Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Oh Corpmate Where Art Thou?

~So Many Toons Yet So Few Flying…

Nosy put into words something that has been itching at the back of my brain for a little while now…

From January 2010 to May 2012, the number of average concurrent users declined from 32,492 to 27,764 (-14.6%) but the number of subscriptions rose from 325,134 to 363,851 (11.9%).  …I don't have an explanation...

Here is the graph showing a decrease in players flying around in space while more and more players start new accounts (and remember each account has three toons)…  I get a real head scratch and an ‘Hmmm’ face going over this one…  How is it that LESS accounts are getting actively played and yet MOAR accounts are getting started?

Is the graph a lie as Rixx Javix says and as Nosy supports? It is simply showing data. Graphs don’t have agendas, granted the people making them often do, but in this case Chribba’s, MMOData and our collective agenda is the facts, and nothing but the facts. We all want to know the real skinny, not the Goonswamed spin… and I don’t even think Goons have an issue, plan or spin to put on the data for Subs and ACU numbers in this case.

Let’s say the graph is not a lie, but the gut reaction is… “Subs are down! EvE is DYING!! Teh Sky is falling!!!  Arrrrghhh!” this reaction is wrong. But WHAT do they show us? How do we answer Nosy’s Conundrum, “How can you have an increasing number of Subscriptions and yet decreasing Concurrent Users online?” More accounts but less people playing.

Is it some weird Bot Effect? Like the Butterfly Effect only, you know… yucky. I think it is safe to say these Subs are probably a mix of Alts, Bots and Noobs just like always. Rixx was really right about one thing, warp through any of the noobcrèches, they are awash in truly new players and this is nothing but a Good Thing™… But I wonder if the percentage of new players to alts to bots has changed… (wish we knew what THAT number was over time too TBH).

New Players are usually gonna play their main until they either figure EvE out enough to stay (that ever elusive ‘thing’ we are all bantering about ATM) or ragequit from boredom, disillusionment or are griefed out of the verse.

Alts are gonna do the Alt thing, either…
(1) undock and self-destruct, bloodjumping to null and the piles of ISK and free ships so they can bloat the Blobs of the Big Blue CockRing…
(2) buy a shite ton of books with transferred ISK and stay docked up for a few weeks\months while they focus-skill for whatever task their Main Sub created them for,
(3) buy just a few necessary books with transferred ISK and undock as soon as they can fly a ‘whatever’ then moving out to whatever system their Main Sub needs them in for scouting, or a OMF (One Man Fleet)…

And Bots… first off, Fuck Bots m’kay? M’kay… Bots are not alts and are not players. Bots are created to sit around skilling up until their Main Ahole edits up a new copy of whatever hack app he uses to control them (more effectively than even Sansha Koveki could ever wet dream about…) until he sends them out to mine and mish and grind up ISK in their mindless legions often while he himself is permaAKF…

So, the numbers… Alts and Bots are probably in the majority here. Alts ‘cause so many players, once SpaceRich, can AFFORD multiple personalities with multiple skillsets. Like Ripard said, Alts are important because of the SkillCliff. Because it take RW TIME to skill up and because the skills for a given area of gameplay such as Industry, Subcaps, Caps, etc. can take years to get proficient in so the ability to afford more than one Sub means you can focus skill each Sub into a specialty in the same time…

So instead of taking Ripard’s approx. 12 real YEARS to create one well rounded Toon who can Do It All, you can have 3 or 4 Highly Skilled Specialists plus your Main in say 3 to 4 years. This is a powerful incentive to create and use Alts especially if you add up the Power of Alts… affording them via PLEX becomes easier as you have more toons to work with to make ISK. And at the very very least you are ‘guaranteed’ a small gang or a ‘fleet of you’ every time you log on… whereas your corpmates or Allies might not be online or might not be interested in mining or mishing or whatever…  But you, yourself and youse are always there.

I commented on Ripard’s post on the Impact of Alts that I knew a guy in Null who ran 10 concurrent toons and ALL he ever did was mine. His Main was in a cloaky off grid boosting Orca and he ran 9 Hulks with the Orca warping in to scoop the ore and back out to cloak up again… Some of you can full well understand the sheer amount of ore he produced. He sold it all to corp for Industry and he had what he felt was full, engaging gameplay. And I doubt 10 is the highest number of Subs held by one player either.

