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What Game Devs Should Learn From EVE

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the watch-out-for-volcanoes dept.

PC Games (Games) 270

An anonymous reader passes along this excerpt from Gamesradar about EVE Online's Council of Stellar Management (CSM), a group of elected player representatives that serve to facilitate communications between the developers and the community: "On the last day, the devs announced that after the earlier discussions about improving the CSM’s ability to effect change, the CSM was being raised to the status of its own department within CCP. This is revolutionary; in one swift move, the CSM went from what could be considered a glorified focus group to what CCP considers to be a 'stakeholder' in the company, given equal consideration with every other department in requesting development time for a project. That means the CSM — and the entire playerbase it represents — has as much influence on development projects as Marketing, Accounting, Publicity and all the other teams outside of the development team. This is, of course, the stated intention. But has any developer gone to such lengths for its fans?"

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270 comments

Their thinking (5, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276618)

Maybe if we ask people what they want and then give it to them, they will tell their friends, blog positively, continue to subscribe to our subscription-based service instead of wandering off in boredom.

The Internet makes a lot of things possible when it comes to unprecedented communication between suppliers and consumers. Of course, this only works if you believe your users know what they want.

Re:Their thinking (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276634)

Or it's just a creative way to foster elitism - which is a fundamental part of the competitive motivations of the game.

Re:Their thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32276880)

Well, the game resembles Elite in more than one way. Yay elitism!

Re:Their thinking (3, Interesting)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277020)

Or it's just a creative way to foster elitism - which is a fundamental part of the competitive motivations of the game.

The meta-game in EVE is huge. Tons of business is conducted on forums, in person, and over the phone. EVE really extends beyond the GUI running on your computer.

The CSM is just another arena for the players to compete in.

Re:Their thinking (1)

wish bot (265150) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277024)

The CSM only really comes from the 0.0 player base anyway as the Corps and Alliances vote as blocks for their own candidates.

Therefore perhaps the CSM has a role as a 'lure'...move to 0.0 space and have the opportunity to influence your play style to your benefit.

Re:Their thinking (1, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277814)

For those of us following along at home, what is 0.0 space? I caught the tail end of the Goonfleet collapse, but that's about it.

Re:Their thinking (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277982)

Space that can be "controlled", either through force projection alone, or by status of actually having sovereignty in a system.

Re:Their thinking (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277450)

The first thing that came to my mind when I read this was "And how many people on this council are going to use their new power to further their own personal interests in the game?" Eve is such a cutthroat environment that *anything* that blurs the line between player and developer will only cause problems and bring into question the developers' objectivity. There have already been several scandals [escapistmagazine.com] involving CCP employees caught playing the game. This will only cause more problems.

Re:Their thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32277750)

Just in the past year, one of the CSM delegates resigned his position due to what amounts to taking advantage of the details of upcoming changes to try to further his own in-game goals, (Reference: A CSM Delegate Resigns [eveonline.com])

Note: I do play EVE. It does feel like a job sometimes, a lot of the game is boring as hell, but it is a decent way to learn real-world diplomacy and leadership skills without the real-world consequences (i.e. Learning how to get people to do what you want them to do and dealing with other people that you don't get along with while not risking your real-world paycheck)

Mostly it's a glorified chat room with spaceships, though. :)

Re:Their thinking (0, Offtopic)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277908)

people on this council are going to use their new power to further their own personal interests

 
You must not get out of mom's basement much :) This is how the real world works as well. Bush Sr. was head of the CIA, became president, one of his sons became President as well, the other a govenor of Florida. McCain, before running for Senate and President, was in the Navy as an officer. McCain's father was an Admiral, and his father was an Admiral. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that McCain's son will at the very least be a captain of an aircraft carrier if he doesn't go into politics by then.
 
The principal of a nearby elementary school is married to a Whataburger resturant owner; guess where they have their team building meetings, and who caters all the staff lunches?

Re:Their thinking (5, Insightful)

quickgold192 (1014925) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276916)

continue to subscribe to our subscription-based service instead of wandering off in boredom.

When it comes to EVE, I have to wonder if there's a difference.

Re:Their thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32277216)

It has been said a hundred times before, but I will say it again :

Skills don't matter that much, EvE players are intelligent enough to compete on something else than the time spent on the game.

Re:Their thinking (3, Informative)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277010)

Maybe if we ask people what they want and then give it to them, they will tell their friends, blog positively, continue to subscribe to our subscription-based service instead of wandering off in boredom.

A key part of this, though, is filtering out the noise.

There are a lot of whiners on the EVE boards (just like pretty much any game's forum). Lots of the them think the game is too tough, too time-consuming, and too unforgiving. Lots of them would like it to be friendlier and more casual in nature.

CCP doesn't respond to every single whine on the boards like some companies do.

Instead, they ask the players to elect folks who actually represent them. And then they ask the representatives what to do with EVE.

You'll see CSM members of a piratical disposition... Folks from large alliances... Folks who are carebears at heart... Folks from tiny corporations... All sorts of different people represented... But you won't see a whole lot of folks who whine that EVE needs to be more friendly and forgiving.

Re:Their thinking (2, Informative)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277270)

Maybe if we ask people what they want and then give it to them, they will tell their friends, blog positively, continue to subscribe to our subscription-based service instead of wandering off in boredom.

