CZ Minutes: Vegas and Beyond

With the first CCP-run EVE Vegas in the bag it’s safe to say it was a success. Across the pacific ocean, EVE Down Under is less than a month away, and come February, EVE Nottingham is looking to continue its success – to name a few. As EVE events continue to pop up across the time zones, CCP are looking to extend their support. What do you look for from these events? EVE reveals? Meeting friends or new people? In other words, where should the focus be and what kind of support do you think CCP should give? Mangala: New drinking buddies. Putting names to faces of in game friends and foes alike.  Generally for me thats what any EVE meets are all about. The EVE content is just background material to all the meta stuff surrounding them really. Not that exclusive reveals are not nice, they are really great. Gives people more of a reason to want to go such meets, I just don’t see them as the most important reason to go. Of course another selling point, is the interaction with the devs. Not just viewing them on stage, or in the excellent roundtables (seriously the roundtables at vegas were beyond fantastic, especially Seagulls post Keynote roundtable). But getting tremendously wankered with them as well. I mean how many games companies can say their Devs lead pubcrawls, get smashed with the fans and generally party till dawn? Blackhuey: Meets are fantastic for putting faces to names and voices that I’m familiar with ingame.  Having been to a number of local meets and one EDU last year, I’m stoked about EDU 2014 in November and jumped on the ticket as soon as my RL schedule opened up. Last year at EDU I finally met my man crush, Sion Kumitomo, and he was every bit as dreamy as I imagined him on jabber *swoon*. I drank breathtakingly terrible Eve-themed cocktails and sang karaoke with blues and reds alike, shared a birthday cake with the FC of my heart Fawlty7, hung out with corpmates, won PLEX and spent my one boy’s weekend per year in space nerd heaven. What’s not to like. CCP have been doing better every year at supporting these events with devs, prizes and reveals and I’m confident they’re seeing return on their investment in retention. This isn’t to diminish the huge effort the local community organisers put in; it’s a testament to their work that CCP has stepped up its game outside of Fanfest including adopting Vegas as an official event, and the community events including EDU are every bit as capably organised and run. CCP should keep doing what they’re doing in terms of supporting the events, but fire up the marketing machine to promote them more widely to the playerbase. Mangala: Would agree that more marketing about player meets needs to be done.  Not just of EVE meets CCPers are attending, but of any meet organised by players. I know folks from certain meets feel a little aggrieved when other similar meetups get all the press and they get bupkiss. Re pushing meets to more players, start with the forums. For example the meets forum section is a circle jerk of interested/invested parties, rather than the hotbed of multitudes looking to meet evebros. Had some good chats with Bam Stoker during Vegas about how this could be done, including breaking the 4th wall that is sending mass mails to players ingame, telling them about meetups, or even further calendar adaptations that let player meets posted ingame automatically appear for all. Vegas-and-beyond1 Niden: I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t actually been to an EVE event yet. I’m looking to warm up with EVE_NT in February and make the pilgrimage to Fanfest 2015 (honest, lodging already booked). So while I can’t really speak on the physical events themselves yet, I do have something to say about the streams that go out from Fanfest and, more recently, EVE Vegas. Often those of us sitting at home hear that the roundtables are where a lot of the action is, so I wish there were some way to share that. Perhaps multiple streams could be a solution? Maybe I’d much, MUCH rather listen in on the balance roundtable with Fozzie and Rise than watch how Goons rule their empire of drone-people with fancy software. Doesn’t need to be anything advanced, just put a camera and a mic in the room. I think it’s fantastic that CCP are keen to support player events and I certainly think strengthening the community is absolutely vital to EVE’s health. The devil’s advocate in me would worry that the time devs spend involving themselves with this type of thing is time they don’t spend working on EVE. The counter-argument to that is of course that close communication with the community, which events provide better than any forum could, is an integral part of EVE “development” as it provides a compass for what the players want, while also allowing CCP to explain the thinking behind certain changes and overall strategy in a much more hands-on way. Above all, EVE is a social game, all these pixels mean nothing without the people behind them, both player- and CCP run events are a natural extension of that and the sign of a thriving community. I have the utmost respect for CCP, choosing to rub shoulders and intermingle with their players the way they do. As a community we may give CCP a lot of loving flak, but this is an aspect they do 100% right. Like Mangala said: who else could say the same? Cilvius: I am in the same boat as Niden as I have never been to an EVE event myself (though I hope I can remedy that before long). From the perspective of somebody looking into these events from the outside I love the exclusive info that came come from them, and I want to mirror Niden’s request for more streams to allow players to watch what they want. I love that CCP takes the time to get involved in these meet-ups but I do agree that more can (and should) be done. Advertising meetups would be a great thing, even in game. Perhaps they need someone on staff to handle meet-ups for the entire community. A CCP staffer that players can contact about meet-ups who is then in charge of putting this stuff out to the playerbase. Post it on the in-game calendar for all to see, perhaps. When I finally am able to attend an EVE event I hope to meet the people I fly with and the people I shoot at. Getting the chance to hang out and get to know the people behind both the development of the game and the playing of the game is a great thing. I think community events like this help a lot with player retention because it can help remind players that while EVE can be a cruel game there are some great people behind the characters you see in game. 15459139422_5a67a2cd6c_z Apoth: I’ve been to two PL London meets, Fanfest and I guess casting the AT was a little EVE meet-y. The most important thing about all of them for me is chilling out with EVE bros. Hearing announcements and little events and competitions are fun, but nothing beats a cold one with the guys you fly with year round, reminiscing about cool fights and the days before [insert expansion/CFC/B here] ruined the game/money making empire/your preferred style of PvP and speculating on new features/doctrines/which alliance will implode next/when the ‘Doo will return. Xander: Kind of talked about it with Bam Stroker on CZ recently but I guess I look for three things.
