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Monday, August 6, 2012

Who really lives in high-sec?

I'm something of an odd Eve player. I only have one character I play. That's Mabrick of course. And because I am only Mabrick, that makes me a statistical outlier. As near as I can tell, most Eve players have at least two accounts. Hell, I have a friend out in Pure Blind who has four or five... well, four for certain.

Now, I may be wrong about that "most Eve players" bit just before this because I really have no special data on it. I really wish I did. But I think I can safely say that most if not all null-sec players have high-sec alts. Is that a fair statement? To see, there is a poll at the top right corner of my blog. Please indicate the number of Eve characters you have. At the least it will confirm I'm a statistical odd ball. ;-) [EDIT: Blogger's Poll widget seems to be broken at the moment. I'll get the poll up soon as I can.]

Now, let's do some logic. I recently saw this in a signature block in the comments of the latest blog on mining barge changes.
"EVE residents: 5% Wormholes; 8% Lowsec; 20% Nullsec; 67% Highsec. CSM 6: 100% Nullsec residents. EVE demographics vs CSM demographics, nothing to worry about..."
This is not the first time I've seen something like this. I am certain it will not be the last. But is it true?

Looking at it from a pure account bases I am certain it is. I know the percentages come straight from CCP. Hell, when we used to get quarterly economic reports they were always in it. Man, I miss those quarterly reports. CCP Dr. EyjoG, can we have them back? Anyway, back to the logic thing.

So these percentages represent how many capsuleers are in each of the various regions of New Eden. But I think this is misleading. It does not shed any light on how many mains are in each region. I think that is a much more important question to ask.

We already agreed that most people in null-sec have alts in high-sec. If you didn't agree with me you can stop reading at this point. You won't agree with anything that comes next anyway. So if every person in null-sec has an alt in high-sec, how does that change the percentages listed above?

So the first thing you have to do is adjust for the current number of capsuleers in high-sec who are alts for null-sec mains. Fortunately this is not as difficult as it may seem. Since we are dealing with an original statement that totals to 100% we can directly convert that to 100 people. Twenty people come straight off 67 people leaving 47 true high-sec dwellers.

That isn't the end of the matter though. Since we dropped 20 people from the equation there is now only a total of 80 people in our sample. We have to adjust all of the percentages again to reflect this new sample size. That's a little trickier but fortunately three of our original numbers (WH, low-sec and null-sec) remain constant. The formula is:

(# dwellers in a region / sample total ) * 100 = % of total living in region

Here's what that signature should look like if only main characters were counted (rounded to eliminate decimals - rounding favors high-sec.)
"EVE residents: 6% Wormholes; 10% Lowsec; 25% Nullsec; 58% Highsec. CSM 6: 100% Nullsec residents. EVE demographics vs CSM demographics, nothing to worry about..."
That's not as "alarming" but it still means more than half of all Eve players live and work in high-sec. But what if more null-sec players are like my friend? He has a high-sec corporation populated by his alts. Only his main lives in null-sec. How does this signature look if each null-sec pilot has two alts in high-sec? That means we have to drop 40 pilots from the sample leaving a sample size of only 60 capsuleers.
"EVE residents: 8% Wormholes; 13% Lowsec; 33% Nullsec; 46% Highsec. CSM 6: 100% Nullsec residents. EVE demographics vs CSM demographics, nothing to worry about..."
Now that's a horse of a completely different color isn't it? Where do these percentages end up if you drop trial accounts from the high-sec total? What if we eliminate noobs since they don't know enough to actually make informed choices and couldn't get into most (all?) null-sec corporations anyway?

So, just like in anything political, anyone can use statistics to make their case seem better than the other person's. The only sure fire way to know is to get a hold of CCP's actual account database and of course CCP isn't sharing. That can really only mean that CCP spins the statistics their way. I don't hold that against them.

