The real reasons player population is declining

I have seen all this fluff and stuff about overall player experience, involvement in game, hours of play vs. the casual player, yada, yada, yada, yada. - PFT!

NOTE: By the way, all those inevitable Trolls can right now take their snide comments and shove them.
You know who you are, and so will everyone else once you prove it with your nasty remarks, you’re not fooling anybody. - Which means they will now phrase the snide comments to appear more reasonable, because otherwise they really can’t help themselves or just shut up. Its a mental thing, lol.

I want to point out what is NOT getting enough serious consideration and attention, regarding why a lot of people leave the game, and it is NOT necessarily just because they just don’t get it.

#1: Basic ethics or morality.
Believe it or not, there are a LOT of people out there, not just religious or conservative or presumed morally superior people, but just regular decent human beings who don’t like a game so much that directly or indirectly actively encourages smuggling and using narcotics, etc. etc. etc. “its just a game” (excuse) or not.
Its about some baseline of right and wrong, and about the fact that not just adults, but a lot of kids play Eve, and kids are, admit it or not, like it or not, being encouraged in all the worst kinds of behavior.
I seriously think that no moral parent would want their kid playing Eve if they knew what all goes on in the game.

#2: Fairness.
Yeah, I know, the game is not supposed to be a baby-sitting safety crib, and all that absolute nonsense about it being a “Simulation” which it utterly fails at being, which I will explain shortly.
This game tolerates, favors, and actually encourages every bad behavior, and it sides with those engaging in it.
It is a fact, and people who have been experienced with the game know it, regardless of admitting to it or not, or what their opinion of it is. This alone is responsible for a lot of people leaving the game, and that is a fact.
Its not just that the odds are against them, the game itself as it is set up and run against them.
I have one example in my own personal experience. I spent almost all my time in the logistics of the game, slowly building up isk through the market, and spent most of my time flying industrials in high sec, some mining, some planetary, a little of this and that. It was about as safe as one could hope for without just staying in a station blabbing on chat.
I got too casual about it, and one day while transferring a lot of inventory to another location with a lot of transports I got ganked. They hit me relatively hard for the value of what was lost, but it was one of the last shipments, it was the equivalent of my ‘junk box’. It ticked me off big time of course, I even used language on the chat about it, and aside from the scads of people who have blocked me because of my name alone, many more blocked me because of my language - ok, I was wrong on that bit.
But what really offended me was the fact that on one hand gankers could use active cargo scanners to see people’s cargoholds with detail to pick their victims, but on the other hand, I/we cannot use any anti-target-lock in high sec space, or anything else that would prevent it, including a sad, inexcusable lack of what would be natural innovations if this WERE a ‘Simulation’. This is one of many tell-tale signs and indications that the game is knowingly and in fact intentionally biased for all the worst behavior, and against people who just want to have some fun and go about their business.
In any actual universe or honest simulation, any and all sizes of transports would have been built with heavy armor or weapons to defend their cargo, as it would be a necessity. In years there has been no such thing to any real degree, and in fact the opposite, beig nerfed a little, as I could technically point out on examples with my own ships, but that would be paragraphs, and I am already going to be writing a freakin’ novel here.
As long as people can do suicide ganking, high sec space, “laws”, and concord mean nothing. They are paper tigers and window dressing, and poor ones at that.
In any real universe or honest simulation, there would be a hell of a lot more innovation and development than this game even pretends to engage in. A few new ships, a few re-vamps of cosmetics, that’s about it.
Eve, you want money coming in from subscriptions? Earn it. Do the work. Make real improvements that favor the more well behaved players, or you lose players and will continue to lose players. It is a natural and necessary cost of doing business.

