Posted Tue, Mar 22, 2011 by Space Junkie
Earlier this month, PAX East 2011 summoned sixty-thousand gamers to converge on poor, drizzly Boston. But where were the EVE Online players? Not at a CCP booth on the convention floor. No, we had something better: a rented out bar with free drinks, CCP staff, and a first-come, first-serve guest list of perhaps fifty EVE players. The result? Something magical.
Of Bouncers And CSM Stumping
It begins even before I get into the bar. I shake hands with the others waiting in line as the bouncer checks our tickets. Each time I am asked "who are you with?" I quickly realize that this is EVE Online code for "are you in an enemy corporation?" This question is asked again and again.
Two Step, an unfortunately reticent candidate for CSM, is standing in line ahead of me. He asks me to vote for him. I ask him about his platform, but the answers are so evasive that I suspect he does not actually have a campaign platform. Still, there is something to be said for stumping. Finally, we gain the bar.
The Bar: Null-Sec For Drinkers
A carebear, a suicide ganker, and a CSM candidate walk into a bar...
I start to mix and mingle, saying hellos and asking questions. Someone hands me a marker and name-tag sticker, to write down my EVE name. Surprisingly, some people recognize me and compliment my guides (and my hat is off to you, beloved reader). There are at least three CCP staff working the crowd: CCP Daishi, CCP Big Dumb Object, and GM Syndemic. They are all visibly excited to be here.
Some of the players (like me) are visibly exhausted from a long day of tromping around PAX East. But the triple thrill of CCP developers, EVE Online players, and free drinks all combine to make something that PAX could not hope to achieve: an intimate get together where everybody has the chance to talk to everybody else, CCP staff included.
People, Politics, Pabst Blue Ribbon
It turns out that most in attendance are not affiliated with any of the big alliances. This is quite the opposite of Fanfest, as I understand it. I ask everybody what corporation they fly in. Notably, some people think it is safer not to answer. Almost nobody is willing to talk about what their corporation is doing with any more detail than "we are living in wormholes" unless it has the caveat of "please don't print that." It's too bad: some of these corporations have more than a bit of spark, and I think publishing some of their plans would help them more than hurt them.
I find a sprinkling of EVE University and Agony Unleashed members, a smattering of Test Alliance, and some guy that has been in R.A.G.E. for less than ten days. I am a little disappointed, but at least this means that people aren't splitting off into factions or being rude to each other about something that happens in a video game, albeit an incredible one.
CCP Big Dumb Object Actually Not Dumb (At All)
The most important conversation from an EVE point of view happens with the developer who has the code name CCP Big Dumb Object. He is tall, friendly, and has a healthy beard. He gives us some interesting tidbits about EVE's PvE:
DED Sites: A popular kind of exploration site, these were the topic of Big Dumb's recent blog. The gist of that blog being that most factions do not have a full complement of DED sites of each level, and Big Dumb et al. have filled out the list of sites for levels six and up. Big Dumb says that the lower levels will see their gaps filled, as well, though the next big patch will likely only see a portion of these.