Eve Online’s Struggle & CCP’s Redemption

By Jim Rossignol on June 28th, 2011 at 11:54 am.


The recent controversies generated by Eve Online have been interesting to watch, but they have also stirred a bunch of feelings about the game that I have long intended to articulate. I want to talk a bit about the promise of MMOs, the future of subscription-based games, and the lack of a suitable alternative to CCP’s game of spaceships.

I’m going to start off by talking a bit about elements of Eve that I have covered before, perhaps most notably in this episode of The Five Year Spree, which is my account of five years running a corporation in Eve. That was a project that took up so much time and effort that working almost full-time on RPS pretty much replaced it. It was incredible, and I despair at the fact that it is probably unrepeatable in my lifetime.

MMOs And The Mirror Of Reality

The best times in Eve were logging into a place where my 20-man corporation had set up, and simply waiting for something to happen. What was most exciting about Eve’s sandbox nature was the fact that I didn’t know what the day would hold. Unlike almost any other game, where I would know that I was going to end up running a dungeon or fighting x number of dudes, human or CPU-controlled, in Eve I couldn’t know what to expect, other than the near-certainty that I would be tangling with other human beings in some way.

I’d log in, bring a second account online on my laptop, and see what was going on. Were there any strangers about? Was there anything suspicious to investigate? The start of a session of Eve usually involved a bit of scouting to see what was going on in nearby areas of the game. What had happened overnight? What had other people seen? I can’t think of another gaming experience even remotely akin to this.

More exciting still were the organised ops where we’d simply go out and try to pick a fight. Some of these remain the most intense and interesting gaming experiences I’ve ever had. Just this morning I was thinking about one hit and run raid which ended with us being barricaded into a station by superior numbers. We all undocked simultaneously in high-damage ships, and totally destroyed the blockading gang. It was the kind of versatility in character skills and PvP possibilities that are denied to almost any other game, and a spectacular moment of brilliant, unexpected tactical flair that made our time in Eve so rewarding. This depth and flexibility is one of the reasons why Eve remained appealing to me for so long.


But what all this ultimately led to was the feeling that Eve was a sort of mirror of reality, or a pocket reality, rather than a distinct game. This – to me at least – was always the promise of MMOs: that they would be simulated worlds with enough breadth and complexity to allow us to live escapist secondary existences of fantasy, heroism, and daring. Our time in Eve as a small, highly skilled band of privateers fulfilled that promise, and it’s something that no other game is able to do. Despite there being a number of sandbox MMOs, and hundreds more level-based, quest-driven MMOs, none of them manage to deliver Eve’s combination of skill scaling, and “flat” world dynamics. Try as they might (and few do try) no other game has been able to make a game in which players who are just a few weeks in can meaningfully work with or against players who have been in the game for years.

The critical side effect of this for Eve Online’s current playerbase is that they do not have anywhere to run if things go bad. It’s not simply that they enjoy the game and get indignant about perceived threats to it, it’s that they realise it essentially irreplaceable in the wider scheme of games. Robot Eve-ape Perpetuum Online is one possibility, but its terrain-based world does not offer the same scope for tactics, and its territory game and PvP dynamics have yet to hit a mature enough phase to be interesting. Eve players might go there and enjoy themselves, but the chances are it will simply make them long for their home game.

All of which means that players are going to be extremely protective of what they see as “their” world. No one can recreate Eve, because it exists in its dedicated community and dedicated server farm, and it seems no one can offer an alternative. It’s this fact which should explain the extreme reactions of Eve players to the current set of changes – from rage-quitting, to offering to pay even more on their sub to keep new payment models out. Eve has a value to them because it cannot simply be replaced.

Which brings us to Eve’s greatest strength, and its best chance for destruction: its evolution.

Change Is Worse Than A Rest

One of the strangest things about Eve is coming back to it after a time is to find out how much has changed. The combat dynamics that I was so interested have steadily warped back and forth between different builds and gang compositions over the years, finally leading me to have had enough of the game when it became more like a traditional MMO (relying on “healing” via logistics ships and cross-repairing battleships) than what I would regard as an interesting skirmish warfare game. The prevalence of jumpdrives and the erosion of the value of reconnaissance and scouting also led to my loss of interest, but that’s an aside: the point is that Eve has always been about change, and the module design has been perfect for introducing new things without grossly damaging the existing model. Eve’s subscriptions have always promised one thing: the evolution of a game that had a unrelenting, unflinching PvP core. For this, we loved it, and were happy to pay. Change was good.

Change to that business model, however, well that’s not so good. I get the feeling that Eve’s developers mistook their right and obligation to change the game’s design, for a right and obligation to change the service that gamers have been paying for all this time. What gamers have been paying for is for things to be added to the game as part of their subscription. By changing this in Incarna, it was only logical that some people should be upset with CCP’s failure to stick to the agreed system. The contract had changed to one where there could be hidden extras. It was the long-haul gaming of equivalent of a contractor working on your house suddenly saying that there are hidden extras not cover by his quote. It changes things. Despite his excellent work, you like him less.


What is happening here is a conflict within a single company, between two ways of thinking: the old and arguably outmoded subscription system, and the new microtransaction ways of the future, of which CCP think they want to be a part. One of the issues, however, is that Eve Online could well have been the point at which it was proven that microtransactions and subscription models could exist side by side. It’s not yet clear whether WoW is going to suffer dramatically from the f2p boom, but I suspect as a niche game that has no peers, Eve could have continued with its subscription model without any significant change, and therefore without any drama. It could – I believe – have demonstrated that people will pay a subscription if they believe the content and service they are getting is worth the money. Eve players do believe that, and so trying to unleash a new business model on them is a betrayal.

And perhaps a little cowardly, too. CCP had been extremely brave in creating an unusual game in the first place, and then brave in changing it every six months to follow, but it feels like they capitulated to perceived market pressures with the microtransaction idea came along. Not sticking to their guns and providing a purely subscription-based service was a move that stank of fear.

Worse, it’s almost irrelevant whether the cash-shop introduces more than cosmetic items – it has changed what Eve means by charging for anything more than access to its world. That’s a fundamental shift in philosophy in a game whose philosophy was so much the motor of its success.

World Of Redemption

My feelings about Eve have changed significantly over the years. While I immediately recognised the potential for the game as a symbiotic process of growth and evolution that relied on both players and developers, I originally felt that CCP should do what they like with their game – it was /their game/, after all – and not listen to the mob. I no longer feel like that, not least because of CCP’s own actions in taking progressive moves like setting up the player-ombudsman system of the Council Of Stellar Management. The point of this was to give elected players are direct line of feedback into the development process. Having created this line of communication, CCP were acknowledging that they did not necessarily know best, and that they should listen to the general mood of the playerbase. As such they should never have introduced a microtransaction system, particularly because – as far as I am aware – no one on the CSM would have recommended or endorsed the idea. (I believe The Mittani said it would “make no difference”, but he is wrong.)

Of course I am not denying that it was a business move, one purely made for extra revenue, but that’s sort of the point. The fact of Eve’s hardcore nature, and the fact that CCP sat down at a table with their players to “listen”, means that money hasn’t always come first for Eve. The game has grown organically by appealling to players who wanted a certain sort of service. And that should not change now, no matter how popular microtransactions might be.