#3 Cynicism
This game mass breeds cynicism. Beyond not being able to trust most anyone, no matter what you do, you can be had, anywhere, any time, no matter how careful you are. To some extent, this is expected, but to what extent is it tolerable to players, and especially new players? When the whole game, the casino, and the city the casino is in is rigged against a player, a lot of people will choose to just not have anything to do with it and leave on principle alone, because most people don’t like being played, preyed, and essentially taken advantage of when they are paying for the privilege, and when their ship gets blown up, it doesn’t just come back in the hanger, its GONE, and beyond that, any well outfitted ship costs far more in its modules and equipment than the ship itself.
This all leads to very negative experiences, not just losing a game or a battle, but losing all that was invested in getting some decent ship that is decently outfitted.
What compounds and multiplies this is this ‘tough luck, get used to it’ / snowflake-carebear / kick them when they are down mentality that SATURATES the game. It goes beyond a negative game experience, it is altogether malicious, and makes the game UGLY. - But its completely tolerated.
Not everyone is a masochist with no self esteem who has no value for the money they invest in a subscription.
Not just a few, but Many people want something for what they spend and for the time invested, and if the return they get involves a lot of loss, negative experience, aggravation, and ugliness, it should be no surprise when they decide to find something better to do, and maybe for free somewhere else.
The cynicism also causes a situation where it is very difficult to get anyone to join up to do anything different.
Nobody wants to take a chance on some bold strategy unless it is with some large corporation with a large fleet. People are always thinking first of how something is a scam, or a trick, or will not work, or will fail, mostly because the game is heavily biased to and for the ‘bad guys’.

The truth is that as it is set up and run, Eve Online gives new, or any players a whole list of causes and reasons to leave the game… - I am not going to say “and not enough reasons to stay” because it is not about 9 negative things and 10 positive things make it great by one positive thing more than the negatives. That would be about having a lot of aggravation, but just enough reason to tolerate the aggravation. It should be better than that, even in a strictly cold, conservative, cost-effective business viewpoint.

#4 The lie of it being any kind of “Simulation"
Beyond any factors of “game play” logistics, Eve is NOT a simulation, not even in the slightest.
As I mentioned previously, if that were the case, there would be a lot more meaningful innovation where ships are concerned, and Concord would be able to do a lot more than they do.
Imagine if things favored the ‘lawful’ players to the point where there was little motivation to be a pirate, and suicide ganking was not worth whatever was involved. No, that would not be allowed, because its not about being a simulation, its about CCP making money, and that, unfortunately was already based on allowing a whole lot of piracy, ganking, theft, and pandering to all the worst and base mentality. That stuff sells, there are a lot of people who like the idea of being able to do unto others and get away with it.
One really pathetic example is when you hear/see the message at a gate saying something like:
” X Will not be tolerated, and your mistake will be your last!" or whatever the hell it says.- Really? - Really?
This is a universe where even if you are pod-killed, you just wake up somewhere in a station. There is not actual death in this game, - except for when players leave! Death is no deterrent, only the ego loss of getting your ship blown up, and the suicide gankers don’t even care about that.
What if you only had one life in this game, and if you got killed, that was it? That would change everything wouldn’t it? The stakes would be a whole lot higher, and everyone would take almost everything a lot more seriously. But we can’t have that in any game can we? Because that would be an actual simulation of reality.
This game is first, foremost, and almost entirely about game logic and CCP money, the factor of being a simulation comes in a distant last place after everything else.

#5 The simple, obvious solution that would work, but will never happen, and why…
The game needs to be biased toward the lawful and well behaved players, and unfair to the pirates, suicide gankers, corporate thieves, etc. That’s it. Just that simple.
Why that will not work? Because the game, long term, has been going too far the other way for too long, and now the population of players has been conditioned to this being just the way things are, and there are too many people in the game who like doing unto others and getting away with it.
Eve Online and CCP in this way have already dug their own graves of business failure.
They are dependent on catering to a base mentality and worst motives, and it would mean completely upsetting the whole game, losing a whole lot of players to keep the few who are decent people, essentially re-starting the game, and investing in a massive PR campaign to attract new people to refill the ranks.
Eve Online and CCP absolutely will not do that - why? MONEY. They do not have the morality to see how things should be, they don’t want to lose money to make money, not as long as they can keep convincing themselves that they are right in what they are doing, and choose to be blind to the downward trend their methods are causing. They will not until it is too late, and Eve comes to an end, and then they will find something or someone other than themselves to blame, and they will probably just blame the players or the ‘game market forces’.
It is possible to change all this, and make Eve Online greater than it ever was, but that would require true ethics, and sacrifice, but unfortunately, that is not the kind of people they are.

Its up to you, developers and administrators, to see what you refuse to see, and to do what you refuse to do, not just to be right, not just for the players, but for your own business interests.

Captain Bastard


In before the trolls.



