EVE Fanfest Report, Part III (Page 2 of 2)
He admitted that he is worried that factions may undermine the player corporation, but ideally, he sees them in two distinct roles. In player corporations, players are in pursuit of financial gain. In factions, players pursue fame. These are two distinct things that he hopes will appeal to different gamers and ultimately simply make EVE a bigger and more varied place.
One question that was never fully answered was "when do the graphics upgrades go live"? No one would definitively say Revelations II or Revelations III, so we'll stick to what Dan Speed said in his presentation and say "when it's ready". It definitely will not be in Revelations I, though.
Creative Director Reynir Hardarson followed Richardsson to the stage with a lecture on the definitions of good and evil and how they impact game design. In contrast to the talks of many of the previous speakers, Hardarson's time was academic.
"[You] have to be able to understand [evil] to create virtual worlds," Hardarson told the crowd.
He explained how evil was the strongest concept in human history and permeates most everything. In everything from religion, to social structure to drama, evil is the underlying concern.
He then asked if evil is a relative notion. He gave examples of shifting morality. For example, it is not evil today for women to wear a short skirt, but go back a couple hundred years and that would most definitely be evil.
Hardarson argued that morality is the fabric of human society and that evil is the threat of undermining or destroying that society; or even using that society as a vehicle for evil.
He tied this back into MMOs by pointing out that most MMOs simply address the issue of evil by forbidding it. You cannot be evil in most games, simple as that. Most virtual societies leave evil to the computer and cast the players as fighting against it.
A purely speculative possibility is that in the factional warfare system, players will be asked to do great evil. There are groups within EVE that enslave, kill and steal. Perhaps, CCP is institutionalizing evil? Or maybe this is just an interesting talk and should be take as only that.
The CEO Speaks, You Listen
Last year, approximately fifty people worked on EVE in some capacity. This year, in addition to the tripling of their in-house staff, Petursson believes that there are approximately 700 people worldwide that can say they contributed to EVE in some capacity over the last year.
The numbers are reflected in their subscriber numbers. EVE disavows the industry trend of holding them close to the vest - or kilt as the case may be - and publicly flaunts them At Fanfest 2005, there were 74,869 subscribers and 13,140 trial accounts in the EVE Universe.
At Fanfest 2006, CCP counted 145,095 subscribers and 20,068 trial accounts.
These numbers are great for an independent developers, but realistically, only now have they reached the cusp of the upper echelon of English MMOGs. What excited CCP and industry observers though is that EVE Online is the only game in the history of this genre that has a consistently upward momentum in subscriber numbers. Normally, games have their initial sales and peek shortly after launch. From there on out it's a slow, yet steady decline in overall numbers. EVE refuses to cooperate and just keeps growing, despite its age.
Clearly a lover of numbers, Petursson also revealed the total contribution of their players. EVE, unlike most games, is truly driven by its community and to date there had been 121,753 man years spent logged into EVE Online. By contrast, the pyramids of Egypt took 250,000 man years to build.
Fanfest, In Closing
As was the way the EVE developers interacted with those fans. At most events, there is a sort of barrier between the fans and the developers. They're together, but they're clearly separate. Despite its size - roughly 700 people showed up - CCP made the event intimate. Every night, they held a party at the location itself. There, fans and developers sat, drank and chatted. There was never a moment when someone in an EVE "Dev Team" shirt was not on hand for anyone who paid their fee to talk to.
While this was most definitely also a press event, it was not about the press. It was about EVE and that made for a more genuine and interesting experience. Here's to hoping that as EVE grows, its events can retain this kind of player-developer intimacy.