Ganking and PVP: Numbers in perspective

Told you someone would argue your conclusions even though you make none in the O.P😅

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Had a couple people ask (in other venues) about Nullsec PvP - how, why, where, what. I don’t fight in Null and have rarely gone there myself, so can’t answer. Perhaps someone else would care to weigh in on the causes and outcomes of PvP in Null.

On a daily basis, that is, I assume we’re all well aware of the occasional war effect.

As for just the numbers, the month I referenced had (looking only at Victims):
Top 10 Destroyed:
Capsule 58,688
Ishtar . . . . 5,825
MTU . . . . .5,603
Sabre . . . .4,627
Vexor . . . .4,277
Caracal . . 3,733
Heron . . . 3,232
Stabber . .2,922
Muninn . . 2,197
Flycatcher 2,103

And top 10 Groups destroyed:
Capsule . . . . 59,581
Cruiser . . . . . 21,662
Frigate . . . . . 15,886
Heavy Assault Cruiser 11,793
Interdictor . . . 8,142
Destroyer . . . .7,985
Combat Battlecruiser . .7,179
Mobile Tractor Unit . . . 5,673
Interceptor . . 5,427
Shuttle . . . . . .5,363


I’ve had some questions, requests, and feedback about the ‘ganking’ total numbers. Mostly based on the belief that the 5-man+ ‘ganks’ recorded from Zkill would be greatly in the minority vs. solo or 2-man ganks.

The first question to address is “What is a gank?”. For my purpose I’m going to say: “a gank is when a PvE-fit ship going about regular PvE business in high sec is killed by PvP-fit ships against which it has basically zero chance of successfully resisting”.

Lots of room for debate here. We could argue the details forever but I’m looking at miners, explorers, missioners, haulers etc. who aren’t prepared for the “PvP everywhere” aspect of EVE. (Yes, everyone should be ready for PvP and dealing intelligently with the risks; no, that’s not the case in practice.)

I’m also not concerned with whether ganking is ‘right’, moral, fair, or “the way EVE is meant to be played”. Simply on the practical effects on game activity, retention, and population.

Looking at the top 100 high-sec PvPers and top 100 ‘gankers’, their ‘solo’ kills tend to make up about 20% or less of kills. Looking at all potential ganks, adding in solo and small gang (2-4)
kills appears to give about 5-8 times as many ganks, depending on ship class.

For instance Ventures have higher total kills per month (400-500 ish); but if you look at Venture solo kills (and some other cheap ships), you see a ton of killboard padding and other “non-gank” kills. T1 haulers can be solo killed, but virtually all Freighters, DSTs etc. are 5+ ganks.

For the purpose of determining effects on players quitting, high value ganks are more relevant than extremely cheap (ie. Venture and corvette) ganks. Higher value ganks are also more likely to employ the 5+ ganker numbers used by Zkill. However even here many kills that could reasonably be labeled a ‘gank’ don’t earn that tag from Zkillboard.

I find I’m agreeing with a number of the comments and feedbacks I received stating that the quickie gank numbers I pulled from Zkillboard probably are too low by roughly an order of magnitude.

(This is not to imply issues with Zkillboard’s ‘Ganked’ labelling system - which was basically just added to give a rough idea of certain types of kills. Just means I was too quick in grabbing the most easily available number.)

I’m going to keep fiddling to see if I can get better than a “rough guesstimate”, will update when and if I do.


I don’t know that this is a valid assumption. CCP for example have identified that for new players, one of the main driving factors in leaving the game is not being able to understand what happened when a ship is lost (not just from ganking, but also including ganking).

The value of the loss isn’t as influential as not being able to really learn from the situation, simply because they don’t understand what happened.

Conversely, veteran players lose expensive ships all the time and aren’t at near the same risk of quitting, possibly because they have already accepted the nature of EVE, have other ships they can go jump in, know how to replace their stuff, etc. (not CCP data on that, just some possibilities).

Value of the loss may be a driving factor, but I don’t know that there is any way that we as a player base can validate that.


Well, it’s true that it’s an assumption. I don’t have data that says losing a large portion of their wealth in a gank is more likely to cause players of any age to quit. It’s just what I’ve seen over the years.

I suppose I should clarify that by “high value”, I meant relative to the players net worth. A 5 billion gank isn’t too terrible if you’re worth 500 billion. If your net worth is 6.5 billion, it’s pretty significant.

Over time I’ve seen a lot of people saying they’re gone because their big freighter, miner, or blinged out mission runner etc. got ganked. I’ve seen virtually nobody saying they’re quitting because their Venture, Ibis, Heron or Vexor got ganked.

