I love this game… but I just can no longer stay interested.
I was a highsec criminal. I played in the population centers. I stole, I destroyed, I taught, and I fought. Feel free to hate me, that’s the predominant view of people like me.
The wars have died. The fun has died. The interaction has died. We now login to interact with CCP code and not each other.
What happened to our dark and gritty space opera? It’s become safe, and boring, and stale.
I took a few minutes to try to see where it all happened to a game that I still consider the greatest MMO of all time.
Here is your timeline. Eve online record
Eve peaked in January of 2011 when The Incursions expansion opened the isk faucet for highsec.
The core of the game at that point was still agreed by most to be PvP. However, that isk faucet opened the ability of players to earn isk in highsec at rates never before seen. It was the ultimate pve… with returns that gorged players in isk until there was nothing left to buy…
The rest of 2011 was spent giving us the ability to walk in stations, design our characters, and spend real money for vanity items. This bit of work was met with a collective yawn by the war-enthusiastic hordes of Eve… and by some anger. CCP was ridiculed for producing the opposite of what the players wanted.
Here is an interview that the Mittani did during that timeframe: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/09/06/eves-csm-fight-back-and-some-thoughts/
To quote the Mittani at that time (as he hit the nail on the head): “ As Gianturco points out, the expansions should yield a spike in players, but Incarna did nothing. And what a surprise: the kind of people who are interested in Eve’s cold, brutal spaceship wars aren’t lured back by avatars or rooms or trinkets. They want space war. Better space war.”
I tend to agree with the Mitanni here. But we have been slowly disarming the game
I have been unable to find exact date that the noob career systems were declared protected rookie systems. Back in 2011, Akiainavas was the biggest killing system in Caldari space (often bigger kill numbers even than Tama). There were scores of pvp’ers living in Akiainavas… and the fighting never stopped. You could log in anytime and pick up fights right in the Akiai ststion undock. When I heard Akiai was a protected rookie system, I couldn’t believe it. It was like someone declared Tama a rookie system. I think it was late 2011… or early 2012. I’ve included a link to a discussion where the fighters of the day were trying to figure out what was allowed. It was all quite vague, but the petitions started rolling in. I was petitioned twice… My friends quit. I moved to Umokka… and started fading away.
And just like that, Akiainavas became
Peaceful. All those noobs started in their peaceful noob systems. There was no fighting to be seen… and then went to Akiainavas to experience… more peaceful pve. It was almost like the PvP madhouse that I knew as Akiainavas never existed.
Then came Inferno, April of 2012. This increased the cost of the the wars i was waging from 2 mil, 4 mil, and 6 mil for the 3 allowed to 25 mil, 50 mil, and I’m not sure what the third one cost.
I declared war maybe 2 or 3 more times total. I joined up with people who did now and again… but I didn’t enjoy pve enough to work that hard for an off chance of someone undocking.
Most wardecs didn’t turn a big enough fight to spend that kind of isk.
Oh, and now there was a new ally mechanic. The big boys on the pipeline were looking for cheap fights because their costs went up too… so they were taking ally status against every small PvP Corp that declared war… good for them, because we would fight. But we weren’t rolling as heavy as they were. I was specialized in T1 frigates… they were pushing faction fit T3s in good numbers.
So really, I was spending 25 mil to fight marmites… which gets old after a while.
I never bothered fitting a ship to compete with that. I didn’t pve enough to afford it. I always found it distasteful, impersonal, and ininteractive to fight from a position of advantage.
But we could still flip cans and have scuffles… which was always but the rumors were that even that would go away.
In December of 2012, crimewatch came out With the Retribution patch. I protested on the forums, that my playstyle was gone. I protested that the new players would never learn to fight and that the PvP community would all pool their assets in giant wardec corps like the Orpahanage. But I was just another of the deplorable highsec pvp’ers complaining.
Can flipping and baiting could still be done, mind you. It just wasn’t worth the effort anymore. There weren’t any fighters left to fight. I was accustomed to Akiainavas where dozens of fighters lived… now I was in Umokka and there was literally only one guy looking for a fight… me.
And the game went into decline. After an initial surge in players, it’s been dumping players for 7 years (with a brief pickup when it went free to play).
The player base spiked with Retribution… for a couple months. But look at the chart. Every month, more people lose interest and leave.
Retribution kicked-off the 8 year decline. I told you can flipping was fun.
Retribution, and the effective end of interaction that it represented, punctuated the start of the decline.
It was all about interaction.
Your fancy new tutorials replaced interaction with people. Larger mining hulls and mining frigates and the elimination of can flipping eliminated the need to work together. And ultimately, we all stopped doing the drama that made it a space opera.
Well, “griefing” is gone. The noobs are safe. The chat channels are quiet, nobody is fighting, and the isk is pouring in like water.
But is it better? Or was the Mittani right? Do we really just want more and better space war.
For me, can fights in Akiainavas were the single most engaging game activity I’ve ever encountered. Highsec war was the second most engaging.
No other game has competed with these features… that Eve used to offer.
And so to the CSM, if there are any old giggly criminals left, maybe it’s time CCP tried the old play again. Let the griefers back into the capitals of violence. Let us canflip and have petty little wars and squabbles.
I don’t think CCP can keep going in the direction they’re headed… but what do I know.