Hi OP and thanks for your well written and thought-through post. As a relatively new player I can completely agree with both your analysis and your conclusions. It is really interesting to read these thoughts from a former long-term player who is a new player again.
Also it is refreshing to read about this topic without any stench of bittervetness, because you make it sound as if with logically layed-out arguments or real first person reports we could convince CCP to swiftly and decisively take action.
My personal motivation to join EVE was some expectation that I will be able to challenge myself in a new way and learn something from it. The reason I play less and less is exactly because EVE isn’t that challenge. It is just a pretty complex, yet mostly foreseeable set of equations in which the amount of invested time weighs far too heavy compared with other factors. EVE is like PGP: you can’t break it in time, but that doesn’t mean it contains something interesting.
When I joined EVE a bunch of my friends knew or knew about the game and spoke with a mixture of respect and awe about it, for being supposedly intellectually challenging and quite harsh. That flair is gone. Everyone I know who tried it out quickly lost interest after hitting the wall of Skill progression and thereby content progression.
This isn’t just bad for new players. Many of the older bros I met early on in-game left as well, due to lack of challenging content apart from rare encounters with newer players who are not yet poisoned with the venom of risk adversity. The issue here is that risk adversity is a logical consequence of slow Skill progression. Once new players understand the importance of SP and how massively disadvantaged they are, they’re more likely to avoid PVP or at least avoid risky PVP. Would you go in the ring with a boxer 20 pound heavier, a head higher, generally better condition and 10 years of experience, while you just learned how to bind your bandages? I didn’t think so.
I know a bit about that feeling now: seeing a newbro in local and, unless he is really looking for a fight, not being overly interested providing him content, since it is all too foreseeable and punching someone in the face whose hands are bound behind his back strangely doesn’t provide me a feeling of being good at something. Maybe he is smart and can turn the odds in his favor a bit, but I will still deal and apply more damage, tank better, my ship is faster, more agile, less prone to run out of cap and so on. All of that on top of the fact that I’ll probably have a bit more experience. For him to catch up he needs to train support skills for a year. Yay, that surely motivates people. Lol CCP, just lol.
When talking about it, the usual replies by the community like htfu don’t do any good. It’s just lame hearing it from a Dev or from someone who has been collecting SP and ISK for ten years. Its inherent logic is “I suffered through it, so you should suffer too”. As if this way of doing things was ever good for anyone. Instead it is the bitter ideology of people who are unhappy if next generations have it better than themselves. Talk about toxic atmosphere.
Surely there are a bunch (I would say with certainty: not the majority) of players who actively care about new players without trying to use them for personal gain or to polish their own ego. But even these few gems in the community can’t provide any reason to climb the ISK and SP wall for years to come.
That being said the damage has already been done. Even if CCP reacted immediately, it would take a huge effort to convince the world that this game isn’t anymore just another rip-off that tries to bind customers through frustration and entices them to pay more and more real world money to be a little less disadvantaged. Maybe, maybe there is a chance, but any logic would imply that CCP already settled with not trying to open EVE up again, but rather keep things like they are and slowly let it fade away.