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If you look on page 76 of the December minutes, you will see a very in-depth discussion on what CCP is doing about having live events in Eve Online.  The CSM was impressed that CCP has increased the number of permanent event managers from two people to nine.  In addition, CCP has opened up another 6-10 devs to help out when developing teams for Live Events.  The information that they discussed was very informative and they go on for a good five pages discussing the ins and outs of what makes a good live event.

They were also completely and utterly wrong.

Both the CSM and CCP were on the same page and the on very same playbook.. the problem is, the playbook is the same one that has been used by Everquest, Lotro, WoW, and pretty much every MMO since they started.   Think about what they are wanting to do, what they have done in the past: An event happens in a system and everyone who wants to join flies there to have the fun.  A system duplicated by every other MMO.

Now, that playbook works because in games like Wow, Lotro, etc. it takes only five to ten minutes tops to drop what you are doing and get to the location where the event is happening.  And if you wanna leave, its only five to ten minutes to get back to what you were doing.  It is a playbook with zero hassle in most MMOs.

But, in Eve Online, it is the exact opposite.  Eve has almost 8000 systems.  A ten minute trip in an interceptor means you’ve gone through ten of those systems, just ten.  But let’s not forget the time you need to get the right ship, the time it takes to rearm, time it takes to avoid gate camps, etc., etc. etc.  As it stands, the vast majority of Eve players probably will never ever get to participate in a Live Event if they are continued to be held this way.  Especially if the goal is to only have them once or twice a year.

An More Aggressive Live Event Plan

Now, what if, instead of CCP being passive about players joining Live Events, they were more active.  What do I mean?  Well, currently Evewho shows approximately 225,000 corporations.  While that is a lot of corporations and alliances, we can take out a LOT of those if we remove holding corps, single member corps, dead or dying corps (i.e. CEO/Director activity less than three logins a week, for example).  We can further lighten the number by removing corporations with 10 to 20 or less members.  This should bring the number of corporations you can interact with to a more reasonable number.

Let’s now suppose, that instead of a couple of devs or GMs going to a particular system and starting a “Live Event”, they randomly select a few corporations based on certain criteria, contact them, and give only those corps a live event for that day?  Sounds daunting, right?

Well, let’s look at the numbers.  If you have 9 Live Event Coordinators, suppose each day they run three live events interacting with three to four corps each, five days a week.  That means each week, 405 seperate corporations will be involved in Live Events.  Suppose each of those corporations have 25 people?  That works out to about 10,125 people, each week, having the opportunity to be in a live event.

Ten thousand players EACH.. WEEK.  Probably won’t ever reach that.. but the potential is there, even with the current crew CCP has set up.  And it would affect hundreds or more players than the current system could even dream about.  And let’s not forget that since you can identify and categorize your target corporations, you now have the means and reasons to develop Live Events that involve more than just “Shoot ebil pirate A”.  Live Events can be made so that corps of all sorts will want to try them out.  You could even have some of the corps work together to reach certain goals, while other corps try to compete against them, or hinder them in either combative, or more sneaky ways.  Hide and seek events, mining events, building events, exploration events, political events, the options are only limited by the developer’s imagination.

How could it work? – The Basic Concept

First off, get each of your Live Event members to develop six separate Live Events.  Three of them will be one-time events adjustable to be usable for larger or smaller groups.  Two of them will be story-line events that will need to expanded on later, and one will be an “impact” event, something that has the potential to change the lore of Eve Online, or something that will result in the introduction of a particular ship or module.  In my opinion EVERY new item in game should only be released via a Live Event.  Make it a challenge for new items to get in game!  Each of those events though would only be outlines, allowing for the creativity of each game team.  Faction Warfare Events would especially be good for the introduction of new ships, or even the when ships get remodeled.

Next, CCP could break a lot of the corps down into general categories.  It’s not perfect, but then again, you have a clearer idea of what Live Events certain corps would be interested in doing.  Then you break those corps apart by timezone (the afternoon/evening in each area) and overall activity.  Distribute your GMs and Live Event Coordinators to match those groups.  Pair up your Devs and GMs so that they can work off each other if the Event can call for it.  Once you build your list, randomly generate a certain number of corps, and interact with them via roleplay to see if they want to do the Live Event.  If one corp doesn’t want to do it, just move on to the next one.

It can get as complicated as you want, or.. leave it simple.  At the end of a successful event, since only a few corps were involved, you can award them with a medal, some isk, or whatever you think is an appropriate payout.  Those that fail, well, better luck next time.  Either way, the corp then gets removed off of the list for say four months, then they get put back in the pot for another random chance with a new event.  Plus, those medals give the devs and GMs a clue about what Live Event not to use the next time they get picked.  And since you have only an outline and several events to choose from, it is highly unlikely that any corp will have the same Live Event ever.

Bigger Events that impact Game Lore, could see an early introduction of certain, soon to be released ships/modules, whereas failure would mean that a particular ship/module might not be available until sometime after the others were released.  Think of how exciting it would be if live events actually carried weight in Eve Online.  More than just an Event, but an actual game, even lore impact.

In Conclusion

Is it a perfect system?  No, no system is perfect and I’m sure quite a few bloggers can (and likely will) point out the flaws in this idea.  But, a system like this is far, FAR more dynamic and engaging than anything that comes out of those cookie-cutter MMOs.  And it has the distinction of being in front of the curve, rather than behind.  CCP, the developer, would be directly involving players in their own worlds, in their own environments.  Not just waiting for players to find them, but going out, looking for them to become more involved in the world of Eve.

Or you could just sit, and read up on a Live Event, handled like all other live events in MMO history, perhaps never really feeling a part of Eve itself…