The Sword that CCP wishes to fall on
As you are reading this, you’re probably aware of the shake-up that CCP has done with EVE Online. One of the largest shake ups in the game in recent history has been the Triglavian kick that CCP has been on for well over a year. However, this focus may also spell their doom, as I will explain. Last EVE Vegas the player base was not really happy with the current Abyssal sites.
As CCP explained, the average person that successfully completed a Triglavian abyssal site had to have over 3 years’ worth of skill points. This automatically made newbros, and players who didn’t min/max combat skills, unable to effectively do the new game mechanic. While this seemed to upset many in attendance, CCP released another fact that continued to anger the player base: their own internal research showed that to be successful in Abyssal sites, the average ship was over 1.6-1.8 billion ISK. This means that unless you were able to risk a large sum of ISK, and either be an experienced player or spend a lot on skill injectors, you could not run the sites effectively. This automatically isolated the lower income players, risk averse players, or new players that have yet to establish themselves and gain such wealth.
This only appeared to be CCP catering to a percentage of the EVE community that had already established characters with skill points and wealth, which enabled these players to continue to garner more wealth by running the sites and being some of the first to successfully complete them (cashing in on the initial high price of Triglavian vessels, skills, and modules). Despite these obvious issues, the players at Eve Vegas seemed placated by the release of new ships and jump gates which brought much of the contempt to a simmer.
Another thing that I would like to point out since we were on the topic of EVE Vegas is the new VNI (Vexor Navy Issue) changes. During a round table, the discussion was on ratting in EVE and how CCP believed too much ISK was being made by a select group of people. The issue was brought up about VNI ratting. CCP delegates said that when looking at the sum total of ISK being made in the game that the vast majority of this comes from super ratting. VNI ratting, according to CCP developers, only accounted to a small portion of income due to ratting. EVE developers said that is where the issue is, but that they were afraid that any nerf to super/carrier ratting would have unintended effects on capital PvP balance, so they needed to try to find a delicate balance between the two.
All of the developers agreed that the VNI was a newbro ship that people with low income/skill points could use to gain ISK, and that by nerfing this ship it would affect the low income and low skill players and they did not want to do that. Well with recent updates to the VNI, one would wonder why CCP is doing a complete 180 on their former stated policy. This comes less than a year after declaring they did not want to mess with it due to it affecting low income and newbro players.
Let us fast forward to today, and the current choice of the nullsec black out. While CCP has declared that this recent black out in local has created all-time 5 year highs for PvP kills, this statement according to CCPs own numbers is a lie. In fact we are down tens of thousands of kills according to their own numbers. So why is CCP lying to its player base which is arguably “smarter than the average bear”?
In the history that you have been playing EVE Online, do you remember how often CCP gave out skill points over a mistake? The last one I believe took over a year to hand out. Yet, what happened during the black out? Seven days of free skill points, then a sale, in which if you promise to purchase a subscription for 3 months, you get Multiple Character Training Certificates. If that was not enough you now have dailies in which you gain free skill points for killing player NPCs, followed by another sale of 15% off PLEX. Have you ever seen such flippant handing out of skill points, sales, and in game bonuses?
Does this not sound fishy to anyone? If I may be so bold I will try to explain what is happening: CCP has pandered to a minority of hunters in the game. These being the solo/small gang hunters. The beginning of black out in low sec in which the population lost local the hunters flooded into systems to camp and hunt miners and ratters. They were able to kill their undefended prey easily enough and eventually the prey stopped mining and ratting in regions. They stopped logging in to wait out the black out.
So what does CCP do? If you log in you will get skill points. If you go out and rat a little bit you get skill points. CCP has been trying to get the industrialists and miners to log in and be prey for the hunters who love the black out.
While CCP claims they wanted a good “shake up” of Eve Online, I do not believe this is in the right direction. If we look at large scale conflicts, the Goonswarm vs Panfam war was brought to an early end due to drifter attacks. Goonswarm was facing hundreds of timers after the first day of drifter attacks, so they called off the war to protect their home. CCP even admitted that the choice of where the Drifters first engaged was from developers. Developers allowed drifters to target Goonswarm right off the bat to save the destruction of the North as many have called it.
CCP said that EVE Online may be stagnating and the choice of taking out local would again shake things up. However, with local gone, it has done the exact opposite of what CCP was hoping for. Stagnation of industry and mining. This has directly affected local markets as well. While larger blocks such as Panfam, Goonswarm, and Legacy may use a large supercap umbrella to protect miners and ratters this directly effects smaller blocs and independent groups trying to make their own way in EVE nullsec. So instead of diversifying nullsec, they have only made people more dependent on the larger blocs for protection.
The next question one would have to ask is “how many people have unsubscribed?”
What is a more pointed issue is that CCP did not even consult once with the CSM over black out or the other releases. This is another smack in the face of our gaming community. The CSM is supposed to advise CCP on the will of the community. The fact that this has blindsided the CSM candidates is telling of the lack of respect and their ability to judge the will of the majority of the player base. It seems that CCP continues to pander to the minority and not that of the majority of EVE Online and that is a frightening thing.
The community as a whole does not like the blackout. Yet CCP wants to not only double down on it but triple down as well expanding it to lowsec as well according to CCP Falcon. What will become the future of EVE Online? The life and death of Eve is in the hands of the devs and it appears that the direction they are going is made by a bottle they spin in a room and no real thinking or studies are involved.
God help us all. Best of Luck fellow pilots.