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What Game Devs Should Learn From EVE 270

Posted by Soulskill
from the watch-out-for-volcanoes dept.
An anonymous reader passes along this excerpt from Gamesradar about EVE Online's Council of Stellar Management (CSM), a group of elected player representatives that serve to facilitate communications between the developers and the community: "On the last day, the devs announced that after the earlier discussions about improving the CSM’s ability to effect change, the CSM was being raised to the status of its own department within CCP. This is revolutionary; in one swift move, the CSM went from what could be considered a glorified focus group to what CCP considers to be a 'stakeholder' in the company, given equal consideration with every other department in requesting development time for a project. That means the CSM — and the entire playerbase it represents — has as much influence on development projects as Marketing, Accounting, Publicity and all the other teams outside of the development team. This is, of course, the stated intention. But has any developer gone to such lengths for its fans?"
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What Game Devs Should Learn From EVE

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  • Their thinking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:32AM (#32276618)

    Maybe if we ask people what they want and then give it to them, they will tell their friends, blog positively, continue to subscribe to our subscription-based service instead of wandering off in boredom.

    The Internet makes a lot of things possible when it comes to unprecedented communication between suppliers and consumers. Of course, this only works if you believe your users know what they want.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by QuantumG (50515) *

      Or it's just a creative way to foster elitism - which is a fundamental part of the competitive motivations of the game.

      • Re:Their thinking (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Ephemeriis (315124) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @06:45AM (#32277020)

        Or it's just a creative way to foster elitism - which is a fundamental part of the competitive motivations of the game.

        The meta-game in EVE is huge. Tons of business is conducted on forums, in person, and over the phone. EVE really extends beyond the GUI running on your computer.

        The CSM is just another arena for the players to compete in.

      • by wish bot (265150)

        The CSM only really comes from the 0.0 player base anyway as the Corps and Alliances vote as blocks for their own candidates.

        Therefore perhaps the CSM has a role as a 'lure'...move to 0.0 space and have the opportunity to influence your play style to your benefit.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Hadlock (143607)

          For those of us following along at home, what is 0.0 space? I caught the tail end of the Goonfleet collapse, but that's about it.

          • Space that can be "controlled", either through force projection alone, or by status of actually having sovereignty in a system.
          • Re:Their thinking (Score:5, Informative)

            by Chatsubo (807023) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @08:41AM (#32278176)

            EVE divides space into regions that have several (10) different levels of policing. This affects many game dynamics, but in short:

            In systems with a security status >= 0.5: If you shoot at another player, the fuzz show up with overwhelming force almost immediately and kills you with extreme prejudice (aka: Empire space)

            0.1 to 0.4: The fuzz won't show up to deal retribution, but gates and stations have stationary turrets that will fire on you if you shoot at other players within their range. (aka: Lowsec)

            0.0: Absolutely lawless space. Anyone can shoot at anyone. Usually ruled by alliances because they have enough firepower to assure relative safety. (aka: Nullsec)

            You can, if you want, pay isk to "declare war" on another corporation. In that case, all of the fuzz/turrets won't intervene, no matter the security status, as long as you only fire on THAT corp, of course.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              And if you shoot people in high-sec or low-sec, you take a hit to Security Status, and if it gets too low, you'll get nuked just for jumping into a high-sec system, and the only way to raise it is to grind pirates for hours. And if you shoot someone in low-sec and jump to high-sec within 15 minutes, you get CONCORDed anyhow. And gates and stations won't allow you access for 30 seconds after shooting someone. And, of course, 0.0 is divided into NPC sovereignty and Player sovereignty which affects whether
        • I gave up playing Eve Online for two reasons:

          1) It takes hours of time to accomplish even simple tasks.

          2) There was a body of dedicated roleplayers who were carefully organizing in-game events and ongoing plot-lines in accordance with the published and frequently updated back-story. The developers made it clear, however, that they didn't care about anyone but the gigantic "alliances" that ignored roleplaying entirely and concentrated on their massive pyramid schemes that allowed a handful of players the opp

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by elrous0 (869638) *
        The first thing that came to my mind when I read this was "And how many people on this council are going to use their new power to further their own personal interests in the game?" Eve is such a cutthroat environment that *anything* that blurs the line between player and developer will only cause problems and bring into question the developers' objectivity. There have already been several scandals [escapistmagazine.com] involving CCP employees caught playing the game. This will only cause more problems.
    • Re:Their thinking (Score:5, Insightful)

      by quickgold192 (1014925) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @06:29AM (#32276916)

      continue to subscribe to our subscription-based service instead of wandering off in boredom.

