Okay, a serious post. No satire, no raging, no tree jokes; well, lack of tree jokes.
In all honesty, this blog has never been that serious, right back to the dim beginnings, when I said I’d post what I damn well please and didn’t give a stuff who read it.
I still don’t, really.
However, the last post (no pun intended) actually highlighted something to me about myself that I was a bit taken aback by; I am seriously concerned that we could lose this, this hobby? Game? Pastime?
You see, Eve Online is the glue that holds a very special group of people together for me.
We have been around one another a long time, some of us. Others have joined the journey along the way, some have left and many have come back.
It’s less about the game and more about the people, isn’t it? But the game is why we’re together, it keeps us occupied while we banter, chat and throw things at one another.
Some argue that ‘Eve is dying’ has been around since alpha testing, and perhaps, to an extent, that’s true.
Unfortunately, the downsizing, the scrapping of projects and the bungling of others, the bleeding of talent amidst the shuffling of deck chairs and the removal of access to player numbers all have me nervous, to be honest.
I’ve seen companies go down before, not from economic crises, not from shifting market trends, not from wars, even. Just from pride, arrogance and ignorance.
Those three human failings have felled empires, ruined countries and killed millions.
By comparison, killing a unique computer game is a walk in the park for them.
Some say that where the game is now is where natural evolution of the sand pit environment has brought it, but that’s a cop-out of immense proportions.
Unless you believe Eve evolved from an amoebic computer virus on the internet all by itself, in which case, you have a problem I can’t help you with.
The responsibility for the condition of Eve Online lies with the people who own it and direct it, simple as that.
The people who are decrying the state of null-sec aren’t wrong, and I never said they were; null-sec is a stagnant mess of boredom and frustration, no two ways about it.
But then, I never disputed that in the previous post. The state of wormhole space? I am not sure, but from what I have heard from ex wormhole space residents, the population is dwindling.
Low sec? Well, that’s a bit brighter, according to some who live there, but it could still do with some love.
Then, there’s high-sec.
I don’t live there, haven’t been there for over a year, I think. As I always tell new recruits, it’s a horrible place, full of neuts.
The first part of that is no joke, it really is a horrible place to me. It highlights the very worst of humanity in my eyes and in so many ways; it’s truly repulsive.
Yet, it’s the source of the river that feeds the ocean of players everywhere in the entire Eve universe.
Let me ask you to indulge me here.
I want you to imagine that you had a shop, say a convenience store. Its shelves are stocked with fantastic items of all varieties, and the deeper you go into the store, the more value and good experiences your customers get.
At the front of the store there is the entry area, where displays show the shopper what lies on the shelves further in; what joys and bargains they will find if they head on deeper into the heart of your store.
For a while, things are good, plenty of new customers filing in, some just popping in and getting a few things from day-to-day, others heading into the rear of the store.
Business is good.
Then imagine that some of the customers, instead of heading further into the shop, decide to hide behind the displays and jump out and frighten the life out of the occasional new customer.
Yet others decide to lay mouse traps among the items on the shelves nearest the front door, to snag the unwary customer.
Others grease the floor and laugh delightedly as your customers go down, pinching the stuff from their bags when they do.
Some actually rob the customer of their cash on the way in and hit others for their goods on the way out.
In the meantime, those customers who actually make it through what has now become a trial by fire in the front area of your store, eventually run out of shopping to do. They head off home, finally bored with what the store has to offer.
I won’t insult your intelligence by going any further.
That’s Eve Online though; lock stock and barrel, and you know it is.
We need new players, lots of them. Every part of Eve needs them, desperately.
Let’s look at something quickly, these are the best figures I could come up with in a short time, so please feel free to correct them in the comments:
High-sec systems – 1,212
Low sec systems – 695
Null-sec systems – 3,294
Wormhole systems – 2,498
Total systems open to players – 7,699
So, the question is, why is it that the two largest parts of the universe are the ones with the least people in them?
I believe it’s because those two big areas, and the smallest, which is not that well populated either, are not getting enough new blood to replace the inevitable losses for whatever reason.
That new blood has to come from high-sec, those 1,212 systems with all those people stuffed in them. But the people stuffing that area full either don’t want to PVP, or are trying to force PVP on those that don’t want to.
The new blood for null-sec, low-sec and WH space should be coming from those in high-sec being drawn to the other areas for PVP and income.
Too many, though, don’t last the months trial, driven away in no small part by those who shouldn’t even be in high-sec.
New players need the time to learn the ropes, get some skills up, earn some basic ISK and be having such a good time they can’t help but want a little more.
Now, I’m going to suggest something to CCP that is the equivalent of me being the poor bloke in Monty Python’s Life of Brian who spoke Gods name.
Adjust the economic output of high-sec down, put better income in low-sec, then better than that in null-sec, then the best in wormhole space and then (gulp):
Remove non-consensual PVP from high-sec.
There, I’ve said it, even though I thought I never would. They shouldn’t have to, they really shouldn’t, but to open the doors to new players, they have to get rid of all the griefers in high-sec.
Then rebuild the NPE to introduce new players to PVP properly, rather than letting them get seal-clubbed into oblivion.
Then fix low sec, so the new guys can face the low sec pirates, who can teach them, recruit them or send the true cry babies who can’t stomach a loss back to high-sec.
Let them stay there, perhaps they’ll learn to put up with the low-income to simply PVE with no risk.
So what? No true Eve PVP’er will be there anyway, so how can it bother them?
Please don’t tell me it’ll kill the economy, CCP is in charge there, perhaps make high-sec ores yield so little that AFK Mackinaws aren’t worth it?
Nerf loot drops even harder, adjust mission rewards to truly make low-sec attractive or even shift level fours to low-sec.
CCP could make it work, it’s not rocket science.
How to fix low sec? Ask the low sec residents, they’re the experts and they know what needs to be adjusted to generate the gudfites.
Maybe get rid of gate guns, fix the timers and banish e-war, I dunno, I don’t live there.
All I do know is that those 695 systems should be full of old hands and young guns duking it out, the rattle of auto-cannons, the blazing of blasters, the lasers zapping and the missiles flying. Ninja miners and cloaky haulers running the gauntlet to get the rewards. The real wild west of Eve.
Then get null-sec fixed, and better people than me have given them reams of advice and valuable insights, Mittens included.
Then fix wormhole space, whatever it needs to make it a viable alternative for those hard-core PVP’ers who detest local so much and a shining beacon to the really greedy ones who just can’t resist.
But over-riding all that, most important of all, fill high-sec with potential customers, who can stay and care-bear if they want, but who will be forever looking towards the back of the store, reckoning their chances, weighing the risk of heading where the real money is.
The people who play simply to grief others?
With all parts of Eve full of real players, will anyone really miss them?
It’s all in the mind, you know.