Nope. Wrong. You grazed part of the truth without actually hitting it. I suspect you didn’t play EVE long enough to understand why people play it at all, much less why people quit.


Putting aside whether or not your conclusions have any merit, I have to point out that all of these statements were true even while the population of the game was growing. The very premise of your argument is flawed.

So…what changed? The game, or the players?

edit: I am still awaiting a response from OP, or any that agree with his position.


Go away!


I’m glad I’m not the only ethical player in the game (well, I already knew that, as I’ve met a few others), and not hiding behind “it’s just a game” and “role-playing” as an excuse for selfish or inconsiderate or rude conduct. Those who lean on those particular rationalisations are trying to convince us that “I didn’t do that - my character did, and there’s a difference” - there isn’t. As a small example, let’s say a player is running a site, and another player jumps in and muscles in - that’s simply rude, and suggests to me that this person would, for example, cut a line in real life if it weren’t for the very real social consequences. People who “behave badly” in game like to claim “it’s role-play”, but as far as I’m concerned, if that’s the role-playing option the player is exercising, it tells me a lot about their fundamental morality/ethicality, their outlook, their drives, their aspirations. The game is a social game - even “role-played” anti-social behaviour is still anti-social behaviour.

Anyhow, it being a platform providing its own sizeable society, there are no simple answers. I do agree that the fundamental framework is one that rewards lawlessness and “might makes right” thinking, washing its hands of almost any responsibility. I think it may have started out as an interesting social experiment - and perhaps continues to point a rather damning finger at human nature. Of course, unlike real-world societies, being a game there’s always the option to opt out altogether (another favourite deflection by the thugs etc.) - but that again merely exposes those players’ self-involvement and selfishness: they don’t care about the larger consequences (which in this case equate to: more people opt out = the game loses subscribers.)

In any case, like I said, I don’t think there are any easy solutions where so many people are involved. I just make the best of it, and carry on exactly as long as I’m enjoying it (and not a day longer :wink: )





EVE’s success or failure has nothing to do with the ethics and morals of its players. Plato’s Ring of Gygees and what it says about ethics is an interesting parallel to EVE. But that has nothing to do with success or failure of EVE.


Ah, I think I was unclear: I’m not drawing any sort of causal link between the two - I was merely making certain observations about in-game interactions and mindsets. After all, if the success or failure of an entertainment medium were contingent on the decency of its participants or spectators, then all manner of “blood sports” (including both “organised” ones such as gladiatorial arenas, and the more “spontaneous” ones such as lynch mobs) would not have been as popular as they historically have been. To quote Victor from Dollhouse: “Yeh… people are mostly crap.” :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Im interested to know your opinion on method-actors, given what you’ve said.

No judgement, just an opinion on someone who really REALLY likes to play a role.


Captain and Felyx, you make some good points, points I have made in the past myself…

Now you’ll just get flamed to hell and back for voicing them.


When I was younger,back when passing around NES cartridges was a thing, my circle of friends had a screwed up copy of Kid Icarus. If you grabbed Amy of the stronger level arrows (the main weapon of the game), the password that let you continue the next play session would not work. This made it extremely difficult to beat the final fortress. When I managed to do so, it was an accomplishment. All who shared that cartridge used my password to play the final level.

To me, this sums up EVE as well. It may be “morally” corrupt to you, but to me it is challenging. I like having that in my games at times. If I want easy, I’ll play a mobile app. But for a hard game, eve does well. And as much as people may argue that eve is getting easier, none of the changes have made my life in eve any easier.

So sorry, you may view it as morally corrupt, but I view it as challenging.


The difference there is that it is within the contained and controlled environment of the acting profession, be it stage or on camera, and everyone in direct contact is aware and understands (stage-hands, camera crews, wardrobe, director, writers, etc.) It can be quite trying for the method actor’s family and friends, I imagine :smiley: However, should said method actor walk into a store and stay in-character as a sociopath, he/she would be subject to social consequences. Were I to be the shopkeeper of said store, my response would likely be… erm… commensurately antisocial! :smiley: Now I know some people like to hide behind the “well, when you come into EVE, you tacitly consent”, but I don’t agree with that view (my personal opinion - it has no more nor less validity than another.) In any case, in EVE (or any other online game or similarly elective activity), the “disapprover” can always decide “screw it” and leave - the method actor, on the other hand, still has to function within society (because believe you me, if said method actor tries to justified being a ***** at my place or whatever, just because he/she is in-character for a current project will NOT get him/her any allowances from me.)

