I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing

 

In the middle of a truly exceptional increase in new players coming to New Eden thanks to the coverage of the recent battle of B-R, most of the Eve community is banding together and making sure that these new players are welcomed “appropriately” into the game. Of course, by “appropriately” I mean exploded hilariously and then promptly mentored. The initiative undertaken by both CCP and players alike is a phenomenon I’ve not seen since Asakai. In the aftermath of Dabigredboat’s misclick came the creation of Brave Newbies – who now stand as one of the largest alliances in the game after just one year of existence. I believe that even that great spike in fresh blood pales in comparison to what’s going on now. The amount of community support that is welling up is surprising even to me.

And I couldn’t be happier.

CZ’s own Sindel Pellion has dusted off her Angel Project in earnest. Although frustrating moments lie ahead for her, she charges onward with the support of many other notable members of the community.

CCP Explorer has been on the ‘newbro’ issue like a hawk. Since the sudden influx of new subscribers, he’s been tirelessly making sure that new players know where to find information that may be helpful to them, not to mention where to find the super secret community of Eve players on Twitter at #tweetfleet. CCP Manifest, CCP Karkur, and CCP Fozzie are leading new pilot fleets into the depths of lowsec and nullsec. Baptism by fire seems to be the mantra of other new player friendly corporations that are welcoming them with open arms. Eve University, Brave Newbies, and RvB are seeing surges in their recruitment – record setting in some cases.

I realize that all of this is not news. Crossing Zebras doesn’t confine itself to just reporting news. Opinion, discussion, and the community are all central focuses within our writing staff; being closer to all of them has given me a better perspective of just how much impact we have on the community as a whole. There’s a new-found sense of refreshment around here. Our chats among the team, both on Skype and Twitter, are filled with a swelling of pride that we all share after the latest round of news exposure that’s brought this new tide of newbies to the game. That said, I believe the majority of Eve is helping to do their part in making sure that these new players feel appreciated and, of course, exploded appropriately.

map_after_tuskers_ffa

What is news to me is the disturbing tone among some bitter vets regarding the state of the game during this gold rush of growth. In a time that should be optimistic and celebratory of our new members, and what their increased presence means for the game, some of the most influential and outspoken members of the bitter vet order have taken it upon themselves to raise some of the most off-putting and pessimistic language I’ve heard in some time:

 “I hope you enjoyed it because it’s probably the last that EVE is gonna see for a long while. Additionally, it’s a good bet that B-R5RB is not only the costliest battle EVE Online has ever seen, it’s the costliest battle EVE Online will ever see.” – Ripard Teg, Jester’s Trek The Last War (posted 30 Jan, 2014)

While Ripard’s comments may have merit from a realistic, nullsec-centric, political standpoint, I have to question why he felt it necessary to say this when tons of new players are thrusting themselves into the game hoping they can one day take part in the next historical fight worthy of their own monument. It’s not enough to get new players into the game. You have to let them set goals for themselves and give them the tools to find their motivation for doing it. After hanging out in the new player help channel, Brave Newbies general chat, and local starting systems, it appears to me that if we can do our part to help retain this new player base, Ripard’s comments stand to crumble like so much cake within a year or so.

“…to have enormous fleet battles, you need enormous numbers of players who are both active subscribers and logged into the game. And those numbers, as I’ve said many times, are quite stagnant.”- Ripard Teg, Jester’s Trek The Last War (posted 30 Jan, 2014)

Until now. The population spike seen since the battle of B-R will undoubtedly taper off and settle. Make no mistake, though, it will result in an overall increase in players. An increase that potentially could make the likes of RvB and Brave Newbies the next big threats to the game. This is an extremely very short-sighted view, in my opinion. The current nullsec blocks aren’t getting their newbie drive engines revved up for this onslaught like they used to.  New players are particularly running to Brave Newbies by the droves. Recruitment is skyrocketing and recruiters aren’t able to keep up. We stand at the threshold of a potential Goons 2.0. We shall see how “stagnant” these numbers of 50,000+ online last, but I suspect that we’re not going to see that drop too much or too swiftly. Especially while we’re on the cusp of Fanfest, the New Eden Open, and the next expansion.

I was also pretty disturbed to hear the same kind of pessimistic attitudes expressed on episode 176 of Podside. In summary, the opinions expressed by FrFrmPukin and Longinus Spear regarding their faith in the CCP development process, while being partially valid from a past experience standpoint, could be perceived as destructive. From listening to the conversation, this game is in the hands of bumbling idiots who the players “have to be protected from” according to Spear. Now imagine being a new player, brought to the game thanks to B-R, and listening to that podcast. How much stock would you put into the game in which the community was basically throwing the developer under the bus? (EA Games, anyone?)

