"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.