Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Prepare for staging

Despite having a KSP kind of title, this post isn't about KSP.(1)

But KSP makes you think about transitions and that's what this post is, a transitional post. I've been talking about alts in EVE Online and how the structure of the game itself and the PLEX system makes alts inevitable. I also wrote the blog banter the other day about the number of average logged-in players in EVE, and that one's been getting a huge response. And in that post, I mentioned that I had a theory as to why that average logged-in player count is so stagnant. I hadn't intended to write about it until February but as I've been spending a lot of time thinking about these three topics, I think they're related.

Yeah, this is another one of those posts where I connect the dots between a lot of apparently disconnected facts.

I'm probably going to wander all over creation over the next few posts, but remember the three things I'm thinking about:
  • alts, and why people have them;
  • the logged-in player count, and why it's so relatively stagnant; and,
  • what does it take to become "good" at EVE Online?
Initially as I explore these topics, I'm going to ignore the players that are part of big corporate or social blocs, from Goonswarm to Brave Newbies to corps that only accept Russians or Romanians. We know from experience these tend to be long-tenure, invested players.

But during the Summer Summit -- as revealed in those Minutes -- the CSM was shown some analytical data about EVE Online retention. During that session, Dr. EyjoG shared a good deal of information with us about two types of EVE players in particular: newbies that shift into solo PvE (and then tend to get bored and quit), and newbies that break what he calls a "social wall", become socially invested within the sandbox, and tend to stick around but become "good at EVE" while staying outside the large corporate and social entities.(2) In particular, he brought up one issue near and dear to my heart (it's on page 27):
Dr. EyjoG said they asked surveys about why people quit, and asked if they knew about the sandbox. Plenty of people said they [did] and didn't want to be in it.
...but the data also showed them there was this second block of heavily invested players that weren't necessarily socially connected (it's on page 26):
Dr. EyjoG said, the question is what brings people from novice to engaged expert, if it's *not* social connections? The data doesn't necessarily support the social hypothesis; what else is going on?
CCP has not made any secret of the fact that they want to understand why some people stick with the game and some don't. Some make the social connections that keep them invested in the game, but a significant number never do and further, aren't interested in doing so and never become so. But despite this they do become "good at EVE" and they do tend to stay in the game. Why?

And going back to the question of the stagnant logged-in player count, why aren't there more of them? Why isn't the count growing?

As I said, I have some theories, but they're pretty rough at this point but I wanted to start by staging the problem. I'll stop here and give you an opportunity to weigh in if you choose to. But stay tuned! I want to explore this topic a bit over a few more posts before I leave for the Winter Summit in a week.

(1) Haven't played much KSP in the last couple of days though I did send an unmanned lander to go pick up my two stranded Kerbals on the Mun. I put the second lander down within sight of the stranded one, so I was pleased with myself there. Pretty handy concept, too! I think I'll attach a mini probe core to the bottom of all my landers in the future so I can pilot them without crew if need be.
(2) Example: incursion-runners.


  1. Q: how and why have I played the game for 5 years?

    A: I am a solo player. Have been to 3 corporations and all three experiences were bad.

    I am a hisec dweller. I avoid PvP by any means and hisec is the easiest place in game to do that.

    Not being a PvP, obviously I am a PvEr.

    I've been running misisons and mining for about 4 of the last 5 years, as I've taken some breaks.

    How did I do it? By using the awful Lego blocks that CCP reluctantly provides to PvErs and hiseccers and building all sorts of stuff with them.

    I've been running missions for years... using different ships, which needed different skillsets, used different fittings, different tactics. I've flown laser ships, missile ships, drone ships, armor ships, shield ships... have flown Amarr, Caldari and Minmatar ships, and also pirate ships inbetween... I've flown destroyers, cruisers, BCs and Battleships, running Lvl 1,2,3,4 to grind status for all 4 factions and different corporations within each faction.

    I think that I have been making a very creative use of the most limited and godawful side of the sandbox.

    It has come for a price. I've burned out several times. And I've ended writing about EVE more than actually playing it.