Then there are Bots, same in principle but totally different in impact. Bots are not players, they are not alts of players… they are a hack of the game mechanics just to grind ISK for whatever nefarious need. Some feed the coffers of Alliances and corps, some feed the wallets of players who have no desire to ever grind and can’t afford PLEX IRL but are hooked on PvP. Some feed the RMTers, the vermin of MMO’s, the lowlifes and thieves who sell their ill-gotten ISK and ships etc. online for real money… to the junkies and real losers of the MMO world.

I have no idea if there are more Bots than Alts… but CCP is working hard to weed them out so gods I hope so. I mean you don’t BAN 6000 Subs (whether CC or PLEX it’s all bank to CCP) in a business with approx. 500k paying accounts on a whim… 6000 x $20 = $120,000 per month or $1,440,000 per year, would YOU throw that income away lightly?

And last the New Players… The churn of noobs coming into the game and, one can only assume, the small percentage of them who make it to veteran. I do wonder what the numbers are for that now… How many new accounts are created? and what percentages of them are still logging on in 30 days? in 60? in 90?

So… how can we have Increasing Subs, moar Noobs, Alts and (a hopefully fewer) Bots and yet have Decreasing Average Concurrent Users actually playing the game?

Maybe be as more veteran players get SpaceRich more of them may be creating role specific Alts and skilling them into niche gameplay areas…
Has there has been some weird increase in Bot accounts but they are not being used???
Noobs? I just don’t see how the increase in Subs can be accounted for by the Churn of New Players… Noobs generally actually PLAY the game, they are learning and experiencing it for the first time…

However if it IS Noobs, that does not bode well at all… Cause that means moar and moar people are starting new accounts and trying EvE… and less and less of them are finding anything worth staying for...

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)


  1. That is one of the things I like about our C1 wormhole, when the static lands near a newbie system you get a horde of tech1 scanning frigates that jump and take a look around. This always gives me a good feeling because it means EVE is still attracting new, fresh blood.
    And a player that is eager to learn and enthousiastic about playing the game and exploraring the universe.. Well it rubs off and motivates me as well. EVE is more as a collection of bittervets with a dozen characters and half a dozen accounts each.

    1. Yea... years ago my very first PvP kill was in our C2. A noob had scanned us down and jumped in to mine... in an unarmed T1 Frig... sheesh. I dint know that until after the kill so I sent him ISK and advise for his trouble.

      I too have seen the number of noobs in space in and around the creche systems, and it does give me hope...but as Ripards points out, and my experience has shown, most if not all vets over a few years have additional Subs skilled or skilling for niche occupations in the game. Asa matter of fact, I am one of the very few players I know who doesn't have Alts...

      I just wonder what all those new Subs are doing or for considering the lower count of Players in Space...

  2. I once knew a player years ago that claimed to have 14 main accounts, so what was that back then, 28 possible characters?

    Anyway, my general point about the graph being a lie was exactly what you just pointed out in your post - we simply do not have enough other data available to come to an intelligent decision about the data. Every post I've read on this subject comes to that same conclusion - if only we had... which we don't.

    Until then we are left making prophecies in the dark.

    All I do know for sure is that I sure do run into A LOT of 2012, 2013 and 2014 characters in space, and a lot less characters like me from 2008 or before. It is incidental data and I know that, but there are 170+ mains in my corp and 70% of them are 2 years old or younger.

    So what IF the average life-span of an Eve player is only five years and NOT 10? That means there is a tremendous amount of turn-over going on and that Eve is just as strong and vital as ever. Ah, yet another piece of data we don't have access to.

    1. I joined right before Incursion and by then we had 3 toons on each account, did they have only 2 toons per account then?

      My friend with the 10 Subs had 30 toons... I have no idea how many were skilled up, I would assume 1 each as this was before MCT (Multiple Character Training). I do wonder what the record for alts is though...

      And FYI I wasn't disagreeing with you so much as agreeing with you in a very weird way, as you saw, We are making assumptions on a very complex puzzle with only 2 pieces of data... granted interesting and valid data, just not enough data to draw useful conclusions.

      Like you recently I too have been checking out the players in local as I am currently sorta stuck in Hisec and I too am seeing a lot of younger players and that gives me hope.


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