Dear CCP employee, Pearl Abyss Employee, Players, Investors and others,
DISCLAIMER : This letter don’t said i will do thing better than CCP. This letter don’t means i think CCP employee or management have bad skills.
This is an open letter to CCP, as an entity , but to all your employee who works or Eve Online. This letter will be posted in REDDIT, OFFICIAL FORUM and send by email to CCP and Pearl Abyss.
First of all, thank for this game, it s a very special game, it’s a legend in the game universe after all EVE IS REAL.
The goal of this letter is to explain why I think you need to change things before we lose a lot of our players’ base, I will not reach in detail each thing, I just want you CCP take care of what you are doing, and maybe if this letter makes you realise something go wrong, feel free to ask me to develop some points in detail in public or in private.
And it’s not about the upcoming change of resource redistribution, but about all your change since now month and month.
I will start by taking an example of the next update, the goal of the update. After I will explain technic, I used to say “wrong idea” and you could use it in eve for near everything. We will see the consequence of your update on the game with the point of view of this technic.
In a second time, we will see why some historic on eve update and your communication.
In a third time, we will search root causes of a lot of your problems, from my point of view.
In a final part we will see problematic of metrics, yes metrics are nice, but miss use of metrics could lead you into abyss (metrics = filaments … EVE JOKE).
My hope for the future of EVE, will be the last part of this letter.
After I will make a short conclusion. Thank to read this open letter, I hope it will help your company to make EVE Online great again.
I)The future update as an example
In very short summary, the update makes some mineral will be own in only some localisation of space. Repartition is based on security (HS/LS/0.0-WH).
b)Futur update goal by CCP:
The update to end the starvation and start redistribution has multiple goals : Give an interest to each part of space, make a dynamic economy on resources and increase number of new players, beau cause they will be able to provide resources people in other parts of space will need.
We could understand it gives a role to HS/LS/0.0 and WH (Yes for WH actually it gives the role of space harder to live, to avoid people totally live inside).
The dynamic economy of resources we need to see it as meta level: -If too many people farm in HS it will decrease HS mineral price, so people will move to other parts of space. And the same will happen with 0.0 and LS. So your economy is driven by economy and you need to “control” territory all across the galaxy to be self-sufisant, or you need to trade.
Increase of new players (retention): By making some ore only in HS the main goal is to make some new player who doesn’t want to play a lot and just stay in HS could have nice income by mining to extract tritanium who will not be in concurrence with 0.0 miners who have more powerful ships to extract it.
c)Technic of limit value analysis
If you have done or actually do a lot of math and modulation you know this technic, for others I need a very short explain how it works. You take your model/idea/function and you imagine the consequence if you push the concept to its limit, in is the extreme limit, not the ‘we think it will never happen because that of that’, in this you consider things could go over your imagination.
A good example is to say : No in my model player will not be able to regroup in large groups with enough organisation to make this more than 3 times every 6 month… Let’s take construction of a keepstar as an example.
In this particular case, the limit value analysis said, 'OK consider players are smart enough to regroup and organise to produce like 1 entity keepstar, how many keepstar did they could spam in 6 months ? If too many for the game, did we have an emergency plan to insensitive people to destroy a keepstar?
So if you use the limit value analysis, you will say with numbers you have: OK if each coalition in the game decide to produce themselves a maximum keepstar number they will proceed X per 6 months… OK it’s a little to much, maybe we need to add some game design few months or now to make it’s a little harder to maintain a large number of keepstar, or maybe just add restriction on the number of existing keepstar for drive war?
After years players as give proof they are smart, they have spam citadel all over New Eden and now a lot of fix comes to reduce it, and some insensitive are giving to make players want to burn keepstar and other citadel, and it’s become hard to take some decision against them, because a lot are in space, and if you use a strong nerfbat player base will just lose more truth, some will leave…But if actions were thinking in first place and some rules implement at start to avoid some limit case (4 keepstar in 1 system it’s OK ? 2? 1?), maybe the proliferation will be under control.
