Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Narrow the gap

Suppose for a few minutes that you were a veteran EVE player with six or seven years experience.  Maybe you even are.  You might have a super-carrier, a jump freighter, a good size capital fleet with a half-dozen carriers and a couple of dreadnoughts, and a very large selection of sub-capital ships scattered across three or four home systems.  You've also got a large inventory of assets scattered across space and even if you don't use them all, you probably would have become very comfortable with all of your ships, assets, and potential capabilities.

Now suppose that CCP came along and told you that in order to balance the game for newer players, they were going to take away two thirds of your assets.  Super-carrier?  Gone.  They're going to take that away.  You can keep the jump freighter, but you have to give up most of your carriers and all but one of your dreadnoughts.  Then you have to give up a large swath of your sub-cap fleet and your stored modules.  And you have to downsize to only a couple of locations instead of three or four.  Anything that you're not actually using disappears and you only get to keep those things that you undock in every week.

Wouldn't care for that much, would you?

The simple truth is that humans are humans and we're all genetically wired to expect uninterrupted growth... expanding empires... expanding capabilities.  Nobody wants to downsize and people become downright resentful if they're told that they have to.  If CCP tried to do this to players, there would be a howling from the player base that would dwarf the summer of rage.  People get used to having a lot of toys, assets, and capabilities and don't want them taken away.

And this is why people who say "If DUST 514 fails, CCP should just cut it loose and concentrate on EVE" (and with it, strongly hint that CCP should cut loose their staff in Shanghai along with DUST) are kidding themselves.  You would become resentful of CCP tried to take away a few internet spaceship pixels.  So you can imagine how CCP probably feels about people who think they should drop half their company and what they're working on.

Last year at Fanfest, grand dreams were painted by CCP of possibly needing multiple venues to hold all of the fans that would be coming to Iceland to celebrate EVE and DUST 514 for their tenth anniversary Fanfest this April.  It isn't going to happen.  Sure the tenth anniversary Fanfest will be a very important event, and sure there will be some DUST 514 fans in attendance.  But they're not going to eclipse the EVE crowd the way I think some people at CCP thought they might.  Last year at this time, I was concerned that DUST might very well become the tail that wags EVE's dog.  That doesn't look likely to happen, either.  I still think DUST is going to be at least somewhat successful and CCP is an incredibly patient company who have shown with EVE that they're willing to wait and let a market develop for their products.

But at the end of the day, CCP also reports to investors, and those investors expect results.  And this is probably why we've heard CCP talk a couple of times this year about doing an IPO.  If DUST 514 were a massive success, then an IPO would spread out their investment base so that CCP executives weren't answerable to such a small number of people.  But even if DUST isn't an immediate success, spreading out the investment base is desirable for exactly the same reason.

In the meantime, if DUST 514 doesn't deliver on its promise of a greatly expanded player base in the combined EVE Online universe, that means CCP has to turn back to EVE to deliver on it.  Because otherwise, they're forced into a situation where they have to downsize (again).  And as I covered at the top of this piece, they won't want to do that.  You wouldn't either if you were them.  They want to keep the staff, assets, and capabilities they have today, working to make DUST into something that can be successful.  They just need a way to pay for them.  That means more revenue coming in, and if DUST can't bring it in, EVE has to.

This is one of the reasons why I think we've seen such a focus this year on trying to draw more new players into EVE Online.  In an unguarded moment in conversations between matches during the New Eden Open, CCP Fozzie let slip that one of the goals of the ship rebalancing this year has been to "narrow the gap" between T1 and T2 ships.  We've seen greatly expanded capabilities from the T1 frigates and cruisers, and when we see the rebalancing hit the T1 battle cruisers, I think we're going to see the same thing there.  Meanwhile though, I'm not holding out a lot of hope that the T2 ships, when they are eventually rebalanced, are going to be receiving such revolutionary changes as their ancestral counterparts.  We can probably expect them to be 20-25% better.  But not very much more than that.  The veterans are just going to have to decide if 25% better is worth four or five times the cost.

