Friday, June 12, 2015

Let Us Take a Fleeting Look… at Flying About inna Groop…

~or “Is Fleet Warping OP?”


My Da’ always said, “If yer gonna pitch a bitch about sumthin’, ya better have an idee how ta fix it… ifn ya dunt, then you just sit real quiet like and keep yer ignorance to yerself.

Ok, my Dad never said that, exactly… He was a VMI man who worked his way up the RW corporate ladder to EVP of, at the time, VEPCO. But he was born a country boy to a Chesapeake Bay oysterman and a tough love country mom… so the sentiment is something he believed in completely, he just wouldn’t has said it with quite as ‘southern’ a twang as I. I do tend to prefer a bit of a ‘twainish flavor in my scribblin’ sumtimes.

So, we have reached a point in the ongoing evolution of New Eden where the Fleet Warp Mechanic is getting looked at for rebalancing. I watched the latest o7 Show – June 11 where CCP Fozzie and CCP Larrikin reveal and discuss the upcoming changes to Fleet Warping in EVE. It’s worth a watch… go on, I’ll wait.

To sum up, from the OP Post on the Comments

[AEGIS] Fleet Warp Changes
Fleet Commanders, Wing Commanders & Squad Commanders will no longer be able to warp to anything a fleet member couldn’t warp to on their own. This includes –

- Probe Results
- Bookmarks
- Any private deadspace item (missions, etc.)

Commanders will still be able to warp their fleet to other fleet members, and all other ‘public’ objects.
The goal of these changes is to encourage more individual fleet member participation and reduce the speed at which fleets can get on top of targets (e.g bombers).

Interesting hmmm? OK, so initially as most have been, are or will be, I was dismayed in the extreme when I heard that CCP was going to mess with Fleet Warp. I mean the mechanic has been around long before I joined, it is a staple of wormhole life in small gangs and it is HUGELY important in any gang or group effort in EVE… in ALL spaces. I was really quite upset TBH… and more than a little ragey… until I calmed down and asked myself ‘why’ and then tried to ANSWER ‘why?’…

This has been roiling around in me noggin fer a few weeks the now… and this evening I read Sugar’s post on Fleet Warping, CSMX - Post #13 - Fleet Warp. I read through the post and at the time 14 comments and my answer to ‘why’ and my response to same gelled right then and there.

I have tried and I simply cannot at this time give a better answer than I did in that post… so below is my comment in full.
=============

NOTE: I am a wormholer who care's not one damn whit for nullsec or Sov style gameplay…

The Mechanic:
(1) Fleet Warp as it exists is one guy initiating a warp to a specific point which is then immediately carried out by all the ships in fleet simultaneously.

The Issue:
(2) One guy can manage the movement of a whole fleet all by himself.

(2a) The issue harks directly to 'exploitive' gameplay whereby one player can utilize a fleet as if it were his sole ship.
(2b) This was made even worse by Drone Assignment Mechanics that allowed one guy to simultaneously command all the drones in a fleet.
(2c) This was heavily exacerbated by multi-boxing software that allowed one guy to generate target, fire (and all other) commands across a whole fleet simultaneously.

Taken all together I think we can all agree this is suck gameplay, I don't care who you are or where you fly.

The Rebalance:
(3) So far, banning multi-boxing software so individual ships must be controlled individually, whether by individual players or by one player having to switch between clients to input commands to each ship, non-simultaneously.

Now we take a look at changing Fleet Warp because it seems on the face of it to be part of the same 'exploitive' type of gameplay.

But... is it really? Fleet Warping has been around a long long time. It empowers players to act in unison but only in movement. And fleet movement, leaving/arriving from/to designated places in EVE is a powerful thing... just look at Jump Changes.

OK... so suggestions?

(4) The Fleet Warp command does not initiate a Fleetwide ‘Warp To’ command... it initiates ONLY a Fleetwide ‘Align To’ command to a designated warpable point, that’s all. For the actual warp to take place each ship must have the actual ‘Warp To’ command initiated by a player.