The Internet makes a lot of things possible when it comes to unprecedented communication between suppliers and consumers. Of course, this only works if you believe your users know what they want.

Proud to say I kicked the EVE habit long ago. You could get places it that game but it felt like a full-time job.

What finally did it for me is that the missions became too difficult for too little reward. I had my spiffy new battleship and lost it in a mission because the enemy bots were using jammer ships, i.e. you can't warp out when you notice you're in trouble. This was the final straw on top of the nerfing of the loot tables, the addition of extraneous content like rigs that just made missions take longer, and the ultimate sense I wasn't going anywhere. And let's not even get started about the developers interceding in high-level wars, the long-standing bugs that don't get fixed, and developer focus on silly new features rather than fixing those holes. Did they ever get station perambulation working?

You get out of things what you put into it and maybe there are people who are getting a great deal out of EVE. I figure my time there would be better spent on other things, things with payoff (I say while reading slashdot.)

It's been a long time coming (1)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276624)

Reading through the logs of some of the CSM meetings, they actually do work like a normal division, just without the teeth. hopefully this will fix that. On a side note.. why does it take 15 seconds on my i7 machine to preview my post?

Re:It's been a long time coming (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32276658)

Why does it take 1 second on my cellphone to preview my post? Because processing power has little to no correlation with Internet responsiveness.

Re:It's been a long time coming (0, Offtopic)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277516)

Why does it take 1 second on my cellphone to preview my post? Because processing power has little to no correlation with Internet responsiveness.

So my cell phone using the wifi network here has better internet responsiveness than my desktop pc wired to the same network. Interesting.

Re:It's been a long time coming (0, Offtopic)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277528)

Did I mention I have 100Mb/s fiber? Nothing takes that long...

Re:It's been a long time coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32276668)

Because it didn't properly balance the different characters of the string between the processors. This is clearly a poor multithreads implementation!!! Gee... Developers...

Re:It's been a long time coming (0, Offtopic)

LinuxAndLube (1526389) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276950)

When I use Chrome on Windows, the first preview of the session takes ages to be displayed. Consecutive previews display quickly. Even more frustratingly, Chrome's back button does not really work with this site. Who's to blame?

This is why (4, Interesting)

toxygen01 (901511) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276638)

EVE is so popular. It's not a game (anymore). Everyone takes it very seriously.
CCP even hired economists to be able to cope with in-game markets...

Re:This is why (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277036)

EVE is still as much a game as anything else out there...

Yes, the meta-game is hugely important in EVE... Maybe more-so than in most games... But it is still just a game... At least, as much as any popular MMOG is just a game.

Yes, people take EVE seriously... But they take WoW and EverQuest and StarCraft and everything else seriously too.

Re:This is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32277294)

Yes, the meta-game is hugely important in EVE... Maybe more-so than in most games... But it is still just a game... At least, as much as any popular MMOG is just a game.

Hiring someone to physically sever a critical person's internet connection as a huge battle gets underway isn't taking meta-gaming too far is it? No? Good. I didn't think so.

Yes, people take EVE seriously... But they take WoW and EverQuest and StarCraft and everything else seriously too.

Internet spaceships r srs bsns.

So popular? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277384)

Ummmm.... No.

EVE has maybe 300,000 active subscribers currently. Ok no problem, that's plenty of people to make the game worth continuing development on and making a profit. However that's not popular, by any stretch. EQ2 has over 500,000 players, Star Trek has a million players, Aion has 3.5 millions players, WoW has over 11 million, Linage 2 has around 20 million. So while EVE is in no risk of drying up and dying, it isn't popular compared to other MMOs, it is rather niche.

The reason is the one you already talked about: People take it so seriously. Most gamers do not play a game for a serious experience. They play to escape, to have fun. If a game requires you to be serious and is full of people for who it is a very serious life substitute, well a large amount of gamers won't be interested.

If that's what you like, wonderful, I am not going to tell you that you are wrong in what entertains you. However please don't try and sell it as being really popular or big, because that is just untrue.

Re:So popular? (1)

Decypherohm (724965) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277540)

You also have to consider that CCP allows for an individual to have more than one account, that might make your numbers get a bit different, unless you're already considering it. I am mentioning this because I know a person that has 5 different accounts, i.e, pays for 5 players.

Re:So popular? (1)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277552)

Actually, the reason is because those 300,000 eve players are all on the same "server". It's not divided up into shards or whatever those other MMOs call them. Everyone is in the same universe. THAT is what makes it interesting.

CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (5, Interesting)

harl (84412) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276648)

The only problem is the CSM has no mandate. They do not represent the players. They're elected by 4-6% of the player base.

The whole thing is widely viewed with scorn by the player base. Election turn outs make the states look good. Most candidates are viewed as fanboys wanting a free trip to iceland.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276656)

You've failed to note one thing: The 6% of the playerbase they are elected by are the 6% that CARE. If the others cared, they could vote, too. They CHOSE not to.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (2, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276746)

I played EVE for a few years. This is the first I've heard of the CSM.

Note to CSM members: Improve public image of CSM, improve awareness.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (3, Informative)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276850)

There've been calls to vote for the CSM smack dab in the middle of your login screen for weeks.

