If Eve is Dying, We’re Killing it Together

Ketriaava 2017-06-13

Before I get into the main topic of this article, I wanted to say hello! I’m new here to INN. I’m not with the Imperium – or any other major power bloc. I’ve headed out more or less on my own and am making my way into New Eden with my possessions and dreams in tow. I’m eager to see where it leads.

You may know me as the “once called Reddit famous by a random guy on the internet” Eve player who made the “X Months into Eve Online” Reddit/Imgur Gallery series. If you haven’t read them, you are welcome to do so. I’m pretty excited to be writing for INN, and I hope that you enjoy my content!

Alrighty then.

In the wake of the firestorm of hate that’s gone out towards CCP recently, I wanted to put out some thoughts.

Opinions to follow.

First and foremost, I want to address CCP. There’s a lot of hate going in your direction right now, and how you respond to this is crucial. While most game designers’ job is to craft an experience, the nature of Eve puts that responsibility in the hands of the players themselves. Your job is different – instead, it’s to create the infrastructure which the players use to create the content. This means that you should take nerfs and buffs extremely seriously.

The next thing I want to address is the players. A lot of suggestions floated around are nonsensical and ill-informed. Understanding game design is a complicated issue and no single person has all the answers – this is why studios have teams. In particular, we should be asking ourselves what the underlying problems behind our concerns are – rather than seeking a direct surface change, we should be digging deeper, to investigate what the core of the problems are. We should be careful what we ask for, because you may not understand what it means – until you get it.

I want to bring up some points that I believe are not being viewed in the right way. In particular, there are concerns about ratting, citadel grinding, and sovereignty holding that have frequently bugged me in what kind of suggestions have been posited for ‘solving’ them.

This entire system can support 2-4 VNIs. A single ore anomaly can support ten times as many Mining Barges and potentially five times as many Rorquals.

Compressing people into less space is a good thing, provided the nature of individual systems are changed to compensate along with this. Currently, alliances need huge swaths of space for fairly standard sized activities. Fitting 30,000 people into one region makes sense. Fitting 4000 into two regions is ridiculous. A VNI should not need to ‘own’ an anomaly. If you bring a mining ship into a site, you aren’t stealing the site from the other people who want to use it. There’s a generally unspoken rule about not mining someone else’s rock, but the anomaly has dozens of rocks to mine out.

An ore site, even those of the smallest sizes, can share quite a few miners. A ratting site only holds one person.

If a Sanctum could sustain 5 Supers for as long as Colossals could sustain 5 Rorquals, then being compressed into a few systems wouldn’t be so bad. This is where it makes sense for massive groups to hold entire regions because they would need that many sites due to sheer scale.

A viable direction for ‘solving’ ratting issues is not to force alliances to take more space. Conflict drivers can, do, and should happen at the smaller scales. The direction we should be looking is in making it more viable for more people to live in the same system, pocket, and constellation. To make it more viable for multiple ratters to use the same anomaly. To make it so that players are rewarded for not multiboxing. If it requires less space to host an alliance, there’s more space to fight over.

A viable direction for ‘solving’ citadel grinding is not to cut asset safety. We should be looking at how to ensure more active defenses of structures, to incite the fights people clamor for over such things. We should be seeking means to make it easier to tear down abandoned and unfueled/unserviced citadels, as well as those behind enemy sov lines. We should be seeking greater salvage rewards for taking down citadels rather than punishing players for storing items there.

A quick side note – F4R2-Q was a great, though laggy, example of strong content escalations over Upwell structures – but those were anchor kill timers.

A viable direction for driving wars is not to push the smaller groups out of nullsec. The concept of renter alliances means that a power bloc carves out far more space than it needs for itself, which forces players to seek rentership rather than taking space for themselves. We should be seeking ways to encourage more groups of varying affiliations to break into nullsec and upset the balance of power. The Money Badger and Stain Fraggin coalitions were prime examples of groups that normally fought each other instead deciding to band together to stand against large power blocs. But more importantly, neither coalition lasted in its entirety past the completion of its original objective. We should be seeking more ways to give small groups the ability to do this.

If you haven’t noticed a theme by now, it’s that in general, incentives are a stronger solution than punishment. CCP – if carrier ratting is too good, incentivize players to use other ships. If you’re concerned about players spreading out too much, incentivize players to share sites. This is not a problem that gets solved with a set of numbers fixes on one ship class. This is not a problem that gets solved by forcing players to inject into whatever the next ‘big thing’ is. Eve is a game that relies on player interest and interaction, risk versus reward, and the importance of being proud of your own efforts.