Well, CCP has implied this I believe, but I’ve seen no numbers attached to it anywhere nor even a direct statement to that effect. If I’ve missed it, I’d appreciate any links.

What I have seen is CCP saying in that “ganking makes people stay” presentation (or misrepresentation, as some people believe) from 2015 that “<1% of players cite ship loss as a reason for quitting”. (Or words to that effect, I don’t have the page right here.)

Then I’ve seen them recently talking about their big “grief counselling” drive on players first ship loss. So those two “CCP says” issues seem a bit at odds with each other.

Probably not, although I’ve been trying to get various looks at killmail data to see if I could determine it. If I had the proper data tools I’m pretty sure I could, but for now will just have to leave it as a possible conjecture.


Favorite forum reply this week.


lol princess aiko thug life

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Every week, 20000-25000 new players sign up to the game for the first time. Half of those actually login to the game. Within 7 days, 90% are gone. So even if over the years, you’ve seen several hundred players quit because they lost high value comparatively, new players quitting over venture losses may be far more significant, even though it’s low value.

There’s just no way to validate that your assumption that high value ganks are more relevant to players quitting than extremely cheap ganks

I’m not saying your assumption is definitely wrong, just saying there isn’t a way for us validate it one way or the other, so it’s a dangerous assumption to make. The error margin around any analysis needs to be so large that the analysis has almost no value.

Hilmar has talked about it a couple of times. Here is one of the occasions, but not the most direct one:

If I can find the more direct statement I’ll edit and post it.

Can you link where they’ve said that?

I don’t believe that is what CCP has ever said. It’s more an extrapolation made by players, of what CCP have said.

To my knowledge CCP has always said they haven’t found evidence that ganking drives players away in any significant numbers, but they’ve never claimed that ganking makes people stay.

They’ve also directly identified that ship loss is the #1 factor that correlates with people staying with the game, but they’ve never assigned cause for that, just observed it.

Sure. If CCP have ever actually said that ganking makes people stay, then I’d agree. I just don’t believe they’ve ever said that. They’ve only ever said the inverse of that to my knowledge - ganking doesn’t cause significant numbers of players to quit, which is not the same as “ganking makes people stay”.

So yes, when I referred to it as “ganking makes people stay”, it’s because that’s the interpretation PvP players have been putting on it for 7 years now.

What CCP actually said, specifically, was that people assumed ganking drove people away, and so they looked at the data, and found that in a very specific subset of “ganks” looked at, that people who were ganked were “slightly” more likely to continue playing than people who died ‘legally’. Without any numbers, and with a fair bit of fuzziness in the words used.

They also don’t differentiate if a ‘legal’ death involved suspect baiting, which in the first 15 days of the game would count pretty similar to a gank, IMO.

I’ve definitely never seen anything from CCP stating this. Guess I just haven’t been paying attention.

No, that isn’t what they said, since “slightly more staying” implies “almost as many leaving as staying”. Which I’d call a significant number.

They do say that “people who don’t die at all are the most likely to leave the game” (in the first 15 days). But personally I’d say that less about ship loss or no ship loss, and more about “people who engage with the game early on to an extent they actually fly out and do things which may result in ship loss” vs. “people who end up doing almost nothing at all, don’t engage with the game, and don’t end up losing anything”.

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Go watch CCP Quant’s data science of EVE presentation. He directly shows the data analysis around it. The whole presentation is good, but in relation to the subject, 16:46 into the video.

Sure, but CCP have never said so, which is counter to your earlier post.

CCP have said multiple things over the years, and yes, their argument has always been that ganking does not drive players away in number significant enough for them to do anything about it (hopefully that rewording makes sense).

This quote from CCP Rise for example:

Like, I literally just pointed out that CCP specifically said that the ganked subset stayed longer than anyone else.

And you did just say that “ship loss” was the #1 correlation with staying with the game, whereas the quote you linked from Rise says it’s the social factor.

At any rate, I feel you’re starting to get into “I want to hairsplit word definitions and interpretations” mode here. And that’s never a productive convo, so I’ll likely just leave it there.

Thank you for the useful information you did provide here and I will look up CCP Quant’s video.


Yes, they have found a correlation between death (including from ganking) and higher player retention. That is different to attributing cause and saying that “ganking makes people stay”. They haven’t said that and it isn’t hair splitting. CCP have never attributed cause and rightly so, because there are too many possible causes and no way to validate them all. The correlations are enough on their own for CCP to make decisions.

So back to the original part of this, claiming that high value ganks are more important to players leaving is a dangerous assumption to make. There is no way we as players can validate that (and CCP would have an extremely difficult time trying to do so as well) and any analysis based off that assumption needs to include too large an error margin to be of any value.