      When it comes to EVE, I have to wonder if there's a difference.

    • Re:Their thinking (Score:4, Informative)

      by Ephemeriis (315124) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @06:44AM (#32277010)

      Maybe if we ask people what they want and then give it to them, they will tell their friends, blog positively, continue to subscribe to our subscription-based service instead of wandering off in boredom.

      A key part of this, though, is filtering out the noise.

      There are a lot of whiners on the EVE boards (just like pretty much any game's forum). Lots of the them think the game is too tough, too time-consuming, and too unforgiving. Lots of them would like it to be friendlier and more casual in nature.

      CCP doesn't respond to every single whine on the boards like some companies do.

      Instead, they ask the players to elect folks who actually represent them. And then they ask the representatives what to do with EVE.

      You'll see CSM members of a piratical disposition... Folks from large alliances... Folks who are carebears at heart... Folks from tiny corporations... All sorts of different people represented... But you won't see a whole lot of folks who whine that EVE needs to be more friendly and forgiving.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jollyreaper (513215)

      Maybe if we ask people what they want and then give it to them, they will tell their friends, blog positively, continue to subscribe to our subscription-based service instead of wandering off in boredom.

      The Internet makes a lot of things possible when it comes to unprecedented communication between suppliers and consumers. Of course, this only works if you believe your users know what they want.

      Proud to say I kicked the EVE habit long ago. You could get places it that game but it felt like a full-time job.

      What finally did it for me is that the missions became too difficult for too little reward. I had my spiffy new battleship and lost it in a mission because the enemy bots were using jammer ships, i.e. you can't warp out when you notice you're in trouble. This was the final straw on top of the nerfing of the loot tables, the addition of extraneous content like rigs that just made missions take lon

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by citizenr (871508)

        Proud to say I kicked the EVE habit long ago. You could get places it that game but it felt like a full-time job.

        What finally did it for me is that the missions became too difficult for too little reward. I had my spiffy new battleship and lost it in a mission because the enemy bots

        aaa, so you didnt play EVE, you played WoW like corner of EVE designed for moron grinders. EVE is about plater vs player interactions in a huge sandbox. Basically you failed at EVE.

      • That sounds a lot like my experience.

        What kept me in EVE was that the other players in the roleplaying "corporation" were really great, interesting people. Unfortunately, my playing time rarely overlapped theirs. And, I found that the game actually interfered with interacting with the players.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ErikZ (55491) *

        Yep. To get everything out of Eve, you have to treat it like a second job. Not like something you can pop on and have some fun for 20 minutes, then leave.

        Which is why I stopped playing Eve and switched to TF2.

    • Maybe if we ask people what they want

      The problem is which people do you give what they want? The playerbase of any game is hardly a monolithic bloc all of whom deserve more-or-less the same thing. Almost certainly, some of 'what the players want' is going to be mutually exclusive.

      Back Alley Brawler, a developer for City of Heroes/Villains puts it thus; "If this game spit out twenty dollar bills, people would complain they weren't in serial number order. If they were in serial number order, people

    • by metamatic (202216)

      Having the audience democratically decide the content of your art is not necessarily the best thing for quality; consider Hollywood.

  • Reading through the logs of some of the CSM meetings, they actually do work like a normal division, just without the teeth. hopefully this will fix that. On a side note.. why does it take 15 seconds on my i7 machine to preview my post?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why does it take 1 second on my cellphone to preview my post? Because processing power has little to no correlation with Internet responsiveness.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nacturation (646836) *

      Supposedly Slashdot checks to see if your IP address can be used as an open proxy. If you can find a way to accept the connection and immediately say "nope, not a proxy here" instead of having it timeout that would likely cut down the preview time.

  • This is why (Score:5, Interesting)

    by toxygen01 (901511) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:36AM (#32276638) Journal
    EVE is so popular. It's not a game (anymore). Everyone takes it very seriously.
    CCP even hired economists to be able to cope with in-game markets...
    • EVE is still as much a game as anything else out there...

      Yes, the meta-game is hugely important in EVE... Maybe more-so than in most games... But it is still just a game... At least, as much as any popular MMOG is just a game.

      Yes, people take EVE seriously... But they take WoW and EverQuest and StarCraft and everything else seriously too.

