With its very steep learning curve, real-time skill training, pretty “real” losses, socially and psychologically challenging traits…standing out there with very uncharacteristic specialities compared to other popular video games.’
And of course, it is a great challenge to maintain, grow and evolve considering its massively complicated interconnected nature.
It is nearly impossible to pick any attribute from the game, isolate it from rest and place it under a microscope.
Therefore “holistic approach” is not an option but a necessity for a complete interpretation of the game as a system.
In this post, I will emphasize some of the major approaches, administrative policy and behavioural patterns of the CCP. And I will pan these on some very well known facts related to social psychology, behavioural economics and human nature.
Begin with NEW PLAYER EXPERIENCE.
Lack of social integration policies for new players still standing there.
6 months ago I introduced the value of social integration policies. I gave simple examples and only a simple one step to help players to access game-related data and community.
This feature, Pétursson explains, is part of a company-wide initiative to solve the greatest threat to the virtual galaxy of New Eden: Getting new players to hang out. “We’re dedicating serious resources to this, which we have not done before,” Pétursson says. “We have not done this level of investment, but we’re doing it now because we’ve seen from our numbers it is the biggest opportunity for the game.”
Please someone from CCP who read this post delivers my message to sir Pétursson. From someone who specializes in grief counselling and trauma.
This application CCP is proud of and of course with a very positive nature and is willing to use time and source… (well intentions, heartful )but This is stand up straight PRIMITIVE and counterproductive.
Grief counselling esp helpful aftermath intervention approach for people who have been affected.
The best intervention to traumatic experiences is PROACTIVE interventions especially if the possibility of the event is high.
Let me explain: In EVE Online when new players start playing, it is nearly %100 sure they will lose their ships. that’s first. and %100 sure if that ship is not a rookie ship the loss is “real”
This is not some situation like an uncertain possibility. We do not proactively consult every individual in the world in case they lose someone in a traffic accident … but we provide counselling to the ones who lose their close friends or family members in these accidents.
In EvE ship loss is 100 % reality. It’s not a possibility. We do follow a different approach if the possibility is very high first-hand. That’s a Proactive approach.
In the CBT model, mostly what bothers us is not the events themselves but what we think about the event and our interpretations, the meaning we give, rise our feelings.
You are alone in the house and you heard the voice of someone trying to enter. If you think oh that’s mom and daddy come back from the movie … then you don’t even break your posture and keep reading your book. If you don’t know who it is then beginning to think about the possibility of someone trying to break into the house.
You get anxious tension on your stomach… Here thoughts and feelings all possibilities can change human to human in a very large range.
Out of experience in the rookie help channel for years I would say the vast majority of new players are not aware of facts about losing the ship and they are not prepared.
Moreover, they are not prepared about how to think about this.
Those reactions make you apply to this grief counselling program.
Up to now, you must already see why it is primitive interference considering the loss possibility is %100
What you need to do is simply orient every pilot by default before they begin to fly with their wings. Use suitable and functional frames.
Eve Online is a Harsh game, yes. In its nature. But there is no reasonable function to push this reality down into new players’ throats without them knowing. This has no advantage at all. what they will be going to be face to face. This causes anger, failure feelings and a lot of different emotions that hinder new players’ adaptation process and build up negative feelings against game developers and other players. If they “Expect” and be ready in mind and already oriented around the nature of the game increase acceptance in first hand and minimise quite a lot of the grief counselling needs. Gives some degree of control feeling to the player. And even to some extent can minimise the risk-averse pilot behaviours towards PVP.
This also can be easily adapted into the initiation process cheaper and effectively reach out %100 of the new players by default.
This is a game application example where you fail to understand human nature and reflections into the game. But also reflects your good intentions too.
As I have stated before; please hire someone knowledgeable about these and able to work holistically, who can also see and work together to optimise every single stage of New Player Experience. It makes everything cheaper, faster and far more effective. I have led and applied this in two cities under threat of possible future disaster. One with 1.2 million other 5.5 million residents. Which also a bigger one exposed the event later years and we had much more conscious citizens. And we could dedicate our time and sources to the people who need them. It is simply based on psych facts proved by tests and applications thousands of times.
When a player starts playing first time in the rookie system and the first thing that land on his/her mailbox is this :
You need to consider and think about their first thoughts… I do understand CCP keeps their in-game interference to a minimum and never sends any in-game offers, deals and such stuff and I do fully respect that and I like that.
