This is a collection of short in-character fiction pieces about Awakened Industries, a group of capsuleers and their crews living in the enigmatic and dangerous regions of Wormhole Space in EVE Online. None of the protagonists are actual characters or corporations in-game. All similarities with persons fictional or real are possibly coincidental and only sometimes intentional. - Emergent Patroller

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: The stories on this blog contain mature themes involving sexuality and violence and are not suitable for minors or sensitive people.

2 Oct 2013

OOC Entry 99 - A woman's touch?

Before some people reading what is to come in a way that results in defensive knee-jerk reactions, let me make a few things clear:
I am a woman and I am supporting women's emancipation and their right to be considered equal in any possible way. I am, however, not claiming that women are naturally better at anything. I do not count myself as a feminist because I feel that this ideology is often stereotyping men in a way that I consider unfair. I will use language in the following post that might sound like I am favouring a female perspective - whatever that may be - but that is all supposed to be understood within the context of gender identity how it is usually defined these days. None of it is intended to mean that women or men are better or worse at anything.

Ok, with that out of the way, I am going to look at Rubicon and what it tells us about CCPs new direction.

With CCP Seagull as senior producer, it looks like things have changed significantly from what we all know about the development history of EVE Online.

Here we have a person who is not intending to drop major "Jesus Features" with every expansion. Nor do we have someone who relegates herself to a program of just fixing things and polishing the game.

CCP Seagull is the first senior producer to ever present a long-term vision for where EVE-Online expansions should take the game eventually.

Rubicon is the first expansion that has been developed fully while she was at the helm. Odyssey came out when she already had the job, but much of the planning and conceptualization for it definitely happened before her term began. 

The name is very well chosen to reflect what is supposed to happen: The first step is taken on a journey that will fundamentally change the game world of New Eden. Other than all her predecessors, CCP Seagull plans to set a course for that change which will progress gradually but with a definitive end-goal in mind. At the end of this process - which could (and probably will) take years - you should find yourself in a very different New Eden.

Since this approach is so different from anything that came before, it makes me wonder whether that has anything to do with her gender.

Men - not because of their born-in qualities, but because of their upbringing - tend to favour short-term goals. They are very often encouraged to be "doers" and to compete for the fast achievement of easily quantifiable goals. Women often have a tendency to think more long-term.

That whole thing might have a basis in the way how procreation works.

On the most basic level, the goal of procreation for the man is getting the female pregnant. For the woman it means having the support and nourishment that is necessary to get through pregnancy and then to feed the child while it is still dependent on mother's milk. That requires a bit of a longer perspective.

Of course modern societies have made this very simplified relation much more complex, but in terms of development we are not so far away from a time when this was still how things worked. I would propose that we haven't quite overcome those behavioural patterns.

Even today, tasks like child-care and child-rearing are mostly seen as the responsibility of the woman. That is the case even in the most equal societies with the most blurred gender roles. Very often women themselves will voluntarily take that role. Sometimes they might even say men can't really do that properly, and that's why they have to do it.

I'm not saying men cannot be committed to their children, but it is not as deeply ingrained with them, or expected to the same degree, as it is with women.

Looking at things from that viewpoint, it almost seems like CCP Seagull is like the mother who has dedicated herself to raising her child over the coming years, and in the case at hand the child is EVE Online.

Working together with her, she has a number of men who are also committed to see this child flourish. As the Senior Producer she is in the best position to give those men clear short-term goals which they can achieve. Things like "Balance that Ship Class" or "Come up with Deployable Structures".

Following my proposed model of explanation here, this would play to the strengths of all those guys while freeing them from the burden of having to think of a overarching plan.

When I was with the military, my commanding officer had that theory: He said, that he thinks women are better strategic commanders and men are better tactical commanders. His basis for saying this was exactly the thing about perspectives I wrote about earlier in this post.

I disagreed with him because I rejected the gender stereotyping that came with it. However, the approach of CCP Seagull and her team seems to fit the theory when compared to previous years of CCP development.

Makes me wonder whether the man had a point.

It may of course be very far-fetched to see evidence for a general theory in something incidental like CCP changing their course of expansion development, but at least it does not contradict the premise.

In the end, whether this change in development philosophy is something that has anything to do with the fact that CCP Seagull is a woman is not necessarily that important. I am just sharing thoughts here, moonlighting as an armchair gender studies expert ;)

I do have to say that I like it very much, and it sounds exciting. As for now I am confident that if I ever join the ranks of active EVE players again, I will be playing a very different game.

For that I want to give CCP Seagull a hug from one geek-girl to another.


  1. This is heavily reductionist and assumes "men" or "women" have innate personality traits. The biological processing understanding of your article superimposes an understanding used to justify stereotypical rejections of women in positions of authority. "Women don't micromanage as well" is a common theme among business executives, while they have "long-term vision" they never make it there because of the very discourse your partaking in. This understanding misinforms the understanding of intersectionality as well as any other understanding of embodiment that's necessary for development.

    Perhaps a less controversial understanding is that CCP Seagull is a gifted designer with fantastic vision and the ability for long-term vision for the game. That she is doing somethign no other member of the staff could, and that she is creating innovative designer structures to help the "guys" effective do their jobs.

    My twocents
    Nick Jennings

  2. I would like to second this gentlemen's (Nick Jenning') analysis.

    It provides the simplest explanation rather than an unnecessarily superficial analysis to human psychology based on sexual evolution. Many authors on personality and gender have contended that the mode of analysis that you have employed is flawed and some have even argued that it works the other way; human societies invariably require the male, in their typical iterations, to support their spouse and children.

    The argument is that as that evolution would favour two parents supporting a young, requiring a largely equal contribution from both. Granted, males do not possess the sole biological ability to bear or nurse children; but it is argued that young born of parents with an trait demanding protection and long term development of their young will fare better than those without, thus leading to this trait being selected for in both genders.

    Speculative theories regarding human evolution pale in comparison to the skill of CCP Seagull.

  3. Thank you both for your feedback.

    As I have stated myself, I do not subscribe to this theory either. As Nick Jennings said, though, that kind of thinking is very much alive in the business community (and elsewhere). People are influenced by that kind of stuff. I myself have earned lots of surprised reactions by both men and women when I told them that I work in IT engineering and that I used to do military service.

    The whole reason why I even wrote the piece above was, that I had a conversation with someone about EVE online development, and they basically came with exactly the explanation I presented "Yeah, figures that a female senior producer takes that direction."

    It was not my intention to state this as my opinion, but to present that viewpoint as a question. I was accused of flamebaiting, but that is not what I wanted at all. I was hoping for reactions like the ones you provided.

    From your reactions - and some others - I gather that there are at least some outspoken people who see absolutely no correlation between gender and the development of such a vision.

    But like I said, stereotypical thinking about gender is still very prevalent. However, since I consider it just as false as you do, I am happy to see that there are people around who completely reject the notion.

  4. I'm sure you meant "when you rejoin the ranks...."

    /me gets your hanger ready