It’s no secret that CCP has had it’s ups and downs; it’s the same story for any game developer. We’ve seen everything from T20 to the Summer of Rage, to Somerblink, to the ESS. But we’ve also seen the additions of countless number of new (and recently rebalanced) ships, modules, gameplay mechanics, wormholes, weapon rebalances, incursions, graphic improvements, warp speed changes, Crimewatch, and the expansion of exploration. Along the way we’ve built empires, seen others fall, and developed the meta game into a fine art which continues to evolve. No, not everyone is going to stay. Veterans of the game will continue their ebb and flow of floating in and out of the game with their various alts. However, the essence of newly-found potential, open doors, and endless possibilities that brought us to Eve are the same as those just entering. The key difference is that when some of us were just starting the game, we didn’t have the resources and personalities of today – the same resources and personalities telling us that things are terrible and you should spend your money elsewhere these days.

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We have the opportunity to see a Renaissance period in Eve. The timing of these events, the swelling of new players, and the possibilities of what’s to come excite me. They also excite the new players. Literally THOUSANDS of people watched as Eve stole the spotlight again. Even more took the step to add themselves to our ranks soon after. Although I may just be optimistic by nature, I refuse to believe that the game I’ve loved and played for over seven years now is wasted. I don’t believe that the function of the CSM is to protect me from CCP. I don’t believe that we’ll never see another sudden jump in interest because of a press-worthy game event. Finally, I absolutely don’t believe that there’s nothing more to look forward to.

The question of whether or not the game will retain these new players is not just on CCP. I believe player involvement has just as much of a direct impact as that of the developer. If we do our parts and continue to drive content and interest for the game, dividends will follow. At best, we stand to gain more space drama, more content, and more conflict. At worst, if things should go south again like they did in the Summer of Rage, that just means there will be that many more players shooting statues. You’re free to chalk this up as either a positive or a negative if you want, but in my mind it’d be that much more of a glorious light show.

Like it or not, the reason why our community in Eve is different than any other game out there is because it’s a partnership between the developer and the players. CCP has done more to foster that foundation than any other in history.  Partnership means sharing responsibility for when things go right, as well as when they go horribly wrong. Right now, things are going in the right direction. We should continue to look up and help build this game by knowing when it’s time to talk negatively about the past or appreciate our present…so we can look toward building a better game. Eve’s worth is more than the sum of its parts. The parts include everyone who participates as well as those who develop. For those who are just joining us and to those that are rediscovering New Eden…Welcome to Eve. You’ve arguably chosen the best time in our history to join us. Now go blow something up! 7o

Tags: angel project, BNI, NPE, proto

About the author

Proto

Proto began his career in Eve in 2007 and is a current member of Brave Newbies. He spends a great deal of his time blogging and contributing content for Eve related podcasts. When he can put a few sentences together, he's usually worth a read.

  • Poetic Stanziel

    Just to put player alliance recruitment into perspective.

    Brave Collective membership has risen by about 400 members since B-R5. The Ivy League numbers have actually fallen slightly since B-R5. Fweddit’s membership has barely changed. RvB (Red and Blue) has seen an uptick of about 250 people. Test Alliance, no appreciable change. Goonswarm Federation has seen an uptick of around 500 people.

    Which suggests if new people are coming into the game in large numbers, the player organizations are not snatching them up in droves.

    What will happen is that these players will only have the game to form an opinion on EVE (versus the community and the much better metagame). As we know, EVE is a terrible game. The PvE is truly and astoundingly boring. Without the metagame/community to keep these new players’ hopes and dreams alive, most of them will let their 2 week trials lapse … and the next time there’s a big fight, those people won’t return.

    You can’t put all this on player organizations (though they should be trying harder). CCP simply needs better content, fun content, to keep new players hooked until the community can finally hook them.

    • and Gentlefolk of eve online, may I present THE test book example of the attitude that proto is talking about in this article. A bitter vet who “quit” eve on protest, bragged about RMTing his accounts to the masses, deleted the posts related to it after the fact, stamps his feet up and down declaring that no one should play this game because it’s terrible.

      and thank you Poe, I’m fairly sure we couldn’t have fabricated a better example of what this entire post is about if we’d tried. ^_^

      • Poetic Stanziel

        The game is terrible. It always has been.

