Blog Banter 79: Awarding Longevity in Eve
Blog Banter 79 - Rewarding the Vets?
Should CCP put more effort into rewards for loyal customers? The mystery code from the collector's edition hasn't seen much use and whilst veteran rewards have been mentioned by CCP several times at Fanfests, we have seen nothing. Wasn't there talk of a special station only 10-year vets could dock in at one point?
Is this lack of gratitude towards loyal customers alienating? Do people wish for a change here? Is it too self-righteous to expect small signs of gratitude for being a loyal customer? Is a customer purchasing half a year in advance more loyal than someone plexing every now and than probably missing out a few weeks or months a year? How do CCP place rewards in game without hurting the economy?
Or is it just a case of there is no need and HTFU snowflake?
I don't even have a full three years in Eve yet, so I don't count myself a Vet, but I'm starting to feel some of the things that our older players feel after committing so much time to this one game. I hope I can provide a little insight based on that.
While I don't think that long-time players of Eve should receive actual in-game items for their commitment, I do think there are several things that CCP can do to show these people that they are valuable as customers, help them prevent burnout, and overall help the game by giving even the older players a reason to be excited about Eve.
The question really scales up or down depending on your perspective on the game. With the influx of new players, I can see how these folks might feel like they could be rewarded by paying for the subscription rather than just going on as an alpha. There is a difference in thinking there. To a vet, paying for your sub is just business as usual. The idea of being an Alpha is not really an option you can exercise and still enjoy your game. CCP already does a good job in my opinion of running in game events, and being a paying customer certainly helps you enjoy these events to their full potential.
While I have several 'pipe-dream' ideas about things CCP could do to honor those veterans, there is one thing that CCP is generally doing a poor job at and absolutely needs to be corrected, especially for customers who have put a lot of time and money into the organization, and that is to revamp how they approach customer service.
It has literally always been an issue that players that put thousands of dollars and man hours into their characters can have their work ruined by an intrusion into their accounts. In my opinion, the issue is compounded infinitely more by the introduction of skill extractors, and it is CCP's responsibility to be able to deal with the can of worms they unleashed when they made this move. As a company, they make a lot of money from the feature, but they take little responsibility for the ramifications of it.
In particular, CCP needs to be willing to do right by victims of obvious fraud, and this needs to apply even more to Vets. It needs to show back the respect we have shown for them all these years and take these incidents more seriously, and they need to devote more manpower to this department of the game. The Devs have recently added more security to the launcher in the form of an email verification, and a 2FA, but this has been especially problematic for our vets, as they are now trying to log into ten year old email accounts. The instances of account hacking are really going up now with all this resetting of passwords.
CCP has a giant resource of players that it could be using to help curtail this issue. A good use of veteran players would be to put volunteers to work in game as a sort of triage department, a first line of defense group that could pass tickets appropriately up the ladder and expedite the ones that needed to be handled immediately. I believe you could fund such an endeavor with in-game money and not effect the economy of the game in any significant way.
Over the years CCP has made massive changes to ships, modules, playstyles and just about everything else worth changing. Entire areas of the game that were once vital and engaging professions have suffered greatly. For veteran players, the idea of some sort of SP redistribution is not so farfetched. During the recent Capitol changes this idea was exercised, it is a step in the right direction and is a procedure that should be remembered during future shakeups.
If there is one thing that vets miss out on, it is special deals and offers from CCP regarding subscriptions. Folks who have put a lot of time and money already in the program deserve a break or reward from time to time just like everyone else. CCP targets advertising toward all its players, but especially alphas or people that might be on the fence about subbing, which totally makes sense. It would also make sense to target advertising and offers towards those that have proven they are the most fanatical about Eve by subbing and playing for years. I'm sure something could be thought up that both makes money for the company, and appeals to this demographic.
If I were to pick one thing, that would top off my Eve experience going into the future, one thing that I have always hoped might happen, is that somehow I might make my small mark of the narrative of the Eve universe. There is no way I am alone in that dream. What we are lucky enough to be a part of is the most immersive and rich science fiction universe ever imagined. I want our developers to strive to push the boundaries of that everyday. I want them to realize that the reason we all started playing Eve was that dream of what we could find and become out there in the black, and I want them to strive to never let us lose that feeling. Even if we never amount to anything in the big picture of the Eve universe, it is nice to think that it is a possibility.
It's a tall order but a reasonable one, and in my opinion CCP of old accomplished this very effectively. I've written in the past about how in game events like the Caroline Star and the Drifter invasion helped foster that sense of wonder and uncertainty in Eve, and how they helped the average capsuleers feel like there was actually something out there that was unknown, and there was a chance that they could discover it. Getting players and corps on The Scope is another way CCP can accomplish this, but even more than that, I think it would be advantageous to the game to leave some of the new features for players to discover, rather than knowing everything that is coming out months in advance. Make the average player think he can get involved in the overall history, and he will never stop dreaming about that, no matter how long he has been playing.