Go AFK... you get left behind, period. Wanna warp all your alts in Fleet? Better be amazingly fast at client switching…

Simple, easy to play, you have to be there, at the keyboard and be awake... and for them as are there and awake, the gang still gets the job done whether it is a corp/personal BM or whatever warpable point the FC wants to land on.

I do not doubt that this suggestion does not answer all needs and wants of all the players, but it does quite nicely eliminate the OP of the One Man Fleet... while maintaining the Strength in Numbers and Group Gameplay aspects of Fleet Mechanics in EVE.

=============

This is the crux for me… EVE is a Social Game, Fleet Warping is a definitive Social Activity…
Changing WHAT we can Fleet Warp to is NOT the fix…
Changing WHO can take part in a Fleet Warp IS.


Fly Fleetless and I just might not see you in the Sky  =/|)=

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Viam Anoikis…

~or “Acceptance”


I often wonder at how I ended up so deeply invested in the incredibly deadly space in which I I live and die in EVE. I have never been much of a daredevil or even really a big risk taker. My kid brother was the daredevil and jock of our family… Surfer, dirt biker, skateboarder, a real adrenaline junky…

Oh I surfed in my youth, and I too rode dirt bikes and I still love off-roading in my ’99 Jeep TJ and I love to single hand my '88 Catalina 22, all of which do have some inherent risks, but they are understood and manageable risks for the most part. I have also been a licensed PI and bounty hunter and such… and yes carrying a gun and occasionally having to wear a ballistic vest are kinda risky… but believe me it aint Magnum PI or anything even remotely like TV… not at all.

So when I joined EVE I learned about Hisec, lowsec, nullsec and negsec… I felt I was probably fated to be a hisec guy who occasionally dipped into lowsec for excitement and as a quick way to reduce the number of hulls I owned…  =]

Sugar Kyle‘s post, All Your Base… got me thinking about this once again and as oft happens I discovered a post waiting inside my reply. Sugar has never really been drawn to try out negsec in any depth due to safety, or the absolute lack of safety for her stuff I should say. And I must admit living in Anoikis is never ever going to be considered safe in any respect… but for me, that is just part of its charm and ambiance...  =]

The thing for me with life in Anoikis is manyfold... and a bit Zen...

While I may not be the adrenaline junky my little brother (HA! ‘little’ the kid was 6’5” by the time he was 18…) was, I do enjoy certain thrills… rollercoasters, hunting, surfing and even my PI work did, at times, generate at least some adrenaline buzz… but I am also a realist, as such I am really drawn to Hard SciFi, Science Fiction that is deeply rooted in real science. Now understand I love the Lord of the Rings but as far as I am concerned Fantasy should not be lumped in with SciFi… it is not magic, it is science and as such should deserves a little respect.

Flying in Anoikis with no local and living out of a destructible POS with everything at risk and on the edge is, well, real. It is a helluvalot more the way things might really be like if we ever do get off this one lone rock and venture out there into the Black.

It is a lot like RL in many ways... On Earth your house can burn down from a lightning strike or even a stupid accident like bad wiring… or an earthquake can swallow it, a flood can wash it away... or a war can sweep through leaving a wake of destruction. No place, no ‘thing’, no ‘one’ is actually “safe” in real life… we just have periods of less dangerous times interspersed with periods of more dangerous times.

In EVE however (aside from one or more of the above happening to the CCP server farm) your stuff actually is safe, really and truly safe from ‘acts of the gods’ or other players. In Empire NPC Stations there is no cataclysm, catastrophe or War that can have any effect on your stuff... ever. The only thing that can put your stuff at risk is you.

Unless you choose to live in a POS. The whole “Wait a minute there pubbie, in nullsec we can lose all our stuff with a Sov switch!” and “We can get locked out of our stations losing EVERYTHING!!!” is true enough… but so far Nullsuc Outposts are as indestructible as NPC Stations in the highest of Hisec… right? And I cannot but wonder how many nullsec players have a backup cache (if not their main cache) of ships etc. safely tucked away in a Station in Empire… JIC. Besides, it’s my blog and TBH I care not one whit for Nullsuc so meh...

