First of all, I have to thank Seismic Stan for keeping me on the list for these. I haven't done one in ages because I either forget to check my old school email or plain old forget. But here we go!
Blog Banter 38: Dogma
In his recent "That's just the way it is" post on Jester's Trek, blogger Ripard Teg posits that the established EVE player-base has come to accept many of EVE's design idiosyncrasies, rarely questioning their purpose or benefit. Conversely, he also suggests that new players might not be so forgiving of these "quirks". In an interview with Gamasutra, Senior Producer CCP Unifex describes EVE Online's developers as "relatively hands-off janitors of the virtual world", underlining that he has only four content developers but "a lot" of programmers and engineers.
Has a culture developed where CCP has started to take player effort for granted - expecting the "social engine" to fulfil tasks that might otherwise be CCP's responsibility? Or should this culture be embraced as part of "emergent gameplay" with these quirks accepted as the catalyst for interaction?
Eve has been praised many times for being a wide open sandbox that allows players to really define how the game evolves. Mining into jetcans and alliances are just a couple things that Eve pilots created out of desire or necessity.
With an MMO that last lasted almost a decade now, it is hardly surprising that the devs are more hands-off. Although I'm not sure it's entirely true that they are with the implementation. Their latest iterations on the game, fixing what is already there, has been a good thing and something the players have wanted. In that regard, I suppose it is player driven and not actually adding anything new...but the effect is the same.
In this regard, I don't think they've taken player effort for granted. I think they've learned to cultivate it and learn from it. They have taken player suggestions and developed them into full game content. Bethesda's release of Skyrim...now there was a company that relied too heavily on the player base to mod thing and improve the game for them. I love that game, but that's real apathy.
I think players accept some of the "quirks" of Eve because it gives character to the universe without making it detrimental to play. It's almost a part of the territory with the immense freedom of Eve Online. I think keeping the innovation that can come out of quirks is a good thing. Making sure that they don't make it harder to get new players in or ruin existing elements is something all players are rather vocal about, so I think it is safe to say that CCP has a good thing going.
Perhaps I am too optimistic or simply don't see an issue with these "idiosyncrasies". Do you? Stan has done a far more in depth analysis, so I won't blather on.