EVE Online – The Best MMORPG Community?
EVE Online’s February newsletter revealed that the game was voted the best MMO community of 2009 by Ten Ton Hammer. I wasn’t surprised at all by this and I’m not going to dispute the award but I did think it would be interesting to look at it in more depth and comment on some of their, um, comments.
Ten Ton Hammer’s justification for determining that EVE has the best MMORPG community is based on a few things: the fact that all players exist on a single server, that the developers work closely and communicate with the players, and that it’s just plain “hard to play EVE without becoming a part of the larger community”. The author must have been tight on time or watching the word count because all of these points are pretty flimsy and lacking in depth.
Although factors like the single server and Council of Stellar Management (CSM) help, they aren’t the be-all and end-all of community from my perspective. I don’t think size matters (/giggle) and to me it makes no difference is a server encompasses 2,000 players or 200,000 players, quantity doesn’t impact quality of community. Likewise, if we judged community by forum interaction or number of fan sites and blogs, World of Warcraft would come out in leading position and well all know that would be utter rubbish.
So do I think the award is wrong? No, actually, absolutely not. I only played EVE for a couple of months but I did get a sense of something vast and exciting out there, a large player base bonded together either through comradery or backstabbing hatred. Some people banded together to help newbies, some to defend their empires, some to become rich beyond their dreams and some to just wreck havoc and bring anarchy to the Universe. And those are the thing that I look for in community: communication between players, willingness to help (or destroy, as the case may be – anything that involves interaction), a sense of kinship and fraternity, a real bond with my fellow gamers, and the ability to share in the fantasy of escapism with others.
All of those things are hard to quantify and sum up as a singular aspect though. I see it as the warm, fuzzy feeling you get in your nether regions when someone helps you out for no reason or actively engages in a conversation with you for more than just buff requests. It’s that special little feeling that makes you feel part of something bigger than yourself. Everquest had it, Everquest 2 has it, World of Warcraft doesn’t have it (or at least it’s very well hidden) and I believe that EVE Online has it too.
So, as I said, I’m not surprised by the award nor am I disputing it. In fact, I think it’s very apt. However, I did want to explore a little more behind the reasoning for it. So what do you think – does EVE Online have the best MMORPG community?