Eve Online has one of the most unique, dedicated fanbases online. The devotion that players have to the MMO is almost incomparable to anything out there, and for the hundreds of thousands of Eve Online followers around the world, the game is real and tangible to them. It is from this reality that the “Eve is Real” {link no longer active} campaign was born, promoted with the help of the Ayzenberg Group. We spoke with Daniel Block, Senior Director of Customer Acquisition at CCP, about the campaign and other aspects of the Eve universe.

[a]list: Where did the idea for the Incarna program come from and why the name ‘Eve is Real’?

Daniel Block: A large group of CCP old timers got together to try and get to the core of what makes tick and grow year over year. It came back to the fact that Eve is player driven in the most true sense, it is real in a way most games aren’t. Not because we live a dystopian future, but it takes the concept of risk and reward to heart. Every choice you make as a player has an impact, that is real. Why shouldn’t we build a “museum” of that real experience from a players perspective

[a]list: What sort of response have you gotten to the promotion so far?

Daniel Block: Pretty good, we get a bit of “real derp.derp!” of course. But we’re over 1500 shared images and 300 original videos so far in the first weeks. It has unlocked some gems that were previously shared only within player corporation forums, I’d say quite successful.

[a]list: What do you think it says about the commitment people have to the franchise when you see things like real life pictures of the Amarrian crown?

Daniel Block: We think it shows the power of the promise of Eve. Eve is a living work of art, we like to call it surreality. Eve is hyper-real from a graphics approach, we designed it that way including creating a whole-ly new graphics engine (again) for Incarna.

Amarrian crown

[a]list: Not to tip your hand, but are their any photos or videos that really stand out to you so far?

Daniel Block: “The Door”  {link no longer active} which is poignant in its humor about the frustration/joy of the next wave of Incarna. “My little Eve  {link no longer active} a brilliant spot on piece of work derived from our newest trailer.

[a]list: Was it important to include the viral/social aspect to the voting in order to draw in not just Eve players but anyone on the internet?

Daniel Block: It helped, but the reality is you have to build it first so people will come. This is not a one time effort, we’ll be building on this as a statement of what Eve is, from a players perspective. At some point critical mass is achieved and the huge number of cool pieces become their own engine for Eve.

[a]list: Were the contest prizes of a GeForce video card and an Alienware computer designed specifically to appeal to Eve‘s largest fans?

Daniel Block: Mostly, we just like Nvidia and Dell. *laughs* They’re great partners and make good hardware.

Taggart Transdimensional recruitment poster.

[a]list: There’s been some… let’s call it consternation among some fans over the inclusion of virtual item sales in Eve Online.  How do you reach out to concerned fans and salve what concerns they might have?

Daniel Block: It’s a bit tough as we’ve always got a vocal minority and a silent majority. A good sized group of the most vocal understandably made a huge deal out of “pay to win” after we failed to clearly present the virtual items and how we plan to evolve them. In order to reach out to them we needed to clarify things and need to continue to do so through good old-fashioned communication. While the silent majority has been using the NeX store at a good clip, we still need to make sure that our players know that sexy chic future spaceship pants aren’t going to lead to ammunition or uber ships in the virtual store. We launched our NeX store with a small number of pure vanity items, we’re going to launch a ship re-skinning service the same way soon (think paint jobs). More simple services will follow. We’d bring more out faster, but there is only a small team working on this project.

[a]list: Shifting gears, what sort of reception did you get to Dust 514 at E3 and how are you hoping to carry that into the games launch next year?

Daniel Block: A good one, it was quite stunning to get the coverage we got and being on stage with Sony was pretty amazing. It spoke volumes to us of their faith in Dust, the Eve universe and CCP.

[a]list: Daniel, thanks.

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