This kind of analysis is a nice to have when you want to make a major update in a game. And, of course, for citadel some other case limit must have been examined : players build 0 citadel, citadel are too easy to attack/defend (TZ tanking, stat of citadel , etc.)…
Yes, I understand and I have followed your announcement of ‘it’s an iteration’, before near each major update, but iteration doesn’t mean you haven’t thought to limit the case, because if you have thought of it you will have made some rules first.
d)Ore redistribution and limit value analysis
So let’s analyse some limit value of this change:
- People extra all ore they could from the game every day: If this case happen we will see one ore become the limit. The limit will not be a 0.0 ore because they are virtually infinite, limitations will be more in HS who has the less powerful ship to mine (and less quantity of ore against demand ?). So you will create a world where HS ore value will totally explode and you will remove an important part of the game RISK VS REWARD, more over in this particular case 0.0 entities will deploy massive mining fleet and so new players will not find a lot of ore, and will quit this the game faster.
-People don’t extract all of the ore, no limit mineral appear, perfect player repartition for optimal production : In this case a new problem will appear: RISK VS REWARD is also dead, because in finality if mining in HS is same as mining in 0.0 you will hurt the flow of players who could go to LS/WH/0.0 for industry.
-Massive coalition have a hard reaction to change and “locust/cricket fleet” HS and LS: It will be a more probable scenario , but if it’s pushed to extremes it means power bloc will continue business as usual, but with more xoplexity to build. And not a good complexity a boring complexity, so why people will continue to play to a more boring game ? They could just disconnect go to another game, wait you loose enough money to just remove your change.
-Evolution of price (all limit scenario): Price of everything that needs minerals will increase, it means if players don’t play as a miner, they will need to play more to buy the same ship. Increase time for new players to fly a nice cruiser, battle cruiser, battleship… Make they understand they will not be able to catch old player who has stock for years, or never… why join a game already locked by veterans ? For PVP it s more worst, pvp player will spend more time replacing ship, so yes they will be targeted when they farm more time, or they will go to another game whom they could pvp with less restriction, maybe a pvp player doesn’t want to spend 3 * more time than now to use the same pvp ship. So pvp players will become a lot more risk averse, and so destruction will be reduced .
-Evolution of time in space to be shot: if people need to spend more and more time in HS, suicide ganks are harder to make than just shoot of bomb miner in LS/0.0/WH so at the end of the day the time spend in space and can be shot will be reducing a lot. Less destruction possible, fewer targets, less target means less hunter at mid term (Blackout HELLO).
- Evoluiton of player behaviour : Yes on a meta scale the change could seem good, but it makes we forget something, add a layer of boring things on a boring activity (yes mining it’s not the more engaging thing in eve)… Adapt or die OR leave the game (blackout proof to us you totally forget this option).
- Some TZ will not be able to mine in some area who will be depleted before they log in. But maybe you don’t care of these consumers? Yes could be the case today, but we could presume more people will mine in HS for tritanium and so less tritanium will survive at the end of the day.
But all is not wrong in this change, you have try to give an interest to LS.
In conclusion of this part we could see you are trying to make a major change that will make the opposite of what you want to do.
II)Historic of change
I will not develop as previous part each great change of the last years, I will just summary in great idea and explain why you have made good or bad things.
The goal of this part is just to show to all people who read this letter the next update is not an isolate case, but it starts to be systematic for years now, and it’s inside the ADN of the dev process.
a) The Nerf after Nerf of RORQUAL
First of all : Yes the first change of rorqual made it too strong (and yes if you make the analysis I have explained before … it has been less stronger from conception).
But the problem of iteration Nerf is twice on rorqual : The first and the easier to see, when people invest to make a ship… and you Nerf it every 3 to 6 months’ people start to think you just want to take their money in investor/extractors and Nerf to force they change.
The second and for me the more important : During your change you have totally forgotten by over nerfing something you kill gameplay who are near like excavator stealers (Hi olmeca Gold).
