TO Crowd Control Productions, CSM & Eve Community

TO :
HIlmar Veigur
CCP GAMES,
Reykjavík, Iceland.

30/03/2021

Respected Sir/Madame,
My name is Evelyn Kravitz & I have been playing Eve Online since 2008 when I was 6. I currently work in an industry where my task is to work in a team and make products as addictive as possible and deliver them to clients. Rest , I am studying sociology with law.
Overtime, I have also worked with many game developers of diverse backgrounds.

I would like to state in this address the current issues that Eve faces now and what you are failing to see. Retention has always been a problem in Eve Online and is also something that is largely ignored upon. In further discussion , I would like to state that Eve Online is neither a video game nor “spreadsheets in space”.
Eve Online as it stands ,has evolved from a video game to a unique and distinct platform & in further development ; it has to be thought of as a platform. Around every platform revolves a system of incentives. There are base incentives and derivative incentive. Base Incentives are what motivates the consumer to use the product in the first place and the derivative incentives are what encourages more consumers to join in.
However with every product, there must be a level of “addiction” that ensures continuous usage of the product and further replacement. This ensures that equilibrium remains in place.

Retention as it stands is divided into two main sub-problems:-
(1) Communication Barrier
(2) Lack of good incentives or difficult to find any ; in relation to the different playstyles

And Additional problems related to the sub-problems:-
(3) The ability to sustain that playstyle when it has been found upon
(4) The inability to form groups to expand upon the playstyle.

The formation of groups that are diverse in various time-zones in itself solves this issue. What leads to the formation of these groups is what is provided by the in-game mechanics.
Retention is a problem that is equally shared by you and the community that exists by you.
Your past attempts to “solve” these issues have partly failed. One of the core failures of Eve as a sandbox is the inability to provide a very fast paced and dynamic playstyle.

These two words : “dynamic” & “fast paced” are what forms derivative incentives in any video game. For any virtual groups come into being in relation to these words. Many people will point out that Eve as a video game gives a steep curve and things at many times will get monotonous. However Eve as a platform; it is your responsibility to provide in-game mechanics and events that will provide this two. You have been doing this on a very small-scale and individual level. Notable ESS and Proving Grounds but the prime focus that should be is to expand this on a medium scale level so that this may promote and encourage creation of groups that can sustain themselves for a very long time.
Sustainability of any group is directly tied to the given activity they participate in & participation is again directly tied to the right mix of :- BASE+DERIVATIVE incentive.

The demographic of Eve is largely consumers who are in their middle age and most of them hail from well developed first world countries. They can spare enough time and resources into Eve that most from non-first world countries can not even think of.
What leads to the sparing of this much time & resources is directly tied to the deliverance of Eve Online as a platform and its target demographic and audience. Those who want to be competitive while using this platform will never match in terms of time and resources spared.
Therefore the next core issue is to ensure that Eve both as a platform and as a game provides a satisfactory experience out of little time and resources spent.

This is one of the core failures of Eve Online. That although the option to above exists , a relatively newer consumer can not find it or fails to find it . In that failure , he gets demotivated.
The first step in Retention is then to ensure the delivery of the options in which one can gain a satisfactory experience out of eve with varying degrees of time and resources spent .

Again CCP Hilmar , you must think of Eve as a platform. A very unique and distinct platform that has is evolutionary in nature.
Once the groups have been formed after the above has been implemented; humans by nature want to leave a mark in both the Heavens and the Earth. The majority of Eve directly and indirectly lives in High Sec.
This need not be debated upon as you and I both know , that you possess sufficient data to prove the validity of my statement. Every region of New Eden must not be thought of as catering to various groups but rather as catering to the derivative incentives. Migration of demographics happen when there is a severe imbalance of incentives that forbids a group to sustain their playstyle any longer.