It is very easy to go around this. You do already start players in default NPC corporations. And it is ridiculous that not to imagine the leader of this corporation ( Npc character ) sent a welcome email with some very helpful links, information. Similar language and guidance Aula presents. A Heartful message about preparing them about what lies in front of them in the future, outlets and connections, blue link them to in-game helpful tools and inform them about other capsuleer corporations existence. Maybe even hint at some of the golden rules.
Players receive welcome in-game mails from corporations when they join any player corporation. SO it is pretty natural. Even this single application can be a great deal of support and help for new players integration.
I have only given 2 examples here… And these are fragments of examples from a very consistent project. And
But it is impossible to write all these in the post, Definitely requires some degree of expertise around the subject and a “Holistic Approach” to understand and apply.
This is One-way communication. I am not motivated or encouraged by CCP. If you want I can write up educational/experience requirements for the staff you need.
This is a circle. I will use the analogy: Ouroboros here… At the moment with no social integration policies and inadequate initiation process CCP feeding the players from the TAIL and players see how they have been swallowed suddenly with no awareness. And they leave. Social integration policies cause players to feed to a circle close to the middle or even to the head part and they have time to stay in the game and learn until they are also eaten by the head and digest, get mature and join the circle!
Both for CCP new player experience and old players experience.
OLD PLAYER EXPERIENCE :
I do hear from a lot of veteran players, they are deeply sad about CCP’s attention towards new players. and all other things what you call it literally “WHINING”
CCP introduced a lot of changes and new “things” into the game. And sometimes leave many things half done and broken behind… and more “whining” follows up.
And the word we often hear is breaking the “STAGNATION “
For the sake of coming over “stagnation”… that “word” though….
It is just a result and a surficial limited and simplified reflection of what’s going on.
The video game world changed … player profiles changed … there is a lot of competition out there and you want a bigger slice from the cake I do understand,
I do understand all efforts to break the “stagnation”
What I am having a hard time understanding is the way you are initiating every nerf, buff every new aspect and application that reflects NO understanding about underneath individual /social-psychological mechanisms of STAGNATION. There are solid calculations, strategies and structured approaches out there! But it’s nearly impossible to see anything resembling that in your applications in-game. You are losing people and sorry but “Losing that much amount of players “ is not a NATURAL result. Do NOT calm yourself down and rationalise the loss as a natural downside result of this operation. Please take responsibility and take a step and evaluate what’s going on. that is nothing else than the same lazy excuse of yours like oh there are not many female players in eve because they aren’t interested in science fiction. ! I can show you dozens of research which shows and proofs this is not true !
Let me explain a bit :
In the old days before skill injectors, the only way to gain skill points was waiting for real-time skill training and even at the beginning you have been faced to lose these skill points… then over years, one application and another first skill point losses were removed and injectors applied. Still Eve online greatly requires a long time to learn (both skill-training and learning game )and for many people who cannot afford skill injectors one way or another time is a matter.
It is a game that greatly leans on long term gratification. Success depends on purpose or destination through long term dedication, planning, adaptation, focus and patience.
On the other hand, many games in the market have pretty much short term gratification and very quick direct short compulsion loop patterns. I have previously introduced CCP to a project to tackle this challenge without breaking the game’s nature.
The reason I need to mention is this long term gratification creates very special conditions. Make one change: the player begins to train the ship to be able to use its full potential takes 1.5 years when the player reaches out to that point you nerf the ship brings “balance “ to the game and it becomes useless.
You shouldn’t underestimate the effect of these and see them as just whining and a “collateral damage “for better health and the future of the game. Without its players the game is NOTHING. Your jobs and that company too.
Some players leave the game and they come back … some never come back. There are always new players who come and join and over time these players replace the new players.
Let me explain. player base who start playing this game let’s take the year 2009. had encountered EvE Online far more challenging conditions. And currently, they are more invested than any player who starts around 2019.
They used more time, more money, more energy, they encountered far more hardships over years wave after wave and they stayed.
Losing one veteran player for you is far more expensive actually than losing one potential new player. Because your game design ground requires the dedication of those old players. And you need adequate active players to stay in the game and engage in this intense interconnected environment. And every new player you say potentially nominee of becoming a veteran… but Considering today’s market and a lot of other games and player behaviours shaped and moulded with these games mindsets makes it very very difficult for you to replace every veteran player loss with a new player in long term. Because of their expectations resiliences, options are far more different than 10-15 years ago. And they are more customised for today’s instant gratification culture.
