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Monday, April 15, 2013

"I Quit Eve"

Did you miss the quotes in that title? Did I make your heart skip a beat - for whatever reason? Yeah, I did it on purpose. That's how I get my laughs, imagining the expressions on all of your faces. But I personally did not quit Eve Online. You are all stuck with me.

The title simply reflects a bit of curiosity on my part. There were some comments made on my last post (and good job to all those who made them so insightful!) and it made me curious. The comments concerned how lasting the effects were on Eve Online from someone playing a high-sec pirate/ganker play-style.

So I did a Google search on the phrase, "I quit Eve." You can see the results here if you like. Let's just say the reasons people quit Eve Online are as varied as the reasons they started playing in the first place. Here is what I hope is a representative sample of the reasons. As I went through them, I realized there was a common thread underlying their reasons. I'll let them speak for themselves, and I'll let you try and figure out the common thread.

I am going to start with Alt + Enter and a post he wrote a year ago. This post is excellent. I am envious in fact because I don't think I could write better. Here is what Steve, the author, said about why he quit,
"And after a series of mishaps, and falling out with a couple of corp members, I quit Eve Online. Every so often, I return to see what’s new, but my interest rarely lasts more than a month or two. The reason for this? Boredom, mistrust and a slowly festering sense that New Eden was becoming a rather nasty place to spend my evenings. 
The bottom line is this: people are pricks."
The next reason comes from TallGuyCalif's Computer Gaming and Entertainment Site. I think his reasons involve the learning cliff more than anything.
"The reason I dropped Eve Online and never looked back was the travel time. The time it takes to navigate to the next acceleration gate in a mission just got tedious. It turns out that as you get bigger and better ships, they get slower, so the problem gets worse. My destroyer was slower than my smaller frigate, while my cruiser was slower than my destroyer. I realized that it would only get worse and never better as I progressed to bigger, “better” ships. So I quit cold turkey. If they ever change that hierarchy, I would be happy to try again, because I did have fun, for a while, but until then, I don’t like having my time wasted for me."
Next, I'm off to MMO Misanthrope. With a title like that, you'd think this fella was a prime Eve new bro candidate. Nope, it seems Eve Online is a crappy PvP experience. I'll pull out the reason that sums it all up, for me at least.
"4. The PvP sucks. There is no balancing mechanism at all. You can get ganked by as many and as powerful ships as anyone wants to. In my time playing:
-One destroyer, a ship barely above frigate class, got ganked by three battleship-using pirates.
-One frigate, in RvB, got killed by a Tech 3 cruiser from a hundred + KM away, to the point where it would be impossible to respond.
That’s just a couple. The PvP simply isn’t fun. It’s too reliant on player stats (and dont let people lie to you, having all level 5 skills and being able to equip tech 2 stuff is a huge difference, as well as shipping up to higher ship classes) too reliant on large fleets all coordinating fire on single targets, and has no point."
Here's one straight off of Reddit. He also thought the PvP sucked, but from a different point of view.
"TL;DR: Life sucks, so EVE sucks. The best part of EVE is imagining how cool it would be to fight in spaceships. But you have to sit on your hands for obscene amounts of time to do so and once you can, you realize it sucks. Also, feudalism."
The next one, from Mogzine, has a bit of a different twist on why he quit. It really wasn't because of other players. However, he does have an interesting view of skill acquired by playing a game versus the Eve Online skill method.
"Unlike other MMOs, Eve doesn’t implement a traditional leveling system based on race, time spent in game, or XP gains from kills. Instead, there is a very extensive skill system. This skill training can take a few minutes or several weeks. Skills continue training even if you are logged off. This is the same system that time management games use, such as Farmville and We Rule. Personally, this is exactly the game mechanic that I want to stay away from. These types of games tend to play themselves with minimal interaction from the player. The bottom line is, the player with the most time wins, not the player with the most skill. Insert face palm here."
The last result I want to quote comes straight off the Eve Online forums. Check this reason out.
"I've often complained countless times over the past 2 years that gameplay mechanics have changed for the worse, the play style that is often talked about in eve advertisement videos about the sandbox and null sec has intruded itself heavily into high sec (PVE play) space. An area of play that is supposed to be reserved for those with a much more casual style of play, or so we were led to believe so many years ago. Which had allowed eve to accommodate many different types of players, not just that hardcore gamer."
So what is it I think is lurking under all these reasons people quit? Here is what I think all these people allude to. Eve Online bills itself as a PvP game. The primary PvP area is supposed to be null-sec. That's where player alliances are supposed to vie for power and keep things lively. The null-sec "lords" have failed miserably at this. Null-sec PvP is a long, boring trudge. No one I have ever heard discuss it actually likes how it works, except perhaps those who are in control. Feudal lords like their positions of power but not so much the conscribed serfs.

