Thursday, September 7, 2017

An Agent's Duty in a Declining EVE

The cry goes out, "EVE is dying!" People have been making that false claim since the beginning of the game so many years ago. Those doomsayers, inhabiting the fringe of the EVE community, have been pushed aside whenever they tried to peddle their frantic concerns. Although various decisions by CCP have been rightly criticized over the years, EVE has never died or come close to dying.

These days, the pessimists are more measured--and more mainstream. They see a game whose playerbase has gone into an unprecedented decline. As a result, they say, CCP has a desperate need for new EVE subscribers. Therefore, for the sake of the continued survival of the game, EVE players must make special accommodations for new players to ensure that they feel like giving CCP their money.

Today, we'll consider whether EVE is actually facing extinction, and if so, what special duties an Agent has in enforcing the Code under such conditions.


To begin with, there's no question that EVE's many years of rising player numbers are long past. CCP used to brag that its subscriber count grew each year. When it stopped growing, they stopped releasing information about their subscriber count. Since then, players have used Eve-Offline data on the number of logged-in players as a proxy.

In recent years, the plateau in EVE players came to an end, and a decline set in. In 2016, the decline was temporarily interrupted by the infusion of free-to-play Alpha accounts. The spike in player numbers soon flattened. But from the perspective of CCP's subscription revenues, the masking effect of the Alphas is still present, because now, for the first time, a chunk of the logged-in players are not actually subscribers.

These free Alphas still appear in the logged-in player count. The number of subscribers, one might estimate, is down to 2006 or 2007 levels. Instead of rising, as they were in 2006-2007, the numbers are falling. Moreover, CCP no longer appears very interested in EVE; its efforts (if not revenues) are in its VR projects.

So yes, EVE is in decline. That doesn't mean the servers will shut down in a year or five or ten. No one knows how long EVE can continue to stay active, or how many players are needed to keep the game afloat financially for CCP or a company that buys CCP/EVE.

Suppose that CCP/EVE enters a period of serious financial stress over the next few years. Let's even assume that the very existence of EVE is at stake. What are the special responsibilities of an Agent of the New Order?

In answering such questions, as always, we turn first to the Code. We know from experience that without the Code, highsec is a disaster. One which, if left unchecked, increasingly threatens the rest of the game. We remember well the Faustian bargains offered by Trebor Daehdoow and the theme park crowd, who promised to bring EVE more players and money for the development of new features, if only CCP would sell EVE's soul and make highsec risk-free.

We also know from the Code that it's not our job to bring in new players and increase CCP's profits; that's CCP's job. Nevertheless, scientific studies performed by CCP proved that ganking improves player retention. If you want to retain a player, kill him.

Of course, you can't retain a player who doesn't come to EVE in the first place. What draws people to EVE? Years ago, The Mittani observed that EVE's unique selling point wasn't its graphics or its UI or its PvE; it's the fact that EVE has "PvP with consequences". Later, EVE came to have a second unique selling point: It was the birthing ground of the Code. In no other game can the Code manifest itself so much or so well. MinerBumping is arguably the best recruitment tool this game's ever had.

The theme parker says, "Don't engage in PvP with that new* player. Shelter him from the consequences of EVE's consequential PvP. And don't dare breathe a word to him about the Code."

* May not actually be new.

The surest way to kill EVE is to deny or stifle its EVEness. We know better: To keep the lifeblood of EVE flowing in its veins, give a new player the Code as soon as humanly possible! (Within the rules, of course.)

Then there is the legacy of EVE to consider. What's good about EVE--what's worth remembering and being inspired by after the game is dead--is not the graphics or UI or PvE. It's certainly not the EVE trademarks/IP or its lore (unless you consider the Code to be part of the lore). Rather, it's the spirit of the game, which is best reflected by the Code.

After EVE has reached its conclusion, there will be other games that attempt to capture the essence of what made EVE work--what made EVE work in spite of its UI, PvE, etc. Those game developers of the future will need to be able to hold in their minds the EVE we know and love. Not a safe, watered-down, theme parky EVE that everyone will be eager to forget.

What is the duty of an Agent in a time when CCP is desperately hungry for subscribers? What is the duty of an Agent in a time when the EVE "old guard" is worried sick over losing their collection of titans when the servers' plugs are pulled?

Why, to spread the love of the Code, nothing more. The loyal Agent gives a new player dignity and respect by demanding that he meet our standards and obey our Code. That's the past, present, and future of EVE.

54 comments:

  1. Excellent, inspiring post.

    Another USP of Eve is this: a 1 day-old character can, with 15 seconds and the Code in his heart. bring down a 10 year veteran and break him down in tears, rage and depression.