(I’ve known two method actors, one of them REALLY into it - she knew when to keep it buttoned, though, and she didn’t learn it from me either, just in case that’s what you were thinking, heheheh. She got herself in some pretty hot water…)


Fair dos.

Im just not sure that I would answer behaviour I found unacceptable with the same.

Would you consider ganking to be more, less or equally anti-social and indicative of personality disorders as swearing and carrying on in local/chat? Smack talk and the like that could get a bit… edgy for want of a better word?

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Oh, I know - when my asbestos suit stops coping, I’ll simply mute the thread :smiley: In any case, I’m accustomed to (and saddened by) few people holding themselves to laudable standards. Luckily for me, I’m old enough to not be addicted to the approval of others, so those who don’t measure up simply get cut from my circle - it’s better for all concerned. :slight_smile:

Ah, now here’s a good point. I treat the “moral corruption” as you put it (I like that, btw) as a challenge, too. Just to refer back to my earlier trivial example: I’m running a site, and some parasite arrives and tries to snake the fruits of my labours - it is a point of pride for me that I almost never lose my prize, even when a player in a “superior” ship is trying to make that happen (and grumble AT MYSELF and try to learn from my mistake when a player does beat me to it!) This aspect manages, in an organic emergent sort of way, to provide an element of simulation - after all, in real life, many of the challenges people face are due to disparities in different people’s scruples.


While I agree with the idea of feeding the trolls isn’t a good thing, I think it is a little late to drastically change direction like should of been done long ago.

Example I know a great great many people who play LoL and when they turned their head blindly for a while it seemed on trolling and it caused a very large number of people I know to stop or way slow down their playing. After they came down harder on trolls, almost everyone I knew was playing again.

But can EvE do this? I think beyond cost, EvE has established its community long ago when these choices were made, and to change it now after such a long stint in one direction would just be a disaster.

Two other points…

On drug use, what is the difference between a booster and a healing potion? I know in a game like WoW or Fable, I was heavily addicted to healing and mp potions. In theory, they are drugs, yet no one cared. Why worry about such in EVE? Yes a booster may increase my repair rate, that doesn’t make using it morally corrupt just because it’s called a booster instead of a regeneration potion.

As for my daughter… I hope she tries EVE. I want her to face a challenging environment where people are out to get her and take advantage of her. Better to learn about such in a game where the consequences are minor as compared to the real world. And isn’t that partially what play is all about? We play to learn, especially in areas where the actual experience may be more dangerous.


Captain Bastard

OK. You, win. I’m already out trolled…

–Amused Gadget


OK, a lot to unpack but I will make a short try at it.
#1 It is NOT a game for kids in so many ways that morality is waaay down the list. In Euchre I will trump an ace, in chess, take the opponents pieces, in poker I have been known to bluff (lie). This game has the morality in it that you choose to bring to the table. I play an honest game because that is my CHOICE but I do not promptly expect the ability to force others to make the same choice.

#2 I agree that hiding cargo is nice, sometimes, so I use a Blockade runner. And become a prime target as a result. Suicide ganking does contain the word ‘suicide’ you did catch that, right? There are some consequences.

#3 Cynicism? Yup, a healthy tool for the modern world and yet there is still a lot of trust encouraged and even forced in the game. You trust the FC to take you to the fight, you trust the scouts to do their job. If a rookie in rookie help chat you trust the vets to steer you right, right from the start.

#4 Simulation? No, simulator. It is a set of toolset allow US tyo create and grow and do things. This is probably why the pve is so impoverished. CCP is not about making a simulation.

#5 Bias the game to the Lawful Good? then would not the Chaotic Evil types have just the same complaints and the right to make them? True neutral is the way to go for the game company.

me, I will keep helping in rookie help chat, keep giving new players free fitted ships and playing as I like. I have no expectations that others will play like I do and I will adapt to those who choose to have a style that opposes mine. that is what I like about the game is the choices and the need to learn, adapt, grow.

or leave, that is a choice too. if it is the choice you make donations to Operation Magic School Bus will be greatly appreciated.



You actually listed the reasons this game is my favorite. Population decline is natural and to a point expected