Sunday, July 17, 2011

EVE Online is a Man’s World… Or is It?

Back in May, I decided to start a project called the Women Gamer’s of EVE Interview Series.  My inspiration for the project came from a mix of things.  Most of it stems from the stories of epic female pilots I heard prior to subbing with EVE Online.  I heard tales of Mynee and the Hellcats, Laedy and her pirating escapades and a few other tales about these elusive Vixens of Violence and the others like them.  Then there was the over all perception woman gamers.  And by perception I really mean; “omgwtf there’s no chicks on the interwebs” or “tits or gtfo” or “h@x ur using a vox mod”.  I know.  The internet is a terribly class place.

EVE Online is a man’s world.  That statement is generally accepted as fact for a variety of reasons.  When looking at the actual build of the game including the sultry voice of your ship navigator and the penes laden imagery; you can see it.  It shows in the attitudes of some of the players which usually polarize into “White Knights” or “Women Haters.”  It even shows in the hard numbers where only 4% of subs are made by women.  While “EVE Online is a man’s world” is accepted as fact; is it really true?

The latest peak of the WGoE In-Game channel is only about 30, but there has to be more of us out there.  In fact I know there are more of us just from the math with the sub numbers, but I think there are even more than that little measly 4%.  Every time I turn around I’m either being told about, being introduced to or finding another woman gamer on my own.  What’s most impressive is that the vast majority of them are all making some kind of notable contribution to the game.  Some are in the null sec scene, some are CEO’s and Directors, some are recruiters and FC’s and some are players in the community.  Women Gamers do a lot to contribute to the success of EVE Online, their alliances and their corporations and I don’t think I’m the only one that’s noticed.

It seems that CCP Games has their eye on this little minority.  As of late it appears the company is urging its dynamic force of woman to come out in to the open as well and TweetFleet is a prime example.  I currently follow: Katrín (Team BFF), CCP Fallout (Community), Anne (Asst. Producer), CCP Affinity (QA) & Kelley (Recruitment) and chances are I’m leaving a couple out.  Sorry Ladies!  Then of course there’s the curious case of CCP Sunset.

CCP Sunset seems to be EVE TV’s replacement for StevieSG.  Hallan and I actually had the opportunity to interview her along with CCP Soundwave around the time of AT9.  From my interacting with her, interviewing her and watching her live on the AT9 stream as well as on the you tube videos; I think it’s a fair assessment to say that she’s a nice person, but certainly doesn’t have her “space legs” yet.  She comes off as quiet and unassuming and seems to prefer not to take the lead or be the center of attention.  I attribute this to the fact that she had only been working at CCP Games for a month or two (if that) when they asked her take this on.  Hopefully the next time we see her it won’t seem like there’s someone off camera pointing a loaded gun at her. 

Another indicator that CCP Games is looking towards women is (supposedly) Incara.  Now, I’m about 50/50 on that theory.  I can see why, but I have my arguments about why not.  It’s clear that Incarna is meant to attract from a new source of players.  Whether or not it will bring in a large portion of female players and keep them in game is yet to be seen.  Let me break my thoughts on it down for you.

Is Incarna for women?  The Yay-Sayers think it is because of one simple concept; Space Barbie.  I can see why they would get that impression.  Most of the women gamers I know from my real life like having an avatar.  Most of the women games I know have also had the specific gripe of “I don’t want to be stuck in a ship the whole time.”  There’s also the thought that in-game social mechanics will entice more female players.  Yea, I guess I can see that, but there are some significant holes in those theories. 

The first hole is; the cute outfit thing gets old.  I’ve played World of Warcraft [WoW] and I’ve played City of Heros/City of Villians [Cov/CoH].  There’s only so much time that I can look at hot pants clad pixel ass with go-go boots before I become disinterested.  In CoH/CoV, you get 5 costume slots that you can change up any time you want for a small in-game fee.  There’s thousands of selections and even special “costume packs” available for purchase with open more options along with each having a special transport method and clothing transition.  However, none of that mattered when I hit end game after 2 or 3 months and got bored with the same rehashed missions and the “create your own” mission lab.  So… does looking cool really matter against the actual content of the game?

Then there’s the in-game social mechanics.  First off, the real social game can be found on voice comms, the various forums and twitter.  I doubt that will change with casinos, brothels and hooka dens though I am still looking forward to these things.  Also, in its current state EVE Voice is pretty terrible and if it remains terrible most establishment owners will most likly get their own vent, ts or mumble server.  Along with that there is the “Pools Closed” factor.  (If you don’t know what that means look -> Here)  How many sexy ladies are going to want to hang out in player establishments only to be trolled in one way or another for hours on end?  And don’t say that won’t happen, we’re talking about EVE Online or Trollandia as it’s known in some cultures. 

Finally, avatar versus content.  I’ll admit it.  I was a little put off with looking at a ship the entire time and staring off in to space when I first came to EVE Online, but once I got into the game my attitude changed.  As I talk with other women gamers that play EVE Online, I’ve come to find that their opinion tends mirrors my own in one way or another.  This game is all about the spaceships.  EVE Online is about pvp, industry, carebearing, trolling, scamming, smack talking, good fights, gud poasting and probably a couple of more things that I missed.  The only group that I really benefiting from Incarna’s walking in stations are the role-players and that’s a good thing in its own right. 

So, Is EVE Online really a man’s world?  If it is, will it continue to be?  Will Incarna bring hot babes running to your Captian’s Quarter’s doors?  Will they be actual hot babes and not Comic Book Store Guy?  I don’t have the answers.  I’m not sure anyone does.  The questions are pretty fun to start arguments over though. 

Ciao for now♥

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