So by over nerfing and iterate on Nerf you have reduced gameplay style and upset again and again some player who has accumulated bitterness against CCP , and so they could think to go to a game that change is sometimes more “radical” but better explain, better think and not have the impress of waste their time.
b)The Nerf of (super) capital
Since Supercapital Big Bang years ago, they are continually Nerf. They are “too oppressive for subcap” is a common sentence you could find from a lot of people. But the thing is supercapital and capital are not too oppressive, they were required some level of preparation before make a blind attack, and a lot of super died.
The first thing is : YES same problems as rorqual with all iterations and all of little Nerf. And like rorqual I know a lot of players who have not stopped due to one Nerf, but due to the succession of Nerf who gives them the impress you want just remove their ship from the game (no really I m sure at 99% if you could you will already push a button to delete all).
But in a Nerf (because yes Nerf could up a ship not only down it), you have given to dreads and titan HAW gun (and remove from titan after). The haw gunning is bad for the game, sorry to say that but the initial plan for capital who was to said carriers and super are anti hubcap specialised and dread/titan are anti cap was great. By doing this you have just removed capital role differentiation in pvp for a lot of engagement. Super carrier heavy fighter torpedoes are in the same way an error because they take a part of dread job.
Same as Rorqual due to the fact super and carrier was used to farm not only for their rentability, Nerf after Nerf you just discourage people who were making money with they to use it, and finally “why stay on a game where game designer ruin your way to make money to finance your fun activity ?” ( I will back after of why people were using super to farm, and rentability is not the only thing that makes people use they).
Special mention to cyno change : Give ability to cyno only to ship who has already a lot of advantage, and force people to have 2 ships on the grid to farm with a capital who is seen by a lot of players as a tax on a fact to use capital (did I mention the fact some player leave to avoid being your cash cow ? Or just have stopped using cap and so remove some character who they were used to make cyno because they have smelt you will totally kill cap/super soon after that?).
c)Nerf of anomaly
Same as Rorqual and supercapital Nerf : Same population already it by change of their ship gets overfed by change of their anom. Nerf after Nerf. For rorqual you could have the promise land of the moon with a belt with some ore very abundant who disappear … for some people who have invested a lot in moon mining and make a long-term plan, you could just make they want to leave the game. Yes, I know you will say it’s for economy sanity in eve online when you read this sentence, but trust me we will speak of that in the true root cause and metrics part of this letter.
d)Change of moon (pos mining against citadel mining)
Very shortly : YOU LITERALLY KILL A WHOLE PART OF THE GAME. I can’t count how many people who have stopped the game with this change, not right after change but in a month who have followed. Or they just have started to play less and less and become shadow…
You have killed insensitive for purr pvp players to pvp for an objective, a way to finance they. And you have not replaced this insensitive (root cause part for more detail on that).
e)Triglavian, edencom, and other stuff like that
OK to be honest some player like it, but you have just killed more and more interest to live in dangerous space with filaments. For players who you are nerfing their gameplay, you try to ‘force they’ to go to your new part of the game … But you must understand something, by trying to force people to do things they don’t want in a game who sell himself as a sandbox you just ask people to leave your game and go to another game. The problem of this new content in the game are you just upset more some player whom you have already upset for a lot of things, yes I could understand some player wanting new way to play and more storytelling in eve … but really are you 100% sure you will not have changed things to add this gameplay and revamp some part of space who need it? Like filaments not in form of filament but in part of FW space with final arena pvp after looting enemy defence complex, for example.
And special reward on this change for filament usable in all part of space. Why the hell do you will live in 0.0 when you could just do filaments in a safer place.
g) BS change, command destroyer , faction (super) capital
A lot of good change asks by the community. But yes a lot of problems with emergency hull for cap/super and HAC damage control. They are just to overpower as game mechanics if you want more destruction, maybe we could add some rules on usage of this to make more explosion without totally make they useless.
But you still have a common problem on ships and for years (root cause for more detail).
