Now approaching its tenth year, the EVE Online player community has matured into an intricate and multi-faceted society viewed with envy by other game developers, but is frequently regarded with suspicion by the wider gaming community.
Is this perception deserved? Should "The Nation of EVE" be concerned by its public identity and if so how might that be improved? What influence will the integration of the DUST 514 community have on this culture in the future?
There's an old saying that perception is reality. And I was going to open with some long rambling philosophical discourse about that, but one of the first google searches on the subject is Jester's post by that title. That man is literally a machine. To return to my perception of this reality though, I think this month's blog banter is a pretty interesting question and one of the toughest ones we've seen in a while.
I'm not really one for political correctness at all. I think its more than silly. Someone will always be offended no matter what you said. Either you took a statement too far or it didn't go far enough. As I wrote about when Mittani-gate was ongoing, I think that those comments were out of line, but the 1 month ban and removal from the CSM was too strong and clearly indicative of a knee-jerk reaction by CCP. Mittani-gate spurred the conversation this month though. CCP has a clear need to protect its product's image in order to thrive. My simple response is that I think the image that has been cultivated over the last decade is exactly the one that we want -- Eve is a cold hard place where someone will scam you, kill you, pod you and enjoy your tears throughout the whole damn thing.
Enter Dust 514. To be honest, I felt that this year's Fanfest focused more around Dust than Eve in many respects, and that's fine (although not the way I'd prefer it). I read a review on initial game play via a tweet recently that can be summarized by saying, "The play isn't as good as something like Mass Effect 3, but there is potential." There sure is potential, but at this point, that's all we've got. It all depends how CCP integrates the Dusties into our world (and yes, I am saying our world for now, at least). It needs to be meaningful on both ends. Regardless, you can believe Sony put some pressure on CCP to clean up their little mess with the Mittani. Sony is the big time, and they don't want CCP's "missteps" flowing over into their business.
At the end of the day, I'm happy with our community. We are who we are, take it or leave it. So what if the perception is dark? Check out #tweetfleet or the blogging community and you'll see in a second that we're not all (completely) cold, dark bastards. Many of us, sure. But I wouldn't want Eve another way. I love the game where you have a month of destroying industrial ships kicked off by burning down the primary market hub. And I may shoot a Hulk this May just for good measure, but I'm not generally an active participant in Hulkageddon. But this type of sinister reality is a huge part of what makes Eve so great, and if Sony or the larger gaming community can't handle it, that's fine. We can always use some fresh blood in New Eden, but outside of that, take a hike. I think we're just fine with being the villains of the MMO community, and why not? Perception is reality, I suppose.