    • Ummmm.... No.

      EVE has maybe 300,000 active subscribers currently. Ok no problem, that's plenty of people to make the game worth continuing development on and making a profit. However that's not popular, by any stretch. EQ2 has over 500,000 players, Star Trek has a million players, Aion has 3.5 millions players, WoW has over 11 million, Linage 2 has around 20 million. So while EVE is in no risk of drying up and dying, it isn't popular compared to other MMOs, it is rather niche.

      The reason is the one you alread

      • by Pikoro (844299)
        Actually, the reason is because those 300,000 eve players are all on the same "server". It's not divided up into shards or whatever those other MMOs call them. Everyone is in the same universe. THAT is what makes it interesting.
        • by Hadlock (143607)

          It's also what makes it interesting to read about as an outsider. 300,000 people is on par with the state of Wyoming, except they're all using the same set of forums and actively engaged with one another. We have a hard time getting 50% of the population in the real world to vote, or send back census forms; these people are all actively engaged. WoW might have X million users, but there's only ~20,000 people on one server/shard/instance/whatever. I'm guessing many of those server numbers come from multiple

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Ihmhi (1206036)

            That's a pretty interesting comparison there between EVE and Wyoming. One is a vast, desolate land where only the boldest and bravest dare leave what little pockets of civilization exist, and the other is EVE.

      • Show us an MMO with more than 300k subscribers and consistent growth for 7+ years.
        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          Show us an MMO with more than 300k subscribers and consistent growth for 7+ years.

          Lineage 2 [wikipedia.org]. Do you need telling a third time?

        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          Hell, show us an MMO with 300,000 subscribers - often as high as 50,000 simultaneously online - on one server.

  • by harl (84412) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:37AM (#32276648)

    The only problem is the CSM has no mandate. They do not represent the players. They're elected by 4-6% of the player base.

    The whole thing is widely viewed with scorn by the player base. Election turn outs make the states look good. Most candidates are viewed as fanboys wanting a free trip to iceland.

    • by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:39AM (#32276656)

      You've failed to note one thing: The 6% of the playerbase they are elected by are the 6% that CARE. If the others cared, they could vote, too. They CHOSE not to.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
        I played EVE for a few years. This is the first I've heard of the CSM.

        Note to CSM members: Improve public image of CSM, improve awareness.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Jedi Alec (258881)

          There've been calls to vote for the CSM smack dab in the middle of your login screen for weeks.

          If you overlook something that is right in the center of your monitor just what are they supposed to do, send you private messages every 5 minutes? :P

        • I played EVE for a few years. This is the first I've heard of the CSM.

          Note to CSM members: Improve public image of CSM, improve awareness.

          I don't know how you can be unaware of the CSM...

          It's featured heavily on the EVE homepage for weeks before the election. You'll see folks campaigning on the forums... Supporters will throw slogans and "vote for..." messages in their signatures... You'll see mention of it in various in-game channels...

          There's even a message on the login screen reminding you to go vote...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Martin Spamer (244245)

          There has been a huge page banner to vote on the home page [eveonline.com] for a couple of months.

          It's been on the in-game browser Home/News page for the same amount of time.

          There is a section on the forum called Council of Stellar Management.

          Some candidates have made campaign videos on YouTube [youtube.com].

          Where have you been hiding, under Chribba's pile of Veldspar or something ?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by harl (84412)

        Or maybe they trust the game developers more than some fanboys.

        What about the original point of the CSM? To act as auditors of CCP to prevent corruption. Remember the T2 BPOs given out by a DEV? CSM was in direct response to that.

        What was the latest corruption. Oh yeah a CSM trying to play the market with inside information he got from being on the council.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by N1AK (864906)

        You've failed to note one thing: The 6% of the playerbase they are elected by are the 6% that CARE. If the others cared, they could vote, too. They CHOSE not to.

        The other 94% will care if they don't like changes that are made. When it comes to RL elections, if I don't vote in the election and don't like the resulting government I need to emigrate (major PitA). If I don't vote for my representative in an online game and don't like the changes they choose it's nowhere near as much trouble to leave.
        If I made

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by KnownIssues (1612961)

        You've failed to note one thing: The 6% of the playerbase they are elected by are the 6% that CARE. If the others cared, they could vote, too. They CHOSE not to.

