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?
Eve is indeed a complex society. From random newbies just starting a trial, to the most experienced and respected (or feared) players in the game, one thing binds us all (at least those who participate) and that is community. Bloggers, like those who will also grace this blog banter, the podcasters, the tweetfleet, even the folks who lurk in such places as Eve News 24, Fail Heap challenge or Kugutsumen are still a part of a vast community network.
It is this network that makes the events of New Eden that much more interesting. Jade and Rundle talking about Fanfest on Lost in Eve (for 8 hours, holy crap guys), Others regaling us with their nefarious doings like Hulkageddon organizer Helicity Boson. New Eden is vast but it's this external interface, this metagame, in combination with the sandbox that makes eve the envy of it's competitors.
The wider MMO scene is naturally suspicious of eve. It is a very dark place where things that don't happen in those other games (guild thefts, non-consensual pvp, scamming, etc.) are allowed. They are not able to comprehend the full ramifications of the Sandbox, or the reason others would be drawn to it. They play the game at their pace, level their characters in a largely unchanging landscape, run instances, eventually raid, and maybe even kill the Lich King.
Except the Lich King and the other 12 bosses you killed to get to him will be right back where they were on Tuesday when the instance resets. Along with C'thun, Chogall, Kel'thuzad and all the rest. Their world is static, stale, and to be perfectly honest, fucking boring. I should know, I came from it.
You can run around gleefully mining copper in Elwyn Forest or Mulgore all by yourself and never have to worry that some bad man will kill you and take your precious items. Eve is not an online single player game. The actions of others can and will affect you. So, get involved in the community and keep an ear open, if nothing else.
Eve players are generally don't care about our public image or bringing in many people. This is a very niche game for a very select (read: mature) audience. While new blood should be welcomed the newbies need to be divorced from any foolish preconceived notions as quickly, and perhaps, as painlessly as possible. While it may be fun to scam a 2 day old player, I would find such a thing unsporting. After all, what skill does it show on the part of the scammer that he got an easy mark?
With DUST 514 coming out soon a huge contingent of players from a radically different age group and a completely different genre of game will be, in a way, joining this community. Hopefully it will attract more of the older FPS crowd (although that may not be the case given the exclusive PS3 release.) In addition there will be an influx of eve players who will hopefully be able to explain the greater intricacies of the world they are participating in to the FPS junkies.
As for those who think that the eve community will allow their game to get softer for the sake of gaining subscribers, I offer a simple HTFU. This is our game, and we like it just the way it is. If it is not appealing to you I suggest you go elsewhere, after all if it isn't fun why are you still here?