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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.
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Friday, May 9, 2014

The seven percent solution

Ready for some Friday evening philosophy? I'm going to throw a really nasty one at you. Even our old friend Dinsdale might have to sit down and think about how he responds to it.

The New Player Experience panel at Fanfest this year was presented by CCP Rise, who did a great job with the material. If you haven't yet checked out the Youtube video of his pitch, I recommend you do so. The whole presentation is worth watching but I'm going to focus on one particular element.

NPE in EVE -- and specifically, getting and keeping new players in EVE -- faces a lot of challenges, none greater than EVE's famed learning cliff. However, Rise points out that from CCP's perspective, the game's very tutorial may also be part of the problem! While going into this, he presents a remarkable statistic. "We have a lot of data on this," he says then adds, "I've obscured it so I don't get in trouble." But the "obscured" data is frightening enough (it's about 17 minutes into the video):

What Rise presents with this slide is that when new players pay for -- not try out, pay for! -- EVE, 50% of them leave the game very shortly after doing so (he implies their subscriptions last for one month). 40% of them move into solo activities, which he primarily describes as missioning. And in his words only "five to ten percent" join a group had have a diverse experience with the game. Of the middle group, Rise says this:
They don't trade very much... they don't engage in a diverse range of activities... they're leveling up their Raven, basically.
He then implies that CCP doesn't get to keep this group of customers for very long either. "For many of them, this is not a good fit and they end up leaving," he says. The final small group are the ones that tend to interact with other players: "They're trading with other players a lot, they're in corps more often, they're talking in fleet chat more often, they're on PvP kills more often. These people tend to stick with us."

Put another way, between 80 and 90 percent of all new EVE subscribers that stay with the game for more than a month (a) avoid playing the game with other EVE players; and (b) many will probably leave the game anyway.

I'll give you a second to digest that.

Now obviously, this is a problem that the devs have to address and Rise says straight off that the tutorial itself tends to guide new players into this behavior. They want to address the NPE such that it instead guides players toward "richer experiences"... code for multiplayer EVE.

Some of you out there might feel inclined to argue with him. Here's the philosophical bit (get ready to yell at me). CCP has never shown interest in competing in solo content-driven theme park MMOs. The fact that players drive content in EVE has always been the game's competitive advantage. But between 80 and 90 percent of new EVE subscribers are avoiding that game play. Meanwhile, the remaining 10 to 20 percent remain very loyal to the game and invested in player-driven content.

Therefore, if you were CCP with a limited budget to support development of EVE Online, where would you put your resources? If you think CCP should put more resources to this larger group of solo players, how do you think it would help?



  1. I don't think it should be either/or....either. People hop between the latter two groups as their available time/interest waxes and wanes. Sometimes I can't wait hours for a form up and fleet. Sometimes I can't scan for an hour to try and find a site in an overused system to run a site that will also take forever if I am solo. Sometimes it might be nice to be able to log on, run a mission or two, then log off. It would be nice if the solo content was more rewarding.

    1. This is sooo bloody simple Jester I am ashamed the question was even asked....

      CCP has never shown interest in competing in solo content-driven theme park MMOs. The fact that players drive content in EVE has always been the game's competitive advantage. But between 80 and 90 percent of new EVE subscribers are avoiding that game play.

      If 80 to 90% of the people who try out your game leave, and they seem to be looking for good solo PvE gameplay.... FUKKIN GIVE IT TO THEM! Jezuz why is this so gods damned hard to understand??

      (1) Give that 80 to 90% of players, who having played themeparks for YEARS and therefore only know themepark gameplay... Give them what they want... really top notch PvE... THEN once they are HERE, then you have a shot at them 'discovering' (IE SHOW THEM) what real sandbox social gameplay is and how it can be soooo much MORE than Themepark solo PvE based gameplay...

      Jezuz why is this hard to understand???? If 80 to90% of your potential customers are walking in, looking around for 15 minutes and leaving... they are not the problem... YOU are.

      They are NOT the problem.... YOU are.

    2. There is a balance between instant gratification and the treasured experiences of a journey of discovery that does not seem to enter into your consideration.
      the whole planet is getting poorer by giving people what they want. CCP is right to lead people riding high horses, hobby horses and nightmares to what they really need. Can't make 'em drink tho'.

    3. What says TurAmarth ElRandir is very true.

      I'm mostly a themepark player. I came to EVE after playing WoW. I never got in a PvP centric game. I always play on PvE servers on MMOs.
      There's lots of things in EVE I dislike. BUT there's also some things I really like and don't see anywhere else.

      It took me 3 years (well not playing during these 3 years, I was like around 20M SP at this time) to go play on lowsec/null/WH. I'm very risk adverse, so I needed to KNOW enough the game and to have enough MONEY to consider losing some not an issue.
      I was on a player run corp during a part of these 3 years, even if I didn't played much with them, as I didn't liked what they were doing (but they were friends of friends).
      But even if I'm a thempark player, and have been a carebear for years, after time I became a WH player, then a sov null player (even being director for a few months), with a killboard counting thousand of kills, and even ran a few corp fleets myself.
      You won't covert themparks players by forcing them, you need to give them time.

      The industry revamp should do a lot of good for themeparks player ; crafting UI is crap in EVE, a better UI will help a lot get these guys to continue playing.
      But there's a need for classic instant farming,, like lv4... but these as shit.
      Incursions, WH, or anomalies are way better, but you need time to prepare, and you're not sure to have your content even after trying.
      Themeparks players (and everyone from time to time), need a way to get an easy to do, solo content to kill a few things and earn a bit of money.
      It doesn't need to be overpowered, no need for giving this content lots of money. But it must be available, easy, not too dangerous and FUN at little dose, and not too repetitive.
      What I found to like a lot on recent MMOs is something close to public quests ; some instant content on little groups. But in EVE you can't do that ; they will kill you on the back. It must be solo content, on deadspace if possible (for security). Put big ships, not swarm of little ones like L4, these are a pain.

    4. Massive PLUS ONE TurAmarth.

      I've been saying the same for years. Most people in EVE naturally end up doing the "wrong" things, and CCP "rewards" them by slapping their wrist. I can tell by how long I've banged my head on that wall and how many people I've met and said g'bye as they found, two to three years later, that they had been playing the wrong game all along.

      Why not come to the rescue? Why not turn lemons into lemonade?

      FAI, why not provide a way to transition from solo to multiplayer that actually rewards the player, rather than have him regularly awoxed/scammed/wardecced/fucked all the way out of the game?

      Further, why not allow empire capsuleers "influence" their NPC environment the way real life billionaires influence politics and law? Give them a way to earn, hold and lose "empire sovereignty" and a reason to bother to!

      And why not expand PvP beyond "I bring more X than you and I melt your face"? What's the reward in outproducing or outsmarting other players?

      When 90% of your customers would rather leave or "play wrong and leave later" than "play right", why don't you give them a chance to "play right" in THEIR terms?

      What is CCP, a sect? Only the faithful are worth of attention? Certainly looks so when they easily dismiss anyone who may not be interested to wait "18 months" until nullseccers get their stargates to a New Land as everyone else gets the same old stuff "updated" to further favor nullsec...

    5. I have been thinking on this all night... and the thing it boils down to is...

      CCP doesn't like Themepark solo, casual gameplay.

      It may be that they are afraid of losing their 'edge' or the cachet of being a 'Sandbox NOT a Themepark'... Listen very carefully to CCP Rise... he doesn't like Themepark gameplay... they don't want to invest in players who don't play EVE the way they want them too... in a sandbox... in a sandbox game. Really?

      I thought in a "sandbox" anyone is free to play anyway they want to? CCP, you should just be happy they are playing YOUR game and paying you to do it. As long as they are finding, as raiden55 did, enough to keep them interested, what do you care what they do with their time? It's a SANDBOX.

      Also, I wonder just how many players are playing in that way because it's all they can afford to do out of their real time... Being in a big alliance, or even a very active corp can be stressful. In SYJ we were never told we HAD to log on, but we got txt alerts daily... LOG ON! LOG ON! OP STARTING SOON(TM)! FLEET UP IN AMARR!!... every day. And no, we were never penalized or anything if we couldn't log on... but there is an internal "I MISSING OUT" pressure...The ops were often really lucrative, you would log on and hear of guys who spent 5 or 8 HOURS setting up ops... you'd log on a fly in an op and get your cut only to hear so-and-so talk about the extra 500mil ISK he made, and you figured out it was cause he was logged on more than you... ISK you could have made... kills you could have gotten in one... fun you missed.

      So yea, there was 'pressure' to log on and join in... and some people simply can't to the degree that the 'social' game requires... what about them? They play solo, casual and small gang because it's ALL they can afford to play... but CCP doesn't like that, and it is not the gameplay they are going to support... noooo... they are going to go all in for the 5 to 10% of the people who can log in for every CTA and Op... people who, as I see it, don't have a job... or a life.

      If I was CCP, first I would not ever change the basic sandbox ideal of freedom, open player interaction including the current basically unrestricted PvP and player driven emergent gameplay. I would then put my marketing/development money into three main areas...

      (1) 1/3rd to finding out exactly what it is that keeps the 5 to 10% so involved... and to protect that, to see that we don't break it without very good reason and
      (2) 1/3rd would go to finding out what the 40% need/want to retain them and
      (3) 1/3rd would go to finding out what the 50% were looking for that we didn't have... and finding ways to give them that without breaking #s 1 and 2 if possible.

      I would not accept that 50% of people who pay for a sub, leave in approx 1 month. I would feel we were doing something really wrong, even for a niche game.

      I would accept and support ANY PLAYSTYLE working to ensure ALL the players are finding the content they enjoy and can 'afford' to take part in. And I would look for ways to create new playstyles such as WiS (Legion) and FPFighters (Valkyrie) and others to expand and increase my customer base.

      But to focus solely on just 5 to 10%??? That's a losing bet.

    6. Any and all playstyles is a pipedream, but surely CCP can try to cut the immediate desertion from fifty percent down to forty, then down to thirty. Keep the players emotionally invested for longer, and maybe they will get around to exploring the wild world of shared experiences. Other industries know that a certain amount of customer churn is inescapable, but that it generally pays to hang onto customers for longer.

    7. I want to stress that last point by Turamarth on finding the 5 W's (who, what, when, where, why) of player behavior, for all players.

      Currently CCP's approach is to gather anonymous use statistics and engage the CSM, which leads to a natural bias as the CSM doesn't cuts a proportional slice of the playerbase. When the issue are unengaged/disengaged players, skypeing with some of the most engaged players after they're supported by the 10% of most engaged players is bound to be mostly uneffective. Between silent statistics and talking people, talking people will take the lead easily... and they will talk about their 5 W's, not those of the guy who gets in, pays a month and leaves after finding... what? Why? When? Where? You'll never know and you won't even ask if you are CCP.

    8. TurAmarth ElRandir,

      Your second post is much more nuanced than your first. Accordingly, I’m going to hammer your first post to set up a way to discuss your second post.

      Re: First Post
      “If 80 to 90% of the people who try out your game leave, and they seem to be looking for good solo PvE gameplay.... FUKKIN GIVE IT TO THEM!”

      No! No, no, no. Eve was created from the get go as a sandbox game. Your statement tells CCP to switch the core of the game to theme park. This is a recipe for disaster. If a prospective customer walks into a Toyota sales room and states, “Oh, I was looking for motorcycles,” Toyota shouldn’t respond, “Oh my! We need to get into motorcycle manufacture,” they should say, “Kawasaki’s just down the road. When you’re in the market for a car, we’re your people. Here’s some swag and a business card.”

      The NPE problem is one of mismatched expectations in two directions. New players expecting a sandbox get a theme park. New players happy with the theme park they find all too soon get dumped into a sandbox. Following the vehicle motif, Toyota shouldn’t respond to the observation that their vehicle doesn’t match the owner’s manual by remaking the vehicle, they should rewrite the owner’s manual.

      Re: Second Post
      Vastly improved thinking afoot. You’re pointing at a genuine difficulty but a difficulty unconnected to the NPE. Quoting you, “CCP doesn't [support] Themepark solo, casual gameplay.” (I’ve rephrased your original “like” because it implies a mean spirited desire to mistreat a group of paying customers.) Now we’re getting to the heart of a difficult conundrum. When sandbox is the core principle your game is designed around, how do you retain casual players? More specifically, what would casual sandbox play look like?

      “Solo” sets up similar conundrums. What does it mean to play a sandbox game solo? Well it could mean playing the game absolutely oblivious to the sandbox. Promoting oblivious play is terrible game design. At best it means creating a resource hungry game within a game which is much like asking Toyota to put a motorcycle inside a car in hopes of pleasing both sets of customers simultaneously.

      Alternately, it could mean providing single players enjoyable ways to *interact* with the sandbox without joining a team. There are lots of options here (market competition, genuine 1v1 pvp). The crucial point is the central social aspect. Such players want to compete with other *players* in a sandbox environment. They just don’t want to join a team. Contrast Track & Field with Football – one’s a solo sport, the other’s a team sport but there’s nothing theme parky in either of them.


    9. @DireNecessity, here is the problem, there is an unknown unknown in your post. You are assuming that interacting in the sandbox is intrinsically associated with the wish for "competing with others", even if in an indirect way.

      That's only a partial view. If a two-month-old player that never interacted with anyone buys drake or a raven, this single act already influenced the sandbox a little. If two years latter the same players dumps a whole heap of mission loot of jita, then again that player influenced the sandbox. And that remains true even if said player never once felt it was competition with others (in practice it was, but it may not have been perceived that way).

      So, no, it is not a requirement that players, solo ones in particular, WANT to compete/cooperate with others in order to interact with the sandbox.

    10. As a gamer who has never enjoyed PVE content, and will never enjoy solo content (I don't get the concept, after you figure out how to beat the AI it's easy to just repeat the same solution over and over again, where's the challenge? It's boring), I don't understand yall's mindset. But I will agree that if CCP kept these players around longer with more compelling PVE content, then they might have a better opportunity at these themepark players discovering the parts of EVE that make it a truly unique game.

    11. Anonymous May 10, 2014 at 10:30 AM

      Interesting response.

      I quote the recently released New Player FAQ (http://web.ccpgamescdn.com/communityassets/pdf/EVE-Online-New-Pilot-FAQ.pdf): 5.3 SOME PLAYER JUST SHOT ME; IS THAT ALLOWED?
      In EVE Online, any player may attack any other player if they choose to, no
      matter where they happen to be. This is because EVE Online is essentially
      a PvP (Player versus Player) game at its core.

      Your comment implies that CCP should consider shifting Eve's PvP core to something different - sandbox interaction. OK. But your example undercuts that too.

      First Question:
      Does your mission runner *want* to interact with the sandbox? Almost certainly not. *His* game experience would be exactly the same if he bought and sold only from NPCs. The only reason he buys and sells from/to other players is that's the only option available.

      Second Question:
      Is there is a sensible way to support solo players that don't want to interact with the shard that *isn't* building a game within a game?

      There's nothing wrong with playing non interactive games. Expecting CCP to insert one into their sandbox game is a different question.


    12. @PGL, I partially agree. My biggest axe against CCP's current stance is that they are trying to increase the interaction this group of players have with the rest of the game in a very unidimensional way. There is more to social interaction than mandatory joining player corps.

      Just to cite a simple example, most NPC corps I've been run ops, usually during the weekend. With that unidimensional mindset this just cannot be explained. Mistrust runs rampant, because there is virtually no barrier to entry. They are not trying to build long term bonds, because interactions in any NCP corp is ephemeral. So why they do it? Well, to each it's own, but I think a good way to understand it is that they are just trying to hang out, in a game that is kinda complicated to tackle now and then.

      Moreover, I understand that your preference is for fleet action and such. I agree that for a portion of the aforementioned group, they may have been misguided and are not enjoying as much interaction as they would feel comfortable with, it does seem like a problem. But on the other hand, for another portion of that group they are already having as much (as little) interaction as they like and, in fact, will ever want. Please, do keep that in mind.