        Just like real life voting. And just like real life voting, the people who care are not necessarily the people who need the benefits of accurate representation the most.

      • by Rogerborg (306625)
        So, there's a "none of the above" option in the voting process, is there? If not, then the lack of mandate is as likely to reflect objection rather than apathy.
    • by Jedi Alec (258881) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:51AM (#32276708)

      But quite often the CSM as a group has a far better view of the consequences of certain changes.

      A large majority of the players focus on a single aspect of gameplay and what that part improved in some way, without realizing what the consequences are to the rest. Especially in a game like EVE where pretty much the entire economy is ran by players, a small change here could have massive impact over there.

      Personally I can't wait to see what happens when meta 0 stuff stops dropping, should make things interesting ;-)

      • by harl (84412)

        Yeah because the consequences of jail time for in game murders is both sane and good for the player base. Yes that's an actual CSM member's position. You pod kill you go to pixel jail and stare at pixel bars.

        I'm sure the consequences of that will be great for the game.

        • by Bakkster (1529253)

          Yeah because the consequences of jail time for in game murders is both sane and good for the player base. Yes that's an actual CSM member's position. You pod kill you go to pixel jail and stare at pixel bars.

          I'm sure the consequences of that will be great for the game.

          Assuming it required a bounty be placed and another player capture the murderer and deliver them to a jail (which would also be player-run), that seems entirely in-line with the intent of the game. If players want to create a government and enforce lawfulness in certain sectors of space, they can.

      • Until now, it has always been a toss up whether to blitz missions or to salvage them and loot them. Well, obviously, in future the looting bit will no longer be worth it in terms of isk/hour so players will simply be enticed to use Marauders even more than they do now, so as to speed up the process.

        Personally, I think it's nice for miners and t1 industrialists, who will finally make a bit of money.

    • They do not represent the players. They're elected by 4-6% of the player base.

      Sure they do.

      If you don't care enough to go and vote, that's hardly the CSM's fault, is it?

      The CSM is as representative as the playerbase wants it to be.

      • by harl (84412)

        No. They represent 4-6% of the players.

        to say they represent any more is a gross manipulation of semantics.

        • The President of the United States represents all its citizens, whether they voted for him, for somebody else, or not at all.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:40AM (#32276662)

    I believe this is the first time in its history that a videogame focus group has been given an official role within the Chinese Communist Party. Congratulations comrades!

  • Shame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vahokif (1292866) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:45AM (#32276690)
    Shame that good MMORPGs don't make financial sense and MMORPGs that make financial sense aren't good.
    • Shame that good MMORPGs don't make financial sense and MMORPGs that make financial sense aren't good.

      I assume you're suggesting that EVE doesn't make financial sense.

      This is incorrect.

      EVE is making plenty of money. If it wasn't, it would have folded up like so many of the other MMOGs launched over the years.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vahokif (1292866)
        That's because it's a grindy, boring piece of shit like every other MMO. Just with more pretentious fans.
        • The nice thing about EVE is that it's not grindy like WoW and other MMOs. The only thing that affects your rate of skill point acquisition in EVE is which skills you decide to train. You don't have to hunt for XP to level up. Somebody that "grinds" all the time in EVE has no skill advantage over the casual player.
          • by Vahokif (1292866)

            So you're saying it's so good you're paying NOT to play it?

            Besides, I used to play EVE. The only way to make money in empire space is to grind missions, or mine, or industry, all of which are incredibly boring. So I and went down to 0.0. All people did there is mine and shoot mobs. The huge battles are boring as fuck and happen at 3 FPS. PvP mostly consists of camping outside gates for hours with a bunch of losers.

            • And the entire game "economy" is based on mining. Which means, those huge battles, in which there are a few minutes of explosions, are based upon thousand of hours of players sitting at screens watching lasers hit rocks.

    • by Aurisor (932566)

      You're entitled to your opinion, but there are a *lot* of us who think that the successful MMOs are a lot of fun. That's why they're successful.

  • by theolein (316044) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:52AM (#32276710) Journal

    Eve is a very hard game to play. There are almost no other games with a learning curve as steep as Eve's, and certainly no MMOs. This has as a consequence that Eve has a relatively small player base. A further consequence of the small player base is that CCP, the company that makes Eve, needs to make sure that they can retain as many players as possible and not run the risk of making the player base so angry with any mistake so as to lose a significant amount of players. In a bigger MMO, this would perhaps be less consequential, but in Eve it would seriously damage the game.