A game, at its core, is about letting the player have some level of enjoyment. How that enjoyment is experienced – excitement, happiness, fear – is game dependent, but the base goal should be to make players experience as little frustration as possible.

Eve is not a game about frustration. Eve is about your own experiences, and to many of us, the people we meet and the friendships we make along the way. In a game of thieves, pirates, suicide gankers, and the surprisingly common ‘drop 20 blops on an unfit Miasmos’, Eve manages to keep our interest.

Yes, the changes are bad. Yes, the reaction from CCP has been poor. But so has ours, for quite some time. We should not be pushing for an adversarial relationship with the developers or screaming our knee-jerk reactions into their faces. Nothing will kill the game faster.

When things are at their worst, we should be at our best. Vote with your wallets and with your words – cancel your subscription if you deem it necessary, and speak out. Leave with dignity, and speak with respect. But if and hopefully when the time comes to make your voice heard on how you’d like to see things improve, be constructive, and more importantly, be productive.

Do we want to squander our chance at making Eve a better game?

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Comments

  • That last paragraph hit it home

    June 13, 2017 at 7:18 am
  • Pew Pew

    Why are people cancelling their accounts? Because of one nerf?

    June 13, 2017 at 8:34 am
    • Axhind Pew Pew

      Because it’s the infamous drop. The behaviour of CCP has been utter shit for a very long time. They treat their customers like idiots who should be honoured to give them money. On top of that they are messing up the game and showing off amazing levels of utter incompetence at even basic things like statistics that they use to make decisions.

      June 13, 2017 at 11:49 am
    • Lrrp Pew Pew

      One nerf? You just start playing as a alpha?

      June 13, 2017 at 3:39 pm
    • Thomas Hagan Pew Pew

      It’s the waves of nerfs and odd/bad decisions on implementations that have been making people mad/frustrated

      June 13, 2017 at 5:05 pm
    • Because EVE hasn’t been fun in like six or eight years, and now CCP are taking one of the last remaining heartening bits (the ability to make fuckloads of money using capital ships in boring PvE activities) and nerfing it into the ground? Like literally what else is there to do in EVE right now? Nothing, because CCP killed PvP (no small-scale PvP because everyone flies taxi ships, no strategic PvP because noone is incentivized to engage in sov warfare).

      IDK, this is just my best guess. I stopped playing like six months ago, and even that last bit was a brief and uninspiring return after another extended absence. The post-Stoffer era has literally fucked EVE into the dirt.

      June 14, 2017 at 7:06 pm
  • Doughlas MacAlister

    “The conflict drivers should happen on a smaler scale. ” No No No No Nope Nope. Please No

    June 13, 2017 at 9:02 am
    • Daito Endashi Doughlas MacAlister

      I’m sure any actual response other than pretty much ‘I disagree’ would be appreciated

      June 13, 2017 at 3:23 pm
      • Doughlas MacAlister Daito Endashi

        There are other people in the comments explaining reason why this is a bad idea. Maybe try reply to them.

        June 13, 2017 at 6:48 pm
        • Daito Endashi Doughlas MacAlister

          In that case, why even write that comment?

          June 14, 2017 at 12:45 pm
  • Caleb Ayrania

    Sorry, but when you started talking about how 30k people in one region is good, and more people should share anomalies, you kinda lost to plot. That population density and infinite resource is exactly what is the core of our current problems. Combined with Aegis SOV being horrible, and there being no actual BENEFIT to hold SOV, this is what got us here. WE need depletion of resources, spread out populations, and SOV based TAX for SOV holders director corp wallet. Space needs to get its value back, instead of an infinite capacity.

    June 13, 2017 at 11:47 am
    • Axhind Caleb Ayrania

      We do NOT need fucking depletion of resources. EVE PvE is tedious as fuck already and there is absolutely no need to make it even more tedious.

      If CCP wants to help smaller players then start offering IT services that big alliances have access too. Good voice comms, secure forums, jabber for instant broadcasts (they could include it into the game and their mobile apps but that will never happen so better use already existing tools).

      June 13, 2017 at 11:51 am
      • Caleb Ayrania Axhind

        Maybe you dont really grasp the core concept of EVE. Its CREATION and destruction, if the economy and ecosystem is not balanced its not EVE anymore. If you find the PVP sandbox tedious, I suggest you run another game in the background that you can tab to. Making EVE a press space to respawn is just dumb. If people want that there are other games to play, EVE is really not that good without the PVP and the META.

        June 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm
        • Axhind Caleb Ayrania

          Maybe you are one of those whiners hiding in NPC space and jerking of to your kb stats. If you want content come to 0.0 and start taking and defending sov. Then tell us about how fun it would be to have to move all the time.