    13. What I fear when listening to Rise is that correlation is mistaken for causation, that is, that if you have 40% solo/missioning players that came from the tutorial... it *could* be that the tutorial gives the wrong guidance to people, as they conclude. But just as well, it could be that they are already players that like such content (like me), and therefore they are taking their time playing through it.

      While I agree with your general idea, TurAmarth, I don't think that CCP should give themepark players a themepark (there is a thing in business to find your niche, and themepark MMOs is certainly taken), and they don't need to. You don't need to provide a themepark. Just something for a themepark player to do. Those both are not necessarily the same thing.

  2. The issue is this: what's the return on investment? Even if the pool of players involved in solo PvE is much larger, if the investment only increases retention, say, two months for half the pool, while the investment in PvP increases retention by ten months for the whole pool...

    1. I had 4 paid accounts and stayed 3 years. I only left when it became obvious that CCP was intent on running me out of the game.

      CCP is good at wasting money. First, their research shows that new tutorials will make a difference. Lots of $$-->new tutorials. Well...now their research shows that the tutorials are the problem. What lunacy.

      Yes, best idea I've ever heard. Create one of the most complicated MMOs out there, publish a manual with almost 400 pages, then decide to nix the tutorials.

      If a company's goal is to keep only those who want to live in null, then why not just erase all high and low sec and be done with it?

    2. Certainly the scamming, griefing, and humiliation has nothing to do with low player retention.

    3. Who do you think injects PLEX into the game for those freeloaders in null to purchase? Someone is cutting their own throat.

    4. @Anonymous May 9, 2014 at 5:59 PM

      They aren't "nixing" the tutorials - they realized that this wall of text is not the right way to confer this information (something you can't know until you did it). In addition, since the tutorials were structured as missions, it is plausible that many people fell into missioning because that's what the tutorials taught them.

      So, yes, Boo CCP for introducing a detrimental tutorial concept, but also Yay CCP for realizing their mistake.

    5. A while back CCP released a video called "Pilot Orientation" That video explains more about playing the game in 2:30 than the whole tutorial does. It should be required viewing as soon as you log in to the game for the first time.

  3. I honestly feel that the best solution to this problem, if it really is one, is not a solution that can come from CCP.

    When you first start this game, it's a bit intimidating and much like a freshman at prom, it's kind of scary talking to other players. Sure there are chat channels, but mostly these channels full of 'noise', not to mention your pretty busy trying to just figure out the basic game mechanics. In short, you have more important things on your plate than finding a group of new friends. A lot of these solo mission players are in the chat channels aswell recommending new players to go it alone for a variety of reasons. In short there is not a lot of outreach by legitimate groups to recruit these new players early before they sink into their pit of anti-social gameplay.

    Without a dedicated effort by the current player base to ensure a greater retention % there is no change that CCP can make that will make more than a small percentage change.

  4. Trust.. Solo play in Eve is the best way not to get scammed/ganked/awoxed.

    Joining a Corp run's the risk of having all you items stolen, or ganked - probably both.
    Even if you find a Corp, you then open yourself up to eventually being Awoxed or War-Decced.

    In a game with consequences, being the villain to your fellow player has zero consequences.

    1. Absolutely.

    2. What a load of horseshit. There are plenty of consequences it's just that most are player based. So if you never interact or attempt to influence others you can harly complain about how easily and hassle free their life's are.

      Maybe try actually being a beneficial member of the eve community sometime.

    3. Yes, it does. Join a corp. Take a chance. Meet people. Interact. Watch your back. Run the gauntlet. Build, steal, be robbed. Make friends. Make enemies. Kill. Die. Laugh in the face of all this chaos.

      Alternatively, sit in a quiet corner, keep your head down. Accumulate a big pile of shiny assets. Keep them safe. Accumulate more. Find different ways to accumulate more. Keep them safe.

      One route leads to boredom which in turn, unsurprisingly leads to the end of the subscription.

    4. Horseshit? Just telling it like it is. Not everyone want's to HTFU.

      If CCP want to get players to interact more they need to make joining a Corp less of risk. A simple change would be the Awoxing mechanics which seems almost designed to benefit griefers. To easy to have throw away alts, join small corps and then Awox them. Massive deathtrap for the Corp, no actual negative ramifications for the griefer.

      Corps can survive this, by having the sort of organisation/security structure that puts real life organisations to shame.

    5. @ Snorkel
      "... beneficial member of the eve community"

      One does not have to join a corp to be a "beneficial member of the community" and can easily play solo whilst still contributing to the community. I play predominantly solo. I'm in my one man corp. I PvP solo in low-sec most weeks. I have industry & market alts who make and sell stuff. I contribute to forums & discussions.

      Your post is the one that stinks of horseshit.

    6. @ Snorkel
      "Maybe try actually being a beneficial member of the eve community sometime."

      Apart from a poor attempt at an ad hom, you're confused as to what solo play can involve. One does not have to join a corp to be a "beneficial member of the community" and can easily play solo whilst still contributing to the community. I play predominantly solo. I'm in my one man corp. I PvP solo in low-sec most weeks. I have industry & market alts who make and sell stuff. I contribute to forums & discussions.

      Even if I just mined / missioned, I'd still be beneficial to the community by creating ISK & ore as well as providing others the opportunity to blow me up.

      TL;DR Your post is the one that stinks of horseshit.

    7. @Gavin & Snorkel

      It isn't horseshit. YOUR mindsets are horseshit. You like to blow shit up and play the way YOU like to? Fucking do it. You know how you think you should be able to play the way YOU like? So do other players AND there are far more of them in Eve than people who think like you two. The starmap stats. Learn how to use them and see for yourself.

      People who want to or decide to play solo aren't the problem. Massive chunks of the game with a myriad of mechanics are DESIGNED to allow solo play. Quite possibly the majority of gamers out there have REAL lives. they don't have character flaws that prevent them from making friends in REAL LIFE. Also, not everyone feels the need to be part of a mindless, sperging herd. If solo PVE play is boring for you, that's yoour problem, not everyone's problem. Check the starmap.

      "Maybe try actually being a beneficial member of the eve community sometime"

      Really?? Are you that clueless? Those same solo PVE players are many of the same ones that grind all the minerals and ore, do the research and manufacturing, transport of goods and do all the mundane tasks that players like you are too lazy and too arrogant to do. What do people like YOU contribute? Mash F1 in a mouth breathing herd of 200 boats after an FC drops you right on top of them so even a 2 year old couldn't get it wrong? Try your own advice, or better yet, lose your vapor-ware elitist bullshit completely.

      Solo PVE players are not the problem (because there's more of them than you). Shortsighted parrots spewing the same, tired, narrow minded rhetoric and myths are a big part of the problem. And assholes are the problem.

    8. It IS horseshit because I'm hardly what you would call a
      PVP'er. But you know what, I laugh at all this crap your complaining about because in the end it's trivial. Sure I've been awoxed, scammed and robbed. So has everyone else who's played for more than a year. The thing is, I've learned from it and now it's not an issue. Sure I might get awoxed again some day, but so what? It's JUST a ship, some stupid pixels on a video game and something that can be replaced. The true value of EVE isn't a pile of shinny officer mods, it's the people and friendships you develope along the way. And if you can't see that, then I am truely sorry for you.

    9. Well it seems like 50% of people who try EVE think that missions/mining isn't gameplay worth paying for

      I'm not saying being in a big alliance is for everyone

      But it is one of the easiest ways to play socially on an irregular time schedule

      And people who play socially apparently play more, hopefully that means they like the game more.

    10. @snorkel

      Your cheap adhom isn't based in reality. Playing solo does not prevent one from being a "beneficial member of the community". I solo PvP a few times a week. I have industry and market alts that make and trade stuff. I participate in several forums. I am as much a beneficial member, if not more of one, than most nullbears that are in huge corps. Basically, you're whole point is predicated upon your own narrow and biassed ignorance.

  5. "The fact that players drive content in EVE has always been the game's competitive advantage. But between 80 and 90 percent of new EVE subscribers are avoiding that game play."

    You haven't supported this adequately. You're assuming 100% of the 50% that quits after paying for 1 month is quitting because they are avoiding multiplayer gameplay, when there are many other (better) reasons they could be quitting after paying for 1 month.

    In addition, your tone implies that these numbers are very high, but you haven't presented any reliable data from competing MMOs to back up this tone.

    I don't see how this is philosophy at all, let alone nasty philosophy. This is just some numbers, without enough context to make large judgements.

    1. First, competing MMOs don't come into play because competing MMOs quite frankly have more compelling single player content that EVE can offer, and that EVE can EVER offer.

      But the 80 to 90 percent number? That's right there in what Rise presents. 100 players subscribe to the game. 50 stay for more than a month. Of that 50, between 5 and 10 join groups. That leaves between 40 and 45 of those 50 doing solo pursuits. That's 80 to 90 percent.

      I might say they're "missing" or "skipping" the group play instead of "avoiding" but the end result is the same.

    2. Oh, and the philosophical bit is this: if this last 10-20% are the ones that are loyal customers, does CCP owe the rest any loyalty at all? SHOULDN'T they be developing the game exclusively for their most loyal customers?

    3. Ah, so "new EVE subscribers" is basically referring here to "people who are subscribing for their second month", I missed that. Sorry.

      As to the philosophical bit--I don't understand how this is a philosophical issue. CCP is is a for-profit business, their decisions about what markets to go after should be made on a practical level, not a philosophical level. Practically speaking, people who don't like EVE aren't likely to start liking EVE, which is a sufficient reason for CCP to focus on their "loyal customers", and doesn't require postulating any actual loyalty on CCP's part.

    4. "Oh, and the philosophical bit is this: if this last 10-20% are the ones that are loyal customers, does CCP owe the rest any loyalty at all? SHOULDN'T they be developing the game exclusively for their most loyal customers?"

      No, no, and no. Retaining the 10-20% is obviously important, but retaining more players overall is even more important. Providing more compelling (or at least, less frivolous) PvE content will keep the large contingent of temporary players in the game longer. Allowing PvE content to remain as it is -- and it's inarguable shitty -- just ensures that the path to boredom remains short.

      CCP has been neglecting a huge segment of their players for far too long. And it's not entirely about development resources. It's also about inertia: a lack of ideas, a lack of motivation. It's beyond me why they can't even take it upon themselves to just eliminate all the repetitive, vacuous narrative elements and superfluous meandering around in missions. Even a streamlined "warp to the pocket, kill all the ships" model would be better than what we have right now.

      And seriously: screw this notion of "loyalty" right in the ear. You can't ask for loyalty when all you offer is tedium.

    5. Agreed. Catering to the ten-percenters who love HTFU gaming is how CCP found themselves without player loyalty from any of the others, They run a cold, harsh universe and tell us by word and deeds to trust no one...so I hope they didn't spend a long time working up a PowerPoint presentation to tell themselves so.

      A game universe that caters to consequence-free ganking, scamming and bloc economics is by definition going to tend to drive off lone subscribers. Will CCP tell us friendlier players that we must be more welcoming to newbros? To draw a few more months of subscription out of these before the nigh-inevitable hard lessons at the hands of the neutral-to-bad actors? We're already there, and have been for a decade, taking on as many new friends as we're comfortable playing with at a given time.

      The lack of PvE content for solo players is also by design, but this is usually spun as a high-minded desire for players to move the universe rather than as the lack of dev resources or imagination it happens to resemble. This is also how we got where we are today.

      Is CCP groping its way to an admission that these approaches are incompatible with growing a subscriber base? Or will they insist that they are unable to make their game any larger, to win and retain players who prefer different tones?

    6. There are only so many PVP centric people with enough time to play EVE. Cutting ALL the options for alternative play seems to defy the nature of CCP's "sandbox" game, and significantly limits their revenue.

      It's like someone opening a "Chocolate Only" ice cream store next to the Baskin Robins of other MMOs. Who is going to last longer?

      Even null players mission. The Massively article indicates CCP will remove missions as well. This article garnered quite a few comments.


    7. CCP should develop the game they want to develop. That is what leads to the "cold, hard universe" philosophy. If they wanted a larger game, they could easily broaden the appeal by increasing single player/PvE content availability, but they don't want to do that, as it would change the game. This means that you take that "80-90%" and basically write it off in the long run.

      It doesn't have to be the case - but it often is - that game design is a sliding scale between vision and profit. CCP is leaning pretty hard on the vision end of the scale. I can respect the decision, but it does mean that plenty of players (including me) are actively alienated, feeling like second-class citizens, and eventually being driven away.

    8. Second class citizens, when the entire rest of the gaming industry is tripping over each other to put their hands down your pockets. Poor you.

    9. If you cater to that die hard 10-20% only you run the major risk of no growth. The tutorial isn't the problem, it's the available PvE content, everything seems to be pointing to that from the data you're showing thus far.

    10. "Oh, and the philosophical bit is this: if this last 10-20% are the ones that are loyal customers, does CCP owe the rest any loyalty at all? SHOULDN'T they be developing the game exclusively for their most loyal customers?"

      Why should they? Can these minority pay the bills for CCP? CCP is a company. By definition they want (or have to) earn money. So it could turn out, the way to concentrate only to the smallest part of your customers is terriblly wrong.

    11. @Jester 4:22

      ...more compelling single player content that EVE can offer, and that EVE can EVER offer. Why?

      This is a choice CCP has made, not some Great Impossible Feat... it is a choice they are making to bet the whole business on 5 to 10% of the POTENTIAL CUSTOMER BASE... 5 to gods damned 10%??? REALLY??

    12. "Oh, and the philosophical bit is this: if this last 10-20% are the ones that are loyal customers, does CCP owe the rest any loyalty at all? SHOULDN'T they be developing the game exclusively for their most loyal customers?"

      Philosophically? Probably yes.

      As a business model? Not unless those who stay pay for those who leave.

      The current model in which all customers pay the same but they get vastly different qualities of product from CCP leads to interesting new job opportunities for CCP employees.

    13. @Jester - So, "philosophically", part of that 10 - 20% of that "loyal" player base that you propose CCP should focus on, (you know, the ones who continuously say that Eve is a terrible game and/or that they aren't trying to destroy Eve, just destroy YOUR Eve, or sit afk in a station while they are alt-tabbed out playing WoT/MWO/etc . . ) are also part of the same group that go out of their way to be assholes and cause grief for any other player that isn't playing Eve "their way". So, in CCP's uh . . . "brilliance", they are catering to the player group that drives other paying customers away and creates a negative reputation for Eve that keeps even more gamers from playing Eve.

      Yeah, that's the same kind of inspired thinking that caused them to piss money up against the wall and erect a stone penis while Eve and DUST interest spirals down the drain.

    14. I agree that players are part of the problem, but I'm trying to keep them separate from this part of the discussion. For this part of the discussion, I'm curious what people think CCP should do.

    15. The players are lart of the game that accommodates them. Considering the players as a separate entity presupposes that CCP hasn't spent a decade selecting just what playstyles they will support. That's contrary to fact because, well, here we all are, in numbers suddenly acknowledged to be insufficient.

    16. @ Jester

      "SHOULDN'T they be developing the game exclusively for their most loyal customers?"

      This creates a dynamic where CCP can be effectively coerced by a vocal minority of long term players who all have numerous alts. I don't want to sound like Dinsdale Piranha here, but what could CCP *really* do that would go directly against the interests of Goons or PL or NC? If any or all of those major groups would threaten with unsubscribing their multiple accounts, CCP would be in real trouble as long as they have no pool of new subscribers to draw from.

      I don't think that "Hey you can come and play EVE now. The Goons are all gone." would work as a short-time measure to attract new players.

  6. Well I already sent you a eve-mail with what I think might help. Thanks for the reply btw. But I think new eve players need a way to form corps that won't or can't be griefed out of the game. There needs to be more incentive to group up, be social, and it has to come with no added risk to players assets than flying solo. From there when people get comfortable with EVE's learning cliff, they can then engage in more of the more interesting valuable game play.

    That or CCP needs to find ways to get other out of game communities to join in mass like Reddit and Something Awful.