As I mentioned when I posted my favorite Thorax fit, if any of you out there are looking at that ship and thinking "if this is what they've done to the Thorax, I can't wait to see what they do to the Deimos!", you might want to rethink.  The Deimos refit will probably be pretty good.  But amazingly good?  No.  CCP wants to narrow the gap between veterans and newer players.  That means keeping the upgrades to the Deimos and the other T2 ships to a minimum.

Now this isn't anything new with other MMOs.  Lots of other MMOs try to balance their game between newer players and veteran players so that they can jointly enjoy the experience.  EVE has never bothered.  Two players in the same ships can have markedly different success with them in the same situation.  We've all been told for a long time that one low SP player that specializes in a Rifter is going to be just as good at it as a high SP player with lots of skill points spread broadly.  But I think we all instinctively realize that isn't quite true.  The veteran player is going to have much better fitting skills, more ISK for good implants, and if he is veteran enough, has probably trained support skills to Level V that the new player can only dream of.

I can easily see CCP wanting to narrow that gap, too.

In short, if DUST 514 struggles to find an audience, CCP is going to do everything they can to keep the DUST 514 development staff working regardless.  That means finding the revenue that they need to support those developers from other sources... namely EVE.  That means increased and continuing efforts to bring new players into EVE even if they have to do so to the detriment of the investment of veteran players.  It's going to be a tricky balance to master: some veterans are already grumbling about running out of things to do.  In the meantime though, we can see the first steps: newer players encouraged to get into T1 support cruisers that are nearly as good as their T2 counter-parts.  Even with the down-grade, a Scythe which takes a few months to master is about two-thirds as good as a Scimitar which takes a couple of years.  And some of the e-war cruisers are arguably better than their T2 counter-parts.  Whether this message can be delivered to potential players is going to be a marketing challenge... which brings me back to that previous couple of posts where I argued that CCP is probably looking for a Jesus feature for 2013 so that marketing will have something big to work with.

Yeah, this stuff is all connected.  It's hard not to see the connections.

Don't get me wrong: the news for veteran players certainly isn't all bad.  If CCP can succeed in bringing in a lot of new players wanting to take advantage of this narrowed gap, then that's a lot more content for those of us who have been here a while, right?

At the beginning of 2012, I said that this past year was going to be CCP's most challenging yet in terms of striking a balance between these competing factors.  Like DUST 514 itself, that prediction is going to be a little delayed.


  1. http://teut.blogspot.de/2012/12/ccp-dust-514-and-eve-online.html

  2. Hear hear. As a on/off again eve player, my main character is only sitting around 13ish mil SP. Since my 'thing' is smallgang/solo pvp, it's a situation where the diversity between the vets and newer players are very apparent. Now if they'd do something to help change the massive amount of risk-adversity EvE players had as well... ;)

  3. CCP truly appears to be abandoning the pursuit of fantasy-driven expansion efforts in favor of building releases that meet business goals as well as game play design goals. Which is great, no one wants to see the company fail. You can't take success for granted in the gaming industry, and those in charge understand this.

    The need for a balanced development framework to feed steady growth of the subscriber base was the core message of the strategy document the CSM submitted to CCP. Much like your reflections here, our approach differentiated players primarily by their age, and also gave consideration to those that have yet to pick up the game. CCP built on this idea of a balanced framework and revealed at the Winter Summit an even more nuanced and informed examination of player and customer types.

    Assuming we weren't just shown an elaborate dog-and-pony show, the CSM is pretty confident that CCP is committed to growing the EVE player base in the coming year, through a combination of improved accessibility for rookie pilots as well as giving players more things to do in general. Like you said, its silly not to see these steps as necessary and beneficial to EVE's future, veterans and noobs alike.

    Whether EVE needs new players to earn revenue to get Dust 514 off the ground or vice versa has quickly become a chicken-or-the-egg argument. While you didn't specifically allude to it in your post here, the unspoken Hermaphroditus metaphor is appropriate. CCP seems committed to patiently but steadily growing both products and blending the two into the same universe.

    1. "CCP seems committed to patiently but steadily growing both products and blending the two into the same universe."

