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Don't Press Rewind

"But think of the newbies!"

I like new players bunches. However, we also have veteran players in this game. While often referenced to as bittervets, not all of them are bitter. Many are. Even as I write this I am extracting myself from a conversation in Eve Uni chat with a 2008 player who is systematically hating on changes that have happened. It's enough to spoil an thoughtful evening as thick layers of venom and distaste are heaped all over every topic. But, bittervets are one of Eve's fascinating things. In a game that has been puttering along for twelve years, what do our veteran players mean in the game?

At the end of last year, CCP released six million trial account names. It was the first such purge. Before then, if you created an account in Eve you always had that account to come back. I agree with unsubscribed trial account names being cleaned up. However, some have been left with the taste for more. They are sniffing around other names to free and suggesting that corporation names receive the same treatment.

One of Eve's beauties is that you can always return to it. If I were to walk away today and come back in two years, my stuff would be here. Names might have changed. Rebalancing may have happened. Values may have gone up or down. But, I'd still have my stuff. There is no great expansion nerf as it seems to happen in WoW where everything becomes useless with the new hotness injected into the game.

Veteran players are part of retention, too. The person who, accidentally, first set me down this path tends to subscribe once a year. He lasts from 1-3 months and then quits again. I have commentors who check in on the state of the game. Some resub. They are able to pick their lives back up, for the most part, and start again. It even leads to the habit of shutting everything down and mothballing ones assets in a secure place. When interest returns or life settles down, things can be picked up and the game restarted.

Being who I am, I'm a fan of both options. I love new players. Yet, I also feel that our experienced players have a valued, and vested interest. It is an odd line to walk. I've upset some by pushing for exploration changes that have opened up content. I've been told that it is devalued because it is not special enough anymore. And there is the eternal argument that CCP is creating for someone else, anyone else, who is not 'me' and my play style.

It leaves a complex path to lay. A future for new players and one for old. Some argue that older players should be ignored for newer. That time should not wrap around incentivizing those that have been here or are here but instead focus on bringing new blood into the game. Let the past be the past and the future be what it may. The players of today will never know the Eve that was. I think that is a great thing. Eve's past is one that we can try to do the impossible. Learn from history and not repeat the mistakes.

Comments

  1. “Some argue that older players should be ignored for newer. That time should not wrap around incentivizing those that have been here or are here but instead focus on bringing new blood into the game.”

    Presumably, those that promote such new blood approaches expect they won’t be tossed aside when they become ‘veterans’ unlike the current crop of veterans to blithely be jettisoned. How adorably naïve to believe a company will alter an entire multiyear project to suit the ‘new blood’ situation one currently sits in all the while knowing that same company will have to alter that same multiyear project yet again as time fades one’s ‘new blood’ position. Additionally, how wonderfully cynical to observe that once the game is cleared of the current crop pesky vets, the table will be empty leaving one to swoop in and take their place.

    A veritable perfect storm of self-serving short sightedness. Gotta love the hutzpah behind someone trying to pull that off with a straight face.

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    Replies
    1. Frankly I'm a vet and I've never felt tossed aside. I dislike certain changes (I miss old crimewatch and the ninja life style of those days) and I'm worried by some, for example i think that recent re-balancing of ships and modules makes fitting a less and less challenging endeavor and I really really like tinkering with fits (and I don't think simplification is worth the loss of depth frankly).

      But many changes like those made to the interface and bookmarks (showing in space) are great. It's a game of give and take, but I do worry sometimes if CCP in their vigor don't sometimes confuse complexity and depth.

      Have any concrete examples yourself Dire? Since I'd love to hear them! :)

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    2. You cannot have real depth and breadth without corresponding complexity... and, to me, depth and breadth also corresponds directly with immersion and the virtuality of EVE.

      Much of my commenting here recently and the posts I have linked on my blog are quite nicely summed up by Kaeda's, "I do worry about CCP confusing complexity and depth."

      I am afraid of CCP simplifying a little here and just that there until we all look around one day and ask, "What happenend? EVE used to be so harsh and hard and rich and full... and fun... now the sky is full of pre-teens playing on god mode."

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    3. Keada & Tur,

      I’ve never felt tossed aside either. Rather, t’was following the curious logic of those claiming we vets should be tossed aside.

      Also, I’m a little less concerned than you two about CCP confusing complexity and depth but first a narrative journey designed to hike up my bonafides as a practitioner of convoluted complexity.

