What's the Point?
A sea change is defined as a marked transformation of public opinion or policy. A dramatic shift in perceptions that transform previously held beliefs, opinions and attitudes about a subject. We've seen sea change before in Eve. The last one was during the Summer of Incarna, manifested as a riot of anger that shifted the entire world out from under our feet and re-cast the entire direction of Eve. For good or bad, the jury is still out on the long-term implications. While that moment was primarily one of anger, much change sprang from its ashes. We live now in the shadow of that Summer.
Sea changes are not always so dramatic. Ask a typesetter. Or ask someone at Borders. You can't because they don't exist anymore. The world shifts often without us even noticing until it is too late. These tectonic shifts can often take years and pass without much comment. At the heart of the last two posts is this question, are we living thru such a shift right now in Eve?
I believe it is entirely possible. I have no magic powers of prediction, but it is starting to feel like the world is moving under our feet - and has been for some time now. It would be impossible, and potentially foolish, to point at any specific event and say, "This is it, right here is when it changed!" But taken in aggregate, in the long-view, a multitude of change over time? Well then, such a shift seems far more likely. As I mentioned on the Podside podcast last night, I think we can start pointing at B-R as the beginning of this shift.
What it is exactly is open for debate. I'm hopeful that the rise in new player oriented projects, corporations, alliances, and player-based communities is a huge part of this shift. I'm hopeful that the fractured nature of developing null sec mechanics is helping to nudge the player-base out of their comfort zone. I'm hopeful that recent trends towards less subscriptions and concurrent server numbers is simply a natural adjustment to these changes, and not a long-term indicator. I remain hopeful that new players will be attracted to Eve and be willing to give it a try. And that citadels, sov iteration, brain in a box, stargates, and all the other development on the table continues to drive Eve into new and amazing places.
But, I must admit, I don't know any of that for a fact. I can keep saying it until I'm blue in the face, but that don't make it so. No one knows that better than me. And so we come full circle to the entire point of these last three posts. No one can know for certain. The naysayers, the prophets of doom, the cheerleaders, the players, the devs, no one can know. All we can know for sure is how we deal with things every day, in-game and out of game. And that is ultimately what will decide the outcome of this tectonic shift.
It is in the player's hands. Whatever happens, if Eve is to survive and flourish, the players are the ones that will determine its ultimate fate. This is not a revelation, but I do believe it needs to be said. We are the determining factor, the end-user, the subscription payer, the player on the other side of the screen. What we, collectively, decide is what will push things one way or the other. But that kind of thinking eliminates personal responsibility.
And here is where your mileage may vary. Not everyone has a responsibility. Some people are simply players, and there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. It is entirely possible, and I've always believed this, that the VAST majority of players are not caught up in these things. That the vast majority of players log in, play, and log out without much care or mind to greater issues, politics, or tectonic shifts. I doubt that they rarely visit the forums, much less the multitude of side blogs, news sites, podcasts, and other platforms available to them. Even with the numbers this blog pulls every day, we are still talking about a tiny fraction of the total player-base.
But, in aggregate, words and actions do make a difference. Out here in the real world we call those people "thought leaders", and the Eve community is full of them. In many ways all of us who participate, in one way or another, are the thought leaders of the Eve community. Simply by our participation in that process. And so to us perhaps falls the responsibility of using our platforms wisely. With an eye towards the shifting sands of time and the long-term viability of the very community for which we participate.
As for me, I will continue beating the drums. Let's see where this ride takes us, shall we?