All this said, I do not think that Eve’s players should get upset about Eve being a test-bed for other technologies – most obviously the walking-in-stations tech being a trial for the technologies which will power World Of Darkness. The reason for this is because CCP need a chance at redemption, and the players of Eve Online need somewhere they can move on to. Those of us who revelled in the politics and economics and the rich interfaces for human interaction that the game provides have nowhere else to go. Not, that is, unless CCP bring these philosophies of game design to life in a new game. No other major company seems likely to.

World Of Darkness could – and should – be CCP’s redemption. A game that encapsulates the results of Eve’s experiments, and gives us another living world to take new, imaginative strides in. As such CCP should be given plenty of space to get this stuff right by testing it within their existing population. Sure, the new game won’t be internet spaceships, but there are a lot of other, more abstract values to what Eve means as a game, that could find their way into this new project, and they are vital.

If Eve or CCP dies now, then its spirit, its capacity to do what the MMO as an idea – that of a persistent, simulated world – had always promised, dies with it. And that is something that everyone involved, players and CCP alike, is a caretaker for.

IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE: I am not against cash shops on principle, as many seem to be. I think the idea of their funding free-to-play stuff is great, and I expect there to be lots of superb f2p games in future – but that does not mean the cash shops are appropriate across all online games. Eve is a great example of where the system does not work, and should not be implemented by its developer.

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133 Comments »

  1. wccrawford says:

    Don’t you think it’s a little ironic that what you love about the system is the constant change, but this whole controversy is because of a change?

    Not even a big change… It’s a completely optional change that will not affect you in any way if you don’t participate… You don’t have to buy $25 shirts that have no actual -use- in the game.

    In regards to game mechanics, it is the smallest game change ever for Eve… And yet it brought about the most chaos.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I guess what I was trying to say in the piece is that it’s what that change says about Eve’s philosophy and method that is important, rather than the change itself.

      Eve’s expansions/evolutions come as a natural part of the subscription service, and that’s more important than even CCP realised, I suspect.

    • Njordsk says:

      Express your disagreement and put a stop to over-the-top-greedy-move is what this story is all about.

      I mean 25$ outfit ! Even if I don’t buy this (nor play eve in fact), I do protest, otherwise that kind of thing will plague our videogame in a very very near future. It’s already started, and we need to make it stop (and not backpedal sadly)

    • Dworgi says:

      Fundamentally, this is about losing faith in CCP. This is not the direction the players want CCP to go, and the list of changes to the core game could fit on a napkin. There are things that have been broken for years that still aren’t fixed, but massive amounts of development effort is being sunk into something that, fundamentally, nobody wanted. That Incarna then came out and was a living room simulator (and not a good one at that) just added insult to injury.

      Microtransactions were just another glaring example of the disconnect between CCP and the players, but they’re not the core of the issue despite what RPS and other sites have stated. The CCP of today have shown that they either have no idea what their players want or that they have no intention of providing it. Either is reason enough for people to stop paying for the game.

    • paco says:

      Apparently, internal newsletters at the company have floated the idea of selling in game items such as ammo, ships, and fittings, on the shop. So while right now it has no effect on gameplay, if it is successful, they’re already considering monetizing the gameplay, aka making Eve Pay to Win, like most Free to play MMOs.

      Except it won’t be free to play. It’ll be a subscrip, plus you’ll be able to buy ships, fittings and ammo on your (or a parents) credit card, dramatically effecting the game’s economy (one of the main features of Eve) and the game’s balance.

    • Balm says:

      So? It’s not like you are unable to do it now. Buy gamecards for $ > convert to PLEXs > Sell PLEXs for ISK > Buy ships for ISK.
      Official store would just cut out the hassle.
      Yes, it would impact economy, in a same way that introduction of PLEX did. But it will normalise.

    • Tei says:

      @Balm People argue that wen people do that. Are still paying a ship that has built some crafter. From resources that has mined some dude (maybe a dude in imperio, soloing). etc. So it fit in how the economy works. The ship is not created magically, like a Item Store in eve would.

    • wu wei says:

      Balm: no one really has an issue with the PLEX to stuff conversion. It was the idea that everything was potentially up for sale, including elements like faction standings which people rightly felt like they’d earned.

      For me, it was just the overwhelmingly cynical view of the user base that the internal leaked doc & subsequent blog posts & emails demonstrated. That, and they were spending my subscription money on adding monetary transactions, and universally unwanted content, while simultaneously breaking aspects of the game that just should never have been touched. Why plugging in a buggy avatar renderer has to bump out basic rules of the game like damage stacking has never been addressed at all.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Balm you miss the whole point of PLEX ISK transactions.

      Player A buys a PLEX with real world cash. That PLEX is used to give a character time in the game. CCP benefits because they get a subscription paid.
      Player B then buys a PLEX in game with ISK from Player A. Player A benefits because he gets ISK for his real world cash. Player B benefits because he gets a extension of his subscription for no real world cash.
      Player A then buys ships, modules, ammo, implants or whatever with his ISK which he got from Player B. All the players who are involved in the production of those items benefit. Miners get paid for the ore they mine & refine into minerals, industrialists get paid for using their blueprints & the minerals they bought from the miners, couriers get paid for transporting minerals or finished goods to places where they are required. All of this creates additional content because every miner out mining, every industrialist running production, every courier shipping stuff & even Player A flying his brand new ship are interacting with everyone else in the game all the time.

      If you get rid of that & just have CCP directly selling in-game items for real world cash to Player A, that’s a metric fuckton of content you just ripped out of your game.

    • Colton says:

      One other thing to note here is that CCP games marketed EvE as “one game-one price” Your 20$ bought the ENTIRE game. Unlike ‘other’ game companies that might also charge 14.95$ a month, when you bought EvE the whole game was yours including every single update provided in the last 7 years as well as any future updates. They promised that there was never going to be the usual “Now pay us $49.95 more for the ‘good stuff’” every couple years, like those ‘other’ game companies do…

      Sure, buying a in-game shirt for your toon’ isn’t the same as not buying a huge expansion from another MMORPG but the theory is the same. The good news however is that CCP games actually listens to their client base, unlike SONYeq; et. al. With any luck this will become a failed experiment, but a valuable lesson in ‘how to not piss your customers off’

    • manveruppd says:

      “If you get rid of that & just have CCP directly selling in-game items for real world cash to Player A, that’s a metric fuckton of content you just ripped out of your game.”

      Aaaah, I see now, thanks! I was genuinely wondering what the problem was, as I knew that you could already basically buy ISK for real world cash through other players so I couldn’t see how a cash shop would have unbalanced the economy.

  2. Dworgi says:

    It would be a massive understatement to say that CCP has stumbled recently. They’ve bypassed the CSM on several decisions in the past month, and each one has raised more and more ire in the playerbase. The CCP of the past month are not fit to be the caretakers of EVE and another month as disastrous as this one could outright kill the game.

    Because everything is interconnected it doesn’t take many people to give up to fundamentally change the nature of the game – if the third-party services disappeared or a few influential alliance leaders quit, EVE as we know it would cease to exist. More personally, if a dozen of my closest friends stopped playing, I don’t think I would continue either.