This has caused those serfs who want "fun" PvP to look elsewhere. Low-sec, wormholes and NPC null-sec can have reasonable PvP, but even Jester awhile back was complaining of the lack of good PvP. His alliance blamed it on those who would rather farm than fight: the carebear mentality as others would call it. He called it risk-averse thinking. How nice. I think it's pure laziness. None of these "PvPers" want to take on the risk of NPC null-sec or low-sec because they don't want to loose their stuff. They just want to cause ships to explode.

So where do they end up to get their PvP jollies? That's right, they come to high-sec. They prey on the easy targets they find there just as Spawne32 alluded to. It's not really because they think there is some higher cause they serve. That's just whitewash. High-sec is the only place where they can routinely and consistently blow up other ships. They don't care what sort of ship it is and they don't care who is flying it. Noobs blow up just as easily as freighter pilots with years in game. The only thing that matters is it fits their "kill it now" mentality. Just like TallGuyCalif said, they don't want their time wasted.

Oh, and they also want to minimize the risk. That's only natural. It's the same thing as wolves attacking domesticated livestock. Why risk injury attacking an Elk when you can kill a defenseless cow instead? It's a very fundamental and, I hate to say it, natural response.

That doesn't mean it's good for Eve Online. It is terrible for Eve Online. As many of these folks who quit have pointed out, it's ending Eve Online. High-sec isn't what it's supposed to be according to CCP's own descriptions. As several of these people pointed out, it's changed tremendously over the past decade.

CCP has tried to address this situation but I don't think they completely understand the dynamics behind it. They gave us bounties, but the wolves just made sure everyone got bounties so it was a zero-sum change. Then they gave us duels, but that violates the risk averse nature of wolves. They don't want a fair fight. They just want to blow another ship.

CCP has done some things that work. I believe Faction Warfare is working well mentally if not mechanically. It seems to satisfy those who participate more than other PvP options. And wormholes are working for nearly the same reasons. PvP isn't always easy to find, but when it is found it can be very fun. I know, even Mabrick was in a 40 ship fleet fight - once.

But that's only a 50% success rate, and the problem persists. I am hopeful that Odyssey will be a big piece of the solution, but it will have to go a very long way to make everything right. But if CCP can pull it off, it will solve two of the biggest game-killing issues facing Eve Online. It will give back to new players a place, and a chance, to learn the ropes. That's what high-sec is supposed to be for. And secondly, it will give PvPer's the explosions that they long to have.

But there is one extra thing CCP must do to completely resolve this issue. If they don't address the risk-aversion portion of this problem, nothing else they do will succeed. The wolves will continue to prey on the domestic livestock. That's what wolves do. Today the United States does one of two things about it since wolves were reintroduced to the lower 48 states. They either pay the rancher for his loss, or the capture and move the wolf back to the wild. This is a forced relocation and it doesn't always work.

And that's why I also have a word of warning for the wolves. In the United States, wolves were eradicated in the lower 48 states because of domestic livestock killings. Today, when a reintroduced wolf kills it is "encouraged" to stop and go back to the wild. If it returns to killing livestock, the government ends it. For those of you who think it is not harmful to Eve Online to prey on high-sec players, remember that lesson. Don't leave CCP with any other option than to exterminate you by making high-sec a PvP free area. They could, and they will, if you continue to threaten their livelihood.

Fly Careful


  1. I was with you at some level until you got to the "The government is going to come and take care of you bad people" at the end. first for clarity - I'm not a highsec ganker, nor a miner, neither is my thing. So I'm not saying this as a "ganker supporter" per se (in fact I'm a wormholer, and agree they are working nicely, apart from POS issues).

