The world is very good at distraction. With the creation of ‘enemies’ for everyone to foam at the mouth about, inventive pretexts to excuse wars which were done for nothing but commercial gain, and provision of bread and circuses to keep the focus off actually important matters; those who make the real money have kept the general populace completely blindsided for hundreds of years.
These days, Facebook, Twitter and all the other various social media are outstripping the actual media in spewing forth torrents of hate and bile, all based on fictional constructs created to distract attention away from real power.
In Eve, the same is being attempted right now. For the privileged few, the money has been rolling in for years, but the well is finally running dry. CCP have, by thrashing around desperately to stem the loss of customers from the checkout, sealed their own fate, by and large. The changes to sovereignty mechanics have shrunk the boundaries of the real income makers, but have also served to make their fortress impenetrable.
Null-sec is now so boring that the Imperium are venturing to low-sec to keep their troops entertained. There’s only one problem with that; its low-sec. If the Imperium’s members wanted to fight low-sec style, they would probably live there, no? For myself, I have done my bit for my corp by raking in a heap of the dreaded PAP links, so I am now moving back home, as I have no interest in low-sec.
Through the introduction of more and more evasion based ships, along with the retention of warp-core stabs and agility mods, CCP have sucked the life out of low-sec, null-sec and wormholes alike. 99% of PVP time in Eve these days is spent either chasing, or running away and hiding, which makes an already dull and outdated PVP game-play style even worse.
On top of this, CCP has done far too little to improve the experience of a new player. High-sec remains the most dangerous space in New Eden, with war-dec mechanics still ensuring that joining a player corp in high-sec is the worst thing anyone can do. They recently ditched hyper-dunking, but suicide ganking remains cheap, easy and consequence free.
Nobody can possibly argue that the game is losing players, not anymore. CCP is trying desperately to put a band-aid on a severed artery, and look just as foolish as you would expect them to look.
I believe it all comes down to the death embrace that CCP and Mittens & co. now find themselves in. At this point in time, Mittens picking up his bat and ball and leaving the game would be a crushing blow that CCP could ill afford. The significant player population he controls cannot be ignored.
However, to retain his attentions, CCP must continue to ignore the game-breaking mechanics his people enjoy; high-sec ganking, bumping, war decs, and passive moon goo income. They have toyed with the edges of these things, but have shown no commitment to the eradication of these issues, lest the aficionados of such activities get miffed and leave.
Thanks to the retention of the subscription model, allied with direct income systems like SKINs, dual training, selling skill points and so on, the money continues to roll in. So, on paper, things look pretty good, still.
However, there is a tipping point, a level of actual active players, below which player interest is lost and subscriptions become worth less than the asking price. The real players in the meta game are aware of this, and so continue to pour out “Content” to entertain the average line member. However, the actual game content is drying up, and no amount of viceroy programs and book kick-starters can compensate for that loss.
Consider an example. I went on a roam the other night, through 5 regions via a couple of wormholes. We encountered maybe a dozen other players, and just two viable targets. It may come as a surprise to some, but I found this a little tedious.
Contrary to the mindset of many a ganker out there, I would have been just as happy to get into an actual fight and lose my ship. Indeed, many would.
If this situation continues, of what worth is it to pay a subscription to play a game that is full of empty space?
What about the home front? Boring beyond belief, actually. Once one has reached the point of wealth at which no more ISK is required, at least for a while, there is no point in PVE. So, we sit and wait for all those dreaded Goblin funded PVP Gods to arrive and start killing ratting ships. Except they don’t want to fight anything actually capable of killing them, which is perfectly understandable.
The Stratios has finally been taken off the table; it only took them six months to work out it’s an expensive ship if its fitted for shields and agility, and any Ishtar fitted with a cap battery and a NOS can kill one with ease. Sure, they killed a heap of idiots, but they can kill idiots with a bomber, too, which is a hell of a lot cheaper.
So, having lost our fun in killing Stratios’, we are left with the occasional T3 destroyer gang, a pile of bombers, and not much else. The gankers, too, tend not to last. They soon work out that the people they kill simply don’t care, and for good reason. A throwaway Ishtar costs 200 million or so. It can pay for itself in 10 bounty ticks, or 3.3 hours. Seeing as how you can rat AFK with them, if you don’t care about losses, they are perfectly usable as a disposable tool.
All this is far removed from the promised farms and fields, is it not?
But, but, citadels, Blastie, citadels!!
Indeed, an interesting concept. But, in practice? Two months worth of entertainment, no more.
Command destroyers? Same.
CCP are increasingly finding themselves in the position that many game companies have been in for years; throwing out shiny stuff to keep the players logging in.
Here’s the real problem, though. Eve is an old game, and its existing player base is even older. From where I stand, it would be far wiser for CCP to attempt to restore the things that made Eve great, and get new players. Bring back the significance of loss, bring back ships designed to actually fight, and fix high-sec to retain players, instead of amusing the life-deprived who currently infest it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe Eve is going anywhere. Many games dwindle but continue with a small, but loyal, player base. I just think Eve deserves a better future than that.
It used to be a great game, and it could be a great game in the future.
The inconvenient truth is, it isn’t a great game at the moment; it’s not really even a good one anymore.
That’s both pathetic and sad, really.