    And of course, according to everyone "cool" in the game, I am a terrible player...

  2. What do you think about adding some part of the tutorial missions that encourages interaction with other players. Since the tutorial themselves are all solo pve missions, it no doubt significantly contributes to many people going straight into solo missioning and completely missing the social part of the game.

  3. /quote
    Some make the social connections that keep them invested in the game, but a significant number never do and further, aren't interested in doing so and never become so. But despite this they do become "good at EVE" and they do tend to stay in the game. Why?

    Some are the mains of the players who "get" EVE. They form social connections and stay invested. The others are the alts of the players who "get" EVE. They probably stay in the NPC corp, they mine or manufacture. They keep their heads down, keep a low profile. They appear to be solo players. People who don't get eve. People who should get bored and leave, but they aren't. They are the alts.

  4. The article below hits the nail on the head around the logged-in count issue. Kirith has a point here..

  5. I think your assumption that incursionrunners are not part of a larger community is sketchy. There are grand player organisations centred around running incursions in all its varieties, with a lot of recurring people. They are not necessarily part of the same alliance or corp, but a social group nonetheless. Also, I think a lot of these people are actually another subgroup of alts: warsafe iskmaking toons from nullsec alliances.

    The same goes, for example, for heavy industry. Although I'm not very well introduced in it, I do know that there are quite some people who're not 1 on 1 linkable to a bigger entitiy who still manage to work together on a business2business level. Are these people not socially invested? I dare to disagree.

    Everybody who is playing in eve is playing in the sandbox. It is very, very hard not to be part of a social group in this game. There are ways to completely circumvent the social structures (solo missionrunning/mining (although ganking is still possible) or stationtrading come to mind), but I'm quite sure no love is lost on the departure of these players without any interaction.

  6. One of the things that kept me in the game was the complexity. From the decision making as far as which skill to learn next (and what level to take it to), through to thinking up new and unusual uses for different ships - EvE kept me mentally engaged for many hours. Far more than I'd like to admit. And as much out of game as in it.

    The reduction in prerequisites is detrimental to this and imho takes away the real satisfaction of gaining something relatively unique. Furthermore, the push button receive bacon player is unlikely to continue once the going gets tough. Nor are they been subtly prepared into being aware of the "pace" of EvE.

  7. "...but a significant number never do and further, aren't interested in doing so and never become so. But despite this they do become "good at EVE" and they do tend to stay in the game. Why?"

    The way I look at it is like this: You can have fun (or derive satisfaction) by Do'ing, by Be'ing, or by Watching.

    If you have fun by Do'ing, you're the one going out there and trying to get your hands into everything. Someone who is a pure Do'er doesn't care about social structures as anything but a tool by which to accomplish something they set out to do. If they can do it solo, all the better for them as far as they are concerned. Also, a Do'er enjoys digging into stats and is a very technical player.

    If you have fun by Be'ing, you get your fun from Being part of something that you identify with. The Social Flower as it were. Having a cause behind you (in-game) is only really a construct to give your group a purpose, but it also acts as a binding agent that can keep them glued to a group of people for a very long time, having both positive and negative connotations.

    If you have fun by Watching, then, well, you have fun by watching, lol. This is the type that watches Twitch streams all the time, spectates (but doesn't participate in) large events and reads blogs, and listens to podcasts. EVE, for a watcher, is more fun to read about than to play.

    Individual players will generally fall fairly strongly into one category, and weakly into one or both of the others, but everyone is different.

    Now, to answer the original question, It's because the people he is wondering about are not Be'ers. They have fun by doing something entirely different on their own and watching the drama as it plays out. They're not interested in becoming part of the drama themselves and they have little or no need to identify with a larger group of people to derive their fun from. To put them into a position contrary to their personality would cause a conflict that would frustrate the player eventually into quitting.

    Something that might shed more light on the subject is to study personality classifications, as they have things way more figured out than my 2-bit analysis above, lol.

