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CZM: Is Your Eve Kill

 
The EVE community has gone up in flames a small bit this week over controversial assertions that EVE might be, as some doomsayers put it, “dying.” Commentators point to various statistics and their own personal impressions to substantiate these claims, but we’re curious what our (mostly) active, and very diverse, staff think about all of this. In particular, we’re curious if “your” EVE is dying. Are things all doom and gloom in your neck of the woods? Is your community on the decline? Are you lonelier than ever in your alliance chat? Or are things vibrant in your little corner of the world? Why, or why not? What keeps you coming back? What’s got your interest lately, and what, for you, keeps the fire alive inside you and keeps you coming back to New Eden? MukkBarovian: I am angry right now. I just read about the wormhole nerf a few minutes ago. I’m tired of CCP’s current game design philosophy, the same philosophy that brought us fatigue. CCP makes it harder to play the game using nerfs of all shapes and sizes, and then the user count goes down. Much of this stuff does not even help the little guy. When you make it harder for everyone, only the strongest groups can make the cut. For one thing, this push toward small local conflict utterly fails to satisfy the big groups that love being in the heart of important conflicts. The developers are locked out of any serious conflict by the regulations put in place to prevent another T2 BPO lottery. Developers end up screwing around namelessly somewhere doing small gang stuff, and launching the nerfhammer at bigger organised groups. I agree in principle with many of the nerfs that have been handed out. For example hotdropping was too easy. But the aggregate effect of all these nerfs is not acceptable. The unintended consequences, such as local power blocks having exclusive ability to use capitals in an area, have also been bad for the game. At the core of the whole problem, is that CCP seem to have stopped caring about making EVE fun. They are punishing players with tedium. This is not going to force people to bend the knee to CCPs wishes. This is going to kill people’s enjoyment of the game. Then players, who have no obligation to CCP, are going to unsubscribe and walk away. I am utterly amazed by what CCP is doing. People play games because they are fun. Whatever else your game design philosophy is, it cannot abandon the concept of entertaining its users. Lillik Eoner: I’m really far out of the meta to notice changes, and honestly, I don’t pay much attention to the dev blogs; I prefer to be surprised. With that said, I understand that even with meta changes, my small part of New Eden will still be there. Hopefully. Xander: I guess it depends on your definition of ‘dying’. If we are seeing dead weight being trimmed – I personally consider the likes of 30 Isboxer accounts ‘dead weight’ for example – then there is no issue. If the people we are losing are long term, genuine lovers of the game then that is a different kettle of fish all together. I think what’s interesting to me personally is I have felt no particular urge to play since coming home from Fanfest. Whether that is a general post-CSM lethargy or what, I don’t know. I am still interested in the game but I feel no inclination to log in and undock on a day-to-day basis at the moment. I wish I knew why that was but I can’t put my finger on it. It just kinda feels like I have other better uses of my time at the moment whereas a year ago, undocking would be higher up my list of priorities. Dunk Dinkle:  I don’t think ‘Eve is dying’, but I don’t get a good sense of the direction CCP is driving the game at this point. Part of the time we are seeing cool things with ships SKINs, alliance logos back on track, and more attention to lore and accompanying videos.  The o7 Show is doing great as a communications vehicle.  CCP is working hard to address the community and get good interaction going. But in the realm of actual gameplay, it’s not really clear what the goal is that the Dev Team is aiming to achieve. Lots of significant changes, but they have often led to unintended consequences. To the average player, many of the changes seem to make the game more tedious to play. If the idea was to break up the ‘blue donut’, then some of it has been achieved, but the changes seem to have reinforced the strength of the strongest groups, rather than leveling the playing field.  Changes to fleet ops and ship balancing seem to head toward making solo PvP pilots happy and broken, cancer-tier ships even more cancerous. There is probably a bigger plan that the Dev Team has, but most pilots aren’t seeing it and many changes seem to be poorly thought out.  Changing the gameplay of pilots that are already frustrated probably does lead to some leaving the game.  Again, I don’t think it means Eve is dying, but bringing new players into Eve needs to be always kept in front of mind. Making Eve even harder with an even steeper learning curve, doesn’t help new player retention. Apoth: CCP are finally doing what we have been asking them to do for years and largely focusing on fixing the old content rather than bringing us brand new shiny toys every 6 months. There’s a gap in agreement as to how well people are doing, newbros like Dunk and his group are complaining that the changes are fucking them, older corps are complaining that the changes are fucking them instead. While still in progress, ship balance has never been better, we’re seeing interesting and varied conflict all over new Eden. Personally, I’m pretty happy. If CCP keep fixing things along the plan CCP Seagull was showing us at Fanfest 2014, when we do get to the stage of shiny new things, building starships etc, the new players brought in by that will want to stay and the old players, well, they always find something to complain about and look at the past with rose tinted glasses. I wouldn’t say CCP are perfect, but in my opinion they’ve been mostly hitting out of the park since they switched to the 6 week cycle. I agree with Tarek on the matter. MukkBarovian: It is not somehow old players vs new players. CCP is making it harder for everyone. Dunk is going to feel the burn just as hard as I am. I would say that old players are the target, but it is not only old players feeling the effects of the changes. Apoth: “It is not old players versus new players” If I could change my ammunition to stamps with that phrase on it oh my god I would. I’d fly straight to BNI staging and shoot their station all day. Older and better organised players have the advantage of being able to take those changes and make more out of them then lesser groups, but that’s not the fault of the game, that’s on players to theorycraft, organise and learn how to better themselves. There are relatively old and new players in every organisation. Niden: I have to strongly disagree with Mukk here, it’s certainly not worse for everyone, the Phoebe expansion alone has done wonders for lowsec. Again I and my fellow lowsecers find ourselves in the same situation as last year, and the year before that. The doomsayers say one thing, but you only have to undock in Black Rise to find something else: A vibrant world with fighting and content daily. I am also angry. I am angry because this happens every year. Doomsayers scare people with stats while reaping the attention that spelling the end of the world brings. Meanwhile, the only function this serves, besides giving them attention, is to scare away new players. There is a massive disconnect between the dying Eve they’re talking about and my reality, and I’m pissed off that some people will never see that because they got scared away at the door. Statistics =/= reality. I’m on holiday right now, but the first thing I want to do when I get back is undock. Again, if Eve is dying, no one sent the memo to lowsec because we’re doing just fine.
Tags: CZM, dying

