Who am I?
As someone who has been extensively playing games for 25 years, seen and played everything of note from pacman and Doom 1 to latest triple A and crowdfunded games, including EVE for many years in the past, and studied and worked as a semi-professional game designer, my feedback is not just wishful thinking from teenagers who have no idea how a gaming company functions, it’s based on relevant practical experience. Take it or leave it.
My Earlier Experience with EVE Online
There were many comments saying that I need more time, so I am adding this section here. I wanted to keep the post short, but in hindsight I should have clarified this:
- I played EVE from 2007 until 2014
- Had 5 accounts, multiple 80-100m sp characters
- at least 200 billion worth of assets + ISK
- Around 3000 kills on everything from frigates to titans
- Manufactured 100s of billions worth of T2-T3 ships
- Made tens of billions from trade
- Created on my own an 80 page spreadsheet that parses market information online and calculates the costs and steps for component and every sub-capital ship
- I was a hardcore PVPer, spent most of my time in “elite” corps and alliances -Think Triumvirate and Black Legion.
- Had a private fleet of capital ships, both PVP and industrial.
- Extensively few every ship in the game except super caps
- 93% kill efficiency
- Destroyed nearly 1 Trillion ISK, lost less than 8b.
- Led small and medium sized gangs
- Roamed solo extensively in Pilgrim, Ishtar, Tengu, MNI and others
- Soled entire gangs ranging from 3 to 14 ships in size
- a sample: https://imgur.com/a/7yo68
- The reason I chose the above is that it displays the complex engagements I was in
- Had an crew of industry characters for every possibility
- Manufactured everything in the game except supercaps, mostly T2 cruisers and T2 BS.
- Had 4 mining characters and a Rorq pilot + ship
- Had 6 moons and my own moon mining operations in 0.0
- a sample: https://imgur.com/a/Vp8m6
- Supplied entire alliances(small & medium) with fleet doctrine T3s.
- Did station trading, long distance trading
- low-sec and 0.0 trading
- had my logistics setup for my JFs & Blops - The latter for solo exploration activities in hostile space
- Extensive solo exploration for many years. sometimes in hostile 0.0
- Data sites, Relic, Salvaging, combat sites & escalations
- Soloed C3 WHs for months, sometimes in populated hostile Whs
- Found my own empty C3, setup multiple POS and operations there
- Another 8 months in C5-C6 WH with established WH corps
- Ran missions in the first few months, mostly lvl 4s, but stopped after moving to 0.0.
It might be hard to believe that one player could be involved and knowledgeable of all aspects of the game, but keep in mind that I gathered this experience over 7 years and different periods. Being a hardcore gamer at heart made it even easier.
You see, there is not a single activity in EVE that I haven’t done at the highest level. So stop saying “you need more time to learn the game” because I probably played 2-10 times more than you, and can teach you for a fee.
Why did I started playing EVE again, and why I quit
2014 was my graduation so I had to focus on my degree. I couldn’t stop playing EVE voluntarily so I had to do it the hard way. give away assets and ISK, and biomass everything.
Now I have more time on my hands, I figured the game must have improved a lot in 3 years, so I decided to give EVE another shot, and enjoy the aspect of building a mini-empire from 0.
After 1 week I decided to quit, not because I don’t understand the game, but because I DO. Even as a returning veteran I find the entire character and skill progression to be too long, prohibiting and boring. I would be training for 6 months just to get the core skills for what I want to do - PVP and Industry.
I love the EVE universe, and would love to play the game and enjoy it, but I want to enjoy it NOW, not after 6 months or, a year.
Yes there are things to enjoy from day 1, T1 frigs/cruisers and so on, But the content I like to use - covert ops, hardcore PVP, roam 0.0 solo…etc is so remote in time and grinding, that it’s not fun anymore.
I decided to write this post on the remote chance that devs actually consider what the players say.
Biggest problems with character advancement
- 23 categories, 403 skills. that’s your biggest obstacle to retaining new players.
- Most of these skills require a huge time investment, but the reward is mostly unfelt.
- E.g: Astrometrics Rangefinding has a multiplier X5, but after a month of training it to lvl 5 it’ll barely be noticeable.
- Just training core skills would take a few months in any profession. Be it flying a T2 cruiser or Hulk.
- Most content is gated behind very long training queues, and multiplied by 4, 1 for each race.
- I can go on for hours really…
How the game shoots itself in the foot
The problem with so much “gating” is that new players never get to experience all the great content available, because they have to wait 1 year to fly a carrier! 6 months to fly a HAC, and so on.
As a game producing company, you spend millions of $ and years of development to create great content, but you lock it behind complications and long training queues, that most of the player base never get to experience even a fraction of it!
You are basically wasting all this development money, time and effort!
Here are some ideas to Fix that
I tried to put the image in the spoiler, it didn’t work.