You see, there is an alarming trend in all this. Does anyone else see it? The worrisome development is the drop in the sample size. We started with 100 Eve players. Then we threw 20 out because they were alts. In the next stage we threw out 20 more. That left us with only 60 real players. There are even more alarming scenarios than this one. So what?

CCP states that they have 400,000 subscribers. That's at least five million dollars ($5,000,000) a month in revenue. It is probably more since the five million amount is calculated at the lowest possible Eve Online subscription rate of $13 a month. That's awesome so far as it goes.

How many real people is that though? If every player of Eve online has four alts and plays them simultaneously like my friend, that means that only 100,000 people play Eve Online. That's not nearly as impressive a subscription rate. It's damn dangerous.

Many people have said the final act of rebellion that made CCP blink last summer were the unsubscribed alt accounts. If that was only one of four, can you imagine how frightening it must have been for CCP to contemplate players unsubscribing ALL of their alts?At the start of the last recession, my RL company had a 30% drop in revenue almost immediately. My boss was let go. His boss was let go. We shed a quarter of our work force within a month. Does that sound familiar? It should. That's what CCP did last summer.

And what about economic troubles from the other perspective? If someone is suddenly unemployed, how many alts can they afford? My personal unemployment math says none - providing I had any alts. Hell, I might not even be able to afford Mabrick. I have RL obligations that take precedence over Internet spaceships. We all do. If CCP's 400,000 are actual individuals that's a great buffer against economic uncertainty. If the true real person tally is a quarter of that, it's like taking an unbuffered Drake into a Vanguard site. Capeesh?

So the next time you wonder why CCP seems to be catering to the null-sec bloc - why they seem to be waging war on high-sec - think about these numbers again. This hypothesis is the only logical conclusion I can come up with for what so many, including myself, have noticed and complained about. And if my hypothesis is true, CCP doesn't have a choice. They have the account database. They already know who's buttering their bread - and it's not statistical outliers like me.

Fly careful.

P.S. This hypothesis also answers the question of why all the CSM are from null-sec... doesn't it. That's a far more sound reason than, "the election was rigged!"


  1. I'd hazard a guess that the WH and the lo-sec people almost all have hi-sec alts also.

  2. Not all members on CSM6 were residents of nullsec:

    1. True - but that wasn't really my point so I didn't address it.

  3. The last few times CCP posted their numbers, the numbers were something like 79% high, 12% null, 7% low and 2% WH. Drastically different than the sig numbers. Like you say, playing with numbers allows people to justify any point of view they like. When I was running incursions a lot, most of the fleets had mainly null players in them. According to the chatter in the fleets, most of the null players spent the majority of their time in high sec, especially in the bigger alliances with nothing substantial going on, and they were doing it on thei mains, in jump clones. Most, did indeed have alts that they mentioned, but they were using their mains in the incursions. Personally, I think your numbers are way out to lunch. What the real percentages are, I don't know, but those population numbers ran pretty steady throughout the quarterly reports. I don't know what would change it a whole lot based on the ebb and flow of null sov changes. I've read number crunches who figure there is likely something like 150,000 actual players, many with alts, perhaps most, and many with multiples.

    So, why does CCP cater to null? Because they have, and can have, and have had, the most powerful representation in Eve. They are also most likely to have longer average time in Eve than most, and most likely to have. Broader or deeper understanding of the game environment. Also, part of the biggest thing that pissedmoff null sec'ers about incursions, was that so many null mains were cloned up in high sec running sites, instead of being down in null playing sov games and answering CTAs. Minor concern to CCP, but a big rant from null sec alliances about how high sec incursions needed to be nerfed.

