Blinkered

I was thinking about Neville Smit’s call for an Occupy New Eden movement. What sort of critical mass of EVE players would it need for CCP to pay enough attention to change their development plans?

I think it is fair to say that a notable proportion of players don’t involve themselves in much related to EVE outside of the game client.  I don’t however have any statistics to back that up.

I notice the EVE Online Facebook page has almost 290,000 likes – which seems reasonable, yet on average only a few hundred interact with any of their posts. Most of CCP’s official YouTube videos are viewed less than 20,000 times, their Twitch TV stats are even lower. Their trailers are the exception – but then they are often linked to from Ads and various external gaming sites. Most of the threads in the official EVE forum are viewed less than 1,000 times, including revisits. And of course you can look at the number of accounts that vote for the CSM.

Circumstantial, but to my mind it paints a picture.

If I am right about the possible audience, it seems unlikely that Neville’s idea would be seen and certainly not actioned by sufficient players to make a difference.

That is not to say it could never have an impact – if enough recognisable players, bloggers, tweeters, reporters, podcasters and what not all got behind it, CCP would listen.

I’ve read many of the initial responses from that group of players, and generally found them to be more thoughtful than expected. If you break them down however we return to a rehash of the well-trodden Hi-Sec Vs Everyone else topic. What’s the chance of getting any sort of consensus on that?

So I came to the conclusion Occupy New Eden won’t get to a wide enough audience or result in any sort of large enough common voice to make a difference. This assumption carried more weight after Neville made it clear this was more about provoking discussion than a ground swell movement.

As I kept reading responses I came across this related blog post from Talvorian Dex –

http://targetcaller.blogspot.com.au/2016/05/dont-occupy-modify.html

It is a common idea, repeated often. In harsh summation it is the suggestion that people stay subscribed to EVE longer if they get out of Hi-Sec, and so while Hi-Sec should be fun and engaging, players should be encouraged to move through the game to the next step. I think it is fair to say CCP subscribes to a similar view – they seem to try and steer players towards the conflict game styles that their statistics show keeps them engaged longer.

I can see the logic – and you might get some to transition, but mostly – in the most obvious and common sense way to me – that has and will continue to fail.

I think this is actually the crux of the issues Hi-Sec has. It isn’t their slice of development time, it isn’t what part of space CCP is focused on, it doesn’t need a player uprising. The problem is relatively simple and straight forward – CCP, and (sorry) the like of Talvorian really do not understand them. Conflict is not the driver that will keep most of them in EVE longer.

I don’t have statistics, and I am not sure how to convince people my view on this is accurate. I am going to start with just one somewhat topical example.

Have you noticed the derision Hi-Sec miners tend to get? There are groups devoted solely to griefing them, to try and force them to play a different sort of game. I read suggestions that they are saving these players from themselves, and that they deserve this lack of respect.

The Griefers can’t see why someone would like to spend years maxing out skills, and ship equipment, and ship hulls, and refining, and boosting, and implants, and hauling just to get to the point where they can say their mining yield is at the absolute maximum possible. Or why they take that further by bookmarking the optimal positions in each belt to maximum asteroids reached with the least amount of moving, or use survey scanners and PC stopwatches for each mining laser so that they can minimise the length of unproductive cycle time, or the satisfaction they get for totally strip mining a belt by themselves. And they do all this for some of the poorest ISK returns in the game.

The people and voices driving EVE’s development at the moment do not seem to understand why people would do that. I understand – because that is what I spent a couple years doing.

There is certainly a couple years of play in that – assuming the player remains goal oriented and sticks at it despite the contempt sent their way. What can CCP do to extend this?

Update the Rorqual so that it has the largest mining yield possible in game through fighter sized mining drones, and put an area effect superweapon on it that gives a short period of invulnerability for the mining fleet so the Calvary can ride in and save them if attacked?

How many Hi-Sec miners do you think that will entice? How many will stay subscribed for another year to train up all those skills and get the related in game assets?

What if they make a Hi-Sec version of the Rorqual. I’ve mentioned it before. Give it a mining yield marginally better than a Hulk, and balance the crap out of it so it cannot be used as a non-Ore hauler or be safe from War Dec in an NPC Corp. How many Hi-Sec miners would set a goal and spend more time subscribed to achieve that?

