A Disturbing Question Arises

Our TS3 channel is not the sanest of places at any time. Topics range from one end of the spectrum to the other, most of it inane, but also hilarious.

However, yesterday one of our most esteemed members asked a question which brought our usual light-hearted banter to a resounding stop. The question was this:

“So, what MMO are we going to when this one finishes?”

Now, ordinarily we laugh at anyone rolling out the ‘Eve is dying’ mantra, which is as old as the game itself. The problem was, this member is no idiot, and he was serious. Two statistics had caught this persons attention, which, in his experience as a businessman of no small standing, spell unavoidable collapse for CCP.

The first was the number of people logging in, which, if you go here and select the 5 year chart, does show a wee bit of a downward trend. However, figures can be made to show all sorts of things, and that wasn’t the point that really got us thinking. The second thing was that peak logged in players have dropped from 60k to 30k over the last 2 years. His opinion was that, if a business he was dealing with showed a 50% drop in customer interest in 2 years, it was time to put a new resume together.

It’s one of the oldest mantras in business; grow or die. Added to this are the rate at which new characters are being created (new business) and player retention rates (repeat customers). New character creation (down the page on Eve Offline) shows a corresponding downward trend. Then there’s the figures that CCP released a couple of years ago, which showed player retention rates. I can’t find the chart, but the figures are etched into my memory; within (I think) six months, 50% of new players leave, 40% stay in high-sec, and 10% go to wormholes/low-sec/null-sec.

None of the above is good, is it? The bright side for us, as I pointed out to our worried member, is that MMOs tend to wither on the vine very slowly, so we may have many years left before the servers go dark for good.

It’s worth a ponder though, as to how a product so unique, so unusually hard to put down, and so open-ended, could possibly be so small a niche game after all this time. How do CCP management still consider themselves as even competent enough to shine shoes for a living?

When you consider their stock reaction to any form of criticism – ‘go to the forums and post your complaint, you’ll find plenty of other players eager to work this out with you’ (no, that’s not a quote, so you can’t ban me, I’ve never petitioned CCP’s innate retardation-level management policies myself, I have a blog, so bite me) – it’s easy to see the crux of the problem.

CCP themselves are completely, and blissfully, unaware of the reality of their situation. To ask complainants to visit the forums is nothing short of a troll, as they know damn well anyone complaining about anything on that turgid sewer of inanity is going to be on the receiving end of a trolling that is quite likely to see them leave the game. Hardly the course of wisdom when you’re already bleeding customers at an impressively hemorrhagic rate.

One has to conclude that they simply don’t care. Why not? Betting on VR? Risky business, that. For a small company to bet on a percentage of the next big thing, they either need a mind-blowing product (nope), or a backbone product to supply the cash they need until the big bet pays out. And that backbone product would be Eve, which makes the logic a wee bit circular, doesn’t it? I do hope any financier looking to help CCP’s push into VR has a good, hard look at the performance figures for Eve. With their glasses on. And preferably while they’re sober.

In fact, one only has to return to Occam’s razor to discern the reality of the situation. CCP are, collectively, dumbasses. That’s it, in my humble opinion.

I mean, think about it. Here is a company who openly encourages people to remove others from their customer base. They have mechanics which put the griefer in a win-win situation in almost every aspect of their universe. Then, when victims complain to them, they actually send them to the forums for their resident trolls to finish the job.

The problem is, most of those complainants are not unreasonable in their griping. High-sec war-dec mechanics are so broken it’s hilarious, bumping mechanics ditto, laughable bounty and aggression mechanics, undock camping, cloaky camping, gate guns in low-sec, nullified and armed interceptors, OP T3 destroyers, botting-friendly PVE ships, giggle-worthy sovereignty mechanics, and I forget how many other problems that are so stupid its breathtaking.

Not only this, but CCP has been told about all of these issues for years.

So, even the most loyal of customers, still in love with the Eve universe, are slowly driven away by the company’s obvious disdain for any part of their customer base bar griefers.Where will this lead?

I shall close with a quote from a very ancient source:

YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.

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