If you overlook something that is right in the center of your monitor just what are they supposed to do, send you private messages every 5 minutes? :P

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32277184)

tl;dr

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277070)

I played EVE for a few years. This is the first I've heard of the CSM.

Note to CSM members: Improve public image of CSM, improve awareness.

I don't know how you can be unaware of the CSM...

It's featured heavily on the EVE homepage for weeks before the election. You'll see folks campaigning on the forums... Supporters will throw slogans and "vote for..." messages in their signatures... You'll see mention of it in various in-game channels...

There's even a message on the login screen reminding you to go vote...

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (2, Informative)

Martin Spamer (244245) | more than 3 years ago | (#32278126)

There has been a huge page banner to vote on the home page [eveonline.com] for a couple of months.

It's been on the in-game browser Home/News page for the same amount of time.

There is a section on the forum called Council of Stellar Management.

Some candidates have made campaign videos on YouTube [youtube.com].

Where have you been hiding, under Chribba's pile of Veldspar or something ?

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (2, Insightful)

harl (84412) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276834)

Or maybe they trust the game developers more than some fanboys.

What about the original point of the CSM? To act as auditors of CCP to prevent corruption. Remember the T2 BPOs given out by a DEV? CSM was in direct response to that.

What was the latest corruption. Oh yeah a CSM trying to play the market with inside information he got from being on the council.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32276914)

It can become a problem though. If those 6% don't really represent the player base and take influence on game development, it can go wrong. Well, CCP isn't stupid, so I doubt it happens. I've seen that problem in another game years ago though. The developer listened to those, who complained the loudest and neglected those, who were happy and quietly playing the game and now almost noone plays the game anymore. I think a company needs a clear vision and should be careful and not blindly following, what some group of players ask for. Sometimes those players also don't really see the consequences and wish afterwards, they hadn't asked for those changes.

Well, like I said, I think CCP knows, what they are doing. I have trust in them. They didn't ruin the game since it's out, but kept improving it and I expect it to continue.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32277116)

Which percentage of the players are palying the alliance warfare end game? Which percentage of the CSM members are playing the alliance warfare end game? EVE online has had some issues with handling massive battles. I heard that these scalability issues do not affect players that do not play the alliance warfare end game.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (1)

angryphase (766302) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277288)

Or perhaps the others didn't see somebody they could put their trust and beliefs in to vote?

Remember, this is the internet. Nobody trusts anybody else.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (2, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277362)

You've failed to note one thing: The 6% of the playerbase they are elected by are the 6% that CARE. If the others cared, they could vote, too. They CHOSE not to.

The other 94% will care if they don't like changes that are made. When it comes to RL elections, if I don't vote in the election and don't like the resulting government I need to emigrate (major PitA). If I don't vote for my representative in an online game and don't like the changes they choose it's nowhere near as much trouble to leave.
If I made a game where 94% of players views were effectively being ignored I'd be worried about making changes that they didn't want without realising it.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (5, Insightful)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276708)

But quite often the CSM as a group has a far better view of the consequences of certain changes.

A large majority of the players focus on a single aspect of gameplay and what that part improved in some way, without realizing what the consequences are to the rest. Especially in a game like EVE where pretty much the entire economy is ran by players, a small change here could have massive impact over there.

Personally I can't wait to see what happens when meta 0 stuff stops dropping, should make things interesting ;-)

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (1)

harl (84412) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276814)

Yeah because the consequences of jail time for in game murders is both sane and good for the player base. Yes that's an actual CSM member's position. You pod kill you go to pixel jail and stare at pixel bars.

I'm sure the consequences of that will be great for the game.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276862)

And that's why it is a group, a committee, and not a single member.

Sure, there may be one bleeding heart carebear in there that wants people jailed for committing pixel murder, but right next to him will be a pirate who spends his time shooting folks like aforementioned carebear and who can explain what the consequences are his intended ideas.

Now please excuse me while I find out who this guy you mentioned is while I fit 8 smartbombs to an armageddon...

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277498)

Yeah because the consequences of jail time for in game murders is both sane and good for the player base. Yes that's an actual CSM member's position. You pod kill you go to pixel jail and stare at pixel bars.

I'm sure the consequences of that will be great for the game.

Assuming it required a bounty be placed and another player capture the murderer and deliver them to a jail (which would also be player-run), that seems entirely in-line with the intent of the game. If players want to create a government and enforce lawfulness in certain sectors of space, they can.

Mission Blitzing is what will happen (1)

theolein (316044) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277244)

Until now, it has always been a toss up whether to blitz missions or to salvage them and loot them. Well, obviously, in future the looting bit will no longer be worth it in terms of isk/hour so players will simply be enticed to use Marauders even more than they do now, so as to speed up the process.

Personally, I think it's nice for miners and t1 industrialists, who will finally make a bit of money.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (1)

ahaubold (1705608) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276840)

I do not know which player base you are talking about. The players I know do encourage each other to take part in the votings and do not label the CSM members as fanboys. Quite the contrary is what I see. Players do think that their CSM representatives are working really hard to make EvE a "better place". But maybe I am just blinded by the awesomeness of Vuk Lau and Elvenlord ;)

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (1)

Mark Trade (172948) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276986)

To quote Jed Bartlet: decisions are made by those who show up.

