CZ Minutes: This Is EVE.

On Friday evening at EVE Down Under, CCP premiered what is arguably the best received trailer in EVE Online history. “This is EVE” features reenactments and actual footage of in-game events and the voices of real players, in real situations. About ten minutes later it was made available online and at the time of this writing has accumulated more views than the Fanfest 2014 trailer. In less than a day! We say “trailer”, but what it really was is a showcase of what EVE is all about. Representing a shift in how CCP make trailers, “This Is EVE” tries to capture that thing that EVE players have been trying to put their finger on and describe to the outside world for over a decade. By all accounts, op success. All across the EVE community, in blogs, forums and social media, the hope that was rekindled with Phoebe, with the trailer as a catalyst, has exploded into what is not only an overwhelmingly positive, but also very emotional reaction. It has spoken to the heart of the EVE community and has seemingly confirmed for many players that CCP are on the right track. What did you take away from the trailer and the community reaction? What was your personal reaction and why? Is there something you would like to have seen that was missing? What is your overall opinion on CCP taking this new course of promoting EVE Online? Forlorn: I have been very frustrated with the direction CCP used for their recent trailers, especially the last two main fanfest trailers. But finally, after the long forgotten and not well received “The butterfly effect” trailer, CCP’s latest trailer is both a well done and actual gameplay driven trailer. After years I can say: this is EVE and I play it. 11/10 would watch again. Apoth: *%&$$(£ &”%”^”*£ ”£&$)£*$£ *&$&£ YES Niden: The trouble for me at this point is to give an opinion without sounding like a total fanboy. From a technical standpoint, the trailer was not spectacular. The CGI and productions of previous trailers were surely more advanced and they were more impressive in a traditional sense. No, “This is EVE” manages to express something far more precious: the beating heart of what makes EVE Online one of the most unique experiences in online gaming media. In under four minutes it conveys that particular EVE feeling that you can’t get anywhere else, very much based in the community and the players themselves. Using real comms and displaying real situations was a stroke of genius; “This is EVE” is very much an ode to not only the game, but the community that makes it what it is. It almost feels like validation to me, because when I watch it, I think that yes, this is EVE, this is the magic of EVE as I know it. The reason EVE is great (in the true sense of the word) has never been the technical aspects of the game, but the values of freedom woven into its design. It is this that allows the human interaction that is the foundation of the game. We don’t play EVE, we ‘play’ each other, EVE is simply the sandbox where this fundamental quality is recognised, cherished and developed for. This is what I think the trailer captures beautifully. I cannot help but get the feeling that this is a result of the empowerment of dev teams we have seen happen since CCP Seagull took over as executive producer. The gap between developers and community has never been more narrow and easy to transverse. “This is EVE” proves to me that yes, CCP see the same thing I do when they look at what makes EVE, EVE, and that, is a truly heartening feeling. As for community reactions, I am not alone. Remember this summer? With all the doom and gloom? “EVE is dying” and all that? The past few months have seen even the most bitter vets once again express hope, dare I say even faith in the future of EVE, along with players returning to the game. If anything, “This is EVE” is the perfect anthem to this revival of EVE Online and a celebration of what makes it special. So much so, that even people who have never played or understood EVE instantly ‘get it’ and want a piece of that magic.