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CCP’s exact words:

“people in the ganked group are the most likely to stay subscribed afterwards.”

Not sure how many times I have to type that before you get it. Maybe you should watch the video?

Yeah, that’d be why I agreed with that a half-dozen posts ago:

But, you know, you can keep repeating the point. If it makes you feel better. I won’t stand in the way of free speech!

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Many of us have been discussing this since 2014. The video has been watched multiple times, by a lot of people here.

What you are saying CCP have said (ie. ganking makes people stay) isn’t the same as what CCP have actually said.

I personally think ganking should increase (along with all opportunities for destruction) and that would align with what CCP have found, but I certainly don’t see CCP stating that ganking is an actual cause of players staying.

Yeah. Keep facilitating and promoting anti-player behavior.

See how well that continues to go.

:clown_face: :clown_face: :clown_face:

Losses and gains for a company like CCP are exponential.

‘eVeN aS fEw As 1o0 pLaYeRs’ can generate, over 5 years, 1 single active and subscribed account for each of those 100 players would be $90,000.

Say ganking has caused only 1,000 players to quit in those 5 years. That’s $900,000!!!

Still think you’re smart?

If I was running a business and found that some ****ing ****hole ** ther ***ers caused me to lose dang near One Million Dollars, I’d make drastic changes to weed those ****ers out of the game.

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Honestly, they need to either completely rework the “security” system, or remove it all together. Remove the illusion of safety from the would-be gank victims and force them to band together to defend themselves, while simultaneously allowing the gankers to start using real ships and engage in real PvP with opponents who would be far more likely to fight back.

Then they are lying.

‘YEAH! KILL ME AGAIN BABY! Delete my hours and days and weeks and months of effort! YEAH BABY!!! I’m gonna come back so you can do it again!!! OOOOOHHHH YEEEEAAAHHH!’


I don’t believe so. I’m very likely to call CCP out on spin-doctoring, double-speak, outright BSing, lying or being clueless in their statements. I can honestly say however that I’ve never caught them (or seen them caught) actively fudging their data.

Now, one issue with the presentation is they use words to describe it (slightly more, most likely etc.), and they only post some of the numbers, so it’s been open to a lot of interpretations over time.

I get your point that it’s not ‘rational’ that a significant loss would lead to more retention, but people aren’t all that rational. Plus, they’re talking about the first 15 days of play, which is significant.

Without some very careful screening here, they’re going to catch everything from barely interested dabblers to avid space-gamers to pre-experienced alts created for specific purposes or returning to play. (Keep in mind this was pre-Alpha and people created new demo accounts for lots of reasons.)

That was my hope when scanning the gank/PvP numbers for this thread, was to bring a bit more current update to how ganks and PvP were panning out in the current game.

Unfortunately it turns out that good data is a lot harder to come by than we’d like.


When I lost the Wardec that Code. placed onto Frostpacker I decided to stick around. I was at that time wanting something more than just bootlegging tobacco products between different npc stations.

I wanted to feel hunted, I want to be david in that fight against James 315 (aka goliath)

Some time ago, in the eve year Y124 I had made a comment and amd still waiting, sometimes sitting outside the station just waiting but it doesn’t happen.

My reason for submission to our Queen Regent of Highsec is that I believe that I will be rewarded for my loyality to one day be challenged at any moment by the Queen herself instead of her bodyguards who I seem to be constantly fighting to gain trust within their ranks.

That 1v1 call out was and still active.

I’d like to look a bit deeper into this.

Is there any context? “Most likely” means that they actually lead the group of re-subs?

This is not clear at all. Also, if this is from a fanfest, forget it.

I’m curious, as I hardly see it being of any use for an argument in this case.
If it was for that without context, can we assume that “everyone gets ganked” at some point of one of his/her toons’ life? Which would make it invalid. Now, if it is strictly referring to the first 15 days… well, again there is hardly any context there… the next question would be… “stay subscribed” after how long?

I think it’s too vague as many references to statements and statements again tend to be… Which brings me back to my hate for numbers and the reason for focusing on personal experience.
I can only say that no. Being ganked is not a primary reason for quitting. And yes, everyone gets ganked. It may sound a bit redundant (stupid) but I just want to point at the fact that ganking is just a way, endorsed and facilitated by the current state of affairs… and it’s been like that for ever.

A very different thing is, that there are not many alternatives regarding PVP (other than ganking)… why? well, lack of creativity on the platform and perhaps the fact that it is “too hard to code”. The predator - prey scenario is simple and direct, there is not much about it and if anything goes down the drain, well, there is always: “It’s a sandbox”