OK so the intended goal was to have more explosion, everyone could understand that. Not a bad change, not really.
i)Remove asset safety from abandoned citadel in k-space
OK one of the biggest points that makes you are committing suicide by metrics (I will explain it with mroe detail later). Just do you realise a shitons of players have loose and will loose stuff without knowing you have made this change? A nice move will have been to make it only for people who are still active and not for people who haven’t played for months or years. Yes avoid that in faction citadel who are historic was a nice move, but think to all this player who has stopped during the blackout because they lose faith in you, if one day they want back, you have lie when you have introduce citadel and said they will be asset safety. If you lie to your player, how you’re an investor and owner could trust you?
A lot of players (and I was one of the first or the first agree with the official forum), to predict what will happen and the incoming Nerf of cyno. It was a very easy predict. Because I need to admit in another life I was a biologist, and in biology we have a model to explain the evolution of the population of predator and prey (Lotka-Volterra), and guess what happens if you give to a predator a powerful tool ? Prey just die, or in eve case they leave.
If you have analysis you’re changing before try it, you will have seen hunter will have too many advantages on this and so you will just totally unbalance the game.
More over blackout was a great signal to the community, as I have explained in the past the only way to make a lot of players have truth again in CCP after this predicatbale fail is to take a drastic decision : Fire , dismiss, or just present apologise for all people in CCP who have in public agree with BLACKOUT (Yes Hilmar, you too).
I will be honest, when you make a promise on a roadmap and stop it with no explain, or report things that could be healthy for your game (hello observatory announces by CCP seagulls). It gives a very bad idea of the game, but in the first place it gives you player trust in you, because they could trust in what you announce in a long-term plan, they could build their game on the long term.
Since the start of chaos era … I will be honest and ask seriously : Do you have a product owner ? A communication leader ?
To conclude this part some issue have appeared with time under seagulls management, some change made to make change with acceleration wanted to players to push eve under new limits. But this rapid change has induced a perma Nerf problem due to some change who was not totally studying the disappear of the same game play.
Since the start of ERA of chaos things are badest than ever, you have destroyed in a few months more gameplay and make more players lose truth and are less implied in eve. To be honest actually a lot of player plays to stay with their space friend, and it’s another problem for you, slowly if the community erosion increases you take risk to see an acceleration of players who become disengage from the game (Blackout, you remember?).
Now players are not stupid, when you claim to make gameplay change hurt bot, we all know it’s because you totally fail and you search to justify why you have done a thing. Please learn to say, “We fail, sorry”.
III)Rootcause of the situation
I will not blame the players for using game mechanics, I blame us as players to have pushed you CCP to make faster and faster change in game. To have cried for a lot of things as a community and have not help you to find the other root cause of the problem. As us as a community to haven’t strong enough to make you more damage during a blackout on your financing to make you understand your error.
b)CCP management of project
You become trapped in your own announcement of “agility in development” and you start to do things that all students does when they make agile coding … do everything in same time, lose focus, don’t think of all possibilities of your change to send in production as fast as possible things when they are ready, or near. Problem his to have things you want to “iterate” but after you forget, and iteration arrive too late, damage is done to the game.
This kind of management is not your entire fault and player (see the root cause a) )are the first to blame for that. You have tried to do your best, but it’s very hard to manage a project of this size with this kind of management.
This same kind of management has made you lose a lot of credibility when some of your employee has lie about some game mechanics, and you have 2 choices here : They have lie by ideology or they were incompetent in game mechanics. In the twice case how do you want to have truth? How do you want to keep truth of your owners and investors when IN PUBLIC YOU LIE ?
For this point I need to explain my point of view as a player, and maybe I m not the alone to have this impress. In CCP it’s like you have some doctrine who are up as the rank of ideology and everything must be done in this ideology… Era of chaos and blackout are the best proof of that, the income was well known before it starts by a lot of people, and it was done to “counter bot”, to make the game more fun (see the next point of root cause), to make content , to make [INSER HERE SOMETHING WHO COULD JUSTIFY A BAD CHANGE MADE BY IDEOLOGY].