          June 13, 2017 at 3:44 pm
      • Glornak Ironspawn Axhind

        Well i’d say it’s not tedious enough when the answer to how to make a lot of isk is always just move to Null and get a capital ship (Mining or ratting capital. take your pick). Since EVE is a sandbox there shouldn’t be an endgame like that, and because it is a sandbox that kinda stuff just makes it easy for a single dumb high skill player to be better at making isk than a smart low skill (10 mil SP area) player. I don’t mean hisecers should make as much as people in low or null. I just mean the difference in isk made between cap pilots and none cap pilots is bullshit. Since there’s no good option for someone to plex their account without a capital cause everyone that has a cap can literally make about 5 times as much who then drive up the plex price cause they can and do pay more. How it pretty much goes is “You’ve been playing eve for just over a year and can’t plex your account? Fuck you cause you were too dumb to not train into a Carrier/Rorqual from day one.”

        To be clear I was a null ratter for a month or two and made tens of billions in that time and that’s exactly why i think it’s bullshit. It’s too easy to make isk that way. It reminded me of how I felt after exploiting rent in the first Fable game. I felt dirty cause in my head I understood that it wasn’t designed to make rent collectable that fast, but i did it anyway cause i was lazy. In this case it’s carriers and combat sites. There weren’t really supposed to be used for ratting but now that people use them for that purpose to incredible effect anybody who doesnt or cant loses out. Cause this isn’t a single player game like Fable.

        June 14, 2017 at 1:18 am
    • I was gonna make a post, but it basically would’ve consisted of this ^^

      I argued the same points when CCP introduced these changes originally (the horrific effects were especially obvious to me as someone who spent most of their time flying solo or in small gangs living out of enemy space– it was immediately apparent that the new sov system / introduction of anoms was making it too easy for people to turtle up in densely-populated areas and farm with relative impunity). It was equally apparent that the abundance created by these changes would neuter strategic conflict.

      But a few years back, this shit was all you heard from most of the playerbase: “EVE needs to be easier. POS warfare is too complicated and time-consuming. I’m getting old and have less time to play– instead of having big blocs competing for moongoo, how about you nerf moons and shift income towards individual line members by making it super easy for us to farm? How about instead of forcing us to deal with attacking (or fueling / repairing) hundreds of POS, you dumb sov warfare down and make fights over single, large objectives? How about you change the game so that I don’t have to fight to secure a Good Region(TM) and instead can move literally anywhere and put up a structure and have a farming paradise in a couple of weeks?”

      And then, even after all of this, even after all the sane reasons to engage in bloc-level conflict had been done away with, people continued to harp on the issue of force projection / “Apex Forces”– instead of treating the dogpiling of the few remaining significant fights as a symptom of the larger problem– that there was no good reason to engage in large fights– players (including a large number of people here) insisted CCP must do something to avoid “stifling the little guy” in nullsec. So CCP did something! Unfortunately it took the form of Phoebe / space aids– a nerf to general jump-drive mobility rather than a targeted nerf to the specific abilities of capitals and supercapitals– and the implementation of a sov system revolving primarily around trolling with Mallers and interceptors.

      Basically what I’m saying is, every time CCP listens to the concerns of (for lack of a better analogy) the peasants of EVE and tries to skew the game more toward, “the little guy,” or, “the more casual gamer,” they manage to find new and creative ways of wrecking the things that actually made EVE unique and worth playing: big conflicts driven by big inequalities involving large numbers of people. I don’t think the, “little guys,” really realized the extent to which their own pursuits were predicated on the existence of larger, powerful groups. I hope they think their efforts to tilt the scales in their favor using their only real recourse– forum whining– have been fruitful, as we sit watching the PCU tank and the economy spiral out of control.

      June 14, 2017 at 5:45 am
  • Addelee

    “In particular, we should be asking ourselves what the underlying problems behind our concerns are – rather than seeking a direct surface change, we should be digging deeper, to investigate what the core of the problems are. ”

    This is where I personally see CCP failing. It saw ratting + ship class stats and made a knee jerk reaction. Before the u-turn, they’d given very little out on what their thinking was and how they arrived at this being the best solution (this has since been added).

    Too long have they just thrown out a solution only to change it a month later as it wasn’t thought through.

    They make it easy to obtain both supers and normal carriers what with Plex and injectors and didn’t seem to consider any of this.

    June 13, 2017 at 1:53 pm
  • Daito Endashi

    Great article.
    I found two of your claims arguable though.
    First, having just one region support 30k players is way too much. Since someone made a good comment about this already, I’m not going to expand on this issue.
    Secondly, if you always make changes by incentivising things instead of nerfing, you can end up with similar or other bad effects over time. You could for example buff all other ratting ships instead of nerfing supers. This could still make supers useless or even make the problem worse, since you wouldn’t even need a super anymore to print those amounts of ISK and instead have even more cash entering the system than before.

