InterviewEVE Online Interview - Charles Dane, Online Community Manager


EVE Online

Developer: CCP
Publisher: CCP

Release Date: 05/06/2003

ESRB: T

Genre: MMO
Setting: space

One of the more difficult positions for any MMO is the Online Community Manager. Charles Dane, when not riding "anything with two wheels" spends his time working with the very large and diverse EVE Online community.

GamersInfo.net: Do the players ever drive you to drink or indulge in other vices? If so, what's your vice of choice. If not...well...what's your vice of choice? (How about your coworkers? They drive you to vice?)
Charles Dane:
I quit smoking last year so that is one less vice in my life, but there are few things as welcome as a cold Newcastle after a long day of work. Throwing a leg over my motorcycle and going for a ride is also a nice way to relieve some stress.


GamersInfo.net: What's your favorite part of the game when you're playing?
Charles Dane:
Running agent missions and playing with friends.


GamersInfo.net: Do you lurk in other forums for the game other than the official forums? For example, in various corporations or alliances forums?
Charles Dane:
Yes, it helps me keep a finger on the pulse of the community.


GamersInfo.net: EVE Online definitely seems to be an international game in terms of player base - you can often see it in players' bios when they put in the flag of their country. At the risk of generalization, have you noticed any consistencies in play style, forum postings, etc., for some of the areas? How about in-game rivalries based off geographical regions?
Charles Dane:
While EVE is an international game, it is also a game that attracts a more intelligent or involved gamer. Yes, there are some playstyles more prevalent in certain geographical regions than others, but not so much that someone could stereotype a corp or alliance based on the CEO living in, say Europe rather than South America.

As with any other MMOG, there are rivalries based on geography. Then again, there are rivalries based on politics, football clubs, and pretty much any other real life topic.


GamersInfo.net: What's the most misunderstood part of your job?
Charles Dane:
Sometimes the messenger is shot for the message he bears. While I do have some input on EVE's development, the majority of changes or additions are made by other Devs. I get to pass that info along and am occasionally lambasted as a result.


GamersInfo.net: If you could pick any other job at CCP to do, and automagically got the skills to do it, which would you pick?
Charles Dane:
I wouldn't mind dabbling in Game Design, but to be honest I am content where I am.


GamersInfo.net: What other games and hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?
Charles Dane:
I study historical Western martial arts, including Renaissance and later swordplay, Longsword, Smallsword and grappling. I am an avid reader, movie buff, and enjoy riding a variety of 2 wheeled vehicles.


GamersInfo.net: Do you observe the CMs and forum moderators for other MMOs and compare what you do with them?
Charles Dane:
Absolutely. The Online Community Relations (OCR) field is small and most of us know one another. We have a forum where ideas, tips and advice are often exchanged.


GamersInfo.net: How do you deal with players upset about getting ripped off, scammed, pirated, or podded by other players? Such as a CEO who had their corporation ripped off by a spy, a player who took a courier mission with a high collateral and got blown up by the person who set up the courier mission (heck, I've heard people say the button for those missions should just be labeled "scams"), or a player who was ransomed by a pirate then blown up and podded anyway?
Charles Dane:
If someone abused game mechanics, I forward the information to the GM team for investigation and possible action. As much as I may empathize with a player scammed or podded, there is little that I can do to assist a player who was beaten within the game mechanics, other than offer advice for the future. EVE can be a harsh game with harsh consequences.

However, if I notice a trend in the e-mails I receive about a game mechanic, feature, etc., I do forward them to the Game Design team.


GamersInfo.net: How do you feel the nature of the completely player-driven economy and free for all PvP affects the overall user base?
Charles Dane:
A player-driven economy is one of the 'Holy Grails' of the MMO industry and one of EVE's greatest strengths and the same with our PvP system. I feel EVE is one of the few sandbox games, where players are given the toys to play with, and do as they like as long as they are willing to suffer the consequences of their actions. It is not a theme park MMO where everything is provided for you.


GamersInfo.net: How do you feel the 14 day trial has affected the community of EVE? Have the players embraced a lot of the new members as they come in, or has there been a lot of distrust?
Charles Dane:
Since EVE has not had a retail shelf presence in a number of years, trials are our lifeblood. Yes, there is a distrust of newer characters, but it is the same whether the character is 2 days or 2 months old.


GamersInfo.net: What are you thoughts on buying and selling isk, especially as to what it means to the "casual" player (on both ends, selling small amounts of isk, or buying isk)?
Charles Dane:
EVE is a game that rewards effort and work. I think the sale and purchase of in-game items is cheating. Should a well-off casual player have an advantage over someone with less financial resources? Reward a player for their in-game actions, not because of what they do in real life.

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About the Author, Sean Michael Whipkey (A.K.A SeanMike)

I'm a 29 year old senior network and systems engineer for a consulting firm in the DC area. I'm mostly into MMOs and FPSes (on the console), and I'm a big pro football fan. In my other spare time I like to write and tend to read copious amounts of history and military sci-fi. I'm also into cooking and bad action movies.