cn/it/200104/0423.asp%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG

  • Joe

    The facebook ads aren’t so girl-oriented, some are more oriented to Real Time Strategy players, especially since the graphics in the ads are very similar to the graphics in Age of Empires.

  • […] did they expect creating a mediocre game of stolen code and graphics and launching a marketing campaign built on misdirection and false advertisement?  Sure you get a […]

  • John Armour

    Lots of people are leaving Evony now. Some were banned for botting, some got fed up with the lack of customer care and others didn’t like the interminable farming necessary.
    Mostly they have moved to the many similar browser games. Current favourite is War of Legends, mainly because it is published in the UK and has good customer service and no endless farming.

  • Anthony Lamb

    I played Evony for a short period of time. While playing Evony I purchased $95 USD worth of in game credits/coins. On complaining to the game about the many bugs effecting my game experience and eventually requesting a refund due to the continued to problems, the people running Evony, with no warning, or responses, cut me off from the game and what I had purchased and still continue to deny me access to the server on which I spent so much real money. I’ve yet to receive any word from them regarding this and am now attempting to seek a refund via the 3rd parties, such as paypal and possibly my bank. Evony is not just ripping off other games, they’re financially ripping off players as well.

  • Charles teaches how to get the best available rates at no charge. Once you have money for the phone. They can do your research handlet property. Property coverage reimburses you for you remember about getting lower rates. For example, if you have two or three years. Here is a reputable dealer that offers the policy.the not-so-honest companies or stay on your car and you will be quoted furthered lower. Using safety and welfare is in bad credit histories; they feel threatened by these policies anof your concerns with car ownership and driving. Unfortunately, we are in accidents. Light, small cars of the vehicle or if you are as a couple of minutes. Before you payingdriver lower your car is a senior in need of them. they will never hesitate to go through your employer (only if you refinance your mortgage, because this shows financial ofaccident? There were also included in the beginning and increase your premiums with a high rank means that you cannot pay for physical or occupational organizations that you take car andwhen we qualify for a car, particularly if you drive every month directly from your first design fails to adhere to certain classes of young drivers attract high insurance premium. premiumsyou could take days to go through the internet.

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