  3. Pharago says:

    I’m sadened by the recent developments, I’d hate to see EVE fall because of them.

  4. Web Cole says:

    “Its bigger than just you two” is the message I take away from this. I had kind of hoped you would touch a bit more on the “P2W” thing though.

  5. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Basically it comes down to the fact that players who really like EVE for what it is are stuck with CCP as there’s nothing like it. And that they therefore should be patient (aka suck it up) because they’re depending on CCP for their gameplay needs.
    That isn’t to say that I think that is bad reasoning, I agree that EVE offers a unique experience. It’s just.. well.. a shame. Especially if CCP keeps (EVE) moving in directions opposite to the wishes of it’s playerbase.

    -edit- On the other hand, it’s true that despite the miscommunication and such, we’ll still have to see where EVE will be going.. it might not be at all as bad as some predict.

  6. Antsy says:

    Nail struck squarely on the head Jim.

    Players have invested heavily in EVE believing (hoping) that CCP would improve the things that needed improving and continue to develop the game in the manner they have done so in the past. CCP have taken that investment and used it not to improve EVE where it needed it most but instead to introduce elements that have absolutely nothing to do with the game that people have been paying for all these years.

    Uncertainty in the future is a terrible attitude to foster in a game system that demands stability. Who wants to train skills for years to discover the game is no longer one you want to play. I’m not convinced EVE will exist in its current form in two years time and I wont be training my accounts towards a nebulous future.

  7. narcogen says:

    “…no other game has been able to make a game in which players who are just a few weeks in can meaningfully work with or against players who have been in the game for years.”

    I’m glad that some can have this experience in Eve, but I have to admit that I was not among them, as much as I liked many elements of the game. The need to constantly be training, constantly mining, constantly accumulating isk to puchase skill books, upgrades, and new ships, made me feel as if I was always playing catch up.

    I did not play for very long, and I don’t play any longer– but I can’t imagine any other MMO beside Eve being of interest to me. I just don’t like the way they are built. But it’s also hard to make a case for the idea that people can just jump right in and be playing effectively after a few weeks. It takes longer than that just to get a feel for what is going on, after months I was still just learning things that probably should have been obvious, and many long-time players, perhaps most, don’t have the patience to deal with new players not yet steeped in Eve’s commendable complexity.

    I think Eve works best for a decent-sized group of new players coming into the game together who will learn the game together, as a corporation, of for smaller groups or individuals who have a player-run corporation they can join.

    • Premium User Badge

      mpk says:

      There are many corporations out there – and I’m sure wossname from EVE Uni pop up at some point – who dedicate themselves to getting week 1 noobs into PvP. My last corp was one of those, and the first few months of RPS Holdings was a glorious time, embroiled as we were in a war against a corp of Empire-based noob griefers. Ultimately we beat them so decisively that they retracted their war against us.

      In the decisive battle against them, the majority of our fleet consisted of players still in their first month or two of game time.

      You can make your way in WoW or LotRo or something similiar without hooking up with a guild, and you’ll still have a successful time, but it’s so hard to do that in EVE. It’s not a welcoming environment, and it’s so complex that I can perfectly well understand how some people find it overwhelming. Having people around you to supply ships and ISK and, most importantly, advice and help, makes it a lot easier. I began to find a vicarious joy from taking new players out in gangs and making them scout for my gangs.

      EVE really is a make-or-break game, and if you’re thrown right in at the deep end, and if it makes you, then you’ll stick with it.

    • Dworgi says:

      You should absolutely not try to play solo, especially not starting out. Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a corporation that trains newbies, and there’s EVE University as well. Most training corps will generally give you a small cash injection to get you your skill books, because for an experienced player it’s a trivial amount of ISK.

      There are things you can do as a newbie, but you need to have someone point the way, because it’ll take you years to figure things out for yourself (but more likely you’ll just quit out of boredom on the way).

    • MajorGoose says:

      The doors of RPS Holdings are always open to people from RockPaperShotgun by the way :) We’ve just had a number of new people join up.

      Plenty of free T1 frigates knocking around to get your pew on! (and not with an asteroid!!)

    • Psychopomp says:

      Come join RPSH. We have candy*

      *There is no candy.

    • PsyComa says:

      And how would a noob like me join you guys, even knowing full well there’s no candy? I’m seriously considering playing Eve, it’s been years since it first caught my interest.

    • Premium User Badge

      mpk says:

      Get in game and send an EVEmail to doc neil, rogue cheetah or jaxdon, or post in the recruitment thread: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?246-Eve-Online-RPS-Holdings-is-looking-for-new-pilots

  8. narcogen says:

    “I originally felt that CCP should do what they like with their game – it was /their game/, after all – and not listen to the mob. I no longer feel like that…”

    …because now you’re with the mob?

    I have to admit I’m scratching my head over the amount of digital ink this “issue” is getting. Eve is nowhere near as big as WoW, but even so, the number of people who actually seem to be objecting to the microtransactions in Incarna seem to be an extremely small, but extremely vocal, minority. 4500 protestors in Jita? Aren’t people always running some kind of stunt in Jita? Isn’t that close to the old participation figures for factional warfare– which with those player numbers was called “dead” or dying?

    • Dworgi says:

      4500 is about the highest player count in one system that EVE’s ever reached. The peak concurrent users count is currently hovering around 63000, with probably a quarter of those being second/third/etc. accounts. It’s a smaller game than you think.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      No, because of the reasons I outline – CCP said they wanted to listen and respond to what was said, and then have resisted doing that.

    • Psychopomp says:

      How is 4500 protestors not a lot? If there were 4500 people protesting in a real life city, you can bet your ass is would be a huge deal.

      Also, note that this is over the *threat* of something. There’s also been over 5000 unsubbed accounts in only four days. In the offchance that CCP does introduce P2W, I can guarantee this will snowball a lot faster than you could imagine.

    • Ovno says:

      I would just like to point out, that the big demo’s in London have ranged between the 100k and 1 million people mark and yet no one ever pays attention…

      4500 is small fry. IRL

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      I would just like to point out, that the big demo’s in London have ranged between the 100k and 1 million people mark and yet no one ever pays attention…

      4500 is small fry. IRL

      5000 cancelled accounts / 300000 subscribers = 1 & 2/3 of a percent.
      1 million demonstrators / 60 million UK population = 1 & 2/3 of a percent.

      Maths can be such a useful thing.

    • chocolate_monkey says:

      I would just like to point out, that the big demo’s in London have ranged between the 100k and 1 million people mark and yet no one ever pays attention…
      What?!
      How is this even remotely true?!
      The student cuts protests had around ~50,000 per event, and were the headline story country wide. I’m pretty sure it was covered by quite a few international stations as well.

  9. Nameless1 says:

    “World Of Darkness could – and should – be CCP’s redemption. A game that encapsulates the results of Eve’s experiments, and gives us another living world to take new, imaginative strides in.”

    I REALLY would like it, but tbh I’m rather sceptical.

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      I’m thinking WoW where instead of horde/alliance you choose werewolf/vampire, and then go on quests to gather human livers and snouts for a pie.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      The lead on WoD was the guy who is largely responsible for how Eve turned out initially. I’ve talked to him a bit, and I have high hopes.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      World of Darkness games always seem to have a lot of political jiggery-pokery. It’d be a good setting to translate Eve’s intrigues to.

