"Social is not just about friends. Social is everything to do with other people, every time it matters that a character is a person, not an NPC."In this free GDC Vault video from GDC Online 2012, CCP Games's Matthew Woodward explained the three pillars that CCP relied on to make EVE Online into a compelling sandbox MMO worth coming back to, in his talk 'The Other White Meat: Design Architecture for Sandbox Games'. Woodward later defines the meaning of sandbox in more detail in this Gamasutra interview. He also refers to Scott Rigby's model of intrinsic motivators covered in this GDC Online 2009 talk, available for those with paid GDC Vault subscriptions.
Video: 3 pillars for making EVE Online a compelling sandbox
"Trying to be the next World of Warcraft doesn't work," CCP's Matthew Woodward said, "Content is expensive." Here's how CCP gets players to keep coming back to EVE Online's virtual sandbox.