    But I am very, very clear on what New Eden is, societally speaking. It is NOT a culture, either in the game's design nor in the lore of the game, that highsec should be safe. It is in fact the opposite - I use the "Feudal" word myself in posts - because I think it is the most accurate word to describe EVE's cultural development at this stage. EVE is not a representative republic, nor is it a socialist state. It is a feudal culture. And at least as long as CCP Soundwave is there, no big bad Dept. of the Interior guy is going to come and take away the bad people.

    The rest of the post barring the last couple of paragraphs I am on board with. I almost quit myself due to the distances involved and the time waste in flying them.

    The bottom line is this: EVE is a mindset as much as anything. That level of risk is what draws - and keeps - many of us in the game.

    1. Rhavas, if you could go back years, to Eve Online say in 2009 and earlier, you would see a very much different game. Null-sec PvP kept "the wolves" as I have termed them satiated. They stayed in null-sec. High-sec was safer than it is now by a long shot. Eve Online is no longer that way. There have always been high-sec gankers, but they have never been as pervasive as they are now. When The Mittani stepped in and started using high-sec as a "hurry up and wait" place for idle CFC fighters (reference Burn Jita and Gallente Ice Interdiction,) it got out of control. That's when high-sec became the steam release for the null-sec grind that CFC and Honey Badgers invented. That's not good for the game. Having these players using high-sec as their playground keeps new players out and makes old time casual players find something else to do. Don't get so hung up on the analogy that you miss the point. The point is an almost new bro ganking a new bro is completely different from an experienced TEST pilot "slumming" in high-sec to blow up ships and stave off boredom. I see FAR more of that now than I ever did in 2008 when I was a noob. And don't believe for one second that CCP Soundwave will get his way. If Hilmar and the Board of Directors think "the wolves" are a threat, they are dead meat. Nothing CCP Soundwave, or any other CCP employee, says will stop the company from protecting itself. But don't get me wrong, I think there is a very, very small chance of that happening. I think the problem will eventually get resolved by other means so long as "the wolves" go along with CCP's plan. My worry is a lot of these "wolves" helped lead the Incarna revolt and they might just think they can get away with it twice. I don't think that'll be allowed. CCP has other financial resources now. The closer we get to Dust 514, the less influence those "wolves" will have over company decisions. They won't get their way a second time. And if they are enough of a nuisance, I don't think a PvP switch for high-sec is out of the question.

    2. "Rhavas, if you could go back years, to Eve Online say in 2009 and earlier, you would see a very much different game."

      I haven't been playing very long, but I hear very different tales of the old days. Some players say that it was much harsher back then, that at first there was no concord, then there was a weak concord that you could escape, now concord is fast and you can't tank it and it superjams you and escaping it is an exploit. Other players, like you Mabrick, say that in the old days ganking was less pervasive. People who compile killboard statistics say that highsec ganking has actually fallen off recently. It's hard to pick which side is correct--but what if both sides are correct? Is there a middle ground where that can be true, where players are nastier and louder, and ganks are more memorable, but yet the absolute number decreases? Where cost to gank has gone way up, but ganker income has gone up just as much? Where gankers are older accounts now, which compensates for the additional difficulty of ganking with a more aggressive concord? Where highsec isn't as safe as it used to be, but where highsec was also not as safe as we remember it? I think that EVE has stayed a lot more balanced than most MMOs do, but that everyone is seeing it through tinted glasses of a different shade.

      People citing "nasty playerbase" and "boredom" and "realizing that the players with the most time win" == what I hear from quitting players as they quit every single MMO ever. None of the anecdotes quoted above would be out of place, with minor changes of ships to classes, etc, for other MMOs. You may see a theme in those examples, but I see nothing but same old same old.

      "Don't leave CCP with any other option than to exterminate you by making high-sec a PvP free area. They could, and they will, if you continue to threaten their livelihood."

      You mean like when UO made trammel as a PVP-free area, basically destroying UO and leading to the creation of EVE by former UO players as a place where there would never be a PVP-free area? Now that would be quite ironic. While it would a complete betrayal of what EVE was created to be, it's been long enough that it's not beyond the bounds of possibility; but I still don't think it's likely. If it did, then EVE will probably die just like UO did, spawning a new game out of the ashes to take EVE's place just as before.