      I’d rather play as Mage than Vampire or Werewolf, but I suspect that translating the game mechanics of that are beyond current technology..

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      Yea, but in this new world of instant consumerism and games of any noteworthy cost mainly targeted at ADHD patients?

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Does the New World of Darkness properly integrate the various games? I seem to remember that the old Vampire and Werewolf books in particular would not play well together.

      The MMO is allegedly based only on Vampire: The Masquerade. Not surprising that they’d go for just Vampire, but why the old version? Huh.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      TillEulenspiegel: because the new one was rubbish and the talent behind the original now works – or at least worked – for CCP?

  10. JackShandy says:

    Never played EvE, haven’t heard cooee of World of Darkness, but if WoD is going to be an EvE-like sandbox with vampires and werewolves I’ll be in like a shot.

  11. Jumwa says:

    The analogy about the craftsman tacking on unmentioned charges was very apt.

    We’ve been told for so long that the difference between F2P and subscription based models is that our subscription pays for unlimited access to the game world. We’re paying a fee to finance the evolution of the game, the addition of new content. Then suddenly we’re all told: ah, but THIS content? No no, that’s not covered under your all-encompassing subscription.

    The interesting thing is that such a furor is being made about totally new additions to the game, whereas in the case of other MMOs, such as WoW, that are doing the same thing, they are monetizing things that used to be part of the subscription but are now covered under separate fees.

    Regardless, I like seeing consumers vote with their wallets and not continuing to pay for products that have disapointed or ‘betrayed’ them. I only wish it were more common. We might see better games and fairer pricing of them were it so.

  12. Longrat says:

    I am thoroughly disappointed with companies that decide to make cash shops out of their players. Then again, us players are so hopelessly stupid that we actually give those companies the money, so why the hell shouldn’t they?

    Money > Integrity

  13. Freud says:

    While it’s good that there is a MMO that is sandboxy and where the player narrative is very strong, it is also healthy when consumers smack companies around when they do stupid shit.

    Hope that it stings so much that they’ll back off from trying to monetize everything. Hope every other company is paying attention. Not everything is Farmville.

  14. ukpanik says:

    “I didn’t know what the day would hold”

    I suspect you did…chatting and tweaking your ship setup

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      But sometimes it would involve getting jumped by a Titan, or spending fifteen hours trying to kill a freighter full of stuff that kept on logging off by a gate. The point is: the action wasn’t prescribed, it wasn’t The Next Quest.

      And my ship set ups were spectacular, and seldom needed tweaking ;)

  15. dtgreen says:

    Wow, 4,500 subs cancelled already? I spent several good years in EVE, vividly remember the day when I finally had all the skill pre-reqs for a stealth bomber; boy that was fun.

    If EVE ever set up a band new shard, with everyone starting from scratch, I’d be game. However at the moment I doubt I’d re-subscribe, especially with what is going on.

    • P4p3Rc1iP says:

      Oh man, stealth bombers! Never had so much fun and sattisfaction in a game! I remember flying wolf packs with about 10-15 frigs and a few bombers in Curse and the drone regions, so much fun!

  16. Premium User Badge

    sonofsanta says:

    It was incredible, and I despair at the fact that it is probably unrepeatable in my lifetime.

    This, a hundred times. Life no longer permits me the time to play, nor the freedom to up and go on a piss up in Edinburgh in the name of corp morale, and though I still pretend to myself that one day I will return, I think I know that it’s impossible and that I will never have such thrills, such meaningful escapes again. Not for a very long time.

    I think the crux of the issue is the relationship between CCP and the pilots, which has always been much closer than other MMOs. Where WoW was polished at launch (or soon thereafter), Eve has always been a flawed creature, like a catwalk model with acne, but the pilots have always stuck by it. We’ve known it was broken, but we’ve seen through the surface to the heart and we’ve loved it, and our subscriptions have been less a monthly charge to play the game, and more an investment in what we believe it can become. After so many years, so many subs, you being to feel like a shareholder, in a sense; you hold a share of the vision, have an influence on the direction, and it’s that mutual, two-way love between developer and player that’s been broken with this.

    Incarna has always been a thorny issue, particularly with its obvious purpose as a WoD tech demo, but I think the majority of players have let CCP have their fun with it, like some kind of eccentric hobby. Now, however, it’s genuinely working to the detriment of the game, and not just in a potential “lost developers” way, in an actual, in-the-now set of negative impacts. It’s gone from experimentation to abuse of trust, of love.

    Too much writing now. My point is made in there somewhere.

    • enobayram says:

      I think I got your point somewhere in your writing, and found it very well said. I rarely pay to be able to play a game. Not many games are worth the money. I usually pay to the idea, and what could come out of that idea. The new “start selling before releasing” model that has been very successful with many indie games sits on top of that I believe. When you look at it that way, the developers have a huge moral responsibility in that deal.

    • PopeJamal says:

      Although I understand the sentiment, I can’t help but feel that alot of people have set themselves up for disappointment by paying money, on a monthly basis, for a game that they hope will get fixed “soon”. To use a real world analogy:

      “I know she’s a prostitute and a drug addict, but if I just love her hard enough, I’m sure she’ll come around!”

      That’s not the recipe for a healthy relationship or a happy ending. In fact, what we see now with CCP is usually how these unhealthy relationships end, just as in real life: lots of anger, disappointment, and hurt feelings.

  17. CaseytheBrash says:

    Just adding a MT changes the design of a game, you don’t even need to go to a full F2P model to affect drastic change.

  18. Kablooie says:

    EVE is the only MMO I ever liked, and I agree with the assessment that there’s no other MMO out there like it. I am not a current subscriber now, no, but am considering returning.

    It seems to me that current conflict is not only between CCP and it’s playerbase, but also within their own ranks. Someone, a whistleblower either possessing a love for EVE, a conscience, or both, broke ranks within CCP and exposed the latest move towards microtransactions for what it was – pure avarice. A developer is my guess, who saw the direction beancounters and management were pushing the game, and decided to act.

    EVE is not perfect. It should continue to evolve. Nor am I, a potential customer, against a company like CCP making a good profit. If they raised the subscription price, say, a few dollars, that’s all right by me. Microtransactions are less welcome. Indeed, CCP needs to address the shortcomings in EVE as opposed to schemes to milk more money out of their playerbase.

    I am ignorant of the internal politics of CCP, but if the developers have lost control of the game to those who can only see the bottom line, or have succumbed to the siren call of cash themselves, then I fear for EVE’s future. Greed is NOT good.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      The last person I’d want running my corporation is a software developer.

    • buzzmong says:

      @FunkyBadger3

      You do realise that CCP Zulu (aka, CCP Zulupark) started off in QA, went into the production team, and is now Lead Producer on EvE? Similar to how you wouldn’t want a software engineer running it, there’s a QA guy running it.

      Tbh, I think he’s unqualified for the lead role because his only experiences in production are at CCP. Oddly enough, the general perception that releases have declined in quality over time match with him taking up that role, take what you will from that.

  19. reticulate says:

    This is a great piece, Jim, and it’s good to see a long-timer come out and really think about things.