Hell – add two versions of Mining Titans, one Hi-Sec, one excluded from Hi-Sec, if you really want to stretch out the end goals for such players and keep them subscribed.

I’m not championing this as a solution – it is just an example. If the idea annoys you because you think it will take away possible new targets, then you probably don’t get Hi-Sec. Don’t worry, you are in good company with CCP.

It seems like it should be easy to fix – just sit down with CCP and explain what Hi-Sec enjoys about the game and why a sizeable number won’t ever be taking steps out of it, no matter what they do.  Give transition options, but concentrate on keeping them subscribed longer doing what they want to do.  Maybe the Council of null Sec influence and Management (CSM) can speak to them?  Or maybe not.  At the moment we have a PVP focused group thinking they understand and know what’s best for the Carebear focused, and they at not getting it right.

12 thoughts on “Blinkered

  1. Yeah… I sometimes wonder about the “people that go to low sec (and or die early) stay longer”.

    Is this mere correlation or causality? Do those people like the game and want to explore more, thus go to low sec (and or die early)? The same people who would stay anyway?

    The rest just aren’t interested, don’t go to low sec, don’t die and leave the game regardless?

    Would put a crimp in the tail of the saviours of highsec. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing.

    I like the idea of the Rorq being able to take gates in high sec like the jump freighters. Why not. And also no need to stop at mining – I think there is a case to be made for the return of lvl5 missions to highsec. Heck, even lvl 6 carrier missions (and thus carriers allowed to take gates in HS is ok with me).

    What you propose is moving the end game of the risk averse high sec care bear to a point further down the line. I regards that as a plus.

    • I tend to agree. Though, I’d sure like to convert every mining player into a mining, missioning, PvP, trading, and industrial character. I’d also like to convert every PvP player into a mining, missioning, PvP, trading, and industrial character. Or, at least seed in aspects of each activity that require them to try out those other aspects after being given the tools and training to be able to successfully do them, then make up their own minds.

  2. I think you might be missing the point a little over highsec miners. CCP is not selling and developing a space-themed version of FarmVille. They are not creating a solo exercise in min-maxing mining yield. Part of the game, maybe the central idea even, is having to account for the actions of the other players. Miners (and everyone really) has to balance yield vs. defence in this full-time PvP sandbox game.

    The game has been designed so there is near zero NPC-risk to miners in highsec and CCP expects the other players to fill that role so that mining is not just a simple exercise in min-maxing yield. “The Griefers” as you call them are just filling that intended role, to provide that risk and make miners actually play the multi-player part of this MMO by having to account for the risk presented by other players. You can accuse them of not understanding what motivates the miners, but in reality they are well aware what they miners are trying to do and take exception to that and that another player expects to be able to mine with impunity in a game where that is not allowed by the game mechanics by design.

    Eve has a single-universe economy and thus every unit of ore mined by an obsessive carebear miner devalues everyone else’s. I am all for giving new tools and complexity for miners that provide both risk and reward, but players who think CCP is ever going to make highsec into a carebear resource gathering paradise are gravely mistaken. It’s just not compatible with the fundamental single-universe, interconnected sandbox game design that has carried the game this far. But highsec miners are about to get some new toys in the form of the new Drilling Platforms which promise to have new ways to mine and increased yield at the cost of having to defend them so at least there is that. Mining as a mechanic has been neglected for too long.

    • Thank you for the reply, but I’m not sure what it was in response to.

      I did not give an opinion on mining as it currently stands. I did not suggest Griefers should or should not exist. I did not discuss risk or ask for a Carebear paradise.

      I said I felt the developers of EVE have a PVP / conflict focus and don’t properly understand their Hi-Sec Carebears. The example was, in the better words of AbsenceOfSubstance, if you want to keep a risk averse Hi-Sec Miner in the game for longer, move the end game for them further down the line in Hi-Sec.

      If CCP was ever to do that – and frankly I have my doubts, I would hope they would balance such changes to fall between the Miner who wants complete safety, and the Griefer who wants easy mode success, pleasing neither.

