Sunday, 28 December 2014

Catching up: CSM 9 Summer Summit

Season's greetings :)

Eve isn't my only love - there's football, politics, writing, not to mention the beautiful people in my life - so although I can't keep away from the game for long, I'm often playing catch up on the latest developments, etc. This is particularly the case with the meta-game content.

This last couple of weeks I've been catching up on what happened at the CSM summer summit - both reading the minutes and listening to discussions in the podcasting universe (podosphere?).

In general, I think it's a pretty exciting time to be a part of EVE; some aspects, particularly in nullsec, have (apparently) been a little dull for a while, and CCP's attention has been divided to expanding into new games, but that has been scaled back, and it seems clear that those in charge have a vision for making the game a great place to be. A lot of the changes or discussions that have been reported in the summer summit minutes really show that.

One of the more controversial discussions to have taken place is one around "Awoxing", or joining a corp with the intent of killing and sabotaging your fellow corpies. For myself I think the changes discussed - to make aggression within corporations policed by CONCORD the same way all other aggro is - are really great; there will still be space for espionage and infiltration in null and low, but such activities will - and should - bear consequences in high sec.

Our corp and alliance is pretty active, for one largely based around Alliance space. We are always getting new players coming through as their first port of call after the NPC corps; some stick around with us, some stay in the Alliance but branch out, and some move out to the big alliances. We've seen a pretty big wave of newbies join up recently, especially since the This is Eve video was released. Thankfully, we haven't been Awoxed, but I've been in corps which have before, and it's not fun. It's reassuring to know that a PVPer with malicious intent can't join us and give those new guys a bad experience of the community with impunity. Of course, newbies need to lose ships to learn about the game (and most of ours have), but they should also be able to trust the players they are flying with.

Nosy Gamer wrote a good post highlighting the different perspectives here.

The discussion around ISboxer, resulting in the announced banning of ISboxer, has already had a good flow-on effect in terms of PLEX prices stabilising and the prices of minerals rising due to the volume of minerals being mined by one person flying forty ships falling.

Another couple of little tidbits that I've heard discussed in the meta recently: only 4% of Eve's players are female, which is low even compared to other MMOs that can average around 15% - or compared to real astronauts, 10% of whom are female.  Some select quotes on the topic from the minutes:

Ali wanted to point out that Eve has substantially fewer women proportionally than any other MMO – average MMO is around 10% while Eve sits at around 4%. She wanted to know if there were metrics as to why this may be and how they go around resolving this massive discrepancy.

CCP Dhalgren wanted CSM to know he was aware of this anomaly but his priority is to grow Eve full stop. There haven’t been any marketing campaigns generated from CCP so far explicitly with the goal of targeting women. The problem with the community-led marketing as described earlier as Ali put it is that if only men play Eve then it there are less women to attract other women. Obviously it doesn’t have to go that women attract female players and vice-versa but there is certainly a correlation.

Xander asked if there have been any case studies done into why there is such a massive discrepancy between the proportion of the playerbase that are female compared to other MMO playerbases?

CCP Dhalgren advised that no such studies have been done but for him, it’s more important to understand why anyone would want to play Eve at all irrespective of age, sex, background, etc and only after that to ask the secondary question of how do we get more of a particular demographic. He went on to emphasize however that the question on women is very important – there are women out there who would enjoy Eve but aren’t playing and CCP needs to look at how to find them.

That's a bit of a disappointing answer for me, as are some of the bullshit essentialist responses given in the past on the issue which effectively amount to "women don't like science fiction". Finding my current corp, which contains many women [ED: on reflection, only 4 active players, so around 20%] and has a culture I would describe as good and non-sexist, has helped me to realise just how important those factors can be when it comes to attracting or retaining women to a space. [ED: On reflection, Gamergate has shown just how important gaming culture can be in including or excluding women; I'm going to make a future post thinking about this in more depth.]

That's not to say CCP's attitude is all negative: the existence of a CSM, and the increasing amount of respect is it being accorded by CCP, reflect that the commitment and passion of the community what's so powerful about EVE. It's a sandbox universe shaped by players, and CCP understands this and actively invites players to be involved in its evolution.

Now is a good time to be one of those players - even a n00b care bear - as we all have the chance to help make the narrative.

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