Of course if the other 94% of the players don't know they should show up, there might be a problem.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (1)

harl (84412) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277138)

No. Decisions are made by people who could loose their house if they make bad choices.

Decisions are made by CCP.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277048)

They do not represent the players. They're elected by 4-6% of the player base.

Sure they do.

If you don't care enough to go and vote, that's hardly the CSM's fault, is it?

The CSM is as representative as the playerbase wants it to be.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (1)

harl (84412) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277126)

No. They represent 4-6% of the players.

to say they represent any more is a gross manipulation of semantics.

Re:CSM elected by less than 6% of the players (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277198)

The President of the United States represents all its citizens, whether they voted for him, for somebody else, or not at all.

quite an accomplishment (3, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276662)

I believe this is the first time in its history that a videogame focus group has been given an official role within the Chinese Communist Party. Congratulations comrades!

Re:quite an accomplishment (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32276742)

no. http://www.dark-wind.com/ has it's player base handled rules council that manages all the balance of the game.

Not really that new.. (1)

therealobsideus (1610557) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276682)

A lot of game designers have had elected teams facilitate communication between the dev team and the player base, for example DAoC with their Team Lead program. But $$ will win out, so in the end this will just be a glorified move to make people think CCP is really listening to the playerbase.

Re:Not really that new.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32276728)

Keep in mind that this is not the first CSM in existance. In fact, this is the fifth round of CSM, although they are changing things around a bit for this term.

A friend of mine was a senior developer at CCP, and he revealed that the CSM do have a significant impact on the game design process.

Shame (2, Insightful)

Vahokif (1292866) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276690)

Shame that good MMORPGs don't make financial sense and MMORPGs that make financial sense aren't good.

Re:Shame (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277084)

Shame that good MMORPGs don't make financial sense and MMORPGs that make financial sense aren't good.

I assume you're suggesting that EVE doesn't make financial sense.

This is incorrect.

EVE is making plenty of money. If it wasn't, it would have folded up like so many of the other MMOGs launched over the years.

Re:Shame (2, Insightful)

Vahokif (1292866) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277136)

That's because it's a grindy, boring piece of shit like every other MMO. Just with more pretentious fans.

Re:Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32277260)

No, he's suggesting it's a crappy MMOG.

Eve is unique, in more way than one (5, Insightful)

theolein (316044) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276710)

Eve is a very hard game to play. There are almost no other games with a learning curve as steep as Eve's, and certainly no MMOs. This has as a consequence that Eve has a relatively small player base. A further consequence of the small player base is that CCP, the company that makes Eve, needs to make sure that they can retain as many players as possible and not run the risk of making the player base so angry with any mistake so as to lose a significant amount of players. In a bigger MMO, this would perhaps be less consequential, but in Eve it would seriously damage the game.

The CSM (player voted representatives) came about as a consequence of the discovery by an Eve player that Eve devs were seriously cheating in game, aiding their own side with expensive items. The player reaction to that one, in a game which is already very hard, threatened to torpedo the game. So CCP created the CSM to represent player issues to CCP.

However, CCP never took the CSM seriously, resulting in the current lack of trust in CCP's willingness to take its customers seriously (CCP actually told the last CSM that they were not actually interested in the majority of the players but only in a subsection that lived in a specific "elite" part of Eve space). The resulting lack of belief in CCP and the CSM has led to widespread protests against voting for the CSM and CCP has once again relented by now making the CSM a "stakeholder" in the game.

This is, however, cosmetic, as there have been no commitments by CCP to actually take the player wishes any more seriously than they currently do. I personally would not hold my breath to see if anything positive comes of this. CCP has downgraded the CSM before (from its original oversight function to a merely representative one) and will very likely do so again once the current bad PR dies down again.

Re:Eve is unique, in more way than one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32276808)

Eve is a very hard game to play.

Eh. EVE is so easy to play that players get several accounts so that they can play several instances of the game at the same time so that they won't fall asleep so often while playing.

Re:Eve is unique, in more way than one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32276884)

I have played Eve for many years and I can say that Eve is really easy to play. The only problem with Eve is that you can do NOTHING to progress your character. You have to spend about a year in base only training to be able to have any fun. My tip for a new player is. Buy a toon that is two/three years old OR buy illegal ISK spend the money on implants and leave the character in the base and train for about a year.

Re:Eve is unique, in more way than one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32277004)

This is 100% wrong. In Eve, bigger isn't better. Your day 1 ship can survive and assist your corpmates against the biggest ships and fleets. You can in fact also play better and earn more in game ISK to fund implants to train faster, or legally buy someone else's better character. You can legally buy ISK for money via play time cards (At the same time, other can buy play time using their earnt in game wealth). Yet more skillpoints does not make a better pilot, a week old PvPer in a small frigate will own some guy who bought some pimped battleship and undocks it in a stupid place.

Re:Eve is unique, in more way than one (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277156)

Really easy to play? You say that when you don't even know how to play.

Can't do nothing for a year? Well, explain this for me:

A couple of of experienced corp mates made new characters and started a shadow training corp. They recruited people from a week old to 3 months, most of them closer to a week. The corp members were flying in low-sec ganking expensive ship flown by characters with years of experience using nothing but the smallest and cheapest ships.

