You’re correct, it’s a graph of active users, average dailies would be the average of each of those little cycles… I assumed you could grasp that epic intellectual leap, my bad.
here is a graph of users since 2013, notice the steady downward trend. “World War Bee” is the only thing that kept this year from being a further slip down the hill. Note, we barely beat lasts years Aug slump (the lowest point for the game in like 10 years) and are already under-performing the back to school pickup.
Doing something like removing local from null (making it less safe, more work, and taking away the “free intel” which is the only string holding most groups together in null) would devastate the user base. Not because people would rage quit, though I’m sure they would, or because it would break up a lot of blue donuts, I think it would and I think that would be good, but because average players would have to spend more effort to play the game so would go do something else instead.
Frankly, the fact that CCP is desperate to find new revenue streams for EVE is very telling of the state of the project. It hasn’t failed, but it’s not in great shape. It doesn’t mater that the subs still cover the costs, if the roi for dev time is higher working on, for example, VR then they will slowly close up shop. Valkyrie is getting a lot of attention atm…