Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Quote of the Week: Human interaction

The Quote of the Week, unsurprisingly, comes from Fanfest:
The founding principle behind EVE is maximizing human interaction.
This is from Reynir Hardarson, CCP Creative Director and one of the founders of EVE Online.(1)  Ironically, the quote comes from the World of Darkness presentation that happened early on Day Three of Fanfest.

And the more I think about it, the more it's interesting to me how many of the presentations at Fanfest had this as a subconscious theme.  Virtually all of the presentations brought it up in one way or another: "More people! Bigger fights! More people! Bigger fights! More! Bigger!"

Those of us that actually like smaller-gang battles might be in trouble, of course.  But the smaller-gang stuff has never particularly been what EVE has been about.  EVE's main selling point and its competitive advantage has been in the ability to bring a couple of thousand people into the same system and let them fight it out.  CCP Veritas did an excellent job of selling that the two times he presented.(2)  The message was pretty clear: keep EVE's existing customers happy, and let as many of them as want to get into the same system and shoot each other.

What was missing from Fanfest this year from a lot of presentations was an appeal to add to the EVE player base,(3) except through what was almost my Quote of the Week:
The focus of this Fanfest is DUST 514.
That one's Chris McDonough, World of Darkness Senior Producer, during the same presentation.  And yep, most of the presentations had this as a subconscious (or flatly overt) theme as well.  Fanfest was a Dustapalooza.  CCP seems to be pinning the bulk of their hopes on DUST.  Nowhere was this more blatant than in the framing of the keynote speeches.  "Yesterday, we showed you CCP's past and present", the announcer said before the Saturday keynote.  The implication: what we're about to show is the future.  And what was shown?  The focus was clearly on DUST 514.  The strategy for 2012 seems to be "let's get a lot of new DUST players, have EVE players bomb them from orbit, and then hope that the DUST players want to participate in that bombing from orbit part themselves."

"We don't need to make EVE something it's not and we don't need Jesus features to get new players," David Reid said during his own presentation on Saturday, talking about keeping EVE a hard-core game.  Not in EVE, anyway.  DUST wasn't mentioned.  ;-)

Tail, this is dog.  Try not to wag him too hard.

The most interesting indicator of all?  Seven thousand people were watching the DUST 514 keynote on EVE TV Thursday, Hilmar said when it began (I was one of them).  And, oh by the way, he also mentioned, very casually, no big deal -- really, it's not very important at all -- but several hundred thousand were watching the keynote on the Playstation Home network.

Several.  Hundred.  Thousand.

In other words, there were probably more people watching on Playstation Home than there are EVE players... total.  Remember what I said last year about order of magnitude jumps in customer bases?  Reid wants to make "EVE + DUST the world's largest game universe." That's maximizing human interaction, all right.

Stay tuned.

(1) Technically, I think his last name is actually spelled HarĂ°arson.
(2) He's also emerging as one of CCP's strongest presenters, and by far their strongest presenter on purely technical matters.
(3) Remember Hilmar last year, almost pleading with EVE players to help CCP introduce EVE to new players?


  1. I can't help but feel that Hilmar was either given false information or outright lied, because there is no way that many people were watching on Playstation Home. After that day had finished I fired up my PS3 to check out Home (something I haven't done in nearly 2 years). What awaited me was about 30-40 people in the DUST room of Home.

    In this room you're able to watch the stream of of the conference in blocky sub-240p goodness. I seriously doubt PSHome could support several hundred thousand people at one time.

  2. I found myself getting caught up in the excitement as well. I started watching the live stream just before down-time (3:00a local) and watched all of the sessions (12:00?p local). I realized after waking up a few hours later that this Fanfest was about DUST 514 (and not about FIS). That CCP dared to mention that they're continuing to work on WoD (after they fired 20% of their workforce), and that they had a beautiful trailer and a very promising graphics update (but almost no concrete announcements about Inferno). The important part about all of this is that they nearly made me forget about all of the broken bits in EVE.

    Damn! I nearly drank the kool-aid.

    Several hundred thousand folks watching on PS? This coming from the man who buys $1000 jeans and expects people to pay $80 for virtual monocles? Hilmar has proven to be "orders of magnitude" out of touch.

  3. Well...CCP wants "hardcore" and you can't get much "moar hardcore" than the 11-19 yr old FPS demographic: "hahahah roflpwnt u N00blet!!! [teabag, teabag, teabag] u suxx0r ur moms a hukker hahaha n00B!! i banged ur sister last nite, she haz sum gr8 n00bies!! [teabag, teabag]"
    ^^ It's been a long while since I logged into XBL for some Halo but that's pretty much what I saw & heard the last time I was on... *shrug*

  4. Are you sure he said several hundred thousand? I was watching and I could have sworn he merely said several hundred, which is a much more reasonable number. I might be mistake because it was just a passing comment but I am pretty sure he didn't say thousand.

    1. Watch the video from the link. He definitely says "several hundred thousand". You can even hear someone near the camera whistle appreciatively when Hilmar says it.

  5. The Dust focus was pretty clear even to me, watching maybe 2 hours total of the live feed. The sit-down interviews with the 2 CCP people, the little guy and the girl with the brassy red hair were telling. The girl was there for no other discernable reason than to ask each guest how much they loved and were looking forward to Dust514. I wonder how many potential interviewees were crossed off the list because they wouldn't suck up to it.

  6. I heard that too and had to replay it. On second listening, it sounded like he meant several hundred to several thousand and just garbled it.


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