There is a lot of discussion about Eve's strengths, Eve's niche game problems, Eve's sandbox and Eve's player retention. It is often agreed that people who do not stick with Eve often do not get it. But, I will offer up another problem. Many people become bored with Eve because they are used to receiving more from their game play.
I do not think that these people inherently dislike Eve or do not 'get' Eve. I think that they need exterior motivation, be it from the game itself or from the group of people (in game or out) to help them achieve personal satisfaction. I am not saying that Eve is shallow. I am saying that Eve does not beat the players over the head with the content without their participation. Some people need a catalyst (and not just the ship) to participate.
Why don't they just occupy themselves? As someone who spends the bulk of her in game time working through personal projects, I've wondered this for a while. My tasks may change if people are on or are not on but my boredom only comes when I don't want to be productive. At that stage I just want to sit and vegetate and the chances are good that Eve is only acting as a glorified chat program for me then. My boredom is not dissatisfaction with the game.
But I am not everyone (shocking). It is a problem I have been pondering for two reasons. One, is that I have a friend who is bored whenever his corporation is not logged in. Although there are things he could do by himself, his motivation in Eve seems to come from doing things with others. I say 'motivation in Eve' because he is highly motivated in other games. What I realized was that in the other games he was given goals by the game. For him, the grind adds a layer of interest to the game because it gives a check point in progress and that check point is important for him to see how he is doing. Now, I can compare that to myself and check points only irritate me. If my entire day consists of nothing but rearranging my hanger and making sure my containers are sorted I am still a happy bunny. I will probably even tell people about my intense productivity. But for him, someone needs to take the place of the goal giver so that he can see his achievements or personal advancement from outside of himself.
The second reason is because our corporation is growing. Our social demographic was once very small and simple. With the addition of new people that has broadened. While self sufficiency is essential group activities and corporation activities have become a bit more important. Someone has to step forward and become the goal giver or the event planner. It can be a singular person or it can be a group effort. However, it is an active task that must be taken on.
It is a task that I have accepted. I've started to learn how to help others not be 'bored'.
Technically, I do not need to do any of this. I could blink blankly at my corporations new members and tell them to occupy themselves as I occupied myself when I was alone so often. But, many of our new members have joined on a more social platform. While they do not need to be nursed they are nourished with company and group activities. Even the bitter vets thrive some under the social responsibilities. One of the things that I enjoy about Eve is that I can just do stuff. With more corpmates there is more stuff to do.
The creep of boredom is a problem in large alliances. It is also a problem in small ones as well. Solo players, I believe, are most besieged by this. Unless they are dedicated to doing everything without friends or completely out of touch with the multiplayer aspect of a MMO, boredom is a problem. It is not just a problem that CCP needs to solve for its players it is one that players need to solve for other players. Thusly, the goal is to help suppress boredom. It is a social problem.
I do not have to take this social problem. It is not mandatory. I could leave it where it lay and walk by it. But, my belief is that Eve is best played with others. I picked up this social responsibility by my own choice. It is not one that will interest everyone but it is one that interests me. When I picked it up, it unraveled into a puzzle. A puzzle of how to motivate and interest people in the game, the corporation, the alliance and each other.
It is a puzzle that shapes itself into many forms. Each side has a picture on it. Each piece can connect to multiple others. There is no singular design for this puzzle. That makes it both fascinating and frustrating at the same time. The patterns created are not always positive. Sometimes, they are shockingly negative. Yet, the negativity also holds positivity due the basic fact that during the negative event boredom was removed. One just has to hope that boredom was not replaced with rage quitting and if it is then again hope that the social matrix that was created can cushion and sooth some of the blow until it starts to heal.
And the solutions? They come in many shapes and sizes. From task assignment to connecting two people with similar or supporting personalities, solving the problem involves being resourceful and using resources. People are a resource. Tapping them, talking to them, using and shaping the energy from them are viable ways to have them help solve the puzzle without directly asking them to solve the puzzle. From giving people 'achievements' as a goal such as medals or titles to setting up battles with rules and rewards the solutions can be as endless as the problems themselves.
It just takes some social engineering mixed with awareness of the situation. The solutions are not always immediate or successful. I wish that they were. Not everyone will want to participate. But for those of us who find pleasure in these supporting roles attempting to solve the problem creates an answer for the same problem in ourselves.