  7. Extremely frustrating problem. MMO's cannot create solo content (missions, quests, story stuff) faster than players burn through it and get bored with it. CCP has been saying for a long time that statistics show new players stick around longer once they find some support in a player corp or alliance. This isn't new but the magnitude of the problem is definitely scary.

    I'd suggest making the recruitment search UI, which has good options and filters for zeroing in on a playstyle, be made more graphical and engaging. All the drop down menus and checkboxes are cold and "business-like". Add some icons and color!

  8. " But between 80 and 90 percent of new EVE subscribers are avoiding that game play."

    It might not be that all of them are avoiding it, but that they don't know how to break into the multiplayer aspect of EVE. The players create many of the roadblocks for new players to join groups.

    1. As above, I might say they're "missing" or "skipping" the group play instead of "avoiding" but the end result is the same.

    2. The problem is the end result isn't the same. The development effort needed to lead people to the social part of the game with better recruitment tools and education should be far less than the overhaul PVE needs to keep players attracted (although saying anything about workload where CCP is concerned is nigh on impossible).

      With a small enough workload aimed at guiding players properly, your philosophical problem doesn't exist - CCP can do both.

    3. "Duncan RingillMay 9, 2014 at 6:07 PM
      Agreed. Catering to the ten-percenters who love HTFU gaming is how CCP found themselves without player loyalty from any of the others, They run a cold, harsh universe and tell us by word and deeds to trust no one."
      I'm surprised at you. CCP plays the I-know-you-know game very well. The majority of mankind has been herd trained into placidity. CCP offers an outlet for anti social behaviour in a forum that actually encourages co-operative play.
      If - like me - you enjoy observing these things from the safety of a bubble of isolation - otherwise known as solo play - you are entirely free to do so. If you're hard enough.
      High-sec does not encourage co-operative play. It should. Nullsec encourages herd behaviour - it was not designed to. Lowsec is a no mans land I like to roam but I suspect that constructable gates will open up a better hell for individuals to test themselves in. W-space I fear has been domesticated.

    4. I agree with Poe: the players cause many of the roadblocks. In some cases, it's the rookie players erecting their own boxes which they force themselves to play inside.

      What if the tutorial required new players to ask for help? For example, there was an acceleration gate to get through that could only be activated by two players activating two buttons simultaneously?

      Even earlier than that would be really nice if there was a way that new capsuleers could, for example, leave their quarters and talk to other capsuleers in a social environment, not a PvP environment.

      It would be excellent if part of the opening sequence for the new player was following on from the intro movie: you watch as your character's original body is being euthanised and you emerge from the clone vat in your brand spanking new clone, walk out of the cloning facility into a reception area.

      From this reception area, Aura could be ready to greet you just like the holographic guides on The Citadel in Mass Effect. Nearby will be other players trying to capture your attention.

      Why don't new players talk in local? Why don't new player ask for help in local when they get stuck? Are they simply overwhelmed with Rookie chat? That channel is impossible to get along with: you ask a question and your answer is mixed in with a firehose of commentary. A simple reception area in each school station might be enough to turn the tide: rather than talking to the game, you talk to other people. Make a connection, make some friends, get suckered into the part of EVE that really matters.

    5. Q: "What if the tutorial required new players to ask for help? For example, there was an acceleration gate to get through that could only be activated by two players activating two buttons simultaneously?"

      A: They would be systematically ganked on the other side of the gate.

      You can ask noobs to ask for help, but you can't ask vets to don't fuck them. Just try to answer any random recruitment offer and do exactly whatever they ask you...

    6. @Poetic & Jester - again, you've decided you think you know "why" players are doing what they do based on how YOU play. YOU don't like the PVE? Fine. That gives you no right to speak for or intuition into how the PVE players look at it. PVE in any game isn't "for everyone".

      As one of the players you've decided you "know", you don't know. All the people I played with (because people tend to play with others of like mind - I would hope/assume you know/understand this) as part of the 80 - 90%, we aren't "avoiding" that style of play. Neither are we "missing" or "skipping" it. The real answer is much more simple. We're not INTERESTED in it. There are lots of types of gamers, and especially for Jester, every time CCP makes a change that negatively effects a player's ability to play casually, BY THEMSELVES, in HIGH SEC, and subscriptions start to drop, how can you not put that together, even a little?

      Players are forced into an NPC corp as soon as they pop into space proper. Solo PVE play style is a CHOICE based on interest and THEIR play style. It's not a mistake, we all aren't oblivious, or uninformed, or misinformed. We aren't and won't be interested in herds or PVP, ever. Lots of "experts" claim Eve PVE is terrible. There are thousands of players who do it for hours every day. YOUR opinion on what THEY think of the PVE is irrelevent. Want real answers? Ask THEM what they think of PVE. Again, all the people that I played with that left Eve, didn't leave Eve because the "PVE was terrible" - we'd done it for years and were fine with the grind. We left because of the assholes - primarily in the game, but also the short sighted assholes working at CCP, like Greyscale.

    7. Well, CCP haves plans for PvE which consist of forcing PvErs to use PvP fits. Why? PvPrs told them so. Nullseccers told them so. GD posters told them so. The CSM8 told them so.

      Of course, none of the above have spent three, four or five years running missions, so they don't have a clue on what they are saying, but neither does CCP and yet they're in charge of fixing what's broken with PvE -and so they target PvE fits, of all things.

      What could go wrong?

  9. The problem with EVE is that, for a PVP-centric game, there's little incentive to PVP. PVPing is risky and not a very good source of isk. That's why it's mostly done in cheap ships outside of big Sov wars (and the alliances are paying for them!). Joining a corp is not a benign decision either, as it has been mentioned before. Finding a good corp that actually has something to offer is not easy and then, as a newbie, you're not likely to be accepted anyway. If CCP actually wants to increase that 10% of player, they need to give a reason for people to group-up and play and not rely on blind luck for newbies in their corp choice. And that's saying nothing of the sociopathic behavior of many EVE players...

    1. Maybe make awoxing - shooting players in your own corp - not be the default setting in highsec. The duel thing for "consensual" pvp is a bit strange, too. What they need is a fleet setting that says "PVP among fleet members is allowed without CONCORD penalty". Anyone joining that fleet would get a nice big honking warning about it. That would let corps practive their pvp skills and "friendly" fights without risking more expensive ships - mining, industrial and combat - to scum awoxers who join corps to shit on people.

      A corp roles and permissions rewrite - which it sounds like it's finally going to happen - would also go a long way towards allowing young corps to recruit new players without so much worry that they're wolves in sheep's clothing looking to cause mayhem and rob the corp blind.


    2. I like this idea a lot for practicing PVP. Implementing it this way seems kind of a no-brainer, really. And yeah, time to get rid of the awoxing loophole.

  10. CCP needs to have a Dev run corp that intermittently spams any player less than 45days hold and is an auto accept. It has an auto lock out for blue on blue and anyone caught attmepting to grief within this corp gets an automatic 7 day suspension for any account running on the offending computer and a 100m isk fine for every toon logged onto EVE from that account. Additionally this corp must be immune to wardecs. Finally this corp will have a finite duration based upon toon age after which u must strike out on your own.

    The Devs need to be on 24/7 running missions, mining ops and weekly roams. The Dev's must be committed to making these new players welcome with all the pluses of a well run corp. Use the player base to augment the DEV's by making a reward system for active players within the corp, potentially even promotion within the corp.

    Teach them that group dynamics and what the MMO is all about without the initial EVE sucks, EVE is mean, EVE is full of griefers learning curve that we have today.

    Obviously I havent worked out all the specific details and would need more time and involvement from others with the same goal, but it might just allow us to entice more of the 90% who leave to stay long enough to find a niche and even a HOME.


    1. My husband and I were kicking around ideas along these lines recently, and I think there's potential. When I started EVE, I had a ready-made, newbie-friendly corp full of acquaintances from another social venue. They were the ones who showed me the ropes on fleets, mining, fitting, missioning -- all the stuff newbies need to know but may have difficulty learning unless they luck out with whatever group they run across.

      Obviously, people whose hobby is making life miserable for others will try to find a way to fuck something like this up, but if CCP were willing to put devs and ISD volunteers into this wholeheartedly, they could make it work.

      I think their money would be well spent at least TRYING an initiative like this and then re-examining their new player retention rate six months down the road.

      And in answer to the question about loyalty, I don't think CCP is really in a position to deliberately blow off a big chunk of subscribers. That's not to say they've got to chase every last dime, but writing off people who don't do big social stuff in-game all the time (or even any of the time) would be flushing money down the toilet. I can't imagine they'd seriously consider that.

    2. Boot camp. This is a good idea. Not so much using CCP resources on it, except for policing behavior if needed. ISD could bulk up and do all of the teaching and leadership.

  11. Is there any information on player retention for other MMOs broken down in a similar manner? My guess, based on past experience, would be that other MMOs also struggle to retain so-called "solo" players who do not socialize, and who usually leave after exhausting the game's soloable content because there is nothing else tying them to the game.

    Alternatively, think of it this way. People join EVE for the spaceships and the stories. They stay because of their social circle. Whether that circle runs incursions, shoots structures, or mines is irrelevant.

    The problem is that socializing in EVE has very high costs. The prolific number of recruitment scams inflicted on new players is one of many reasons why most EVE players do not form social bonds and ultimately abandon the game. EVE's mechanics protect and promote theft; simply being in a player corporation puts one at constant risk of being ganked by some new recruit, with absolutely no recourse available. In that regard EVE is unlike almost every other MMO, and very much unlike real life, where we have developed means of punishing antisocial behavior.

  12. When Eve was first created din't they put quite a lot of effort into solo content? Belt ratting, mining, missions, exploration. A lot of it wasn't very good but it was new and carried with it the sense of an expanding world. Sometime after Apocrypha they pretty much stopped. The last was PI I guess.

    Around the time that they stopped providing new solo accessible content it looks like their player growth stopped as well. Coincidence?

    That said most of the solo content isn't very engaging. Which of the solo content would you play as a stand alone web game with no isk reward?

    The rise of Gog and Steam also mean that most people have access to a library of games that they've never played (or remember from their childhood) often getting several for less than the cost of a month's subscription to eve.

    PI ($15/month/recurring) or MoO 2 ($4/once)?

    The original Elite was written in two years by two guys. They didn't have $20 million to blow either. I wonder what the solo play would look like if that had been well spent on Eve by CCP? I find it hard to believe that it wouldn't have bolstered their subscription numbers substantially.

  13. "They don't trade very much... they don't engage in a diverse range of activities... they're leveling up their Raven, basically."

    I would like to know that diverse range of activities in highsec.

    Assumption #1: new player will be oriented towards PvE first, in order to be able to buy skillbooks and ships.
    Assumption #2: new player is smart enough to strive towards the most profitable kind of PvE.
    Assumption #3: said player judges profitability over a long run and tries to avoid uncertainty and boredom.
    Assumption #4: most new players don't have know-how and dedication to build up and utilize capital for profitable trading on a significant scale.

    Question: is there any surprise that new players do what new players do?

    Unless they venture out of highsec (and without being invited to an appropriate corp by a friend that most often that means being podded in lowsec) they are limited missions, half-decent mining and demo-versions of things they technically can do, but for which there is no reason for them to be involved in.

    1. Remember, this is only partially a high-sec vs non-high-sec issue. Rise specifies that these solo players don't engage very much with ANY part of the rest of the world, including trading.

    2. By definition it's a high-sec vs any-other-sec issue.

      New player starts the game in highsec unless he or she is a returning old player or has an in-game friend in other-sec corp.

      For many years I frequented largest (outside of a russian language channel cesspool) russian-speaking channel and had opportunity to see new players come asking questions.

      They all look for a way to fund their first ships and skillbooks, very few resort to selling PLEXes (most are aiming to be consumers of those, actually). Community's cookie-cutter advice for them is to "salvage for a mission runner, train for a mission-fit , don't try to mine because profit sucks and you'll quit in a week".

      0.0 and lowsec recruiters are only interested in new cannon fodder, so those who don't want to get into PvP yet are limited to a one reasonable choise. Most often newbie creates a single-character corp to avoid NPC tax and become completely insulated from any outside interaction. That's it, there is no compelling reason for them to be interested in anything else. Either a habit sets in and you get another mindless carebear flying 5#!t-fit Raven in Caldari space for three years, or they get bored and quit.

      Issue here is that they have only a few reasonable courses of action which leave them in single-character or largely-defunct multiple-player corp and by the time they get their first "real" ship, skills to fly it and ISK to spare, short term instrument (run missions to get stuff) become the goal (run missions to run missions). Don't mine - it's boring. Don't do PI - it's boring and useless in highsec. Don't go through wormholes - you'll die or get lost and die. Don't go to lowsec - you'll die, or it's useless. At the same time those who want pure PvP can get it in F2P WoT. LoL or whatever else. Those who like spaceships are happy to grind for PLEX and spin ship on station or in mission. Few choose to pay for chat channels.

      If it's not clear at this point: Highsec's design as "starter zone" creates a situation in which most newbies are conditioned to think that all those "diverse activities" are useless, and player corporations exist only to scam them, cut into their profits via corp tax or use them as an indentured labor.

  14. "He then implies that CCP doesn't get to keep this group of customers for very long either."

    Odd, I spent five years doing exactly that and only let it lapse once the company started saying to me that what I was doing is BAD!

    "Therefore, if you were CCP with a limited budget to support development of EVE Online, where would you put your resources?"

    I would do exactly what they have been doing for the longest time, pay a little bit of attention to every kind of group, because they know exactly what they stand to gain by maintaining the strategy: what they already have. Changing strategies always carry some risk.

    They always maintained quite the laissez faire, you-do-what-you-want, attitude and while that itself has some problems it was under these conditions that the game thrived and grew.

    But now it is no longer you-do-what-you-want, it is a you-join-a-corporation-and-do-the-social-game-whether-you-want-or-not-because-that's-what's-best-for-you-(-actually-it-is-because-that's-what-we-think-is-best-for-us-) attitude and seen to believe that this shift is entirely positive, not even stopping to consider if showing increasing levels of favoritism could change some fundamental aspect of what allowed the game to grow in the first place.

    Well, in my less cynical days I think I've simply falled ill to IMITRTTPA (it's more interesting to read than to play, anyway), so what do I know, maybe it is better.

    1. Honest question... What kind of attention would you like to get?

      It sounds like you're complaining about messaging, but I'm not sure. What functionally changed for you?

      I admit I don't run missions anymore, myself, because I burned out on it after playing solo for 2 or 3 months, literally leveling up my Raven, albeit badly, so I'm biased here. (At that point, I joined a corporation. It was a shitty one, but it was a group of players. I learned new things about the game as a result.) These days, I've gone back and started an indy alt, which is one of those things that leaves me thinking, "Why didn't I do that way back when?" because it's so much more interesting than any of the self-directed stuff I used to do.

      So really, I'm having an empathy failure here. You're asking for CCP to throw you a bone. What kind of bone are you looking for?

    2. These days, I've gone back and started an indy alt, which is one of those things that leaves me thinking, "Why didn't I do that way back when?" because it's so much more interesting than any of the self-directed stuff I used to do.

      Probably because you did not finish the industry tutorial-which is going away.

    3. "Probably because you did not finish the industry tutorial-which is going away."

      Mostly, I think (I'm not sure; it was more than five years ago, counting the break I took due to busy and bad internet) it was because, when I signed up, I wanted to shoot things. As it turns out, industry also looks like it's a lot easier to get into when you can afford to be useless for a month and have startup capital, too.

      But yeah, it's because the game teaches you how to do industry and leaves you with absolutely no idea what might be interesting about it.

  15. I think you could help keep players around and show them why PvP and joining a player run corp is a good thing. For instance incentivize people to run fleets from NPC corps or prohibit scamming of players by corps that are recruiting from the new player chat room. I don't think either of these things would cause problems for the game but would lead to a softer landing for many players that just never feel like they can trust someone else enough to do something like move into a large corp that might steal all their meager belongings. Maybe we should have some very basic NPC corps that are minimally organized by GMs that are wardeccable but also provide a bit more trust for players that maybe aren't ready to jump in bed with a player run corp.
    I really think there are options to get new players to stick around and see why EVE is amazing, we just need to blow up the cliff a little and maybe bend a few of the 'rules of eve' in the interest of having more players to play with. Imagine the number of players in New Eden if even half of those 50% that leave stuck around.

