I've taken my shoes off and rolled up my pants legs to wade into the pond...
It is hard to let go of anger. It is harder to move past it without resolution. There are a lot of angry players at the moment. The palatable rage burn has been ignited for months. Eventually, when that much energy condenses it often achieves fusion. At this point the hungry mass becomes what we call in layman's terms, a star. The negative part about the forming of a star is that the energy that it then releases can be, in a word, devastating.
To wade hip deep into the middle of the vortex that is this discussion, I’ve been thinking about resolution. I’ve been thinking about what might make someone like myself who chose not to participate in this event, even when there were security spaces I could safely go to, not participate?
Some of that I believe is the chaotic nature of the event. Most are free for all spaceship pewpew. I stress when my boys want a casual, FCless fleet. Well run and advertised player created live events are huge and attract hundreds if not thousands of players. Move up to CCP created Live events on a game of Eve’s size and the abacus implodes. Everyone hears about it and everyone wants to go. Scheduling these events outside of prime times is a way to filter down the response. A live event during American prime time which is at the end of Europe prime time? Oh my.
Let the acceptance be that this event did not go as planned. Nor did it go well. That does not remove the fact that live events run by CCP are desired. Players want that in game activity. How CCP has been handling its events is slowly changing as they try things out. At Eve Vegas they said that they want to do more and have to figure out how to do things like control the population of players that respond. Becoming skilled at managing people does not happen overnight.
I must pull out the youtube link.
It was a comment about “the null sec war machine” that brought forward the realization that some aspects of the player base may not understand what the other security spaces are. Sure, there may be rumors and legends passed down but for those that do not live with regularity outside of high security space, what are the other sectors of space hold. These are built upon day trips and weekend PvP.
Or, in the realm of CCPs most recent live event, what was the automatic expectation of the player base?
There are three sides to a live event. One side is CCP. They plan the event much like a camping trip. They pick a location, pack supplies, and invite everyone along. Then there is the high sec contingent. The come to camp, roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories while participating in the camp activities. However, the rest of us are playing Lord of the Flies.
Then things go sideways. Those out in the woods playing Lord of the Flies they wonder, “Why does not CCP assume that we will play Lord of the Flies the moment we have a chance?”
I think some of that comes from the separation of CCP and game. “Play your own game, CCP!” or “You think CCP plays this game?” is an inevitable response to so many things. CCP has admitted that the player base just does things that they do not plan or expect. They may make plans but they have a certain amount of disconnect because they are the planners. They have written the script and to an extent everyone participating is joining in on that script. However, the player base starts to rewrite the play even as it is in action.
This means CCP has to take more control of these situations. They have to do so without stomping over the sandbox too much. These events must have a core reason and one that has been approved to enter into the story. While CCP is trying to enhance its player bases experience they are not using all of the tools at their disposal. The tools I speak of are the player base themselves.
The community team is small. The events team is, probably, smaller yet. I am sure people volunteer to help at the office and be actors. CCP then engages the players to come participate and the event lights off.
But things are not so easy. CCP has admitted themselves that the player base needs more sources to learn Eve. They have started an intiitve to create training programs focused on reaching out to the non-meta player base. This mean they are aware of their own lack and are trying to over come it.
I might be out of hand but I don’t understand why CCP does not involve the experienced, live event holding player base. Or, at least ask for that help. I’m going to throw Mangala Solaris out there. One of the CSM members and a RvB leader/organizer (mistress? :P ) Someone who is a part of a group that takes people and coordinates them into a ball of high sec PvP. They also hold massive live Events, with prizes, that go over very well. They hold a weekly public roam where hundreds of people can join in and get their feet wet.
To leave Mangelia alone for a moment, CCP has highlighted the two largest training organizations that are not Goonswarm with Eve University and Agony Unleashed. Both groups regularly bring the uninformed public into the fold and teach them about Eve. There are others who hold live events just because they want to all of the time. There are public fleets that are advised. There are trivia contests in channels with prizes given out. The player base is the most experienced and competent group to run live events and they do not even own any of the controls.
It is not as if there is not precedent for this. What are the ISDs if not a volunteer force? What is the CSM if not a volunteer force (elected but they volunteer). CCP already had the foundation in place to lean on players to assist them in areas where they need assistance.
Suddenly, ISD Live Events Team is something people can volunteer for. Let them be vetted. Let them sign an agreement that they have a NDA for the live events they chose to assist in. Whatever, and however, CCP wishes to bind people for them to assist, do it. And, make it public. ISDs are separate from their player characters. Let the players who are running the fleets be known. Nip the frothing SHINY SCORPION rage in the bud.
If X is one of the lead FC’s for YYY is going to be the FC coordinator with these people, let it be known. If they get something for assisting, make it public. Because, if the goal is to have an organized live event that brings positive results to the floor, people are not going to be angry (besides the ones who are always angry) that a well-known FC who is used to coordinating a thousand people is going to be assisting.
Put their street cred on the line. They volunteered for it.
And then, listen to them when they suggest changes or ways to make things work. They will expect their own groups to drop them. That is the cycle of Eve. But it also means that they have pre knowledge. I think if people felt that they had a chance and were being fed information, they’d feel better about what they are doing even if they died. Instead of being blindly lead over the cliff they’d know they took a few people down with their group and while they are bad because they are not experienced at PvP they’d feel as if they made an effort and had a chance.
Anyone who has ever listened to a group unfamiliar with PvP have a positive PvP experience can attest to how deeply it affects them. Famous FCs? Huge battles where someone helps them coordinate? CCP live events where they race (hopefully) around the game to the mysterious areas of space they have never one before with someone knowledgeable at the head of the fleet? Does not that sound like what people want when they join Eve? I’m sure it is a lot to ask but is it unreasonable or unobtainable? People plan live events all of the time because they enjoy it. They like to give back to the game and create interesting content. It is an impact into the game.
Never be coy about the event. The coyness is not working. Eve is a game with players who do not PvP. It cannot be expected that every player will automatically assume, “I’m going to lose this ship at the live event, today.” While they should assume it, people who do not PvP regularly, will not. One can argue should all day long but at the end of the day the argument won't be a step towards better communication or problem solving. Make it clear that spaceships are going to be destroyed. If one side is looking forward to roasting marshmallows and singing while the other side sharpens sticks on the woods there was a lack of communication.
The event is still going to be a showing of the knowledgeable vs the unknowledgeable. I don’t think that a magical ball of high sec fleet pew machine will appear. Groups spend a massive amount of times developing their coordination and turning their people into a war machine. Their FCs will go insane. It will still be a mess. But it will be a more organized mess. Once where people feel like participants with goals and focuses.
Too much effort goes into these live events for them to fail. The player base should not be going, “I don’t go to those.” Nor should they walk away going, “Never again.”