        If you read my comment, you’d have seen that I praise EVE’s metagame, and state that it’s the surest way of getting players hooked. The problem is, ensuring they stick around to learn and get involved in the metagame/community.

        Hardly a statement suggesting that people shouldn’t play EVE.

        ======

        And dude, selling my virtual goods for $$$ on eBay is not a crime, as much as you think it might be. People selling their accounts and shit, after they leave a game, is fairly normal in most MMOs (nobody pays attention to terms of service agreements, that’s for corporations to police, not the player body). Only EVE players feel there should be some stigma about it. LOL.

        • Oh i wasn’t labeling as a crime, merely using it to highlight the rampant hypocrisy of your position and the irony of your post considering the content of the article above, what it discusses and the attitudes it describes. someone who “bought out” of the game yet clings to the community to spread a tide of “HARD TRUTHS” and “DIFFICULT QUESTIONS” out of a misguided feeling of companionship yet no longer is willing to take part in the activities which spawned the community.

          It’s rather nice of you to so joyously throw yourself into demonstrating proto’s point in this whole affair.

          • Poetic Stanziel

            You assume I’m not actually playing EVE casually now.

          • ah, so the dramatic “I’M QUITTING EVE IN PROTEST!” was just a shameless cop-out and you weren’t willing to stick to your guns? 😛

          • Poetic Stanziel

            Oh noes!!!11! A moral quandary. About a game.

          • Niklas Persson

            The words of a hipocrit have no value.

          • Poetic Stanziel

            That’s more commonly known as bittervet.

          • Niklas Persson

            Bittervets have nothing to do with this. You’re the one that went out with a fanfare, proclaiming nobody should play this terrible game. And yet, here you are, claiming you’re playing it casually.

            If you’re going to tell others what to do and not follow the example you wanted to set, to stick with the protest you where trying to make – tell me, what value does your words, your protest and your example have?

            Either you take back your protest and admit that you where wrong or man up and stand by it. Anything inbetween those two just makes you the hipocrit, regardless if you try and relabel it as bittervet behaviour or not.

          • Poetic Stanziel

            I never told anybody not to play EVE. That’s something you think I said.

            People will make their own decisions.

            But yes, many aspects of EVE the game are terrible. The PvP, with the right people, is generally good.

          • “If you’re going to tell others what to do and not follow the example you wanted to set, to stick with the protest you where trying to make – tell me, what value does your words, your protest and your example have?”

            I find the lack of response to this bit intriguing, Any reply Poe? I’m interested to hear 😀

          • Poetic Stanziel

            I did reply to you: “Oh noes!!!11! A moral quandary. About a game.”

            I’m sorry, if after all the years of you admiring me, that I disappointed you on this single issue.

          • heh nah, i was more generally interested in how you considered your own integrity. One can judge a man a lot by how well he’s willing to hold to his convictions after all.

          • Poetic Stanziel

            My integrity is fine. Thanks, for your concern.

          • All of eve

            Can’t damage something you never had in the first place, Poe.

          • Noizy

            Wow Poe, if I were you, I wouldn’t even want to suggest this in public. If you did get past the automatic detection system to make a new account, then all anyone needs to do is shoot an email to security@ccpgames.com to have CCP take your account away from you.

        • Noizy

          It depends where you live. I’m pretty sure it is not a violation of the law if you live in the EU. But it definitely is against the law in South Korea, where people can be prosecuted for RMT, even if done with the game publisher’s permission.

          In the US, I think it is a violation of DMCA, since Poe didn’t own what he sold on eBay (which is why what Poe did violated eBay’s rules). But like a lot of US laws, no one bothers to enforce it. Too many laws, not enough enforcement officers.

          • Poetic Stanziel

            eBay doesn’t give a shit unless a sale is pointed out to them directly.

            As for CCP detecting my play. I’d be curious if they could, or if they’d care.

      • Foobles

        Fun as it may be to bash on the Poetic Stanziel pinata, don’t you think that it would be more useful to address his point?

        There’s a lot of legacy stuff in Eve that dates back to when they were desperately trying to get the game out before they ran out of money. Shortcuts, completely understandably, were taken… It was amazing that they got the game out at all. However many of those mechanics have either gone essentially unchanged or they’ve changed into something that isn’t interesting game play (hi analyzing/code breaking mini-game and loot spew.)

        If you like I can go through the professions that a novice to Eve will encounter. Frigate mining, high sec belt ratting, level 1 missions, high sec archaeology/radar sites, t1 industry with no PE or researched blueprints. Do you really want to have a discussion about how those aren’t terrible based on the merits of their game play rather than whether or not someone who said that they are terrible is a douchebag?

