Are you subbed right now to EVE?
Think about it for a second. You’re reading this blog on EVE, which probably means you’ve played the game at some point. But honestly speaking, how many of you are actually subbed into the game, right at this very second.
I’m not. I’m preparing to, and i’ve caught up with all the recent happenings and the blogs, but for various reasons, I can’t play- yet.
How many of you are EVE offline players?
I’ve been playing this game on and off for four years now, the majority of it inactive. There are currently about half a million people that sub to EVE, but that beggers the question-
This game has been around for 10 years now. There are hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of people who have at one point tried this game. EVE has a notoriously low player retention rate, and that’s because the game starts off ridiculously hard and bewildering for a new player, involves him getting stomped into the ground before after a few years eventually ascending to the level where you can do the stomping yourself.
I’m not a hardcore PVPer. I’m not even good, my killboard can attest to that. Early on in my life in EVE i had PVP thrust upon me because I made the conclusion that losec ratting had a greater profit than hisec missioning.
I know, you’re laughing right now. But as a week year old character back in 2009, the equation was simple. You could do pissy little level 1s and pop frigates, or you could go out to losec belts and pop battleships with your buddy in rifters. Back when two battleships would pay for both your ships, losec was acceptable risk.
But i got popped- a lot. I got popped by solo Dramiels, i got popped by canes in gangs and solo, I got popped by Tengu fleets, i got popped by Lokis, I got popped by Myrmidons, Jaguars, Vagabonds.
But besides from the ISK loss, I found i didn’t mind playing the PVP game. Even as the hunted, playing the predator game was a rush for me. Sure as a T1 pilot without perfect skills, much PVP experience, or corp support, i didn’t win fights, but it wasn’t the issue.
Of course, as i got larger ships, that equation changed, and i eventually went back to doing my money making in hisec by grinding missions. But PVP was a very real thing for me. It was something that I wished to try.
And as i worked my way up the missioning chain, I came back to losec. I came back more prepared, as the hunter rather than the predator.
Of course in losec there’s a lot of predators and little prey. No one lives in losec for PVE purposes, and the only ones who try are intrepid noobs like myself. So even though I was now prowling through lo sec in my Wolf, Thrasher, or Hurricane, I would lose out more often than not. You’re at constant risk from gangs, and there’s always the possibility that the enemy will drop a falcon onto you.
I ninja looted, hoping that people would shoot at me. I can flipped. But old players know those tricks. Old players have friends to call up on, and know how to avoid pvp. And so it turned out that a lot of my kills were the youngest members of the EVE population.
A Bustard pilot, mining with a single mining laser in a lonetrek low sec, about three days old. He probably didn’t know up from down.
A Drake pilot, after he shot my Vigil while ninja looting in an almost completely meta fit. He’d probably worked weeks at that kind of thing.
And so the cycle begins again. But this time I was the one propogating it. All this results in Most players quitting before they can really take off.
Forget complete noobs, Most of CPP’s Releases are aimed at reserruecting the subs of millions of inactive players who occasionally come back. That was the entire drive of Crucible’s “Relight the Fire” campaign, and to this day I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the reactivating players and the friends which they induct into the game that bring the largest amount of player growth into EVE, and consequently into CCP’s coffers.
Perhaps this is the main reason why the NPE (New Player Experience) has been so neglected by CPP is that the amount of “new” players that come through is relatively small, and that substantially changing the NPE would have large implications on the rest of the player population down the track. If you want to read further on that topic, I’ll point you towards Riptard’s long list of posts on this particular problem, and how he plans to fix it. Since he’s on CSM this time around, vice-chairman no less, i have t least some hope that the NPE will see some attention.
But my cynical side doubts it. Are you one of EVE’s restless dead, ready to take up the call again? Or do you know anyone who is?
I think you would be hard pressed to find someone that doesn’t.