    June 13, 2017 at 3:24 pm
    • Ketriaava Daito Endashi

      Not 30k concurrently logged in players, but a 30k player alliance makes some sense at least to me. I’d be open to being proved wrong, but when a single group owns multiple regions it chokes out smaller ones. There would likely need to be some sort of compromise.

      June 13, 2017 at 8:34 pm
  • Rolfski

    I thought this was all goons fault. No?

    June 13, 2017 at 7:27 pm
  • Drahma Lhalma

    It is the season of the rant and I have been offline for a while. I was obsessed with this game from 2004 to 2008, then played it on auto pilot thru 2015 when I kind of stopped logging in for anything but station trading. I have been back in an NPC corp since 2016.

    Trying to stay top level because I think it’s the tinkering that is messing us up …

    -Eve is a sandbox.
    -In the sandbox there must be sand to build castles.
    -Stuff to kick down castles must be able to be made from the sand
    -Balance must be carefully encouraged between attacker and defender using macro level adjustments.
    -Everything achievable must be measured for how long it takes to achieve and adjustments made to slow down or speed up achievements to drive retention and make effort worthwhile.
    -It’s an MMO but a player should always have the opportunity to go it alone and still have fun.
    -There is a point where n+1 stops and begins to become less effective for every ship added to a Fleet (eg stacking nerf).
    – Every successful Alliance gets fat, adds too many PVE players looking for ISK at the expense of PvP players who can find nothing to do – use game play to heighten this tension.

    Probably not specific enough for most but I think it’s the constant tinkering with the detail that has got us stuck in the box we are in.

    June 14, 2017 at 3:44 am
  • Gus Machado

    For someone who has only played for a year the Idea for crafting combat anomalies similar to mining sites is a really good idea. Having and rewarding multiple ships for ratting one site similar to mining sites would create pve opportunities and creat PVP content at the same time. thats my 2 cents.

    June 14, 2017 at 4:23 am
  • Jump Clone

    There’s something you might get : English isn’t the native language of far more than half of Eve players. Whatever’s written on Reddit in English or wherever else just doesn’t matter to the non native English readers : we just read what CCP write and carry on.

    fe, there’s not even a word of the tick drama in Eve French speaking forums, even the French-speaking Kugu offspring.

    June 14, 2017 at 5:15 am
  • Venerable

    I was going to make a post that basically disagrees with many of your opinions but decided that would be pointless. Instead let’s focus on what’s happening and where all of this is going.

    Citadels are a problem because they help to stagnate space. CCP introduced Citadels and is now shifting from old static stations to the new player made stations in the coming months The transition was bound to be messy and frankly is messy. It may not be game breaking but it is creating a short term problem that no one can predict the future outcomes.

    I want to see where CCP is going with player made star gates. There are roughly 4,000 star systems in known space and approximately 2,500 wormhole systems or w-space. Exactly where the player made star gates lead will tell us the full story of where Eve is headed. For example, if an alliance wants to make a player made star gate, will it lead to new space that is totally uncharted, or will it lead to w-space? Will the star gate attach to Thera for example, and from Thera to other worm holes? Eventually will the player made stargates in null-sec become static connections to Class, 5 or 6 wormholes and will alliances build up systems in w space? Low sec systems lead to Class 3- 4 wormholes and High Sec stargates to Class 1-2 systems.

    The reason I am making this speculation, is to provide alliances, both big and small the ability to spread into w-space, which I suspect is under utilized when compared to current null-low-high space. Balance and encourage the spread of alliance into more and more space, making it less and less crowded and incentizing more diverse game play. If your alliance puts down roots in a class 6 wormhole, then players can chose to spend their time in either w-space or k-space, creating more and more friction points.

    June 14, 2017 at 3:56 pm
  • I don’t think there are many people left who actually know what EVE is supposed to be. Honestly if you didn’t play the game pre-Dominion (I think it was 2009 or 2010 when they deployed it?) you honestly just don’t know what the game is missing. It was so much better before all these shitty sov changes and the supercapital clusterfuck.

    June 14, 2017 at 9:41 pm
  • IV Dystopia

    Good read, but naive regarding personal motivation and CCP responsibilities.

    June 14, 2017 at 9:48 pm
  • Rhevl

    Stop telling people to not get angry when CCP fucks up again and again. Being angry at shit decisions that affect everyone in the game is not a “knee-jerk” reaction.

    June 17, 2017 at 12:20 am