How many times have we heard this old chestnut bandied around the campfire at night;
Eve is a PVP game.
The socially challenged prepubescent and the older teens in their twenties and thirties who gave growing up a wide berth are all vociferous in their wailing of this mantra.
However, those who watched the FanFest keynote, available here, may have noticed a couple of little graphs.
Here’s the first one:
This is the Eve player base, subdivided into categories of player type. They are, from the left:
Professional – the all rounder of Eve, these players engage in a wide range of activities, from PVP to logistics, and all stops along the way. These players are engaged with each other and are playing the full game on a daily basis.
Entrepreneur – more industry based, and tend to live in high sec space.
Aggressor – these are the die-hard PVPers, and they do little to nothing except shoot other players.
Social – these people log in a few times a week, undock a few times, chat with their friends, but really don’t play the game that much.
Traditional – these guys play the game in the manner of a traditional MMO. High sec focused, running missions, mining, high sec trading. Usually solo, or in small groups.
Now, these are the real stereotypes of Eve, not as the players themselves imagine them, but as statistics reveal them to be. Of course, due to the ownership of multiple characters, most players as individuals are a bit of each.
The next graph was the interesting bit. How many of each category were there?
In the words of the old song; do you see what I see?
Now, let’s quantify a few things here. First up, the aggressor types are not the only ones PVPing. The professionals are shooting all the things quite a lot as well. However, considering PVP is one fifth of the activity of professionals, stacking that together with the aggressors and a small portion of every other category, we see that PVP is but one small facet of the overall New Eden picture.
That right there is quite a slap in the face to anyone who says, “If you don’t PVP in Eve, you don’t belong here.” Anyone saying such a thing after seeing those two graphs is, to put it technically, a plonker. Certainly, if CCP as a company were to believe that, why would they bother paying the wages of the person who came up with those statistics in the first place?
No, CCP wanted those figures, and they would be spectacularly foolish not to frame their ongoing game changes around them. I believe they are doing just that. Those of the “Leet PVP wanker” category can argue until their Dorito’s go stale, but that won’t change the reality of the situation.
I think it’s pretty safe to declare the “Eve is a PVP game” mantra dead and buried, in the face of the above data.
But, we must ask ourselves, how did it become so prevalent in the wider Eve community? How did so many suffer under such an illusion for so long? Delusion is a common occurrence worldwide, but for something this out of whack to become so widely accepted there must be extenuating circumstances.
I believe there are a couple of reasons. The first was succinctly put by a fellow 30Plus member when I shared the data with him. “Yeah,” he said, “They’re only 9%, but they do 99% of the whining.”
There’s a glimmer of truth in there. The “PVP is all there is” crowd are the kind of people who crowd the fetid cess-pool of the Eve-O forums, the comments sections of the “News” sites, and the various other unsanitary chat rooms of the lower interweb.
The larger player groups either studiously ignore, or only peruse, the same venues. Thus, the PVPers have, for years, been coddled into believing that they’re the only ones here. Like a religious zealot who seeks only the company of like-minded individuals, they have constructed a false reality that suits them.
On top of that, CCP has done little to nothing to alter the perception that Eve is for PVPers. The answer as to why they do this is quite simple. They have no need to recruit more PVEers to the game. PVE players come and go, often toddling off to the next new thing until it goes stale. Most, though, revisit Eve over the longer term. As unsubscribing hinders their character skilling, they pay the fee to remain subscribed. In the gaming world, having people pay you to play your game but not actually play the game and use resources is the golden apple. It’s a cash cow in every sense of the term.
PVPers, on the other hand, are necessary to the Eve environment. They are what make the game interesting, challenging, and ever-changing. Not only to fellow PVPers, but to most PVEers as well. They are also harder to recruit to a game, especially one as hard to get to grips with as Eve Online.
The irony of the situation is amusing. The PVPers dream is an Eve universe with nothing but PVPers in it. If they were actually given that dream, they would have no one to build their ships, no one to stock their markets, no one to fuel their POSes, and, most important of all, no one to harvest tears from. The only targets would be others just as risk averse, just as well armed, and just as capable as them.
Thus, the very thing they yearn for, isn’t what they want.
Now, that’s what I call stupid.