    The CSM (player voted representatives) came about as a consequence of the discovery by an Eve player that Eve devs were seriously cheating in game, aiding their own side with expensive items. The player reaction to that one, in a game which is already very hard, threatened to torpedo the game. So CCP created the CSM to represent player issues to CCP.

    However, CCP never took the CSM seriously, resulting in the current lack of trust in CCP's willingness to take its customers seriously (CCP actually told the last CSM that they were not actually interested in the majority of the players but only in a subsection that lived in a specific "elite" part of Eve space). The resulting lack of belief in CCP and the CSM has led to widespread protests against voting for the CSM and CCP has once again relented by now making the CSM a "stakeholder" in the game.

    This is, however, cosmetic, as there have been no commitments by CCP to actually take the player wishes any more seriously than they currently do. I personally would not hold my breath to see if anything positive comes of this. CCP has downgraded the CSM before (from its original oversight function to a merely representative one) and will very likely do so again once the current bad PR dies down again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Charliemopps (1157495)
      The fact that EVE is "hard" is exactly it's appeal. Eve and Wurn are probably the only MMO's on the market right now that provide any challenge what-so-ever. It's like the Arcade owner swapped out all the games for whack-a-mole because it was his most profitable game and now he's wondering why no-one comes around anymore. Perhaps if he made whack-a-mole free to play but made the hammer to small to hit the moles... then he could charge for a bigger hammer? Brilliant!!
      • by Abcd1234 (188840)

        It's like the Arcade owner swapped out all the games for whack-a-mole because it was his most profitable game and now he's wondering why no-one comes around anymore.

        I'm confused. So, you're saying no one plays those other MMOs because they're too easy?

        Odd, considering many other "whack-a-mole"-level MMOs sport much larger player bases than EVE...

    • Eve is a very hard game to play.

      EVE is a very easy game to play.

      The actual gameplay is no more complicated than any other MMOG out there. The GUI is a little ugly... But it still basically comes down to selecting a target and then mashing a few buttons on your screen.

      There are almost no other games with a learning curve as steep as Eve's, and certainly no MMOs.

      The learning curve was originally steep due to some very crappy in-game tutorials. Those have now been improved. It's really fairly easy to get started in EVE these days.

      The real complexity comes from understanding all the various interactions... How the danger of gather

    • However, CCP never took the CSM seriously, resulting in the current lack of trust in CCP's willingness to take its customers seriously (CCP actually told the last CSM that they were not actually interested in the majority of the players but only in a subsection that lived in a specific "elite" part of Eve space). The resulting lack of belief in CCP and the CSM has led to widespread protests against voting for the CSM and CCP has once again relented by now making the CSM a "stakeholder" in the game.

      And this is why I love stand-alone games. I don't like where the developers took the later Soul Caliber games but no worries, I'll always have the first one. But if it were an online game, once the changes are made I'm never getting my old game back. And dick moves by management continue to make the experience suck. Hell, when Lucas tried to change the original trilogy I could still go back to the original version of the originals. I don't have to buy the prequels. In an online game, you just have to suck i

      • Hell, when Lucas tried to change the original trilogy I could still go back to the original version of the originals. I don't have to buy the prequels.

        Although you'd never know it from the idiots claiming that Star Wars has been "ruined" for them...

      • And this is why I love stand-alone games. I don't like where the developers took the later Soul Caliber games but no worries, I'll always have the first one.

        No worries, you can count on new form of DRM to definitely ruin that for you too.

        Enjoying "Soul Calibur 2012" and considering as the best single-player fighting game ever ? Too bad that when they crappy 2015 edition comes out, they will shut down their older game server. Not only disabling internet-enabled multiplayer in this process, but also preventing the atorcious Always-on-internet DRM scheme from even starting single player games.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by elrous0 (869638) *
      Basically, once the devs themselves were caught cheating and stealing REAL money, there was no way to ever really recover. Whatever they do from now on, it will ALWAYS be viewed by suspicion and distrust from the players. Once a casino is caught rigging the machines, the only way to ever fully recover is to fire *everyone* from the top on down and bring in entirely new management. Since CCP isn't going to do that, players will always have to wonder which CCP employees are rigging the game in their favor. Th
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by illectro (697914)

      Eve is not a hard game at all, Go is a hard game, Chess is a hard game, Eve is a broad game with a lot of things you can choose to learn. The process to build a tech 3 cruiser and subsystems is pretty complex, but buying and flying one doesn't need you to know about that.