  16. If you are focusing on socialization in Eve then try giving the capsuleer more value. Currently, the corp or alliance is supreme. Make the corp go to the capsuleer, not visa versa.

    Make the corp or alliance require capsuleers for growth. For example, a capsuleer must General Manage a POS or a POCO. The corp can get a tax but if the capsuleer goes, so goes the POCO. One POS per capsuleer or six POCOs, sounds good.

    Why would a capsuleer, who is immortal, give two hoots about an alliance unless the alliance worked for him/her?

  17. It's bad enough as you outline it, but that doesn't even consider the attrition from the other end - people who actually do go into group activities, but get left behind, driven out, or burned out. Just being unlucky is enough to get you thrown out of the Great Game, sometimes - picking the wrong side in a war, getting gutted by an infiltrator, suffering the abuse of a delusional tyrant, any number of misfortunes can leave a loyal player stuck outside of group play and forced to start all over again from the beginning.

    I've been a subscriber for years, been in low, been in null, and burned myself out. I'm trying to start again from the beginning. Can CCP afford to abandon folks like me?

    1. I burned out on guilds/corps/whatnot in other games because of the same sort of pettiness that you mention. Hence I like to play in my own personal corporation and interacting with other people on my own terms only through various channels. I don't PvP, since I don't feel like doing that. I have done it in other games, but EVE does not manage to get me interested in doing PvP. Right now, if I did get that urge, it would rather be doing real world equivalent (Kendo and so forth) and not in EVE.
      So, what does EVE have for me? Missions, exploration... and that's pretty much it. So far it has been enough, but if they plan on doing part of that away, it might not be the case in the future. I'd rather see they make some improvements to missions (dynamic goals, improved AI to act more unpredictable and challenging, and so on), but if CCP is fine with smaller player base, I just have to accept it and move on to spend my money elsewhere.

  18. Just echoing what others have said. CCP is driving players towards solo play due to the fact that there is so much risk assumed by joining a corp.

    If they want to drive more players into social activities they should limit some of the things that would be prohibited in other games. Scamming, griefing AWOXing, and corp thefts are all things that cause players to limit their contact with other players.

  19. I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with quite a bit implied both in the comments and the post. The way I see it, Eve has two dynamics going on that lead to this retention pattern. First, it has only made itself attractive to people who want to engage socially on a medium- to large-scale. The fact that this is the retained group should come as no surprise.

    But this needn't be the only level of engagement. I'm one of the few, rare Eve players who is actually quite happy playing a nearly solo game (with the usual caveats: not in high sec, multiple accounts, etc, but it's still solo). What I've found are a few avenues where I can engage at a level where I'm quite comfortable: I don't have any real obligations to anyone else and they have no obligations to me but we still pass time together in small to very small groups.

    And so the second thing I'd challenge: it isn't a matter of trust or risk or the like. The problem seems to be that new players are presented with a dichotomy: either join a medium to large group of people to accomplish something equally large or stay solo and accomplish -- well, mostly nothing.

    I don't think the answer lies in building a better solo game. I really don't. Eve in its pure PvE incarnation is... awful. It has always been awful. And yes, other games do it better (or so I've been told).

    Rather, if I had to make a funding or design direction decision, I would look towards finding a way to promote meaningful engagements on the small to solo scale between small to solo operations. This kind of goes back to Jester's claim that small scale PvP is dying as well; I'd argue that it's that scale of interaction that is best able to capture transient new players. Building those small interactions, I would argue, would help CCP keep people engaged in a meaningful way rather than facing the dichotomy of going bit or quitting altogether -- and increasingly I see the niche shrinking. And that worries me.

    1. You haven't said what kind of solo play you engage in but from context, I assume it's solo PvP. Which is fine, because you're interacting with other players. The players that Rise is talking about don't.

  20. First things first, CCP should make it clear to new players that if they want to get the most out of Eve, they're going to need more than one account. There's a problem right there for player retention. Many won't even make it to a year once it becomes clear that they'll need to invest a lot more than they bargained for. Almost none of the famous "player-created content" is available if you've only got 1 account, and that goes for multi-year veterans as well as newbs. That's not a NPE problem per se.

    1. "Come try the game you need to subscribe to twice to enjoy!"

      You make an extremely good and important point...but a lousy marketing slogan. :-)

    2. I know, right? Unfortunately limiting everyone to a single account would decimate the subs. Even if such a thing was possible CCP would never do it. Better to focus on realistic and practical solutions to the problems, whatever those might be.

    3. Right now, the average is probably something close to 2.5 to 3 accounts per player, so CCPs player base are like "super players" that are worth far more a month than a normal MMO subscriber. On top of that, players who plex themselves from inside the game are worth more to CCP than the monthly subscribers, especially ones that plex multiple alts per account. This is why CCP is stupid to play Russian roulette with player choices on game play and long ago should have been addressing things like NPE.

  21. You automatically make the leap that interaction with other players means joining a corp and interacting with other players in the traditional sense. That just isn't true in a universe where the players build and destroy practically everything. Or where a month old player can gank miners. I think the first problem here is that "interaction" is this predefined box of activities.

    Secondly, what gives the new player incentive to join a corp? The answer is well... nothing. If a new player is interested in industry for example, there is no real way to team up with others and do things you can't do alone. You and CCP had a chance to change that with the "teams" thing and honestly you shit the bed on that one. In your defense, most outsiders realize that we have no idea if such a system is technically feasible.

    Last of all, a lot of new players quit because we have a subculture of assholes who try to get them to quit under the guise of "generating content". It isn't an epidemic of assholism but it is bad enough that it deserves mentioning. I still remember a new recruit to my corp, a Marine Corp PFC from Camp Pendleton who was running four accounts mining. After playing for two months, he got ganked by catalysts and two of his exhumers were destroyed. He quit that day and never came back. I literally never heard from the kid again. HTFU you say? Learn to tank a ship? Well, sure, all of that and more. Except this conversation isn't about HTFU, it is about player retention. The best thing about this game is the sandbox. The worst thing about this game is the sandbox.

    1. Sometimes I wish I could just jump forward in time to next year, and see what else CCP dreams up as the "real culprit" that is costing them subs. It must require a considerable effort on their part to continually ignore those who want to fly and build spaceships in a manner inconsistent with CCP's grand design.

      How much investment would it take to keep subs? Probably not nearly as much as they think. I would have settled for a few new missions, and not being told I was worthless to CCP.

  22. OK, I have no time to respond properly. (Going to the pub now, so won't respond properly until tomorrow.)

    But fundamentally, I see some revisionist history going on here.

    CCP and their propagandists keep sarcastically dropping the meme "Eve is dying" whenever anyone like me starts warning that the path they are on is headed to disaster when they screw with high sec.

    So let's assume they are right. Solo PvE, or solo play for that matter, has not changed in years, fundamentally, except the AI changes. And supposedly, Eve had years of growth with that paradigm.

    But now, suddenly, the very same demographics that supposedly supported years of growth, is not working.

    What changed?

    I think we can see the writing on the wall, where the casual player will as welcome in Eve as a Dust player on a console is. But that path is going to be a truly bad decision.

    That being said, if CCP had a brain they would partner with Eve UNI and have visible dev's / employees dedicated to the NPE in the UNI, leading fleets, and teaching, and integrating the UNI wiki into the new player learning methodology, and have every new player start in Eve UNI.

    Further, split the UNI into a non-war deccable very new player (less than 60 days) training corp, and a slightly more advanced UNI corp that could be decc'ed.

    You guys can blame the UNI that I am hear to impart great wisdom and truth upon you. Without them, I would have quit Eve within 3 months.

    1. Calling it now:


      Regards, a Freelancer

    2. I, for one, would not want to join a game just to be dumped into a training corp. I joined up because it was a space game that I could explore at my own pace, and on my own terms. I didn't sign up to feel pressured or forced into belonging to a group.

  23. Eve University has been providing a solution to this problem for 10 years now.

    1. They've been providing a truly fine example, sure, but after all these years it's clear that that the sort of hand-holding and cameradere they offer aren't a solution--or we wouldn't still be having this discussion. I would suggest that we ask why EVE Uni is necessary at all, and why other player organizations can't seem to match it.

  24. So, for the "pve experts", if YOU think pve content in Eve sucks and is boring, good for you, than STFU, quit whining about it and go do something else, or better yet, HTFU or go back to WoW. That's what all the "elite" null crowd suggest to everyone else, right? ;) Point of fact, there is a shitload of PVE and thousands and thousands of players find it more than enough content to continue to play Eve, and more importantly, to PAY to play Eve. Their $15 is worth exactly the same as the "elite" pve hating "experts".

    Where is the VAST MAJORITY of activity going on, EVERY DAY in Eve? Highsec. Where are the most online players? Highsec. Where are the most NPC kills? Highsec. The most PVP/pod kills? High and low sec. Even an F1 pushing null herdling can manage to find the starmap stats, I hope.

    A great many players (far more than play in null, low and WH combined) are content to play in high sec, and while they are not all solo players by far, they certainly don't need to become part of a herd to enjoy their play time. Mining, ratting, exploration, production, research, invention, markets, COSMOS, incursions, WH spelunking, WH living, ALL valid solo play, ALL currently being done solo, and all by people who are enjoying their play, at least initially/for a while. For the people who like pvp adrenaline shakes, or like the security of a herd, or want to carve out a place in null (good luck) or want to go around being a shithead to other players - go ahead. The casual pve players aren't interested in your play style, and likely never will be. "OH, but I started in highsec as a miner and doing missions and hated it, and then started doing pvp and I love it, therefore if it's not pvp it sucks, hyuk hyuk hyuk". Standard mouth breather "logic", but flawed. So you were an adrenaline junky and were playing in a style that was wrong for you. That makes it YOUR fault, not the fault of the PVE content. Take as long as needed to process that. At the same time, people who aren't doing pvp, and never have done pvp, and never will do pvp, THAT'S NOT THEIR STYLE OF PLAY. You don't like to be forced to do PVE, and they don't like to be forced to do PVP. They aren't risk averse, they aren't pussies, they don't have some "problem"(pvpers would be far more apt to have anti-social/psychological/aggression problems), they're just not interested. Are any of you interested in eating a bowl of human shit? No? So, just for a mental exercise, try and relate that to people being completely uninterested in PVP. Wake up. Got that yet? Has it sunk in? I doubt it, but onward.

    So, why do people leave? Boredom? Sure. Without a doubt people leave due to boredom. Even PVPers and the might null crowd leave due to boredom. All the people I met and played with over the years, very few of them left due to boredom. They left because of the assholes. If people want to hang around with assholes, they can do that in real life - but they don't. People don't go to bars where there are a lot of assholes. People don't work where there are a lot of assholes. People don't buy a house or rent an apartment (if they have a choice) where there are a lot of assholes. The only ones that hang out with assholes, are other assholes. So, when you have a bunch of players who are looking for relaxation and a cool spaceship game with pretty graphics, and looking to relax, when they reach their asshole limit, they'll leave. Spammers, thieves, racists, bigots, sexist assholes, scammers, suicide gankers, bumpers, griefers, mission thieves, griefer wardecs, etc. Normal people don't like that shit in real life, and the same normal people don't like that in their leisure activities. The PVE content isn't the problem, the fact that people go for solo/mission play isn't the problem, assholes are the problem. . . .

    1. CCP is fine with racist and bigotry. If they weren't, the term "jewing" (which is used a lot by CCP's favourite player base, the PVPers) would not exist anymore in EVE. Neither would J4LP have the ticker it has.

    2. This should be carved into the skulls of the pvp 1337. Going by the forums, I thought that I was the only one in Eve who actively LOVED doing L4s. And yes, every time I get pissed off and leave (done it a few times already) it's because of the assholes.

    3. +1 to Pointy Sticks.

      Unfortunately, those are CCP's Assholes, as opposed to The Rest.

    4. @Pointy: This isn't about high-sec versus non-high-sec. CCP is fine with players in high-sec... as long as they're involved with other players, with a solid percentage of high-sec players ARE. They're in mining corps, missioning corps, being war-dec'ed, running ops, et cetera. And they're doing that in high-sec. And CCP is fine with that.

      This is about solo versus non-solo, not high-sec versus non-high-sec.

    5. Oh, and just to be clear: CCP seems to even be fine with some solo play, as long as it's solo play that interacts with other players. Solo PvPers, for instance...

    6. It isn't that simple and I can't believe you don't see that - or maybe you do. Rise is talking like solo/solo-pve play is the REASON people are leaving. I don't think it is. This conversation is COMPLETELY about high vs null because where else is the majority of solo pve play going on that is "the cause" for new players leaving? High sec. He's inferring that if they got players into herds and out of PVE, they'd stay.

      So who the hell are they to decide how players should play the game? Fully understanding that it's CCP's game, so they can do any stupid shit they like, but if they don't want people playing solo, why all the solo content INCLUDING solo PVP? If they want more people doing PVP and less PVE, why all the PVE content? Perma-stock all the ships and modules in the market, get rid of all the PVE content and see how long Eve lasts. In the mean time, if they have problems interpreting their numbers (which obviously they do) all they need to do is look at the starmap - like anyone else.

      Also, I don't believe and many other players don't believe, that CCP is fine with players in high sec. If they were ok with it, they wouldn't be nerfing the fuck out of it and handing control of just about every aspect of the game over to a minority of players with big mouths, who think it's a lark to fuck with paying customers.

      All Rise has to do is spin up a little script and send a question to all the accounts that unsubbed over even the last 2 years and ask "Why did you quit Eve?" Next, they all need to stop all the bullshit changes they're planning, and read ALL the answers. Then, when they might have even the smallest part of a clue, they can try it again and maybe luck-in and make some constructive changes the KEEP players, or heaven forbid, even bring players back. Some of us are waiting.

    7. @Pointy Sticks

      I have to jump to the defense of at least some of the PVPers. I consider myself a PVP player and I am in an alliance that does almost exclusively PVP. Our targets are all PVPers themselves or LP farmers (who mostly tend to be nullsec profiteer alts) or the odd unlucky bastard who jumps into us when we are operating an instalock gatecamp. None of our people are actively hunting newbies, harassing people, use racist/sexist language or engage in grief play. Neither have I ever heard anybody talk negatively about people in highsec or solo players.

      That doesn't mean such people do not exist in the game, but I want to point out here that not all dedicated PVPers are like that.

  25. . . .
    So for all the people that play games to relax and have fun, and not to get a chip off our shoulder or because we have some other psychological/mental/emotional issues from real life, we all move on to other games where we can play how we like and have fun doing it, with people who AREN'T assholes. So when we want to play spaceship games that are far more sandbox than theme park Eve will ever be, we can play Starmade, Space Engineers, or a number of other space games where the game is about relaxing and fun, and not about worry about or trying to avoid assholes. There's plenty of PVP in other space games, but it's consensual, and that's the major difference. The fight isn't about armed vs unarmed. For almost every MMO out there, what is the ratio of populations for PVP to PVE servers? Pretty small populations on PVP servers because the majority of players, just like I said, like to relax and have fun doing PVE. Nothing the matter with them any more than there's something the matter with people who like to do PVP. I have PVP toons or do PVP in just about every MMO I play/played - just have no real interest in doing it in Eve. Ever.

    CCP either completely doesn't get this, or they are arrogant and ignoring the reality. They know how many quit and when they quit, but do they know WHY players quit? No. They've never asked, anyone, ever, and certainly not recently. None of my other friends and acquaintances who are ex-Eve players have ever been asked by CCP WHY they quit. I was never asked by them why I unsubbed 10 accounts. Maybe they are arrogant, or maybe they're just lazy. It's easy to claim they left because they were lonely, or they were bored or because they never tried pvp (like PVP is the magic fun button for gaming), or because they were risk averse. It's mostly all bullshit though. There are millions and millions of gamers who like to do PVE content and lots of those gamers who LOVE spaceship games (the huge number of kick started space ship games is evidence of that), but they aren't going to be playing Eve or staying playing Eve, and even with the current ~160k players, the rah rah "eve is hard" bullshit is tired and old, and they're leaving too. PVE players pay $15 just like PVPers do, and PVE players multi box too. PVE players are far more likely to endure the long haul, grind and grind, do the shit that the adrenaline junkies have ZERO interest in, and will be far less likely to join and comment on fora as well as rage like PVPers do, so for the majority, their voices are never heard - they just leave. Real reason most players leave and few people are interested in signing up? Assholes. Simple.

