Today’s Blog Banter is:

In recent months, the relationship between CCP and it’s customers has been the subject of some controversy. The player-elected Council of Stellar Management has played a key role in these events, but not for the first time they are finding CCP difficult to deal with. What effect will CCP’s recent strategies have on the future of EVE Online and it’s player-base? What part can and should the CSM play in shaping that future? How best can EVE Online’s continued health and growth be assured?

This is a topic that certainly has gardners everyone’s attention over the past couple months.  This attention has mainly been because CCP seems unable to say or do the right thing without tripping over themselves.  The worst part of this is, everyone is trying their best to help CCP NOT do this.. yet they seem to be under the control of a PR idiot who has no business counselling a paper bag, much less a service organization.  But, I think it is best to break today’s Banter into more digestable pieces first.

What effect will CCP’s recent strategies have on the future of EVE Online and it’s player-base?

Sadly, we’ve already seen the effect of CCP’s strategies.  Player alienation, lack of increased subscriptions, and a reasonably upset playerbase.  Unfortunately for CCP, they also are running into a rare situation in the MMO world where their game has remained active for a long period of time.  This makes it more difficult to bring something that is “new” and captures the attention of both veteran and new players.  Personally, I think Incarna was a good idea and was a logical step into bringing more realisim into Eve Online.  I also think that despite much of the negative press, they are doing a reasonably good job at bringing it out. 

However, projects like the NeX and DUST aren’t really going to help CCP in the long run.  NeX was just a bad idea because CCP was convinced it needed to update its billing model and really, it didn’t.  The NeX and Aurum plans tend to fly right in the face of the very core Eve Online Value:  There are no shortcuts.  You can do anything, but you gotta learn how to do it and you have to work towards it. 

DUST, a concept I personally like and am excited for, seems to me to be a major money sink that won’t bring back serious returns (Though maybe CCP should partner with Wargaming.net to make a CCP Ground/Air Vehicle game…hmm.. that should be a new post).  The reason why I say that is because I now know the mind of my tween boy, who loves FPS games.  He is smart, well-read, and fairly focused.  Yet, when I discuss with him about even the most minor aspects of Eve, his eyes glaze over and I hear, “I’m confused.  When are you going to shoot someone?”  Even when I do get into fights, he doesn’t even get that if he looks away (his attention span is like most kids.. the size of a gnat) the battle might be over.  He also very much doesn’t get the fact that if I lost something, its lost forever until I go and buy another one.

What part can and should the CSM play in shaping that future?

Actually, I think they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.  Its just that CCP is in the corner putting their fingers in their ears and yelling, “LALALALALALALA” like a little kid.  Both CCP and CSM desire to make Eve a better, more fun, more enjoyable game.  In other words.. a more PROFITABLE game.  CCP doesn’t seem to get that anymore.  It also could be that they feel they are so deep into their other projects that if they don’t keep their focus, they’ll lose it all.  The problem really comes in is because CCP, to some extent, is correct in viewing it that way.  And it would be a good mindset to have if they had focused on only Incarna.  But with NeX and DUST and WOD also pulling on them it really places them in a bind where they cannot keep Eve Online’s base interested in the game.  In the end, if the upper management of CCP would listen to the CSM.. we all would be much happier.

How best can EVE Online’s continued health and growth be assured?

Drop focus on DUST and NeX for a bit, and put your resources into improving Eve Online’s null-sec sov issues, improving Low-sec interaction and purpose, mini-gaming mining, and really flesh out how Incarna can be FUN, but not a central aspect to Eve.  Really, you want to make sure that even the industrialists and Traders in Eve should be spending most of their time in their ships.

Most of all though, take the CSM a little more seriously.  We don’t want CCP to do everything the CSM says because sometimes players are idiots and groups of players are just groups of idiots.  But understand that the vast majority of players, and likewise the CSM, want to continue to play Eve.  We DON’T want to move on to another game, we WANT to stay with Eve.. so long as its enjoyable.