A new archetype: The Socialite
I have now had a chance to try out EVE Gate (Alpha) and broadly speaking I’m pretty impressed by it. I think it’s real functionality became clear, for me at least, was bringing it up on my mobile, scanning through my evemails and posting a couple of broadcasts.
As I travel quite a lot with work commitments the ability to stay at least partially connected to EVE whilst mobile is a welcome one. Admittedly accessing these elements of EVE Gate through a regular browser isn’t all that effective or practical but I am reasonably confident some clever mobile apps (like Capsuleer) will integrate EVE Gate as a mobile friendly format.
Provided asset and trading management comes swiftly on the back of the current iteration Eve Gate has the potential to be a remarkably powerful tool (not with standing some of my reservations in the blog below). But its much more than just a few evemails and a contact list…
We are now standing on the brink of a social explosion for EVE Online and, with the eventual “soon tm” introduction of Incarna and DUST 514, that social explosion will become a reality. But what will this mean for EVE Online?
Currently we have two broad and often stereotyped ‘player types’ in EVE. The “PVP’er” and the “Carebear”. Both stereotypes occupy the extremes of the total spectrum of player types – look out though because the mixture of EVE Gate/Incarna/DUST suggests a new player type will emerge:
Now of course ‘social players’ already exist in EVE, and you could well count Bloggers, PODcasters, forum trolls and E-ON journo’s amongst their number. These social players are essentially commentators though, broadcasting their views in a ‘loud speaker’ format rather than purely networking “in game”. But with EVE Gate this “in game” networking will become intensified if only for the reason that it will be possible “out of game”.
Will we see the Socialite player – the character seen walking the halls in Incarna whilst communicating expansively with a far far wider social circle than previously? How will these Socialites be perceived by the community as it exists now?
You might be wondering what Im rambling about, so I will try to provide as close an example as I can:
Colonel Roc Wieler. Roc, a well known blogger is I think his player would agree almost a “persona” in and of himself. Roc’s player has developed a carefully described persona / avatar replete with ‘in character’ tales, recipes and even an album (not to mention those tasteful briefs….).
Now place this type of character into the immersion of Incarna, add a splash of EVE Gate contacts, mailing lists etc etc and we can start to see the emergence of something new. The Socialite? The cult of a Celebrity? Could we even see Players whose characters operate exclusively in the Political spectrum?
Imagine for a moment a Socialite who never undocks (they exist already I assure you), running a bar or shop front so they become far more visible than just say a forum presence. Consider also that this Socialite is now multiply connected through EVE Gate, blogs, podcasts, forums through all elements in the game (trading on the current EVE market, managing a bar, communicating with Dusties) and out of the game.
It seems likely that these players could potentially wield considerable influence. By nature of their near continuous contact with the EVE Online Universe they would inevitably accrue a considerable wealth of information: becoming hubs of knowledge. And knowledge as we all know means power.
Will these Socialites become loved and respected by the players who broadly sample every aspect of EVE? Paragons of that uniquely EVE pursuit of intrigue and social engineering. Or will they become vilified? Held up to ridicule as some sort of ultra carebear divorced from the “real” game of shooting ships and sucking up ‘roids?
The answer you have probably already guessed will be a mixture of the two. Some will be astonishingly successful, others will stumble and fall into ignominy or worse mediocrity. What is clear is that EVE Online will have a new type of player emerge as a result of the small steps we are living through now.