Thursday, June 4, 2009
Second Life and Eve Online: community differences
When, in 2006, I first started in Second Life there was already a thriving community of entrepeneurs, bloggers, artists, creative souls and poseurs active on the internet. Apart from the built in postcard functionality, snapshot tools like bloghud.com made it even easier to share your SL impressions directly - text and visuals - with any audience interested. Given Second Life's nature, as a social world without a defined gameplay, there was a lot to blog about. "Your world, your imagination": many people let their creativity run free, doing wildy different and interesting things with this new blanco world that was given to them. They changed it thorougly, shaping new societies and communities, houses and ever different landscapes, organising meetings, concerts and breakthrough conferences (see the attached snapshot), and all this stuff just begged to be blogged and photographed! And so we did, and still do. At Flickr, one SL group alone has almost 10.000 members and over 285.000 snapshots! More recently, Koinup has become one of the most interesting places to find and share visuals, and there too Second Life is booming.
Eve Online, on the other hand, has long lagged in the realm of blogging. CrazyKinux recently celebrated the fact that there seem to be over 500 Eve Online blogs, but even he admitted that there might be a few inactives here and there, so the real number of active EVE blogs might be a bit lower. A couple of hundred blogs - not that impressive. There's an Eve Online group on Flickr: it has 96 members and under 3000 snapshots at the time of writing. There is only one guy posting Eve stuff on Koinup, that that's me! Given Eve Online's often stunning visuals and single shard open design, I find that quite amazing. Even though there are good Eve Online blogs, why are there so few?
There are huge differences in the EVE Online and Second Life and their respective communities, and I think these explain the differences in blogging behaviour.
The first and in my opinion biggest difference, is in the communities that inhabit Second Life and New Eden. Many Eve players are (hardcore) gamers, out there in space to achieve their goals. They are focused, and spend a lot of time in game. They may bitch and moan about CCP and rival alliances in forums, but for most of them, that's about it. Second Life on the other hand attracts a wholly different audience, many of them innovative, extravert and creative, craving an audience for their works and ideas. Blogging and publishing their work is, to them, an integral, perhaps even necessary part of their virtual world experience: what's your creativity worth if you can't share?
Second, there is, at first glance, just not that much to blog about in Eve Online. Many of the missions have been done thousands of times, and there's nothing new to tell about them, even if they are fun to do. Same for mining, industry, hauling.. it's ok if you're into it, but not really blogworthy in most cases. Pirates and PvP types have new stories to tell, and they do; also, new expansions are always an interesting blog topic. But that's about it, really. Yet there should be a lot of interesting tales to tell about Eve Online! As a big, single shard sandbox universe, it has the environment suited for bloggable events to happen. Take, for instance, this war report of 2007 and the current writings of The Mitanni. War and strategy, long term operations on a grand scale, involving thousands of players forming alliances and armies better organised and trained perhaps than many a third world country army - it's there and it's waiting to be written about. This, and more, and there are signs of life! Several in the Eve Online community strive to get the number of bloggers up: other than the already mentioned CrazyKinux, there's the new blogging services podlogs and gamescribe. The first one is squarely aimed at EVE, the second one also caters to other games. Let's hope these new services bring the number of interesting and regularly updated Eve Online blogs a bit up. And if you're still reading: join Koinup, it's free, and post some of those stunning visuals there too..