      I have not seen details on what form the drilling platforms might take. It will be interesting to see.

      • I guess my point is that I don’t think the developers do not understand the highsec Carebears. I think they fully well understand what motivates some of their players, and do make some accommodation for them, but just building an engineering exercise in maximizing extraction of a resources is not their goal. They are trying to foster a living, breathing universe where no one is isolated and everyone affects everyone and this objective puts constraints on what game play they can implement. They cannot just add invincible capital mining ships (I know you didn’t call for that but as an example but they would be under the current rules of engagement in highsec) to provide stretch goals without also adding new ways for them to be exploded.

        I hope drilling platforms are more interesting than just some buff to yield though. Making mining, if not more engaging, at least have more options for resource collection might offer new challenges for those focused on gathering stuff to figure out and perhaps keep them in the game longer.

    • I will disagree with how you read what CCP intends. The mining barge update in 2012 introduced the high tanking procurer and skiff; to battleship levels. At the time, possessing similar yields across all three hull types. On a recent visit to an ice anon, there were fifteen hulls mining. Only one retriever – the rest were procurers and skiffs. That is the future of suicide ganking.

      At the time of their original introduction, neither CCP or the player-base considered that mining barges would be the focus of aggression. Otherwise, why only give them a single mid-slot and give them shield tanking directive? Unless it is all just a troll on the industrial player, to be served up as a mere kill board statistic.

      The truth is that miners are an easy target. The NPE/tutorial provides near zero training or understanding to the cut-throat nature of the game. The ships are slow and untanked at the tech1 level. The skills into mining/industry have no benefit towards any aspect of ship to ship combat.

      It is a dead-end in play style because there is no progress beyond exhumer. (but it takes a long time to learn that). I would have preferred if the bulk of mining was converted into a NPC activity. Players can then funneled into more combat orientated ship classes, entering the game faithful to its real nature.

      As for Drilling Platforms. I predict a shriveled carrot which only anchors outside of high-sec.

      • It is sort of a troll as is all PvE is the game. Every single activity that rewards you with resources that spawn into the universe puts you at risk to the other players, by design. That’s why even things like PI force you into space to collect and move your resources.

        Mining ships are suppose to be easy targets that people want to shoot and thus people have to defend. It goes back to the basic design of the game where CCP dangles things for us to chase so that we offer ourselves up as content to the other players. Skiffs are popular in highsec because most highsec players are playing solo or in a small group so they do not have a fleet to come to their aid (nor is there usually time) so tanking any attack until CONCORD responds is the best strategy. In nullsec, the paradigm is different and intel channels and defense fleets change the calculation.

        The whole ‘Butterfly Effect’ trailer showcase how CCP designed the game to work. Miners are suppose to be vulnerable to make players attack and defend them to spark content. In highsec, the NPC response and the overwhelming force that short window requires gankers to use cuts any chance at escalation off at the knees though. CCP could well spend another expansion focused on putting in place new aggression mechanics that allow more nuanced game play to develop over contesting highsec mining resources. I hope drilling platforms could be part of this, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

  3. After reading your post, I actually wonder if its a case of people seeking external validation (PvP) vs those seeking internal or perhaps put better, self imposed validation (PvE)…. and the viewpoints on how to “win” are so different that the two groups have a hard time understanding one another.

    And possibly why it’s so difficult to accommodate both. May have to ponder that one some more…

    • Insightful comment Helena. I too will have to ponder this. That said, though I agree with evehermet that Occupy Eve will probably fail to launch (I know I won’t be partaking), that doesn’t mean all is lost for the PvEers among us. Sometimes the best argument is a life lived well. If one is really into something, embrace it wholeheartedly. Shamelessly partake and chat about it enthusiastically. The griefers pursue their game shamelessly, why shouldn’t their prey? If we PvEers (because I’ve been known to PvE) simply dance in our joy as the Good Lord intended, that pleasure will percolate up to CCP. CCP is nothing if not diligent. Despite their missteps, they’re not out to destroy our enthusiasm. No, they’re out to embrace it. We just have to show them the way.