Anyhoo… So living in Anoikis is a compromise. I actually have about half if not more of all my ships stored in Hisec. So I am at most roughly under 50% at risk for my total of worthwhile assets, my hulls. Implants, PLEX, factions mods, etc., IE all my ‘stuff’ of really high value is also permanently stored in Hisec. The Wallet, IE our bank accounts, are never at any risk, of course, except for human foolishness.

But here is the key to living in Anoikis… Acceptance. Accepting that whatever you bring in, whatever you jump the crazy marble sitting in or hauling with… is already gone. You accept right then and there that it will all never come back out. It’s already on fire, assploded, looted, salvaged and in someone else’s cargo or hangar bay right next to your flash-frozen burnt-up corpse.

This is, strangely a very worry and stress free game actually. Acceptance. Buying the hulls, theory crafting the fits, buying mods, fitting the ships and, The Naming of them all, then that first flight… only to kiss it all bittersweetly goodbye at the command, “Jump! Jump!” Each and every hull and module I have in the POS has already been sacrificed to Bob in my mind and my heart…

Hence I have nothing to lose,
and so I have no worries at all.

This is part of the Viam Anoikis (The Way of Anoikis)… the Tao of Holes… and it is good.


Fly Reckless and See You in the Sky =/|)=

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Carnyx Patch Notes; The ACBL Reader’s Digest Condensed Version…

~or “What I Care About in Carnyx…”

OK Carnyx drops Tuesday and the Patch Notes dropped today…

Here is the link… Patch Notes for Carnyx and here is EVE Updates on Carnyx.
And here is what I saw that is of interest to me… you want the rest, click the link.  =]

FEATURES & CHANGES
Exploration:
New systems are available that can be accessed via the Unidentified wormholes. (Unidentified wormholes can be found in systems that contain the Jove Observatory)
THIS is what I have been waiting for… moar new holes!!!
Graphics:
            Secondary lighting from ships and stations has been added.
Good… very good.
Gameplay:
            Ships in high-sec space piloted by a character with a Criminal Flag will now be
unable to use in-space re-fitting facilities.
Doesn’t usually affect my game but I do foray out into the crowded spaces upon occasion… good to know I guess.
Market:
New items have been added to the Trade Goods > Unknown Components Market category.
Hmmmm… one wonders if this mayhaps have something to do with Empress Jamyl Sarum’s recent treaty violations

Missions & NPCs:
            Drifter presence has reportedly been increased throughout Amarr space.
            Oh HELLZ YEAH! Bring on the Invasion!!

New Eden Store:
Sanctuary has introduced a collection of SKINs for the Astero, Stratios and Nestor.
I’m not one to jump on other’s bandwagons and as such I am not overly interested in SKINS… but I do have a soft spot for the ‘stero and based on the pic below I may finally be enticed into this gameplay expenditure… we shall see.


Ships:
            The next Tech 3 Tactical Destroyer has been introduced: the Caldari Jackdaw.
New Shoes!!!!!

User Interface:
Added a ‘Fit’ button to the shared fitting window, allowing players to fit directly without having to save the fitting first.
Wait… wat? What is this ‘shared fitting window’ you speak of?

New icons have been added to the overview, ISIS and in space for…
Well a shit tonne of stuff is what for… read this Dev Blog, UI MODERNIZATION - ICON STRATEGY


FIXES
Gameplay:
            Added 'Remove from Overview' option to scanner probe right click menu.
            Excellent…
Technical:
            Performance improvements for opening the fitting window.
            Good… good.

New map: fixed an issue causing some players in wormholes to have completely empty maps.
Thank you.

And that’s it for me… All The Newz That’s Fit to Print from one Wormholer’s perspective.  =]


Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=

Thursday, May 28, 2015

To PvP or Not to PvP... That is Not The Question…

~or “Players Engaging Players…”

Graphic shamelessly borrowed without permission from Rote Kapelle

This one stems from Lowsec Lifestyle the pulpit of the Right Honorable CSM Sugar Kyle… her post, Rambling: What May Be, prompted some interesting, and IMHO some very quotable, commentary on the definition of EVE…

Sugar Kyle
I think building things is just as much a part of the game as destroying them.
…I believe that Eve thrives on production and destruction.

