Gameplay has gotten no easier. The SP giveaways/constant events are part of a pretty obvious direction CCP has decided will prop up EVE for another 5 years:
giveaways and events will help disguise the drastic drop in player numbers by promoting logins among accounts that aren’t actually playing
SP giveaways will tempt Alphas and casuals into trying larger more expensive fits in order to promote more destruction, and since “everyone” gets them, it doesn’t trigger the anger of subbed players who might well be upset if Alpha train queue was allowed to go past 5M SP.
I won’t be surprised if the current low player counts cause them to add something more to Alphas in order to boost the numbers a bit.
Its not just Alphas. Even Omegas aren’t playing much.
Since the end of June we’ve see a drastic fall over in our corp’s membership participation. People just aren’t logging in. At first I thought it was just the summer, people enjoying RL especially after all the pandemic house arrest - I mean lockdown - nonsense. But it hasn’t picked up again since. Even newer corp recruits just disappear after a couple of days. I’d be OK if they left the corp. But they just don’t show up anymore.
EVE is a very participation driven game. (Probably the same for all MMO RPS’s) It’s not an arcade game. I wonder if people today realize that?
If it were up to me, I’d start out all new players with like 10-15 million SP. Have a bunch of core support skills trained almost all the way (like partially to level 5) so that new players still have to look over the skills and complete the training. And maybe have partial training toward the lower-end T2 ships for the character’s race be in place, so that players wouldn’t need to wait half a year before getting into an assault frigate or a year before a HAC or whatever. The skills would also be split across all categories, so part would be industrial, part combat, part other stuff.
Current game design is outdated. Pilots enter the game “straight out of the academy” and don’t know how to wipe their own asses—it’s kind of unrealistic. Imagine playing a game where you’re a marine in a war zone, and your first mission only gives you a knife and a pistol with 3 clips because you have to “gain experience to unlock the rifle” instead of starting out with full normal gear, and having to work toward unlocking specialties. EVE’s new player character progression design is like something out of a 1995 Super Nintendo side-scroller.
That would be perceived very negatively by new and/or potential players. Ever since EVE went F2P, a lot of the negative sentiment with regard to the game has revolved around the perception that the subscription amounts to “paying to win.” Go browse Steam reviews for EVE (the only place where a lot of new player sentiment is aggregated) and you’ll see a lot of that.
Letting new players start out with reasonable amounts of training already in place should be done across the board, if it’s done at all. Of course it goes without saying that Alpha training limits and the SP extraction minimum would need to be adjusted for the new baseline.
Another idea I’ve thought about is baselining all primary core fitting and ship stat skills into all of the game’s ships at their level 4 values (e.g. give all ships a 20% PG boost), and change the existing skills to account for the remaining current level split into 5 new levels (e.g. Power Grid Management would add 1% per level for 5 levels). And loosen the requirements for low-end T2 ships and weapons a bit.
I’d say that giving new characters a bit more starting SP would help quite a bit. Adding some base SP to engineering, navigation and some base drone skills would be really helpful.
Doesn’t need to be much, perhaps some 500-800k SP extra, but enough to allow for new players to explore different playstyles without being held back by annoying skill training which for an alpha would be pretty much a month of “go fck yourself”.
We actually had that for a period of time when new characters started out with about 1.2 - 1.3 million SP (or was it like 900K? I can’t remember). That was nice. I don’t know why they got rid of that. I just don’t see it cutting into their profits at all. If anything, it would make new players less frustrated and entice them to stay longer.