    1. Well said.

    2. CCP has started asking about unsubbing. At least late last year I was asked that, when I unsubbed my second account.

  26. Some of us have played Eve for years, we enjoy playing Eve but we play solo. "Why would you play a MMO when you only play solo it doesn't make sense?" The answer to this is fairly simple the best competition is another player AI can't come close that's the type of interaction that matters. Joining a corp and doing the social thing is fine and to achieve some things in Eve it's necessary but for some of us we might just want to escape the world for a while or maybe we're still in shock from those three fail WOW guilds we were in we play solo for a lot of reasons but we play Eve solo because the competition is other people and that fat guy in his basement will always be a bigger challenge than a line of code.
    This is the type of interaction that needs to be promoted to new players.

  27. I like how community oriented negative experiences isn't brought up at all.

    There isn't a new player friendly corp that can be joined that Monk and Co. can't take a safari alt threw for some quality "content creation"

    "They don't trade very much... they don't engage in a diverse range of activities... they're leveling up their Raven, basically."

    This statement is remarkably dumb, there is a lack of viable pve content for smaller ships they don't really have a choice about "leveling up their raven"

    If they want to get involved in the community and enjoy a diverse experience well incursions are one of the few options they have and because CCP is too lazy and ignorant to make the small sites a viable income for new bros there is no incursion jr community, its battle ships/t3/logi or go home... and for that our new bro is going to need a good half billion isk and millions of sp.

    CCP wants more players to stick around and get involved? Viability for large hi sec corps and alliances and diverse sized multi player content with a low bar for accessibility is a must.

    These players need funds and friends to enjoy roams into low/nul/ect.. and the mechanics of hi sec as they stand today make achieving this luck of the draw.

    Either you lucked out and were in the 5-10% that met the right people or you're everyone else.

  28. Two huge big problems: A: those 80-90 % are hard wired to theme park and have real trouble breaking out of it. B: Eve sucks as pve (be honest except for isk would you go near a mission?) FW helps but it falls far short.

    The solution push pull: make pve solo suck (higher tax's) make being in a corp more beneficial (change war dec) Stick and carrot Stick make it more dangerous to operate without an intel channel (provided by corps) Carrot make it harder to disrupt corp ops with a cloaky camper (fuel/timer either one forced the camper to not be AFK). Easy as pie.

    1. You have no clue about why people play the way they do, and you're fishing for backwards justification of a failing game design.

      You have no idea why the 90% do what they do, and neither does CCP. There is no "hard wired to theme park" - that's stupid. More people like to relax and play a game casually and PVE provides that. The numbers of MMO PVP to PVE plays proves that. YOU don't like Eve PVE and that's all it means. Thousands of people DO like it, and that's what CCP needs to pay attention to, not to people like you. Lots of people are fine and can play games by themselves. They don't need to be part of a herd to feel like a man.

      If they were "wired to theme park", then they are fine in Eve. It's a space theme park. Too many bullshit memes and myths about Eve and that's part of the reason it's tanking too. Before anything can be fixed, CCP and Eve players need to admit that they have no clue what the problem is, then start finding out. All they have to do is ask the players that quit, why they quit. Assholes (and assholes who think they "know" PVE and high sec "suck").

    2. I run missions often, just to pass the time, when I don't feel up to doing PVP. It is like staying at home playing solitaire or watching re-runs of shows you've already seen a dozen times, when you don't feel like dressing up to go out.

      And, no, I don't do it for the ISK. I can easily afford to buy a dozen PLEX each month, with RL cash - so I don't ever need to actually grind ISK.

  29. "Put another way, between 80 and 90 percent of all new EVE subscribers that stay with the game for more than a month (a) avoid playing the game with other EVE players; and (b) many will probably leave the game anyway."

    (b) is utter crap. I've been playing the game solo for over 6 years. And, there are many other high-sec players who have been doing the same. We do mission-running, exploration, mining, hauling, manufacturing, research, invention, PI, trading, put up contracts, run scams, set up POSes, and all of the other solo activities that have been possible in the game.

    Does CCP's statistics take into account that most of us solo players have multiple accounts and our own 1-player corps? My corps has 12 members - all of which are my own toons. Or are they just counting players who belong to the NPC corps?

    1. CCP tracks a ton of shit from every machine, every time a client connects. If you multi box on the same machine, CCP knows it. If you multi box from different machines on the same IP, CCP knows it. If you use VPNs, virtual machines, etc, CCP knows it. It's not paranoia or speculation, I saw a printout of the connection process on a blog link to a bot forum. A ton of shit is reported and no one is fooling the client, the server or CCP about what machine is connecting and where it's connecting from.

      I also agree with your assessment that (b) is bullshit. It's a guess because CCP is too lazy or too arrogant to ask.

    2. @Pointy - I don't multi-box (I use different computers for my PVP accounts and my non-PVP accounts - due to graphics cards) and I've replaced my computers and changed my IP address (due to relocation and different ISPs) several times over the years. And, for 2 years, while sharing an apartment, my brother was using my computers to play EVE, on his own accounts, before switching to his own computer. I also bought two of my toons from another player.

      Tell me exactly how CCP is going to interpret that data, with only connection data? It is meaningless over the long term.

    3. @Anon2038: Rise says right in the presentation that you're an exception; he says twice right in the presentation that *most* players like yourself leave the game after relatively short stays. But he certainly doesn't say *all* do.

  30. The obvious question is what is the scope of the statistics he's pulled out here? Is this a study of behavior from the last year? 3 years? 5? since launch? Has this pattern changed at all with respect during the different parts of EVE's life cycle (during EVE's constant growth vs its current stagnation, ect)?

    If I had to hazard a guess, CCP probably never tracked data like this back when EVE was growing, because, it was growing(!) and it wasn't seen as a huge issue then.

    Another question is.. how many players that have stuck around for more than I dunno, 2 years say, are still playing the game in groups and how many play it solo/very small groups? Its also this last group, of which I was part of, that CCP should keep in mind when designing for the game. That may be selfish on my part, but I know I'm not alone in that group, not by a long shot.

    1. Excellent question, Darkwater. And I wish I could answer it. I will simply point to Rise's assertion that "We have a lot of data on this." I assure you he isn't lying.

  31. I'm sorry, but the population demographics don't support Rise's argument at all.

    If the highest long-term retention rate was really in the 10-20% "group" category, then, over 10+ years, the demographics would have swung more heavily, percentage-wise, to null-sec, where the largest concentration of such groups exist (there are very few solo players in null). This is not the case.

    Rise's numbers actually prove that high-sec solo players do dominate the game, and that the minority null-sec players are simply better organized and make more noise.

    So, do you want to keep your 80-90% relatively low-key, low-demand, long-term, deep-pocket, solo & casual players, who rarely feel the incentive to move to another game (unless forced out by bad game mechanics such as increasing non-consensual PVP) or do you want to cater to your 10-20% ADD-afflicted, always complaining, PVP players, who have a wandering eye for the next cool PVP game?


    1. Since we are talking data, CSM election turnout is another indicator that the majority of the active PLAYERS, not accounts, have nothing to do with null.

      The reasoning goes like this:
      - Roughly 15% of accounts vote, comprising players of all spectrum of the game.
      - The majority of the players in null vote, and the majority of those vote with all their accounts.
      - Thus the majority of accounts from players that do engage in nullsec gameplay are confined within that 15% mark.

      Yes, I realize this can only be an approximation. There are outliers.

    2. I have to say that CCP does seem to cater to the 20% part of the player base, simply because they are better organized at complaining.

      CCP did a 180 during the Summer of Rage because a number of players were vocally threatening, on the forums, to unsub. It was a relatively small number of players, but concentrated in one forum thread. And, the null-sec focus of many recent expansions also shows a tendency for CCP to respond only to the squeeky wheel of an organized minority of players.

      Unfortunately for CCP, I think that the majority of players won't give them the courtesy of advanced notice by threatening to quit playing - they will most likely just quit, when their subs run out, and leave, without complaint or comment.

      If Rise's numbers are anywhere near correct, then we'll probably see a gradual, but substantial, drop in subs, beginning in June, as the casual solo players let their multiple accounts expire.

      I think Jester predicted less than 5% unsubs, but I think we could see this ramp up to 25%, and beyond, rather quickly (within 6 months). I wonder what CCP will do if this happens?

    3. Every game change seems to have its share of "change this, and I quit!" threats and comments. But they actually have to stop playing, for it to "count." CCP definitely noticed SOMETHING happening during the Summer of Rage, as you state.

      Most of the changes that draw complaints are tied up with percentages of this and that, numbers in a spreadsheet which are very easy to change, if CCP notices a highsec apocalypse (e.g., nobody there.)

  32. i played eve for 4 years with multiple accounts as a solo player. right now im playing another mmo and the thing i noticed is i can roam anywhere i want on the maps, do anything i want and other players dont gank me. they leave me the hell alone.you cant say that about eve. oh if i wanted pvp all i would have to do is go to the maps that have pvp. but i choose not to. this is what eve lacks completely. from the minute u leave a noob school system you are shark bait. why? cuz thats the game so htfu? from a solo players point of view this is what sucks about eve. you dont have any place you can go and do things where you are not under threat of being prey for some jackass. eve would be a hell of a lot better if there were whole regions of space you could wander, explore, mine, probe, and do what ever you wanted without being attacked by someone else. where you could put up your own stations, wander around and discover new secrets in hidden corners of space, maybe find unique items in an random asteroid by mining it, in other words having fun with game content. if you wanted combat, conquest, your major lag filled battles then go to the regions where that is allowed. as a solo player this is why i quit eve, cuz ccp doesnt really want us in game. they may say they do but the eve reality states NO this is not true. enjoy the game.

    1. Have you ever explored the map in Singularity? It's a whole different game.

    2. yep ive hundreds of hours in sisi. in fact i liked it better than tranquility. if ccp opened sisi or a like server to just content play it would be fun to play eve again.

    3. There was talk of making the test server more accessible to people who aren't comfortable with digging into folders and files, with a setup option on the Launcher.

      If you are happy on the test server, far away from the designated test systems, then you have proved independent of MMO social pressures, and "high scores" like isk or collecting virtual items don't matter to you.

      But this type of player is the 1% of the 1%, lol.

      Quoting Jester from further down: "EVE is a bit like Tetris that keeps track of your lifetime Tetris score. Even those people sooner or later look for someone to brag to about their lifetime Tetris score."

  33. Because nobody seems to mention it, and because I'm in the middle of yet another trial (I do this every three months or so - someday I'll be a 'real' player), I'd like to point out what the new player experiences.

    You get this great movie. Then you build a character. OK, nothing new there. There's no real clues how this matters (and as experienced players know it doesn't anymore), but you pick your race and your subgroup. Take a lot of time to get your character appearance just so, with clothes and such. And then you start. But first...

    For the next 30 days - and the rest of the game - that appearance work meant nothing. Nobody sees anything but your profile pic. So the expectations that this mattered get shot down. You never have an opportunity to change unless you pay for it - and it still boils down to changing your ID picture. So much for that unsatisfied expectation. But the game is space ships, so we're off.

    The very first thing you get is a tutorial that teaches you how to fly and lets you get your first ship. Then that tutorial sends you off to the next batch of tutorials. Most people are conditioned to follow instruction assuming they're getting something useful. And whether they do one or all five of the career tutorials they'll learn things. And just as exciting they GET STUFF. skill books, a couple implants, some ships, some ship equipment... If you do them all you end up with 6 to 7 million ISK, most of the frigates of your race, two basic industrials, and a destroyer. And every one of the tutorials ends with "You're pretty good. There's things out there - go to the Sisters of Eve because they really need you."

    Pause. The tutorials are great, and it only takes about 20-24 hours to crank through them all. But whether you rushed or dawdled they get repetitive. By the end of them you're beginning to burn out. And now they're sending you to yet another PVE, of which the first mission is, oh dear, a repeat of the concept of at least two of your career tutorials.

    Eventually, maybe, you get sidetracked out of missions. But you're trained early and it's hard to break.

    I know it's out of order, but there's something done in the first few days that is simultaneously great and yet it reinforces this direction. That's the fact you get a personal chat with a GM. They ask how you're doing, try to find out any problems you have in playing. They mention (it seems to be one of the talking points) that you should look at a corporation while carefully not mentioning any. And they spend a lot more time reminding you to finish the tutorials and Sisters of Eve for money and goods and practical basic experience. Once more - mention PVP but shove to PVE.

    I'm not pushing a fix because I don't have one, I just note that this is the format of the problem. The first 30 to 40 hours of track is PVE. If you skip it you lose out on a lot of things - and you get the disjointed feeling of not following the script. But if you follow it, by the end you're BORED.

    Do not tell me "they should just join a corp". You're right, but it's not how the pipe is laid down. And face it, how do you lay pipe long enough for newbies to learn some of the basics of how to find a decent corp that's not just getting them in to rip them off or 'have a little fun'?

    At least the problem is recognized. Maybe solutions that increase retention can be found.

    1. For the solo player, "just join a corp" means trusting some of those pilots talking in Local, something any forum warrior will gladly tell you is foolish.

  34. One thing I took away from FF 2014 is that CCP is concerned about New Player retention - this session being the (recorded) tip of the iceberg. Pointy Sticks is not completely wrong - some (or maybe many - he doesn't have hard numbers either) people quit because of asshattery, but at the same time others quit because they never got the social connection necessary to thrive in CCP (I know that I almost did). Social connection doesn't mean that you have to be in a corp, but at least talk and interact with other people on a regular basis (for example I am in a number of chat channels with people who are technically hostile to me).

    The intended change to the tutorials could change that: instead of providing a series of hand-holding missions, tutorials could be context driven, encourage them to find their own way. Just think of how good FPS train their players: as you play through the starting level, information pops up when it's useful. This kind of context tutorial is more difficult in an MMO like EVE, but worth the effort.

    And where I'd put the resources? That's a rhetorical question. Of course some amount must be spent on the 80-90%, trying to separate those who really don't like EVE from those who just didn't find the right connection, because without growth in the player base, any game will be unprofitable over the long run.

    1. First, you have to realize Rise provided no numbers either. He's GUESSING at why people leave. All they ever had to do was ask - they didn't. He's going to make policy-safe, current-Eve-mind-think-safe assumptions on why people are leaving and try to pass it off as hard data. It isn't. I DID ask other ex-Eve players that I used to and still do play with, as well as the other gamers I've met and we play with over almost two decades. They all have the same response. Too many assholes. All the assholes are what CCP and Eve players think is "cool" about Eve, but it's going to be the thing that buries it, along with CCPs lack of foresight.

  35. Well, all that Rise's numbers say is that:

    a) 50% of the new player leave
    b) 80% of those who stay are solo players
    c) 20% of those who stay are group players

    There are no numbers to support his claim that the 20% group players are more likely to stay than the 80% solo players. This is groundless speculation on his part. It is just as likely that the 50% who left the game, joined a null-sec corp, tried PVP, hated it and left - which would mean that EVE PVE is better than EVE PVP (but, we already all knew that, didn't we? TiDi sucks big time.)

    Now, other people here are speculating that "solo" means "PVE only". And, this isn't true. There are also many players who enjoy solo PVP, in both high- and low-sec.

    Note: I also see no numbers from Rise to indicate that more PVP occurs in null than in high or low-sec. Large fleet fights are rather rare, and null sec players are much more inclined to run away when outnumbered rather than fight (Jester's posts prove that conclusively). I'm inclined to think more PVP occurs in high- and low-sec.