    A 1 day-old character can with a female avatar, a glint in his eye and a little luck, enter a carebear corp full of crusties, steal their stuff, and break them down to tears, rage and depression.

    Objective irrefutable evidence is in the pages of this blog.

    You can't do that in "Elite":"Dangerous". You might, possibly, accomplish that feat in Star Citizen, if it ships. If.

    If you want to retain a newbie, teach him the secretts of murder and mayhem. When the carebear accuses him of being "just a 12 year old living in his mother's basement", the newbie should reply "No, but I am 12 days old. That must really hurt, your career belongings lost to a 12 day old kid like me. Now pay me 1bn before my mom reports you to CCP for child abuse.". Tell him that few things can wreck an Eve career than getting the mark to rage on Teamspeak and uploading to Soundcloud. Newbies have that power in Eve, unlike anywhere else. Demonstrate the secret arts in practical lessons.

    Eve doesn't need new players. It needs new players of low cunning and a thirst for blood. The only carebears we need are fresh targets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And that's why you have a failure mentality

      Delete
    2. That is a very insensitive thing to say. How do you know that I have no meaning? I am therefore I exist.

      Delete
    3. You are only a perception of existence, meaning you don't actually exist

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    4. Hence code fails to exist

      Delete
  2. The Savior's word is truth and law!

    'Til the servers go down, we will enforce his Code!

    The march continues! 100% compliance!


    -Galaxy Pig

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds just like those who followed Hitler

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    2. Concord continues to enforce its law on the code with 100% effectiveness.

      Delete
    3. To extend our reach to the stars above. Or not.

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    4. Team Rocket, blast off at the speed of light

      Delete
  3. Another well written, but crap filled post.
    Keep up your fine standards!
    Teach those miners a lession.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds just like those who followed Hitler

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    2. That's Pokem, correct! But do you know what Tetris is?

      Delete
    3. Ive never seen people more afraid of miners, did a mining corp rape James? That would explain the fear and hatred.

      Delete
    4. Meowth! That's right!

      Delete
  4. The day the servers go dark is the day we will have completed EVE \0/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Under a set of rules made up to purposefully make it so you cannot lose. So your ok with playing under rules that a five year old would write because he cant accept lose.

      Good Job, you are the carebear

      Delete
    2. No because when that happens I would have been dead for thousands of years

      Delete
    3. Time is irrelevant.

      Delete
  5. Keeping it real, Saviour. Thanks.

    Because the Code is not tied to a specific faction, it's not going to be considered 'lore' in the accepted sense.

    But there is another kind of lore; the kind which is rooted in the experiences of EVE's players - as players, unbound by artificial groupings and allegiances.

    I believe that it is within the body of largely unrecorded events and narratives which make up our experience of the game that the Code finds its true home.

    I say 'largely unrecorded', but we all know that the best record of collected New Order activity is this very blog. Long may it remain so!

    Thus, our beloved Code is both law and lore!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its also highly edited from what the game logs and is merely just a propaganda piece.

      Delete
    2. Funny how your law keeps getting killed by Concord, guess the stronger law keeps winning since you have yet to make one concord kill, yet you always die when attacked by concord. HMMMMM Dare I say the games laws have always trumped the code.

      Delete
    3. Sigh...

      Anons,
      538: If James were to simply post unedited material on the blog, there'd be no room for his wonderful (and helpful) comments. No one would read it. The job of the writer/editor lies partly in deciding what to use and how to use it. All art is propaganda, intentionally or otherwise.

      546: Your understanding of the way laws work is basic, at best. Sometimes CONCORD works with the New Order, to punish anti-gankers who imperfectly understand game mechanics. We know how our suicide (get it?) missions will end. It is an accepted part of our struggle to work towards a fairer, better governed Highsec. We work within the game's rules because we have no choice but to do so. Basic, as I said, Anon.

      548: A bit like the baby just learning to articulate its feelings, curiously avoiding the affirmative but wedded to the 'No!'. That's ok for babies, but sentient adults of reasonable intelligence are expected somewhat to augment their reactions with opinions. 'No' is not an opinion, Anon. Try again.

      Delete
    4. I'd argue that CODE, if we were to apply a lens of lorw, could be described as a special interest group, employed by the market of new eden itself, to maintain demand and prevent surplus and stagnation of the populus.

      Or something like that.

      Delete
    5. Oh yes I'm sorry you still love the no lose situation that a five year old could have written and praise it because you cannot accept losing.

      try again code miner.

      Delete
    6. Sounds like more carebear hiding in highsec cause they cant hack it bullshit.

      Try harder code miner.