    -Baljos Arnjak

  8. i'm still wedded firmly to the bartle's types idea that a core influx of explorers attracts a larger number of achievers, who then attract the socializers (that social connection thing) whom the killers feed off the tears of.

  9. I probably fall into that second group unless you count blogging about Eve and commenting on other Eve blogs as "social connections". I can't speak for anyone else but I can say why I'm still playing after nearly 2 years.

    I'm still playing because Eve is "free" to play... Defining "free" as not costing me real money.

    Making ISK is so easy I can spend an hour a day at it and make 30+ billion ISK a month. It costs me nothing but a little time.

    If the game was costing me real money or significant amounts of time I probably would have quite after a few months. While the market is implemented well enough to keep me playing as long as it's "free" the rest of the game and especially not the "PvP" simply isn't good enough that I'd pay real money for it.

  10. I seem to fall in the category „not playing EVE for social connections”. I have RL-friends who play EVE too, but I´m not in the same corporation as them as my preferred playstyle doesn´t encompass PVP. Nevertheless, my oldest main now has more than 110 Mio SP´s and I have a corporation with me, myself and my alts. I sit in highsec and in a wormhole and do exploration, PI, the odd PVE-content (sleepers), a little bit of industry and play this game for recreation and “fun” (define that…).

    Perhaps I´m not “good at EVE” because you´ll find me on EVE-Kill with structure-kills only. But I know how to do the things I like to do in this game even if my social interactions with other players are kept at a minimum. My goals are not domination of the whole nullsec or being #1 in EVE-Kill or controlling the PLEX-market – as a father of two, a job, a functioning social life, some non-computer hobbies I will and can only devote a certain amount of time to a game. If I would be a F1-drone, I would´ve certainly ended my EVE-career a long time ago…

  11. I suppose I belong to the group Dr. EyjoG mentioned. I prefer to stay outside social groups in MMORPGs and play on my own. Despite that, I like to learn the game inside out and learn also those parts that are not affecting directly the parts of the game that I utilize.

    The main reason why I stay outside social groups is that I am quite content with the drama in real life and I want to minimize the drama in game. Every singly MMORPG has that drama in social groups, so to avoid that (as well as the morons which every game, EVE included, has in abundance) I limit my contact with others. Granted, that means I don't get to enjoy the positive side of the interactions, but I am blessed with those in real life so I don't feel I am lacking anything.

    Second reason, which applies to nullsec organizations and such is that I do not want to have "second job" so to speak. CTAs and such sound a lot like work and I want to be free to decide what to do with my time without getting earful from someone. Which does actually take us back to previous point of drama avoidance.

    Now, why play MMORPGs then? I play them because people are less predictable than AI. I can easily play most games solo and other players make each playing session less predictable and more interesting even if there is little to no direct social contact. There is also the exploration factor. I love wandering around in games and learn the layout thoroughly. For that I most of the time need little to no social ties. In some games it also makes for exciting time. One example is Age of Conan's Onyx Chambers, which used to be strictly group content (haven't played in years, so I am not aware of current situation). That only made it so much sweeter place to sneak through - knowing that getting discovered would mean death. In EVE nullsec, lowsec and wormhole space is similar, though because of the mechanics the thrill is lesser.

    But will I stay long time? That depends on how fast I will go through the content on my own and whether there will be anything that would offer better experience than EVE. Oh, and of course whether real life will allow me to play games. Right now I know I will play for a few months at least. Future will take care of itself. Having said that, I hope that whenever those gates we are supposed to build are done, solo players can also traverse them to the unknown space. For if belonging to big alliance is mandatory, I might as well find other game to spend my money on.

