“Eve is dying, but Eve is always Dying”
With Eve looking at moving into a limited access F2P model, it makes one begin to wonder at different ways that this new system can have an impact on the game. Assuming that the move is in fact successful and Eve does see a significant influx of these free players, there is an open discussion on how these new human assets might be best leveraged, particularly on the backdrop of the great wars of the past.
As with all changes, speculation is rampant as to whether this will be an elixir or the final nail for Eve. Most of the calmer voices on both sides of the discussion are willing to agree that most MMOs use this model in one form or another and have made it successful to varied degrees.
Generally speaking, success is found by balancing just how limited the access is for the free player, to get them to want to keep playing but still hold the really good stuff out in front of them to buy premium time. Other considerations such as microtransactions for skins, clothes, and so on will largely be a non-issue to this, but the question will really become about PLEX and skill injectors. How many hours does an alpha account have to grind it out in order to reach that tipping point into being able to self-fund that first PLEX and then buy in enough skill injectors to have a self-sustaining revenue stream to keep that close in omega status and building wealth? And once that player does reach Maslow’s self-actualization, what does that do to the market?
Assuming it will be a fairly impressive amount of effort to do so, it makes one wonder what the PLEX/injector markets will do in response. It isn’t hard at all to image that those more analytical Eve players are already sitting in the smoke-filled rooms with a pretty good idea of an optimized injection based training plan for taking a day one character and turning it into a self-sustaining omega clone to keep it going.
Eve and the Enlisted man
Don’t call me Sir, maggot. I work for a living.
The question of alphas promoting themselves into omegas aside, the real question is that an incentive by the powers within Eve to bring these players into their different folds? I am going to try to examine this from the prism of my own military background, and in particular, my time as an instructor.
Let’s picture these A-clone players as the enlisted troops of Eve. Like any recruit, the way that we direct and shape them in their opening days and weeks will have a profound impact on how they will behave and perform over the next couple years of their career. Those first couple of years will either set them on a path for a long-term military career, or it will set them towards getting out at their earliest opportunity.
To draw an Eve parallel, under the old system the majority of players who stayed more than a month or two were those who fell in with an organization that helped shape their focus and give them that leg up to get out and experience Eve. On the other hand, those that didn’t have any guidance tend to get frustrated (either from direct abuse or not finding advancement) and wander away from the game.
But why would nullsec powers or any large group want to necessarily bring in these A-clones? What benefits could there be from that? Well, occupancy-based Sov is a big part of that. Having mid sized swarms of A-clones who live in space, farm belt rats, eat rocks, and swarm around gates has a lot of potential.
I can hear the cry now, “But wont they die a lot and get farmed?” Yes. Absolutely. They will die in adorable droves, and wise organizations will give them free T1 frigates and destroyers until the cows come home to send them right back out to be the adorable noobies that they are. And when a real force does show up to make a fuss, then the pings go out and O-clone players who have become the officers move into action. If a couple of Ishtars show up to break the gate garrison, it’s hard to imagine a couple of O-clone players who wouldn’t be more than happy to go and deal with them while the A-clones keep them tackled on grid. Or to take the analogue a step further, imagine that a couple of O-clone players are assigned as 1st LT to swarms of a couple dozen A-clones. These fellows jobs are to hand out free ships and to fly with them using some of these new on-grid boosters to act as force multipliers for those noobies.
“Then what about the large wars?” To use the imagery of the first great war, their Rifters will blot out the sun. While it is true that Eve warfare is often about reaching N+1 numbers (with the assumption that ship parity is observed), recent conflicts have seen a number of places where expendable EWAR craft have been significant factors in how a battle develops. Even just simple tackle frigates in large numbers could make an interesting snag in a FC’s plan.
Picture 50 A-clones attached to a probe skilled O-clone in a carrier at a citadel. The FC orders the O-clone to put neut pressure on the enemy fleet’s logi wing. An O-clone uses scan probes to find said enemy logi, expels 50 dragoons for his A clones to jump in, and then wing warps them on target like a mobile neut bomb. The logi then have 50 neuting destroyers in their mix. As noobies get hilariously killed off they warp back to their LT for another dragoon and fresh warpin.
Obviously there are flaws and counters aplenty to the idea used above, but it is a possible example of how leveraging players who are trained to enjoy being blown up and sent back in can be effective. Instead of instilling these pilots with a sense of ownership, instill the idea that these fights are more in the keeping with playing a Call of Duty shooter where you just respawn and go back out. Then those who take the initiative to continue to learn and play, those players you turn into sergeants to coordinate other A-clones and build up to the point where they want to buy in to O-clone status and move up towards being space rich and sending the singing swarms of Rifters out like fireflies on a wild fire.
(This submission comes to us from former TMC staff writer Froggy Storm. Have something you’d like to talk about? Send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org)