      Unlikely, since CCP cannot afford to do so for much longer.

      DUST currently brings in no revenue, yet continues to be a substantial drain on CCP's limited financial resources. EVE Online's revenue is flat and Jesus feature releases are very expensive - which is why CCP has been recently focusing on glorified fix/patch releases rather than major feature expansions.

      And, unfortunately, very little development work between a console-based platform and a PC/Mac-based platform can actually be efficiently shared, as witnessed by the fact that CCP has two separate development teams working on these projects.

      If DUST fails to launch big, CCP will most likely be forced to close down one of the teams, ie. to make a final decision between continuing with EVE Online, its aging flagship, or risking everything on making DUST work in the FPS market.

    2. Well except for the other projects they are working on like world of darkness....
      Dust can "fail" in the fps market and it really wouldn't matter as far as eve goes. Think of it as walking in stations. That was shitty and new and sucked and eve goes on. For Eve dust is no different. They can close all the dust servers and say a big woops but they would hardly be risking everything for dust.

    3. Both statements which are untrue.

      First, Dust is bringing in revenue already, though the amount is hard to estimate. Anyone in beta can see first hand the rate at which Aurum goods are being purchased and destroyed, with real dollars being spent for said Aurum. The revenue model is actually the least of my concerns, as the microtransaction model is highly functional within the game even as a beta. All they need to do to get more cashflow is to keep throttling the participation levels up as quickly as possible.

      The problem of course, is that this is essentially investor money - which will have to be delivered upon eventually if they want to keep more coming in. Not just players investing in some Aurum and wanting their items back when the game launches properly, but also actual investors putting up the bond money used to build the game.

      There is no simply saying "big woops" when you've been spending millions of dollars for years and have nothing to show for it. CCP seems aware of this fortunately, and is very much committed to making sure Dust 514's "real" deployment doesn't drag out too much longer into the future.

    4. @Hans - Hahaha... you really *are* an idiot. So, it is just as simple as "throttling the participation level up as quickly as possible", eh? Guess you don't know that participation levels are going down, not up. And, you probably have no clue as to how many microtransactions need to occur daily for a game such as DUST to just break even.

      DUST is currently losing money - lots of it. More money is going out than the trickle that is coming in - hell, the current revenue stream isn't even covering the server/network costs, let alone the support staff costs or the projected ongoing development/production costs. Even if DUST were successful, it will be several years before CCP can recoup what has already been spent.

      CCP isn't launching DUST yet, because they know it won't succeed, as it stands now. And, they no longer are pushing a public launch date, because they just don't know how they are going to fix it. The EVE connection isn't going to do it, because, as was proved by the beta, too few EVE players are actually interested in DUST.

      So, in the end, CCP may or may not actually deploy DUST.

      On the one hand, they spent a lot of money on DUST, and to not deploy it at this point would be embarrassing for everyone, incl. Sony.

      However, deploying DUST is currently looking to cost CCP even more money each month, and bleeding out more money for a few more years isn't something that CCP can afford to do, without more layoffs, which would have to come from the EVE development side.

    5. WoD, aka World of Darkness, is moribund. CCP is shopping the current WIP (work in progress) around for investors, but no longer doing any real development work on it.

  4. Nice post. One thing that has occurred to me is that if the T2 (and T3?) ships only become marginally better than their T1 equivalent, will EvE begin to haemorrhage existing players who no longer have a reason to skill up to more stuff? Part (only part) of what keeps me subbed is the next cool ship that I can fly that has a different role / is "much" better than other stuff I can fly.

    Unique T2 roles appear to be on the way out with new T1 equivalents. T2s may potentially now only be a teeny bit better than their T1 equivalents. Once all T1 ships have been acquired, would as many players stick around in EvE to fly those marginally better T2 ships? Or will they just go "Oh, I can fly everything worth flying now, nothing new any more so I'll just move along to something else"?