  12. As someone who is invested in EVE but not part of a larger social network...I can say...I dunno why I am so into EVE. I really enjoy playing, occasionally chatting with folks in the corp I used to be in, but I cannot tell you why I am still invested. I live in a WH on my own, occasionally rat in null/low when I get exits, run missions in K-space, kill Sleepers...I dunno what the deep underlying pull of EVE is. But I do enjoy it,

  13. As a former EvE player I only found the game enjoyable when I found a niche of a market for myself to make tons of isk at. It was with a nullsec entity. Once the politics of ego's of leaders messed that up. I quit, gave 12 bil isk to some newbie and donated my caps and subcaps to the corp.
    I had played 3.5 yrs and will prolly never come back.
    But EvE IS fun to read about, like watching hamsters shuffle all the woodchips around a cage

  14. As a player who tried to get into EVE for years only to find a "way in" about a year ago that actually stuck, one of the biggest barriers for me in the beginning was how so many aspects of the "sandbox" require good timing, connections or sheer luck. Sure, any new pilot can start mining or running missions, but the remainder of the game aside from solo PvP is just never going to really give you the sort of returns you need to feel like your making progress. Sure a new player can pick up BPs and start shifting stuff around, but so much of the actual "sandbox" is locked behind corp/sov/risk walls which many new players are uncomfortable trying to break into. Not saying that new pilots should be handed private WHs from the get-go, but that it doesn't feel as if CCP hasn't put enough effort into even showing pilots how to gain a foothold in any chosen path. I don't have the answer, but inviting more people into the bigger world of the sandbox requires them to feel like they have a chance to actually be a part of that world. Things like PI, invention and WH-delving could be made a little more accessible without destroying the balance by providing low, low-end income from such activities as a means of providing experience and practice. True or not, many players leave because mining is the only indy/sandboxy thing that is available to them and mining is dead boring for most people. If you gave people a reason to log in that isn't grindy, they'd probably stick with it longer. If new players could eek out a piddling small profit from, say, PI from closer to the beginning those players would feel like they're more a part of the sandbox. The sandboxy players want to do more than just mine for the first month or two and the game doesn't make it that easy to engage in anything other than a few specific activities without having huge knowledge and understanding.

  15. "Some make the social connections that keep them invested in the game, but a significant number never do and further, aren't interested in doing so and never become so. But despite this they do become "good at EVE" and they do tend to stay in the game. Why?"

    Simple, gamification. I kill more boars to get gold/xp to buy better stuff/level up to kill more boars. Its a powerful loop and is at the heart of most games. Its especially common and often nakedly visible (b/c its done poorly) in mobile games and many free to play games at the moment, particularly where they depend on in-game purchases.

    Eve's never been particularly good at this achievement loop, but there are still those who do it. I did for my first year-ish in game, as I suspect, do many when they start b/c its what most games are about. The ones Dr. Ey cites above, who eschew social but still stick and 'get good at EVE' are the the dudes flying around in high sec in ridiculously over-pimped marauders with officer tanks running L4s (who get ganked by tornados). Do they use officer tanks on L4s b/c its necessary, or even materially more efficient? Nope, they do it just b/c that's what winning the game is to them. There may be a LOT of them though. The hard question, imho, is should CCP embrace them by protecting them for the sake of subscriptions? Or try to steer them to what many would view EVE's unique appeal - the sandbox and to some extent PVP. What if they REALLY don't want to Sandbox/PVP (ie not out of ignorance)? What if the segment who just doesn't want to sandbox is bigger than the segment that wants the sandbox and/or PVP? Can CCP actually serve both well?

  16. Look up "alone in a crowd" for some hints. The basic theory is that, as a social creature, humans wish to be among other humans but interacting with those other humans is not actually necessary. In past ages, the only way to be near others was to socialize, but in the age of social media, more and more people are realizing that we can get that comfort of being with others without actually socializing with them - so we do.

    Similarly, in MMOs we can have the feeling of belonging to a large group without actually having to socialize with that group. It is one of the main reasons behind the "solo" MMO mode.

  17. I know a lot of incursion runners that aren't playing the full scope of EVE Online. They're playing Incursions Online and when there are no available incursions they log off until there are. I submit there are a lot of people who would play solely for the challenge of managing science, invention, industry, manufacturing and market-fu. The complex depth available in these areas is unmatched. But the ramshackle state of the UI for those professions within EVE eventually burns out even the most diehard industrialist with its soul crushing tedium.

