Dawn of the Alphas, a Shift in the Meta

Today Alpha clones fly among us, and whether you think this will be of great impact on New Eden or not, it is a big difference in the basis of the game going forward. This update is a strong upheaval in the basic meta of the game, on par even with the introduction of skill injectors.

While there is a good chance that this will not greatly effect the numbers of 'actual' players in the long term, the thing that really plays into the meta in my opinion is the fundamental change in the psychology of the game. While some Alphas will be easy to identify, most will certainly not be. Older players returning, or inactive alt accounts of current players will be the new norm. Is that four year old militia in that plex an Alpha or Omega, you aren't likely to know. Is this thrasher trying to bait you, or just bad?

When we started with skill injectors, we changed a similar fundamental assumption within the game. Before then, you had a good idea what you were getting yourself into with just a quick look at a persons history. 'Only been playing a few months? Easy prey.' It is safe to say that method has now fully gone.

I had a hard lesson in this personally soon after the patch that introduced skill injectors. I was hunting in a stratios, one of my favorite ships, and came through Ouelletta. I noticed t1 scanner probes on scan, and a week old char in local. After warping through the system I noticed with surprise that the newbie is in a stratios himself, and at a medium outpost! He's not in fw, so I figure he just doesn't know what the outpost is, maybe he thinks it's a safe place to scan from. The first of several assumptions on my part, that compounded into a bad situation. I warped right in on him without a thought, expecting an easy kill, and quickly found myself dry on cap and fighting to stay alive. I hadn't preheated, I hadn't put my 'eye of the tiger' face on, I had no chance. It was all a trap that I couldn't have fallen into more. It was tough not to feel salty, it is hard being outsmarted by your fellows so heartily. That was a hard lesson, and also a eye-opening moment. The playing field has been leveled. The fundamental meta no longer exists.

For what it's worth, that stratios ripped up unsuspecting players for about two weeks until it finally lost to a vagabond. The player immediately biomassed from the game. If I had infinite isk, I think this would be a really fun way to play. I think we all strive to take advantage of the assumptions of our fellows, be it in fittings, hiding our true numbers, or misrepresenting our weaknesses. I hope he's out there having fun with this alpha update.

I'm not particularly upset at a shakeup of the game like this, as long as it doesn't dumb it down. I like that Eve is hard and unforgiving, and I think we should fight any effort to make more of an 'arcade mode' environment We all need to get rekt for no good reason once in a while, it keeps the dream alive.

I sat in Ryddinjorn, the home system of the Brutor's, all day today, hanging with the new players. I answered questions in local, gave out rookie fitted frigates, and hit everyone in local 5m isk. It was an outstanding experience, and a great way to make some new connections in New Eden. I fought anyone who wanted to try out the combat, and let them all win. I plan to scoop anyone who wants into a little fleet and take them on a roam. CCP has done a great service towards getting new people into the game, but I think if we want this to succeed we need to do our part by including new players into our daily Eve experience. It can be tough to break into a social circle.

I think my little crew could use a wildcard or two, and I plan to scoop up a newbro with some moxy and give him some cool stories to tell and a reason to stick with Eve.

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