Friday, 21 September 2012

Player Lore Council



In light of the recent lore-focused interview with CCP Affinity and CCP Abraxus, it is clear that there is certainly the desire at CCP to push forward with engaging storyline content for players, if not the resources. At Fanfest I had the opportunity to speak with CCP Goliath and he was enthusiastic about pursuing live events of various flavours. However as the QA Director, he also pointed out that any such ventures had to fit around his day job.

Throughout the player-base, there is a host of talent and creativity which, if correctly channeled and co-ordinated, could go some way to making up for this short-fall. Why not create a player body to facilitate this?

Co-ordinating Creativity

With access to shared communication channels with the appropriate developers, leading lore-driven player groups could have representation on a Player Lore Council, enabling them to liaise with CCP devs to lay out plans for story-arcs and events. This could facilitate scripted player-run events with the ability to source CCP support if and when required. It could function in a similar manner to the aspects of the CSM, but obviously with the remit being limited to content and lore.

There have been a number of player initiatives which could have greatly benefited from the increased exposure CCP could provide. Drackarn wrote a series of fan fiction posts on Sand, Cider and Spaceships charting the the deeds of the Jita Ripper, with a tailor-made in-game character for players to hunt and eventually kill as part of the story.

Last year, Angus McDecoy, Arydanika and myself created a series of Tech 4 audio fiction "broadcasts" which culminated in the search for an escape pod lost in a wormhole. Reportedly, many wormhole corps spent a lot of time searching for the J100040 system. Sadly, there was nothing to be found as CCP resources were unavailable. You can listen to the 4-minute emergency appeal clip below or check out the full Tech4 season here.


In both cases, the events were entirely player organised, however with CCP support for these kind of projects, the scope could be much bigger. Imagine if fiction articles, art, videos and audio material could be used to tell stories that players could become embroiled in, with semi-scripted events that are part of an over-arching plot set against the backdrop of New Eden. Reviving The Scope coverage of New Eden's events could provide a doorway for intrigued players to then get swept up in the events as they progress.

Behind the Curtain

Granted, there would be a certain amount of peeking behind the curtain and I appreciate that the CCP devs would need to need to keep certain cards close to their chests. There should be no special privileges for players on this Lore Council beyond the ability to seek guidance and support as they tell stories within EVE Online that would encourage audience participation.

I envisage that this body would be more of a planning committee that CCP devs could participate in. Of course, EVE being EVE means that there would be ample opportunity for players and devs to throw a curve-ball and sabotage an event with nefarious scheming, but that's still a win - it would probably make for an even better story to be told. And it's very EVE.

Gameplay based on the already well-realised dystopian backstory of New Eden deserves to stand equal to the existing choices in EVE Online. Player-led emergent storytelling could be an attractive addition to the New Eden sandbox and something that could easily compete with any mechanically delivered "public quests" in other MMOs.

What are your thoughts? Is this an idea worth exploring further?

11 comments:

  1. Absolutely. I used to love reading the regular chronicles and stories officially released by CCP. There is no reason this sort of lore and story telling cannot fit along side the other player-made stories.

    There are only so many times you can read about a corp theft, super-cap kill or null sec war before they all become "samey".

    Is Tibus Heth dead yet? He found out about Miner's Disease ages ago and it all went quiet...... along with the rest of the story telling which is a massive shame.

    ReplyDelete
  2. +1 for this idea. It could be a flood gate however, so how does anyone control what, when and how? Certainly some thought would need to be given to that question. The CSM is elected, would the Lore Council also need to be?

    Sounds like I'm raining, but you know I'm not.

    ReplyDelete
  3. If this concept has any legs, certainly things would like you suggest would need to be figured out. It's just an idea at the moment, I certainly didn't want to sit down and write an entire White Paper proposal only for CCP to scotch the whole thing as soon as it was offered.

    If there's an interest, previous initiatives like AURORA would need to be examined, to see why that was stopped as well as giving due consideration to how this would move forward.

    I'm just testing the water at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Tech4 was amazing! There is so much potential behind your idea it makes my head spin. I would be interested in knowing what a general estimate of man-hours to content-produced would be...
    I hope that there is a direction you move with this!
    Fortune favour your sails,
    -#

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Anonymous, I'm glad you appreciated it. :)

    Tech4 was a lot of work, but very rewarding. In terms of man-hours, the four minute clip above, from scriptwriting, through acting and post-production, was probably a good couple of days work.

    There were three contributors for that segment. I wrote the script (maybe a couple of hours with input and edits from the others). The voice recording invariably needs a few takes, so call that another hour each. It's the editing and effects that take a little more time. Angus edited this one so I can't say for certain, but from experience I'd say maybe 6 hours of mixing and audio editing.

    The full 30-minute episodes obviously took far longer. I wrote the first script in about 3 days and from acting to editing I'd say they involved the best part of a week's work each.

    I wouldn't consider something as grand as a 30 minute episode in support of a live event, but the occasional minisode could work well to move the story forward, create a bit of buzz and provide vital information to players.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I, of course, support this idea. I'm wondering though if we don't already have an option available that would need only tweaking: ISD Mercury. They're already in depth into the lore and the various updates, it wouldn't take much to swap them over as well (for all we know they already do this) but obviously we'd need some more transparency on that end for it to go forward as you suggest.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hmmm CCP make a lot of cash from Eve. Getting mugs to do free work for them, will go down very with them, I'm sure....

    CCP put your hands in your pockets and make EVE the game it is hyped to be. Until then, I'll not re-subscribe.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I totally support this idea! Every time I read some of the EVE lore I get really happy and so inspired! Such Lore Council would work closely with the current CSM and CCP for creating new exciting features and stories. This could lead to some fantastic results. After all we're in this together, contribution is what matters! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've been toying with this idea as well. Granting the player base some (limited) canonizing power is definitely a path to riches for CCP. The process could be something as simple as telling the 'lore' council, "We want character A to cause plot event B. Write a script (or chronicle) and generate some art to make it happen. We'll rubber stamp it if it's good." The council can divvy (or farm out) the work and act as a peer-review body from there, making sure CCP only has to review the "cream of the crop", as it were. Basically, it would be a giant spawning pool for "shovel ready" material.

    --
    Faulx

    ReplyDelete
  10. Live Event Tools, available to players, as an ISK sink. I've seen this done in other games, most notably SWG, and while there will always exist the opportunity for player abuse, I think such a system would be more beneficial than trying to oversee player ideas.

    It's not that I don't believe in player ideas, I merely know how players are. Without structure, it's almost impossible to "control" a situation. We've all experienced this in any live event we've run.

    Sometimes the results end up better than expected. Sometimes not. That is part of the glory of the sandbox. That is part of the problem of the sandbox.

    My two isk.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

Lay it on me.