  18. Perhaps its the participation in a Sci Fi universe that keeps people who don't engage in the social element? After all, the social element in EVE can frequently be immersion breaking. I know for me the thing that brought me into the game in 2009 definitely wasn't the opportunity to spend $15 a month to join a giant chatroom. It was flying spaceships in a virtual world with a pretty cool story. Little did I know CCP was going to give up on story telling.

  19. there's something i think is missing in that analysis as well, something i think CCP has been blind to the significance of.
    The "anti-social" or "something else than social connections" should be examined on the basis of, 'is our mechanics for social connections the problem?'

    your base assumption, either yours &/or CCP's, is the social connections aren't to be questioned other than their efficacy. the results.

    Not the ridiculously risky and downright stupid way they'd been coded during beta. Which hasn't changed, besides some very small tweaks, for over ten years. You know it, I know it, but CCP i don't think has any idea how significant it is in your hypothetical musings about what the player base really thinks.

    but, seriously, this is facts here.
    (1) the basic mechanic for 10% tax in npc corps is not a good/bad enough incentive to customers who know full well joining any old corporation is rife with risks in awoxing, theft, scamming, being ordered to do things that aren't fun and don't advance personal goals.
    (2) that the stereotype of a gamer is clueless, lazy, selfish, greedy and without social skills to make or be interested in 'social connections'

    So which are you going to blame for the lack of interest in those that do stay in this game and play solo?

    perhaps you've never tried to create your own corporation and are ignorant of how hopeless the system is. A rank recruit with zero roles/titles can see all corp members in space (map), post&read corp/alliance evemails, gank any corp member they feel like without even a suspect flag, see all the corporate bookmarks (and even set new ones), view memberlist (though with evewho that's a bit redundant, still...) and see locations of all offices.

  20. I've been playing for over 6 years - the limit of my social interaction with other players is to read your blog (and post a few comments) and, less frequently, visit the forums. Once a month (or two), I might respond to someone in local.

    Solo player for the entire time. Never joined a corp (except my own 1-man corp), never joined a fleet nor even a small gang. Never ran a mission with another player. I have a single account, have never multi-boxed, and never use an alt. 120M+ SP - jack of all trades.

    So, what do I do?

    Pretty much everything you can do solo in the game. Did a bit of PVP in the old days, but too many of the changes to the game work against the solo PVPer. Ran missions, probed wormholes, killed sleepers, ran incursions, mined rocks and ice, built and sold things, flipped some cans, ganked a ganker, etc.

    These days I spend most of my time doing market PVP (hard to believe how many veteran players are still total noobs at market trading), researching BPOs, training up those 30+ day L5 skills, and checking out the new features in each expansion. Unfortunately, the recent releases haven't had all that much new content, and what there is simply isn't very challenging.

    Will I continue to play EVE?

    Sure, why not? I have a stock of 2 years worth of PLEX and 3 years of fuel for my research POS. I have about 150B ISK in my wallet and god knows how much in assets spread all over hundreds of NPC stations in every empire region. I lose about 1-2 ships (T2 fit - not into and don't need to fly bling ships) per month these days, so I'd safely say that I can play for free until that day when CCP turns the servers off for good.

    At a certain point, it just takes no real effort to keep playing, and it still makes for a good distraction (better than watching TV) after work.

  21. There are always plenty of vanity corp and NPC folks in the EVE Radio channel: some social groups are just less obvious.

  22. **This is just my opinion based on my experience and observations of the majority of people with whom I was in direct contact.**

    I belonged to a corp in null that was a group of like minded people. We were only in a corp because that was the price of admission to null, usually in a "citizens" or "associates" type of alliance. We greeted each other but mostly played solo. We kept up with politics as a fun diversion, but more importanly, to know when the landlord went to war or if sov changes were coming to our part of space. All of us just mined and made stuff. I very much equated what we did to building a city in SimCity and just watching it run. We didn't complain when losing a ship through regular play. We shipped up sometimes to blob a roaming gang of neuts. This type of play was fun for us even though plenty of people said "you are not enjoying the FULL Eve" or "no one has fun just mining." Some, like Gevlon and James315, went so far as to call us bots or bot-aspirants. And then like Highland says above, "I'm quite sure no love is lost on the departure of these players without any interaction."

