In another universe and in another forum a discussion has been quietly bubbling away like a stew left on the heat too long about the “End Game”. The discussion, if one can call it that, is predictable enough – arguments resolving around if this particular “MMO has enough content” and what players can expect (or not) to be doing ‘at the end’.
It is, interestingly, not a subject that occurs with EVE Online – an MMO that curiously (considering its relative age) has no definable ‘end game’. EVE after all is a game without proscribed goals. There is no deus ex machina of Developers pulling strings and lining up content for players to knock down like so many bowling balls. EVE just goes on.
I often struggle with the idea of ‘what’ content EVE can be described to have – and this isn’t a trivial question, with CCP updating the old EVE Online website to produce something both more appealing and more relevant to todays modern MMO gamer. Pitching a MMO like EVE to the uninitiated has perculia challenges foremost of which is that it has no defined objectives, no proscribed goals. Simply put: no one is there to hold your hand, and the universe is what you make of it.
Obviously to those already playing EVE Online this is a ‘good thing’, an open world of opportunities where you can be anything from a pirate to a scammer, an alliance leader to a lone wolf and everything in between. That’s a harder idea to get across to a prospective player, especially those that have become accustomed to the high degree of sign posting given in other MMO titles.
Something which I would like to see exploited a bit more by CCP through the website are those classic archetypes (pirates, mercenaries, traders, industrialist and so forth) – ideally using descriptions from EVEs players themselves who are, after all, the experts in those particular fields. That’s not to ‘dumb down’ EVE into some weird profession or class based MMO – which clearly it isn’t – but examples of the paths that can be followed might help to provide that all important compass to help orientate the new comer to EVE online. Support this with an NPC/agent orientated New Player Experience full of the requisite flavour could help grow and expand the universe, and all its myriad potential, of EVE.