Eve2; Would You Even Want It?
A while ago I wrote in response to the blog banter question concerning the great reset. If CCP's servers were to suddenly reset, and everyone in Eve started anew, would you come back to the game? In what circumstance would that even work?
At the time I was of the opinion that this was not something that would ever work, the loss of SP and time would push the majority of the player ecosystem away, what would be left would not be enough to sustain the game. My original post dissolved as so many of my post do, into doom and gloom and what CCP need to do better to even have a game in five years, but this has been something that has been on my mind after a conversation with my good friend Jebi.
Patch day has recently come and gone, and this one seemed particularly disheartening to a lot of players, myself included. There are many things to be upset about only a few discussed here.
Finally being forced into the 'new and improved' probe scanner and dscan system was particularly disheartening to me. It's been a year since the option has been available to us and instead of implementing any of the great player feedback on the new system, they just stopped giving the option to use the original unbroken system and moved on. The new dscan option implemented in this update, where you can scan a cosmic anomaly with only the 'v' key is excessively overpowered. In nullsec I can be on top of a ratting boat in about ten seconds now, with no real skill as a scout other than knowing a key command. As a player base I think the thing we should be most offended at is changes that nerf the overall complexity and depth of Eve. Changes like this just make the game more one-dimensional.
The introduction of several more classes of microtransactions, accompanied by CCP's announcement heralding a stable plex market after the implementation of plex changes meant it was nothing of the sort, hit hard with a lot of people. Months have gone by where players make game breaking amounts of isk ghost training inactive chars and our devs cannot be bothered even to declare it an exploit. I postulate that it is because they are making money off of it. If I may scrunch up my tin foil hat some, I would go so far as to say that while CCP probably didn't create this bug purposefully, they are in no hurry to fix it until after they cash out. Aside from skill extractors costing money, we have a great many players shuffling low sp chars to multiple individual accounts to take advantage of this boon.
It's like this. CCP creates skill extractors/injectors in multiple sizes and flavors. They include a provision that you may only extract your char to 5mil sp. Many players extract and condense the abilities of their old alts, leaving many 'dead' accounts, sometimes containing multiple chars at 5mil sp. CCP implements a rule that only cash can now be used when transferring chars to other accounts. CCP introduces a bug, either by accident or intention, that causes chars with 5mil or more sp to train 'almost' for free, they just have to buy a plex per account and let it expire. They refuse to address or even declare the bug an exploit for going on six months and counting. Due to this plex shakeup, its not very economic to buy from the in game market right now, and most people see buying a plex from CCP as a better option. Many players split their old 5mil chars into multiple accounts, feeding more money into the system from those $20 character transfers, and from sales of the extractors used to bring those freely trained skills to the market.
SP farming is already an unassailable wealth tier for players who devote the time into it, more than any other system in the game, including casinos of old. In my bittervet eyes, CCP has completely sacrificed game balance in order to earn extra profits from microtransactions to the point you have to wonder if they believe in the longevity their own game. Only CCP knows the real trends accounting omegas vs. alphas and they may see that their game will eventually end, with a whimper. It could be that they are now switching their focus from game improvements to getting what they can get out of Eve before it tanks.
So here's a question reflective of the original, what would make all this penny pinching and alienating of your player base worth it? What would be an ends, that would justify these blatant means.
In the fraction of the time CCP has plugged away at this game, fifteen years now, entire series' of amazing games have been produced by what I would dare to label 'real' game studios. Games that perform better, have more depth, and are developed with a focus and purpose for years afterword. I feel like it is lucky for CCP that there has not been an awesome scifi real-time strategy game produced in the memorable past, because I think a lot of people would shake up to something new.
I still love Eve, maybe that's why I end up with these salty blog posts, and I believe that it has a lot going for it, but I also think that it wont last forever. The tragedy of all this is that for many of us, Eve is our social circle. I am a 40 year old father who works from home in a small town. The time I spend in teamspeak with my comrades, whether playing or spinning in station, is my time to unwind. I don't think that my choice to sit in my home and socialize over a headset is any different from the urge to go to a bar, coffeehouse, or some other place where you would traditionally seek out the company of others for good conversations. At it's core this is literally the best thing Eve has going for it, and the reason most of us stick around so long. I hope that CCP isn't relying on that sentiment to keep players in the game because it truly only goes so far. Even Sam left Cheers after Diane.
So, to the point of all this rambling. If CCP released Eve2, a sweeping improvement on the original, would you begin anew in another universe? Would you switch to this new game? Let your imagination run wild, it has everything to make for a really fun experience, no legacy code, and is ostensibly a complete sequel. Maybe it takes place in the our 'original' universe in the days before or just following the collapse of the Eve Gate. Maybe it takes place thousands of years before the terrans even arrived in New Eden and is based around the rise and fall of the Jove. Whatever it is be it walking in stations or seamless first person shooter integration in and out of spaceships, it sounds right up your alley. The catch is, your years of work in New Eden go away. It's my game and so I get to choose the rules, so if you only get to play one, and the other is shut down and discontinued, which do you choose? Is it the new hat or the old one?