    So, the only real conclusion from the numbers is that solo players are most likely to be the largest part of the EVE player base, whether they are doing PVP or PVE.

    Too bad that CCP seems hell-bent on getting rid of them.

    1. exactly. Lots of solo PVPers out there too, and as for PVP stats, all you have to do is look at the stats on the starmap. Constant, daily huge blooms in low and high sec when you display player ship and pod kills. Consistently just about nothing when you look at null sec areas. Null sec gets all the press attention from the rare big fight, and CCP gives them their ear because they have big mouths. PVP is nothing in null compared to low and high sec.

    2. @Anon: there's nothing to say that the 80% tend to leave the game... except for the fact that Rise *says it*. Right in the presentation. *Twice.* Go watch it, starting at 17:00.

    3. @Jester - Rise says it, because he believes it. But, he admittedly doesn't have any hard evidence to back him up. Go ask him.

  36. I'm a new player and I'm not interested in joining a corp.

    Everything I hear and read about EVE says that you can't trust anyone, and there is no "better business bureau" to tell me which corps are honest and which ones are not. And, even big corps/alliances have been screwed over by players in high positions that they trusted for years - plenty of stories about that, too.

    I even put in an application for a Goon corp, and the recruiter told me that I needed to give him a deposit, which could be in the form of contracting my assets to him. I had read about this scam on the player blogs, so I didn't fall for it.

    But, how does CCP expect to build up a universe of social group play, when trust is deliberately NOT a part of this game?

    1. Your corp can't steal anything from you unless you give it to them. I'm not sure where this fear comes from. I suppose you could get AWOX'd, but that's different.

      EVE is a game that requires effort. That's OK. Part of that effort is doing some reading about different corps that are well-respected and share your interests.

    2. @Anon1228 - join the Goons and we'll show you how its done. :)

  37. I think there is an assumption that the 40% would be retained if they were led to the more social aspects of the game. I can't help but to wonder what fraction of the 40% realize that EVE is a social game and leave because they are intimidated by that fact.

    Its why I left AGONY and two largish null sec alliances and finally let my subscription lapse when Elder Scrolls went live.

    If CCPs assumption is wrong, the lower bubble will get larger.

    1. Another bullshit Eve meme. A myth. Eve isn't a social game any more or less than any other mmo out there. If you want to be part of a herd, you can be. If you don't, there's tons of game content to deal with solo. People play their entire Eve lives solo, and they're fine. That doesn't make them loners, or anti-social, that just means it's THEIR monthly subscription and THEY decide how to spend their time instead of being told where to fly, what to fly in an when to show up to "have fun". Obviously, there are other corp options that are more relaxed but the big player/CCP push is that everyone should somehow want to be an F1 pushing mouth breather in the big blue doughnut.

      Nice thing about playing solo or with a select small group of friends, is less exposure to the asshole contingent in Eve. You want social? You can have it if you want, but Eve works just fine for thousands of players without the social aspect. I cvan be "social on Vent/TS with other friends playing WoW or WoT or MC while I play Eve. No doubt millions of gamers all over the world do exactly the same kind of thing, every day, and especially in Eve.

    2. Couldn't disagree with you more, Pointy. Sorry about that. EVE is entirely driven by its social structure. Entirely. To the point where there's almost nothing else.

      Hell, I've joked that for single-player missioners, EVE is a bit like Tetris that keeps track of your lifetime Tetris score. Even those people sooner or later look for someone to brag to about their lifetime Tetris score.

    3. Maybe you can play with a personal definition of "social' that fits any particular person's assessment of how a person "should play Eve", but Eve is absolutely no different than any other MMO. Sure, you're plying in an environment with thousands of other players, and those players are in chat and buy your shit from the market and you buy their shit. They're flying around and so are you. You might end up in the same system, belt or anomaly mining or ratting as someone else doing the same thing. If that's "social" fine. You don't need to talk to a single player anywhere in the game to play Eve. Lots of solo players I know didn't even have a chat open, ever. So you can disagree all you like, but it's completely possible to play the game without saying a word to another player, without "socializing" at all, just like any other MMO. If you don't understand that, or don't accept that, it has absolutely no effect on the reality of that play style. Based on your opinion of things, and the way you play, I could understand your lack of understanding and acceptance of that solo style.

      Do/can Eve players have an effect on the other Eve players. Yup, they sure can, but a player still doesn't have to "socialize" with a single one of them. Does an Eve player need to read any blogs to play Eve? Nope. Do they need to join, read or post on any of the number of shit-show fora about Eve, to play Eve? Nope. How about Twitter, Vent, Teamspeak, Mumble? Nope to all. Casual and/or solo/PVE players don't need any of that shit to play Eve, never did and never will. They have a life, and friends in real life to talk to, so they log in and fly a spaceship for a while in relaxing solitude, and then log out. Lots of elitists question how anyone can play Eve without socializing or paying attention to the meta game, but thousands of people do it every day. They're PLAYING a game for FUN. Socializing isn't a prerequisite to play Eve. You quite likely can wrap your head around that either, based on your desire/need to raise your personal "visibility" not only with this blog (which is still great, don't get me wrong) and even higher by running for CSM, and your and many other players' (still the minority though) awareness of the meta game. In the end, I played with lots of people who did nothing more than log in, fly ships and log out, and they were happy and successful. Socializing is optional.

      Additionally, maybe you and other players find a need for some level of e-fame or comparing e-penises, but again, that isn't everyone's play style and not everyone has a burning desire to "prove themselves" in some obscure video game and try to win the internet. So no, not everyone needs to brag about their internet scores, and no one needs to socialize to not brag about things they find unimportant.

    4. Jester, you are just as insulated in your bubble as Pointy is in his. So, amusingly, you both seem to have something in common in that you both elected to believe that the facet you see is all there is to be about the game.

    5. Far from insulated. I've done my share of PVP, corp, alliance, and fleet time. I do PVP in just about every game I'm in, but in Eve, I have no real interest in it. I'm not sure why, but I just don't. I would still be interested in playing Eve, but not the way it is right now. I played predominantly in the style that is supposedly killing Eve for hours every day, and I played with people just like me, so I know what all kinds of solo PVE is like. Jester doesn't, and certainly not every day in high sec, nor do many others in this thread, based on their comments. Players of that high sec style know why they left Eve. Jester doesn't, Rise doesn't, CCP definitely doesn't, but no one is asking and no one is listening. They don't want to hear an answer that is different from their myths, even though they don't know the mind set that prefers to play solo PVE in high sec. If that isn't your exclusive play style, then, you really have no clue.

      Having been a mod/GM in other games, as a commercial enterprise, CCP is pretty shitty at bringing in and keeping new business. If they could bring in and keep players, it'd be more fun and more business for everyone. Eve is stagnant or slowly dying (look at the dailies) and of all the people I've tried to goad/coerce/persuade to play Eve, none of them were interested because of all the perceived assholes. Whether Eve is actually as bad as they think it is, is irrelevant. Perception is reality, and reality is they didn't play. Same thing with all the people I played with that quit, like me. #1 reason was the asshole contingent.

      For any kind of leisure activity, people are not going to pay for it if they aren't having fun, or THINK they won't have fun. I don't know at what point a new player isn't a new player anymore, but apparently they're losing 90$ of them. For CCP that's nothing new and apparently they're concerned. For people who are madly in love with Eve and want to continue playing it, they should be concerned too. People need to put on their big-boy pants at look at Eve as the commercial enterprise it is. While there are a myriad of problems that contribute to the NPE problem as well as older players, I believe the biggest one is the asshole problem. Focus on any other aspect, meme, myth or real issue is going to be a wasted effort at worst, and change the attrition to a slow bleed instead of a gusher at best. Until the foundation problem is addresses, the rest is just paint over rot.

  38. Incentivize retention! Pay players (ISK) to mentor newbs and offer retention bonuses (PLEX) for those that stay. Appeal to some of our larger egos and give the most successful mentors an in-game tag (the icon that shows up in the overview, and maybe a special color for their names in chat) and embed those tags into whatever the NPE program turns into. Its a strategy that's consistent with CCPs goal of enabling the content creators.

    1. I was going to suggest something similar too. A modification to the Buddy Invite system where CCP gives both players a reward for certain milestones (similar to "achievements" in other games):
      • Convert from trial to subscription (e.g.: a custom ship skin)
      • Rookie's first PvP kill (e.g.: special sunglasses or t-shirt for the avatar)
      • Custom Orca skin for 50 hours of mining in the same fleet as the rookie (rookie might get a custom venture skin, for example)
      • Rookie and mentor fleet together for two hours a week for three months (e.g.: the PLEX reward)

      The idea would be that there are specific rewards tuned towards particular styles of play, thus the new player and their mentor are encouraged to explore all that EVE has to offer.

      I'd love to hear what the exit interviews from the subscribe-for-a-month-and-quit folks are about. If they're looking for PvE and find EVE's PvE boring, why? Is it the limited number of missions, the learn-it-once-recite-forever style of the missions, or the fact that you're not looking at ships, you're looking at little red crosses in space?

      It's worth noting that in most fantasy MMOs, combat takes place at "whites of their eyes" range: you're either within a few dozen metres to shoot them with arrows or rifles, or face to face smashing them with swords, wrenches, or whatever. In EVE, combat takes place at such long ranges that the enemy ships rarely render more than a few pixels.

      EVE is a more cerebral game than fantasy MMOs like WoW or Elder Scrolls. What if this cerebral nature is what drives people out in the droves? Do I want CCP take any action to appeal to the people who just want to press buttons and watch their enemies explode? Absolutely not! I wouldn't mind CCP taking action to let me see my enemies explode, but those explosions should be earned!

    2. That's fine in theory, but it amounts to CCP paying players to play their game. You can rationalize it down to "well it'll only be a very few accounts they'd have to give ISK/PLEX to", but it's pretty obvious that CCP will never do it. They're already hurting for income. The only time they offer big subscription cuts and bonuses is when they're hurting for cash. Even while PLEX is up to $20 now, subscriptions can be cut up to 30%. They do that when they need subscribers. The fact that you can spend up to $60 PER ACCOUNT now in subscriptions for the "bonus" of ghost training the other toons shows they need more cash. CCP isn't going to be giving anything away when they obviously need the cash and subscriptions, DUST is tanking, WoD may or may not be still born, and they've got a new time sink and money pit to take resources away from Eve in the form of Valkyrie. What could have been done with the money they pissed up against the wall on that stupid stone penis of Hilmar's? There's the priority.

    3. Sorry Pointy, your missing the, erm.... point. It doesn't have to be PLEX, it could be LP or an additional amount of ISK or exclusive skins or ...? The... umm ... point is to share the wealth a little and reward customers that help CCPs bottom line.

    4. Don't get me wrong, I understand what you were saying and didn't just limit the thought process to PLEX - it was just the clearest example. Regardless of what it is, I don't think CCP would ever do it, especially when there are any number of corps already doing that for free. CCP likes to be lazy and let clever and motivated players pick up the slack on all the things CCP should be doing. Players are doing more on a daily basis to enhance CCP's bottom line than they are, and that isn't going to change any time soon. If CCP was so concerned about keeping customers, they'd be running a lot of shit differently, and not just the NPE.

  39. This doesn't tell us much. Not really. What's the trend with other MMOs? Eve isn't competing for those players in a vacuum. If other MMO makers drop a similar image, what does it look like?

    I've no doubt CCP could do better, and that chart looks pretty damning, but they could be well ahead of everyone else in the market. It only looks broken because we've got nothing to compare it to.

    So far as I know, CCP is the only company that will actually tell people any sort of numbers about this stuff. We know player counts from elsewhere, and that's about it.

    As for where I'd spend the money? I'd spend it on bridging activities. What I mean by that is I'd revamp the mission system from start to finish to work more on "Quest Chains". Chains 10 or so missions long with 2-3 optionals that need a small gang to complete. You can run through and do all 10 in a row solo, but the larger rewards are on the optionals, and for that you need to interact with other players. These are not designed to be full fledged PvE themeparks, just missions setup only with the goal of nudging players to a more social playstyle.

    It's something other MMOs do very well with Named mobs and things, which Eve doesn't even try to do.

    1. You've got it ass backwards. CCP is one of the gaming company that likes to say as little as possible about their game, not the opposite. They will allow API pulls about player numbers while they can somehow spin it as positive, and then they will shut that down too. They spin account numbers and let people assume that those are individual people - but they aren't. CCP was specifically mentioned by MMO data as one of the companies that doesn't like to tell anyone anything. The real numbers are pretty disappointing compared to CCP's spin.

      In the end, you need to go out and spend a little time looking at the scores and scores of other MMOs. There's a lot of shit going on out there and CCP is seriously sucking the hind tit. I kickstarted Star Citizen and while I am wondering that it doesn't get to big for its britches before it launches, there are also a couple simple betas like Starmade and Space Engineers, and maybe even Kerbals (haven't tried it) that allow people to play Eve without all the problems and broken shit, and definitely without the assholes.

      In the end, his little graph really didn't say much because like so many times before, they have a bunch of numbers, and couldn't be bothered to actually find out what they mean. When unsubbed accounts for the last couple years get a questionnaire in their email asking why they unsubbed, THEN we will see that they are starting to get their heads out of their asses. They're heading for disaster right now.

  40. What I don't get, and this may seem stupid to everyone else.. but bear with me for a moment...

    Why is hi-sec, with all the infrastructure, and then some... getting the shaft on industry? Sure, null may be brimming with rare goods, but, to take a real world example - african diamond mines - the people working them aren't rich. They're not cutting the gems there and shipping them.. they're sending uncut stones to the major urban population centers, where they're cut and sold for thousands of times what the miners get.

    So suddenly, the UN, for example, decides to tell DeBeers that they have to earn 50% less, because it's not fair to the miners, and the miners, instead are going to be given the difference in the interest of 'making african diamond mining more interesting, so more people will do it'

    But that's not good enough. Instead of 'just' DeBeers, the UN also mandates that vinnie's pizza on 4th and broadway has to cut their profits too... because there's a dude in zimbabwe that decided to sling pies and he needs it to be fair, because he lives in a shitty location where someone could shoot him in the face, burn down his hut and steal his pizza oven. Because he's choosing to take a greater risk, by putting himself in danger, it's required that he should have a greater reward at the expense of the people who choose 'not' to take a risk, that from a business standpoint (and a personal one) is utterly stupid.

    CCP forced balance fail - you're attempting to legislate human nature, and the nature of industry itself to an artificially impossible criteria. Urban centers are where risk is minimized, and profit is maximized. To attempt to gimp urban centers and boost rural areas without the rural areas having some means to actually build into urban centers themselves is foolish on its face... utter idiocy.

    Economics doesn't work that way. Where people build profit, they build means and measures to protect said profit, and those things form infrastructure, and infrastructure improvements allow for GREATER profit... not lesser.

    Gutting the empires to fund the nullsec barons is utterly ridiculous. Gutting highsec industrialists to make it 'fair' to the Zimbabwean pizzamaker - utterly stupid.

    1. I actually think industry is a pre-req for a bunch of changes.

      Lets say, I'm a designer and I want to change how Sov works. A bunch of changes that seem like a good idea will be completely circumvented by jump bridges, titan bridging, jump freighters etc.
      Well, lets nerf them. Unfortunately, that rather screws the people who are living on the edge of nullsec, who rely on the weekly jump freighter run.

      So we need to make it possible for the people in the far corners of nullsec to be self-sufficient before we can screw with the jump system too much.

      And *that* is why I think CCP is currently revamping the nullsec industry thing.

    2. Debeers works well for an example of the dismantling of OTEC. Doesn't really work as an example of industry changes.

      Debeers got slapped down for a whole lot of reasons. And the example you site of labor conditions didn't even crack the top 10. The UN was a bit more concerned with the economic impact their monopoly had on developing industries that require diamonds, price fixing, and war crimes.

      I'm not sure what real world example you could use for a company to illustrate the industry changes, but Debeers sure ain't it.

