Saturday, January 4, 2014

CCP Study Vindicates New Order Philosophy

CCP finally released the meeting minutes for the CSM8 Summer Summit. As you might expect from the timing, the Summer Summit was focused on the (then-) upcoming Rubicon expansion. I could spend some time criticizing CCP Dolan for being unable to get the minutes released before the Rubicon expansion, or even before the end of 2013. However, CCP Dolan has been such a punching bag over the last year that at this point, it almost seems redundant to criticize him in any way.

Before I get to the interesting part of the minutes, I wanted to mention something that about Rubicon. One of the few new elements added to the game in Rubicon was the "siphon unit", which can be deployed in nullsec to steal from a moongoo POS. Longtime readers of MinerBumping may have recognized the idea from my CSM platform back in February 2012:
"...If the attackers take the field and hit it when vulnerable, moongoo stops flowing in that system for 48 hours or something. Alternatively, for 48 hours the moongoo flows into an unsecure container next to the array, so anyone can start taking from it. This idea isn't polished, but I think it would be hilarious if defenders and vultures attracted from afar started fighting around an out-of-control moongoo spigot."
This was the origin of the siphon unit. There are some subtle, but important, differences between my original concept and the way siphon units were ultimately executed by CCP. However, they're on the right track, and I wanted to give them some credit for being willing to pick up the idea.

Siphon units are not mentioned in the Summer Summit meeting minutes, so I don't know which CSM8 members (if any) pushed the idea. In fact, CSM7 might be responsible, since my platform was posted back in February. Or CCP could have taken it up on their own, without any CSM members having been involved.

With that out of the way, let's jump right to the heart of why I wrote this post. Namely, the fact that in the CSM8 Summer Summit meeting minutes, CCP's own expert completely vindicated the New Order's philosophy.

The discussion is found on pages 25-28, during one of the "economics" panels. CCP's expert, Dr. EyjoG, was asked to study the problem of new player retention. That CCP would hire someone to do this should come as no surprise: Carebears are almost constantly whining about how everything depends on protecting the fragile newbies and the revenues they promise.
"Dr. EyjoG introduced an ongoing project: player retention in EVE Online. He started with a rough diagram showing groups of players positioned on a grid with engagement on one axis and tenure [length of sub] on the other.

"He pointed out where newbies started, and said the most traditional path was to be a newbie (novice) and then go into solo PvE -- or at least, single-player PvE... CCP knows these people tend to fall off once they reach this point, because they don't get to the sandbox-- they never get that engaged. Dr. EyjoG referenced the infamous EVE 'learning cliff'." (page 25)
The panel begins their discussion by comparing different career paths taken by people when they join EVE. Some are engaged right away (e.g. Goons who come into the game directly to Goonswarm, or Redditors who do the same with TEST). More commonly, people do boring PvE grinding on their own. And then they quit.
"Dr. EyjoG said they asked surveys about why people quit, and asked if they knew about the sandbox. Plenty of people said they didn't and didn't want to be in it." (page 27)
CCP's expert found that players often quit before they ever have the chance to encounter emergent gameplay (i.e. "fun"). These are players who never get engaged in EVE. They join, they grind, they get bored, they quit.

To listen to the carebear apologists, people like Ripard Teg and Trebor Daehdoow, the problem is that carebears are having a great time grinding until some big bully comes along and kills them. This drives the newbies to quit before they've spent their requisite months or years doing boring things. The carebear apologists believe that if only the newbies are kept safe for a really long time, the carebears will finally gain the skills and isk needed to begin having fun. CCP's goal should be to keep carebears quarantined from the bullies who shoot spaceships in a spaceship-shooting game. After a long enough time, the carebears will be equipped to enter the general population and begin having fun. If they encounter gankers before then, everything will be ruined.

The carebear apologists were doubtless thrilled to learn that CCP had hired an expert to study the newbie retention issue. They thought highsec gankers and wardeccers would be identified as the problem.

Needless to say, they were wrong. Exactly wrong, in fact. The New Order was right.
"Dr. EyjoG summarized our working hypothesis as the idea that those who had no social connection would come in and drop out, and Ripard challenged this, saying there was a large set of people who came in and PvE'd and didn't really talk to anyone while being very engaged. Dr. EyjoG said most of these were not very engaged; they tended to drop out. They weren't doing very many activities." (page 27)
So there you have it. As we have said all along, what really drives people from EVE is the boring PvE grind--or more specifically, the belief that EVE is about grinding isk AFK instead of engaging with other players. Carebearism causes players to quit, not gankers and wardeccers.

The players who do stick around are the ones who get hooked on the "sandbox" and all the lovely emergent gameplay to be found therein. Some come to EVE from outside communities and can skip the grind by joining TEST or GoonSwarm. As for the rest, they must somehow be made to encounter the sandbox before the boring PvE drives them away. So who's responsible for introducing these newbies to the sandbox? Who induces them to engage?

