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Open Letter to CCP Regarding Blackout

July 12, 2019

By Seraph IX Basarab

***(Definition of Krab: Someone whose main gameplay style is focused on ratting and mining. Their “PvP experience” is mostly orbiting an FC in a massive fleet and pressing F1. Their goal is to ensure they are as safe as possible in nullsec. Not to be confused with industrialist or other people who may also do some PvE activities. Krabs are set apart by their view that Eve is basically a chatroom with pretty colors rather than a game about space conflict. Would probably like having “personal system only they can access” as a farming feature.)

Making local delayed in nullsec is easily one of the best things you guys at CCP have done. Major props, kudos and thank you. It gave me that nostalgia feel of when I first started playing Eve and the universe felt massive and mysterious. Praise aside I’m sure your concerns are also what kind of affect it will have upon the player base. A ton of people (krabs) are howling and whining about how they will quit the game if this change comes through. This may scare you because you think you will lose players. Will you? Yes you’ll lose a number of farmsville theme park players who spend their time sucking spod and F1 orbiting. What you’ll gain is more cut throat content creating types that will make use of the loss of local and the perfect intel it provides to make null so safe. And that’s a good thing. Think about it logically, who gets your game more exposure? The guy killing his 10,000th rat or the cut throat pirate who just managed to blow something up?

For the past 3 or so years nullsec krabbing has been catered to overwhelmingly in what I assume was an attempt to attract more people out of highsec into null…and that’s fine. The unintended consequence is that null has never been safer giving residents numerous safety nets. Stations in every system, alliance only gates, toggle cyno jammers etc. In and by themselves these may not be that bad but with local providing perfect intel, these problems expand grotesquely. When null is too safe for krabs the value of resources drops. The motivation for conflict lessens. Abundance is the death of conflict. Scarcity causes conflict.

Who is going to make your game more popular and get that sweet media exposure? Is it krabs sitting in anoms farming or mining spod? No. It’s going to be the people that go out there and continuously hunt, and fight, and interact with each other. I’m not saying industry is bad, but industry is just a means to get to pvp. Eve is a pvp game. Pve/industry are means to get to that conflict.

I’d like to introduce you to the term “keystone predator.” In ecology this is a dominant predator whose removal allows a prey population to explode and often decreases overall diversity. For example wolves are keystone predators. Without them caribou can absolutely decimate vegetation which in turn starves out other herbivores lowering the overall biodiversity.

Translated to Eve terms, the safety of nullsec has decreased the amount of “predators” doing things in space. As a result the overall gameplay diversity has decreased following a single set pattern of success in nullsec. Rorquals for example have become unchecked caribou putting a surplus of ores on market and lowering the overall value of lower end miners. Now we have a stagnant preset course of nullsec gameplay. Unlike our real life nature example, giving predators tools to hunt does not have the same negative consequences because predators in Eve are also cannibalistic. If we don’t find Rorquals and krabs to kill, we kill each other.

Delayed local is a good and long needed change. There are zero non krab/farmsville reasons to complain about it. The smart and capable industrialists are going to make out in the end by taking advantage of their higher ore market share as the soft willed krabs flee. Eve is in no danger of losing its industrial character. Someone will always produce. The life blood of this game is pvp and conflict. That’s what we need more of. This is easy to reason out for anyone. Would you rather 90 percent of Eve is krabs and 10 percent is PvPers or 90 percent is PvPers and 10 percent krabs? Which one is the healthier Eve?

Understandably the Blackout is going to go for a test run at first and that makes sense. Since Krabs have increasingly been a larger part of the player base pie there may be an initial dip of pouty whiners that will unsub or stay logged off initially. Don’t let this scare you. Even if they move out completely, smarter industrialists will take advantage of the market void, and the more dangerous nature of the game will attract both older and newer players.

For what it’s worth I hope you guys don’t introduce some structure that gives local. It’ll just be another thing to grind/waste time on and unless the HP level is really low it’ll probably be completely ignored by the attacking force. The point of local being delayed is to cause more “fog of war.” More of that results in more random content creating encounters. The nature of people is that if they know they do not have an advantage, they will not engage. Local provides a level of intel that gives all sides too much information allowing them to make the cautious decision limiting conflict. If people don’t know, they’re more likely to give you Asakai and B-R. War and conflict will increase your subscribers, not krabs’ ratting ticks.