    Mittens had his piece over at TTH, and for what it’s worth I think his opinion reflects very much how the Goons operate generally – they exist to troll the shit out of nullsec, and it’s not like they’re going to buy $70 monocles anyway.

    The problem was never the change, it was that players feel betrayed by the nature of the change. You can drill down and say piecemeal, “$20 shirts don’t matter if you don’t buy them” or “CCP devs fucking suck at communication with players” or “perhaps Gordon Gecko wasn’t the best mascot for their inhouse mag during the launch of Incarna” but the sum of the parts makes players feel a little cold.

    I think they’ll survive. The mechanics are all still in place for a broad, sociopathic, player-driven space opera unlike anything else out there. CCP just need to understand that the players make this game as much as the developers do, and carte-blanche, dismissive attitudes piss off internet spaceships people.

  20. afarrell says:

    It’s not yet clear whether WoW is going to suffer dramatically from the f2p boom

    I think it’s fairly clear… is there a contender in particular you have in mind?

  21. Premium User Badge

    symuun says:

    I actually felt like the multiplayer of Freelancer came pretty close to that sandboxy feeling that Jim describes at the beginning, albeit massively scaled down. I can absolutely relate to that sense of adventure and the joy of running a successful clan of players. Freelancer didn’t have any kind of depth to it, though, so I wouldn’t seriously call it an alternative to Eve. All the same, I think I preferred it to the (brief) time I spent with Eve.

    I’m thinking of renewing my subscription to Eve, but I might wait and see how this latest story turns out. Have they made it more accessible to new players than it was a few years ago?

    • Premium User Badge

      JB says:

      Freelancer multi WAS fun. I have some great memories of running drugs and being pursued doggedly by player police clan members.

      Good times.

  22. Ciber says:

    Hang on, why all complain when Eve has been pay to win almost from day one, as you could buy isk, modules, ships, implants, characters on Ebay. As in you’ve always been able to get an advantage in Eve by paying out real money for imaginary stuff which will help you win the game. Sad but true and it’s the main reason I left the game years ago. After selling my character, ships etc for isk and then selling the isk on Ebay that is. I’m not daft!

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “on Ebay” being the point you are missing, there.

    • Psychopomp says:

      He’s missing the point twice, actually. Everything bought from ebay took in-game player effort to get.

      Buying something directly from CCP only took moneys, then it magically appears in your hangar.

    • PopeJamal says:

      That’s bull.

      Eve has had an obfuscated pay-to-win system in place ever since they introduced PLEX. They did so specifically because they were missing out on all that sweet, sweet ebay cash.

      As for the “but it comes from the players” argument, It doesn’t matter WHERE the goods come from. As far as I can tell, PLEX is “magically summoned” from the ether by CCP, so you’ve just abstracted it out another layer to make it look nice. In the long run, it has the same effect.

      Despite all the vitriol aimed at WoW, it is THE successful MMO, and it is most certainly NOT pay-to-win. I can’t go spend real money on “computer bucks” in the Blizzard shop and then trade them in for in-game goods and services. That is indeed possible in Eve.

      Let’s say we have a PvP skirmish and I lose. If the POSSIBILITY exists, within the framework of the official game world, that I can go spend real $$$, come back with better equipment, and kick your butt into the next star system, I have, indeed, “paid-to-win”. Sure, someone in-game gets the ISK, but I’ve still spent real money and gotten a real, measurable advantage.

      The really smart kids in the class knew that the introduction of PLEX meant that CCP was eventually going to “monetize” other parts of their game. It was only a matter of time. Companies like CCP don’t just decide one month to institute a micro-transaction system. They’ve been planning this for years. Management and PR aside, just looking at it from strictly a software feature/IT perspective, you can tell they’ve been working on this for years.

    • RCGT says:

      “As for the “but it comes from the players” argument, It doesn’t matter WHERE the goods come from. As far as I can tell, PLEX is “magically summoned” from the ether by CCP, so you’ve just abstracted it out another layer to make it look nice. In the long run, it has the same effect.”

      You are just plain wrong here. EVE is built on player interactions, and the economy is a fundamental part of that. There is no scope for player interaction in their non-vanity microtransaction scheme.

      Let’s take buying a ship for $$$ (no trade-in, as they were planning before player outcry). Out in 0.0 and need a ton of minerals to build a titan? Well, you could buy a ton of minerals in Jita and fly them all the way out to 0.0 – avoiding ganks and gatecamps the whole way – or you could spend $$$ and get a bunch of ships magically spawned out in 0.0, then reprocess them for the minerals. This drives the price of minerals way down, puts miners and refiners out of a job, and screws up literally everything in the economy.

      Not to mention the effect of guns-for-$$$, or ammo-for-$$$. Who would buy a weapon that’s inferior to its non-MT counterpart? Hence pay-to-win is added to pay-to-play. In a competitive game like EVE, these things quickly become mandatory.

      Vanity microtransactions is whatever – I’m not buying a $70 monocle, but I don’t care who does – but GAME-AFFECTING MTs is basically CCP competing with the players in playing their own game.

      They promised “vanity only” and they seem to be going back on that promise. That’s the whole issue. It destroys the point of playing (investing in) the game when you can always be beat by the guy with more $$$. And that’s fundamentally different from the way it is now.

    • SoupDuJour says:

      “Everything bought from ebay took in-game player effort to get.”

      Lol. Including macro mining/plexing? Because that’s how most “Ebayed” stuff gets made.

      I think what CCP might be doing is the tried and true tactic of first massively overreaching, then backing down to what they originally intended anyway (some simple microtransactions), which then doesn’t look so bad. ;]

    • Premium User Badge

      wyrmsine says:

      If the POSSIBILITY exists, within the framework of the official game world, that I can go spend real $$$, come back with better equipment, and kick your butt into the next star system

      Oh, if only Eve worked this way. Probably better it doesn’t, for the sake of my wallet.

      So, quickly then: Game Time Codes and PLEX can be paid for with both real-world and in-game money and exchanged for in-game money. Yes, this means a player can use a quick infusion of cash to massively inflate their in-game account. It is by no means a guarantee of any success.

    • steviesteveo says:

      @ PopeJamal:

      Even more than breaking down little ships for material – I can’t see what’s stopping someone going the whole way and just buying a Titan.

      I think the first thing that you’d lose if you can buy ships is blockades. Blockades last about as long as it takes the space station owners to buy a few battleships.

  23. 0p8 says:

    I’ve been playing EvE since 2005 (on and off), and i’m really saddened by these events for many reasons.

    I’ve always believed that one day eve will be the only MMO in the world worth playing, and that the last few years were just the foundation building blocks of a universe that had endless uniting possibilities and evolutionary paths.

    Unfortunately,my confidence in that dream has almost gone,and thats the worst thing about all this. : (

  24. Jim Rossignol says:

    “Someone else can do something like it and it could be awesome, even better than CCP”

    That’s precisely my point: *no one is doing that*. I guess I am being overly dramatic, and there is potentially room for someone doing this stuff, but Eve is a good MMO generation or two old now, and still nothing. Most of the MMO developers I speak to haven’t even played the game, and don’t consider sandbox MMOs as viable.

    CCP need to be confident in their next move, and base it on what went right with Eve, because otherwise we just get more WoW clones.