    CCP seems to take great pride in their bad boy image for Eve. It's like the wild wild west, in spaceships. Like Firefly. Loved that show :(. Anyway, as you mentioned in a previous post, many if not most of the major game updates have been anti high sec. The incursion nerf, PI and customs changes, leaving technetium broken for so long, NOT doing much to fix the capital proliferation, not to mention the advantages of manufacturing outside of high sec, and others. CCP wants people blowing shit up in null - big 'ol range wars. It isn't going to happen though, and with aloof CCP's efforts, their numbers weren't changing much,and high sec'ers weren't moving to null. I don't know what factors made CCP decide not to do quarterlies anymore,but I bet that was one of them. They can't entice players to play in null with riches and capitals and epic battles 'n shit, so they are slowly trying go nerf high sec to make null and low look better in comparison.

    The mining barge changes are designed mainly for the benefit in high sec. Tank changes in barges has no effect in null, only in gank ability in high sec. It's a good thing for high sec miners, but I believe it is a sunny day before the storm. CCP isn't completely stupid and they know their subscriptions aren't growing much at all. Mainly because it is seen as lawless by outside gamers, and they are not interested in non-consensual PVP. Including current Indy types in Eve right now. So, they take the biggest target of gankers, tank them up a bit, show Eve and gamers I general that they are listening to players that don't get their lolz by fucking with other players, and they hope to keep more of their current Indy types, as well as make Eve look marginally friendlier to outsiders. They'll wait for a bit, an when they figure the good vibes are strong enough, they'll hit highbsec some more with nerfs and try to get players to move to the great and wonderful null. It still won't work though. If they really wanted a shoot out in all of space, they wouldn't have fucked with nerfing war decs so they once again, and still, benefitted griefers and big alliances, against smaller organizations in high sec. CCP needs to wake up. There are more players interested in spaceships than in blowing them up.

  4. I disagree. Start up the ingame map. Remove lines. Color the stars after Statistics/Average pilots in space last 30 mins.

    What you'll see is highsec is like the US East coast at night from space, all lights, while low/null is like the midwest. A few dots.

    1. But are they alts/null-seccers waiting around for the next big offensive or are they indies and other players not interested in lawlessness? Looking at New Eden from my ship console, all I know is how many pilots are there. That has no correlation to real people. I get the impression my friend runs up to four clients at a time. Three are in high-sec and one is in null-sec. So what is he, I null-seccer or a carebear? Since I know he was flying a Maelstrom in Delve not long ago he's a null-seccer. He's funding his habit with the other three accounts - and he's not paying real money for them. That's a point I didn't even mention. Some of those null-sec alts don't generate any revenue for CCP. That's why I said there were worse scenarios. I am certain that CCP's bottom line is not as good as their 400k subscription claim indicates.

      And on a more personal note, I read your latest post and want to thank you for not giving up on Eve. I wish you success in building your trade empire!

    2. All those alts DO generate revenue from CCP, they just do it from someone else. PLEX still cost real money when they are created. From an accounting standpoint (If they do it the way I think they do) a Time Code/PLEX generates 0 dollars, and it creates a cash debit and an account payable credit. That is they owe a service (a month of time) when the PLEX is cashed in to pay for your subscription it generates Revenue and cancels out the accounts payable.

      Now for actual cash flow it can be different, but CCP wouldn't be doing it if they didn't feel it helped with both.

    3. Right, of course they do. What was I thinking... no, don't answer that. I wasn't. 'Nuf said.

    4. You mistake projected identity with the real one. If someone spends 2 hours a week in a nullsec roam and 8 in highsec farming for that roam, he is a 80% highsec player, despite he'll claim to be 100% nullsec player.

      The truth is in what the do, not what they say.

    5. I would hazard that few nullsec players do that. There's far more money to be made in null (trading excepted) than in high. Your average PVP'er will run anoms, belt rat, whatever waiting for the next fleet.

  5. official stats says that EVE players have 1.6 accounts
    so don't go as far as 4 ;)
    (well I Do have 4 but well :P)

    1. For all Eve players I would believe that. What about just null-seccers? This stat doesn't separate multi-account holders by region so can't really tell us how many null-sec alts are in high-sec.