    1. If you're playing eve as Pokemon (ie gotta have all the ships) then IMO you are doing it wrong. The fun is in PVP and you don't need to fly everything to have fun. This is speaking as a 96M SP player that can fly pretty much every subcap. I'd settle for flying an oracle, exequror, omen, iskur and a few other ships and still be having great fun.

    2. There is no right or wrong way of playing eve. It's a different game to different people. That is the essence of a "sandbox game". People who may have an objective of flying all ships in the game (I don't btw) are not "doing it wrong". They are doing what they want in a sandbox game that affords them such freedoms. This is all rather OT though as the point of my poorly expressed post was about progression in terms of what one can fly, the benefit one gets from that progression and how some people who focus on that road may just have had their journey considerably shortened.

  5. I'm not sure that the "lose your carriers" situation is correct. It's more like: you have 4 pilots you run from PLEX. The dread pilot didn't really siege anything since your alliance lost sov. He's just collecting dust for a PLEX a month, a PLEX you must rat for.

    While it still hurts in the short run, on the long run you'll be happier if you let that dread pilot go, save yourself a PLEX a month concentrate on the ships you actually fly.

  6. I feel like CCP is making the same mistake with Dust that they made with incarna; taking it too slow.

    Incarna would have been at least tolerable if they'ed had all 4 CQ's at launch. That was mostly what I was so pissed about. 18 months of waiting for a shitty unreal engine clone an a single room with only promises of more to come. Now we're looking at the same sort of thing with Dust. Tonnes of money and resources poured into it for a crappy planet side 2 ripoff.

    If it were me, I would be selling up the big difference between Dust and planet side, the EVE connection, and I fear that the EVE connection needs to be made stronger or dust is doomed to the same fate as CQ.

    1. DUST is not being marketed to the EVE player base. It is being marketed to the console-based FPS crowd.

      In fact, focusing more effort on the connection to EVE would actually be a catastrophic error on CCP's part. There are simply not enough customers in the overlap region between EVE Online and PS2-based FPS.

      DUST needs to be able to stand entirely on its own, apart from EVE, or it will fail in the much more competitive FPS market.

    2. This is true. Contrary to popular belief, the make up of the Dust 514 - specific community is predominantly console player transplants from other games, with the largest portion of the community being former MAG players. The connection will be the unique element keeps them invested in the long run, but if the core game doesn't have a base level of polish expected of a modern shooter, they'll go to another game that does.

      At the summit, I encouraged CCP to especially look at making it very clear to these players how they fit into the EVE universe. To give them reasons to care, reasons to want to fight for a faction, ways to earn riches. They need to SEE that they make a difference, lest Dust end up feeling like just another standalone shooter.

    3. My brother was in the DUST beta, and as a hardcore FPS player, he said "What do I care about how DUST affects what goes on in EVE?". He tried EVE once, found it to be boring, and quit after a few days. No matter how great DUST might become, it is never going to get him to play EVE, too.

      On the flip side, I'm not going to buy a PS3, just to play DUST. If CCP had released it on the PC, maybe....

    4. See, people keep saying that focusing more on the EvE side would be bad, and yet the promise of a strong EvE connection is what got me to try it at all. I was of course extremely disappointed and have no intention of spending any money on the game until they actually release what was promised, but there it is.

  7. I've been thinking about this problem for some time as well. The barrier to entry for new players is very high. The rebalancing of T1 ships is a good step, to the point where you can now have fun and be competitive at a fraction of the cost i.e. it doesn't have to be as serious a business.

    The removal of learning skills was another great step, they were simply a barrier to entry. I think the same could be said about electronics, engineering, weapons upgrades and advanced weapons upgrades. Their removal would instantly reduce the barrier to entry for new players. Plus cause a load of tears about "dumbing down", win-win IMO.

  8. Zero sum game thinking is annoying. Being good for noobs doesn’t entail being bad for veterans. T2 being only 20% - 25% better is a HUGE difference. Especially in small gang situations. My understanding at this point is that T2 is destined towards greater specialization. That being the case, it’s difficult to speculate on their comparative value to T1’s until we know what roles they’re destined to fulfill. Who knows, there may well be Jesus Features hiding away in future Tieracide work should the good Fozzy unveil clever, unexpected roles for T2s.