Five of them even took down a faction fitted T3 ship which would have been 2-300 times as expensive as the sum of those frigates they flew. Doing stuff like that isn't easy but neither is it impossible. So saying EVE is easy mean you don't know shit about the real EVE, and saying you can't do anything for a year cause you need to train skills just compounds that fact.

Re:Eve is unique, in more way than one (2, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277154)

The fact that EVE is "hard" is exactly it's appeal. Eve and Wurn are probably the only MMO's on the market right now that provide any challenge what-so-ever. It's like the Arcade owner swapped out all the games for whack-a-mole because it was his most profitable game and now he's wondering why no-one comes around anymore. Perhaps if he made whack-a-mole free to play but made the hammer to small to hit the moles... then he could charge for a bigger hammer? Brilliant!!

Re:Eve is unique, in more way than one (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277304)

Eve is a very hard game to play.

EVE is a very easy game to play.

The actual gameplay is no more complicated than any other MMOG out there. The GUI is a little ugly... But it still basically comes down to selecting a target and then mashing a few buttons on your screen.

There are almost no other games with a learning curve as steep as Eve's, and certainly no MMOs.

The learning curve was originally steep due to some very crappy in-game tutorials. Those have now been improved. It's really fairly easy to get started in EVE these days.

The real complexity comes from understanding all the various interactions... How the danger of gathering certain resources increases their price, and ultimately the price of gear made from those resources. How various factions control the politics of certain regions. How political actions can affect various prices.

But you don't really need to understand all those interactions to jump in a ship and start shooting stuff.

This has as a consequence that Eve has a relatively small player base.

(emphasis mine) It's interesting how the market has changed... EVE has thousands of players and is making plenty of money. A few years ago that would have been more than enough. But because WoW now has millions of players, EVE is considered "relatively small."

A further consequence of the small player base is that CCP, the company that makes Eve, needs to make sure that they can retain as many players as possible and not run the risk of making the player base so angry with any mistake so as to lose a significant amount of players. In a bigger MMO, this would perhaps be less consequential, but in Eve it would seriously damage the game.

I suspect that you've got things a bit backwards here...

The playerbase is relatively small due to CCP's choices. They've chosen to create a niche product. The game they make does not appeal to a large audience.

Folks complain on the forums that the game is too hard... Too complicated... Too unforgiving... CCP could certainly make changes to make the game more accessible to more people... But that would change the nature of EVE.

CCP actually told the last CSM that they were not actually interested in the majority of the players but only in a subsection that lived in a specific "elite" part of Eve space

I'm not sure what "elite" part of EVE space you're referring to...

But the fact of the matter is that the big players (not necessarily individuals, but corporations and alliances as well) have a huge impact on the game. They literally change the geography of the game. Depending on who controls what space it may or may not be safe to travel through there... Prices might change... Availability of materials changes... The amount of combat changes...

Obviously CCP needs to look at what these big players are doing more closely than what I'm doing.

Re:Eve is unique, in more way than one (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277328)

However, CCP never took the CSM seriously, resulting in the current lack of trust in CCP's willingness to take its customers seriously (CCP actually told the last CSM that they were not actually interested in the majority of the players but only in a subsection that lived in a specific "elite" part of Eve space). The resulting lack of belief in CCP and the CSM has led to widespread protests against voting for the CSM and CCP has once again relented by now making the CSM a "stakeholder" in the game.

And this is why I love stand-alone games. I don't like where the developers took the later Soul Caliber games but no worries, I'll always have the first one. But if it were an online game, once the changes are made I'm never getting my old game back. And dick moves by management continue to make the experience suck. Hell, when Lucas tried to change the original trilogy I could still go back to the original version of the originals. I don't have to buy the prequels. In an online game, you just have to suck it up and take your lumps. I hate that.

Re:Eve is unique, in more way than one (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277532)

Hell, when Lucas tried to change the original trilogy I could still go back to the original version of the originals. I don't have to buy the prequels.

Although you'd never know it from the idiots claiming that Star Wars has been "ruined" for them...

DRM: for *now* (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277752)

And this is why I love stand-alone games. I don't like where the developers took the later Soul Caliber games but no worries, I'll always have the first one.

No worries, you can count on new form of DRM to definitely ruin that for you too.

Enjoying "Soul Calibur 2012" and considering as the best single-player fighting game ever ? Too bad that when they crappy 2015 edition comes out, they will shut down their older game server. Not only disabling internet-enabled multiplayer in this process, but also preventing the atorcious Always-on-internet DRM scheme from even starting single player games.

Re:Eve is unique, in more way than one (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277534)

Basically, once the devs themselves were caught cheating and stealing REAL money, there was no way to ever really recover. Whatever they do from now on, it will ALWAYS be viewed by suspicion and distrust from the players. Once a casino is caught rigging the machines, the only way to ever fully recover is to fire *everyone* from the top on down and bring in entirely new management. Since CCP isn't going to do that, players will always have to wonder which CCP employees are rigging the game in their favor. This just adds some token players to the mix (who will also now be viewed with suspicion by the other players).

