|HUGE version of Fanfest board available for download|
As many of you may remember my Fanfest experience last year was not a good one. In hindsight I probably shouldn't have attended, my life at the time was still pretty dark and that didn't help things. In addition, sitting in roundtables hearing the same old excuses repeated for the umpteenth time also didn't help. After last year's Fanfest I returned home angry, sad, and rather bummed about the whole experience. Not the best time to write a scathing article for Crossing Zebras, but that is what I ended up doing. It was a train wreck. And while I don't regret anything I said, it was the truth at the time, I do regret writing it in that frame of mind.
This year's Fanfest was the polar opposite of that experience. Not only is my life in a much, much better place right now - but I also purposefully decided to decline any and all responsibilities for once. This year, my Wife and I would attend as simply tourists and attendees, with zero agenda, no goals (other than to have a good time and meet people), and with a bag full of thank you swag to give out. If they had a Eve Store roundtable I would not attend. Turns out they didn't have one anyway. And the only time I entered the Eve Store section was to pay for the Incarna print I bought for charity. And Hilmar showed up and we had another great conversation. So even that worked out.
Fanfest was awesome. Warp Core Stabs are banned from FW Plexes, a goal I've been working on for a very long time. Once again I managed to affect change in the game by using good natured humor, memes, and activism and not by angry trolling. In addition, soon Logistics will be included on killmails as well, so that is yet another goal that we've managed to accomplish. This Fanfest was already looking up before it even started. Except for the fact that I had 400 printed Ban WCS stickers! I still gave them all away. During the Faction Warfare and Low Sec roundtable the CCP employees attending were sticking them all over themselves. It was good fun.
Which is how I think all things associated with Eve, CCP and the community should be - good fun.
While it was obvious that some of the air from the recent layoffs still hung in the atmosphere, it was also obvious that something had changed from last year. Perhaps it was seeing CCP Mimic and nearly crying when I saw she was pregnant. Or talking with Seagull about Weegull. Or having dinner out with CCP PointyBits and hearing him sounding a lot like myself when I was his age. Or the conversation that happened after I told Hilmar that I was the owner of the Incarna key art and why I selected that one. Which is a good story, so let me tell you.
Incarna was not when I started playing Eve, I started back in 2008 right before Empyrean Age. However Incarna was when I started really playing Eve. On all fronts. That was the Summer of Rage for many Eve players, but for me it was the summer of activism. That's when I started putting hats on Avatars. (Another Eve in-game accomplishment - hats!) That's when I started trying to affect change, when many of us tried, by activating the community towards one goal. Beyond just more ships, or balance changes, but towards more lofty goals. Perhaps, together, we could change more than just the things inside the game. Maybe, just maybe, we could change more. Which I think any sane person, looking back over the past seven years of Eve would have to admit worked. Lots has changed.
The other side of that reason has to do with failure. Something I am personally familiar with. It's funny how many people fear failure, or see it as a weakness, when the opposite is true. Without taking risks there can be no reward, and whenever you take risks you risk failure. The cool thing about failure is that you learn more from it than you do success. And those lessons stick with you. To me Incarna was a a giant failure, a misstep, and a very valuable lesson. In hindsight it is obvious that mistakes were made and that CCP had stepped off the path at some point. But instead of quitting, they managed to pull themselves back onto the right path and re-commit to making Eve better. It is no mistake that the game itself, and the community around it, are both stronger now than we were before Incarna.
So that's why I wanted the key art. And why it will be hanging on my wall here shortly. A constant reminder.
I had a lot of conversations at Fanfest. And all of them were positive. There are some things I cannot share with you now, but I can tell you that I am optimistic and encouraged. CCP is clearly invested in Eve's success long-term, perhaps Eve will live forever. I think that is actually something that people are clearly considering right now. CCP is also trying to focus on making games and finally admitting that perhaps other people can be allowed to do the things that they shouldn't be doing. This is the reason why Eve-NT will be handling the AT this year. And they should be. Nashh and his team have worked their asses off for this opportunity. (Nashh in particular as you saw during CCP Games Games!) And perhaps this direction will lead to other things down the road.
Personally I'm excited about the new Triglavian space and the mutant modules that will come from it. There is concern that "enchantment" could get out of control, so we'll have to keep our eyes open - but that is a concern for the Devs as well. So we're not alone in that concern. The space excites me because it is a playground for new technology and a preview of sorts for the next level of Eve itself. Eventually all of Eve will be re-built using the technology that is being developed in Triglavian space. And that is exciting to think about. Intelligent AI, atmospheric effects, and more will be on display and tried out. Potentially, down the road, this could lead to line-of-sight, improved navigation controls, and much more.
As I've said before they could seriously stop making improvements to Eve and I'd still keep playing. I'm good to go. But I understand that is not a good business decision, so constant improvements and changes are a fact of life.
After this Fanfest I'm more excited than ever about the direction that Eve is headed in. And more confident than ever in the people driving that direction.
Onward and upward.