Kaeda Maxwell
EVE is a ‘space ship game’ with the 'PvP always on' option ticked…

Chanina
The phrase “eve is a PvP” game doesn't catch the real essence of the game. It isn't ‘versus’ every time.
…it’s a PeP or Players engaging Players game. Be it with guns or markets or hard working mineral collection.

Anon noob
Do I feel entitled? Yes, to play the game how I want to play it. To play without having interaction or interference from other’s, No.

As an avid EVE player and blogger I follow the goings on in the blogsphere and the metagame. I read hundreds of articles and posts and forum threads and comments which have kicked off replies, comments and many ideas for posts in my mind but occasionally it all kicks off something else... despair. As I read through the words of EVE pundits, savants and lay EVE players I sometimes reach a point of mental critical failure.

I sit back, sigh and realize once again that it is a trap. We are trapped forever in a diametrically opposed situation. All of EVE is RvB. The Griefer versus the Carebear, the PvPer verus the PvEer, those addicted to the adrenaline rush of destruction versus those addicted to the pursuit of ‘perfect’ min/max of creation…

“EVE is a PvP game!” “EVE is a Sandbox!!” “EVE is whatever I want it to be!!!” “You play EVE Wrong!” “No, YOU do!” The arguments fly back and forth as thick as the laser beams, bullets and missiles did in B-R, but unlike that epic battle… there is not, and never can be, a winning dog in this fight.

This gets frustrating for me at times… I try to get my point across, I try to add to the discourse and I get very excited about the game and I feel strongly about the stuff I feel strongly about ‘n all, but sometimes I just get all “Oh hell, why bother.” about it all.

But… at the same time I recognize that this is also the ‘key’ to EVE. The RvB like permanent war between the PvPbears and the PvEbears, diametrically opposed in their playstyles of both Creation and Destruction… Because human beings derive great satisfaction from both creative and destructive activities… and that duality is at the core of what EVE “IS”.

Take a good look at that pic at the top of this post… that is a very real human thing. The child building the sandcastle gets a feeling of satisfaction and fulfilled from the end product of her efforts… and the child bounding in to destroy all of that will receive a very real rush of adrenaline and excitement from his actions, both very very different feelings, but both are equally as fulfilling and satisfying for each of those kids.

Now there are those who will say the child who wants to destroy only desires to create pain and hurt (IE ‘tears’) in the creative child. While there are those who play from that motivation, I believe that is not the whole truth for all, nor do I believe it is true even for the majority of the playerbase... I know it is not the truth for me. For many like me it is the adrenaline rush of power and the “win”… and destruction is power and winning just quite simply feels good to human beings.

CCP set out 13 years ago to permanently pit these two diametrically opposed playstyles, Creation and Destruction, against each other… and in the doing they have to constantly balance these two forces with and against each other… their job is to keep the strain high yet even between them. That is real the magic of EVE.

This post derived from Chanina’s comments… It crystallized for me my feeling that EVE is actually not a ‘PvP’ game… it is also not a ‘PvE’ game…

EVE is a PEP game. Players Engaging Players in the never ending cycle of Creation and Destruction. With these powerful forces held in constant and careful balance by the amazing people at CCP.

Players Engaging Players

Helping each other in corps and Alliances and even in the metagame in Coalitions… PEP to mine more efficiently, to haul more efficiently, to run missions more efficiently, to explore more efficiently, to create more efficiently and to do all this and more with friends.

Working together in corps, Alliances and Coalitions in fleets to gank more efficiently, to fight more efficiently, to war more efficiently, to roam more efficiently, to destroy more efficiently, to hold space together… and to do all this and more with friends.