-During a lot of time we have the doctrine of full integration of different players, pvp and industry same fight. Nothing must be done by pvp players alone. And yes this ideology was bad because the sentence about PVP was not good, and yes the true sentence was not passive income, but really if it s was really the case you will have changed other things in game more than just moon mining .
-Destruction can’t follow creation we need to reduce production, and make things harder and boring. The actual ideology . It’s a very bad idea, really you just forget you could just insensitive to have more destruction.
- EVE is a PVP game : You said by yourself eve is a sandbox, so some choice made year after year to protect some low tier PVP player are very … ideological. See next point of root cause.
-New content best content : Play to our new content, we buff it again and again, Nerf other sources of income, so come and try our thing. No, you can’t force the player to make gameplay they don’t want, they will just leave or be less implied in your game.
This is the 4 main ideology who have some radical faction in CCP office as a player could see from the outside. And problems of an ideology is the radical way the could tale who is oppressive and potentially toxic for the game.
d) Players do not risk averse in majority, they are invincibility averse.
A common thing that a lot of pvp players thinks, and a lot of CCP employees think apparently is a player is risk averse. See during blackout player stop to farm they are risk averse ! No.
In fact, it’s like war in HS before you make change, people are not risk averse, they just can’t fight against some gameplay who have no counter, and this kind of no counter has conduce to a lot of problems I give you just the easier example to understand:
-Perma cloacker : How many player has just stopped playing when hell camp by cloacky ? You can’t fight against, you could argue what you want about if he is afk he is not dangerous, or cloack counter local (local counter-free intel from the map). At the end of the day a lot of players decide to just stop playing when he’ll camp, or play less. Why do you will play to be prey for someone for free ? When you know he could have 200 bombers, you will not have time in your hubcap to call for help (or your carrier). And yes it’s a thing in EVE. And cloacky people destroy pvp too, because fewer people farm, fewer targets. Perma cloackying is like overfishing, it seems good at the start but in the long term it’s against your goal.
e)Kill insensitive for purr pvp player.
When you have removed pos moon mining, you have missed a way to introduce insensitive to make pvp players want to kill a farmer, and so limit naturally creation by more destruction. A lot of mechanism and ways could have been thinking, the perma ESS you want to introduce in an era before chaos ERA and before a lot of other changes you have done could have been an interesting thing, but not in our actual state. Some other idea more fun could have been thinking to encourage players to kill the big farmer, it’s not hard to have an idea on that, and kind of idea who will not create inflation of ISK or material in game.
f) Remove area differentiation by RISK (NOT ONLY BY “GEOGRAPHY”).
Actually, 0.0 regions are near all the same, and when you introduce something that could make people could be interested in an invasion or a disruption of resources from 1 region of faction capital BPC for example, you end by pushing the thing to all regions of the 0.0 to be sure all region has the same properties (or near, some are more floodplains than others).
Maybe create insensitive for war, make some region are more productive for some reason, make players want to make war expand their territory, it will avoid stagnation, increase destruction. And if you have done that and give insensitive as it was previously explained maybe you will not have to Nerf production.
g)Lack of clear vision on ship role
You have a problem with some ship role. And we could easily see it when we see change on a lot of ship size. You create a lot of news ships with a new role and forget totally you have already given this job to another ship line, or you just don’t know what kind of role could have this or this ship line in game. (Haw dread hello, noctis hello …)
h) Metrics HELL
Often you show us metrics, and speak fof metrics, but at the end of the day do you have thought of the signification of your metric ? The next part of this open letter will explain to you why I think you hardly fail on metrics survey.
First of all, you often present the daily login number, I suppose you survey subscription after this metric, the number of new players and their retention. They are not bad metrics, but they are not all.