  1. Meeting other Eve players and just hanging with them, talking about the game
  2. Meeting other devs / finding out cool new things about Eve
  3. Get drunk and partay – this is literally probably the most important thing
I know it sounds nuts but the party thing is so key to a good Eve event. There’s a reason the likes of the Fanfest pub crawl is a legendary event in the Eve community. People want to have a few drinks, chat shit about internet spaceships, laugh about how when the dude you’re drinking with ganked you because you were dumb and just have fun. Ultimately, Eve events are first and foremost about being social and should be considered and planned from that angle. I think Fanfest gets this pretty right and from what I’ve read about the likes of Vegas and Eve Down Under, they are the same. Oh Takashawa: More open bar parties. Seriously. I’m not kidding. EVE events are not about EVE, for me. They never have been, and I doubt they ever will be. I love the ever-living fuck out of this game, to the point that I get passionate and irrational and piss people off with my opinions, but at the end of the day, when I step out of my apartment in a PL shirt to go to an EVE event, I don’t give a single flying fuck about the pixels. I care about the people, and Vegas blew the “people” aspect of Fanfest out of the water in a lot of ways. I’d love to see more player presentations (much more heavily screened by CCP, to be clear – lookin’ at you, piece of shit lowsec presentation) integrated into Fanfest. I’d love to see more CCP stuff of greater substance at player events. I’d love to see more giveaways. More than anything else, though, I’d love to see more structured ways to spend time with existing bros, and meet new bros. The only thing I disliked about Fanfest, other than this dude literally wearing a tinfoil hat, was that it was hard to meet new bros outside of like, the pub crawl. I had an amazing time with the 50+ PL and Waffles who came to Iceland, and made new bros within my existing community, but I didn’t bridge any gaps, expand at all. Not for lack of trying, to be clear – it’s just that the shit is so heavily scheduled with lecture-style sessions and CCP-moderated roundtables, that there aren’t “hey we’re gonna stick 30 random dudes in a group and make them talk to one another and make new friends” type opportunities at all. I feel like in a community as close-knit as ours, there’s some cool opportunities there, and I’d love to see CCP find a way to work on that. And seriously, more open bars. I want to get #whitegirlwasted more often, with bros, and I don’t mind paying for it up-front. The party at Chateau was perfect in Vegas, and I want more of it. I’d just like to walk away from EVE events feeling like I spent more time meeting new people, not just putting faces to names I already know. wpid-20131130_104514 Mangala: I kind of agree with Taka when it comes to more ways to meet more people. Particularly more ways that do not necessarily involve getting wasted to do so. This year for example, I met old friends from last year, folks from ingame whom I wanted to meet (some from the ingame vegas channel) and thanks to the pub crawl, after parties, Chateau, and just generally chilling the Heart Bar in PH, I met many more new people from all across the game. However, will I, or they even remember? Maybe not. I mean a room with a bunch of boardgames in – Danger Game and that EVE Conquest game for example. That would be a good way to meet folks, as not everyone in every clique would want to play boardgames. A sisters of eve style program but for nerds, maybe excursion out to various places. Things that encourage interaction without the beer. Specifically things for the folks who show up one or two days early and do not simply want to gamble/shop/drink. Hell, as someone who has been to vegas a couple of times now, i’d be happy taking a bunch of randoms under my wing and doing touristy shit with them, just to get to know them, and if I got a CCP Umbrella to wave around like a tour guide, even better! Tarek: I have been to a fanfest several years ago and then haven’t been to anything until EVEsterdam this year. What I enjoy a lot is the way how players behave so differently IRL as opposed to the forums or in-game. Granted, the Goons still act like they are some sort of cult if you meet them IRL, but even some of them actually manage to act like independently thinking individuals once you have them isolated from their fellows. There is still nastiness happening that is more akin to the way how people treat each other in-game, but it is usually relegated to small groups of truly socially deficient individuals and nobody can be surprised to find a few of those among nerds playing with pixel spaceships. What I also like a lot about events like this are the presentations by players. CCP Seagull is on youtube giving a presentation on the importance of allowing players a central role in the design process, and CCPs support of player events shows that clearly. By facilitating presentations by players CCP present a showcase of the many diverse ways of player interaction and initiatives, and I enjoy it very much listening to those stories. In the old days there was mostly the alliance panel featuring that aspect, but lately it has become broader and more diverse which is much more interesting than listening to representatives of the same handful of alliances over and over.  
Tags: cz minutes, events, vegas

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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.