EVE is Dying?

EVE is dying they say. The recent doom and gloom in the community lends this previously scoffed at (and age-old, mind you) expression creedence. From rumors to graphs; all point towards a decline in the population of New Eden, the annual summer slump is hitting a new low according to sources. Numbers don’t lie and indeed many are prophesying that EVE is entering a dark age. Meanwhile, lowsec didn’t get that memo.

Another world

Pilots in lowsec wake up each day to news and omens of decline and inactivity. Then they undock and can’t help but wonder if the doomsayers are indeed talking about the same game. Fleets are out and about, pilots are logging in and new recruits keep showing up. Faction Warfare is even heating up in some places and indeed the summer slump feels familiar and mild. The notable absentees amongst the usual suspects are those with teams in the alliance tournament, now deep in training. Other than that, it’s business as usual. Barring of course when the world cup was on, good luck getting a fleet to undock then. There is a disconnect between the mood in EVE media and the day-to-day life of lowsec. As turns out, there are reasons for that.

Numbers don’t lie

At the center of this hot topic in the community are the numbers. There is no denying that all signs point towards a decline in active subscriptions, with average accounts logged on each day back to 2008 levels. So for the sake of this article, let’s assume that as fact. The next task becomes to determine the nature of the hemorrhage. Is it across the board from industrialist to PvP-er, from young to old, from highsec to null? The evidence is the numbers, and they tell an interesting story. Back in 2011 nullsec saw more action than lowsec, beating it by 53% in kills. Since then the numbers have changed and lowsec now has the lead by 39%. When studying these numbers another interesting fact presents itself. Both nullsec and lowsec are currently on the curve of kills when comparing to last year, even slightly above. That is to say that both areas of space are killing just as much as last year, if not more. kills per year null ls comparison 2011 to 2014 If EVE is dying it’s certainly not showing in the PvP. We keep killing each other more each year with lowsec taking a clear lead. So if subscriptions are down but PvP is healthier than ever, the leak must be elsewhere.

The old world burns

It is arguable that a significant portion of the loss in subscriptions comes from veteran nullsec players previously sporting multiple accounts. Disillusioned by sov mechanics and stagnant null politics they may have lost their hope for the future and don’t see Crius as doing them any real favours. They may keep a couple of characters in the game for PvP, but unsubscribe most of their alts, a large proportion of which operate in highsec. PLEX prices being what they are, alts have become an expensive investment to begin with. With B0tlrd firmly in place the blue doughnut remains strong and winter isn’t coming. Alternate accounts are not as common in lowsec. The average lowsec denizen is younger (in character age) and predominantly involved in PvP. If lowsec is synonymous with PvP, the graph above suggests that low security space is thriving. While bittervets in null may have lost faith, Kronos saw improvements to lowsec; strengthening player retention with novelty and opportunity as well as addressing a key pain point for Factional Warfare that sounded the death-knell for plex farming alts (reducing the number of active accounts further, but improving the quality of PvP). As things stand now, lowsec reigns in blood, and the carnage shows no sign of slowing down. The fact that nullsec remains on par with its PvP performance from last year (speaking in terms of kills, not ISK), assuming the above is true, suggests that the nature of PvP in null has changed in character, but remains strong. No great narrative may be driving the fights, but the fights are still had. Indeed nullsec may be taking a page from the book of lowsec with smaller gangs, younger, more enthusiastic players, and fighting for fighting’s sake.

The news, fair and balanced

The EVE media of today is addicted to nullsec. Indeed, much of what we as EVE players consume via websites, podcasts and blogs comes from a view centered around null. For good reason; nullsec is home to some of the most dedicated and enthusiastic players EVE has ever seen, people who have built empires from scratch and taken part in wars and narratives that affect all of New Eden. But the old guard is bitter and tired. Stagnation and broken mechanics leave only the community to keep their passion for the game alive, and even that cannot hold them for ever. They yearn for enjoyment and fun but have had faith beaten out of them with structure grinds and stalemates, feeling like little more than statistics and relics of times gone by. No wonder there is somber mood in EVE media of late. No wonder subscriptions are down.

Wish you were here

Meanwhile, in the so-called ‘kiddie pool’, the party is in full swing and someone just put Slayer on the stereo – drowning out the sound of the news that no-one here cares about anyway. Subscriptions may be down, but PvP and lowsec are doing better than ever. So is EVE dying? No, EVE is killing. The bash is downstairs and everyone is invited.
Tags: lowlife, lowsec, niden, pvp

About the author


12 year EVE veteran, Snuffed Out scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.