Now approaching its tenth year, the EVE Online player community has matured into an intricate and multi-faceted society viewed with envy by other game developers, but is frequently regarded with suspicion by the wider gaming community.
Is this perception deserved? Should "The Nation of EVE" be concerned by its public identity and if so how might that be improved? What influence will the integration of the DUST 514 community have on this culture in the future?
I'll start by answering the questions asked. That seems like a fair place to begin.
Q. Is this perception deserved.
Q. Should "The Nation of EVE" be concerned by it's public identity?
Q. If so, how might that (public identity) be improved?
A. Not applicable.
Q. What influence will the integration of the DUST 514 community have on this culture in the future.
A. The DUST 514 community will have virtually influence on the EvE community.
Now, those answers need some justification, especially that last one I think. I've given it considerable thought and I stand by my decisions. Here is why I answered as I did and why I believe this is all a non-issue. It's seems to go tangential but I promise it's relevant.
In 1997 Electronics Arts release Ultima Online (UO.) It was the first MMO to reach over 100,000 players. It was a trend setter in many ways, won gads of awards, and is actually still running today - see for yourself: Ultima Online Website.
So why bring this up? Because many of the bad behaviors EvE players are accused of exercising today happened as far back as UO. Take a look for yourself. I know this Wiki is true. I "lived" through those days. Here is a list of EvE related "bad" behavior and its UO counterpart:
- Ganking - In UO, characters who knew the fireball spell would torch noobs for loot and tears and they would also camp respawn points where everyone had to go to "un-ghost."
- Gate Camps - In UO, those same characters would stand at choke points going into town and arbitrarily fireball anyone who ran down the road.
- Scammers - There were loads of scams involving the trading system, where faulty trading code allowed gold to change hands while products were yanked back into inventory.
- Isk Traders - money sellers made their debut in UO if memory serves. Correct me if I'm wrong.
- Dupers - Duping was rampant in the early years of UO. It ruined the in-game economy and forced a reset of the whole thing.
- Bots - I can only say two words about this and then I plead the 5th: Easy Macro.
- Hi-sec War Decs - This is not an easy comparison. Everyplace in UO was the equivalent of null-sec. I was in Crusaders of the Realms and we had a standing kill-on-site list of enemies - like an NRDS. We did this even in towns - even in their own houses via exploits. I think that qualifies as bad behavior does it not?
- Roams - In Crusaders of the Realms we went on many, many raids and general roams through the countryside - and killed everyone we came across.
The reputation of UO 15 years ago was every bit as bad as EvE Online today. This is no big deal. Unless the developers specifically wrote artificial restrictions to preclude it, I have witnessed all the despicable behaviors with my own eyes in every single MMO I have ever played. EvE Online is no worse than all those other games and in some regards much better. Our economy works for instance. And frankly, so does our security status system compared to other MMOs I've been in.
Being concerned because players in EvE have done what players in MMOs have always done is absurd. We are no different as a group of players than any other MMO community that has ever existed. Why do we feel we are so different? We just aren't. We are the logical evolution of the player community. We are far more active and interconnected with each other than UO players were 15 years ago. That has more to do with technology and the 24-hour news cycle than values. The only difference between then and now is the reports of the badness circulate immediately and nothing goes unnoticed in today's techno-drenched, multimedia-fixated world. Our hearts differ very little from those earlier pioneers. In fact, we are the same people in many instances. Think about that a bit. How many of you played UO? Did you ever fireball anyone, go on a search-and-destroy raid or macro crossbow crafting?
Now, on to that fourth question and why DUST 514 won't influence the EvE community. We are different sorts of players frankly. FPS players, and I know a few personally, are in it for the quick gratification. Even the most ardent EvE gankers are more long term minded than FPS players. If you don't believe me look at all the preparations going into Hulkgeddon. Read Corelin's blog about their SiSi preparations. If this happens in DUST 514, it will be because EvE players do it. Corporations who need to control planets will create alts in DUST 514 to further their EvE empires. Let me say that again in a slightly different way. The mercenaries who take contracts from EvE players will be EvE alts.
With that prediction firmly stated, it will be EvE that influences DUST 514, but not in any long term, meaningful way. The EvE alts will remain in DUST 514 but will be a significant minority. They will serve a very specialized roll. The other players, the non-EvE players, will do the quick fights and then turn on the football game. Their time commitment will pale in comparison to the time most EvE players invest in the game. Their impact will be non-existent. As far as planetary conquest goes, DUST 514 will be more like an EvE expansion than an EvE competitor.
All this in mind, I encourage all of you to go out and do whatever makes EvE fun for you and don't worry about perceptions. Try to be considerate of the fun of others but remember, you're doing nothing that millions before you haven't already done. The world didn't condemn them. It won't condemn you - or our community.