      And with apologies evehermit, I link my take on Occupy Eve since it explains why I’m not jumping on the bandwagon: https://casualevedotcom.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/diatribe-and-alienation/

    • That is an interesting thought, and I don’t think it’s restricted to PvP vs PvE. I suspect a similar dichotomy exists between true solo PvP vs. gang/fleet PvP (or link-alt PvP respectively) – I know it does when I evaluate my own activities.

  4. I just wanted to add my voice to say that Evehermit is reading my position correctly, and I appreciate the read. I do believe very strongly that CCP needs to bake-in “the next step” to every activity, specifically because those players who have something to look forward to will continue subscribing.

    At my heart, I don’t believe Eve is meant to be a high-sec game, because high-sec almost entirely eliminates the quintessential Eve factor – that other players can, have the motivation to, and are permitted to ruin your day at any time. In my opinion, a lot of high-sec mechanic-rules seek to reduce that risk to the point that high-sec players are encouraged NOT to believe in that truth. On the whole, while there are means of inflicting harm on high-sec players, they have incredibly steep consequences (CONCORD) or are telegraphed a mile away (war decs). Rendering something possible but incredibly unlikely is virtually the same as rendering it inconsequential.

    That said, I don’t think what evehermit argues here and what I propose are incompatible. Does it matter if CCP is trying to encourage high-sec players to leave high-sec, if the content high-sec provides is satisfying and thrilling to those players? Google is constantly trying to introduce me to new products, but they don’t render the existing products I use useless unless I buy those other products. Any system which rigidly keeps players in one type of activity is building in its own termination date.

    True long-term engagement (10 years) requires players to interact with more than one area of the gameworld. It requires the “gateway” activity to include branches and shunts to introduce you to other in-game actions, and subtle seeding of the skills needed to succeed. A miner may not try mission running for two years, but the day he tries it, he’ll hate it unless his mining experience has well-conditioned him to know about ship fitting, the basics of combat, etc. That training has to happen for months before the point when a person tries a new thing.

    That’s really what I’m talking about here, progression that builds a common core of skills that have applications in a wide range of activities, and rewards for moving people to other areas of space. I don’t want to force people to null or low per se, but I do want to give them reasons/opportunities to go there, and the skills to survive that first foray. From there, let them decide if they enjoy it.

    I do still think Eve is -meant- to be Nietzsche Online, but I do want to leave space for Farmville in Space. Those players make best candidates to one day replenish the ranks of PvPers, since they’re already familiar with the game. If they don’t migrate, that’s fine too. After all, their money is as good as mine. I – biased-ly – don’t want the Devs to cater to them (ie. destroying PvP gameplay to appease their largest base) like so many other games have done (to their ruin), but I do want them to have space to exist and enjoy themselves.

  5. [quote]I think it is fair to say that a notable proportion of players don’t involve themselves in much related to EVE outside of the game client. I don’t however have any statistics to back that up.

    Check out CCP Quant’s figures presented at Fanfest 2015. Approx 25% of the player base is traditionalist (carebear) and does not get involved in the mata game.

    [quote]It is a common idea, repeated often. In harsh summation it is the suggestion that people stay subscribed to EVE longer if they get out of Hi-Sec:

    The actual point given by CCP Rise at Fanfest 2015, was that it has been contended that suicide ganking is one of the reasons for the low retention of new players. Rise said no, then provided statistics in a effort to back the statement. He listed that 1% of the player the retained player base had been non-consensually attacked within their “new player” phase. Personally – I do not see a direct correlation between the 90% that do not pass the trial period and 1% of the current player base. Nor can I see that 1% is a number to get excited over in terms of a positive value. Usually when this conversation arises, players will point to CCP Rise; suicide ganking is a positive force in the game. Only quoting the text, and dropping to poorly constructed stats intended to support the claim.

    The other core point shared elsewhere by CCP, was that players that have joined a corporation have longer retention in Eve that others. As we all agree a PvP game, yet the NPE presents purely PvE experiences. It is obvious that new players require coaching actual persons rather than programmed automatic AI. But how to do this? Given an under-current of Eve’s laissez-faire – how to ensure that new players are treated properly and fairly? There have been many suggestions over the years; none have taken root or gained an acceptance.

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