I read E-ON so I know you've really got your finger on the pulse of EVE, but given the magazine's quarterly publishing schedule, how do you meet the challenges of covering a game that's always evolving?
My finger isn't on the pulse at all. Never has been. I just know where to find the pulse when I need it.
It's difficult to be topical and obviously the magazine could be seen to date quite quickly, but I don't feel that aspect detracts from the the magazine at all. If anything it enhances it. I've always likened E-ON to a snapshot of EVE. Each issue captures EVE in a moment that will never exists again. For example, in the first issue we published a profile of a much-loved EVE fansite called EVE-I. Soon after publication EVE-I went down and never returned. (It actually went down before publication, but the admins assured me it would be back.) At the time it was slightly embarrassing that the we had a glowing profile of the site and some people on the forums found that amusing, but as time has gone by and memory has faded, EVE-I has been forgotten by all but the oldest veterans. The point is that the site is no longer active, it no longer even exists.... except in E-ON.
It's a similar story with the "Darwin's Contraption" movie, which we previewed in Issue #005, and maybe the EVE: Ascension mod (#009) will never see the light of day, but in E-ON all these great fan projects can be celebrated for their efforts, if not their achievements.
As for the ever-changing nature of EVE, it's precisely because EVE never stands still that there are always deep seams of material to mine for content. I actually feel that we could do an issue of E-ON every six weeks, perhaps monthly, but I'm not sure my superiors share that view because it's a fair bit of work that goes into design and production and MMM are a very small outfit, but there certainly is never a problem filling an issue with words -- quite the opposite.
If you had to choose, what article or interview over the years was the most interesting for you?
Nate Combs wrote two articles ("One Alliance to Rule Them All") back in Issues #011 and #012 that were completely leftfield. He put alliance politics in the context of a bizarre dream starring the likes of JRR Tolkien and Julius Caesar, and Greyscale as a red macaw. It was totally unexpected and highly original, as well as entertaining. Another one was Winterblink's first Fanfest report in Issue #006; an invigorating and inspiring insight into how much regard he has for EVE, but moreso for the friends he has made in-game.
"I don't think of E-ON as having an insider's view, just as something that has privileged access to those inside CCP... Players write 99.99% of E-ON and I'm happy to class myself among them."
One article that was interesting was a story written by CCP's Gnauton ("The New Damage" #009), which was interesting for the reason that Gnauton has the final say in fiction that goes into E-ON and he can be quite stringent about the approval process. Fiction in E-ON must adhere to just a few guidelines, but they are nebulous and it's easy for a writer to stray over them without knowing it. When it came to a story he wrote, he kept asking me if if it was going to be suitable for the magazine. It was almost as if we had switched roles, so that was bizarre it itself. I was tempted to veto it just for a laugh, but that would have got me lynched at the following Fanfest. It was a really great story.
I've gathered that you're a long-time EVE player, as you've been E-ON's editor since the magazine launched three years ago. In fact, I recently saw an old video of you talking about EVE as it was in its early days. With this perspective on the game, how do you feel about some of the directions CCP is presently taking EVE Online?
I long ago put aside what I felt about EVE in terms of where CCP were taking the game. It's very much a ride that CCP are in control of, one that's had its ups and downs, but one that has always been interesting and that I've enjoyed. I'm happy to enjoy the view and I personally take more from the possibilities EVE offers than what the mechanics of the game allow. When I play EVE I try to enjoy the game for the moment rather than try to understand every part of it. If I made it my aim to know all about EVE, I would probably have lost interest in it long ago.
I'm more concerned in the direction CCP are taking themselves as a business... or rather, the direction they *might* be taken down as a consequence of weathering the current economic maelstrom. The situation is going to be a challenge for them and how they deal with it might dictate the future direction of EVE. I hope that creative vision continues to propel EVE forward rather than money, but you can't downplay the role of the bottom line in how business operates.
How would you say E-ON has changed since those first issues? Where would you like to see E-ON go in the future?
"In E-ON all these great fan projects can be celebrated for their efforts, if not their achievements."
The only new regular editorial element has been the addition of Alliance Profiles and that is an area that I think needs to be expanded upon, but 0.0 politics and alliance histories are difficult to get right and require a lot of research into sources that are subjective at best.
In terms of the immediate future, the aim is to continue with the right mix of information and entertainment, to focus on the universe, backstory and the community in terms of EVE's past, present and future. The challenge is to keep it fresh, which isn't much of a problem because CCP and the players do a fine job of keeping EVE fresh as it is. In short though, I'd like E-ON to continue on the same course -- dutifully shadowing the great game of EVE, in whatever direction CCP takes it. Maybe one day we can get Princess Leia in the mag, who knows.
Thanks for speaking with Massively, Richie.
A pleasure. Keep up the good work.