Georgik: As one of the bitter vets, I’m really enjoying the return of the “old” CCP. The use of player content has as a marketing tool has only ever been done with the Incarna trailer, directly after the Jita Riots and the mass disapproval of CCP’s direction. There have typically been two main categories of trailer, the lore ones, such as the 2012 and 2014 fanfest trailers, and the faux-player experience, like the Dominion, Incarna, and ‘Causality’ trailers. This latest one, however, actually shows what people are doing in EVE. As a result it has been getting rave reviews, not just from EVE fanbois, but from gaming communities, /r/Videos, and several other distant ends of the internet. Another interesting point is that they’re continuing the work of CCP Loxy, formerly known as Loxyrider, who was released by CCP in the last big lay-offs. The trailer shown at the 2014 EVE Down Under, is actually the fourth installment of ‘This is EVE.’ The first three done by Loxyrider, This is EVE, This is EVE II, and This is EVE III, focus almost entirely on visuals of EVE, and very little on the players. The first and third ‘This is EVE’ were filmed exclusively at the Alliance Tournaments (AT), and while the AT is a big crowd favorite, it’s not very representative of the entire player base. I love CCP Loxy’s work, but this reboot on his original idea, is far and away the best trailer to date. For me, the main thing that this trailer shows is a return to the community. Since the 2007 scandal between T20 and the player alliance Band of Brothers, CCP has used draconian measures to keep player and dev separated. There is still an company policy for CCP employees to hide the fact that they’re CCP employees when they play on tranquility with non-CCP affiliated accounts. In all other MMOs this is pretty much unheard of. The T20 events that happened seven years ago, fundamentally scarred the relationships between player and dev. With this trailer, there is a sense that it’s no longer us and them, but instead a unity between player and devs building something greater than either could make on their own. Mangala: I’m totally happy to fanboi all over the room when it comes to – as Georgik points out – the fourth This is EVE video. For me it wasn’t the graphics/imagery used in the video that did it for me like it normally does, this time it was very much the comms. Having playe communications used in situations that many of us can relate to really helped me “get” the video, and watch it over and over again. Even better on the use of player comms is that despite some EVE lingo being present, other gamers out there who happen upon This is EVE, will also get it. The emotions heard and felt in those player voices are the same for players killing raid bosses, building a guild hall, and beating hordes of their mortal enemies in pvp arenas, as they are for us here in EVE as we crash our ships and fleets into one another. Those players will see that and hopefully take the time to look deeper into EVE and turn into members of the sandbox alongside us all; all because CCP took the opportunity to demonstrate the more personal side to the game. ThisIsEVE2 Blackhuey: I was one of the lucky few who got to see this ahead of time at Eve Down Under. Even as we cheered we knew we had seen something truly incredible, something that would drive thousands of new players to Eve. We watched it twice in a row, and again after lunch, and when I went for a bathroom break late in the afternoon I could hear the audio coming from one of the stalls. I watched it in glorious HFR 1080p within 5 minutes of walking back in the door, and my eyes welled up. I doubt it will ever get old. I have no problem going full fanboy about this trailer. CCP hit this one right out of the park. I’ve heard a bit of cynicism afterwards about those soundbites being the ten seconds of excitement at the end of hours of boredom, but even those were half-hearted. Most of us have had those moments, even after hours of sitting on a titan, and they are what keep us coming back like that one sweet drive down the fairway after 17 holes of shanking into the rough. Our responsibility as bittervets is now to nurture the influx of new players and make sure they experience those moments themselves rather than suffering solo PVE to get an ISK high score. Every one of those thousands of newbies is a potential corpmate, target or both from today until the servers go dark. CCP did their bit, now let’s do ours and retain them. Oh Takashawa: It’s a pretty sweet vid. I’m not gonna talk about the video, though, because that’ll be beaten to death by all of my colleagues. Let’s talk about impact, because at the end of the day, this is a marketing move. ss+(2014-11-23+at+10.00.26)   That’s eveboard’s 48-hour Newborn Pilot graph. It’s not scientific, as it only reflects those new characters registered on eveboard, but is shows you some of what we’re talking about here. That’s a massive spike, more than can be explained by a normal weekend. That’s good press, good social media, and good advocacy on the part of EVE players, all of which is enabled and driven by this new trailer. That’s the kind of new blood EVE needs, and that I love seeing in EVE. The community is responding, too. BNI has abandoned any pretense of standards, opening their doors to hundreds of new members in the past 48 hours. It’s hard to show on dotlan, but the uptick is noticeable. They’re running nonstop newbie fleets, and they’re