Re:Eve is unique, in more way than one (2, Interesting)

illectro (697914) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277968)

Eve is not a hard game at all, Go is a hard game, Chess is a hard game, Eve is a broad game with a lot of things you can choose to learn. The process to build a tech 3 cruiser and subsystems is pretty complex, but buying and flying one doesn't need you to know about that.

I play Eve with my 5 year old daughter [youtube.com] (when she's been good of course) and she's quite capable of building a ship and taking it out to run missions, she'll tell you all about her Omen or Punisher and how the colour of the laser affects range and damage. She was even involved in a carrier kill recently, getting a grand total of 5hp damage before her frigate was demolished by smartbombs.

Anyway your characterisation of ' Widespread Protests is so ridiculously wide of the mark that it demands correction, the CSM process includes a method to protest the vote, you simply select the 'abstain' option, and in CSM4 less than 3% of votes registered this option. Turnout is low, sure, but that's more an indication of the indifference by many players, or a general acceptance that the people that do get elected generally are quite committed and don't do a bad job. Even Larkonis Trassler who was kicked off the council for insider trading had been relatively effective at raising issues.

I was also a candidate for CSM this year, wish this story had hit Slashdot yesterday so I could have trying to court the slashdot readers voted.

Churchill said it best (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276736)

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. Winston Churchill

There is a reason democracy works with majority rule, because if you had to listen to every single individual, every stakeholder in the country, you would never get anything done and run a real risk of ending up listening to the loudest party.

In MMO land, the loudest party is often the Player Killer. PK ala Ultima Online, so beloved it was ripped from that game and every western game released after it that didn't have it did better. Yes UO fans, UO might have been first, it might have done things no other game has done BUT it also didn't manage to get a large number of subscribers. According to wikipedia it PEAKED at 250.000. Eve claims to have reached 300.000 and that game is considered to be niche. So a small game by a no-name developer working with its own IP has reached more subscribers then a triple A title working with a well known IP. That should tell you something.

Of course, UO did launch before broadband connections were common and was exploring newer ground, and of course popularity says nothing about quality, but read posts about MMO discussions sometime. Just how can it be that so many claim UO is the best when so few played it? More people have played EVE. A SHIT load more played Everquest. Even Star Wars Galaxies reached more people.

If the PK in UO was the thing to have, then UO would have reached more people. In fact, if PvP was so popular, then pure PvP games would do better. But Darkfall, Age of Conan and indeed EVE aren't doing all that well compared to PvE heavier titles like Lord of the Rings Online and of course World of Warcraft. So do you as a developer listen to the countless forum posts demanding unrestricted player killing and full body loot? They are certainly vocal, so surely that is what the players want? Well yes, on the forums, not when it comes to actually playing and PAYING for the game.

I have made the mistake of following the forums of several games in the past before I grew up and you can see a certain trend, the people who are playing and PAYING are to busy to be on the forum. EVE might be an exception here, because it is by its nature far more of a game where you organize outside the game world, it is a business sim to many and so the forums might actually be useful for other things then ranting. But this is not the case on many game forums. If you go to the Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic site you can find half the posts demanding it to be free-to-play or else the poster won't play it without paying for it (the horror!) and the other half trying to come up with someway to make it seem attractive for other players to be their content (bounty hunters wanting PK but having wised up that they need to wrap it up in a pretty package). Real players have got better things to do, the game won't be out for a year, and really, Bioware probably already made their mind up about the game. Even if they wanted to listen to the forum posters (who are unlikely to be their full audience), where would you find the resources to implement everything? What do you pick?

Oh, the thingy that the forum posters wanted and you already wanted to do? Listening to your users, you run the severe risk of listening to yes-men. Just see the actions by people on this site. Don't like what someone says? mod them down. As a developer, if you are told by one person that you are doing the best job ever and another comes out with a detailed plan of how the game could be far far better but everything the developer believes and stands for is wrong, who does he listen to?

EVE might be in a luxury position in that it grew slowly and might have attracted an audience that wants to play the game that it is. But many titles, especially big budget ones attract all kinds, including people that should just play a different game. You probably won't find many EVE players demanding the game to be more solo friendly and that everyone should be able to afford the biggest ship after soloing for a month and then be able to do everything in the game. But that is EXACTLY what people demand in every other MMO.

Read some MMO forums, then tell me that listening to your audience is a good idea.

Re:Churchill said it best (2, Interesting)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276904)

You probably won't find many EVE players demanding the game to be more solo friendly and that everyone should be able to afford the biggest ship after soloing for a month and then be able to do everything in the game. But that is EXACTLY what people demand in every other MMO.

Actually, there are. Tons of them. Entire truckloads get sent to the exit scorned by such epic remarks as "GB2WOW" and "can I have your stuff"

CCP listens to the playerbase, but their vision of the EVE universe as a whole remains unaltered. It is a bleak dangerous place, and merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time will get you killed. If you can't handle that then that's tough luck, off you go. They love it when we blow each other up.

We already have nearly unrestricted player killing and full body(ship) loot. To survive in EVE you need to be smart and devious.

Re:Churchill said it best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32277262)

UO did PK first? MUD much?

Re:Churchill said it best (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277370)

EVE was designed to be a cut-throat game.

It has player-killers.

It doesn't even need player-killers though, because you can screw yourself over just by making a stupid mistake.

That's what makes EVE what it is. And that's what makes EVE so popular with its players.

