My words in others words

Dave Rickey linked an interview to Eve-Online producer (Nathan Richardsson) and I was wondering why since he already covered those points not long ago. I also thought it was about another interview I didn’t really find that interesting.

Then I read the one done by Gamasutra and figured out why he linked it. It is really that good and I felt like reading the exact same stuff I’ve preached about for all this time. All the basic points. I event felt jealous.

He speaks about the virtual world focused on PvP without instancing and sharding, the focus on the players and the social aspects, the unique traits that a “mmorpg” has to offer, the instancing applied to PvE used to “control” the experience ( the problem of authorship I often tried to bring up), the “power to the players” slogan (mine is “give back the world to the players”), content build through the development of tools to be used by the players (opposed to mudflated content), the conquest and control of the game world through PvP, the iterative development as one of the most unique traits and strengths of mmorpg development, the community seen as a resource and not as something to muffle in every way possible, “embrace and evolve”, “we try to put us in the position of “what would I really like to do here?” and then try to develop that” (in-character development), the “open source” attitude (full disclosure to the community, no drama, no hiding, no information control. Just openness and honesty), the PvP as an endlessly renewable and fun source of content, the truly communal goals, the freedom from obsolete publishers that just contribute to sink the potential and nothing else… is this enough?

In particular: the prefect timing to launch something different and dare with the ideas. Right now, exactly when the genre grew so much thanks to WoW and other games, exactly when there are so many players who would like to ask more from this genre.

My ideas on how to deliver that type of experience are different, but I saw him quoting all the exact same principles I have.

– Our strong belief in PvP and a single universe is probably the main differentiator between us and other MMOs. We strongly believe that MMOs should focus on social interaction between people, but many MMOs tend to go in the opposite direction. We don’t like instancing and we don’t like sharding and we believe that too much focus on player versus environment is taking us more closer to the newly coined term ‘Massively Single Player Games.’

We fully understand the reason behind sharding, instancing and the PvE focus. A lot of players want this kind of experience and these tools are far more commercially viable to fully control the experience and content created. We however decided to take the more difficult path and try to take on those obstacles head-on. It certainly has a lot of unpleasant side effects and EVE will never be a mainstream game. We’re complex, we’re open ended, we’re fully PvP oriented and you can lose six months work in a second. But we believe this is what makes EVE so unique and we’re trying to follow this vision and principles as well as we can.

– Power to the players. Nothing compares to a player that is enabled to affect the universe. We create tools for players to create content. For example, a massive alliance of corporations – our versions of guilds – with real, legendary players, leading them, controlling large areas of space and building up infrastructure is truly awesome content. We can never create that, but we can create the environment and tools enabling to happen.

We’re also very iterative in our work and keep continuous feedback cycles on the features we do, then regularly improve them based on that feedback. The community is an incredible source for how to improve the game and what they do within the game gives us constant inspiration for what we should implement next. Being so open-ended means the players do what they want and we try to keep up and add support and tools to take emerging behavior further. Embrace and evolve are the keywords here.

– The players are the foundation for what we do next in EVE. We follow what they do and listen to their dreams and again: ‘embrace and evolve.’ When playing ourselves, we try to put us in the position of “what would I really like to do here?” and then try to develop that.

We set the course a long time ago on what we wanted to do and we are very open about ideas. Openness creates a certain atmosphere where early in the development cycle you get player reactions and suggestions, which help make the feature better. It’s kind of like “open source” development of ideas and as a result, players have a lot to say about the features.

– Player owned structures which create resources for a player needs to be defended. Since it’s profitable, it will be attacked by players that want to either take that profit from you or own the location himself. By creating more locations where you can put player owned structures and defend it in more innovative ways, players start creating content for other players.

– Being our own master has contributed to a lot of our recent success and we feel we are doing so many things which we otherwise could not have done if we were working for a publisher. This can range from utilizing marketing opportunities to implementing a less-than-politically correct feature, which we feel fit with the cruel nature of the game but might not exactly be the nicest thing to do.

We’re more than confident in the net being a solid distribution method for games, both technically and financially. The technical aspects doesn’t need to be proven by us, just look at the illegal distribution scene, they have the games even before the computer store across the street. That’s what I call quick and effective distribution.

There’s also a last quote. One of those points that make me “angry”. The discussion about “sequels”.

But he doesn’t fail on this argument either:

– We’re currently only working on EVE but we have a plans for at least one more game in the near future in addition to any sequels to EVE. That would however be a totally new team and separately funded, the EVE team will continue to grow. We have more than five expansions worth of features that we want to implement and the list is constantly growing.

I can easily see us having more than two games in commercial service. We have investors eager to participate in ventures with us and we think we have a lot of good things to bring to the table. We’re all gamers and we have lots of games that we’d like to make. We often get those “wouldn’t it be cool to make” moments; it’s just a matter of time.

– We think that constant evolution of MMOs is required. We have the full team still working on taking EVE further – and all our expansions are included in the subscription. We consider it something which should be included in the subscription, because that’s what you’re paying for: Evolution.

Yes, Evolution.

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