All metrics you are actually survey could be disrupted, and when on a live stream you said, 'this change make we have a lot of new players so we are going in the right place" it s not a good idea. Why ? Because for new players when you make change on the ship they will not fly for months, they don’t care really. They care about the community who help they, they care about early game, they don’t care of a Nerf of super or rorqual. Yes, it’s the impact from far their game, but it’s not why you will see a lot of difference. When you make an advertisement on platforms like YouTube for example and you have a drastic increase of new players… maybe it has more impact. It’s only one example.
So I will give to you some metric maybe you don’t survey, and this kind of metrics are very interesting to check when you want to evaluate the implication of players in your game.
-Game time per day.
-Game time and active (1 click every 30 or message, or fast reaction when something happens on the system/field).
-Game time active and undock.
-Game time in each activity.
A lot of other metrics could be used after to see the impact of an update :
Time for a player to repay a pvp ship when loss (or pve/mining)
Time spends by players in pvp
But each metric must be a choice of impact you wait on your change. If you look at the wrong metrics and you see a possible correlation, you will say the climate change in our real world is due to the reduction of pirates in sea.
In all cases if you just follow one metric because you want to change it and you make random change with hope to change it … you could kill your game by making irreversible damage on the long term.
V) My hope
I hope you will stop lying during your official communication. I hope you will stop thinking you know your game better than your players, because chaos of era proof to us one thing : it’s not the case.
I hope you will change your management of projects and start to maybe slow down in game change, make fewer iterations of unstable state, and just deliver the final product on the final product.
I hope you will understand you will not hunt bot with game design things, because the only way to hunt bot by game design is to make mining and farming a lot easier. And so no one will have utilities to use bot or buy dirty ISK.
I hope you will understand the true problem is you don’t give any incentive to players to go to war with each other, or to roam and go kill his neighbours.
I hope you will restore power of farming because starvation is just starting of EVE death when new players realise they will not be able to catch up old player who has a stockpile of resources.
I hope you will understand game mechanics with no counter are hard.
I hope you will be able to recognise your error on an era of chaos.
I hope you will be able to make we can truth you again by stopping the era of chaos, revert a lot of change done since and end the roadmap of the citadel, and finally implement some very good idea you had in the past, and player gives you a lot of other who will have made eve greatest.
Since now years CCP take a wrong way on development. During citadel age players have a clear roadmap, player have signalled some issue and there was only symptoms of a more profound problem who was the lack of conflict drivers in game who was resulting in a kind of race to arm between everyone in eve.
CCP have clearly issue with some ideology and it’s a big problem for the future of eve , a lot of decision is taken for some indicator who could result in action for very short term, and some assumption of long-term move is countered by the fact CCP don’t check some very important metrics who will have a show to them predictable fail of blackouts before make the blackout.
If you are a CCP employee, stay strong, and take action to change thing to save the game, be the teams who make a new golden age for eve, not team who will kill eve… For us players and for you because I think it’s rewarding to see your game growth.
If you are a player, stop thinking an update is good or bad because it’s nerves you, and check the whole plan. If you see an update will result in too many losses for the game let CCP know it. Yes maybe they will not listen, in this case make what it must be done to be listening : communicate on a lot of media, communicate to CCP owners, and if you know peoples who have PA shares feel free to explain to they why eve was a great game, why it becomes to be a bad game, what it must be done to save it.
If you are a PA employee: Eve Online community is a strong community, and it’s the force of the game. If the community start to shut down you will lose income for eve, and if communities have too many damage you will be the company who have bought eve to see eve die and I m pretty sur you don’t want that, it could be a bad advertising for some of your other projects.
If you are a PA investor: Feel free to ask during meetings and communication of PA if they will continue to suicide eve online community because at the end of the day it’s your wallet who will lose value (or win less value than you think).
Thank to have read this letter. I sincerely hope you will change.
If you need help to have some idea or to analyse some idea and you are afraid CSM just defend their own player base ? just ask players, I m pretty sur you have a list of players who master some gameplay and who could give you advice on how it works, impact of some change and be on NDA. And if you are afraid, they leaks something ? Give to they question about 5 subjects, only one will be the true subject you want advice.