        Arguably you could throw combat exploration and level 2 missions in there which has the advantage of introducing a challenge (interesting) but also a skill training/ship wall that a true newbie is unlikely to overcome within the trial period.

        Simply pretending that this isn’t a problem and a significant contributor to Eve’s terrible new player retention rate is bizarre.

        Don’t you want a better Eve that people actually look forwards to playing?

        • heheh, I must admit I was indeed indulging myself.

          I would think that the recent trend of CCP improvement has, on the whole, being overwhelmingly positive compared to previous trends with the company. there is very much a distinct amount of out-dated and somewhat poor content still residing within the game as legacy content and it is, generally speaking, quite terrible.

          however, in turn I would point to the continuing trend at the moment of CCP seriously attempting to do something about it. we can quite happily wave our hands in the air and point to what hasn’t been improved and ram that point home. but is that really productive? shouldn’t we instead to point to what CCP is doing right, and push our voices and positions towards them doing MORE of that? its fine enough saying “this is crap” but its another to say “this is working, how can we get more of this?”

          as a point of interest I’m actually very much on board with the idea that CCP needs to turn around and start hammering on its PVE content more now but, in the grand scheme of things we have to consider developer assets and what needs to be fixed, we have the titanic behemoth of a mess in null security space to address, we have the continued replacement of “anchorable code” which i’m still suspecting stands as the road towards the poor crippled POS system being addressed in serious terms.

          do i want the new player experience to improve? hell yes but I’ve also got to accept that it’s lower on the priority list than other things. in the mean time, in the spirit of proto’s article I would encourage the player base to do all we can to fill the gap. we hand out the anti-matter handshake of death then instruction in the time honored traditions of new eden. we encourage people to get out of the noob corps quickly and into the hands of players such as Brave newbies, red vs blue and eve university. we turn our media attentions over to teaching them how things work, how things are improving, how they can make isk and find fun.

          am i saying that we should always do this on our own however? hell no, but we should certainly set the standard on what keeps members in so CCP can build on it.

          talk to the bloggers, talk to the podcasters, talk to your CSM and let them know we want this on the table so they can spread the word, but also make damn sure we’re doing our damnest as well ^^

    • Tubrug1

      BNI’s membership has risen by over a thousand because of it, the reason that doesn’t show is because they reached their member limit shortly before B-R and are having to repeatedly purge people.

      • BNI Genii

        You mean to say that Poetic doesn’t know what he’s talking about and doesn’t let facts get in the way of his bitching? Why, I never.

        He also predicted BNI would failscade early last year because our culture was “toxic.”

        Blowhards gonna blow.

  • Its the same with all games, there are highs and lows in the development or content cycles that come from devs. The one thing that I see hurting CCP and Eve in this “gold rush” time is that the older/bitter/asshat* (delete as appropriate) players might get the “ohh lets get new people and then gank them outside of the NPE starting zones” mentality and that hurts all of Eve.

    I for one would LOVE to see 2-3 MILLION active people on log in, hell maybe that would lead me to log in more and play but as it stands I will just keep doing my weekly radio show talking about Eve and gaming and the bigger picture of it all.

    • Poetic Stanziel

      > I for one would LOVE to see 2-3 MILLION active people on log in

      That could never happen. EVE’s infrastructure couldn’t support it. And CCP development couldn’t keep up with that sort of influx.

      PCU-wise, I think the most EVE could handle is about 75K-90K online at once … that accounts for people congregating in popular systems, with larger groups elsewhere, and those nodes being able to handle the load.

      • Jeg_Elsker

        I think if CCP had that many people logging in, they would be forced to actually fix a lot of the problems that plague the game. That legacy single threaded beast of a server application that is the core of EVE would have to be finally looked at.

  • anon

    wow that was a pretty good reading!
    i feel like i have to log in right now and do stuff.

    btw realy like ripards blog, but i too dont understand why he wrote such a negative post. maybe all this talking in the eve community about how eve is at the brink of death has caused more and more people to theory craft about it and made the suggestion even stronger that the end is near.

  • Just a wormhole dweller

    So, last big fight for a while. Is this a problem? Any newbie from this influx that sticks around will have time to train enough skills to get to the next one!

  • Alphax45

    This article really wanted to make me go out in my car with a megaphone and tell everyone about the game 🙂 Great writing here; please more!

  • bittervet

    Fuck the newbros!