CZ Minutes: Passionate or Hysterical?Xander Phoena
Last week on CZ Minutes, the writers discussed the concept of lore in Eve and how it fits in with the stories the players create. This week we shifted focus to the player base itself and its predisposition to anger or righteous fury. Is the player base too angry too often? Are they entitled to be annoyed when Eve isn’t heading the direction they think it should be? Read on to find our opinions…
Xander: It is often said by certain people that the Eve Online player base, being of a higher average intelligence than a lot of other games, is incredibly passionate about New Eden and CCP’s attempts to foster it as an environment. Some suggest that the Eve player base can too often stray into fanatical or hysterical territory. The reaction to Marc’s recent Is Greed Good piece has been mixed with some suggesting we are on a gentler but definitive path towards another Incarna while others calling it a gross-oversimplification and overreaction.
Are Eve players too prone to knee-jerk reaction and threadnoughts or is it simply a passionate player base who wants the game to improve for the benefit of everyone?
Marc: Yes, they are. See also: The EVE-O forums. Next question please.
Jeg: Are Eve players passionate, definately. Are Eve players prone to knee-jerk reaction and threadnoughts? The forums are littered with them on a regular enough basis to at least say yes. I think there is a deeper question here, and that is one of player entitlement. Perhaps as a playerbase we Eve players have an overbearing sense of entitlement when it comes to how the game, company and community is managed?
Xander: Don’t you think a sense of entitlement is justified when Eve, at it’s most fundamental, is a game where the content and narrative are all generated by the player base? More so than any other game I can think of, Eve is defined by the player base. Almost everything you do in Eve (damsels in distress aside) is at least tangentially defined by the players around you. We create the content, the sand if you will. CCP simply gives us the the sandbox itself. As such, don’t you think a little bit of entitlement is understandable?
Marc: It’s this kind of thinking that is ruining the game. It isn’t unique to EVE either, but it certainly appears prominently in the thinking of more than a few players. You are entitled to spend your time and money where you want. You’re even entitled to your opinion. You are not entitled to anything more than that though. If you disagree with the direction EVE is going, with a particular feature, etc etc – then by all means you’re free to leave. Players are not a stakeholder (whatever that even means anymore). Not only that, they shouldn’t be.
Joran: Players ARE a stakeholder though, through the CSM. That is a recent development that is part of the work that has been done these last couple years.
Xander: I have to disagree Marc. Especially in the case of Eve Online. Sure, we can just take our money and run elsewhere. I’m sure though that that is the last thing CCP wants. It’s certainly the last thing I as a player wants. I’m not saying CCP has to listen to everyone simply because they produce or create in-game content but every FC, every logistician, every alliance leader, every great pirate who leaves Eve for greener pastures because they feel the game is broken in some particular way makes the game that little bit poorer for the rest of us.
I’m not suggesting CCP HAS to listen to people bitching and whining (and holy shit, there’s a lot of that on various forums and blogs), but it is disingenuous to suggest ‘meh, take your money elsewhere, we don’t need you here’. More so than any other game I can think of, given its fundamental nature and the relatively small subscription base, we really do actually need you here.
Jeg: The question of should CCP listen to what players are saying is silly, they will of course listen to constructive feedback as long as it meets with their objectives. As a company they aim to get more people to subscribe. As players of the game, we want the game to play the way we like it. Being the ‘above average intelligence’ group as you posed it surely means that our opinions on the game are not going to necessarily have mainstream appeal?
Niden: This whole discussion was started on the CZ Skype channel as we talked about the recent announcement by CCP to include a time capsule in the monument being raised, you can read the details here. Let’s put it in perspective; one PLEX is roughly about the price of four beers at the pub. So imagine someone coming up to you and saying, “I’ll put your name on a great monument and include a message from you to be opened in 25 years, all I want in return is four beers”. Only an EVE player would react by saying “You greedy bastard, will you do anything for money?”.
Meanwhile we think it’s just fine to spend 100 bil ISK on an imaginary Titan that has no real world value whatsoever.
Maybe I’m a naïve optimist – but I think four beers is a good deal and I honestly believe CCP are doing it with good intentions.
HVAC: The part I find funniest about the time capsule idea is that CCP is convinced the game will still be around in 25 years. It’s an obvious cash grab, but you can also kinda make a case that the PLEX barrier is to weed out non-serious submissions.
Niden: The fact that EVE players do react so violently / passionately is both a strength and a detriment. However sometimes I get the feeling that many of us always think the worst of CCP and their motivations. One also has to remember that it’s the loudmouths and the whiners you’re going to see the most.
The positive side to this is of course that EVE players don’t suffer bullshit lightly. Because yes, we do create the game just as much as CCP do. Yes maybe that results in an inflated sense of entitlement – CCP being a business and EVE being their property notwithstanding. The creativity, community and stories that matter are not created by CCP, they simply make it possible, just as we make EVE possible for them. But it is also true that some of us need to simply chill the fuck out and look at the big picture from time to time.
PS: We’re heading towards another Incarna? I don’t see any evidence of that. Let go of the tinfoil.
Proto: I had a whole response prepared since the discussion started. Unfortunately, Niden just stole all my thunder. I don’t see the time capsule or monument as an issue that directly impacts me, my gaming experience, or as an exercise in poor judgement by CCP. Even the NEX has its merits as long as they do it correctly. I that that was a mishandled opportunity that could’ve been something good. Maybe they’ll revisit it.
I just try not to get caught up in the demand for “instant gratification” because I believe that is where a lot of this over-reaction mentality comes from. Perhaps it’s the old man coming out in me. I’m patient and like watching things evolve.
It’s only a cash grab if it’s your cash. Quit playing the victim for other people who’ve volunteered to shell out a few extra bucks because you chose not to participate.
Joran: “Another Incarna” is a vague enough term to allow a bit too much wiggle room. Clearly they’re looking to further monetize the playerbase. Whether the fact that it might be done in a gentle enough fashion to prevent any further pushback is a question that can be left open. I think the company is wiser now than it was a couple years ago, at least.
Personally, I am a huge fan of the dedication of the playerbase, and I’m sure CCP is as well. When people dedicate as much time as the average Eve player, it is entirely natural to be engaged with the company in the same way if your favorite activity is golfing, you might be concerned about changes in your favorite country club. Marc is correct that everyone is free to leave, but obviously CCP wants us spending money and is willing to engage the community to ensure that continues. Any business needs to form customer relationships. So I’m not sure that frequent threadnaughts or even in game riots are viewed as a problem by anyone other than scrutinous Eve commentators. CCP undoubtedly views them as an invaluable resource.