In entertainment the best stories come from real life and have elements of reality sprinkled throughout them. The lifeblood of EVE Online is the metagame where the line between life and game begin to blur until no-one is sure which is which. But EVE has always lacked one thing, a true villain. A villain that everyone could rise up to defeat. Sure the Goons and The Mitani have been labeled villains (although emergent gameplay fans might argued they are the hero). Sure some players have done villainous things, but what EVE really needs is the age old authority figure trying to bring everyone under their rule. “The Man” trying to chip away at their freedoms until they are under control. Trying to shape EVE into something with less PVP for less hardcore fans. Sound like CCP? Or rather, sound like the way many players view CCP?
Read any EVE related forum and you will see it’s full of CCP hate. Conspiracy after conspiracy gets glued together with CCP always being the big baddy. Decisions are put under a microscope, manipulated, and regurgitated with a media spin that would put politics to shame just to make CCP look bad. So CCP, your fans are asking for it. I would say they are even initiating it. Why not give it to them?
Sure there is a whole list of pros and cons and don’t mistake me; once you go down this rabbit hole there is no coming back, at least not in the short term. If you make this decision you have to go all the way, Heisenberg style. If it doesn’t feel real it was a waste of time.
Imagine the headlines: CCP TURNS ON PLAYERS! CCP new in game faction bringing order to the universe! CCP for a kinder gentler EVE! CCP FINALLY unlocks captain’s door-WIS now in game...but only for themselves! (CCP could then post a vid of them walking out wearing a monocle and overly expensive clothing-that isn't available to anyone in game)! CCP Unveils (long suspected) alliance with Goonswarm only to turn on them and disband them seconds later! CSM Disbanded by CCP! Veldspar removed from EVE; Chribba Banned for Alting! SO SO many options! They could even troll the updates. “Alting banned as of Nov. 1st”. Then on Nov 1st: “New Announcement: All Your Alts Are Belong to Us, just kidding, November Fools yo”.
MMO players have hated on the very companies that made their game of choice since the beginning of the genre (Trammel, TOA, NGE, TBC), but we have yet to see a company truly embrace that role (although SOE has come close on several occasions). The internet itself might implode of CCP pulled it off. The rage, the flames, the /quit posts followed up by CCP quoting the post and replying “we already took your money, now we have your stuff too” followed by a link to the cost of making DUST. Ok that might be a line crosser in terms of being at war with your players...
It would take a tremendous amount of planning, a company with major spaceballs, and an EXTREMELY defined implementation strategy but if it was done, and if it felt real and not like some GW2 script it could literally change the industry. Especially if they can get people to believe it’s real at first. It did wonders for Vince McMahon in 1997, why wouldn’t it work in this genre? It plays on the exact same human emotions just in a different setting.
Risky, company killing, game ending, maybe...but it couldn’t be much worse than DUST could it? (how ironic that the a game called DUST was only successful collecting it-I kid, I kid) ;) EVE might be the only MMO that this would work perfectly for. The symbiotic relationship they share with their players is as unique as it is delicate. You wanna call me the bad guy, you want me to be the bad guy, ok, I show you the bad guy. CCP you could be that bad guy that gets your game over the hump and takes it from great to legendary. And really, you would just be living up to the role your fans have already casted you in wouldn’t you?