PEP of that 'other' kind, the 'in-your-face-kind', with DPS... in the asteroid belts, in the battlefields, at the sun, at the Jita 4-4 dock, in the market, in 10-v-1s and in honorable duels, in Hulkageddon and Burn Jita and in the anoms and sigs throughout New Eden and in deepest wormhole space…

PEP on TS, Mumble, Jabber, on the internet, in blogs by the hundreds, the E-zines and forums, on Reddit, Something Awful, TMC, EN24, Dev Blogs, the EVEO Forum and all the comment threads… and in EVE Meets around the globe… EVEsterdam, EVE New England, EVE Vegas, EVE Glasgow, EVE Down Under... and in Reykjavik, Iceland thousands of EVE Players Engage with Players from all over the world at Fanfest every year.

And yes, the solo players, the casual players, the Hermits of EVE... the over 50% of us... Yes they are as engaged in the game as the rest of us directly or indirectly through their actions... missions, mining , industry, buying, selling, exploration and solo PvP... They are engaged in their reactions to gankers and gate camps and wars and the ebb and flow of the players... They are engaged because we all, every single one of us, fly and live and die in the same space, in the same game, on the same server.

Oh yes, EVE is a PEP game… and it is the only one of its kind in the 'verse.  And I live there.  =]


Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Socialbears…

~or “Who Should Play EVE?”


Over on Lowsec Lifstyle, CSM Sugar Kyle has posed a question regarding NPC gameplay and PvE in general in EVE, Non Player Characters… It’s an interesting read. It talks about a suggestion made by Wex and Dire to have NPC escorts for freighters.

This kinda ties in with some suggestions floated by CCP in the ongoing comments discussion surrounding the New Player Structures where it was said;

[link] We have been discussing the idea of a module that recruits pirate spawns to defend against people entosis linking your structure, but ultimately how customizable the timezone mechanics are will be the key here.

[link] You would not rely in NPC defense at all, it would be a mild deterrent against a lone ship at best, the point is to show up for your timers and defend.

And I feel this also ties in with the latest changes and new NPC activity in EVE. The Seekers and Drifters and the new vastly improved NPC gameplay that CCP has brought us. NPCs that actually chase you down through a system and even through gates, NPCs that station camp you, though not as dedicatedly or as long as players will, NPCs that actively engage and while not ‘creative’ like live players, they are an immeasurable improvement over the dull-lackluster-rote-mechanic gameplay that is standard EVE NPC fare. I have greatly enjoyed the last few weeks chasing down Seekers and running from Drifters… in Hisec FFS! For me to ‘enjoy’ gameplay in hisuc means CCP has upped the NPC game immensely.

That all said I am as much on-the-fence on us 'hiring' NPCs as Sugar is, but my concerns are all about balance and player exploitation. But as in all things EVE, these are the preeminent concerns when CCP goes to ‘messing ‘bout with the game… so it’s either accept the potential negative issues from player exploits or never make any changes at all, and I guess we know the answer to that one…

You know, there are times I love the EVE playerbase… and then there’s the rest of the time.  =P

Anyway… what I took away from this rather interesting post and idea is this. Why is solo gameplay in EVE such a Horribad Thing ™? Seriously, why? I mean look at the chart at the top of the post again… That is from the EVE PLAYING BEHAVIOUR entry on Evelopedia from an online survey taken on 10.05.12.

55% of the playerbase played a solo game. 16% exclusively solo and 39% primarily solo. More than half of the playerbase played a primarily solo game in 2012 and I would bet every ISK I have that this is basically still true today. So WHY is solo play so maligned?

I know the argument is that players who are engaged in social gameplay have better long term retention. This appeared to be ‘proven’ by CCP Rise back during Fanfest 2014 with the “New Player Experience Vision” presentation. To sum it up it seems that at best EVE retains about 10% of the new players who actually subscribe.

That’s right only 10%...


I was… I was floored by this and responded with a post, For Once, a Simple Sales Problem…. in which I posited the following…

If 80 to 90% of the people who try out your game leave, and they seem to be looking for good solo PvE gameplay, GIVE IT TO THEM! Why is this so gods damned hard to understand??

The vast majority of MMO players out there have played themeparks for YEARS and therefore only know themepark gameplay... OK, so give them what they want... really top notch PvE... then once they are here, you have a shot at them 'discovering' sandbox social gameplay… IE a chance for us to show them what real sandbox social gameplay is and how it can be soooo much MORE than Themepark solo PvE gameplay... But we can’t do that if they leave.