As a result, I do see all your efforts to make the game attractive for the New player base and you are trying to evolve and develop this game so it has more chances in this race at the same time you want to take it out of stagnation.
I do understand. I do support and I respect that. Now if you read these. I will be going to pan those onto some well-researched facts and I will explain why you are failing and how can you turn the sail and make it right :
We heard this word “stagnation” but let’s take a closer look :
To be able to understand what I’m talking about you need to read and understand these terms and know at least as description lvl. I will also give some research references at the end of my post you may go over and read it.
Sunk Cost Fallacy
Status Quo Bias
Loss Aversion / Risk Aversion
Sunk cost fallacy is a natural human tendency that people commit when they continue a behaviour or endeavour as a result of previously invested resources. Here we see veteran Eve online players. And this is something the CCP took it granted from old players. There is a game they have dedicated over a decade. They are already in a good position or some kind of satisfaction and maturation in the game … even they go out to try some other games none of those games will give them feeling that dedication, commitment, the investment they have already given to Eve Online…sometimes people eat more than they normally do if they already think that they paid a lot for it. Yes, they will come back … maybe… Human beings also have a tendency to measure the value of the things they have more than what has been offered to them in exchange. That’s what we call the endowment effect. Let’s go back to the term sunk cost fallacy and elaborate it from there into status quo bias: people prefer things to stay the same by doing nothing or by sticking with a decision made previously. And there is a certain inertia in Eve Online. That pattern you can see in citizens of Diaspar ( A.C.Clarke City and the Stars) or turtles which pass all Atlantic ocean to drop their eggs onto west coast Africa … because they were doing this for millions of years since the times actually those two coasts had been very very close to each other. Also if you think many companies are different from turtles … No, this explains why CCP is still making the same mistakes again and again with the way they are wiring and applying those changes. Status quo bias working actually in two ways here… No matter it looks like CCP trying to break it And players resisting it … status quo bias is there on both sides just in different masquerades… (Players -game style), (CCP- the way they are designing and applying those changings.) Both reflect the same bias. And therefore it keeps failing.
Well, this post was officially written to break CCP’s stagnation. And would like to encourage them to use some more finely crafted social psychological and economic behavioural strategies in their applications. Because there are a lot of very clear well researched action-result strategies which not surprisingly works! ( lol) . Just requires a tremendous amount of out of box thinking, creativity and holistic perspective. ( not “adapting” stuff you see in other games)
Let’s elaborate on Status Quo bias towards the Prospect theory and loss aversion: Then talk about how to make lemonade.
Prospect theory is about how people decide between alternatives that involve risk and uncertainty according to the possibility of gain or loss. And human beings experience the heaviness of loss as twice stronger than the pleasure of gaining and this nature simply explains loss aversion. and also there is a lot of research around this phenomenon. We do remember negative events and experiences more clearly than the positive ones as a side mirror reflection of this nature too. Extension of this; human beings become volunteers to take the risk to not to lose MORE than to gain something.
And another well-researched data is human to show those tendencies, even stronger IF there are SO many options, choices and alternatives and results are unpredictable.Predictable inputs lead to stagnant outputs ! Do you remember this ? Yes if you read up to here now you know what you understand from that message ?..
The way you use that frame is TOTALLY wrong ! ill placed and ill described ! There is a serious logic defect there. Totally up against countless proofs ITs like humming some songs you don’t even understand the true meaning of.
. Familiar ??? ! Yess!
You are coming there…
While stagnation CCP constantly attacks on breaking and changing. if you read up to now… you can see it is also actually one of the unique things that makes Eve Online’s player base more different than others. This is Something CCP MUST NOT ATTACK! But MUST cleverly MICROMANAGE. This is NOT Eve Online’s weakness but its strength.
Here I will share some examples about how to
Get smart and get aware of your own “stagnation” ( explained).
Use proactive ( example given) approach and strategies.
Avoid sharp turns instead apply small different strategies to break “stagnation” and for further changes, you would like to apply to the game based on acknowledgement and research. Begin to develop some muscles around it and cooperate with expert professionals. With the right composition of well-designed strategies, you can avoid all those side effects effectively. Use less time, energy and money and gain more. ( if you think you are doing it already please go back to nr 1 Because you don’t. I can’t see any intelligent reflections of it in the game )
Frame accurate and functional, Right time and right place. There are several dimensions on framing … this covers a large variety of actions/interactions from game design to communications with the community. And use the “FRAMING” along with “NUDGES”, which might be unusual and applications into EvE Online requires a well-grounded understanding of the mechanics of this game, the way it has developed over time and a full understanding of players mental psychological processing around the game and judgmental heuristics. There are some hilarious nudges you can apply that players don’t take an eye scratching insult to their intelligence but take it hilariously fun and smart. you have data analysts and you can easily spot these.