  25. Bender says:

    First of all, I agree with the concerns of the EVE community.

    That aside, I would love to see a League of Legends style approach for EVE: Make it completely F2P and only pay for “skins”. That would be different hull textures for spaceships, the alreasy existing different outfits, maybe different colors for laser beams…just everything that does not affect gameplay.

    It works very good for LOL in my opinion. Although runes alter the gameplay a bit, they can still be bought with IP. The only thing you can only buy with real money (RP) being the skins.

    But maybe that would not work because EVE server farms are more expensive than LOL server farms, or maybe due to its gameplay nature there wouldnt be enough EVE players to live off (because I guess only a small-to-medium percentage of players would pay for cosmetic changes).

  26. wu wei says:

    Perpetuum Online seems to be putting no effort into hiding that it’s a straight out EvE clone but with robots instead of space ships.

    I’m waiting for the lag they’ve been getting from the influx of EvE refugees to die down before checking it out :)

  27. Tei says:

    What we call “EVE” is the sum of the players experiences, and the mechanic of the game. The mechanics of the game are very boring. Is the player experiences that make EvE special and unique.
    So EvE is not built into source code, bits and pixels. But into the brain of his players, emotions and ideas.

    If you kill one part (the players part) you kill the whole, you kill eve.

    Let me say this again, because I think not everybody was listining:

    Perpetuum is a very boring game. If one day become special, and game that is worth anyone time. Is IF the playerbase make the sandbox of Perpetuum special, something to write articles about.

    • RCGT says:

      This is a great comment.

      Jade Constantine (ex-CSM):
      “I don’t want to see Eve Online die Verone. That sounds dramatic I know, but gameworlds die when the dreams and visions are extinguished and that can happen through a succession of bad ideas foisted on a community by people who really don’t have much of a clue in business. ”

      http://www.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=1534552&page=41#1204

    • Batolemaeus says:

      The fact that Jade made a post I agree with, and that actually makes sense, is a clear sign that this is the end times.

  28. 8-bit says:

    you know something, whenever there is news like this about the game I get an urge to play it, then I remember it has subscriptions and I just cant afford that sort of thing. I hope the game does survive though, its always entertaining to read about and the idea of a world of darkness mmo is very interesting to me.

  29. Aska says:

    I played Eve for a stint between 2006-2009 employing a lot of the similar playstyle as Jim did – essentially a small-gang pirate outfit. I agree with Jim about all that made Eve great, but which was continually downgraded, neglected and seriously mis-managed over the years in favor of empire building and time-sinks.

    “Walking in stations” (or Incarna as it’s now known) was a big trumped up thing already back then, with CCP continually telling players how great Eve would be when they were done with it – Soon ™.

    The actual end product of these 5 years of work and hyping – from all I’ve read – was basically one room (captain’s quarters) and a bit of customization of your character. That in itself should warrant a lot of criticism. Add to that the “macro-transaction” system (irony intended) with seriously overpriced items and a half-promise of future economy-breaking items – as well as -continued- mis-managing and neglect of the actual gameplay that makes Eve great – I can sort of understand why everyone ragequits.

    I don’t have much faith in that things will get better since I’ve only seen/heard of the gameplay decaying over the years, and CCP seems to have created a super-complex beast of a game with game-wide consequences ensuing that they cannot forsee every time they change even the smallest thing in the game.

  30. grasskit says:

    afaik some of the early work that was done on WiS was scrapped, but still, i agree, even at this stage actual amount of content is laughable – theres no gameplay in Incarna, hence no reason to actually use those captains quarters after novelty wears off.

  31. greggles says:

    symuun,

    Having just started an alt on a trial account, the beginning tutorials and career agents are much improved. There is now a set path into getting you into multiple ships, making around 3-5 million isk (depending on the loot you get in the missions) and then leading you to an early 50 mission epic arc, which ends up with you in a full cruiser fully outfitted.

    One of the newer tutorials even shows you how to scan for radar/ladar etc.

    • Premium User Badge

      symuun says:

      Oh, that does sound promising, greggles. It’s got to be an improvement over the hours I spent mining last time. Maybe I’ll see about reactivating my account over the weekend, then.

    • buzzmong says:

      Edit: Replied to wrong post.

  32. Bantros says:

    CSM is nothing but a very clever PR stunt, you should know this Jim

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It’s a *terrible* PR stunt – that’s my point. If they are going to pretend they care, then they actually have to care. If they weren’t going to take it seriously then they should never have set it up in the first place.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      They certainly care otherwise they never would have set it up.

      The point of this was to give elected players are direct line of feedback into the development process. Having created this line of communication, CCP were acknowledging that they did not necessarily know best, and that they should listen to the general mood of the playerbase.

      You hit the nail on the head with that Jim. They wanted to engage with the players but their aim isn’t some altruistic ideal of being nice to everyone. Like all companies they realised that without their customers, they cease to exist. So they tried to do something which would help them understand their customers better, however I get the impression that a lot of the people who make the decisions at CCP think they are omnipotent & can do no wrong.

      It’s still comes down to one thing though. Cold hard cash. They engage with the players because they want to keep them paying their subs. They added these vanity items because they want ways to get more cash from their players. I fully agree with you that it’s a stupid move.

      It’s as if they saw what a lot of other MMO’s are doing & decided they wanted a slice of that pie without even thinking about whether the pie would complement the meal they’re offering & when people turn their noses up in disgust they act all bewildered.

    • Bantros says:

      I wouldn’t say it was “terrible”, it’s actually quite clever and always being talked about as being one of the great points of the game.

      The CSM has done more good for CCP than bad, I just know the emergency meeting will be held and the CSM will come back and be “it’s all cool” like they always do

    • buzzmong says:

      @Bantros
      Thing is, the CSM are rather annoyed anyway over a number of things while generally being ignored and taking flak from the player’s they’re meant to represent. They’re also frustrated at the NDA they’re under and how long the meeting notes take a come out as they can’t talk till that happens..

      However, there’s two things that have seriously pissed them off in the past week:

      1) NeX pricing. They weren’t asked about it. Ever. It was as much of a shock to them as the rest of the player base.

      2) CCP Zulu’s first blog. They were consulted about it. They said that in it’s draft form it would totally enrage an already fuming playerbase and so offered substantial changes to it. CCP ignored them and released the draft virtually unchanged. Shitstorm ensued just as the CSM said.

      Both points have undermined the entire point of the CSM, which you have to remember, people are doing voluntarily in their own time because they love the game.
      In short, from their posts on Failheap and on Eve-O, plus the communications I’ve had with them, they’ve made it pretty clear they’re going in all guns blazing and not letting anything slide.

      I expect that if they’re ignored again, they’ll probably up and quit. Maybe breaking the NDA in the process. Either event would be terrible for CCP.

  33. shackdavid says:

    I want to fly spaceships.

    This is not the answer Eve players are looking for “World Of Darkness could – and should – be CCP’s redemption”

  34. bill says:

    It’s their game. they can do what the hell they want with it.

    What people have been paying for is the game they’ve received. If they don’t like the game that’s offered now then they should quit, but they don’t have the right to tell the company what game they can sell.

