I've noticed that CCP is promoting this year's Fanfest a lot more than usual. And it got me wondering. Are we seeing a marked decrease in the number of Fanfest tickets being sold? It would make sense, seeing as how we didn't have one last year in lieu of the World Tour. Not to mention the general sense of "blah" that has started creeping into the greater Eve community lately. DDOS attacks being only the latest in a long-line a reasons for that general sentiment.
I've written thousands of words about CCP Marketing over the years and it continues to dumbfound me. Skill point injectors, log-in events, free gifts, and so many other outreach programs are all tertiary marketing ploys built around a premise that remains unsound. These efforts would work, if only there was more foundational marketing being done around the single most important issue that Eve Online continues to grapple with - content.
Content is king. And no where is that truer than in New Eden. It has been proven so many times in the past almost two decades that I can't believe it isn't more obvious. Content drives subscriptions and nothing else does. Period. All of these secondary and tertiary marketing tools would be working if only the primary marketing was built around a solid base of exciting, new, unique, and challenging content. This is fundamental to the future growth of Eve Online. And it is something that CCP continues to drop the ball on.
In fact, based on evidence, it appears they don't even understand it. And that continues to be worrisome. But before I dive into that issue, let me be clear about what content means in this context. CCP always tells us that content is in the hands of the players. Players like myself. And this is true from a certain perspective. I log in every day and generate content. I plan and scheme and help my fellow pilots determine the kind of content we'll be generating that day. I do this every day and thousands of other players do as well. This is great. And it is important. However, every decision I and my fellow players make is driven by the kinds of content we have access to. And those decisions are made by our overlords, the janitors of New Eden, CCP. They are the content drivers.
In my area of Low Sec we're patiently waiting for updates to Faction Warfare. We have been patiently waiting for years now. And other areas of the game, such as Wormholes, Null Sec, War Decs, and others, have been waiting as well. Increasing the damage done by Heavy Missiles is a fix, it isn't content. Yes, I can now build Drake fleets (and we have) but these types of changes do not drive new content, they only re-contextualize existing content. Us players change what we are doing, but HAM Buffs don't bring in more players. It only changes what existing players are doing, often at the expense of something else.
Exciting NEW content is what brings in new players. Better systems, better Faction Warfare, new spaceships, new worlds, new conflict drivers. More exciting opportunities to engage with each other in different areas of space. New reasons to fight. To explode things. Time and time again we've seen this work and the subscription numbers increase. But, for a game that is almost two decades old now, the type of content needed is more bold, more radical, and more unique than ever before.
The extreme lack of such changes is what is worrisome to me. Are we in a maintenance cycle when it comes to development of Eve Online? If we are, then that is concerning. While I can continue to play the game until the bitter end, others will not. And more than likely the end won't be bitter at all, because it will just be slow crawl towards a cold, dark end.
As the Joker once said about Gotham city, Eve needs an enema. An injection, not of free skill-points, but of a radical new energy. Something to kick start the old girl into a new, exciting, challenging, and interesting direction. Something that puts the energy back into the players hands, that shakes up the fundamental foundations of New Eden. That excites potential new players and re-energizes the Veterans.
And then marketing would have something to talk about.
CCP once proved to us during the Summer of Incarna that they had lost touch with the most important thing about Eve - that it was game built in space not inside stations. Spaceships, and the people that fly them, are the single most important thing about Eve.
I say all of this out of love. I want Eve to succeed and be a vibrant, exciting, wonderful place to fly spaceships for another two decades.
We all do.