tech 2 stilettos
A new dawn rises over ‘the hydrostatic capsule’ as we enter the mythic halls of CKs ‘Blog Pack’. It’s all gravy from here on in and no doubt CKs lined up a nice easy Blog Banter for us so I can demonstrate my creative wit and insightful comment with devilish skill and a plomb – lets have a look…
“What could CCP Games do to attract and maintain a higher percentage of women to the game. Will Incarna do the trick? Can anything else be done in the mean time? Can we the players do our part to share the game we love with our counterparts, with our sisters or daughters, with the Ladies in our lives? What could be added to the game to make it more attractive to them? Should anything be changed? Is the game at fault, or its player base to blame”?
Not so easy after all then. First off I have a confession to make, you see right at this point in time I already have a nice long rambling post about ‘the women of eve’. It’s a carefully scripted piece of work that essentially offers no real ideas and lays its somewhat shaky foundations on the premise that EVE is a sci fi game, girls dont like sci fi and really dont bother to change anything and there’s a chance more women will play anyway.
And truth be told – it’s a cop out. The reason being is that, well I’m not a woman and like most men trying to ‘think like a woman’ is really pretty hard to be honest. Equally difficult is trying to write up some new ideas that don’t pander to the stereotypical image of ‘woman gamers’ who like nothing more than playing tennis on the Wii or anything that involves ‘dressing up’. However I stubbornly refuse to be shackled to the belief that woman kind are indeed from Venus and therefore utterly unintelligible – I shall strive on regardless.
Which really got me thinking about what EVE already offers to the female gamer that other games don’t offer and how CCP could, potentially capitalise upon that?
Foremost in my thoughts is that EVE is a universe, a separate microcosm replete with its own market forces and political conflicts and intrigues. It operates quite unlike our ‘real world’ however and the preconceptions we have applied here do not necessarily apply in New Eden. In RL women are, rightly or wrongly, most often faced with certain barriers to progression and like men are trammelled into certain careers or lifestyle choices. You can call it the infamous ‘glass ceiling’ or what you will – they key is that these ‘rules’ do not apply in EVE.
Within New Eden anyone, male or female, is free to pursue their ambitions unrestrained by societies typical judgements. Want to run your own multi billion ISK corporation? Go right ahead. Fancy tyrannising some hapless miners in High Sec? Feel free. Spend some time with a glass of wine chatting and exploring a star system? It’s all yours.
EVE offers that unconstrained world environment where you are judged not by your gender but by how swiftly you can adapt to change and face adversity. So the question should be how does CCP maximise on these elements and subsequently market them in such a fashion to appeal to women gamers?
Straight off we can be sure of one thing; any woman coming to EVE is going to be a new player, so our game features most be both relatively straight forward and accessible to new players. Secondly we can be reasonably sure that the latest additions and features have, so far, not been particularly appealing – perhaps because they don’t offer sufficient freedom to ‘build your own success story’ or to define yourself within EVE.
Much of EVE requires, even demands, a significant amount of co-operative play. Again our new female player is going to be at an initial disadvantage. Predominantly male corps and activities (faction warfare for example) are likely to be intimidating to any player. Our we then looking for a non-risk carebear’s paradise of fluffy bunnies and rainbows then?
Almost certainly not. Recall that EVE offers the chance to ‘win’ and succeed in environments that otherwise women may find themselves at a disadvantage in. The answer in my view lies in a perhaps unlikely area:
Trade and Business.
Although not overtly “pvp” the cut throat world of marketing, trading and management of a business enterprise offers both freedom of action and the potential for progression while maintaining the ‘game’ element of competing with others. The trouble is its extremely difficult to differentiate yourself from the crowd in what is a relatively 2 dimensional game element. While pvp pilots can spend hours customising their ship, selecting modules and fittings there is no such analogy for the ‘business manager’ – it’s almost purely “buy low sell high”: at least for the new player.
If CCP re engineered the trading system to allow for players to quite literally “set up shop” I think more women could be attracted to EVE. Whilst bespoke manufactured items may be beyond the database I see no reason why collective groups of products couldnt be packaged together. For example a trade bazaar that sold certain minerals, pre built and fitted ships or POS Fuel Packs. Couple this with a means to market these products (say through EVE Gate) and sufficient tools to do so (purchasable graphics packages, emblems, logos and the like – remembering we’re talking about new players here).
“oooh we’re half way there!”
Indeed we are. PI and Incarna at least sow the seeds of possibility for women players to manage their own retail markets, something which could be done even as a comparative new comer. The activity itself could lead towards other professions (exploration, missions, manufacturing) which in turn would lead to greater amounts of social interaction.
I should think that around about now you are probably asking why such an idea would make sense or how I can justify it. Well the premise of my thoughts stem from a fellow blogger and a female Capsuleer Mynxee. While some might see Mynxee as unusual in that she has flown the flag for women pirates & pvp’ers what is far more interesting is how she so carefully and brilliantly ran and managed HellCats and subsequently marketed it as a ‘corporate business’ – in many respects the fact that it was a rather heavily armed and aggressive corp is incidental.
Of course all of this can only achieve so much, and it will largely fall to CCPs marketing department to throw some illumination on the gears that churn under the myriad of conflicts that span EVE. Rather than videos focusing on Russians in Titans of hapless miners being rescued by brave Rifter pilots perhaps we need to see more of those women who already direct, manage and lead the corporations of EVE. Therein lies the key.
Editors note: any presumption that my comments on women being able to rise to the top of corporate or alliance affairs in EVE is due to my current alliance commander being a woman is entirely baseless. 😉
Additional posts in the Blog Banter:
The Ghost Report – great new blogger
Evoganda – hilarious 🙂
*Edit for CK confirming Cailais will be receiving the ISKies!!