About the author

Xander Phoena

The good looking, funny, intelligent member of the team, Xander set up Crossing Zebras with Jeg in April 2012 mainly because he was talking too much about Eve on his other podcast. Playing the game for almost five years, Xander still has absolutely zero clue about how to actually play Eve but somehow still manages to talk a good game.

  • MukkBarovian

    I will put more credence in claims that everyone is out to kill noobie organizations when I see people go try to kill EVE University, Karma Fleet, and Pandemic Horde. EVE is not a place where noobie groups cannot survive. EVE is a place where dumb decisions have serious consequences.

  • Dirk MacGirk

    I hear ya Mukk. Tedium, no matter how realistic, is not an entertainment mechanic.
    But Xander’s comment probably struck my personal cord the most. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but logging in is just less frequent and for shorter durations. I’m expecting that will change come 8 days from now out of necessity, but… back to Mukk’s point, if my tedium gauge gets to high, who knows. Probably a change to some other aspect of the game in the hope that fixes it.
    I do know what is keeping me as active as I am and that is the guys I fly with and the broader community of EVE. I can’t even imagine this game without all of them.
    Here’s hoping that the upcoming changes reinvigorate this beast. That space becomes not only vibrant, but fun. Because those two go hand in hand. It just won’t be vibrant if enough people aren’t having fun. Again, fingers crossed because even other games aren’t a draw for me. Not like EVE is. Or the thought of EVE.

    • Dermeisen

      I generally agree with Apoth, that said the heart of my concern is the competitive viability, not to say critical mass, of new bros needed to support my game, because if the dichotomy isn’t new bro vers vet Apoth, might it be casual vers hardcore? I’m not talking about some in-game parasitical relationship á la scammer or highsec ganking dynamic but economically or somehow ineffably. The distinction between Eve the community and its playability can be rolled up under the rubric the Game, and what is ‘good’ for the game, but even when the measures are rational, or rationalised the consequences are often less foreseeable? But as long as the pips don’t squeak I’m happy for CCP to be gutsy, without – my generally left wing politics notwithstanding – making allusions to Obama care!

