Thursday, November 13, 2014

Are New Systems Good for EVE?

The dev blog covering some of the details of the new wormhole systems--particularly, Thera--is now out.

Content in EVE, unlike in most other games, is not usually handed to you. Particularly with PVP content, you need to go out and find other players and get them--willingly or not--to pew pew. This is one of the best unique features of EVE, but it is also a risk. Content depends on other players.

But what if there are no other players around? Many MMOs would work decently well as a solo, offline game. Not EVE.

Just about every day, EVE's server population drops to below 25-20k. Those happen to be some of the times I frequently am able to play. Of those 20k players, a decent portion are docked in stations, maybe afk but it doesn't matter. Of those players in space, some are afk. Finding fights during these times--solo, small gang, or fleet--is extremely difficult. It is boring, and discouraging. It often involves hours of just warping around, only to get a fight that is decidedly not a good fight. After an hour just looking for someone in space, visiting "PVP hubs" and being the only person in local, you take fights that are really not worth it, just to have something to do. When you add in slower warp speed changes for bigger ships, longer and more grueling logistics especially after Phoebe, and so on, this means EVE--already a slow game--gets even slower when less people are online.

An obvious solution is: don't look for PVP when the server population is low, PVP when it is high. However, what if 20-25k becomes closer to the norm? Or what about the players that can't play during peak server time?

What does this have to do with the new wormhole systems? Thera has the prospect of bringing lots of players together into one system (sort of like BNI draws PVPers of all sorts to their area, where ever they go). Having a central hub for PVP should make finding fights a bit easier at times. I am extremely excited both to PVP in Thera and possibly to trade there as well. However, it also means that, if EVE does not get more players, there will simply be less people elsewhere. Finding fights outside of Thera has the potential to get even harder.

What EVE needs more than 100 new systems is 10,000 new players. New systems might bring in more players--hopefully they will. But it is a double-edged sword: If the new systems bring more players to the game, the game is doubly improved. If, however, these new systems don't bring in more players, that has the potential to mean EVE has the same number of people just spread out in more systems--more empty systems, more time spent going gate, to gate, to gate, to gate, etc.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not so worried about what is essentially:

    One new system
    75 new unclaimable, uninhabitable wormholes
    25 new unclaimable, uninhabitable frigate sized wormholes strongly geared towards armor doctines

    I'm not worried about the 100 holes pulling content, if anything they are simply a resource and minor conflict driver for existing wormhole residents and existing daytrippers. You aren't going to see mass numbers of non-wormhole people suddenly leaving space for shattered wormholes.

    Thera on the other hand has potential to draw people away but just as much potential to invigorate players who either 1) haven't been playing 2) sit docked and afk 3) have never played before to get into EVE.

    I'm quite optimistic about this as, in the end, this is just another step along this road that CCP is taking us that has been exciting the community now for the past few releases.