Thursday, July 3, 2014

Jesus feature for EVE: The New Eden Times

Before I introduce the feature that could greatly increase the retention rates of EVE Online, let's pinpoint the problem that needs to be solved: the unique selling point of EVE Online is being a sandbox game, but CCP gives near zero support to the players to find or connect to the sandbox.

In other games the way of winning is developer-provided and obvious: in League of Legends has a rating system, you should climb to the top. MMOs have an endboss, if you killed Garrosh Heroic, you completed the current expansion of WoW. If you completed it faster than someone else, you are better than him. Everything else: leveling and gearing your avatar is a tool for this obvious winning.

While you can level and get gear (replacement ships) for your avatar in EVE, there is no developer provided goal that you must complete to "win" or even "to be among the winners". The politics or strategy game of EVE defines if an action is time waste or significant. Without knowing about this aspect of EVE, there is nothing left but "leveling your Raven". The problem is that the built-in tools don't connect you to this strategic level. Extreme example: if you use nothing but the client, you probably never learn that GSF exists. Even worse, the client doesn't even tell you that you should use anything but the client.

The suggested feature is "The New Eden Times", a newspaper about the events of New Eden, available from the client directly (also available on the website). The New Eden Times should not be "EVE Online News", shouldn't talk about patches and features, shouldn't be an extended tutorial, it should be a newspaper inside EVE Online, reporting events happening in the game, practically roleplaying a newspaper printed in New Eden. What kind of articles:
  • Battle reports.
  • Interviews with notable players.
  • Editorials about notable alliances or communities.
  • Reports on various notable playstyles.
  • Fit of the day.
  • ALOD articles to warn against mistakes.
  • Articles about notable blogs and community sites.
It should be an extensive and well-written newspaper, from real journalists (people who learned and practiced writing) instead of some PR guy or coder. Remember that DrEyog was a real economist and that helped the devs a lot. CCP could surely afford to hire 5 journalists to do this. (No, I'm not a journalist, nor I have anyone to recommend.)

The articles should be integrated into the "show info" tabs of various game elements. You "show info" a ship? You can access articles written about this ship. The "show info" a Uedama? You can read articles about suicide ganking. "show info" B-R? Read about the big battle! "show info" a notable alliance? Read about them!

The point is to let players instantly, from the beginning, be aware that they take part in this universe and there are things happening, knowledge to be known. Remember that in other MMOs there is no point knowing about any other player than the members of your raid, as they have no effect on you. Players arrive to EVE without knowing that they should be looking for information. Also, the information on The New Eden Times would be useful, well-written and unbiased, unlike the propaganda or simple crap you can usually find on third-party sites.

I believe that such newspaper would be a great help to players to connect to the sandbox, find their place in it instead of leveling their Raven obliviously about their surroundings.

Finally, the newspaper might even be profitable instead of costing money to CCP by selling ad spaces for PLEX. Of course you can only place ads about in-game events, like a recruitment ad, advertisement of a freight service, flier for public roam, a PR article (group pays for their self-praising published, of course with an editorial warning that this is a paid PR article) or an advertisement of a player-made EVE-blog/podcast/youtube channel.


PS: remember that the most PvP-oriented Lemmings were called to join the corp The Red Barons? They are now in Marmite Collective, continuing to kill the minions of evil (and other war targets). So if you are an ex-Lemming with good PvP resume, look them up!

18 comments:

Basil said...

The word "strategy" implies a goal... I don't see any goals in the game, just politics.

bluto said...

Interesting idea, too bad CCP fired all the writers.

Foo said...

Any 'good' (bad?) newspaper is subject to editorial bias.

I am a firm believer in enabling people to do 'stuff'.

As such I would encourage official support for editorial staff rather than just 'journalists'; and encouraging players themselves to submit articles.

Unfettered player devolves into the Eve online forums. Articles only written by CCP could be perceived the same way as journalism by 'big government'.

There are some very good examples of big government news (BBC, Australian ABC), but even these have issues; sometimes perceived to be either too independent or too subject to government propaganda; occasionally both at the same time.

I would rather the propaganda came from the player groups than from CCP themselves.

There is however scope for an ISD program http://community.eveonline.com/community/volunteer-program/ - Interstellar Correspondents (currently defunct?) that could run with this.

Kethry Avenger said...

To me EVE is about creation and destruction, and social interaction(though that is really hard to measure)

I'm not sure the creators want their success know. But the destroyers sure do.

CCP needs to support eve by either creating a in house kill board or by coming up with a api endpoint or something that the kill board developers could use to get 100% of the kills. With some sort of delay to avoid exploits. Probably a hour, maybe longer.

And if they wanted to really step it up, they would make a standard point system based on the kill. Based on fitting, number of pilots on kill, and maybe including hidden things like number of skill points effecting each person's fit. From this standardized leader boards could be created. You could run corp, alliance, and open events based on specific criteria.

Anonymous said...

This could damage all community driven sites. And that's what ccp does not want. Players with their blogs/news sites do much more pr for eve than ccp ever did. They attract new players while your idea targets existing.

Gevlon said...

The "damage" comes from losing readers. Why do readers leave the sites for the new one? Because the new one is better! So the loss of the third party sites is the gain of the readers.

Anonymous said...

