I haven’t written anything EVE-related for a while now, and this can be attributed to the fact that

I AM NOT PLAYING ANY MORE

Or to be less of a drama-queen: I am not playing at the moment. I am still in the process of moving myself, my girlfriend, my dogs and my belongings to the new place that is half finished and therefore I am in no position to play. I let my accounts run out of game time and filled out the form that was sent by CCP, telling me “oh, why did you stop playing the game?” I tried to be as politically correct or at least as civil in my expressions as possible while answering the questions they threw at me. It was hard.

Yesterday Jester wrote a pretty grim future for EVE in his post . As unfortunate it is, I happen to agree with him. In fact I am going to write down something that will get me yelled at pretty heavily too:

Legalise character sales for money.

Yep, you read that right. Since 2011, I was pretty much just on and off of this game. The reasons for that can be done with the words “bittervet syndrome” but it really runs much deeper than that:

EVE became boring for me.

All those CTAs that could wind you up a year earlier were beginning to feel like nuisance. A mandatory effort and people posed hard threats if you were not willing to play the game THEY wanted YOU to play it. Like ousting out of a corporation that receives MY pay, that literary I pay for in bounties. Yadda-yadda. And every loss was now feeling less and less like a lesson that should be learned and more like a nuisance in the general scheme of things – this eventually led to me skipping CTAs entirely or not even logging on.
While old players sometimes point out to the Butterfly effect trailer and say that every player has an impact and that EVE is real, it is not. It is a game and therefore the entertaining value should be added to the equation too. Like Yahtzee said in his video about EVE-online all those years ago: “Either they’re all Bizzaro people who wear shoes on their heads or I’m underestimating the appeal of having a second job you have to pay for.” And really, my observations  about EVE come down to this:

  • It is a sandbox, that really is NOT a sandbox. After 10 years constantly going, there is a MIN-MAX approach to absolutely everything and if you are not following that, then you are a failure and should go out and shoot yourself (or at the very least uninstall the game) – according to EVE-pro’s whose life revolves around playing with pixels they do not own.
  • Partly due to the MIN-MAX approach there is only so much you can do in this game. Go there, shoot that, scoop this, haul that. Rinse and repeat – no wonder that people start to program friggin’ BOTs for everything – even I would do it if I had the time (and the interest) for it.
    I am going to quote Sir Ken Robinson here “if you FORCE people to do mundane, repetitive tasks (i.e. low-grade clerical work), don’t be surprised if they start for fidget.” And people in EVE aren’t stupid. At least most of them aren’t.
  • While there is a way to Pay to win in this game (PLEX, duh!), there is really no way to win for Pay. There really is no escape route from EVE. You PAY for game time, you INVEST your free time into the game and while some may try to argue that you are getting value back (i.e. FUN), the reality of the sad truth is that you are actually a biological robot, preforming repetitive tasks in the 23rd MILLENNIUM, that can be dealt with in the 21st CENTURY, using easy-to-program electronic programs. Really? Lost tech or something? How much fun is that?
  • I have stated before that the real joy of games in general and sandbox games in particular is the People-people interaction (PvP). And while people-environment (PvE) activities are a good lead to get you started you should be off the breast-milk as soon as possible and out there shooting others.

Long story short. The reason that I see while EVE rarely get’s pasts the 30k concurrent users is because that is the real amount of people interested in the game. No more. Having multiple accounts and running them simultaneously has nothing but a skewing effect on the stats – ever wondered WHY CCP always only releases the active subscription count and not the ACTUAL, unique player count (they have that metric – guess how they can track down bots and multiple account misuses)? I’d wager a fair amount of money that that number is more or less constant since January, 2009.

A lot of times I see the message that the problem is not the system, it is in your wiring somewhere. I hate to break it for your ego trying to self-justify your spending of free time: the problem is in the system. A sandbox that really is not a sandbox any more, a game I have to pay for, an in-game corporation that I pay (eve is real, huh?) to be part of. I loved EVE, I might still do. In fact I probably still love EVE (that is why I keep track of what is happening even though I am not active any more), but like a man burned one too many times I am troubled by the signs that I see.

But let me stop being depressing, let me try to amend the situation by adding some suggestions on how you could possibly revitalise the whole community:

Introducing
THE FLUX

  1. Do away with the jungle that is the plethora of items and reactions (and skills, Like I wrote here), thereby reducing the book-keeping part of the game so that players can focus on Player-Player interactions
  2. Make high sec even more noob-friendly while at the same time increase taxes and reduce resource to drive people out of it after a given level of advancements
  3. Make low sec more viable with a mix of intertwined PvE and PvP areas with missions for and against the major factions (+ Factional Warfare revamp)
  4. Make 0.0 scale inversely with the size of an alliance (read diminishing returns), in regards to territory and fleets
  5. Do away with the static distribution of moon and planetary materials and make them reappear elsewhere (in effect: strip mining a moon will render it barren for x amount of time)

This way the player itself will be in a constant state of flux. If you are a beginner -> your nurturing home is high sec, a place for commerce. If you want anything more (do lvl4 mission, produce Tech 2 items, receive faction items) -> go to low sec, a place for industry. If you want to make a difference -> head to 0.0 where you are challenged by a constantly changing landscape of resources and political front lines. If you want delve into resources inventions and logistics on a scale never seen elsewhere -> go to wormholes where space itself is in flux.

A constant flux of scarcity will drive conflicts forward, and this more than anything else will save the future of EVE

Links:

Jester’s blog post: http://jestertrek.blogspot.hu/2013/11/blog-banter-50-changes.html

EVE butterfly effect trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq2oxt7Nrxo

Fly safe!

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