Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Evolution of EVE Society


I've arrived safely in Vegas after a ten-hour flight which gave me plenty of time to reflect on all things EVE (between preparing myself for a week in the US by watching the inflight movies 'Paul' and 'Battle: Los Angeles').

Community Crisis?

Shortly before departing, I gate-crashed the recording of EVE Commune Episode 28 where I was sad to discover they had just announced that they would be winding the podcast down. Whilst I believe the primary reason for this can be frequently heard in the background of the recording (Caitlin for CSM27!), the announcement led into a conversation about the state of the community and it was suggested that recent controversies had "split the EVE community", damaging it.

I believe CCP expected the release of the Incarna expansion to be the equivalent of throwing a dirty great rock into the tranquil EVE pond. After all, Incarna heralds a fundamental change in the overall EVE Online experience and you can't make an omelette without throwing rocks into ponds. Or Something.

Necessary Change

There were certainly casualties during The Month of Incarnage and although the actual figures of cancelled accounts may not equate to the number of threats to cancel, the Emergency CSM Summit suggests that there was enough of a ripple to justify some damage control. Given the modest nature of Incarna in it's present form, we're unlikely to see it's positive influence immediately but there is reason to be optimistic. The path that CCP are taking is brave, pioneering and with fair winds and following tides, we survivors of The Month of Incarnage may well be privy to a gaming future that will turn heads. Hopefully for the right reasons.

Counter to the idea that recent events were apocalyptic was the suggestion (originally by CCP Xhagen) that EVE is in fact a society comprising multiple communities. Whilst some of these communities may have been adversely affected by recent events, many others have carried on regardless. I have certainly experienced this amongst the community of my alliance - they remain relatively unaffected by Monoclegate and associated drama.

Adapt or Die

Undoubtedly, any society must evolve and adapt to survive an unavoidably changing environment. Like it or not, CCP controls that environment. which has always been an unforgiving and 'Darwinistic' one. The player-driven quasi-media community that includes blogs, podcasts and Twitter is currently undergoing changes. EVE Commune's termination and Crazy Kinux's Blogpack being in jeopardy are just examples of that. It will be interesting to see what happens next, but it is not the end of the world.

When the always provocative CSM Chairman, The Mittani, described the blogosphere as an 'echo chamber' there was a element of truth to his words. Whilst the blogging/podcasting/tweeting community acts as a reflection of player opinion, it is still only a portion of a much larger society. There are many more EVE players than those who choose to be vocal in these circles. To paraphrase and bastardise Frank Herbert, they exist in vast numbers. Vast.

At least that is my hope. With EVE Vegas and associated gatherings only hours away, I hope to gain a better understanding of what a players from a variety of sections of the EVE society think. Also, with access to a number of CCP luminaries, perhaps I can get the heads-up on any future plans to throw egg-based food products into static bodies of water.

Watch this space.

2 comments:

  1. I've listened to the episode 28 podcast of EVE Commune and I'm not so convinced that the community is as fractured as some people believe. The complainers, to me, while quite loud/vocal, are still a minority. The majority of players are either ambivalent, lukewarm, or excited about some of the things that CCP are doing.

    The podcasters, as much as I appreciate them, can sometimes be so close to the playerbase that the shouting of this vocal minority drowns out those who are 1) saying the opposite, or 2) perhaps not saying anything at all while continuing to play/enjoy the game.

    I'm not saying that the protest wasn't significant, or effective, it was. The emergency CSM summit proved that. But I think CCP's response since then has been good, and the community is recovering from its "summer of rage".

    If anything, the last month has given great fodder to the trolls, and trolls-in-waiting. You said it best in a previous blog: "The primary cause of emo-rage is a disproportionate emotional commitment to a video game combined with a perceived injustice." Perhaps one of the positive results of this rage will be the culling of the more stalwart trolls who can't seem to let the game go.

    Great blog, by the way. I look forward to more. And enjoy Vegas. Dress cool.

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  2. Did Battle:LA prepare you well?

    On the subject, I don't really read a lot of blogs, so I don't hear(read?) much complaining anymore. I'm still a little confused as to why gar is troubled by the community. I thought all the hoopla was pretty much over.

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