  9. The trouble with Dust514 is that it runs the risk of being outdated by the time it is actually released.

    It'll be interesting to see how they handle the release of the next gen consoles too.

    1. DUST is already outdated. If it had been released two years ago, then it probably would have done ok. Now? No chance.

  10. An IPO would be a disaster.

    Call of Duty has skewed expectations to the point of absurdity. There's certainly potential for Eve's player base to grow, but not at a rate that would draw and sustain public investment. Inevitably, CCP's focus would shift to its share price above all else, and Eve would suffer for it.

    None of us want to see zero value-added "premium services" shoehorned into a creatively stagnant game, all in the name of monetization. In the video game industry, that's exactly what you get when your stock is goes public.

    If you can manage it, you become Activision, EA, or Ubisoft. If you can't, you become THQ.

  11. you know, my dislike for goonswarm's no secret, but I do give them respect for this reason... marketing.

    they make 'every little goon' feel like they matter, and the truth is, every little person does. If ccp's brilliant, the someone in their marketing department will look at the goons and say 'what're they doing right?'

    the recruitment posters based on 'for want of a nail', that kind of thing... goons make sure that even the lowliest pilot knows they can be part of something great. and if ccp wants eve to survive, pursuing that to the hilt would really really bring something into the game. hell, destabilize the game... don't reboot it, add something to it. the tenuous truce that the empires have forged is starting to crumble, fleet warfare's ramping up, then one day... war.

    imagine hearing the rumblings and having to make a choice about where you want to be? isk sinks as 'resources and supplies' are needed for war efforts, random incursions from the opposing side's npcs... very grand scale things, but the thing with the sandbox right now is it's virtually static.

    I'm sure that a lot of vets would take the news of the loss of ships, clones etc, if it were due to those dirty minmatar retaliating for their previous slavery to the amarr and mobilizing to destroy stations, for example

    just some random ideas...kind of like the comment a week or so back about jove invasions for body harvests.

    1. You're actually getting remarkably close to CCP's current train of thought. :) I think you'll be excited by the upcoming minutes release.

  12. Your post is logical and completely reasonable.

    Yet CCP's actions over the past year lead me to believe otherwise. Nerfing drones with the new AI is hardly going to convince new players to hang around, and I can only imagine what the impact will be on the account base if Soundwave follows through with his plans to blow up high sec industry. His buddies in the null sec alliances have created a 44 page propaganda piece on nerfing high sec industry, and typically they gear up a propaganda campaign a little before CCP announces changes precisely along the lines suggested in the propaganda.

    So bottom line, though a normal company would indeed be operating just as you have suggested, I doubt more and more each day that CCP is a "normal" company.

    1. CCP has always also had a "left hand-right hand" problem.

    2. @Jester - exactly right.

      And the right hand spends far too much time jacking off with PVP, to the exclusion of the rest of the game.

      Fact is, more PVP isn't going to draw in substantially more customers. MMOs actually thrive on PVE and longer-term non-PVP content, such as building up farms and that sort of stuff.

      And making it all destructible simply encourages players to quit, esp. when you have such a large disparity between newer and older players, with regards to SP and ISK.

  13. CCP needs to cut loose the Shanghai team regardless of DUST at this point. If you've spent more than a couple of minutes playing DUST you'd realize how terrible the shooting mechanics are. As usual the saving grace is the art direction. Everything else is pretty terrible. It's somewhat surprising that they've picked up former DICE devs with what they have in DUST.

  14. Imagine a furious Dust ground battle going on in VFK. Constellation sov hangs in the balance. Suddenly two big fleets appear in orbit ready to join the battle. TiDi kicks in. Either the FPS guys are going to have to accept duking it out in slow motion, or the spaceship guys are going to have to accept that events on the ground are happening at a pace too fast for them to respond and react to.

    I don't see either group putting up with either scenario for very long, and I think that gameplay issues revolving around system lag are what's holding things up with respect to Dust. Two clocks running at different speeds might be OK for Einstein, but CCP ain't no Einstein.