    3. You're trying to connect two things that even I don't think are connected.

      The industry changes are pretty clearly aimed at buffing non-high-sec industry with an eye toward getting more players involved in it instead of what it is now, a money-making endeavor for a relatively low number of players. I agree with you that high-sec industry is getting nerfed a bit but not to the point where it's the end of the world or it's going to drive *future* player dynamics.

    4. "... high-sec industry is getting nerfed a bit but not to the point where it's the end of the world... "

      Depends on how you define "end of the world". If CCP considers a 10-20% drop in subs to be insignificant, they, yes, you are correct. If the drop in subs is likely to result in layoffs, or the cancellation of more CCP projects, then, no, you are not correct.

      In any case, the changes are certainly NOT going to result in an increase in subs....

  41. I find it somewhat worrying that CCP thinks there is a "right" way to play a sandbox game. Of of course I can see why they see it that way: Non-solo players lead to entropy in the system, which sooner or later culminates in drama. And as we all know, drama drives subscription rates.

    I mean, I chose for myself to stay in highsec. I could easily join a renter-alliance, but why should I? I would have to communicate with the very carebears I'm sucessfully avoiding right now. And I prefer being called a dirty highsec-carebear to my brain melting from the sheer stupidity confined in such corps.

    Incursions, on the other hand, the only really group-focussed PvE-activity, have pretty much devolved into a faction battleship circlejerk with the internal competition who is the biggest dick to other players (there are some truly despicable individuals in the incursion community). No, thanks.

    Industry I have tried, but gave up. Managing multiple accounts with just one screen is a hassle.

    0.01-ISK Jita market PvP gave me a headache. Literally.

    I have PvP'd a few times as well, but never felt the urge to really get invested in it. But as my last shipkill is nearly 800 days ago, I might want to dust off my Alphanado and gank something away.

    Maybe CCP should instead just ... you know ... fix PvE? WTB group-based cruiser-sized PvE that doesn't devolve into a T3 circus.

    1. Nope. CCP doesn't seem to care which "rich experience" that you go for, as long as you go for one of them. Rise explicitly states that the group of EVE players that tend to leave only engage in one activity to the point where they barely even trade with other EVE players.

  42. I've been a customer for 8 years (how time flies) and CCP has done a lot of things to irritate me over the years, but never quite got to the point where I'd want to quit.

    But, I'm finally there now. One account ran out this week, and the rest will flatline over the next couple of months.

    And, no, you can't have my stuff. I'm cashing out... legitimately. I'll leave it to you guys to figure out how.

    Thanks, Jester, enjoyed your blog. o7

  43. eve is not wow in space.
    no need for it to be.

    other than that, i think it is one of the most solo.friendly mmo's out there. solo != missioning for the sake of missioning.

    ccp shouldn't be lusting for a playerbase for which this game is not made, and concentrate on the playerbase that is willing to play this game.

    1. I can't help but wonder if, by focusing the game down to PvP, CCP isn't repeating exactly Blizzard's mistake with WoW. (Where they focused the game on raiding)

      If you want to play a pure PvP game, go play LoL or Counterstrike or some other decently built PvP game. Eve is advertised as a 'sandbox', which recently has started to mean "It's all PvP on my terms".

    2. Actually, that's exactly what Eve is. Regardless of the hype and spin, Eve is no different than any other open world MMO. It's WoW in space. It sure as hell isn't the sandbox that Eve players like to parrot. I am pretty sure that the vast majority of Eve players have exactly zero idea what a real sandbox actually is. let alone ever played in one, and they sure as hell have no clue what a sandbox game is. I also know that a lot of the pvp/herd animals wouldn't be in Eve if it actually WAS a sandbox because in a sandbox, no one is leading you around, there is no mechanic that provides game content and goals for you, YOU do it for yourself. That's what a sandbox is. PLAYER CREATED CONTENT. The only player created content in Eve, the only even marginally sandbox part of Eve is the novel ways some players come up with to fuck other paying customers around. Aside from that, it's definitely open world where you can go anywhere you like, within reason, and start doing missions for any faction, or any NPC corp, but then you get in themepark mode as you start to grind with the rep mechanic. None of that is sandbox. It's got a little bit of zoo mechanic when you go do exploring, or scan sites, or wormhole diving, but then you follow the mechanic and clean shit out, steep by step. That's not sandbox. PVP, industry, invention, even setting up your own POS, or claiming territory. No different than the other MMOs where you can claim forts, buildings, or territory in other MMOs. How you do it might be a little different than the next gamer, but that's emergent game play - using the mechanic a little differently than the devs imagined. That's not sandbox.

      Space games like Starmade and Space Engineers ARE sandbox. You have the game mechanics and the building blocks, and that's it. You build your own game content from there. You build your ships in the design and style YOU want, the colours you want, any size, any role, any armament you want. You build your own base or station where you want, the size you want, mobile or stationary. For people that DO like sandboxes, those games and others like them are hella fun. Most people are not sandbox gamers though. I would bet the vast majority of Eve players are not snadbox gamers. No one is going to hold your hand and give you a cookie cutter ship with min/max fits and tell you where to be and what to fly and jump you to a certain place at a certain time. If you don't build it, it doesn't exist. just tons of open space with shit in it to use, and the materials to build what you want or need. There's also all the PVP you want, IF you want it, and no assholes. And yeah, PVP in Eve has a shit load of mechanics that makes it no different than PVP in any/every other MMO out there, and that isn't sandbox either.

      Eve is far from the solo-friendliest game out there, both in mechanics and also the attitude of other players and CCP. CCP and the players need to ease up on the hype, acknowledge what Eve actually is, and then fix the problems. Pretending and parroting that Eve is something it isn't just leads everyone down a dead end that isn't connected to any kind of reality about the game, or reality about the future prospects of Eve. Honestly though, it's almost as if the CCP upper echelon is tired of it, and looking for a way to bail that they might be able to pin on a bullshit spin like "Eve failed because of the way the players used the sandbox" instead of primarily CCPs stupid fucking ideas, oh yeah, and continuing to give that moron Greyscale a paycheck. ;)

  44. Jester, if you have any pull left with CCP, I would suggest you take the 80 some odd replies here, and jam them in the face of some high level decision-making exec. Let the exec figure out what is valid and what is not.

    If CCP management has an ounce of brains, they would be reading blogs like yours, and then thinking real hard on the next steps they take with Eve's direction.

    More and more, I am believing that goons are guiding CCP down this path of destruction, just so they can say "see, we actually were able to wreck a 100 million dollar company."

    1. I know for a fact that some of the devs read my stuff obsessively. And then they read the comments even more obsessively.

    2. "And then they read the comments even more obsessively."

      And, just like on the forums, they subsequently ignore everything they read which disagrees with their pre-established point-of-view....

  45. I suspect it's not so much the social experience itself that's helping with the retention rates; it's having a clearly defined goal and a progression path that does. Absent that, you get a bunch of new players coming out of largely mission-based NPE that have no idea what to do next. Any wonder that they run the much touted SoE arc, level their Ravens for a bit as they would in any other mainstream MMO, then quit? Bonus points if the Ravens get ganked, erasing - in new player's eyes - weeks of progress.

  46. If you see these numbers, the first question should be "What can we do to keep more people in the game?" and not "What can we do to force the majority of this newbros to the way we want to play them?".

    You remember, Eve is a sandbox. Or at least it should be. There should be no wrong or right way to play the game. You can force the players in one direction that is the FOTM. Or has it worked one single time?

    Let's have a look at the example of B-R. What a press got Eve. The PCU spiked skyhigh. But what happend? The PCU dropped faster than light below the former numbers. Are there reason for this? Maybe people realised the real boredom of Eve. Mining? Repeating and boring. Missions? After less than a week you know all the missions a single agent had in his pool and you even don't need to look up them at evesurvival. Largescale-PvP? Happens rarely. Most of the time you idle around the Titan to wait for fleet form-up. And if it happens? Well, a battle under heaviest TiDi is the same as if you watch paint drying. And only be permit to push F1 can't be a wet drem. Gate camps? Waiting 3 hours on a gate to alpha the ship of another newbro who got lost to this gate? Be scammed the 3rd time on your second day? Very funny. Awoxed after 30 minutes in your new newbro-friendly corp? Got rid of your Venture two times a day in a 0.9-system?

    Yes, there are a lot of other activities. And a lot of them can be very funny. But I think, these are the main doings by newbros and what can happen to them. Yes, Eve is dark and harsh. But if you in this way drive out more new players, you should think about it.

  47. I think the 50% retention rate would be higher, if you got rid of the 10% assholes.

    You know, the ones who gank miners and haulers, the ones who f**k around in your missions, the ones who scam you, the ones who wardec your small corp and then camp your stations, the ones who insist that everyone needs to PVP, the ones who insist that EVE must be harsh, etc.

    If you get rid of the 10%, I'd expect that the 50% would quickly rise to at least 90%. EVE can be a fun game to just roam around in space; a lot of the artwork and music is brilliant.

    And, just FYI, the PVE is only boring to the PVP players.

  48. EVE PvE sucks. I think we can all agree on that. Even incursions have been reduced to a fairly monotonous grind, broken up only by the amusement one can derive from public coms.

    The sandbox nature, free-for-all pvp, and player driven content have, and should continue to be, EVE's big draw. However, if these numbers are correct, then it sounds like a similar situation to what team gridlock encountered a few years ago. There should be a lot of easy gains to be made in that 80% of players to keep them interested in EVE long enough to find their way into the group / diverse circle on that diagram.

    No ecosystem can support a predator only environment. There need to be tuna and seals for the sharks to feed on. In EVE that would be pve and solo content.

    One thing I don't yet see anyone suggesting is pve content created by the players. Star Trek Online has a fantastic system for this that I think EVE could benefit from. Players with a silver or gold account are able to use a character slot to access STO's foundry tools, which they can then use to make custom content. This content is then voted on by "reviewers" and can even be featured, allowing a very wide audience for it.

    In EVE you could mirror this by useing a plex or AURUM and a character slot to gain access to a limited or modified version of the tools used by the developers. It should not be difficult to then create a system of player based review - vetted by a community team member - and incorporate these player created missions into some kind of rotation. Perhaps player-corporation based mission agents could be introduced some how.

    One last thing I think is needed. EVE has so many ways to be the bad-guy, but almost none that help or let you be the good guy. One way this could be addressed is better bounty hunting tools. Better ways to trade kill rights and better ways to find and track down someone with kill rights and a bounty.

    1. Your idea about player-created (and, importantly, community and dev vetted) content is really intriguing. NWN was a single player game, but some of the absolute best content for it was created by the community. This one guy was legendary for making great stuff.

    2. Wrong. YOU don't like the PVE, that's your choice. That doesn't make PVE globally bad for everyone, just you. Tens of thousands of PLAYERS have no problem with the PVE. Look at the starmap for proof of that.

      Again with the "sandbox" meme. I just realized that maybe people who DO like sandbox games, who came to Eve because of all the sandbox hype, quickly discovered that there is just about no "sandbox" aspect to this game at all (except for assholes) and left for that reason. I'm find with grind style PVE - it's relaxing for me, and others I've played with, but I'm not short sighted enough to say something as stupid as "I think everyone can agree with me". No one agrees with everyone, and certainly not about the PVE that the core of Eve players do on a daily basis. Learn to use the Eve interface instead of making baseless generalities. Look at the starmap. Simple.

      @Suzariel - Yeah, the mod community is thriving in SO many games. Even mainstream MMOs implemented player add-on packs and mods because they didn't have their heads up their ass like CCP does. Even something simple like devs vetting player made ship skins, which CCP could easily make a shitload of money off of, was of no interest because the fucking art department didn't like the idea. Wow. That would have been some REAL sandbox content that could have lead to some form of player made ship structural changes that still retained the base characteristics of the parent ship. Who says all the ships need to look the same? Do all cars look the same? Is this not a fantasy ship game years in the future? Now, finally, too late I think, they've decided to "allow" a limited number of custom paint jobs that amount to little more than pin striping in some future patch. Too late.

    3. @Pointy: That's what Rise is saying, though: tens of thousands of players *briefly* don't have a problem with the PvE. Then "more often than not" (his words!) they leave. That says to me that of this solo PvE group, we lose the majority of them... maybe even the large majority of them.

      I think Kel's on to something. If the players get drawn into the PvE maze, fine, but CCP needs to come up with a way to guide them out of it.

    4. Jester said: " If the players get drawn into the PvE maze, fine, but CCP needs to come up with a way to guide them out of it."

      If their goal is truly to steer people away from PVE, why have it at all? Why not just say up front that this is not supported game play and if you're here for PVE we don't want your money?

      (The answer is they DO need PVE players' money and they know it. They just don't necessarily LIKE it or how to keep more of them playing.)

    5. @Kel: I took your idea and spinned it to the next logical step: implement a game mechanic that allows players to seed missions for other players. A succesful mission benefits the creator and the guy who did the dirty job, and a failed one harms both.

      Then let the missions be spawned by controlling "corrupt" NPCs who in turn are loyal and earn power if they're pleased with the mission or don't if it fails.

      "Loyal" NPC could then earn enough "power" can temporally affect the NPC environment and even target players, wasting their accumulated power in the process until they recharge it through more missions. They also become targettable by hostile NPCs controlled by other players.

      The whole system would mimic a trading card game like Hearthstone;
      NPCs would be the cards and the missions would be the mana needed to "earn" and "cast" them -or lose them.

  49. I occasionally wonder if CCP is making the same mistake with Eve that Blizzard made with WoW.

    Dial back to the original release of WoW, or even BC. "High level raiding" was famous, it got all the (gamer) press, and major raiding guilds were treated as celebrities. According to Blizzard's numbers, fewer than 4% of players even stepped foot inside the final dungeons of BC. Because of this, Blizzard began redesigning their game to bring EVERYONE into the "famous" bits of the game, the high level raiding.

    Ask a long-time WoW player how much better it is now. I dare you. With the added focus on raiding, Blizzard essentially killed off the "alternate world to live-in" experience that 90% of their players were PAYING THEM FOR.

    I can't help but wonder if CCP is doing the same thing here, by trying to force a majority of their players into a game-style that they simply do not enjoy. Even more than "will they be able to do it", I'm concerned about "will they be able to do it without destroying the experience for those who do it now?"

  50. CCP should hire Gevlon to help work on their new player retention issues. I've found his blog to be the most informative when it comes to discussing Eve politics, and how a solo player can fit in.

  51. "Therefore, if you were CCP with a limited budget to support development of EVE Online, where would you put your resources? If you think CCP should put more resources to this larger group of solo players, how do you think it would help?"

    It would help if those players met a multiplayer content that matched the reasons/needs why they play alone. Why do they do it? Can they get player-driven content suit to that?

    Everyone plays EVE in a way for a reason and it is is neither wise nor fair to split the player base between players who "get it" and players who "don't get it", specially as CCP needs as many players as posible.

    I don't think that adding more "themepark" content was a good idea. Players easily outrun developers, period.

    Yet for the same reason, if players enjoy solo activites, and EVE is about players creating content, why can't players create solo content?

    It's like the old tale about two salesmen who go to a country to sell shoes and one says "we're doomed, everybody is barefoot here" and the other says "we'll be rich, nobody wears any shoes!!"

    CCP says, "well, if they enjoy being barefoot rather than buy our ugly, inconvenient and expensive shoes, then why make any shoes for them?", rather than "they keep visiting our shop but don't buy our current shoes, what if we gave them nicer shoes which felt like being barefoot?"

    1. Trying to "keep doing everything" is not going to be helpful, though. Every person who plays for two months and then quits is also a person that's later going to say "Oh, yeah, I wouldn't bother with EVE because..."

      Aren't we better off in the long term with enthusiastic players rather than disenfranchised ex-players?

      Just a theoretical question.

    2. @Jester.

      I will ask again. What has suddenly changed in the paradigm that has CCP so a twitter that they have to completely junk a chunk of their player base?

      Looks like the status quo worked for 10 years, but suddenly, it doesn't.
      What changed?

    3. Problem is, you, everyone in this thread and CCP have no clue what comes after the word "because . ." in any meaningful way. I know what the primary factor was for me quitting as well as the other people I played with and based on the "tears" from many, many other players who have quit, their answer is the same as ours. Assholes.

