“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?”
Having played several MMOs, MUDs and other online games, of different styles and genres, I’ve been exposed to some very diverse communities. And while there is both merit and fault to be found in all, EVE’s community is one of those I really enjoy being part of in my own way.
More than with other communities, it is also one of the two — World of Warcraft being the other one — where I have further engaged in the form of player meetups, and the only one for which I have gone to its official convention. Not something I had thought would happen when I started out in EVE to have something to do aside from playing WoW.
What makes EVE’s community tick in my oppinion is that CCP cares for it, and overall has seen players as contributors to the experience rather than clients who pay a fee each month to enjoy a product. Our oppinion matters and is heard, which makes it people want to share theirs.
This is further enhanced by the fact that EVE is the kind of game where to get ahead, you need to take the risk of playing with others, and it can be a very rewarding experience even on small scale. Risk / reward isn’t just a way of balancing the game, it’s at the very core of what the game is all about.
Of course, EVE has its history of dark tales, stories of betrayal and theft. If you really do not like the fact that this could happen to you then this isn’t the game for you, there are other games who cater to that and neither can they be expected to change their ways because an EVE player would want them to be just like EVE. You might be able to get by in highsec, but even then you have to accept that you need to take a certain set of precautions or sooner or later the inevitable may happen. But heh, space is supposed to be cold and harsh, and the realness of this adds to the charm of the game. It’s not some simulated or storyline stuff. It’s done by real people, who can be a ‘space villain’ if that’s what they want to be.
The EVE community is also very diverse, meaning that if you don’t like certain parts of it, it is both ok and possible to ignore those. You don’t want to play in the ‘endgame’ that is sov space? You don’t have to. Because it’s neither the only nor the real ‘endgame’. And you change your mind tomorrow? That’s fine, you can, without having to restart from scratch.
I’ve heard complaints in the past that the EVE community is a bunch of elitist jerks, and there is a certain truth in that. I no longer follow the official forums closely, but when I started out I felt that even in the newbie forums beginning players were looked down upon. Luckily that has changed, and I think groups such as EVE University, OUCH and Agony Unleashed have contributed to that in addition to the efforts of CCP to lower the curve by doing away with frustrations. My personal belief is that a game should be hard because it provides a challenge, not because it’s tedious, cumbersome, and the interface seems designed to work against you. I’m glad that is something CCP seems to also agree upon. Much love for all the developers who have contributed to the efforts done in this field.
As for Dust 514, its community will be a mixed bag of new players but also of EVE veterans looking for a new or additional way to play the game. Some people fear the unflux of ‘console kiddies’, but I doubt those will be the kind that sticks around. And even if not, I do not believe we should bar the door for these kinds of players, we can certainly learn from them, not to mention teach them a thing or two. If we’re not careful, they might become so damn good at it and beat us at our own game. So a little humbleness and retaining an open mind is certainly in order. After all, for things unavoidable, the best way to deal with it is to accept and make the best of it.
Lastly, this banter came with a rather amusing bonus question: “What single button would you recommend be included on an EVE-specific keyboard?”. In honour of CCP Soundwave, I believe there should be an orbital bombardment button. On a less comical note, probably buttons for functions that are commonly used, things like opening your skill sheet or fitting window. While these all have ctrl or alt + something keybinding, sometimes there is additional convenience in just pressing one button.