Why is this hard to understand? If 80 to90% of your potential customers are walking in, looking around for 15 minutes and leaving... the only possible  reason is that you are not selling something they want… IE, they are not the problem... YOU are.

What CCP Rise ended up with anyway was that we have to push new players into social and interactive gameplay. Then we will see better long term player retention in EVE and this is how to best grow the games playerbase.

I called bullshit then and I still call Bullshit.

I say only those players who WANT social gameplay are better retained by social gameplay. And we are limiting ourselves and the game by denying that solo players and solo gameplay has real merit in EVE Online.

EVE is such an immense verse, with a truly amazing variety of gameplay and NO end game. We can, and should, accommodate ALL possible playstyles. I have and will never stop arguing that we (and CCP) should always be looking for New Gameplay that can be brought to EVE. I still think WiS was the greatest lost opportunity in EVE’s history.

Walking in Stations as it was being worked on would have opened up the game to the hundreds of thousands of FPS gamers worldwide besides bring a whole new way to play EVE for the rest of us. And while I believe Dust 415 is a good game and it does connect to EVE, it is not really ‘in’ EVE, not on the PC in the same client. The potential of flying your ship to an abandoned Sleeper Station, or now an abandoned Jove Observatory hmm?, and hacking your way in to explore and fight ON FOOT… well, we and CCP lost out massively when CCP caved to the whiners and FiStards during the Summer of Rage.

So, here is my point.

We need to look at every potential addition to EVE’s gameplay from the standpoint of its potential to add to the playerbase. We and CCP should never limit the potential to add to the playerbase by limiting gameplay options.

Solo, causal, small gang, large gang and meta-gang (for want of a better term)… social, solo and even anti-social players should all be welcome and ALL should find an amazing ‘verse of experience out there in the black…

With this caveat: Never change the Open World Sandbox Open PvP gameplay in EVE. The ONLY thing CCP should be actively limiting is any movement away from Sandbox gameplay to Themepark gameplay.

Or, to put it more succinctly, The ONLY thing CCP should be actively limiting is any movement away from No Safety to Safety. IE EVE must never lose the Risk and Loss Are Real aspects… that would kill EVE as we know it.

So let’s look at hiring NPC Mercs from this standpoint.

==============================================================
NOTE:
To all those who will whine and gnash their teeth that we are robbing from the real Mercs in EVE and ruining their gameplay, to them I say this… If the people who need Merc services the most (IE noobs) can’t afford you, then cater to your customers or screw your whining.
==============================================================

OK so let’s say you are an OMC solo Industry player who simply does not have the time or ability to play effectively in a group or even yes, a player who does not have the desire to play with others... you prefer the Lone Wolf game, and you always have. You have a freighter op to run, say 10 hops total with 3 lowsec hops so you go to the Market and open the NPC Merc Hiring 'board' and look over the available contracts. You hire an NPC 5-ship freelance pirate gang for Transport Defense Escort... the support you bought in this case is 2 Rep Cruisers and 3 Ewar Cruisers.

The gangs ships, fits and compositions are based on the available contracts and prices, Want armed ships capable of potentially destroying an attacker? Want Battlecruiser escort? Battleship escort? Each of these comes at a significantly higher cost, scaling upwards by ship/class/fit and gang comp.

If you are attacked en route they start repping you and the Ewar ships damp (or jam/neut/etc.) either reactively or based on the targets you call. What this does is add, at a cost, to your defenses as a solo player... that's all. The support NPCs can be attacked and destroyed, probably have to be, so you can be attacked and destroyed... this just adds gameplay on a Risk vs Reward basis. Your have increased your costs for better defenses and the attackers have to factor in dealing with them.

Now most will say "get more friends" or “join a corp, EVE is a social game” Dire’s concern was that this type of gameplay might "increase isolation and disengagement" for solo players. I disagree. If a player has, due to work schedules, travel, etc. no workable option but to play solo or if a player simply has no desire to play socially, I’m ok with that. If that same player finds fulfilling game play even through he/she has to or wants to play solo, then the option to hire NPC’s to help with this or that may actually ADD to their gameplay, and increase their retention.