J/k about the nudes
Reduce categories from 23 to 6-7, one for each type of game play (spaceship command, manufacturing, trade, mining…etc).
Reduce skills from 403 to 5-10 meaningful ones per category. (e.g1: focus on drone damage, guns, or missiles?. e.g2: focus scanning on exploration sites, WHs, mining sites, or catching other players?)
Remove core skills and their derivations. They are only a time barrier giving advantage to older players. (e.g Engineering V, Electronics V, science V…etc).
All players should have access to the full fitting attributes. There is enough customization with modules, skills, rigs and implants.
Remove all racial skills and make a unifying one for each race. They are a huge time barrier that makes most content inaccessible, and favors old players.
Remove racial ship and gun skills, replace them with a standard one per hull. E.g [Frigates] and[Cruisers], and so on. For guns it’s [Small Turrets], [Medium Turrets] and so on.
Make all T1 ships and modules require level 1 in the [Race Specialization] and 1 in the specific size of ship or module.
New player start with [Faction Specialization 3] of their respective race. Gaining level 4 should take a few days to make it a considerable transition, but not a prohibiting one.
All T2 ships and module require [Race Specialization 4] instead of 5, and [Size 4]
Skill level 5 should NOT be required for anything. when the player wants to specialize then he’ll get level 5 anyway.
As a new player I need the skill choices to answer the main questions I have:
- What activity am I doing? (Profession)
- What type and size of ships do I want to use?
- Do I want to expand to other races?
Below is a very rough sketch:
New Player Experience:
How the experience should be:
The first weeks shouldn’t be frustrating the player over which 40 skills to train, how, why and in which order. After the initial tutorial, the player is informed that he can access T2 by training [Frigates] to 4. Then It should something like:
In the first 3 days I want to learn to fly t1 frigates. therefore I’ll train t1 frigates skill. (frig 1 to 4 in 3 days total, that’s the only skill I need to train).
now that I learned frigates generally, will I like the specialized ones, interceptors, AFs, Covops…etc?
once the player trained frig 4 (making T2 accessible), an NPE agent calls the player and informs him about specialized missions and ships. New agents become available, one for each ship type.
The new agent offers the player a specialized mission, giving him a “training” version of the ship that functions as the T2 but doesn’t require the specialized skill book, and it can’t be sold, traded or abused. The agent then gives the player a few missions that simulate the player experience should he specialize in that ship, then sends him to the next T2 frigate agent.
At the end of the series, the agents informs the player about the tech 2 variants of cruisers.
If the player liked Interceptors, then he only needs to buy the Interceptors skillbook and train it to level 1. The only requirement should be frigate 4. The rest should be “crucial” skills to train, but the player can choose to fly the ship without them, at his own risk.
If the player decides to try out cruisers. He spends 3-4 days training cruisers 1-4. Only that skill is needed.
If the player wants to try the specialized cruisers, the NPE offers him the same as with frigates, only trial/training ship for a limited time.
A few more points
Skill injectors may have been intended to help new players shorten the gap to older ones, but in reality only make it worse. New players can’t afford them, only the old ones do.
Gaining skill points offline is great, but a player should be rewarded for being active. mining should gain SP in mining. Finding sites should do so for scanning.
I love the idea of mining, but staring at a rock for 20 minutes is NOT gameplay, it’s boring to death. It needs overhauling and enjoyable gameplay.
EVE has one of the highest bounce rates of any game because the company is focusing on the wrong things. I played from 2007-2014, and followed the game until now. This is what I have seen CCP focusing on:
- increasing the $ expenditure per user through cosmetics
- increasing $ per user by almost requiring multi-account subs
- Trying not to lose the old player base by not making drastic changes to the game.
- Even initiatives that involve the community, such as CSM, favors the old players.
- cutting costs by laying off employees, especially in customer support.
The first two are a massive error of vision. There is a limit to how much the average player is willing to spend on a game, no matter how much they want to. All this development time and resources on cosmetics does NOT improve the game, does NOT bring new players, and doesn’t even help retain the old ones. I’ve never heard a player quit because there aren’t enough skins or monocles.
3rd and 4th: current players will get bored and quit sooner or later. I played from 2007 to 2014 and got bored. I played 1 week now and the game is the same, got bored + frustrated. Many aspects of the game need a complete overhaul, especially character progression, and the NPE needs massive improvements.
For the last one, I get that the company has to answer to investors and stay profitable. Cutting costs could make the balance sheet look better in the next report, but ultimately it lowers the quality of the game, loses players, and doesn’t bring new players.
I spent hours writing this post not to complain or criticize, I don’t have time for that. I did it out of love the EVE universe, I wrote it because I wish it had 100-300k players, and because I want it to be the awesome game it has the potential to be.
P.S: Kudos on the new forums. It’s great to be able to organize a large post like this.
Edit: Added “My Earlier Experience in EVE” because some posters didn’t even read the OP and keep saying “you need more time to learn the game”.