      I'm quite the carebear in EVE, and if CCP went safe highsec I'd switch games I can't imagine very many PVPers would stick around. I enjoy building and trading in the economy which PVP creates, with the risk of transporting/building/gathering in a more dangerous environment. PVP-free highsec ruins that economy(or so I predict), so I'd leave. DF:UW comes out in 8 hours, after all.

      article from 2005 in which CCP explains that their emphasis on PVP over PVE stems from the fact that they were all ardent PVPers in UO and prefer that gameplay style.

    3. The basic problem is that as players age they look to prey on the new and clueless. Null and low are full of very canny players who only take fights they are pretty sure they'll win and it's discouraging for many pvpers. So they move to pick on those not good at defending themselves.

      I'm less sure that CCP will follow the money. If at some point Eve becomes so brutal on the new that numbers start dropping there's too many vested interests with a stake in how the game is run and who are veteran players who like being able to bully newbies. CSM - veterans, more of them have titans than play in high sec. Soundwave - ex-Goon, Fozzie - ex-PL. Fanfest attendees, player meet attendees - all veterans, some of whom don't even play any more, all committed to "Eve is a dystopia".

    4. Mabrick: "an experienced TEST pilot "slumming" in high-sec to blow up ships and stave off boredom." NOW I think you're on to something. I would agree with your contention that ganking volume is directly correlated to the Blue Donut. Ganking would be there without it (dedicated highsec ganker corps) but I suspect the spike, as you suggest, is due to Blue Donut boredom. So why not talk about how to reduce that and get them back focused on shooting each other in sov wars?

    5. Rhavas, I am waiting for more details on Odyssey to be honest. I do realize my own lack of experience in this area is a liability to discussing such a topic. I'd much rather read Jester's, Rixx's and Corelin's (and all the other PvPers out there) suggestions on reducing the Blue Donut. Hey Marcus, could we have a blog banter on reducing the Blue Donut?

    6. "Rhavas, if you could go back years, to Eve Online say in 2009 and earlier, you would see a very much different game. Null-sec PvP kept "the wolves" as I have termed them satiated. They stayed in null-sec. High-sec was safer than it is now by a long shot. Eve Online is no longer that way."

      I believe a comparison of ease of making ISK in high sec then vs. now would go a long way toward explaining it. (The donut is the other part of the equation)

    7. @ Rammstein

      "The old days" is a subjective phrase depending mainly on when a player started - for Mabrick that's 08/09, for me it would be 04-06, anyone talking about the time before CONCORD is talking about beta/03 (possibly early 04; I joined up in the middle of that year and CONCORD existed at that point as guaranteed vengeance). "the additional difficulty of ganking with a more aggressive concord" is something of a myth; CONCORD has been tweaked, as have other mechanics that affect ganking, but always in response to changes that have made ganking easier or more prevalent. CCP has had a long history of preserving ganking as a niche gameplay feature, while preventing it from becoming pandemic, and when that balance gets threatened they act. A couple of examples: The removal of insurance payouts for CONCORDed ships was a response to players realising that a cheapfit plat insured Brutix could profitably gank nearly anything it could solo; the knowledge spread, ganking rose past whatever threshold CCP consider acceptable and it was nerfed. The mining barge rebalance, particularly the EHP increase for the Mackinaw/Retriever, was a response to buffs to Destroyer DPS and Hybrid turrets that had occurred previously which made Destroyers and particularly Catalysts far better at ganking; in the case of mining barges which require relatively expensive modules (strip miners) to function this made them pretty much a guaranteed payout for solo gankers, and again ganks rose as a result.

      Personally I'd love to see CCP expand on the oft-discussed "Historic lows" quote - what are they measuring (total ganks, ganks vs player population, ganks/day, ganks/week, ganks/month), what time period are they looking at when they say "historic" (since start of the game? Compared to the previous year's Hulkageddon?) and most importantly a breakdown between for-profit ganks of industrials, freighters and any ship pressed into hauling duty with a valuable cargo and for-the-lulz ganks where the attackers aren't motivated by profit (IE most mining barge ganks). I really wouldn't be surprised to find that lulz-ganks have stayed steady or actually increased compared to the non-Hulkageddon average while the main dropoff has been in for-profit ganks as a result of Crimewatch making it harder for gankers to recover loot from victims.

