Over on Poetic Discourse, Poetic Stanziel discussed "the numbers." It's his view the recent CCP comments about working to enhance the gaming experience of "lurkers," "enablers" and "small-scale leaders" as Jester discussed on his post from Tuesday, is "silly." From his point of view, I'm sure it is.
But Poetic's point of view is a self-inflicted blaster wound. It's not his fault. Many, many EVE Players suffer from the same self-inflicted wound. Most of them have been around awhile and fully embrace game play styles the are not considered carebear styles. This blinds them to the real issue with which CCP has to contend.
The self-inflicted wound I am talking about is their single minded vision of what EVE Online is. They look at EVE Online as a game where the only relevant (and therefore important) game play styles are the ones that involve blowing up other ships. After all, EVE is a PvP game. Doesn't that mean everyone has to make an attempt to PvP?
No Poetic, it doesn't mean that at all. It only means the safety is off. It doesn't mean everyone has to shoot or get the hell out. Furthermore, your attitude about ganking, that it is such a small percentage of everything going on it shouldn't matter, dismisses too easily how those who choose not to pull the trigger at the slightest whim feel about it. For many, it's the single biggest reason they leave EVE Online.
A good example is my own brother with whom I really, really want to play EVE. He is a family man first though. He has a wife and three children who, along with his full time job and sleep requirements, take up 22 or 23 hours of his day. During that one or two hours of time he had to fly Internet spaceships, that's all he wanted to do - just fly the damn space ships. He didn't want to get into fights. He wanted to relax to the hum of mining lasers, enjoy the gorgeous graphics, and get away from the daily mayhem of family life.
Except others would not let him do that. No matter where he went, he had to be on his guard. It was not relaxing. Quite the opposite in fact. And he did try to protect himself. But when your a month old capsuleer with no experience, "what can I really do?" That's how he felt when he cancelled the account. He also said, "I have better things to do with my time. I have more relaxing things I can do."
Don't be so quick to say good-bye and good riddance, we don't need your type around here either. The fact is, we do. In case you haven't noticed, there will soon be competition in the Internet spaceship niche with Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen. My brother already plans to try them out. He still wants to fly Internet spaceships, just not CCP's.
That is why player retention is the real problem with which CCP has to contend. People like my brother who, even though I was paying for his account so he could fly Internet space ships, walked away from Eve. He didn't need the stress of having a gun pointed at their head all the time. It wasn't too hard or too time consuming. He walked away from EVE because he does not want to be content for you.
That's what CCP has to address, not the "numbers." The attitude of the few that drive the many away. It takes time for players to embrace a fully PvP sandbox, in some cases over four years. Yeah, that was me. Fortunately I kept to myself. I didn't take chances. I warped away at the first sign of anyone. And you know what, I missed out on a whole lot of EVE Online. During the last six months, I've made more friends and met more cool people than all the years before.
Why is that do you think? Is it because I finally embraced the PvP life? Hardly, I see it no differently than I did before: an occasionally necessary evil. Was it something CCP did that convinced me to move out of my carebear shell? No, that wasn't it either I assure you. It wasn't even the Goons war deccing me that got me out of my shell. The reason is far more simple. I was ready to leave the shell. Why do you think I wrote that piece on The Mittani in the first place? It wasn't an accident.
I was finally comfortable in my own POD. So it took me four years, sue me; I'm stubborn. The point is, CCP bleeds new players because those noobs NEVER get the chance to become comfortable with the realities of New Eden. New Players need time to acclimate. No one climbs to the top of Mount Everest in a day. They have to acclimate to the altitude first. Expecting new players to embrace all that is EVE right away is naive and counter productive. They will move on to some other game faster than you can mash the overheat button.
So when CCP talks about, "a broader appeal without losing the things that make it EVE" they mean an environment where new players can acclimate to what EVE Online is. They mean an environment where noobs don't always feel the victim. Where new players learn to love the game without coming to fear the game.
There will always be those who jump right in and start shooting straight away. Bully for them! They are the exception and not the rule. Don't ever forget that. If CCP is to compete in a market where Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen will do everything in their power to lure players away from EVE Online, CCP must broaden the appeal of EVE Online. To do that, new players must have acclimation time. If it doesn't come, they will leave. But, if you do allow them to acclimate they will become precisely what you want them to be - even if it takes four years.