    While that sort of talk is just opinion and not enough to cause us to leave, the problem came when gameplay changes were enacted as a result of those opinions. The combination of moving all mining to anomolies, along with the OMNIPOTENT discovery scanner, and then no longer having to scan down those grav sites caused a big loss of people like us. We moved to highsec, and that was the first time I really was bored. One by one we all let our accounts lapse. I was a small timer with just eight accounts. Just these people that I had firsthand knowledge of who left in the name of forcing us to play the PVP or "social" part of the game represented nearly 300 accounts. Now, we just read news and blogs and watch for something that will allow us to enjoy the game as we used to. There was a bit of hope with Goons' new rental empire and promises of protection. But the warp changes and bubble immunity for interceptors reupped the risk.

    I have always said one of the funnest things about Eve is from the variety of players. Does everyone really want nothing but wolves, like World of Tanks? Is Eve better off without people--sheep--like me? Remember, the longer we are away, the less likely any changes will bring us back.

    1. Moving grav sites to easily discoverable anomalies really killed mining for me. Stupidest thing that's happened to my favoured game play options even including CCP giving data cores to FW LP stores and making all R&D/Mission agents equal.

  23. Just how long have they had this information on the not-socially-connected group of long term players? It's just like :CCP: to go off on a promotion of "social connection" play without checking hard enough to see if that'll drive out other groups.

    To be fair, it might not…most of those subscriptions could just be for money making alts. Or it could be people like me who have left the game and are waiting to see if it changes to be more interesting. Figuring this out is going to take an actual reasonable count of alts per player with some categorization. Does CCP have a handle yet on the total number of actual human players? Or are they still just using the total subscription numbers and a fudge factor to estimate?

  24. I had 2 characters that were roughly 45 million SP each. For the first 2.5 years I was pretty much solo. The next couple of years i tried a couple of corporations. they were okay, but I didn't really enjoy the whole "Corp" thing since it felt like all I did was corp stuff and nothing else. I would call it unpleasant, even though I met plenty of people I liked in them. Each time I ended up going back to soloing , even though solo play can be limited.

    I did LOTS of mining (which I didn't mind at all), manufacturing, research, PI, scanning, exploration, pvp, missions, marketing, refining, salvaging, and mapping systems (gathering intel and setting up remote bookmarks).

    I had other friends that played EVE at the time. I would Corp-sit when a CEO would leave and i would keep the various functions they needed done running. I would player-sit and keep their skills going while they were away.

    Mostly though, I was an extra person when things needed to get done. I ran blockades getting goods in and out of areas. I would assist in missions, mining, hauling, gate-camping, scouting, etc. I also provided intel into upcoming conflicts in their areas of operations or areas important to them (you don't need to spy. people write about all kinds of things! ). these things I really enjoyed. Especially intel gathering.

    I had LOTS of ships and would pull them for jobs like pulling a golf club. I had deep space, officer, faction items and then some. I had a couple ships so heavily decked out that they were too expensive to undock. Pure hanger queens.

    I lived in high, low and null sec. of the three, null-sec was the most boring waste of time. Low sec was kind of fun, but not rewarding at all. High-sec got boring, but at least you could still do something. I guess that isn't as true anymore due to all those bored null-seccers.

    Due to EVE having so many dead ends in their "features" and the ever-growing CCP/CSM focus on kissing null's butt at the expense of all other things, EVE ran out of horizons.

    Whether you play solo or in groups, sandboxes depend on goals and horizons to reach for and the ability to achieve at least some of it. EVE has been steadily focusing on getting rid of everything other than null sec Alliance pvp. Thus, the horizons fall away and they take the goals with them. That's when there is no reason to play EVE.

    1. What aspects of the game have been removed to stop you running blockades, gathering intel, helping friends run missions or any of the other things you say you used to enjoy doing?