      • Dirk MacGirk

        hey, I didn’t mention the Affordable Sovereignty Act here

        • Dermeisen

          Crunch time, shit, perhaps – I hope it’s a secondary effect because I lack the imagination to see Eve going the way of those other games. Though it’s a theoretical inevitability it can only really happen to someone else, right?

  • ThatGuy

    If you want to project force you should have to put it on the line and move close to the fights and challenges you want, not set back in an npc station system drinking the cool aid.

  • GrouchyOldGamer

    Eve is changing rather than dying.

    Goonswarm won Eve under the old sovereignty system and many groups groups tried to copy the CFC model resulting in the stagnant null sec. Once the mobility nerfs were introduced these groups either contracted or dissolved. Given that null sec players seem to be the most vocal through their lens it is easy to see why the Eve is dying meme has traction.

    I’ve lived in null the majority of my time playing the game and fozziesov has zero appeal to me. Undoubtedly for the first few months groups like the CFC will pillage regions using the sov cannons to draw fights. However; once the groups under attack realise they can evac to low sec and wait out the invasion some of these large sov groups will be left with local roams 30 jumps outside their blues. But … that is a problem for null sec blocks to fix themselves and not something to blame CCP for. If you blue all your neighbours and then moan their is no content what you’re really demanding is content tailored to your specific play styles.

    Outside the large blocks I hope that small city state type sov picks up and CCP goes further in allowing sov owners to upgrade their space to give them a home field advantage i.e. being able to effect local.

    I’m not entirely sure that outside the large sov holding blocks Eve is seen as dying? I doubt Moa have content issues, both low sec and wormhole groups seem very active. Without the constraints of the tight management found in some null sec groups Eve players are more than able to generate content.

    I’ve recently moved into wormholes and am loving it. Your home moves every day and content is only a few jumps away. I’m seriously considering leaving null sec for an extended vacation in wormholes because it is so refreshing to have no blues, no sov and many of the wormhole groups you find are happy to have a good natured fight.

    Maybe the question shouldn’t be is Eve is dying part are some play styles dying?

    • Kamar Raimo

      “Maybe the question shouldn’t be is Eve is dying but are some play styles dying”

      A very valid question I’d say and I am also inclined to answer it with yes. The next question is what will happen after that.

  • Altrue

    MukkBarovian: How can you be so spot on with your comment in the article? I feel like you’re reading my mind.

  • bob@wormholes.com

    Wh space is already dead.
    C6 space is controlled by a blue donut.
    Instant sig respawn, wormhole spawn distance change, less nullsecholes,and now fleet warp is killing wh space pvp and no help is even on the radar.
    Ceo’s and dirs burn out because of the bad interface.
    Scouts burn out because of the empty-ness abd the things mentioned above make escape so easy.
    All that is left to do is pve, and that is boringly repetitive.

  • AFK

    EVE is just old hat. Everything has been min maxed and over solved. It’s awash with more ISK than anyone knows how to spend. Personal supercapital fleets are an actual unironic thing. Every irrelevant gatecamping scrub now has a logi alt and and gang links. Alliances can replace everything they own multiple times over. There’s no grudgematches anymore, everything is buddy-buddy let’s all be chill. Fights are for “content creation” rather than achieving any objective. New blood has the choice of either being strangled in the cradle before they find their feet, or be subsumed into existing blobs and told SirMolle wants to destroy them, like that’s supposed to mean anything to them. It’s done.

  • Viince_Snetterton

    New sov mechanics kick into gear in coming weeks. (BTW, could there be a worse time to roll out these changes than in the summer doldrums?) Bottom line, unless these changes make a major change to the PCU trends, CCP is in deep trouble.

    The true results won’t be known until late Sept, but if the PCU is still mid 30’s on a Sunday in Sept, fozzie and the rest of the architects responsible for the changes in the past 12 months should all be fired.

    • Kamar Raimo

      Something I always wanted to ask you: Is it true, that Dinsdale Piranha nailed your head to the floor?

    • AFK

      Let’s take the most “optimistic” theory and say the drop is entirely due to isboxer alts leaving (…….8 months after the ban..ahem…) and has brought us back to 2008 levels. In that case the game stopped growing *in* 2008. That means growth of real people behind the screen has stagnated for 7 YEARS. Fozziesov = rearranging deckchairs.