      Delete
    7. A simple answer could be a defining thing rather than one over abundantly explained. Simply stating no probably means they do not agree and feel no need for further explanation.

      However one who must explain everything seems likely to be justifying their course of action not only to the audience but to themselves. So Rob are you still convincing yourself since everything you post is long drawn out and over explained?

      Just gonna check my book and yes and because its my book and my rules I am right. See I too have rules like James 315, so you lose I win. The code always wins.

      Delete
    8. Opinions are meaningless when the laws of high sec are without bend nor break. Concord upholds the laws without assistance from anyone, as well the Devs themselves consider suicide ganking illegal ganks as well.
      Try again carebear.

      Delete
    9. Rob is a regular Nazi Goebbles aint he. Hitler done found himself a smart Nazi.

      Delete
    10. Well that's too bad because I'm really carnation number 1 and that's all that matters.

      Delete
  6. Sounds more like eves future is in the toilet so having a group of people who hate a player base and ,at grief them to the point of leaving the game is counterproductive to keeping it going.

    Have fun with that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're talking to another human. You might as well leave the site now.

      Delete
    2. So you want me to leave?

      Delete
  7. Code has no love, I tried to join and even got a Cat set up nice and pretty, followed the blog here and got shat on once I started asking questions in your chat. Your agents don't even read the laws for themselves they literally admit to making them up on the fly.

    I decided to leave the game since this was the best most active group (At least what this site claims) and I find you don't even give a shit about your own rules, you don't want new blood you seem to only create new alts and corps to replace ones with losses.

    Code is not love, its just griefers. Not even very social ones since the alts outnumber the mains 3-1.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds as if you wanted your hand held somewhat, Anon 558. Either try again - this time, with effort - or stay away.

      I spent years enforcing the Code from outside the official channels, using only this blog and a bit of determination.

      You were being offered a test of character..

      Delete
    2. A test of character would be nice to examine the attributes a person has brought to or offers up in relation to any given environment, however offering up a well worded document that allows those who fall under its premise to never consider the idea of losing is a character trait found in those who cannot accept gaming as there is a chance of failure.

      Giving people the outline that if they do X to satisfy character X that they will be considered as winners always means that they are in fact as defined in Eve standards as carebears with new rules so they will not feel bad about losing or hiding in high sec.

      Delete
    3. Sounds more like he doesn't want the easy road but more the challenge road. Unlike Jamey who got pissed off that he cant hack it in low and was kicked out.

      Try Harder carebears. Better yet just leave the game you bring nothing to the PVP world of eve your just like the miners you hunt, "Safe in high sec".

      Delete
    4. Nah didn't need a hand hold just thought that you all talked so well and high and had "proper" ways of speaking and not trash talk and swearing all the time. That's pretty much all you guys do is shit talk curse and scam each other.

      TBH I think it would be better if I joined a mining corp. So many actually want to chat and treat each other quite nice, much like equals and not like pests and slaves.

      I think I will join a mining corp, it would be fun especially ones that want to go out into low sec, be more challenging than just fucking around in high sec with you nasty bunch, your all as social as a black widow spider.

      Delete
    5. Please don't leave me

      Delete
    6. Hi Anon 1230, thanks for your comments, which gave me a more fleshed-out view of your reasoning. I can be wrong, and I'm always willing to admit that when it happens.

      You do, however, end on a rather sour note; a note which appears to echo the very qualities you say you experienced at the hands of the New Order.

      No matter; I wish you well wherever your future beckons..

      Delete
  8. Looks like Rob got triggered and started crying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just don't fully believe you.

      Delete
    2. Anon 1236 is quite correct to doubt Anon 1014. I'm very difficult to trigger - if by that you mean to provoke into an emotional or otherwise unconsidered response. Very difficult indeed.

      Also, I am not one of mankind's whiners; I confess I've never understood just how that behaviour comes about. Too old to worry about it now.

      Delete
  9. All these trggered highsec crybears...

    The Code always wns!
    The crybears always fail!

    You say gankers aren't worth your time but here you are crying like bitches xD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true the code always wins, my code wins.

      Now stop crying.

      Delete
    2. Concord always kills the code.

      Concord never fails.

      Delete
  10. Eve wont die due to theres a far bigger servers with far more players currently only chinese players have access and growing. If the number will falling its simple for ccp. Closing EU servers and transfer all of them into the chinese servers. May create massive lag for non chinese people but is easy. ccp can continue on the real money earning like vr . The question is when ccp will do that i believe if online people lower than 10k that will be happen be sure.

    ReplyDelete
  11. wow antigankers are failing so hard right now

    ReplyDelete

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