      I humbly suggest that it's not the game that changed, it's just that you got to know it too well :)

  25. To kind of put EVE's log in numbers into perspective, Here are the log in numbers for th Steam version of Euro Truck Simulator 2. The only thing you do in this game is get trucks, upgrade trucks, and deliver cargo. It's surprisingly fun, but that isn't the point.


    The point is, once you start factoring the number of bots and alts, this game is getting a little too close to the EVE numbers. Especially since this is a stand alone game and the numbers don't include the non-Steam version. Also, this game isn't very old vs. a game that's been trying to build it's player base up for 10 years.

    CCP, CSM and EVE players really, REALLY need to get their collective heads out of their asses and get serious about their future. That may mean actually adapting to survive. That, or just accept that the small numbers you have are as good as it's going to get and hang on for as long as you can.

    Heck, it's doing better than that EVE-Halo game thing for the PS3. I don't recall what it's called at the moment.

  26. "Dr. EyjoG said, the question is what brings people from novice to engaged expert, if it's *not* social connections? The data doesn't necessarily support the social hypothesis; what else is going on?"

    It's even more simple than the lack of corporate tools for socialization: It's the casual lvl4 missioner who doesn't want to get involved in other people's stupid wars over some bullshit reason caused by someone else pissing others off, or just some asshat griefing the corp. It's not the multiboxing neckbeard with officer modules, it's the stoner casuals who just wanna blow steam off in a sci-fi spaceship sim and don't want to deal with politics outside of RL.

  27. I still think the complexity is both the beauty and the curse of this game.

    I personally would love to return to the game but whenever I start thinking about the time investment to get anywhere beyond the noob stage, I'm forced to admit I don't have that budget in my schedule.

    Whether its Socializing, PvPing, Industry, Pirating or anything, you can only go so far in EVE if all you can put in the game is one hour a day on average.
    That's 7 hours a week on a single game which is around what most casual gamers have on their hands.

    And casual gamers are the core of the big numbers other games turns up in their stats. That's why other game like Wow dilutes the difficulty level to the point where invested players get bored.

    They aim for the casuals. That's where the big money is. Why? I'm guessing it's a question of numbers. Casuals are just as fickle as the next gamers but it is so much easier to balance a casual gaming schedule with real life that there is a LOT more of them around.

    As long as the complexity of EVE will drive the casuals away, the login number will stagnate.

  28. There are a couple of ideas above that resonate with me:
    1) The immersion / RP / story of EVE could use significant love - when I log in, I have no real sense of the overall universe, politics, story - it would be very cool if I felt like my events were impacting history and I was involved in an overall larger story arc

    2) EVE has a *lot* of doing stuff simply for the sake of ISK - sure I need to make ISK to buy stuff, but I want to buy stuff to accomplish a greater goal...not make more ISK. There is a good deal of 'same thing / different name' - once you've done it, there are diminishing returns

    3) Social is a curse as much as a blessing. Much of chat isn't propelling game play it's just...chat. If it were strategy / tactics to 'win' this round of whatever, that would be better. Usually it's just talking, sometimes related to the game.

    4) Lastly - I love EVE, but I really wish it were more FUN. Too much of the necessary steps / functions / UI, whatever are tedious, un-intuitive or a grind and a barrier to entry. Introducing some casual, quick entertaining options to augment the longer-term things would be very helpful. Sometimes you only have an hour (or less) and some quick-hit items would be a welcome addition (And no, missions in their current state aren't really *fun*...those could use a serious overhaul)

  29. There is no PVE activity outside Incursions in EVE that rewards forming groups. I think PVE is important as a means of luring people into forming social connections since it's a meal you can digest at your own speed. PVP by necessity forces you to play to someone else's schedule and level. Current non-Incursion PVE more or less punishes group play.

    More of my thoughts on this topic in my post, "The Mythical Social Wall." Apologies to all those people who wish to accuse me of riding coattails or what not, it's a bit longer than 4096 characters, so won't fit here.


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