      Finally, you should bear in mind there's a lot that CCP could do to reduce the amount a particular type of ganking occurs if they decide it's not to the game's benefit without going all the way and making highsec completely safe - as an example, the New Order's style of doing nothing but gank could easily be nerfed by making it harder to operate as a criminal in hisec (remove session change invulnerability, improve navy response times, have sentry guns attack them in hisec just as a few examples) or by preventing CONCORD relocation and removing the cap on CONCORD spawns per system. Neither of these would have much of an effect on people who only occasionally gank or who do it for profit, as they already have to take care of their sec status and don't rely on moving Concord spawns for their playstyle.

  2. Some rather interesting stats via Serp. Worth having a look.

  3. I think you nailed part of the PVP problem, and if I can rephrase it another way: PVPheads are bored. One day, I was in Torrinos where some guys were ganking miners. One miner started some smack talk saying they couldn't win a real fight with a ship that could shoot back. One of the gankers started protesting, saying stuff like, "wanna fight? wanna fight my MAIN???" (emphasis mine). Then I think he said he was itching for fight.

    Keep in mind, up to this point the gankers have been pretty chatty about suicide ganking, and challenging those who questioned their balls, etc. Once that toon said he was itching for a fight, I more or less shouted in local, "I knew it! Gankers gank because they are bored!!!"

    Not a single response. Not a single denial. Not a single quip or retort. Total silence.


  4. Excellent post. Will quote you later in one of my blogs. I know others don't agree with the idea of CCP talking action into their own hands but if they read just the first few pages of the CSM7 winter minutes they would see that THIS is one of the thigns that CCP Seagull is exactley looking into right now :-)

  5. I had a sudden thunk in regards to new player protection. It's a very lore based kind of solution and probably needs more thought if it's not to be abused and/or is balanced.

    If someone want to gank a person from one of the starter corporations, then that person should have kill rights against them for the ENTIRE starter corporation for the duration by default.

    Not only that, they gain a status hit with that corp as well as being locked out of all of that corporation's stations for a period.

    You would also gain a status hit with your own corporation and possible lockout as well (presuming you're still in a starter one) for creating issues between two Megacorps via an unsanctioned act of aggression. Low enough status with your own starter corp, and they would seek to remove you as an embarrassment (kill rights for all in corp).

    You want to gank a newb? You can. But you pay the price for killing a valuable Megacorporation asset, even though it's not permanent.

    The capsuleer pays 10% of their income - there should be sort of return on that. The Megacorp concerned would, of course, also prefer their income streams not to be interrupted as well...

    Yes, I'm aware there are probably holes in this you could park a Hyperion in. Freewheeling it to a large extent, but honestly CCP could do a little more to help new player retention imho.

    1. very good point

      as is starter corps have no real reason of existence, isk sink and the mechanic that you have to be in a corp

      to actually give real meaning to starter corps would be good for new player retention

  6. I rarely successfully kill a miner in 0.0, you see miners in 0.0 are hard to kill. They live in systems with dozens of T2 large bubbles on the routes in. Close wormholes that lead into their pockets, have eyes out in the neighbouring systems, to make a long story short they go through effort to defend themselves (and they don't even need CONCORD for it!). And through their effort they gain a high degree of safety.

    During last Hulkageddon I ganked over 300 miners in 1 month, that's 10 a day, and I think 85% of those were paying no attetion at all, at one point I ganked 3 mackinaws in the same belt in 55 minutes.

    You want safety dear Mabrick, go create it, for you can, it's called emergent gameplay. Don't cry 'wolf' and allude CCP will at some point intervene. Why should they? It's well within the power of miners to defend themselves if they want to.

    p.s. I don't gank miners at all anymore these days, it got boring (sweet irony) and I live in NPC 0.0 for the record, losing ships erryday.

  7. I really want to do PvP... but its really really hard to do anything. I wonder around lowsec but anything I could kill runs and anything that could kill me I just run away from.