      • Kamar Raimo

        As outsiders we simply don’t know how much of the growth was alts. I’d venture the guess that it was a significant portion.

  • Kamar Raimo

    I have written at length about this anyway, I’d just add on a very personal level that I have fun in EVE FW lowsec and there is hardly a dull moment. If there’s something where I really feel that CCP is creating problems for *my* game then it is that they still don’t force links to be on grid and that they keep nerfing all the new tactical destroyers one week after I have finally trained them to V.

  • I am having the best time ever in EVE these days and I don’t even shoot stuff anymore if I can help it. Go figure. The amazing people I play with and defining/pursuing interesting and challenging objectives are the things that keep EVE alive for me.

  • callduron

    Mukk, sorry buddy, but you’re coming across as really entitled.

    CCP nerfed your alliance’s ability to teleport your supers across the map with the intention of creating fun local conflicts.

    You adapted, well played.

    Now they’re nerfing your ability to teleport Proteus fleets across the map.

    You’ll probably adapt again,

    But the goal here is for small turf wars like Darkness v Elite to operate with minimal outside interference, creating an engaging small war that could absorb those sides for years.

    Instead all the big boys are already planning their deployments. The Delve/Querious conflict will end in August.

    The way in which you find your fun stops the nullsec minnows having lengthy periods of local uninterrupted fun.

  • Messiah Complex

    The extent to which “power projection” has become CCP’s categorical bogeyman has gotten pretty silly. I more or less accept the argument that pre-Phoebe jump drives and jump bridges were problematic, especially (perhaps overwhelmingly) with respect to capitals. At that point, there was, at least, a logical connection between the mechanics and the problems.

    Seven months later, we’re nerfing wormhole travel with no discussion whatsoever, with apparently no thought given to why teleportation mechanics were debatable in the first place. We’re just mindlessly repeating the mantra that “power projection is bad.”

    • Kamar Raimo

      To be fair, it was a mantra repeated by a significant part of the playerbase. You got to be careful what you wish for I guess.

      • Messiah Complex

        Quite right.

        • MrFoundryguy .

          It’s not bad, it just needs to be “reasonable”. Honestly, nerfing capital range, or just adding fatigue and keeping the existing ranges of pre-Phoebe would have worked. It was ham-fisted, and overly punishing in my opinion.

          • Kamar Raimo

            Although the only jump capable ships I have ever flown were jump-freighters and black-ops I am also not particularly happy with the mechanic. Particularly because I dislike nerfs that make little sense within the game’s “realism”. That said, I do have the feeling that the change needed to be made. Things were getting ridiculous. When even a force like the CFC thinks twice about deploying a sizeable (super)capital fleet, imagine how the rest of the game who are not part of the heavy hitters feel.

            Since the change came I saw much more localised small capfights that were good fun, and that despite the fact that my beloved black-ops were nerfed and hotdropping several times per night stopped being an option.

            TBH I would have liked it if they made fatigue proportional to mass, but I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it v0v

  • PB J

    Completely agree with Niden and Apoth here

  • Smokey

    I think it’s not about new vs. old players, but between large and small groups. Listening to podcasts, interviews, and reading posts, I kept seeing that smaller, <300-500 players are all having fun, while large alliances and coalitions are bored or mad.

    The interesting part is that they themselves create the PVP content, they create the "fun"…or not. One goal of the new system is to promote smaller fights in several systems close by, preferrably by new, smaller corps. All the design goals are public and can be looked up if someone forgot them…

    I don't know how the new sov will turn out, but right now the 'dying' is caused by the lack of a complete system up and running. Measuring how well sov works and if that's killing EVE will start 2-3 months after 80% if the final product is launched.

  • Wild Things

    Apothne, as he often does, has some really reflective and well thought out commentary. Xander raises some good points as well. Hopefully the sov changes and new appeal of small gang will help fix some of his concerns.

    Mukk is a shitter, news at 11.

  • LlamaStar

    F the naysayers, I’m having a great time. Content on the undock daily, building a young fresh nullsec corp, never a dull moment. Can’t log in without joining / standing up a small gang fleet to go kill nerds. If you guys are bitching about boredom, then you’re doing it wrong. Heil Fozziesov and bring on the reign of the small gang. I’m ready.