      I too miss my Mission Bear murdering ninja days. As best I can tell, the diminution of the niche grew out of the confluence of two different mechanics changes. 1) Ship Maintenance Bay nerfs that prevent switching *mid fight* from agile pester frigate to Marauder stomping battle cruiser. (Ponderously approaching Orca doom was such glorious sight.) At the same time, expecting players to stay in the ship they bring to a party come what may seems reasonable. 2) Crime watch changes making suspect baiting at stations and gates publicly visible. In old times, only the baitor and baitee could see what was going on leaving most of the Hi-Sec population unfamiliar with the trap being set and thereby leaving many a naive deadspace ensconced Bear willing to pop an irritated shot at you. Now, Mish Bears see suspect baiting outside busy locations and have wizened up. One really can’t complain that their prey has, willy nilly, unpacked your bag of tricks.

      Following the decline of ninja shenanigans I switched over to suicide ganking though I actually partook in a niche version of the craft. Once upon a time, it was quite troublesome to auto-pilot all the way into station. Accordingly, many players would AFK to the system and then bob at the entrance gate until return to screen. I took to blasting the ships and then patiently follow up cracking the pods of those often deliciously augmented bobbers. At some point AFK flight options were upgraded making it easy to plot AFK routs all the way into station and my bobbers slowly dried up. It is, of course, bit silly to be a suicide ganker and whine that CCP has made AFKing even easier so I don’t complain. Rather, I just note how gloriously interwoven this game we play is - one small quality of life change and BAMB! my robust little criminal enterprise must adjust.

      As mentioned, I’ve yet to grow distraught that CCP will confuse [bad] complexity with [good] depth. Perhaps because for me Eve’s most glorious depths are to be found in its social sandboxyness rather than any particular sand interaction mechanics CCP maintains. Accordingly, each time CCP crushes one of my little castles (and they have multiple times) I find myself shrugging my shoulders, agreeing that it really was a convoluted construction in the first place, pointing at some other portion of the sandbox and exclaiming, “Hey! What’s going on over there? Let’s go have a look/see.”

      Straightforward rules can yield exceedingly complex interactions. Despite a history of specializing in the convoluted, interactive depth is what really tickles me.

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    4. Don't get me wrong I'm all for clarity. And I understand why Crimewatch 2.0 is better, and it is. And I'm fine with things changing.

      But with things like module tiercide right now, I'm not sure why exactly the new system is 'better' or 'clearer' then what we had. How if having variety of five meta levels (01234) and then the T2 baseline any worse then what it's being replaced with, a replacement which so far seems to remove variety not ad any and doesn't (to me) seem to have any obvious advantages over the old system.

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    5. It’s always a pleasure to discuss matters with people of good faith whom I probably disagree with. As often as not, what I find interesting is not so much the specific discussion at hand but rather how we go about formulating what we are discussing. (That pesky philosophy degree I picked up way back when just never relents!)

      I understand Damage Controls are on the tiercide agenda. By my count, we currently have 14 pre-tiercide Damage Control options and almost certainly we will have less post tiercide. It’s very reasonable to ask how reducing that variety improves (or at least doesn't harm) game play since 14 isn’t that bewildering a number. In isolation I would agree but Damage Controls don’t exist in isolation. Rather they exist as but part of the ship tanking mechanic and, if I recall correctly, 3 and ½ entirely new tanking modules have been introduced since I started Eve: Reactive Armor Hardners, Ancillary Armor Repairers, Ancillary Shield Boosters and the highly specialized ½ counting Bastion Module. When you start multiplying out the vast increase in tank fitting possibilities those new modules create, variety reduction in one module doesn’t feel so reductive. Rather it’s a shift in the way complexity develops. Variety within module groups (at least in this example) is slowly being replaced by interaction between different module groups. For a person of my tastes, interactive complexity is highly appealing.

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  2. Ignoring older players to solely attract newer players is luckily enough, not was CCP is doing right now.

    Back in the bad old days, were broken crap simply stayed broken while CCP was chasing the next big (COSMOS! Walking in Stations!), it was different. From a certain perspective, it looked like CCP was attracting new players with fancy glitter. And when those newer players didn't immediately run off after noticing the entrapment for what it was, player retention was pretty bad.

    You could say, CCP ignored newer players with bad tutorials and older players with everything else. Good that this time seemingly ended just as I started playing. :V

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