With scandals and cut-throat treachery the rule rather than the exception, the dog-eat-dog world of EVE Online isn’t quite for the faint of heart. But according to Noah Ward, one of the game’s developers, that’s exactly what the game’s players love about it.
The futuristic world of EVE Online is not a friendly place. Why, just last month, one of the top executives of the biggest in-game alliance went turncoat, defecting to the enemy and dissolving the alliance for good. Before that, it was a cabal of approximately 70 players exploiting a bug to harvest entirely more raw materials than they were supposed to, affecting the in-game economy of more than two hundred thousand people.
Despite all of the uncertainty, lead designer Noah Ward told MTV Multiplayer, gamers weren’t being turned away from the turbulent universe of EVE, as the developers at CCP had feared. In fact, they saw quite the opposite:
That was in the morning, but a couple hours later the buzz on the forums was crazy, subscriber numbers were growing, and everybody was really excited. Because everyone was becoming complacent and bored with being the biggest alliance, and then all of a sudden now there’s war and turmoil. People who used to be in the alliance were re-subscribing and everyone was really excited about it so it’s not necessarily always a bad thing when this sort of stuff happens. Somebody on the other side was interviewed, and he was saying “When you beat the biggest raid in WoW you don’t get an interview in The New York Times but when this sort of thing happens it makes real-world news.
Nor does the dev team intend to step in and put a stop to it – after all, the extent to which EVE is player-run is in fact one of the game’s main draws: “We let them do their own thing. We will step in if there are racial slurs going on or any real-world threats, but if it’s all within the role-play and within the game, we don’t change anything.”
MTV Multiplayer’s Tracey John goes on to ask Ward whether or not he thinks that other MMOs should follow suit and try to be like EVE. Me, I’m torn. On the one hand, the stuff that goes down in EVE is completely awesome, but it only really works because it’s the game that it is – the only other way another MMO could have the same kind of interactions is … well, if it was EVE. Sometimes you’re in the mood for an EVE, sometimes you’re in the mood for a WoW, or a LotRO, or a WAR. Let EVE stay the unique gem that it is.