actively running around New Eden, collecting pilots from starter systems to introduce them to the glory that is EVE. That’s awesome. Discussion and engagement with newbies are up, too. Let’s talk about reddit. ss+(2014-11-23+at+10.05.37) These are /r/eve’s traffic stats. Dat spike. And people are embracing that interest, and sharing their passion for this game with newly interested faces. We’re seeing threads full of advice and guidance, relatively little trolling, and active efforts on the part of hundreds of community members, in their own unique ways, to welcome new people to our community. What does all this mean? One thing, plain and simple. CCP has finally, at long last, begun to leverage EVE’s strongest asset to sell its only product. We are that asset. The community this game has, and the commitment to this universe displayed by those who play in this sandbox, is unparalleled. This has been a great weekend for CCP, to be sure – more accounts, more subs, more players, and more good press. But it’s been an unbelievable weekend for us, the players. No single event has happened – no 6VDT, no B-R, no Monoclegate – but instead, the full manifestation of a community’s commitment to the game which inspired it. We are this trailer, we are this community, and now, more than ever, we are what makes EVE special. We’re not perfect, and neither is this game, but I’ll be damned if I can think of a time we’ve ever looked better. I am, and we should all be, this happy about our community and our game these days. Tarek: What I like about that trailer is, that it shows other things than massive nullsec battles and unrealistic stories of individual significance. It has solo explorers, incursion runners, industrialists and miners in there too. Other than Niden I do not lament the lack of “production values” because it actually makes things look like they would appear in-game rather than some cinematic rendering. On a personal note I very much missed faction warfare which I consider to be one of the best newbie playgrounds available in the game. The trailer does include two very significant moments that send an important message to new players. The first is the BNI fleet where you actually have a guy asking how to warp to something. The second is the pipebombed HERO fleet who manage to laugh at their own demise. The lessons one can take away from this is that one can participate without being the most knowledgeable veteran player and that one should not take loss too seriously. I still think that there is too much nullsec stuff in this trailer. I consider nullsec everything but healthy for a new player, maybe with the exception of BNI, and while it is good to show the scale of the great conflicts in that area, CCP should be wary of overusing it as a marketing tool because the disparity between reality and advertisement will simply be too big. On a sidenote, I have to say I am impressed that there are a few seconds of recorded TEST comms which include no profanity, abuse, racism, mention of different sexual organs or just general immaturity. Maybe they do have a future as fully developed human beings after all 😛 Hendrick: As a video nerd, that it was a well done piece of video. Nothing truly groundbreaking in terms of techniques or animation but as a marketing tool it did an amazing job at delivering numerous messages about what EVE is. To explain EVE in less than four minutes is a big task, to explain it in a trailer is arguably even harder. I agree with the sentiment that CCP using player content is the best move for them. Why they never bothered to work with players like this before is puzzling but that may because of the recent change in mid-level management though that’s just speculation. Projects like One Man Crew, Clarion Call, and so forth are readily available for CCP to use (aside from minor licensing aspects like music rights etc.). The fawning over the trailer from sites like Polygon, Massively, etc. helped introduce over 500 new player characters to the game within the first 48 hours of the trailer being out. That’s effective marketing, especially given the past year of notable scandals (Erotica 1, the monument defacing, the CCP layoffs, etc.) that made people really question the state of the company and their ability to attract new players to the game. The biggest task CCP, and the veterans in the community, is fostering the new players into maintaining their interest in EVE. In years past CCP have usually shifted the work of educating new players to the EVE community and I can’t help but feel they’ve realized the problems with that. With a new focus on improving the New Player Experience, they should also be working on the New Player Education. This trailer also helped our newly launched sister site plug into the hype, new player interest and so forth. Though that is just a selfish reason to be happy with the ad. I will also say having CCP approach JEFFRAIDER and myself about using audio from our “EVE Fits w/JEFFRAIDER” series here on Crossing Zebras for the trailer gives me a big sense of accomplishment. I would have definitely loved to see my Nullsec Recap or other work thrown in as well, but knowing that a video I produced and worked on with JEFFRAIDER got noticed by CCP and made them go “we want to put it into this trailer for our game” is amazing.
Tags: cz minutes, EDU, This Is EVE, trailers

About the author


12 year EVE veteran, Snuffed Out scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.