The argument that hiring NPCs might "increase isolation and disengagement"` smacks a little too close to the old “Internet friends are not REAL friends” and “the internet is isolating you from real contact with others” again, bullshit. Think on that a bit…

No one should ever have to do anything in EVE other than cope with the environment and mechanics in order to do whatever they want to do. I consider coping with the open PvP and non-consensual player interactions, IE gankers, scammers, war dec’ers, et al as part of the whole ‘environment and mechanics’ thing. If you fly in EVE, you accept that it is a dangerous verse and even if you fly solo, you will never really be alone. I just don’t feel you HAVE to play in a group to really enjoy or be a part of EVE.

CCP Rise said upwards of 40% of new players were just, you know Leveling up Their Raven... So? Who cares? Seriously... why do we care?? As long as ALL the players are enjoying the game and paying for their time (IE CCP making more money so we ALL get a better game) then who cares if there are players who prefer solo?? I mean seriously, how is it a BAD thing for the game as a whole?

Oh I realize it may not be a good thing for YOU, or HIM or HER or THEM… it may not make Rixx Javix or Talvorian Dex very happy… (not a dis to either Rixx or Tal, just an ongoing difference of opinion…) So what? Are we here to ‘provide content’ for each other? To improve each other’s gameplay? Or are we each here for our own game? I don’t know about you tovarishch, but I am here to play my game, my way, period. If you get something outta that, cool, if not, that’s cool by me too. I care not either way as I am here to enjoy myself.

So what is it then that makes the socialbears so loudly proclaim that all players must be actively engaged in a group? Are they not out there in space like the rest of us? Do they not also explode? Do they not also scan down sites? Run plexes? Run missions? Haul shit all over space? Do they not put stuff on the market and buy stuff from the market? Is it that a solo player’s money no good? They pay for each month whether via PLEX or CC or Paypal or Steam, same as everybody. I say that alone is merit enough. We need MORE players, not more of just THIS or THAT kind of player.

Let’s go back to the EVE PLAYING BEHAVIOUR online survey mentioned earlier. When asked, “Who do you usually play EVE Online with?” the response was interesting…


The top entry, “Friends I met in EVE Online”, 68% is very interesting when looking at New Player Retention because some are (1) Forum Born players coming into the game and immediately blood jumping into deepest null to join Goonfleet or such, so, well, retention is not really an issue in that case now is it? But the rest are (2) talking about a group they met later… but how much later? Sadly this graph does not say.

I am sure some are getting involved with corps early on. In HELPeR we have a tendency of carefully collecting noobs. But I have a corpmate who played totally solo for a year before we met at work and he joined us. But we didn’t ‘save him’ from increased isolation, depression and disengagement due to playing solo. He was enjoying the game, he is just enjoying it with us now is all.

But most interesting of all is of course, the second highest response to ‘Who do you play EVE with?’… 36% replied they play solo, a substantially higher number than the 16% given in the ‘What is your playstyle?’ chart at the top of this post.

So I say give solo players great solo content... as long as we don't change the PvP Open World Sandbox rules in EVE, good Solo PvE gameplay will never kill EVE nor make it "safe" nor turn it into a WoW in Space Themepark, no, quite the converse… Good PvE and support for solo gameplay will bring in MORE players period. If we actually do support and respect all playstyles, why not work on retaining ALL playstyles?

There are enough players in the world who will never play EVE because of the PvP and the Sandbox Open World Rules that we need to seriously consider attracting and retaining ALL players and playstyles that are willing to play in such an environment... not additionally limit ourselves even more by saying ONLY Social Gamers are worth retaining in EVE.

I say make EVE more not less for everyone... as long as they want to play in an Open World PvP Sandbox. You wanna play as one of hundreds? thousands? cool, we gotcha covered. You wanna play solo?... cool we got that too, and you will be in the majority and I know you will have an amazing experience 'cause you are playing EVE and yes, you are adding to the game as a whole, no matter what the 'socialbears' say.

Fly reckless and see you all in the Sky =/|)=