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1:26pm on Friday, 2nd November, 2007:

Panel Over


The panel I was on this morning is now over. As insulting your hosts go, I think I did well (sigh).

Basically, CCP (the EVE Online developers) want to democratise their virtual world because they have so many players that they're being overwhelmed by suggestions for ways to change or improve their virtual world. They want a council of players to put the best ideas to them, with the council-members decided by popular vote. I told them that this wouldn't work because CCP still had the final say (they're gods, not a government), so the players actually had no new powers at all. However, using the word "democracy" would give them the impression they did have power, so it would all end in tears when they discovered that they didn't.

Telling CCP this in private is one thing, but unfortunately I said it on a panel in front of 50 of the hardest of the hard core of EVE's players, which was embarrassing for CCP in a way I didn't really intend. The thing is, it's actually a nice idea and CCP want to do it for all the right reasons; it's just that the way they're planning it, it won't work. I don't want to see them come out of this badly, so felt compelled to tell them where its weak points were so at least they had a chance to address them before implementing anything. It's just hard to say that without appearing to be critical, mainly because it is being critical. OK, so they asked for criticisms — they're smart people and wanted an informed debate — but still, it's a bit insensitive of me to come here at their invitation at their expense then proceed to ride roughshod over their proposals.

Groan ... Oh well, at least I did manage to tell them how much I admire EVE's design, which I do. Sadly, that was just in private, not in front of the players. They're lucky that CCP is in charge of their world, not someone else, but I didn't get to say that.

Maybe I'll try make the point at the round table this afternoon...

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).