Friday saw probably the biggest live event Eve has ever seen, aside from the fall of the Crielere Project (at least, as a proportion of the player base). With nearly 2000 people in system and CCP controlling a combined 50+ capital ships at one point, the Battle of Caldari Prime was certainly ambitious and quite a sight to see, especially for people who have never seen a capital battle before. In addition to everyone in Luminaire itself, there were also 9000+ viewers on the live stream carrying the action over the internet and who knows how many PAX East attendees watching live on the expo hall floor.
On the down side, there were also hundreds of players stuck on stargates trying to get into the system and a good deal of griping about exactly how much input players had into the outcome of the event itself. So now that the battle is over (at least for those of us in space) the question remains: what can CCP take away from this as they look to the future?
A Triumph of Spectacle...
First off, it's pretty hard to deny that on the marketing side, this event was a success, if not a smash hit. For people who either haven't played Eve or who are only casual players with little experience when it comes to capital fights, this was quite the sight, and if you were on a trial account or early in your Eve career and happened to be in the system, this probably blew you away. For a game that's been around for almost a decade and has a harder time getting buzz at PAX than an upcoming blockbuster like, say, Bioshock Infinite, kicking off the show with an exploding titan should give it a bit more buzz than the average MMO.
For those of us who love Eve, this is a good thing, regardless of whatever else you think about the event. Eve can't survive without new blood and events that get people talking, whether they are live events that CCP runs like this one or wholly player-driven content like the Battle of Asakai, help draw in new players.
That being said, there's definitely some things that could have gone better from the presentation side of things. Probably the most bothersome to me, as someone who follows the storyline closely, was that the presenters narrating the live stream (CCP Bro and the newly-hired CCP Rise) seemed to know very little about the history leading up to the battle itself. This seems like a very big oversight if the live events team has been planning this for weeks or months. Either the storyline folks need to provide a quick one-pager for the commentators to bring them up to speed quickly, or they need to just put someone from the storyline team on there. CCP Rise may be a great PvPer and know the ins and outs of game mechanics, but making a storyline event compelling is a different task from explaining the intricacies of a tournament match. The camera work could have used a little help too; watching everything from a hundred kilometers away makes it hard to see much detail, though this may have been a technical limitation with so many people flying around. Still, it would have been great if we could have gotten shots in the live stream that look as good as some of the screenshots people took during the events.