      I play Eve with my 5 year old daughter [youtube.com] (when she's been good of course) and she's quite capable of building a ship and taking it out to run missions, she'll tell you all about her Omen or Punisher and how the colour of the laser affects r

  • by tenco (773732)
    This happened months ago. How is this news?
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:56AM (#32276736) Journal

    The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. Winston Churchill

    There is a reason democracy works with majority rule, because if you had to listen to every single individual, every stakeholder in the country, you would never get anything done and run a real risk of ending up listening to the loudest party.

    In MMO land, the loudest party is often the Player Killer. PK ala Ultima Online, so beloved it was ripped from that game and every western game released after it that didn't have it did better. Yes UO fans, UO might have been first, it might have done things no other game has done BUT it also didn't manage to get a large number of subscribers. According to wikipedia it PEAKED at 250.000. Eve claims to have reached 300.000 and that game is considered to be niche. So a small game by a no-name developer working with its own IP has reached more subscribers then a triple A title working with a well known IP. That should tell you something.

    Of course, UO did launch before broadband connections were common and was exploring newer ground, and of course popularity says nothing about quality, but read posts about MMO discussions sometime. Just how can it be that so many claim UO is the best when so few played it? More people have played EVE. A SHIT load more played Everquest. Even Star Wars Galaxies reached more people.

    If the PK in UO was the thing to have, then UO would have reached more people. In fact, if PvP was so popular, then pure PvP games would do better. But Darkfall, Age of Conan and indeed EVE aren't doing all that well compared to PvE heavier titles like Lord of the Rings Online and of course World of Warcraft. So do you as a developer listen to the countless forum posts demanding unrestricted player killing and full body loot? They are certainly vocal, so surely that is what the players want? Well yes, on the forums, not when it comes to actually playing and PAYING for the game.

    I have made the mistake of following the forums of several games in the past before I grew up and you can see a certain trend, the people who are playing and PAYING are to busy to be on the forum. EVE might be an exception here, because it is by its nature far more of a game where you organize outside the game world, it is a business sim to many and so the forums might actually be useful for other things then ranting. But this is not the case on many game forums. If you go to the Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic site you can find half the posts demanding it to be free-to-play or else the poster won't play it without paying for it (the horror!) and the other half trying to come up with someway to make it seem attractive for other players to be their content (bounty hunters wanting PK but having wised up that they need to wrap it up in a pretty package). Real players have got better things to do, the game won't be out for a year, and really, Bioware probably already made their mind up about the game. Even if they wanted to listen to the forum posters (who are unlikely to be their full audience), where would you find the resources to implement everything? What do you pick?

    Oh, the thingy that the forum posters wanted and you already wanted to do? Listening to your users, you run the severe risk of listening to yes-men. Just see the actions by people on this site. Don't like what someone says? mod them down. As a developer, if you are told by one person that you are doing the best job ever and another comes out with a detailed plan of how the game could be far far better but everything the developer believes and stands for is wrong, who does he listen to?

    EVE might be in a luxury position in that it grew slowly and might have attracted an audience that wants to play the game that it is. But many titles, especially big budget ones attract all kinds, including people that should just play a different game. You probably won't find many EVE players demanding the game to be more solo friendly and that everyone should be able to afford the biggest ship after soloing for a month and then be able to do everything in the game. But that is EXACTLY what people demand in every other MMO.

    Read some MMO forums, then tell me that listening to your audience is a good idea.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Jedi Alec (258881)

      You probably won't find many EVE players demanding the game to be more solo friendly and that everyone should be able to afford the biggest ship after soloing for a month and then be able to do everything in the game. But that is EXACTLY what people demand in every other MMO.

      Actually, there are. Tons of them. Entire truckloads get sent to the exit scorned by such epic remarks as "GB2WOW" and "can I have your stuff"

      CCP listens to the playerbase, but their vision of the EVE universe as a whole remains unalte

      • by nschubach (922175)

        They love it when we blow each other up.

        Of course they do... that's less money in the market if people keep buying ships to get blown up.

    • EVE was designed to be a cut-throat game.

      It has player-killers.

      It doesn't even need player-killers though, because you can screw yourself over just by making a stupid mistake.

      That's what makes EVE what it is. And that's what makes EVE so popular with its players.

      They don't want to be coddled.