      So, you still think its better to cater to the assholes that drive other customers away, instead of controlling the assholes and making the game a less toxic environment. Eve's model was "cool", but now, with less tolerance for all the anti-social behavior that Eve is famous for, Eve's model is just sad and tired.

      As time progresses, there will be fewer and fewer PVE players, creating a higher percentage of assholes, and when there are no easy marks for the assholes, the assholes will have to try to be assholes to people who are like them, the fun and easy "marks" will be gone, the assholes will get bored and move on, and Eve will mirror low sec.

    4. @Jester: Given how small a percentage of the population they are, does catering solely to the "enthusiastic players" sound like a good business plan? Shouldn't they be investigating why the bulk of the subscribers are leaving and/or focusing on a single facet of the game? What CCP chooses to do should not be based on emotional bias, but on concrete numbers.

      Developing better pve mechanics and content at least has the potential to have an impact on everyone. For example, how many null sec people would appreciate better/fun gameplay when ratting? Also, if there was more fun solo gameplay then maybe some of those 50% might stick around a bit longer, which further down the line potentially adds to the population of both other groups.

      As for this bizarre idea that every person that plays for two months and quits doesn't come back... really? Are you sure about that? My experience has been that there are a lot of people that quit Eve, but actually really want to like the game, and reactivate at a later date to see what's changed. Of course the fundamental mechanics of the game haven't changed for 10 years, so if that was what they originally had a problem with...

    5. "Trying to "keep doing everything" is not going to be helpful, though. Every person who plays for two months and then quits is also a person that's later going to say "Oh, yeah, I wouldn't bother with EVE because..."

      Aren't we better off in the long term with enthusiastic players rather than disenfranchised ex-players?

      Just a theoretical question."

      I think that CCP would be better off if more players became enthusiastic, but there are two ways to achieve that.

      - You may look what makes players enthusiastic and try to lure/force other players into that content ("carrot and stick").

      - Or you may look at why players aren't enthusiastic about what they do and improve it.

      FAI, why so many players aren't enthusiastic about interacting with other players, and rather shy out of it?

      The CCP Rise way: carrot and stick them into interacting with other players you-want-it-or-not

      The Angry Onions way: check with "shy" players what is wrong (if anything) with player interaction, and fix it if possible.

      it all boils down to who is right, the company to tell customers what to buy, or the customers to tell the company what to sell.

  52. I think CCP is implying that the more they can push players into corps and player driven experiences the better they will be and the longer they will stay - while is try they can't rely on other players for this 'service' as corps and other players are quite well known for messing around with noobies more than helping them out.

    Watching the video it seems really interesting that CCP are saying that people log in and expect B-R and get solo mission grind instead - but if new (and existing players) want epic space battles why can't CCP give it to them?

    I think CCP doesn't want to admit (or are too proud) to see that the answer is staring them in the face all this time: Make missions awesome!

    Imagine starting a new character - the tutorial starts and gives the basic operating controls etc; once they find their feet the player is then put into a part of a large NPC fleet to participate in some large scale op!

    Some / most of it could be scripted for newbies but just imagine the difference in first impressions this would make! Instead of going 1v1 on crappy little frigates you're an important part of a large fleet doing your part to take down enemy frigs & scramming battleships for your larger fleet buddies to take down!

    Imagine if ALL missions were like that - instead of running solo you pick a role within a larger NPC fleet to run an op! You can fly the ship you like, the role you prefer and enjoy being part of a large scale space battle without having to be best mates with some large player alliances.

    The way I see it missions & PvE elements of the game need to be a starter drug for new players. If they really enjoy NPC fleets they'll eventually want to participate in player fleets and get a better sense of enjoyment and teamwork; but the mission system has done its job - its taught the new player how the game works, how each ship & role works within a fleet and has given them the isk, knowledge and experience to move onto player fleets without feeling like the only person who doesn't know what to do.

    It also shows new players that ship progression works differently in this game to others - your path through ships isn't linear and each more expensive ship is better than before, its just different and has a different role to play and so new players don't feel like they'll never 'catch up' because they can still play an important role regardless of what ship they fly.

    Even if players never leave missions and stick to solo they still can enjoy flying the ships they want to use, in a role they enjoy while being able to enjoy the cool large scale space battles people hear about.

    If grouping is a problem then start introducing these types of missions but advertise random players to join in - the mission starts when enough people join and they play their role but along side other players to make friends and enjoy the game socially. Ganking can be somewhat reduced by the NPC fleet that doesn't look kindly on Blue on Blue :D

    CCP needs to see the woods for the trees and give people what they want but not in a way that makes them dependent or unsociable and while their data supports more player driven activities I think its a little out of context as its not the game content that provides lasting enjoyment its the social attachments; but a good MMO needs to provide both without bias towards one or the other

  53. Say what you will about the lack of solo content in EVE. The truth is that EVE has survived 11 years as a subscription based game, with extremely little changes to the PVE content in the game. In that 11 years, the total number of subscriptions has gone up almost every year.

    CCP's dream is for EVE to last "forever". It makes sense for them to focus on the gameplay that produces the most loyal customers.

    Since CCP is not forced to create new content every year so that their customers have something to do, they had the ability to focus on fixing and balancing game mechanics (though admittedly they didn't make use of this potential until recently).

    Themepark players have limited loyalty to games. They play the themepark until they get bored or someone comes out with a better themepark.

    I guarantee you if the CCP were to focus solely on PVE content generation (without addressing any of the other things they desperately need to fix), the vast majority of their loyal player base (customers who've survived years of CCP mistakes and misteps) would revolt on a scale that would make Incarna look like a picnic.

    1. I don't think so. Look at the starmap and you can see that on a daily basis, thousands and thousands of players are still doing that old PVE content - more in fact, than ever consistently log in to null sec. Adding PVE content would likely make a bunch of the big-mouths in null sec leave, but that might take a bunch of assholes with them - a good thing.

      Also, the grinders and hard core PVE players are consistently the most tolerant players in any MMO. The adhd adrenaline junky PVP players are the ones with the shortest attention span, jumping from PVP rush to PVP rush.

      Your premise is completely backwards to the reality or MMO games, and Eve.

  54. I don't agree that if you get group play going, your are golden.

    What's the most visible group feature to new players?

    Faction war is; There's a button on the station panel.
    Now imagine you have found EFT (EFT should be in-game), fitted out your first frigate and are joining the war.

    WAR, hell yeah!

    However, there won't be any fleets up in general militia, that's my observation at least. Unfazed you go in alone and warp into a plex. Behold the beauty! Zero fucks were given when "designing" those sites. A thing in the middle and a single NPC to keep you company. Your "gameplay" consists of watching a clock tick down. You may or may not get a fight.

    Sorry, the reality is, you have to have a strong stomach to put up with the bullshite Eve puts before any chance at fun times. 10% seems like a good turn out for the current game.

    The thing that really bugs me, is CCP don't even try to make group play accessible. I mean would it break Eve, if they'd hire a bunch of students to keep at least one pub fleet open in every militia 23/7? They could even opt out of hub grinds. Just so that a new casual player has a chance at some immediate action, without digging through forums to find a corp.

    There's more I can think of, but they rather fiddle with ore hold sizes anyway.

  55. "Discuss."

    Heh, about 70 pages worth of comments (copy/past to Word). OP success, I guess.

  56. I don't know how you separate out the behavior of players that CCP protects -- scamming, AWOXing, etc. with what CCP can do about the situation.

    I think a lot of players are fascinated by the stories of such, but they don't want to be the victim. And when you finally get into EVE almost all the advice is about not being the victim because it's everywhere.

    You've mentioned that you feel the social aspects of EVE are what drives it, but I've gotten into way more social play in, say WoW, than EVE. EVE creates these barriers to trust which prevent group play. What CCP can do is allow players to create systems of reputation -- the same as the real world.

    If all it takes for a player to AWOX or scam you is a couple of weeks with a new alt that can just as easily be thrown away, then people aren't going to trust other people. People working the system don't have to deal with the consequences of many of their actions because they can always biomass and start again. And if their gains are profitable enough the whole process is paid for by their victims encouraging future behavior.

    All that said, I'm not against scamming and I'm not against AWOXing, but I think that reputation needs to be at the player level and not the character level. This would have a detrimental affect on "bad social behavior", but it wouldn't outlaw it. But it would setup a system that would allow people to trust each other again and protect each other managing their own risk. If you do that players will be much more likely to trust each other and do things together.

    1. Pretty much spot on.

      Tracking reputation and encouraging player accountability, and thereby reducing costs of social interaction, would be fairly simple if CCP were to move to restrict players to one permanent account, and make the account ID public via the API. To allow multiboxing, and maintain its revenue from multiple-account holders, CCP could implement paid sub-accounts. Each sub-account would cost a standard subscription fee, and would provide a cluster of three character slots, one of which could train skills at any given moment, and one of which can be logged on at any moment. It would in effect bring multiple accounts under the aegis of a single ID visible to the public.

      In this way, it would no longer be trivial to launder stolen ISK, or to create new accounts after every infiltration. At the moment, if the real world ran according to CCP's current rules, Bernie Madoff could have simply grown himself a new body with two clicks, complete with an untraceable identity. If EVE is to encourage socialization, it has to move away from protecting EVE's Madoffs.

  57. One of the true ironies in this whole idiotic circus is the fact that the industry overhaul is going to drive many industrial players into solo player corporations to protect their blueprints, which apparently, is the precise opposite of this new corporate intent.

    Just further proof of the incompetent schizophrenia within CCP.

    1. yeah, industry has always been one of the things that work best when done in large groups of players.

      hint: BULL. SHIT.

  58. In my experience the thing that holds newer players back is a lack of both skills and game knowledge. 0.0 and Low sec have nothing to offer a 2 week old character except missioning, only the most knowledgable will know about sec. tags and they are pretty uncommon as a source of income/ reward when you compare it to other MMORPGS, prehaps you could consider belt ratting but do newbies know about belt ratting? Nope. That for me is the reason why all roads lead to mining and missioning whilst people 'wait' to get skills to go to low sec groups.

    I feel like the case is that most newer players feel trapped in hi-sec, which is then reinforced by the mentality of usually much older hi-sec players (Everywhere except hi-sec is scary). It's interesting that people raise recruitment scamming as an issue considering that recruitment scamming is a hi-sec thing and non-existent outside hi-sec except for goons. In fact scamming and all the 'low life' activites can only be found in hi-sec. CCP needs to concentrate on letting newer players take advantage of 0.0 and Low sec and breaking that skill barrier down, i'd like to see the number on exploration and new player retention since the revamp as i think they'd show higher retention than players who mined and missioned in Hi-sec.

  59. Why I remain a casual player of EVE and avoid joining a Corp or moving to Null?
    This... http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20120625

  60. Look at it this way: 90% of newly subscribed accounts don't get to "end-game" content.

    That means that it is effectively inaccessible. If we define contest over scarce goods to be a significant part of endgame, then we might also conclude that much of sov war needs to include infrastructure vulnerabilities to small gangs.

    If we accept the assumption that just getting onto killboards is adequate content for new players, then we also have to accept that 90% of them won't accept such Sisyphean exercises.

  61. The problem is that CCP has been trying to turn this into a PVP game in order to catch the FPS player market, but CCP sucks at doing PVP. Dust is just bad, plain bad. And, its not just me saying this, look at the player numbers. EVE PVP sucks even more. Big surprise then why more people don't join to do EVE PVP.

    Most of CCP's customers are playing PVE stuff. This is how it has been since the launch - PVP is a small part of the game. The sooner they realize they have gone off the right business path, the more likely that the game, and the company, will do better.

    You can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

  62. So lets get rid of those carebears then! Remove every single NPC from the game so that everyone can concentrate 100% on "group play".

    Who says PvE has to be done in total isolation? Every single MMO (except EvE) manages to achieve social interaction and group play during PvE.

    Here is an old Post about PvE&social interaction:
    TLDR: due to the mechanics of EvE, the the only viable social interaction during PvE is getting ganked, ninja salvaged or extorted for stolen mission-items.

  63. I'm a just shy of two month old character on eve who would be gone at the end of this month if I hadn't purchased a 6 mo subscription. I don't see myself continuing to pay for the game, at this point.

    My view of the problem is Eve is really two broad games:
    one of the games plays for battle and considers isk part of the cost of battling,
    the other game plays for isk and considers battle a risk to be managed or part of the cost of doing business. Both game types need the other (if ships don't have a fairly substantial time cost to product battle becomes low cost and boring) or and without losses used goods dramatically reduce prices.

    I enjoy the second game. That's the thing that attracted me to Eve in the first place. I appreciate space battles as opportunities to sell stuff. I've always loved trading games whether in space (Elite is a favorite) or on sea (Pirates!, High Seas Trader got a lot of love from my old 486). But frankly most of them are pretty terrible (prices don't adjust nearly enough to make them interesting. After years of such thin gruel, Eve sounds very appealing and I finally decided to give it a try. The markets are great, I've had a blast competing with another guy over who can outlast the other in the market for destroyer skillbooks in Amarr) and have found a few niches where I've been skilling to better fill.

    I ran across a cool group of like minded individuals and with more than a bit of trepidation joined them (I'd read a lot before I joined and was aware of the risk of Awoxing). Things started well for the corp, we'd mission together, run mining ops, specialize in other parts of the game (one guy would find sites, others would run the combat sites, I learned the basics of PI and would help people get their first planet built) we were slowly practicing battles and fleeting. We got about 30 guys together with most having less than 3 months of play time. Then our first wardec came from a character that started 7 years ago. We were worried, but HTFU swapping our training from the things we wanted to EWAR and fighting skills and fleeted up for battle. And fight we did, we inflicted about a billion isk of damage to him and lost 300 mil. However, we have zero control over ending said war worse, rather than cause other groups to fear losing isk to our "mighty" fleets we've attracted another war dec who liked that we put up good fights. This is pretty poor game design, by "winning" the war we get the reward of playing less of the game we would want to play.

    In so doing, we've discovered CCP's seeming ignorance of how we play the game has left war badly unbalanced in terms of rewards for us (remember the high score to me is building isk). So players developing their own strategy which consists of stopping play during the duration of the war or doing industry from NPC corps. In finding this, I'm stuck with a choice of abandoning the players I've found who are fun to play with, or continuing a war we have no agency over.

    To fix it, I'd like to see some method of allowing defenders to win the war (say reaching a certain level of damage against the attacker, or destroying the attackers tower and make owning a tower required to war dec--which would be a nice way to make them useful following the industry changes) and get a benefit they want (perhaps a choice of extending the war, reparations, or immunity from future war decs for a short period).

  64. I've done a fair amount of group PVE, and it's fun, not so much due to the content itself (even the first time you run the L4 Damsel it's not all that thrilling) but because you're on comms with people you like and you're all shooting the shit about whatever.

    But finding a group of people you want to hang out with isn't a sure thing. I got lucky.

  65. Rise's analysis about player retention completely ignores the fact that for the past several years, CCP has been introducing more and more features to discourage solo and small gang game play, encourage larger groups to bully individuals and smaller groups out of the game, and turn high-sec into a victimization playground for the asshats.

    Ofc, the long-term retention rate has been dropping for solo game play. No duh. CCP has been pushing them out of the game.

    Imagine if Hitler were to have said "we're seeing a drop in the number of Jewish immigrants" and suggested that the solution is to encourage more people to join the Nazi Party and kill more Jews. That's pretty much what we're hearing from Rise and CCP.

  66. TLDR: not enough people are finding the multiplayer / social aspect of eve at all.

  67. I've repeatedly started fresh accounts for spying purposes, and in my opinion the absolute best "new player experience" happens when Goons or another (almost always CFC) alliance scoops the baby capsuleer up and whisks them off to nulsec before any bad hisec lone-wolf thinking patterns can set in.

    Hisec missioning is such a sow's ear, if I were CCP, I wouldn't try to turn it into a silk purse; Id try to figures out how to get out of the way of / remove barriers from in front of newbie-friendly player corps.


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