I recently read a blogpost by Raph Koster and those of you following either me or him on Facebook would likely have read it too.
Be that as it may, while I actually didn’t immediately started strolling down memory lane and thought about my days in SWG (possibly sobbing ever so slightly) the subject did come up on our Stratics staff skype chat, so naturally a few viewpoints was aired in that regard.
Interestingly he starts out by stating how its not about EVE, however … this is …
Now, I don’t ordinarily spend too much time on non-combat related stuff. However, I do remember that I had my fair share of downtime in SWG, and due to my new situation; I am also experiencing time away from combat in EVE now. In fact most evenings I do have time to log in, its mostly to check up on skill queue and do a bit of PI before I immediately log out again to focus my time on family matters.
Having other people to care for isn’t exactly new to me but the width and bredth of it is, now. So time has changed for me, and so has my gaming patterns and honestly? So what? Our lives change. Back in 2009 my pattern was to come home from work, order pizza and log in. Something happened in 2010 that inspired me to review my life, I’ve since lost a lot of weight, gained a partner (with kids) and moved.
Lives change, and so does gaming habbits.
When we’re forced into downtime as primarily combat focused players for various reasons (most likely due to lack of online friends to form fleets with) we tend to focus on the stuff we can do on our own. The link from Raph Kosters theory to that activity (downtime) is we’re we are headed now.
SWG did have a metagame that was focused on shop-keeping, and for many players it was a focus area. I do remember setting up shop in a city, spending time decorating, relisting items, investigating pricing of items, advertizing the shop and many more activities surrounded by this metagame. But the reason wasn’t that it was really that fun. It felt like work, but more importantly I wasn’t dependant of others. My friends didn’t need to be online for me to get involved in this activity at all, which is why when I logged on it was an activity that did take some time for me to get squared away before friends logged on and we could start PVP’ing, PVE’ing or whatever activity we had set out to do that particular evening.
Once done, it would run itself. The “shop”.
So what has this got to do with EVE?
WiS. The Door.
CCP wanted players to rent spaces in stations to run shops. Im not sure how much they actually dove into the research part of it (who would be interested in doing it, would it be profitable etc.), but I can propably guarantee that we’d see a fair bit of folks wanting to get involved in this metagame. How would I know?
I knew people that has spent their majority of their time doing exactly that because they found it to be a rewarding experience; to have their services in demand, goods in stock and selling to “real” people. Putting a “face” on your connections.
But Raph may be right about one thing; with the current market mechanics in EVE, people wouldn’t go to these people because they have locales that appeal to them due to decorations, but rather because theyre cheapest in region/constellation/system. Unless that changed, people would likely not be interested in getting involved because it appeals to the “getters” more than the “socializers”.
Im not saying that EVE players are focused on instant gratification, by any stretch of the imagination. Its just that due to the market mechanics, people would likely chose a cheap vendor over an expensive one – simply because the difference isn’t practically relevant in EVE. A T2 object comes in exactly the same stats whereever you get it. There is no differing quality. Buying Crash for 1 million ISK or just 1 ISK doesn’t make the 1 million ISK Crash any better than the cheaper version.
In order for the vendor stands to be able to survive as more than an idea that started out glimpse in your daddy’s eye, CCP will need to consider that goods aren’t as important as socializing. Building an engine that supports socialization will be the challenge for them, rather than building an engine that gives full market visibility or makes it more convenient for people to shop for stuff.