These are dark days for the Eve Online community. Ever since Monoclegate, our motley crew of podcasters, bloggers, and tweeters has been losing contributors to ragequiting and inactivity. Is this a long-term trend, or are we merely seeing the effects of the annual summer slowdown? Personally, I believe that we are witnessing a permanent shift in the level of community activity; the amount of involvement that a game like Eve requires, coupled with the fallout from Incarna, has severely injured the viability of CCP's oft-trumpeted, little-loved community.
Although podcasting is the most time-intensive of community labors (labors defined from now on as: tweeting, blogging, podcasting, and foruming), it is the most effective in drawing attention. Everyone and their mother can set up a Blogger account and get writing, but recording and editing a podcast is another thing entirely. We saw the first inklings of this decline when Jade and Jayne of Lost in Eve moved to a bi-weekly release schedule. We continued to see it when they repeatedly failed to meet their own deadlines, despite the planned 50% drop in activity. Now, I realize that it is unfair of me to be mad at someone for not sacrificing time to record a podcast, but I do feel entitled to good content on a regular basis. Blame my parents, I suppose.
The trend has continued, however, as can be noted by the ending of Eve Commune, the departure of Chad from Fly Reckless, and host of other podcasts updating irregularly. The exceptions to the rule are: Voices from the Void, which nicely bridges the "Echo Chamber" and the vociferous 0.0 community, Pod Goo, and Not a Lot of News Newshour. VandV is my favorite, and I hope that adding White Tree as a guest host to keep the show going while either Hallan or Dani is out keeps them viable. Pod Goo is also great, despite Ender being a CCP White Knight and their rather short episode time. Finally, News Hour is good, except for when the hosts start talking about stuff they know nothing about and/or when their Russian-hating bigot friend comes on. Oh, and I forgot Broadcasts from the Ninveah, which although good, usually lasts like 10 minutes and basically has Kirith talking about how he's moving ships around.
Anyway, so now you know whom I like, but how does that relate to a slowdown in podcasting? First, there is the lack of new shows. The only one I can think of is Pixxie's Eve Online Podcast. And even then, the only thing that makes it special is the fact that Pixxie is a gurl (but the role of girls in Eve Online is for another post). Second, there are quite a few newer podcasts that never seemed to get off the ground. One of the best podcasts, which seemed to be everybody's new favorite, ISK, has failed to deliver on any regular basis. All seven episodes out are fantastic, but guessing when the next one comes out is an exercise in futility. Another one that looked good was Sur Jamkar's Corporate New Eden. He hasn't done anything since May (and that was just a re-release of his first episode), so I found it rather funny that he introduced himself as a podcast host in the Community Shout-Out. Did I mention the Community Shout-Out was the biggest pile of shit to ever hit the internet? It was basically a bunch of people who wanted to feel important by announcing their "rationality" and "everyone calm down" attitude to the world.
tl;dr- Few new podcasts, old ones closing down, almost none able to maintain a good release schedule.
The blogging sector has suffered less than the podcasting one. Due to the sheer volume of bloggers, there is usually enough content around. Sorting through the chaff, however, can be difficult. That's why we have the Eve Blog Pack! Err... had. CrazyKinux has decided to step down from his role as Blogfather. Moreover, he seems to be stepping away from Eve almost entirely, as his twitter name changed from @CrazyKinux to @SocialDave. And thank God for that. That man is the biggest social media whore I have ever had the pleasure to internet-meet. Anyway, that leaves us with a problem: whom to sort the chaff? He asked for volunteers, and I put my name out there, though due to the rampant inactivity of my blog, I'm not sure I'm in consideration. And I'm not famous, did I mention that? Another hit to the bloggers was the loss of Mord Fiddle, who will be taking a hiatus of a few months. His posts were always insightful and well-thought out, though his anti-PL/Russian bend was somewhat annoying. The thing I most liked about his posts was the "Comments" section, in which the intellectuals of New Eden would show up to debate the topics Mord put out there. Yet another loss that I think most of us feel is Wensley of Rifter Drifter. That blog was a haven for anyone interested in heart-thumping battle reports, solo and small-gang tactics, or pretty graphs about the relative merits of ships' DPS.
Luckily, some new blogs have stepped in to fill the void. First and foremost is Jester's Trek. This guy is so good that riverini has been cross-posting him on EN24 (the problems with that site are, again, for another post). He pushes out tons of content, all of it good. If you're not reading him, you should be. Another great new entrant into the blog arena is GamerChick42. She posts a number of helpful guides that even an experienced player will find useful. But other than that, I have seen little engaging material in the blogoshpere.
As for the other community sectors (Kugu, FHC, and #tweetfleet), I feel that they are all in good health, because they are the most accessible, allowing people to lurk and occasionally sign in to comment or tweet.