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?
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.
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?