  15. I feel that i have been playing long enough to be in the middle ground now. I am new enough to remember that helpless feeling that i will never have enough skills to fly or do something well enough yet have done all the hard 'hill-climb' skills that new players go through.

    While I do see the need to new players to contribute in a meaningful way at the same time CCP will have to be careful not to undermine the accomplishments of the older players who have 'been there and trained that'. I know that personally one accomplishment I am glad to have completed is the fitting skills. Having AWU to V is a huge benefit and one that is worth the long time to train. While I applaud the re-balancing of the T1 ships so far (with a few minor exceptions) I would be sorely remissed if new players were given the same fitting advantages I enjoy without the work I had to go through to get that advantage.

    You mention how Eve needs new blood, however, if they get that new blood at the cost of all the old players then it will be at a huge cost in player-based content. Older players in this game are the enablers that drive so much content that new players enjoy, and without them there will be a definite void that could kill the game before it could recover.

    Older players can help mitigate this need to 'nerf' them by helping out newer players overcome the obstacles that prevent them from staying with this game. Just think of how many new players would stay if someone had spent even 3-4 hours with them on they're first week explaining things like fitting, tanking, racial bonuses and other common pitfalls. Sure the new tutorials are supposed to address some of this but we all know that they leave a lot to be desired. And for ever new player that stays veterans can feel a bit more secure in knowing that the advantage that they have worked so long and hard for will not be taken away from them in the name of player retention.

    1. Tutorials are my number one problem with Eve. Always have been. Probably always will be. It wouldn't be so bad if there was a resource in game that actually explained stuff, and the wiki ain't it.

      I always thought the browser needed to come with pre-defined folders of player built resources. Players can sign up to have their tutorial websites added to it, and other players can upvote or downvote it's usefulness in the area it covers.

      Older players know where to go to find information. It'd be nice to give newer players direct access to the same things from inside the game at day one when they log in.

  16. I'm sure that if you follow the money you'll see a strong indicator that CCP should support newbies over vets. Newbies are probably the main plex sellers. It makes sense to sell a plex for 600m if you rat at 1m isk per hour and a lot less sense if you rat at 100m per hour or own moon goo. New people also provide us pvp oriented people with much more entertainment than vets. I can take a vexor gang out and know that newbies will give me a fight where vets would only engage if I had no hope of hurting them. Vets suck and half of them are no longer paying CCP a dime.

    If CCP gains 100k newbies and loses 50k vets not only does it gain more $15/month subs it will also sell more plex, and the experience of all the current players will improve. A 2 year old player in a frigate will be more likely to beat some random dude encountered in a frigate because the average player account age is lower.

    1. Actually, if it's similar to the numbers I've seen on the Chinese game market, the real money spent on a game is always weighted heavily toward the power gamers who are looking for an edge.

      The other demographics have some weird splits between newbies who don't want to wait, older players who just want to try something new, and vets who don't feel like running content they've done a hundred times to get a certain shiny.

      But the bulk, at least in that market, is people who are playing competitively for some sort of top slot. So if it holds true, Wars are the driving factor in PLEX sales. Be it shooting wars, economic, or whatever. They are trying to raise isk fast to fund a beatdown on someone else.

    2. If I may ask . . .
      If noobs hope to plex their way to ISK riches who are they going to sell their shiny credit card purchased plex to in game if there are shrinking numbers of in game rich veterans?

  17. Probably the only real noob here at < 1 year play.

    If CCP is trying to help new players with their changes then they are completely, completely incompetent. New players are trying to get to good Battlecruisers, T3 and Battleships (Marauders and T2 Battlecruisers are later goal). Noobs not yet in Test or Goon welfare (which in my opinion now makes nullsec really, really boring, I mean who can overthow test and goons now anyway now they have a lock on the game pretty much), are ratting for a living in either hi-sec, or class 1-3 wormholes, and perhaps did some low sec faction warfare when it was good. RvB or other PvP is fun time we have to support with ratting. We don't own moons obviously, and never can even hope to (gee thanks CCP awesome design there dumping all the important moons in one area dominated by mega alliances).

