Wednesday, 21 April 2010

EVE Blog Banter #17: The Female of the Species

Welcome to the seventeenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

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?



CK you really do ask the greater community the easy questions sometimes don't you.

I have broken the "mighty paragraph" down into its constituent parts to attempt to answer it. My answers are based on my own involvement with female players of MMO's and may not of course be fair view of your average female MMO player. I am also a former long-time WoW player and much of the context I use will using that as a comparative.

What can CCP do to attract and maintain higher percentage of women?
Hmm, I'm not sure that both parts of this question fit together because there is the possibility that they adversely affect the other rather than compliment each other. You see if by the process of attracting female players there are changes to the game as we know it those changes "girlify" the game then CCP may succeed in raising the percentage by virtue of losing male players. I can bet my bottom dollar this won't be acceptable to them. So, anyway where was I?

Oh yes, how do CCP attract more female players? I think if I knew the absolute guaranteed answer to this I would be knocking on CCP's door and demanding a percentage cut of the new players they gain. I can only offer up my main suggestion, which is that CCP alter their....

EVE is marketed with imagery surrounding it's superb graphics, these images typically show ships, battles, explosions and destruction with a pretty backdrop. These typically are not the aspect of the game that the women I know look for in an MMO. Of course take these out and how do you grab the attention in your marketing? Find a way of presenting industry, trade and production. If we have to have some 'plosions and battles represented, how about concentrating on the "healer" and support roles of Logistics, Carriers and the like? The women I know have always preferred the support & healer roles along with maxing standings, crafting and trade skills. Also promoting that you do not have to grind your way through levels and progress in real time even when you are not online should receive some love.

A quote from a female friend who trialed EVE:

"It really only appears to be aimed at blokes who want to 'blow shit up'" & "It's geared to fighting and I don't think that's what most women look for in a game"

As for how CCP can keep their newly acquired and highly treasured female players, I think this will take care of itself. The game is very robust and has massive scope that is likely to "hook" them from very early on and drag them to the keep net. Of course EVE isn't for everyone, so there will always be natural wasteage.

Will Incarna Help?
Probably, though with the lack detail released at the moment I cannot add so much context to this. In my opinion (Dons Kevlar Helmet) women are more interested in vanity, and being able to create a visually pleasing to them incarnation will be something that I expect to be very important to them, especially so in the interaction between players. I expect that us males can only sit back and adore some of the creations that they will model. Though of course that assumes there will be player input into creation of the incarnation along with it's external appearance. Whereas I anticipate most GIRL's (Guy In Real Life) avatars will probably end up slutty incarnations of some sort, at least for male players in their tweens.

Can CCP do anything else in mean time?
Of course, changes to marketing. Raising the games profile to a female audience. And building a solid way for sexual harassment in game to be handled will show that CCP care and are serious about its female gamers. A dramatic shift in population male:female is bound to spark off the heap of immature folk we have amongst us in game.

What can the existing players do?
Existing players can do a lot when around female players. This applies to both new and veteran players alike. Practically foaming at the mouth and drooling over them like some slack jawed beast is not going to endear them to you or the game is it? Not treating the female of the species like a complete idiot when they are playing is also a sure-fire way to piss them off big time. Sure they are a noob but we were all one once, remember. Interlacing sexual inuendo around them really pisses them off and is a sure way not to be spoken to again too.

What could be added?
More Epic Arcs with worthwhile rewards. The Entry level SOE Epic Arc is great for getting new players out into the blackness of space. Make more of them, but how about Arcs that are not just about blowing stuff up? Industrial and Exploration Arcs would be a superb hook I beleive.

Raise the profile of trading and add more detail to the tutorials surrounding areas like the market where you have for example the mystical and not well explained "Price History" Tab. I'm an accountant IRL and yes I understand it, but it would greatly benenfit from a better explanation.

Demonstrate the cycle of EVE and how everything links in the cycle of life, for example:

Miner>Ore>Sell Ore>Industrialist Buy Ore>Build Product>Sell Product>PVP Pilot Buy Product>PVP Action>New Ship Required>Return to Start

Should anything change?
In my opinion it doesn't need to, players are players ultimately whether male or female. Sat at my desk in control of my Pod/Ship I don't know (or care) if the person I shoot at who is sat at their desk is male or female.

Of course from CCP's perspective if they can access this untapped market then they can invest more RL isk into the game and potentially make it even better for us all!

Is the game at fault
Maybe, EVE is lets face it for the most part about the PVP. It's what makes the cycle of life quoted above turn over and keep the game, economy etc rolling. The women gamers I know are typically not into destruction. They are into support and creation.

Is the player base at fault?
I think the only fault here is a bunch of men trying to get/force/coerce their *Insert Female Relation Here* to try and EVE and sometimes push too much. All they will tell their friends is going to be *Bloke* tried to get me to play his computer game last night, I won't be doing that again. Be there to help them and give gentle support when they might need it.

As my ex-wife, MMO player said:

"It normally takes a man to get the woman into a game like EVE"

And I this I beleive is where better marketing, raising the profile etc will tip the balance and open up a host of womens eyes to the wonder of EVE. This is the obstacle for CCP to overcome.

Apologies if I have offended anyone in the content of this post. As I said at the start I am sure it is not representative of everyone but is based on personal experience.

A selection of some other participants in this Blog Banter so far include:
- Freebooted: The Rise of the Female Gamer
- Flashfresh: Women in my Spaceship, is she from Mars?
- Wench with a Wrench: Where are all the Wenches?
- A Merry Life and a Short One: You'd Rather be Playing SIMS Right?
- Sweet Little Bad Girl: EVE vs Women

For the most recent posts, check my feed on my right hand navigation.

1 comment:

  1. You stole my title! (kidding, its a good title if a little cliched :D)

    Some valid points here though I don't think its a case of changing the marketing specifically to target the ladies. That kind of thing risks becoming condescending and will be seen through by most intelligent people.

    As you point out EVE is all about the PvP, but its not all about the pew pew PvP. There is PvP in every aspect of the game, but there is also PhP (players helping players) more should be made of this and the interpersonal skills needed to maintain good relationships in the game. Diplomacy, trade, industry, espionage, these are all important aspects of EVE and require as much in the way of PhP as PvP.

    So the marketing whould put across the more co-operative and less violent aspects of EVE. PI and Tyrannis will highlight these aspects quite nicely and CCP should capitalise on that to get the message across that EVE may be all about the PvP, but its not all about the Pew Pew and theres plenty of opportunity for PhP aswell