Why, that would be our very own New Order, and the rest of the heroes of highsec: The gankers, bumpers, wardeccers, awoxers, and everyone else who knows how EVE is best enjoyed. If you meet that description, give yourself a pat on the back. The data proves you've earned it!

25 comments:

  1. It's nice to know that CCP is still supporting our activities!

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  2. Imagine a James Bond movie without a villain. Just Bond and no "bad" guys, just how boring would that be? The better the Bond villain, the better the movie. If playing Eve is akin to carving your own personal story in to the sandbox, then how boring would it be without challenges to overcome and villains to fight against? May I suggest a single player version of Eve for those that disapprove of the New Order.

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  3. i suspect CCP are grappling with the issue of trying to bring in new players, simple as that really. In almost any business i have looked at, c80% new joiners (whether it be online games, or online betting etc) tend to drop out after 5 years anyway, but those remaining 20% end up being more valuable than the entire starting 100%.

    The problem CCP has is that the "sandbox" that is Eve is so different from other online games that they need to prepare or protect their new players. CCP appears to want to go down the "prepare route" whereas others suggest the "protect" route.

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    1. It's called the rookie systems. Those are the only areas in EVE people can be punished for normal things(griefing, suicide ganking, suspect baiting, scamming)

      Source: Me getting a 3 day ban.

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  4. As I've said many times here and on the eve-o forums, 3 mo into my Eve life I had one account and was getting ready to cancel that one. If I had to save that g-d damsel one more time I was going to biomass anyway. Then I found this blog and spent all weekend reading every entry. Created a ganker that weekend and went on my first gank with some legends of the Order:

    http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=16779986

    Now I have 3 accounts, live in a wh with Ophidia Black, and we shoot at all the things and sometimes die in a hilarious fire. Without the NO bringing the sandbox and emergent gameplay into my Eve-life, I'd have no Eve-life. The PvE in this game is some of the most boring I've ever seen. Its no wonder that those who just PvE quit.

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    1. I've said it in the past but I'll say it again in a slightly different way.

      Corporation CEO's are the backbone to the player experience. If you have a bad CEO that doesn't embrace emergent and diverse playing styles you're left with a player base of apathetic players who slowly but surely fail to log in, group and promote Eve Online.

      Malcolm Shinhwa is the shining example in this comment section alone, and there are many others who didn't get or take that opportunity and left Eve with a bad or worse, an indifferent attitude to Eve Online.

      The entry barrier to becoming a CEO is in my opinion too low, which has lead to many many bad CEO's wanting the title but not prepared for the responsibility.

      If CCP wants to address this issue and they have started the process with the redesigned tutorial levels (namely the mission where you're given a ship to take out, which you will lose), plus the now awesome corpse death screen - makes seeing it so much more rewarding after suffering from a pod loss.

      They have to do more. Extra isk to create a corporation, a minimum of two or three signatures that will act as co-ceo/directors. Yes of course alts can and will be used, but that will take effort that a lot of the lazy CEO's will not take it upon themselves to do.

      I've set up corporations only for the divisional hangar access for easier separation of modules etc because of the clunky inventory window (even with filters), means it can be annoying to find and sort.

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  5. Great writeup about the CCP meeting minutes, though I have one point I wanted to bring up:

    Dr. EyjoG has been on CCP's staff for some years; he wasn't hired specifically for the purpose of determining player retention in EVE. His research into EVE's economy demonstrated some years ago that PVP is EVE's endgame. Awesome guy, really good with numbers and data mining; I'd totally love to have a beer with him sometime.

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    1. Also, it warms my dead heart to see Ripard Teg's pet theory get publicly smacked down by an economist.

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    2. "Dr. EyjoG has been on CCP's staff for some years; he wasn't hired specifically for the purpose of determining player retention in EVE. His research into EVE's economy demonstrated some years ago that PVP is EVE's endgame."

      Actually, the meeting minutes state pretty clearly that this is indeed an ongoing project; and the article here stated that the Dr. was already a CCP expert before this project; so you're basically zero for two, here.

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  6. Shout this from the rooftops. Ripard Teg and Trebor Daehdoow will ruin Eve if left to their ridiculous ideas on new player retention. CCP doesn't need to blur the lines between PvP and PvE by making PvE more PvP "like/" They need to get the PvE players involved in PvP through "procedurally generated" and progressively more difficult incursions where both PvP and PvE happen in the same place.

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  7. oh look. James is frantically self-pleasuring in public again.

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    1. Oops, that's a mirror you were looking at. You don't really look that much like the Savior, but perhaps your imagination was filling in the gaps. And I do mean gaps.

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    2. Prime example of bullying in the New Order.
      And he's right, you're wrong

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  8. Current CSM member Ripard Teg likes to promote himself as a reasonable person, who, when faced with hard data that contravenes his point of view, will admit to being wrong and take a different stance. I'm wondering if he will take the time to revisit this post from last year:
    http://jestertrek.blogspot.ch/2013/01/cotw-ganking-isnt-pvp-and-never-was.html

    ... and explain how his point of view has changed since his visit to Iceland.