      CCP does listen to its players... But only to the elected representatives, not every single whiner on the boards.

      If they listened to every single whiner on the boards it would have long ago become WoW-in-space... Whi

    • by MrZilla (682337)

      You are right of course. The Trammel/Felucca split came about precisely because the majority of the players didn't want to have to deal with PKs.

      For me, personally, the added risk of being attacked by another player at (almost) any time makes the game that much more fun, as well as the ability to attack someone who's disrupting gameplay. I have never played as a random PK, but I have always enjoyed having them around.

      I certainly understand why modern MMOs are developed the way they are, and I know that it i

    • Re:Niche (Score:3, Informative)

      by Phrogman (80473)

      People need to get some perspective on what a "niche" MMO is. When UO scored 250,000 players, or DAOC got up to comparable numbers, or EQ got to 500,000 subscribers - those were MAJOR SUCCESSES. No one could believe how popular those games were, with subscriber numbers like that, they were assured of long lives (and in fact DAOC is still hanging on by its fingernails, barely).

      WOW came along and completely transformed the market. 11 Million subscribers as a base has so totally distored the market - and new p

  • by crazybit (918023) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:58AM (#32276752)
    that the easiest and cheapest way of finding new ways of pleasing their customers is listening to their opinions. The only difference between this and a traditional focus group is the size of the population sample.
  • They don’t know how to make it fun. They are no experts in it. You know: Those who can’t design, play. ;)

    They don’t know about the balance between too hard and too easy. About how changing something that people will think is stupid, will make gameplay more fun. After all it’s still supposed to be a game right, not just a simulation.

    You obviously still have to listen to your players. But you have to interpret it trough experienced game designers, to find out what they really want and how to really make that happen. (As it will often be counterintuitive to the players.)

    But oh well... as I said, I’m not really sure EvE still is a game, or rather an alternate reality, complete with everything. (Not that that is a bad thing. Let alone an uninteresting one.)

    • by T Murphy (1054674)
      Valve often listens to the TF2 community- many of the recent updates included hats and usable items contributed by the community, and game balancing generally seems to follow common requests/complaints. Of course, there are many threads in the forums screaming for one side or another of some debate, but there are enough people posting who put more thought into balance and come up with genuinely good ideas. Valve still playtests any changes, likely rejecting far more proposed changes than implementing them,
  • But has any developer gone to such lengths for its users?

    Yes, pretty much any development shop that does anything other than COTS product development.

  • we need to look and see how this goes.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @08:24AM (#32277848)

    Asking your player what he wants when you sell them a "normal" game, i.e. one that generates revenue at sale and never again, is pretty stupid. He already bought it. Changing a game to suit his needs is pretty much a waste of time. He will not buy it again. On the other hand, someone else who WOULD have bought it might not when you make the change.

    MMOs on the other hand make most of their income from recurring subscriptions. Thus changing the game to make people play it longer does indeed give them a lot more money. So yes, it is very much in CCPs interest to do what its players want. Maybe not to the whole extent (hey, which player would refuse a few billion ISK? I guess that's something every player would enjoy!), but making changes that makes a lot of players play longer, or even make players who stopped playing to return, is a pretty good idea.

  • MMO games are driven by subscription fees. Without fans who keep paying, there's no point.

    This doesn't really apply to other sorts of games. Developers can listen to consensus, but they don't really have to enact community change.

  • "That means the CSM -- and the entire playerbase it represents -- has as much influence on development projects as Marketing, Accounting, Publicity and all the other teams outside of the development team."

    Remember that simpsons episode where homer designs a new car to appeal to the average Joe ?

    Sometimes people shouldn't get what they want.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @09:24AM (#32278932) Homepage

    This is just the Student President scam. Let the children elect a representative, give them a neat title and even let them sit at the table with the grown ups. Heck, use them as your mouthpiece, and ask them to canvas their constituents if you like. But you don't have to actually listen to them. Why would you? They're just an annoying selfish greedy know-nothing kid, representing a group of annoying selfish greedy know-nothing kids. All they're there for is to act as a buffer to keep the baying and howling at a tolerable distance.

    I've seen this faux consultation happen in other games through the years - Netrek, Navy Field - and here's the skinny: he who controls the server rules the universe.

    Can this EVE council actually modify the server source? Can they even see it? No, of course not, because they're not really grown ups, or worthy of trust.

    Judge them by their access, not their title.

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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