Creating compulsion loops and instant gratification classic gaming company tactics chewed a lot, ordinary yes it works but also too obvious… in EvE online creating these and applying not a problem at all without breaking and ruining the original game design idea. Even though games nature leans on long term gratification. And it’s very possible to come over risk-averse behaviours esp on PVP and gain more PVP mindset pilots into the game. I have mentioned this in my player speaker submission and sent it to CCP before so I will not go into more details here and I don’t have enough space here to explain everything.
I shared an idea with @suitonia some weeks ago. That one is a very good example: one shot and 4 birds. “Dynamic FW idea “ can provide less risk-averse behaviour, create more content and a more nurturing environment for the pilots who are eager to dip their feet into PVP. As well as the challenge seeking more competitive pilots. Moreover, that can be one very great example of a “ higher risk higher reward” application in a game. Incentivise groups as well as solo PVP. It’s very easy to do and I strongly suggest you talk to @suitonia around this idea applies to the game. He already has some numbers in his head I think.
Be Consistent. Be Accountable, trustable. Investigate not GAMBLE.
Status quo bias gears up and gets even worse if there is a lot of “unknown’’ on the equations while people are calculating risks. Risk is in the nature of EvE. CCP is a profit-oriented company. CCP is not EVE Online, This means you have a very narrow window to make mistakes when it comes to everything that may impact players’ decision-making process. Games nature is risk involved, yes. But what you are doing is sometimes simply not making conscious decisions based on solid acknowledgement, but simply gambling! That shouldn’t give you relaxation to apply some changes into the game unannounced and not even properly working as expected, Or misinform players.
For example, I have heard from CCP in the podcast that Starvation is not temporary, it is permanent. After that post cast, one and a half months long, I had read posts in Eve Online forums that people had been talking about this condition as a temporary condition and they have been debating about how to pass through these hard times and adapt until all go back to “normal” with “hopes”. Now the CCP is announcing the end of starvation. This is a very simple example of how you handle the framing, communications. That also explains a lot why people cannot make any sense of your post which fallow up with EVE eco system eve online forum post you opened
This example is a single-handedly very good example to explain how CCP feeds stagnation. Because this is one of the most primal reasons for stagnation. You are breaking your accountability. That causes people to become even more risk-averse. When status quo bias and sunk cost fallacy gear up high and stagnation you feed increase to the point that players will not hold the mental accounts anymore separated.
Also please consider that I cannot and will not share every micro and macro solution here. I did only give a couple of examples and if you read up to now you know it requires some level of expertise and mindset. Once more since 3 of march… I do share a piece of knowledge and perspective. I don’t even sure if anybody will read it from the CCP. And this post is for the CCP. Not for the player base. CCP shows this place to share. So I do.
Last note to CCP.
If your player base is “whining “, “angry “ and “resentful” … remind yourself this :
“Though anger seems a pessimistic response to a situation, it is at root a symptom of hope: the hope that the world can be better than it is.” ( Alain D Button.
This is your treasure. I do not say listen to every whine and whimpers and apply solutions for that game. It’s unreasonable and madness. But I do suggest you look into a more optimistic way and stop saying if you don’t like it just leave it! You don’t have that luxury. Says math, experts and successful company leaders. And begin to use some well researched and already optimized methods.
“If they don’t like it then they leave ‘’ If you read this post up to now. Then you see that The CCP who told this to the player base who has nothing but a butcher sensitivity in the operating room who needs to be able to use fine sets of surgical scalpels. EvE is harsh, players might say these kinds of sentences. But for CCP as a company to say something like that, they must be losing their perspective, forget where they are standing, worse than that they never had that professional acknowledgement and seeing this through to use fine social-psychological aspects. Which also hurts the player’s trust, causes anger and resentment in the player base and people react! Which so many did in forums. and this hurts the image of CCP. Also a huge framing application failure.
When there is no whining, no anger and resentment. That day is the date late for all.
@CCP_Hellmar , @CCP_Convict , @CCP_Dopamine , @CCP_Fleebix , @CCP_Fozzie