    So what does CCP do? Nerfs T1 battlecruisers, T3's and Tengus (which were are best early equalizer to the vets), buffs a bunch of T1 cruisers which we don't care about, makes the cheapest battleship we can get into, the Domi, nerfed through changest to rat AI, threatens to nerf Hi-sec so we may all be all forced to test/goon nullsec welfare lowbies. Oh yes, and CCP ruined the economy of C1-C2 wormholes we might be able to learn to do our own corps in through the T3 merfs.

    IF this is help for noobs CCP, please,please stop now. Obviously none of you, and I am especially looking at you Raivi, have any clue what it is like to be an actual noob anymore and sorry Jester, neither do you if you think CCP is actually helping any noobs by their changes. The stuff we rat in got nerfed, useless cruisers got buffed, and they are threatening to force us all into being goons or tests as our only practical alternative to anything else in the game. After all we can't join something elite like Rote for a long, long time if ever and we can never hope to have our own corps as all the ladder rungs there are being taken out - special thanks to CCP killing C1-C2 wormhole econmony this year through T3 nerfs as the last remaining ladder rung for those noobs who wanted to start a real corp that had space that was theirs in an unsafe area.

  18. Agreed. As it stands now, there is no way for a group of new players to compete with the older players, except by joining them and playing the game their way. So much for the sandbox.

    The only way for new players to catch up to older players now would be for CCP to introduce P2W - which is specifically why the older players object so strongly to P2W.

    Time for CCP to make the hard decision - to remain a small company supporting a niche game for a diminishing number of older players, or to be a real business and do what is necessary to grow the game, as a business.

  19. If CCP goes IPO, it will be incumbent on us as the player base to try and get enough shares to take control of the company.

    1. If CCP goes IPO, the shares will be going for so cheap that the company will be bought up by a Gordon Gecko speculator, the assets sold off for quick profit, and the game shut down for good.

    2. If a private equity firm looked at the staple product CCP produces and comes to that conclusion then, it was going to happen anyways.

      Best case scenario with a PEF, would be CCP being hacked up and sold and EvE proper's development is handed off to a development house that A) pays it's developers a competitive wage and B) sacks the majority of the Icelandic management and puts people with large scale distribution in the USA in charge.

      Now, if a PEF does not bite at the IPO or the IPO simply is not a release of enough preferred shares to take control of the company. Players have a shot at taking in enough shares to put at least 1 if not 2 people on the board of directors. If that happens, who gives a shit about the CSM anymore because we have true representation in the governance of the corporation.

      If EvE died with CCP there would be other space sims to follow anyways.

  20. "In short, if DUST 514 struggles to find an audience, CCP is going to do everything they can to keep the DUST 514 development staff working regardless. That means finding the revenue that they need to support those developers from other sources... namely EVE."

    Very true. However, I think you failed to note that the alternative to increasing revenue via EVE would be to decrease costs via EVE. The first option might not be doable and, certainly, it is not within CCP's ability to directly control. The latter option, however, is definitely something that CCP can directly effect, at any time.

    If CCP decides to keep moving forward with DUST, then we might be looking at another downsizing of work/resources on EVE. This isn't necessarily bad for the players, since it means that CCP will be forced to continue to focus on iterative fixes/changes to existing/broken features rather than implementing some new, poorly designed, game-breaking feature.

  21. When you are comparing T2 ships to their T1 counterparts, are you always assuming that a player has the T2 ship skill trained up to level 5?

    If so, then you not only need to take into account the higher cost of T2 ships, but also the amount of time required to train up the T2 ship to level 5, which is not insignificant. So, is the combined costs of ISK and SP worth investing in flying a T2 ship?

    One question that can also be asked is whether or not a T2 ship, trained to level 1, should be superior to its T1 counterpart, which, of necessity, must already be trained up to level 5. If the answer is always "no", then at what level should a T2 ship be equivalent to or superior than its T1 counterpart? Hopefully, the answer isn't always level 5.


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