Blog Banter 35: The Public Perception of EVE Online
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?
[Unrelated and random bonus question sponsored by EVE News 24: What single button would you recommend be included on an EVE-specific keyboard?]
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First, read this post I wrote right after Mittensgate a couple weeks ago. Its about a post an outsider made about Eve online in which he stated (emphasis mine):
I’m consistently impressed by their open world, single server, high skill cap design, but depressed by their encouragement of a community based on harassment, abuse, and betrayal.And that is just his opinion of our community. And he is not alone. From the comments on this post:
CCP openly condones and encouragements harassment (and worse) of players.
There are so many utterly poisonous game communities out there right now. EVE, WoW, League of Legends. I don’t understand why these game developers just let it get this bad.
Yeah, EVE online is a cutthroat competitive game that encourages players to treat each other like shit. You try to get your enemies to quit, and you try to milk your clueless guildmates for all they are worth. It’s not much of a surprise people will take it even further given the anonymity.But I'm not going to address this post again, I already did so. The point is that this view is not uncommon. Over 6 years I've heard the refrain that "I'd like to play Eve but I don't want to deal with griefers/scammers" or something to that effect. Or that they don't want to have all their stuff stolen or destroyed. Or that they'll never catch up to older players due to the capless timed skill system.
This perception is off. Last week I argued that the Eve community is full of helpful and honourable people but they don't make the news like the scams and tear-harvesters do. I've argued that the skill system is not a detriment to catching up to older players due to the limit on number of skills points you can improve a ship's performance being quite small in reality (more skill points eventually only gives more options, not better performance).
But often perception defines reality and the overwhelming outside perception that Eve Online is filled with jerks, assholes, and sociopaths means that many people who would enjoy the game are put off trying it. And in defence the community circles the wagon and says "we didn't want those subscriptions anyways, HTFU!". Then when CCP tries to do anything to make the daunting task of trying the game more palpable we collectively throw up our arms and cry about "dumbing Eve down" or pandering to WoW kiddies and carebears. Sometimes the naysayers are right, sometimes they are wrong. Its a no win situation.
I think we should be concerned by the Eve community's public image. We need to keep new players coming in to replace losses to players leaving and bad stories stay around forever. We need positive stories to balance the books. I just don't know how to get the good image that we know internally exists out to the wild.
As for DUST 514 players influencing the community? Yeah, I don't see that happening very much at all. The games are different types on different hardware appealing to largely different players, and I don't expect much interaction between the two groups for at least a year.
Bonus Answer: Launch Drones / Drones Engage Target.