The massively-multiplayer online game set in space, Eve Online, recently got a new executive producer, and she wants to empower the game's existing players so they can help bring new players to the game.
Andie Nordgren joined Eve Online developer CCP in 2010 as a technical producer. In her new role as executive producer, a large part of the Eve business is now in her hands. Speaking to Polygon, she said her mission is to hand over more of the game's sci-fi universe to players, which will not only strengthen the existing community, but hopefully also grow it.
"One very specific thing we're doing, which is kind of a behind-the-scenes thing for the normal player, is we're investing even further in our platform for third-party developers," Nordgren said. "Today we provide a number of tools for players to get data from the game and build tools on top of that. That's really part of the experience for any established Eve player. We're working to give them further possibilities."
Eve Online is a sandbox game, and players can do a multitude of things like explore the game's universe, get involved in the politics of the corporations (the game's equivalent of guilds), mine for minerals, trade items on the game's market or fight other players. Many players currently build third-party software that uses data from the game to help manage corporations, monitor the market and create map visualizations of which corporations control which territory. By further investing in a platform that lets players use more data to build more tools, Nordgren believes this will enrich the experience for existing players.
"Just like the sandbox of Eve Online, we want to kind of sit back and see what things players come up with."
The shift of power to the players is also a sign of Nordgren putting faith in the community's ability to share their experiences in a way that might entice new players to give Eve Online a shot. The game is notoriously difficult to get into, and its dry tutorial doesn't help. Nordgren hopes players' experiences will be the hook new players need to stick with Eve beyond the tutorial.
The game currently has Twitch-streaming support, and Nordgren said that's the kind of thing CCP wants to do more of.
"At the moment, when players fight each other in the game, they can get reports that detail the amount of damage done. These reports can be shared with other players and act as a record of a fight that happened," Nordgren said. "We want to make even more ways for players to capture and grab hold of something that happened in the game that they can then talk about outside the game. Some of those stories will not only be interesting to players inside the game, but you will always also get the stories that resonate with a wider group of people. So it's about giving our players the tools to grab hold of and export what happened to them in the game and let them tell that story."
According to Nordgren, this is a kind of roundabout way of making the game more accessible. Instead of having CCP go out and tell potential players about the freedom they have in the game and the many things they can do in the sandbox environment, she wants potential players to see the hundreds of examples from existing players of all the cool things they can do.
"A year from now I want Eve Online to be a thriving community with not just one big story going on in terms of the player-driven activities in the game," she said. "Currently we have two big power blocks that are kind of locked in a struggle. I want hundreds of story-lines going on between many more entities in the game. That's what we're trying to build with all the new features."