EVE Online maker CCP Games announced Project Awakening yesterday, a new game set in the EVE universe that threatens to "combine CCP’s 25 years of game design experience with the latest in blockchain technology." And while the reaction from various crypto pundits and people with ".eth" in their Twitter usernames was predictably bullish, swathes of the EVE Online community have responded with, well, scorn. Just pure, unbridled scorn.
The EVE Online subreddit is currently a wasteland of memes, rants, and anger about the project. Plenty of the upset revolves around blockchain as a concept: Players have been flooding the community with a series of posts with titles like "The shitposts will continue until CCP stops dealing with crypto" and "Eve Online scamming takes the next step with Blockchain". Others sarcastically recall the time CCP rejected NFTs as "Not For Tranquility" (Tranquility being the name of EVE Online's solitary game server).
"NFT stands for “Not for Tranquility” - Hilmar Veigar Pétursson 2022 from r/Eve
Meanwhile, the responses to CCP's tweet announcing the project are torn between people who say things like "Speaking for the whole web3 space: we can't wait!" and EVE players calling those people clowns. A Twitter user named Kanonenfutter summed up the reaction as "People who've never played a single hour or Eve Online thinking this is a W," predicting failure for Project Awakening and maybe even CCP as a whole unless "the blockchain technology is completely invisible to the average player."
But players are also upset by what they see as CCP's long history of pursuing boondoggles at the expense of EVE Online's development, reserving particular ire for current CEO Hilmar Pétursson. Plenty of memes poke fun at CCP's long library of cancelled and shuttered games—like World of Darkness Online and Dust 514—and accuse Pétursson of repeatedly chasing fashionable golden geese instead of focusing on fixing EVE Online's issues.
Many feel that the $40 million CCP has raised in funding for Project Awakening would be better spent tuning up EVE: "Funny how much money they don't put into the thing that made them their money," said user mtgsyko82.
"If at first you don't succeed" from r/Eve
I've reached out to CCP to ask for comment about the EVE community's reaction to Project Awakening, and I'll update this piece if I hear back.
The EVE forums themselves are a bit more muted, but every thread about the new game posted so far has been distinctly negative in tone. One, simply titled "Blockchain Folly", is aimed directly at Pétursson: "This obsession of yours persists beyond everyone else in the world realizing things needlessly tied to blockchain are almost universally untrustworthy at best," it reads, adding "Hopefully you manage not to destroy EVE further with this your newest mistake."
So I don't think CCP can count on many EVE players making the transition over to Project Awakening, unless it manages to put out a truly mindblowing trailer that makes us all eat humble pie about this 'blockchain' thing at some point down the road. Still, I doubt the game's failure (or even success) will determine whether EVE as a whole sinks or swims. Chipping away at the confidence and enthusiasm of EVE fans, on the other hand, could prove fatal in the long term.