And it has become clear in the past 2 years that you have been trying hard on this. But rather on achieving your intended goal; you have achieved the opposite goal. And although this is neither harmful nor dangerous to Eve , this will affect the income stream of Crowd Control as a whole in the long term.
To understand this; first realise that very few social groups in Eve control the supply and production chain and they have done in a vertical manner. Although as game developers, it is your moral obligation not to interfere in these activities ; by effectively delivering these changes in a timed fashion, you are actually ending small-to-medium playstyle by making that playstyle unsustainable.

Retention in directly tied to the fights that make headline. The nature of war in real world and virtual world is such that , any war begins when there is an imbalance.
What you have done is ended this imbalance. Consumers do not create imbalance by themselves. It is the features of the product and its continuations that creates the imbalance.
In relation to this , the player event FRAT vs FREEMEN OF THE NORTH serves as a very good example. FREEMEN sustained repeated ruthless attacks by Fraternity. [An Alliance with majority Asian consumers] . However FREEMEN had to give up in the end because they were unable to sustain that playstyle for long enough demotivating them to put up a fight . Although they were winning most battles and clearly sustaining the losses ; Fraternity having much more industrial power than FREEMEN; could go on fighting.

Therefore from the above , we see that in Eve as a platform and a game. What is more important is the sustainability of various playstyles across scales of varying degrees. YOU CAN NOT IGNORE THIS as Whatever change you implement will ensure the continuity of any. Retention of both old & new consumers is directed to how much can they sustain themselves.

Once there exists:-
(1) Derivative incentives,
(2) A method through which given playstyle can be sustained,
(3) A satisfactory experience out of the playstyle.
A group eventually is formed and this group will continue on for a very long time when it has found above three.
However as it may hold ; Wars in eve do not pose a threat to the existence of these groups as you have to remember ; Wars in eve are a method through which the satisfactory exprience can be expanded upon.
What is a threat is the unsustainability & the failure to deliver a dynamic playstyle.
The above two do not hold in case of high sec and low sec but in null sec, it holds very much so. What comes out of this is an intra-social activity known as “RENTING” . Renting kills a group that is formed overtime as most core activities of the group revolve around paying the rent to their rental overlords.
While many excuses will be tied to the above two; Hilmar , you must remember that renting is eliminating the ability of eve to deliver a dynamic and fast paced environment.
Although many large groups provide a way out of paying “Rent” ; the requirements are unrealistically set very high . This indirectly leads to a stagnancy in the group which are known as renters in all aspects. This directly affects the experience of them and others around them,

You must remember ; Eve as a platform is a delivered social experience and your clients/consumers are not individuals but rather cohesive groups.
Although individuals do exist , no matter how many changes you make; they will always find a way to sustain their playstyle or take up an alternative in eve .
Whereas in a group ; their existence is built on a specific niche of the given playstyles in Eve.
You can negate this by saying groups like Karmafleet and Horde exist.
But we must not forget that in these 2 groups , there are also various “Special Interest Groups” that cater to a niche playstyle.

Although Hilmar, you are more experienced than me and have a teams of developers working; you must not forget what makes Eve addictive as a product is its un-predictability,
Out of un-predictability is born a fast paced and dynamic environment. No matter how boring to an outsider it maybe.
There is a joy for an industrialist in doing industry , a certain joy in a trader predicting the future prices and even more joy for a skirmish FC in a mid sized fleet.
There is nothing wrong with the changes that you as a company have made and added upon to Eve as a platform, but the deliverance of the changes is having an opposite affect and you are overlooking the core issues that formed the issues that you are trying to solve in the first place.
There is a certain trade-off of incentive involved when any change is made to Eve and the success of your changes solely depend upon on how well you balance these trade-offs

For when you can not balance these trade-offs involved , you will loose more consumers than you will gain.
Lastly, I would also like to point out that in any sandbox , there is a certain motivation to do things. This motivation by itself does not exist in the consumer but it has to be rather injected in him . And that’s your job as a company. Once you set the premise for the motivation, the individual will then find go onto find others like him.
In relation to this is the scale on which things are carried. The more larger the scale is , the less the motivation is & even lesser is the ability to compete. In relation to the competence is the ability to fight.

