“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?”
Wow. What a question.
Eve is a sand box, and because of that when you combine this with the game changes that CCP introduces with the updates the player base is likely to shift to a point over time. I’ve used the word changes instead of enhancements, as although this is usually the case with the updates, sometimes the opposite is true for part or all of the player base.
Now much has been said and written about the recent events. I think it is very safe to say that CCP had a bit of a melt down on how to communicate to their player base, and unfortunately with the current debacle over the emergency summit minutes, lessons still do not appear to have been learnt, which saddens me as there is really no need for this to be happening other than either prige/arrogance or sheer stupidity.
There have also been many comments recently about the apparent absence of the CSM over the past few weeks. This, I believe, is completely unfair, and forum/blog posts and other commentary is starting to emerge to proove this. I voted in the last CSM elections and two of my candidates, Trebor and Seleene, made it in. Even if they hadn’t, I’d support the CSM as they have a more direct route to CCP than most of us mere (im)mortals. I think that the CSM need to take a hard line where needed, on behalf of the players. They have a difficult job as they need to try and balance the genuine needs of the players, trying to extract this from the very vocal forum posters. For the moment, I’ll keep faith with the CSM until their words and/or actions demonstrate that I should do otherwise.
I think that part of the problem is that CCP’s “strategy” is not clear to the players, and as we are the general public, it quite rightly should not be. Eve has a reputation for:
- having a loyal player base, however not a huge player base
- having a steep learning curve
- being a true sand-box – yes you can do thinks like ninja salvaging and suicide ganking a-la Hulkageddon
As a company, CCP need to grow the player base and increase revenue. These two are not the same thing and growing the player base doesn’t necessarily result in a proportionate increase in revenue. If CCP laid out a clear and detailed strategy, they would surely leave themselves more open to their competitors responding with counter strategies. Also, having seen what an opinionated bunch of people Eve seems to have playing it, surely they’d just end up having dozens of threadnaughts picking holes and offering counter-suggestions for every single tiny fragment of detail in their strategy.
Instead, CCP seem to be trying to communicate as and when they can, and unfortunately they also seem to regularly get these communications wrong. Who ever thought that putting the monacle adverts on the spash screen mere days after the Jita riots ended clearly had just returned from a long holiday and hadn’t caught up with the internal memos about recent events
Some things are clear:
- Eve now consists of FiS (Flying in Space) and WiS (Walking in Stations)
- Dust is coming, and I won’t be buying a PS3 to play it
- We need to alter the dictionary definition of micro so that CCP’s idea of micro-transactions don’t look completely stupid to everybody except them
Other things are not clear, for example summer is over in the UK, and I’m still only looking at a Minmatar Captain’s Quarters. How will this all develop? I really don’t know, and it’s not clear if CCP are absolutely sure either, and in fact I don’t think they are, which could be a good thing as long as they use that as an opportunity to change and adapt their strategy as they go.
As for the whole WiS thing – I have to say I’m disappointed. Having played SecondLife before (actually – do you play it or use it?), the idea of micro-transactions was something I would have bought in to as long as it was purely vanity items only. Yes, I would buy new clothes for my space Barbie (and Ken too!). I’d love to see my Legion and Charon emblazoned with my Corporate logo, and how cool would it be if that detail got damaged when you took armor and hull damage to your ship, so you had to decide whether to repair it or not, as sometimes not repairing it would be even more cool, i.e. seeing the pirate ship as his autocannons rip your hull apart, spewing your pod out into space, you look at the ship and see the scratched and burned logo of the Tuskers for example. Now that would be worth paying for!
But for me, I’m not rich enough (yet) to spend billions of ISK on buying some clothes. I would be able to afford some of the more budget clothing that has been promised (again CCP – where is this stuff?), but I’m still not sure I will spend the ISK as thre’s the nagging feeling of lack of value for ISK.
I think I’ll close this banter response fairly simply. In my opinion, to ensure the continued health and survival of the game, I think that CCP should:
- Be more active in balancing things – for example Super Capital ships (winter anybody?)
- Spend a bit more time refining / developing / finishing existing content
- Look up the dictionary definition of micro
- Take a long hard look at their current player base and then match that against their strategy for expanding the player base – more than one ball will need to be juggled here – recognis it and deal with it
The problem here is, and always will be, resources. By all accounts CCP has spread itself too thinly and is trying to do too much, so they end up having to launch Incarna probably 4 months earlier than they should have, probably because of some deadline in Dust.
I just hope that CCP can balance this though, as I love playing Eve, and there’s so much more I want to learn and do in the game, but if they get the resourcing wrong, then everything else just won’t work as smoothly. And that’s where the CSM come in, as the sounding board and sanity check. Let’s hope that the CMS are sane enough to do it!