They don't want to be coddled.

CCP does listen to its players... But only to the elected representatives, not every single whiner on the boards.

If they listened to every single whiner on the boards it would have long ago become WoW-in-space... Which would have removed the cut-throat nature... And then those loyal players would have left... And EVE would have wound up competing directly against WoW, a fight which it could not win. And EVE would have gone away.

The reason EVE is still around is because it delivers a different player experience. It is not WoW with space ships. Even if it was set in a fantasy setting with elves and magick, it would still be a different player experience from WoW. It is that player experience that keeps the paying customers there.

Perhaps UO would have done better had it retained what made it unique, instead of trying to cater to absolutely everyone.

Re:Churchill said it best (1)

MrZilla (682337) | more than 3 years ago | (#32278070)

You are right of course. The Trammel/Felucca split came about precisely because the majority of the players didn't want to have to deal with PKs.

For me, personally, the added risk of being attacked by another player at (almost) any time makes the game that much more fun, as well as the ability to attack someone who's disrupting gameplay. I have never played as a random PK, but I have always enjoyed having them around.

I certainly understand why modern MMOs are developed the way they are, and I know that it is what people want. It is not for me however, so I do not play MMOs at all anymore, even though I like the game format.

Community Leaders/Influencers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32276748)

Sony have a pretty decent program in this regard to for their games.
They don't have the visibility (in notes/meetings), but appear to have a good connection to the devs and are able to channel feedback from the forums well. Should there be more 2 way back to the community? Yes, but NDA's and the sensitivity of issues/sploits/future estimates are understood.
Overall though, pretty good program.

finally a company realizes (3, Interesting)

crazybit (918023) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276752)

that the easiest and cheapest way of finding new ways of pleasing their customers is listening to their opinions. The only difference between this and a traditional focus group is the size of the population sample.

One big problem with letting players decide: (3, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32276938)

They don’t know how to make it fun. They are no experts in it. You know: Those who can’t design, play. ;)

They don’t know about the balance between too hard and too easy. About how changing something that people will think is stupid, will make gameplay more fun. After all it’s still supposed to be a game right, not just a simulation.

You obviously still have to listen to your players. But you have to interpret it trough experienced game designers, to find out what they really want and how to really make that happen. (As it will often be counterintuitive to the players.)

But oh well... as I said, I’m not really sure EvE still is a game, or rather an alternate reality, complete with everything. (Not that that is a bad thing. Let alone an uninteresting one.)

Re:One big problem with letting players decide: (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277290)

Valve often listens to the TF2 community- many of the recent updates included hats and usable items contributed by the community, and game balancing generally seems to follow common requests/complaints. Of course, there are many threads in the forums screaming for one side or another of some debate, but there are enough people posting who put more thought into balance and come up with genuinely good ideas. Valve still playtests any changes, likely rejecting far more proposed changes than implementing them, but much of what they do comes from the community.

There are players who understand game balance well enough they can generally filter out the bad ideas, and should a game developer reject their ideas based on game balance reasons, these players can understand the argument. I don't know EVE or this CSM, but unless the TF2 community is unique (doubt it), EVE should have players who will use their influence for the betterment of the game without needing much hand-holding by the game devs.

hi cat here lol (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32277000)

my name is cat o'ninetails and i bravely defend the solar system of rancer from pirates
i have also made apply to be on the csm in an attempt to foster better relations between the customers and the ccpers

also i think the csm was mainly set up due to allegations of cheating by one of the game development staff which the players did not take kindly to lol

x

Re:hi cat here lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32277456)

Oh noes, cat is here too, we're doomed

Eve a very deep game. (0)

Martin Spamer (244245) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277012)

Eve is very unusual for a computer game; firstly it has an extremely steep learning curve and like chess can take years to master. It offer players a huge range of gaming options, PvE both blitzing and exploration/discovery, RP gaming, business strategy game play. You can play a deep strategic game, including meta gaming, propaganda and spying, some alliances actually have spys, spy masters, and counter intelligence divisions and all legitimate within the EULA.

It's economy and crafting system is light years ahead of anything else out there. You can be a pirate, a solider, bounty hunter all requiring different approaches to PvP. You can be a miner harvesting resources and evading pirates a scientist developing blueprint for ships, modules and weapons, or an industrialist building the ships. You could be roaming trader hauling that production to distance regions, or a market maker at Jita (Eve's equivalent of Wall Street meets K-Mart/Tesco). You can join an existing corporation (clan/guild) or you can run your own businesses. There are secondary markets and venture capitalists for investment. Scamming is within the EULA and raised to the level of one Ponzi Scheme that earned ISK, the in-game currency, that would have taken tens of thousands of pounds/dollars/euro to buy.

The scope of Eve are just not available in any other game I've ever played. Eve is chess to WoW as draughts. It has the most elaborate economy of any game. CCP have an Economist on staff to design/develop those parts of the games. They also have an Astrophysist who has just reworking all the planets to make the solar systems realistic for the up coming Tyrannis expansion. They run Events with Devs as player character that you an PK and PC's do.

That's not all. In the summer CCP are launching Dust 514, a FPS entirely within existing game. When you invade a planet the boots you put on the ground will be real gamers fighting each other. Next year they are planning Incarna, the ability to Walk in stations and explore, think second life in space with full motion captured avatars.

