Interstellar Services Department – Past, Present and Future

The Interstellar Services Department (ISD) team is a volunteer organization with a long history with EVE Online. Started back in the early beta days, the ISD teams have been providing vital assistance to the EVE Development team with duties including forum moderation, live events, quality assurance, new player greeting with help channel moderation and most recently, reporting of in-game events. I can honestly say I feel that a large portion of EVE Online’s success has been a result of the efforts of this fine group of players.

There have been a number of changes to ISD in the past five years. The program has grown from a core of 8 people to a height of nearly 300. Some of the staff have moved on from the volunteer team to positions within the gaming industry, a number of whom are now advancing within the ranks of CCP Games and holding positions such as our present Community Manager, Game Masters, Quality Assurance, Game Developers, Operations and IT, and Programmers. I myself started out as a volunteer with the Aurora Project before eventually being employed by CCP.

While there are good times to be had within the volunteer program, it is not all fun and games. Volunteers have often had to endure criticism and were sometimes wrongly accused of issues they had no part in, but took it in stride and came back for more.

Times change. EVE has grown from a small player base to the current community of over 200,000 players and to the record of nearly 35k concurrent users on 24 June. CCP has expanded from around 35 staff at launch to today’s 230, from one studio in Reykjavik to three studios in Iceland, the US and China. As these things have changed, so has our need to periodically evaluate the tasks performed by the volunteers. It was such an evaluation that prompted the creation of the Interstellar Correspondents team out of the Aurora Project, and another that has brought us to this dev blog.

A number of changes are being made to the volunteer teams. The Interstellar Correspondents will be working more closely with the staff of EVE TV, continuing and expanding their role as New Eden’s news reporters. STAR will strengthen the focus of their efforts on greeting new players and assisting them in their early days as rookie pod pilots. The Bug Hunter team will continue to assist the QA team and most likely have a role in efforts to localize the EVE client into the native languages spoken by the EVE community. The Forum Moderation and the Events teams will be placed on hiatus as we take time to evaluate processes and procedures for the betterment of the EVE Community’s play experience. Members of the Forum Moderation and Event teams will be given the opportunity to transition to the other three teams while new tools and roles are investigated, implemented and we evaluate other alternatives for forum and event support.

As EVE has grown, so does the need to support the EVE community. As part of an internal structure change, the Community team has expanded into its own group affiliated with the Publishing division of CCP and their responsibilities will increase as the team eventually triples in size.

We hope that the EVE community will understand and support us through these changes, recognizing the overall goal is to support our players in the best manner possible. We hope you’ll join us in thanking our volunteers for all they’ve contributed over the years and continue to share your thoughts with us about things you’d like to see in the game and on our website.

Sincerely,
kieron
Director of Community Relations - EVE Online