Dabe Alan

Greetings from null-sec! The Penny Arcade Report is back in Iceland, and this is why

Greetings from null-sec! The Penny Arcade Report is back in Iceland, and this is why

This morning, or should I say last night, or however it works with the time change, I found myself in a car with a genial Icelandic driver who was fighting the ice on the roads. “It’s the first day of summer, and tomorrow is a holiday,” he said. “Everyone will be drinking tonight. You must come out.”

Iceland is a beautifully surreal place.

I’m not here to see the sights, however. I’m here for Fanfest 2013. We’ll be hearing from CCP about what’s coming to EVE Online, we’ll get briefed on what’s going on in DUST 514, and I’m hoping for an update on the World of Darkness MMO. It may seem weird to travel this far to cover a few games, but this is a unique event in a number of ways.

While we'll have access to the developers, designers, and leadership of CCP, it's the players that make these games special. I just received an e-mail from PR asking me to talk to as many fans as I could about their experiences in EVE Online. This is a game where those piloting the ships tell the story, not the developers or designers. The players have traveled from all over the world to talk about EVE Online, to see what’s coming to the game, and to give their thoughts to the developers.

This isn’t an empty gesture - last year there were meetings scheduled so the designers could meet with groups of players, ask about the implementation of certain features, and pick the community’s brain about what to do next. CCP is a fascinating company, and we talked about their culture and ideals when I visited last year.

I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us at this year’s event, and to talk to the teams behind these games about what’s happened in the past year. EVE Online is that odd game that I’m in no way interested in playing personally, but I love hearing about it, talking about it, and reporting on it. How the players interact, fight for power, and change the politics of the game world is an endlessly fascinating topic, as are the technical hurdles CCP has to deal with to keep everything running smoothly.

CCP has also flown in a number of scientists to give detailed lectures about the reality of space travel. Have you ever wanted to mine asteroids for real? There's a session for that.

In this session, the Flight Director for NASA's Mars rovers “Spirit” and “Opportunity” will show us how plotting our resource expansion by rocketing across The Milky Way to mine asteroids is just around the corner. This engaging presentation will discuss the near-future of space exploration and asteroid prospecting.

If you’re an EVE Online player, what do you want to know? If you’re not, what are your concerns about the game, and what has always interested you? Think of me as your murder of crows, descending upon this event to gather information and report my findings to you. In this situation, you’re all Sauron.

Keep in mind that stories may come in at odd times, we have some great guest posts lined up to keep the schedule filled, and Sophie will of course be around to pick up the slack. I'll try my hardest to keep to the standard publishing schedule, but I'd rather focus on keeping up the quality of the stories than sticking to a rigid schedule.

There are few companies that can sustain multiple days of reporting without running out of things to say, and CCP is certainly one of them. I also wanted to take a moment to say that yes, they paid for my airfare and hotel while I’m out here, which was the same situation as last year.

If you’re curious about this sort of trip, and the thought process behind our decision to accept some paid events and not others, ask in the comments. This is one of those cases where transparency is important, and you’re going to see a large amount of CCP coverage in the coming days.

I can’t wait.