Re:Eve a very deep game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32277696)

It has the most elaborate economy of any game. CCP have an Economist on staff to design/develop those parts of the games.

Yeah, but to be fair, he's an economist from Iceland.

Re:Eve a very deep game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32278000)

Scamming is within the EULA and raised to the level of one Ponzi Scheme that earned ISK, the in-game currency, that would have taken tens of thousands of pounds/dollars/euro to buy.

I *really* don't want to sound like a git, but can you please preview/proof-read your posts? Or sober up. You had my interest, and I really wanted to understand your post, and that sentence, quoted, in particular, however my head now hurts and I have to give up.

All this talk... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32277066)

...and the only thing that could only really vindicate this method of player-consultation is to come back in five years and see if EVE still exists, and if CCP is still in business.

Otherwise? You're all just talking crap, for and against.

Re:All this talk... (1)

don depresor (1152631) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277572)

You mean just like they have been in business for the last 7 years?, with an always growing playerbase (yes, it's small compared to WoW, but very few occidental MMOs come close to eve).

Now check how many MMOs have been alive for more than 3 years.

Also, I can't believe no one has mentioned that you can your monthly subscription with INGAME money, that is, you farm cash doing missions and it pays your subscription. When you start, the amount required sounds like a lot of cash, but with some experience and help from a friend (Drake FTW) you can be making the required cash in about 3 months, and from that point you effectively play for free ;) (at this point you can make the required amount of cash in about 20-30 hours a month wich isn't that much for most MMO players).
Once you've been in the game for 6-9 months you make the cash in about 10-15 playtime hours total, or maybe 1-2 hours if you play the market game ;)

Re:All this talk... (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#32278116)

Seeing that EVE has already been around for what, 8 or 10 years? And is one of the only companies in Iceland making any money, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that if Eve doesn't exist in 5 years, it's because Eyjafjallajökull blows up like Mt. St. Helens and all the employees were killed in the explosion.

s/fans/users/ (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277078)

But has any developer gone to such lengths for its users?

Yes, pretty much any development shop that does anything other than COTS product development.

Why is Eve different... and yet successful? (1)

CodePwned (1630439) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277090)

I played eve, not too seriously but I managed to be involved with some pretty epic battles. The main differences between Eve and other MMORPH are the following:

1) Space setting (100%). You are in a ship, when you move around
2) The economy is extremely advanced compared to other games. Meaning there are players who run banks, companies who produce ships, products etc, players who have to help move the product between systems... etc. It's all VERY player involved. If you are smart, you can make tons of ISK (their form of currency) easily and quickly.
3) The market is extremely advanced. Like the economy there are companies, banks, corporations, investments, shipping lanes, protection rackets, security companies, armies, etc... all dependent on player interaction. One would think it would be fragile but in fact it's one of the strongest points of the game. Think location vs supply and demand. You're in a deep system where there aren't too many places to find ammo, weapondry, supplies... things sell at a premium.
4) The skill required to play this game ranges depending on what you do. If you are part of a pvp squad or army the skill curve is immensely difficult. It gets down to tiny differences in ship equipment and configuration... as well as sheer numbers. Don't let that fool you though. Numbers don't mean squat in some situations. However if you aren't really into pvping in ships there are politics on a whole other scale than other PVP's, as well as economic. Be a banker, or trader, or manufacturer. Sounds boring but the interaction with players is pretty deep so you aren't just sitting there hitting a button over and over again.
5) Creating things - You don't sit there hitting a button or "farming items" to make this next weapon for yourself. You can buy and sell everything you need to make things...
6) What you do can affect the game. Since player interaction is so deep... what you do can often affect the games outcome for everyone.
7) Training skills does not require you to play. Just planning ahead as you can set it to train these skills over a set amount of time.

EVE allows someone to play for 10 minutes a day or 10 hours... that is why it is unique and amazing.

MMOs are not "normal" games (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#32277848)

Asking your player what he wants when you sell them a "normal" game, i.e. one that generates revenue at sale and never again, is pretty stupid. He already bought it. Changing a game to suit his needs is pretty much a waste of time. He will not buy it again. On the other hand, someone else who WOULD have bought it might not when you make the change.

MMOs on the other hand make most of their income from recurring subscriptions. Thus changing the game to make people play it longer does indeed give them a lot more money. So yes, it is very much in CCPs interest to do what its players want. Maybe not to the whole extent (hey, which player would refuse a few billion ISK? I guess that's something every player would enjoy!), but making changes that makes a lot of players play longer, or even make players who stopped playing to return, is a pretty good idea.

can developers of an MMO not afford to listen? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 3 years ago | (#32278044)

MMO games are driven by subscription fees. Without fans who keep paying, there's no point.

This doesn't really apply to other sorts of games. Developers can listen to consensus, but they don't really have to enact community change.

Simpsons reference (1)

bug1 (96678) | more than 3 years ago | (#32278072)

"That means the CSM -- and the entire playerbase it represents -- has as much influence on development projects as Marketing, Accounting, Publicity and all the other teams outside of the development team."

Remember that simpsons episode where homer designs a new car to appeal to the average Joe ?

Sometimes people shouldn't get what they want.

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