    He certainly went to some lengths at the end of last year to revisit his "Best of 2013" blog posts, in his end of year review of his favourite blog entries he even pointed to a piece that he wrote back in March 2013 (http://jestertrek.blogspot.ch/2013/03/things-could-be-worse.html) in response to James 315's CSM vision for Highsec. Not only did he completely fail to mention how his views on new player retention were shown to be completely wrong in every way by CCP themselves and instead, continue to promote his erroneous viewpoint, but In reviewing his own work, he managed to give himself credit for something he had nothing to do with:

    I'm convinced this post went a long way toward driving James315 out of the CSM8 election (http://jestertrek.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/best-of-2013-15-11.html - #11).

    Which is probably just an inkling of the kind of thing we'll be hearing from him in respect of his efforts on the CSM as re-election time approaches.

    In the meantime, James, working tirelessly for the betterment of Eve outside of the restrictions of the CSM has been shown to be right time and time again.

    When James 315 talks, CCP listens.

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    Replies
    1. Ripard Teg will only admit to being wrong with about 20 caveats.

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  9. Likening a random gank to "engaging" a player is about the same as saying that the "Knockout Game" is like a first date.
    Well, ok, perhaps it's like a first date with me: traumatic and full of tears. Enough about my love life, though.
    "Engaging" players is like being that smart guy that comes along after aforementioned date with me, and holds them, going "It's ok, he was a jerk anyway. Here, let me show you some better guys to hang out with."
    Only in EVE, I happen to be the "smart guy", and I do know some hawt chicks thanks to EVE. >:-D
    /nonsequitur

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  10. I've seen a lot of high sec care bears almost quit Eve until they get war decked or harassed. One guy I knew had two characters in high sec, one mining and the other running missions. and now one of them is in W space and the other was -10. It all happened after our high sec corp was repeatedly war decked and we started fighting back. As for me I've been in W space for about two years now and go on low sec / null sec roams in addition to PVP in W space. Never would have happened had we not been greifed in the beginning...

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  11. So by never referring to the idiots of the New Order at all it still makes you right?
    Logic, not something the New Order of Murderers is known for apparently

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    1. It doesn't make them right, they were always right. No one can make you right when you are already right. All someone can do then is confirm you are right, or prove you are right, which is what these minutes have done.

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    2. But the New Order is wrong, and always has been. Ganking miners? Please, go do some real PVP

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    3. Nope, looks like someone needs to reread the Code.

      Delete
  12. Well I am new to EVE and as a new player coming from other MMO's EVE is different. Other MMO's you can happily run around by yourself for 5 years never really talking to people because you level up and go to another area of the map talking to NPC players and you follow a story.

    You are part of that story and world or even you are the centre point for the story of the MMO but if you want to join a group of players and be more social then sure that is available to you as a player.

    I think EVE players expect every player to join corporations and get on comms so you can talk to others because it’s what’s been done for 10 years. If you don’t like this type of game play then you see that door over there… yup that’s the door you need to go to, yes the exit and never come back again door.

    If you are new like myself and come to EVE. It’s very easy to understand why people come into the game play for a bit and then leave.

    You are most likely looking at people that play other MMO games that are used to my first point I made about other MMO’s. Now take that person that likes to just do missions and play by himself and does not really want to get on comms and join a corporation that is part of a Massive Alliance that is at war with another Alliance over some system. They simply want to log in and have fun.

    EVE is not that fun for them. You want to do missions and fly space ships then guess what you going to do the same missions over and over and over and over again. Do you know what you get if you finish them. Yip another mission to do it again. No story behind it. Go here shoot come back and do it again. I’m bored just writing that.

    The sisters of eve story line mission arch are the way that Eve missions need to go. It makes the whole mission feel like what you doing in game is making a difference and as you then go up in levels the missions get harder and then will take you out into low security and then finally into null or even WH space. This allows the player to slowly skill up his toon and gets to know what is out there for him/her in EVE.

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  13. I have a lot I could post on this but I won't. Maybe you have already heard it all before. I don't necessarily agree that killing carebears is the way to go (please correct me if I'm wrong) but while I've been annoyed at the empty belts just as anyone else, on the other hand I just don't see how anyone can mine for very long. As boring as missions can get, and I've ran l4s for quite a long time before I started thinking about venturing in PvP realms again, I can't think of doing anything in Eve quite as boring as mining. Not to justify it, but without the bot miners to mine all the necessary ore for making items and ships in Eve...wouldn't the cost of everything eventually go up to prices that make buying necessary items unreasonable for the newbie and other people not yet financially established in Eve?

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    1. Actually, since a lot of (not all) carebears AFK mine and sell their ores for such low prices, miners that actually pay attention can't make a decent profit. With carebears dying, the decent miners will be able to make a good profit. And there is nothing stopping PVP'ers from making alts to mine the belts.

      Delete

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