In my last column I talked about an in-game event I had successfully organised for RvB, the Tyrian Trophy. Early on in that column I very briefly mention that many people across EVE try to organise events, from free-for-alls, to tournaments and so much more. However, few of them ever take off. Today’s column will explain how to make your event actually happen and be as successful as you imagined it would.
Ever since I started playing MMOs I have always focused on building communities, and the best way to do this beyond the guild/corporation structures offered by the game itself, is through in-game events both public and private. When I came to EVE, I naturally assumed that such events would be much harder, if nigh on impossible, to pull off. This was mostly given the nature of the game, and the scary stories told to newbs by the older pilots who lurk in the starter corporations.
Over time I came to realise that the sandbox allowed greater freedom for content creators such as myself and started running events for my corp mates. I ran scavenger hunts, pvp roams, sparring matches, and even mining marathons! Eventually I ended up in RvB, which is the perfect canvas for a player like myself. In my time here I have organised many events and they have all been incredibly successful. Building on my work within RvB, over the past couple of years I have become the creative force behind a series of public events that bring together many different types of players all the name of a good time.
Enough about me, lets get on to how you can make your events go with a bang!
You had this wonderful idea for an event, you just know it will be good fun and your target audience will remember you for it. But when the day comes ‘round, nothing goes right, participants do not show, loopholes in your rules were exploited in true EVE fashion, and worst of all, you had to leave halfway through.
Poor preparation is the downfall of a great many well meaning individuals when it comes to trying to create a little content for themselves and others. Simply having the idea, thinking up a few basic rules and then making a post on EVE-O, your corp forums or Reddit, will not fly. People will either not be enthused enough to show up, will attend and exploit your lack of planning, or leave in disgust at those who do. (FYI, this even happens to the best of us!)
Firstly, your initial idea is not the fully planned out and well organised event you present to your community, it is the acorn from which the mighty oak will grow. Take your idea and look at it with fresh eyes. Does it have a goal, beyond your 15 minutes of fame? Will this goal enthuse people to attend? Sometimes the end game of an event will be a prize, a killmail (or many killmails), or awesome publicity for your corporation. Whatever the goal, it has to be well thought out.
Secondly, after identifying the goal, look at how you would try to reach it with as little resistance as possible. Once you have done that, formulate your rule set. Identify the parts of your plan that could be exploited. However, take care to not neuter your event when working out the rules, or indeed make it less fun for participants. Finding the right balance is key.
For example, you are setting up a Death Race 2000 style event, where the goal is to reach Y system. Your average EVE player would actually fly between the systems, others would jump clone between the start and end points, wait a bit then claim the prizes and the glory. This is where preparation of proper rules comes in to play.
You add in some systems that pilots have to pass through, providing proof of such. This could be an item from pre-arranged drop cans, or something they get from a willing target, or even a screenshot of them jumping in. If an item was needed, make it an item that cannot be easily found via the market (bookmarks work best in my experience). If you make finding the cans too hard, suddenly the pilots just focus on the “death” part of Death Race, eventually limping over the finish line bloody and worn out.
Thirdly, does your event need functionaries to help it go smoothly? The larger the scope, the more warm bodies you will require. If you overlook this, then you will fail, and fail spectacularly when you flame out in a storm of rage and tears. Take my Death Race example from above, you would not be able to run this event alone. Staff at the start and finish lines as well as any checkpoints would be required, along with other pilots along the way as police, sacrifices or as “challenges” for the racers. However many staff you take on, look after them, listen to their advice, motivate them, hell even pay them! Your team needs to enjoy this as much as the participants do.
Finally, and this can be the most daunting step for any event organiser, does the event require any material logistics in terms of ships? If so, do you have access to sufficient capacity to have all you need in place for the event and on time.
For a small scale event, say a sparring ladder in a corporation of 10 to 20 pilots, you can easily handle the material side alone; Try running a free-for-all event with free ships in a lowsec system with upwards of 100 pilots due to attend all alone, and you will burn out. Having a solid logistics chain, pre-configured ship fits, and plenty of time will keep you from burning out. Entities such as Red Frog, corp mates with haulers, ship spinners who like to fit ships and any industry bro’s you know can all be extremely useful depending on the size of the event.
Good planning and preparation are not the only reasons why successful events are successful. Often, a majority of the participants are from the same corporation, alliance, or most especially from the same social network in EVE.
Having a group of people who all share a similar interest take part in your event gives it a greater chance of actually being fun and a hit. Through word of mouth these individuals will spread the news to their friends and they to theirs. Even if this a small corp- or alliance-only event, getting the “popular” pilots on board will sell the good times to be had to everyone else.
If you have a great idea, but no one to attend it, then that event will simply be a wash out. If your corp or social networks are disinterested, then reach out to the groups that have put on successful events. Groups and individuals like Stay Frosty (lead by the unrivalled Rixx Javix) who have run some very successful low sec based FFAs; Kirith Kodachi who has given up carriers in the name of good times repeatedly over the years; myself over at RvB Ganked, we run events on a weekly basis, as well as ensure that special events like Ganked 100 become a reality; And of course, we at Crossing Zebras have also stepped into the public event arena with our own FFAs.
This is the one way that a large majority of public events result in failure. All the planning, all the eager participants can be for nought if you fail to put your event out there. Especially if it is something for public consumption.
It is one of the things I tend to notice when checking out the ingame events forum on EVE-O, the wannabe content creator will create a thread for an event and then go AWOL thinking that the thread is enough. As any of the individuals I mentioned above will tell you, that is a big mistake, when you consider that forum section is very underutilised by event operators (in my opinion this is down to the prevalence of lotteries and gambling sites advertising themselves across that forum).
While the EVE player base may seem large and fragmented into numerous tribes, what unites us is the community presence of the media. From podcasters, to bloggers, to news and feature sites, as well as social networks like Twitter and Facebook, a content creator has never had as many options to publicise their work. Reaching out to as many media outlets as you can is the best thing you can do to make your event go well. Getting onto podcasts or having interviews posted on news sites its all well and good, you still need to keep the interest flowing, this is where having a Twitter account will make a difference. On Twitter you will find a multitude of other players, media personalities and even developers, all of whom will notice your event if you remember to include the #tweetfleet hashtag in all your tweets. Catch the right eye and you can end up with a dev in your event system, CCP pushing the event via their facebook page or even turning your twitch stream into a dev event!
All of this of course is based on out of game media and technologies, the ingame channel is still a key method for keeping the hype machine rolling. It is there you can post updates, answer questions in a timely fashion, and with recent changes, you can even link the channel around to other groups. Trust me, everyone clicks links in this game!
The last word
One final point I do have is that I feel Phoebe changed the world and how players will interact with it. Player events can only increase as a consequence, and more content is something everyone wants. I hope this column will inspire those who share this view and that your event becomes a reality and a success.
Tags: community, events, mangala
Mangala Solaris has been playing EVE since 2006. In his time in EVE, he have been a missioner, a miner, a scammer, a trader & even a null bear, however over the past 4 years or so Mangala has been heavily involved in Red Versus Blue, and more recently has become one the key figures in the NPSI communities of EVE. Somehow in addition to all of this, he finds time to represent the players as a member of CSM 9.