Exterminate! Exterminate!

Actually, I had planned to play around in fitting tools this evening. But then I saw what CCP did announce as their new in-game event. They had even teased us with a timer on their website about it.
Some speculation was it would be NFTs 🙄, an EDENCOM Dreadnought, or another Federation Grand Prix event – as the rumors say that’s going to be an annual thing.

Well. I guess it’s safe to say that nobody expected the Spanish Inqui… , the British Broadcasting Service (BBC).

Who cares?*

We care. The players. It’s easy to tell if something rallies up people when you come home and find a channel, where usually tumbleweeds blow through, suddenly full of chatter and the notification saying something about 150+ messages. A lively discussion had happened in the few hours since CCP had released the news in my corporations Discord.

Here is an anonymised snipped that catches the gist of it probably better than I could re-write it:

[16:59] Green: i understand the game needs to evolve to attract new players, i'm just afraid it will slowly not be the game i like anymore
[17:00] Red: thing is not that game wont change 1 bit with this
[17:00] Red: its just a marketing event
[17:00] Green: i hope
[17:00] Purple: pretty easy to me. make isk easier to get instead of corporate greed making ppl plex due to ways to get isk being bad at the moment and playerbase will grow

[A screenshot is shared that makes clear CCP intends to enable very new players – who might have joined because of the event – to participate in most aspects of it]

[17:00] Orange: Tbf I'm glad it's accessible to all, everything else I hate
[17:00] Blue: slippery slope slippery slope slippery slope
[17:00] Orange: Can't wait to find guys minmaxing it in 2b T1 cruisers stopping anyone else from doing the site
[17:01] Red: who cares - im sure some dr who fans will try it and have a lil fun maybe
[17:03] Blue: cause thats what eve needs
[17:03] Blue: ...
[17:03] Green: it needs more players thats for sure
[17:04] Yellow: Doesn’t need more players that expect more of this in the future
[17:05] Red: lmao
[17:05] Red: hello mr bittervet
[17:05] Green: yeah and thats my worry, altough events like that might be harmless (dont know what it will be yet) but what comes with mentality or what is already slowly creeping in is what worries me (microtransactions, nfts, p2w)
[17:06] Blue: why does he say bittervet like its a bad thing
[17:06] Green: but i guess this is where the trends go and if game doesnt adapt it will die, or we can get more younger players in and accept the game will slowly change
[17:06] Yellow: No, this is just a massive offshoot in direction from a game I started playing that was a gritty space universe rpg
[17:06] Red: yes ofc
[17:07] Yellow: Calling someone a bittervet for not liking changes is a bit off putting
[17:07] Red: but targeted audience is probably 15-30 ?
[17:07] Red: for eve as a whole
[17:07] Green: @Yellow you shouldn't take that as an insult, i think we are bittervets :) but that's normal
[17:08] Red: i'm just saying that ppl who played the game for more than 5 years shouldn't be upset if the game changed a lot since they first played
[17:08] Green: 5 years? scoffs
[17:09] Yellow: It’s ok for a game to change, it’s not ok for a game to break established norms like lore continuity imo
[17:09] Yellow: I think there are a lot better ways for CCP to expend energy and encourage more people to play than putting dr who in the eve universe
[17:09] Red: personally i don't think lore is important but that's highly subjective ofc
[17:11] Red: @Yellow there are 3.5 ppl at ccp that do events like winter nexus or this dr who now
and i think they are doing a good job since the events are so capsulated from the game due to the time limitation that only good things can come from it i think
[17:12] Yellow: I disagree but it’s a moot point it’s the direction CCP is going and the only thing I can do about it is unsub and tell them why
[17:13] Orange: Stuff in game doesn't have to directly correlate to lore though, do all limited time events happen exactly in accordance to lore?
[17:13] Yellow: @Orange Much more in accordance with lore than doctor who
[17:14] Orange: But it's definitely not the first time the lore is broken?
[17:15] Yellow: Not in this way and manner, the potential lore was broken in the past is there but I’d say it’s much different than tying real world TV shows into eve with profit motivation
[17:16] Orange: Yeah, but, TARDIS and T1 cruisers event

[The conversation drifts towards losley related topics]

[17:30] White: Its pretty shit tbh
[17:30] White: like nobody asked for it
[17:30] White: its not going to retain new players
[17:30] Yellow: I will do my part and gank newbros in these event sites

[A while later]

[18:31] Me: +150 messages? what's going on here?
oh, could it be about that 'new in-game event announcement' countdown?
*opens launcher*
[18:32] Me: 

And then I went over to the Epic Games website to make screenshot of their Fortnite-Header and tweeted the following.

After that, I was very happy and content with myself, clicked “Save draft” and I logged into Eve Online to update my market orders and fiddle around in the fitting tool as originally planned.

