Cake, the having and the eating thereof
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“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

— Albert Einstein

 

A hot topic in the EVE blogosphere these days is player retention. Jester’s got a commentsplosion going right now on it, and I’ve posted in the thread a few times.

If I’ve understood CCP’s position correctly, it’s that they want more people to be sociable in EVE, since according to their metrics those players are more likely to stick around. The problem is, they’ve built a game and a community in which profoundly antisocial behavior is not just allowed by the game rules but actively promoted by the company and lionized by a small but vocal subset of players.

Basically, they’re asking people to throw out their common sense. EVE players are supposed to be pretty smart. You know, EVE learning cliff and all that?

I’m immune to being told that what I’m having is badwrongfun. *points to URL* Yeah, yeah, way ahead of you there. 🙂

But building a development roadmap around the idea that a sizable number of your paying customers are having badwrongfun is not what I’d call a winning marketing strategy. People other than me tend not to react very well to that.

Here’s some advice I won’t even charge for. 😛 Besides, someone in Jester’s thread came up with it, so I can’t claim credit anyway.

It involves two fairly simple changes:

  1. At fleet creation time, the fleet boss specifies whether intra-fleet aggression is allowed. Any person joining the fleet knows from the start which way the toggle is set. The PVP status can’t be changed midway through. It’s only set at creation.
  2. Turn off intra-corp freebie aggression. Shooting a corp mate in high sec is the same as with anyone else.

Benefits:

  • Players can practice PVP in high sec with people who aren’t corp mates. I know a number of folks who’d enjoy this.
  • Awoxing is no longer such a fish-in-a-barrel scenario.

CCP created their player retention problem, and unraveling it is going to require a different level of thinking from what got them into it. They’ve shown signs of improvement in the last month and a half, and I’m hoping that will continue.

The aforementioned isn’t the only step they need to take, but it’s one of the simplest and with a clear, immediate benefit. It’d also show that they mean business about trying to retain players.

tl;dr — It’s unreasonable to complain about so few people being sociable when you’ve built a climate where they have plenty of reason not to.

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About Suzariel Kel-Paten

Software developer by day, writer and EVE player by night. My three mains are Suzariel Kel-Paten, Ystvan Chang, and Weyland Zaslow. I live in the Southeastern US with my husband and our cats and dogs. I have a Twitter account (@suzariel), but I mostly just read and don't often post there.

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