Player-driven sites are great for EVE - unfortunately they are ripe to manipulation and propaganda. Sometimes, one cannot look at a tool such as DOTLAN or a news site such as The M, and not think about someone could metagame through it.

It's a shame CCP has basically made the players do what they should be doing - providing tools that increase transparency. I think what the esteemed Goblin is getting at is that CCP needs to do some of its own work and publicize the game to its players to retain subscriptions.

dobablo said...

A state run activity to support society well-being and driving the industry to perform in a way government wishes it to as opposed to that driven by market forces? That is a very socialist idea from you Gevlon.

Having said that, market forces are not working correctly due to the monopoly currently dominating the news reporting scene so a new reporting entity focuses on metrics and alternate leaderboards would probably be a welcome addition.

Gevlon said...

@dobablo: it's hard to talk about market when bloggers and news sites are unable to monetize or only able by real world advertising (mostly by ads of illicit ISK sellers).

These are charities, not businesses.

Anonymous said...

This idea is worth promoting!
Although the reactions in the comments show that CCP-hired journalists are regarded as biased information.
CCP does a bad job concerning binding players to EVE. At the moment, CCP focusses too much on Nulsec and completely ignores issues of highsec.
What value can CCP-official information have, if they publicly promote fitting adaptive nano plates or membranes to freighters?
Maybe articles should be written by player "experts" that know, what they r writing about.
Perosnally, I distrust any information that I read from official CCP dev blogs...
That is why I strongly support the idea, that all CCO employees should have an EVE account where they fly standard ships...
No Jove op imba crap...

Anonymous said...

Great idea and perhaps a better use for alö those concord billboards.
CCP please take notes.

daniel said...

"Even worse, the client doesn't even tell you that you should use anything but the client."

unless you are among those that do not fail to read the ticker in the launcher ...
yes, it also informs you about stuff "outside" the client.

because of your anti.social behaviour you may not be aware of something that is: most ppl/players simply don't care.
also, because of your anti.social roleplay, you may not be aware of something else: other ppl/players in this game actually do talk to each other, exchange information, etc pp - it's not that all of us use this game to exchange titty-pics and such.

maybe you should start to ditch your obsession about "winning" and "being superior", and take this game as what it is, a virtual space world that gives you the freedome to do and be what you want - may it be a clueless scrub or a space tyrant.
there even is a place for little goblins.

Gevlon said...

@daniel: talking with fellow clueless noobs won't give you information, just false confidence.

Anonymous said...

A good idea but I question "CCP could surely afford to hire 5 journalists to do this." there have been two rounds of layoffs and a loss in the last year. If they had to give up something as popular as the QEN for financial reasons, I am not sure there are that many funds out there for something like this.

Besides, nobody has better trolling or propaganda than GS, so I would expect it would work out to a net advantage for them.

Anonymous said...

Out of game providers of quality content already exist along this vein. Simply linking to themittani.com in the newbie channels would do wonders.

also not a "jesus" feature. Jesus features in the past have been massive sweeping changes.

Gevlon said...

TMC is 80% non-EVE content and 10% useful, 10% lies and propaganda. I wouldn't recommend it to new players.

Anonymous said...

As a former member of ISD IC, I can tell you this is never happening. IC was barely tolerated in the "golden age" (peaked around Apocrypha), continually pushed to report only on the dev's pet alliances and their successes. Getting anything else done took a lot of convincing, arguing, and dealmaking in the Tribunal [the Coldfront IRC channel where ISD+GMs+CCP hung out]. It was exhausting.

The tenor of CCP's relationship with ISD IC (and basically all of ISD) changed quite drastically. Where we were once tolerated we were now abjured. I tried to do the job I volunteered to do and was "rewarded" by having my main account banned when they purged ISD IC without notice or warning. It took days for me to find out that we'd all been, basically, fired, and that I had to petition to have my main account reinstanted to "billing" instead of being "comped" as the measly reward for 30+ hours a week of work.

I'm convinced now that CCP has entered the endgame for EVE. The monument, the time capsule, those are all grasps at straws to retain some permanence of vision, because they realize the ship is sinking, and it's going to sink fast. They want to preserve the memory of EVE and find another boat to sail on (Legion, probably) before the blackwater swallows them up.

Cavin DeJordy said...

It's too bad that EVE is in cash cow milking mode. Journalism would give this game a push for the future, but it seems like CCP has moved in to "SpaceBalls the Flamethrower" merchandising mode to milk every last cent out of its true believers.
I started playing EVE seriously about a year ago and used it as a platform to learn small business leadership and open market dynamics. As a college student in the entrepreneurship program, where there are no internships, EVE was a more than adequate replacement. I learned a lot and gained some lifelong friends, but I can't see myself trying to build an organization in a game that is a decade old.
My crew is moving to ArchAge, and I wish everyone that sticks with EVE all the best. CCP is going corporate and losing sight of their humble and inspiring roots. I hope I am mistaken and EVE is alive and healthy for a long time, but Fanfest 2014 cemented in my mind that they are headed in a dangerous direction and may become irrelevant in the gaming world at large.
To parallel to another long lived MMO, Everquest is still alive and kicking but is far from a platform the gaming world looks to for innovation. Lets hope that EVE doesn't become a languishing dinosaur.

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