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.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.
"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)
"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!