    What I would really like to see is something to do that adds incentive to "try" and chase me away as opposed to just docking up. Maybe if I could raid your PI or something?

  8. "Eve is dying" post #2437625

    Meanwhile, subs have seen steady growth since launch. One thing is not like the other.

    It seems that carebears, lacking an argument that stands on it's own merits, have to insist that if they aren't catered for in the exact manner they want (a play-style not advertised for the game, as it happens) then the risk is the game will "end" and CCP YOU NEED TO DO IT THEY WAY I WANT IT OR ELSE.

    Meanwhile, Eve tries to be a sandbox game where you can do anything you want.

  9. I'm pretty tired of hearing the phrase "risk averse." These people aren't risk averse in the way that's usually being implied when people say those words. What they mean is scaredy cats, cowards, wimps. But what's really going on isn't risk aversion, its a lack of confidence in their ability to fight.

    One of the single biggest problems with this game is how noobs learn to pvp in the first place. The new player experience is geared solely to teaching noobs where the buttons are and what those flashy things on their screens are. It doesn't offer any pvp options (red crosses that wait patiently for you to kill them doesn't count). So now the noob goes out into the world and... what?

    The only way to learn to pvp is trial and error. Even the purported training organizations of eve, like the Uni, don't actually teach pvp. They teach you how to fly around with blobs and mash buttons on command. Since most real pvp organizations don't accept noobs (or even vets with less than 10m sp for that matter), that leaves the noob pretty much on his own for learning pvp. After losing several ships, not knowing why they lost them, or how they might have avoided the loss in the first place, money running down, they turn to PvE to replace their shinies. EVE PvE is awful and drains your will to live. The noob quickly tires of this and then they're at the crossroads of quitting EVE.

    Too often commentators focus on the path at this point, the crossroads. As if this were the point where things go wrong. Some people want better PvE. Some people think these guys should be essentially forced to swim with the sharks. Some people want everyone to retreat into the "bliss" of soul-destroying PvE. But most of the noobs who quit at this point aren't interested in solving what amounts to a philosophical game design problem, they just want to play a game that they enjoy for a few hours after they get home from work.

    The people who keep with it make it through this period essentially by luck. They find just the right corp, with members who are willing to teach them the nitty gritty of pvp. Or they manage to reach a SP level that meets the requirements of one of the nullsec blocs. Or they have RL friends and acquaintances that can help them through. If you guys want a better EVE, you need to support a new player experience that provides real practice in pvp. The training simulator in the old Tie Fighter game is the way to go. Let people get reasonably good, confident in their abilities, and THEN through them into the deep end. More goodfights for everyone. More engaging start for noobs. No one gets bogged down in pve/industry while they're still trying to get on their feet. The prevailing mindset will be a pvp-based mindset, not a cost-benefit analysis one.

    1. Just to clarify, risk averse was Jester's term, not mine. I used lazy. YMMV.

  10. "Don't leave CCP with any other option than to exterminate you by making high-sec a PvP free area. They could, and they will, if you continue to threaten their livelihood."

    On the bright side, Eve Online will go Free-to-Play, if your prediction comes true.

    1. Oh, now those are fightin words! *LOL* (With which I am not necessarily in disagreement.)

  11. Just wait until they remove ice from highsec.

    1. Better yet they can take barges out of the game, and make Ice an NPC commodity. Then who cares about ice belts, afk, the majority of carebearism and two bit wannabee ganker. The entire ORE ship line functions around risk adverse. Whether its the people that fly them, and dislike being shot at or its the pirates that attack them as a staple kill diet. The talk about players who attack others to provide risk is total nonsense. The average industrialist is are a risk free target to agress, because this class of player is mostly ignorant to the basics of the game: tanking, vigilance of local plus d-scan and alignment. When they lose a ship, their reaction is indignation or confusion.

      Thats interesting. Someone recently threw this is into an arguement about the reduction of rewards for mission running.

      The key point for me: high volume of players that quit within the first three months. and the request by the CCP presenter that players reduce agression to this group of player. I wonder how many listened?

  12. "The primary PvP area is supposed to be null-sec."

    According to whom?


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