The Day After

CCP seems to venture into rather unexplored territory with this. Cross-promotion with a TV series that has basically nothing to do with their product? Well, I guess you can throw both into a bucked labeled Science Fiction. But from my point of view, that’s already where any similarities end. Or… maybe, if you want to be mean, you could say both are products of entertainment that have seen their prime success, but are still somewhat relevant.

Maybe CCP came to the conclusion that promoting their game as the grim dark universe full of cut-throats, backstabbers and traitors is not good enough to draw in new people? In the lore, happy endings are hard to find. When you stumble over one, its mostly a temporary occasion in some pleasure hub. Does a family friendly TV series really fit into this context?
Do cross-promotions fit into New Eden at all? I for one don’t think so. By doing so, CCP can easily break what little there is of the immersion people can experience when playing an immortal, mass-murdering demigod.

Games like Fortnite don’t have to care much about context. There is no relevant lore to break in the first place. Epic Games may have come up with some slim story lines, but those are used more as seasonal themes than anything. If they get connected to each other at all, it’s done in a playful way with a wink. As a consequence, players don’t care if Spiderman builds his tower side by side with a guy in a Lama costume. It’s story or immersion was never a primary objective for the battle royale that came to be fame more by accident than anything. Then again: Some argue that lore was never a primary objective for CCP as well. But with the almost two decades of context that happened, concerns seem somewhat justified.

Why a Crossover?

If you look at the numbers quoted in this radiotimes.com article from 2020, you can see that the BBC series is still pulling a couple million people in front of their screens every episode. So the chance some of them may try Eve Online is there. And only 1% of a million are still 100.000. If only 1% of these people give it a shot and try Eve, you would have 10.000 potential new capsuleers. Of course, most of them will quit within the first hours. The question is: Will enough of them stick around long enough so CCP can justify more of this kind of marketing? I admit, I’m a bit afraid of the potential consequences.

[…] in terms of attracting 16-34-year-olds to BBC Drama Doctor Who was the fourth-most successful show […]

radiotimes.com, 2020

Some people are arguing this will take away developer time from more important issues. But if you know a thing or two about how software is made, you may have doubts about that.
The staff at CCP that works on the more fundamental mechanics and concepts will likely have to do nothing at all with this event. If one can believe the string-entries on hoboleaks, the event will be some form of the already existing abyssal PvE content. Probably with some custom NPCs and graphics. Most of the hours are probably put in by the art team here.

Meanwhile, there are clearly peoplelooking forward to it as well. You have too look a bit to find them between the all the memes and *confused* gifs. But they are there.

It’s probably safe to say, that this event will be – as many other events before it – very easy to ignore. The reason why some people get a bit noisy may be the lack of bigger carrots for the existing player base. The Triglavian Invasion is still felt as incomplete by many, and EDENCOM-aligned players still stand there almost empty handed. PvE has hardly seen change in ages; HACs are the very dominant fleet doctrine for quite some time now… and the list of goes on.

I honestly don’t know what to make of this. It feels like potentially the first step in some grand scheme of rotating franchise tie-ins that don’t necessarily produce value for the players, or for the brands […]

WingspanTT in a comment on the YouTube Trailer

The side note that there is a Doctor Who-themed TCG in the works (of course based on NFTs) does not help to reduce the skepticism in the community. Especially if you have seen this post that gives some more context.

Update 2022-01-05 18:53:
Here comes CCP Swfit to the rescue for your good nights sleep:

Summed Up

The anger at CCP seems to be less compared to the YouTube premiere, that got hyped up by the community, but turned out to be “only” the announcement video for the Alliance Tournament XVII. But people still voice their concerns of where this may be taking their beloved internet spaceships. It’s concern, paired with disappointment.

Not sure it’s hate towards this so much as disappointment at lack of actual EVE content. Not just in theme but in something deeper than just another event.

Jarlath Dubhlaoich on Twitter

My personal approach to this event will be to at least check it out once, to see what the Art team has created and make some screenshots. Maybe I even get motivated enough to collect a Proper Dapper Outfit for my collection – if that should be possible without spending PLEX. But because I like Eve not because it’s some weird crosspromotion.

Update Section

2022-01-05 Ashterothi is talking with CCP Fozzie and CCP Swift about the topic on Twitch. Some points mentioned on the live stream:

  • CCP mentions that the BBC approached them.
  • They emphazise that they took a care of not breaking any lore, other examples like “Tom’s Shuttle” are mentioned. They are only supposed to make sense to us players, that have the context. But not to a person “living” in New Eden.
  • Sites will a 30 minute timer
  • You won’t be able to “boundry violate” in these sites. Instead you will spawn at the other side of the room. So will NPCs that drift out of the pocket. Funky.

*Pun inteneded

2 thoughts on “Exterminate! Exterminate!”

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