    If i go to McDonalds every day because I like their vanilla shake, and then one day they replace it with a yoghurt shake then I can be disappointed, and i can stop going to McDonalds, but i have no right to demand that they sell vanilla shakes. It’s their business and they can do what they want.

    But in this case it’s not even that – it’s me getting annoyed and calling for a boycott because they’ve introduced the option to pay an extra buck to get chocolate sprinkles on the vanilla shake – and I personally don’t like chocolate sprinkles.

    Quick everyone, let’s riot and throw a bin through the window because they offered an optional extra I don’t want!!

    • grasskit says:

      silly troll. paying monthly fee years on end, at what point do you stop paying for the game you initially received, and start financing further development of it? dont be ridiculous.
      edit: i hear comparing physical real world goods to virtual services/goods makes for great analogies. in trolololand.

    • 0p8 says:

      “If i go to McDonalds every day because I like their vanilla shake, and then one day they replace it with a yoghurt shake then I can be disappointed, and i can stop going to McDonalds, but i have no right to demand that they sell vanilla shakes. It’s their business and they can do what they want.”

      LOL!!
      The lazy analogies here alaways make me giggle.

  35. bonjovi says:

    F2P model has still a lot to prove really.
    If you can get someone to commit to the subscription you are more likely to end up with a quality gamer, that will add to the experience. Free gamer will overload your servers and demand things.

    EVE should keep the subscription and create in game market for real money, sort of second life model.

    CCP are missing that people playing EVE are not the same that play Farm “Vile”

  36. WMain00 says:

    World of Darkness should be CCP’s redemption, but it’s very unlikely it will. I very much doubt the hardcore fanbase of Eve Online are going to be interested in a game about vampires, particularly since said mythical creature has picked up bad press from books such as Twilight. So, when CCP is shifting all its resources over to World of Darkness, it’s effectively leaving the community of Eve for dead, knowing that said community will not be the ones they’ll have to deal with in the future.

    The problem with Eve is that it has run its course. The good old days of going out on random ops, shooting whatever we please, enjoying ourserves, have been replaced by a game of corporation micro-management. Everyone is now trying to keep a firm grip on their economic resources, refusing to budge. Pirate factions are quickly swatted away by jump drops that can outnumber small ops 10 to 1. Eve is no longer a game of tactical skill; it’s a game of money and control.

    If CCP continues down the course it seems to be heading, it will eventually kill off the Eve community, but as I say its likely this won’t bother them too much since they’ll have enough money to continue onward to World of Darkness and Dust (which doesn’t really need Eve anyway, it just needs the universe of Eve). Once that’s complete, hey presto you have a new community again and no longer need to worry about pesky complaints, CSMs or anything else.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      ” I very much doubt the hardcore fanbase of Eve Online are going to be interested in a game about vampires”

      That’s irrelevant – what matters is whether CCP make a great MMO that doesn’t sit in the WoW part of the great Venn diagram of games. I’m not an Eve player, I’ma gamer, and I want another great MMO.

    • WMain00 says:

      I imagine it’s relevant to the countless players of Eve who feel like their gaming experience is being neglected in the name of a development that was announced 5 years ago and still – so far – has little to no new information about it.
      Remember these people are gamers too. They’re gamers who have spent alot of dedicated time within this world – as much as a WoW player – and are becoming inreasingly bitter because their game has turned into a testbed for something else.
      Just because you want another great MMO doesn’t mean another community should suffer because of it, and that is exactly what is happening to the Eve community.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      See, I don’t believe that Eve is suffering on that basis – I think it’s suffering because the design decisions that were made that a directly relevant to Eve were already bad. Worrying about the testbed stuff is just a distraction from genuine issues within Eve’s development, and actually tech development really only serves to provide a refreshed future for CCP’s MMO-making.

      Even if that stuff wasn’t going on, Eve’s design evolution and general development has gone awry.

    • Batolemaeus says:

      Jim, I applaud your optimism, but a game designed to appeal to a young female demographic with macrotransactions for expensive clothing is very unlikely to appeal to anyone.
      After all this, I doubt CCP is building a good mmo, but one that will alienate the WoD fanbase so hard the backlash will be heard everywhere.

  37. Turin Turambar says:

    “but it feels like they capitulated to perceived market pressures with the microtransaction idea came along”.
    The capitulated? I wouldn’t be so sure. Maybe they didn’t capitulated to market pressures, maybe they jumped with glee to the new microtransaction idea.
    Why? Greed, that’s why!

  38. mcol says:

    CCP are demonstrating what happens to any company, or at the least the management culture, when it gets over confident. In this case I think through lack of competition.
    It has always been a niggle in the back of mind that I had nowhere else to go. I have become wholly dependent on CCP for my online gaming. Eve is utterly unique and, in my opinion, it is still the greatest mmo experience out there.
    CCP realises that its player base are dedicated, but also stranded, within Eve’s universe. So it has over the years grown to exploit this more and more, growing in confidence as it sought to push the boundaries not only of where they wanted to take Eve, but in over expansion and commitment to other projects.

    CCP oozes over confidence, and arrogance, in almost everything it does. The absence of good competition has resulted in a lack of checks and balances, a cavalier attitude towards its plans and ambitions, and riding roughshod over player opinion. The way back is a painful readjustment in the way the management behaves; it simply needs to listen, and respect player opinion.

    The CSM is frustrating, it could be so much more. But we all know it’s a complete lie. Start with that, start with some basic honesty, come back onto the forums and begin engaging with the players. I mean those who can construct a basic argument, they are out there, they’re just drowned out by the current noise on the forums. The forums are a disgrace right now, poorly moderated, and with no regular community representatives gauging opinion and forming positive and constructive relationships with the community.

    What will kill Eve is a breakdown of trust between CCP, and the players themselves. Each time I act now within Eve in pursuit of my medium and long term goals, I wonder whether I am wise to continue to invest time and money when I am not even sure whether CCP are fully committed.
    If that line of thought spreads, it will undermine the very thing that makes Eve what it is.
    We’re dangerously close right now, and CCP are now under enormous scrutiny. But for some reason (and it makes me extremely sad), I just don’t think they understand that.

    ,

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      It has always been a niggle in the back of mind that I had nowhere else to go. I have become wholly dependent on CCP for my online gaming. Eve is utterly unique and, in my opinion, it is still the greatest mmo experience out there.

      I felt the exact same way as you. But I got to the point where I unsubbed my accounts a few years ago (various reasons, nothing like the current shit storm) & I haven’t gone back since. CCP’s problem here is that once people start unsubbing their accounts, they go play something else like TF2 or League of Legends or FarmVille & after a while they think to themselves “you know, I don’t actually need EVE”.
      Trying to get those players back is going to be a real hard slog compared to keeping them in the first place. Too many companies fuck this up. They think they can happily rest on their laurels where their current customers are concerned & just chase the new ones (speaking from experience, I have to bang on about this at least every few weeks here in the office).
      Just because there’s nothing else like EVE out there doesn’t mean players won’t go play something else entirely.

  39. PopeJamal says:

    “The best times in Eve were logging into a place where my 20-man corporation had set up, and simply waiting for something to happen.”

    That sounds awesome, sign me up!