  6. You did it backwards. It's how many hisec mains have nosec characters. Generally speaking, the smart move is to personalize one's moneymaking and/or production activities so that their fate isn't tied to the alliance or to the control of particular space. That means the bulk of one's characters are likely to be hisec and the remainder is out in losec/nosec/sov space. By any definition, if the bulk of one's man power is in hisec, then hisec is where you're based. Nullsec is where you go to have fun. Hisec is where you work.

    1. Now that's an interesting way to look at it. I suppose it all really boils down to a personal question. What do you consider yourself? But does it really change the equation or just flip what's on either side of the equals sign?

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  8. i'll say on my nullsec corp we have arround 2 account by players, but hard to knwo exactly as there's same account alts and different account alts.

  9. From what I can tell, most nullsecers do have more than one account, but, the highsec alt is normally not what you think it is.

    Each account gets 3 character slots. So with 2 accounts you get a grand total of 6. First you have your main. 2 of those end up being cyno alts of one flavor or another. Then you have a Jita alt, up to 4. After that you have a hauler/some flavor of industry alt. That leaves you with 1 more. The last alt normally lives in null as well. Not always, but normally. It could be a combat alt, a logistics alt, a mining alt, whatever.

    Out of 6 characters 2 live in highsec. One to stage movements and one that never undocks from 4/4. The 2 cyno alts could be anywhere in null or low. And 2 "mains" in null.

    It's rare to see two full fledged mains split between null/high because their ever increasings skillset cannot benefit each other directly. Distance turns it completely into a wallet only affair if you try to split them across null and high.

  10. Going on a tangent here, but is there a null sec bloc? The dwellers of sov null seem quite different to me from the one of NPC null. The members of large alliances seem to differ from the members of smaller (more elite?) alliances. Maybe one's gameplay is more relevant than where one's reside?

  11. i'll say that Halycon is not far from the reality conerning alts ^^

    currently i have 2 active accounts : 1 subcap on null, 1 cap on null, 2 cyno/scouts/probers, 1 main trader on jita, and last one is currently sleeping on rvb.

  12. I like Mab, am just little ol the Three of Me. I have no once PLEXed my account, and cannot afford to 'pay' for a second. I do HAVE a 2nd account, setup a 'main' and allowed my dottir to create an alt on that one... that was basically why I created the 2nd account (on a 14 day trial) in the 1st place... mebbe one day when I'm space rich I'll reup that account and actually use it.

    And for them as are sittin there goin, "But you live in W-Space and you make WH ISKies, you should be rich!" all I can say is, 'RL>EVE' and while the ISK can be very very good in holes, wayyy too often I spend it as fast as I make it! LOL Just like in RL... =]

    On the Metagame front most of the guys I know have at least 2 accounts, some have many more... of them many actually 'play' (usually 2) at the same time, running dual clients... of them, one is either null/lo or WH and the other is Hisec... Keep in mind I am not a part of the l33t pew pew crowd and I fukkin HATE null... so what do I know?

  13. uhm...i think mab missed the point entirely: CSMs are voted in via bloc. us "scrubs" really don't have much voice in the matter. although, i did vote for Hans and i think i'll continue to.

    as for the statistics? let's say i agree with your interpretation of "EVE residents: 6% Wormholes; 10% Lowsec; 25% Nullsec; 58% Highsec." (i disagree that the 'majority' of multi-account holders have their 'mains' in null)

    alright, there's alot of reasons i didn't like null sec. the nomadic lifestyle for one. i've lived in one spot the entirety of my eve life. I like it there. I think i'm not alone in this urge...and why WH isn't hugely populated.

    think about that...why isn't WH more populated? i mean, if we're playing with statistics.
    "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." ~Mark Twain (attributed to a contemporary british prime minister)

  14. My main is in a large sov null alliance. I have a relatively inactive same account alt that used to do PI in lowsec and will probably have come out to null to also do PI. I might start a Jita alt too.

    I also have a second account alt that is training to be a cloaky scout and prober.


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