You must think if any thought at all,
How are these changes going to break down the scale at which things are carried out ?
You will not able to achieve what you desire as a company if you do not break down the scale at which your consumers carries activity out.
For the consumption of your product is again tied to imbalance which happens when small-medium sized scales of playstyles come into existence.
Neither you will be all to solve on what you intend to solve.

I will end my message/letter to you now. & I really hope you found it at best, a good word of advice.

Sincerely,
Evelyn Kravitz.

I’ll quote my favorite 1984 movie - “That outta do it Ray”

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Then you were in breach of the EULA and need to go to jail.

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Ignored? Huh?

CCP have been focusing on retention just as much as on bleeding the existing player base. It’s had a lot of attention for the last 4-5 years.

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:facepalm:

OP sounds like one of those people who use “thinking outside the box” and “leverage synergies” during work meetings in a non-sarcastic manner.

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Character dob: 2021/03/16

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Uh oh that means it might just be something Mini Club Hilmarrn might be into…

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This was a lot of reading.

What CCP most likely understood from it: peeps want satisfaction, fulfilling experience, and CCP doesnt provide enough gambling.

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You will most likely find that the real character is the one that is part of the group that lost the bigger group.

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Hey,
Thank you for reading it all.

However what I am pointing out is a multi faceted problem where each problem has their own sub problems and with it is involved trade offs that have long term financial consequences for CCP

Hi.
Thank you for your input

BUT I would like to point out that Crowd Control has over looked the issues that gave rise to the issues that they are trying to solve in the first place.
Retention is polymorphic in nature and it can be looked at many ways through a lense.

However I am trying it show and discuss through all the lenses

So they are trying to solve, or its been “largely ignored upon”?

Hi.k

Thank you for enlightening me on the consequences.
I sincerely believe that you should have spent your valuable time on explaining the same to Lenny Kravitz and Iron Bank. Whom actions had much more severe consequences.

Have a great day

Both. Actually.

In software design, you can debug a bug while ignoring the bug that caused that bug in the same place and be happy with your debugging

Bake her away, toys.

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In game design you mean? Because in software design what you wrote makes no sense at all.

But now we have, retention has:

“largely been ignored”
“trying to solve”
“both”

This thread is entertaining.

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Allow me to clarify.

Game design does not hold relevance because throughout my discussion I am taking Eve as a platform.
Not as a video game

(1) Largely Been Ignored
→ There are two sets of problems. P1, P2.

P1 gives rise to P2. P2 affects the consumer satisfaction and experience
Crowd Control have been working on P2 while largely ignoring P1

(2)Trying to solve
There is a trade off of incentives involved here.

Therefore if we were to fry to solve retention, we would have to take other points as I mentioned in my message above

(3) Both

This is a layman analogy. I don’t think it needs further explanation but yes.

You can debug a problem while largely ignoring the flawed design that gave rise to the problem in the first place.
Therefore more problems will arise unless you work on the design itself.

Then you will spend more time and resources only to solve those problems that have risen.

This is not to say, again Eve Online as a platform has flawed design BUT the problem solving approach to retention is wrong.

And it’s true because differentiate retention is a very good measure of how successfully changes have been made to both the platform and the game itself.

Op’s Tl;dr

CCP stop focusing on multi boxers & botters, eve is dying.

You’re wrong CCP should focus on monetising botters & multiboxers as they have done so since incarna was backlashed by the then playerbase.

Botters and multiboxers require little in terms of game development, they are happy with cheap ass QOL updates.

CCP is doing great with its monetisation policy. Eve will have a natural life cycle like any entertainment product.

CCP you are doing fine, Hilmar is doing fine & his outfield ideas do little to harm the bot baseline so keep them coming as one might be the next big thing.

If you want a different story/player driven Eve then bring blackout back for 6 months, do so after a longterm cheap subscription sale. The game will be dead 12 months later, the base line is botting.

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Naari, is that you?

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