    “Connecting…”
    Welcome to Eve Online…
    *crickets
    /watches TV

    That’s actually WHY I stopped playing Eve. I can sit around with my thumb up my ass for free. Maybe I never met the right people. *shrug

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      There’s a difference between not knowing what will happen and nothing happening. More stuff happened in Eve than in almost all other games I have played added together.

  40. MCM says:

    “The fact of Eve’s hardcore nature, and the fact that CCP sat down at a table with their players to “listen”, means that money hasn’t always come first for Eve.”

    That doesn’t follow. It could be perfectly well that they think that – in general – listening to the players is the best way to make money.

    Both the players and CCP have a common interest: a good game. Players want to play a good game. CCP wants players to pay money, which they are more likely to do if there is a good game. But it’s completely possible that, at times, “more money” and “game players like” will diverge. Micro-transactions – whether for monocles or for ammo – are one of those times.

    I think it is somewhat silly to think it is ever about something other than money for CCP. Yes, they might listen to players. This does not mean CCP is anything other than a for-profit corporation.

  41. RCGT says:

    Perpetuum is great. A lot of EVE bittervets say it’s like EVE used to be in 2003. Buggy, but the developers are intensely involved with the community. Hell, tons of people I know got convo’d by a dev their first day in the game to see how they were getting on. And those devs apologized for not contacting them sooner. How about that!?

  42. tripwired says:

    O/T, but is Eve worth jumping into now as a new player, or would I get annihilated by the old timers? Been tempted on and off for a year or so.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It’s not really the kind of game where that question makes sense. Essentially, yes, one on one a six year old character would flatten you, but the point is that you need to find a corporation you can work with, one where you are part of killing that six year old character in a well-run gang.

    • TooNu says:

      It depends who you fight. A PVP based player would ruin you but a PVE based player might ot stand a chance against you. Though 1v1 are rare tehse days…very rare.

      Also, when we get to the 10 year old character vs the newbie character stage, something will have to change within the game less it become even more of an elitist jerk fest.

      Lastly, IMO avoid EVE for the time being until CCP understand what it is they have again.

    • Aska says:

      In regards to the other aspects of Eve – like trading, manufacture etc – you will likely never be able to compete with ‘the big guys’ who have built up an empire over many years of skilling and shaving off margins with each skillpoint in their fields.

      That said, raising and specializing a toon for a specific field and generally being smart, ruthless and daring about your investments can net you big numbers in a short time, like selling ships, ammo and equipment in 0.0 at huge margins (I don’t know how viable that is these days though, with all the freighter type ships being able to cyno anywhere safely and all)

      When it comes to the professions of Eve, I’d say pirating is a pretty fulfilling and easy job where you can compete pretty quickly, once you come to grips with the tactics needed to succeed against bigger opponents. But it takes guts, smarts and constant trickery and a predisposition to handling big loads of adrenaline.

    • jp0249107 says:

      What I want to know is if its true that the corps don’t engage in the same combat they used to. I don’t want to start playing a game that is static because corps hoard ISK. I’m in it for the combat and the raids, as well as the corp development.

  43. Premium User Badge

    Malibu Stacey says:

    Most of the MMO developers I speak to haven’t even played the game, and don’t consider sandbox MMOs as viable.

    Isn’t that mostly due to every MMO developer being told to chase the behemoth that is the WoW market rather than making something original or even just different though?

  44. AgamemnonV2 says:

    Every time I think about getting into Eve, something eventually turns me away from the game ultimately. Given it’s happened a few times, I think I can finally say I’ve lost interest in trying to gain interest in the game…if that makes any sense.

  45. mmalove says:

    As evidenced by those repeatedly citing the number of dropped subscriptions, the only message that carries any weight is where you spend your money. And my wallet says this is bullshit.

  46. BobsLawnService says:

    On the topic of Eve and micro-transactions : Here is what would happen in a rational world :

    1. CCP releases shirts at an absurd $25.00 a pop.
    2. The community rolls their eyes, tut-tut’s a bit, ignores the shirts and carries on playing like they always have.
    3. CCP realises that they’ve been a bit silly and start dropping the price of their shirts to the point where they cost two or three bucks apiece and instead of buyingzero shirts at a totl of $0.00 people spend $60.00 on a wardrobe of twenty shirts and a few snazzy trousers.
    4. Everyone wins.

    • Premium User Badge

      wyrmsine says:

      Something like this, yes. I’m of the belief that the overpriced clothes were an attempt to reduce the massive amount of unused PLEX floating around the galaxy. Also: that offering clothes was an unbelievably bad idea. Corp leaders would be lining up to dump PLEX (also: money!) if they could be traded for cosmetic alterations to the, y’know, actual game. Corp-wide ship skins and neon station signs would be a great place to start.

    • RCGT says:

      Another person who doesn’t understand we’re not upset about $70 monocles, but the company’s sailing down the rapids of pay-to-win.

      Vanity MTs are fine. But gold ammo, gold ships etc can fuck right off.

    • TooNu says:

      It has not been confirmed by CCP but a smart topic of discussion has been that the new NEX store will stock “boosters” that give you the advantage over other players who would not know you are using them. I think this is the most likely option if “gold ammo” ships etc have been confirmed as a non-option.

      Here is the thread, the first post is well worth the read:

      http://www.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=1541314

    • Premium User Badge

      wyrmsine says:

      Oh, I get it just fine. There’s a reason I’m not reactivating my account (it lapsed two months ago), and the implied direction of the game, and CCPs apparent disdain for it’s paying customers, is it. I’m just trying to make sense out of the decisions they made that led to the leaked company communications.

      Edit: Yeah, cash-for-boosters can go to hell. I’d prefer my in-game drugs to be bought, with ISK or trade, from a pirate with l5 Science skills out in 0.0. Otherwise, what’s the point?

  47. aircool says:

    EVE was my very first experience of an MMO, which, not suprisingly, led to WoW (amongst others) being such a letdown. I haven’t played EVE for many years, and had totally forgotten about its player driven dynamics after a constant drip feed of WoW style games (many of which I have enjoyed).

    With the ‘standard’ MMO formula, players come and go whilst the developers and publishers make enough profit to keep them happy, before downscaling further development or shutting down altogether.

    EVE is different. The core subscribers keep the game going financially whilst driving the in game narrative. I would expect that pissing off those subscribers would be far more detrimental to CCP than the usual round of nerf & buffs that cause the generally amusing ragequitting amongst the more mainstream MMO titles. If you need an example, take a look at what happened to Planetside (one of the few games to follow EVE’s example) after the introduction of BFR’s. An awful lot of people left the game after being ignored by SOE. SOE eventually made changes which pretty much made BFR’s redundant. However, by that time, the magic had gone and BF2 provided a more tempting, if somewhat diluted, experience.

  48. evenflowjimbo says:

    I don’t think any game that you pay a monthly fee should have a cash shop. Now, if EVE went F2P … Then by all means put a cash shop.

  49. WhenInRome says:

    When I started playing EVE, I got randomly banned. It sucks, because I can’t cancel my subscription while I’m banned, and the petition I filed a month ago hasn’t been answered.

    • Vinraith says:

      That… doesn’t make any sense. They won’t let you cancel while banned? Just stop payment on the charge.

    • steviesteveo says:

      Very definitely. If you’re not playing the game stop paying immediately.