Failing In So Many Ways

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Liang Nuren – Failing In So Many Ways

Crucible is like a marriage

During a conversation with Evelgrion (@rotosequence), I came to the conclusion that the relationship between CCP Games and their Eve Online player base is like a marriage on the rocks.  On the one hand, CCP has been the layabout do nothing drunk that’s off chasing other skirts (launching other games, ignoring Eve Online, chasing a wholly different MT based subscriber set for Eve)… on the other, the players have been the nagging housewife going down the list of done-me-wrongs.  Neither party really has a great reputation with the other right now, but Eve Online: Crucible can really represent a turning point.  Marriage counseling, if you will.

As was necessary, CCP management took the first step with Hilmar’s public apology and is now actually delivering things that the players have been requesting for years.  And so far, the feature set for Crucible is stupendous – from radically redesigning the background art, to adding new ships, to engine trails, a new cyno effect, corporation bookmarks, and hell even UI scaling to make things easier to see.  At the current rate CCP is making marvelous headway into resolving Zero Punctuation’s famous criticisms of “Bored, Bored, Bored, Eyestrain” and “the user interface could only be less intuitive if your monitor was at the bottom of a fucking well”.  Its an all hands effort to put out a quality expansion and this is as genuine an olive branch as I can possibly imagine from CCP Games… and the fans are going absolutely wild.

But lets be real about it – from CCP’s perspective, most of these things are new features.  And you remember what they say about new features – “research shows that new features sell better than polished quality”.  However, from the player’s perspective, most of these features are polish features.  From our perspective, most of what we’re seeing is old things that look and work much better.  This is both sides of the relationship being happy… together.  Which brings me to the main point I’m going to make here.

CCP Games is a business, and management there has a responsibility to ensure it makes money – both to meet its financial obligations as well as to provide for its employees.  However, its also a gaming company.  I don’t know how much you know about working in the gaming industry, but you don’t do it for the money – because there’s much better money to be made in other industries.  The people at CCP want to make games.  Specifically, they want to make Eve Online.  And they want you (and me) to play it.

But right now we’ve got half the player base circling the airport in a wait-and-see pattern.  Are they really going to keep delivering polished quality?  Are they really going to abandon MT for advantage ambitions permanently?  Are they really going to stop trying to replace the current Eve subscribers with MT happy F2Pers?  Are they going to keep laying off/firing our beloved devs?  Are they really going to keep working on Eve?  Is management going to magically pull its head out of its ass and keep it out?    Are they really going to X?

The first thing to remember is that this is a game – and you shouldn’t play it if you don’t find it fun today or have a reasonable expectation that you’ll find it fun in the reasonably near future.  However, if you do find it fun today or expect to find it fun in the reasonably near future (for example, right after Crucible is released)… you should play.  I’m fully aware that at least some portion of the “bittervet” player base has matured/grown out/changed out of the mindset that will allow them ever enjoy Eve again.  However, for the rest of us… I’m going to go out on the limb and say that we really don’t have the luxury of holding out if we want this relationship to work out.  We, as players, need to forgive and trust and walk forward with CCP into a bright and glorious future of world domination.  We need to put out the good word of mouth – in blogs, in forum posts, and even in person.  We need to have that fire in our bones when we invite our friends, family, and neighbors to play with us.  Furthermore, we need to actually make that invite!

But what’s at risk if we don’t?  Well, remember how I said that CCP is a business?  Well they need to sustain it… and if everyone holds out and waits to see if CCP is “really serious”, the subs are going to keep dropping despite recent good behavior… and really damn fine PVP.  And then CCP will have to make hard decisions – like whether they’ll go literally F2P with MT for advantage.  To me, that’s an unacceptable fate for a good game that I’ve played and enjoyed for years.

The time to resub is now.  The time to invite your friends is now.  The time to play is now.

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Filed under: Eve, , , ,

5 Responses

  1. Bisba says:

    Already resubbed my 3 accounts. Can’t wait for crucible. Problem is that I’ve run out of friends and family to sell this game to :(.
    Anyway nice write up and totally agree with everything you said.

  2. Bomberlocks says:

    Excellent write up. Now please get back to doing the dishes 😛

  3. just resubscribed am looking forward to getting back into EVE
    MT? never heard that term

    • Liang Nuren says:

      MT refers to microtransactions. Generally speaking this means that you can pay some amount of real life money to receive an in game item – from a special ship to a special dress.

      I’ve never cared about people paying for items that don’t have an in game advantage, and fortunately the Monaclegate/Fearless leak has seemed to convince CCP that’s one thing the player base will not stand for.

  4. Guido says:

    Sorry man, i dont know that you truly do know much about the game industry, but I DO know that yes, many game devs ARE in it for the money…there is A LOT of money to be made a developer. Additionally, for the time spent in schooling – a game dev makes quite a bit more (and attains far more work-place freedoms) than an unrelated other industry worker.

    Plain and simple – game devs have it pretty easy, make great money and can wear jeans and piercings to work…

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