Sunday, December 16, 2012

Saving Eve: 2 places to start

     Back a couple years ago, the common complaint was that CCP was pumping out too many big game features - the "Jesus features", they like to call it now.  Why were big, new features a problem?  Well, because for the most part, none of the features were complete.  They were like a house that had doors and windows that stuck because the house was cooked, and it had nothing finished on the inside.  CCP promised they would get back to them, but for the most part, they never did.  Eve is in perpetual beta.  It's got all kinds of things that were unfinished or patched and are still broken.  Null sec sovereignty, factional warfare (yeah, still broken), wormholes, corp and alliance UIs and player owned stations, to name a few biggies.  Contrary to the spin fests that David Reid puts out, even with these new, awesome ship changes in the latest patch, subscriptions are still in dire need of resuscitation.  CCP's penchant for grabbing PLEX money for anything and everything, to me, is proof that they are looking hard at ways to make some extra cash.  Most recently, anyone who wants to pay $20 for an overpriced EON magazine that costs $15, just let CCP know.  They'll pop one in the mail for you, but that'll probably cost another PLEX for mailing fees.  After all, who the fuck would want to use a PLEX to pay for their subscription anyway??

     So, the two ideas?  Well, not that they are anything novel, but they are simple, but not necessarily easy.
Players in station or active in systems
     First, drop all the other side projects, and put ALL the coders on fixing null sec sovereignty.  Make sovereignty performance based, and then alliances and corps will only be able to hold, what they physically can hold.  What they are living in.  No more dog-in-the-manger bullshit where big organizations own all kinds of space that no one does fuck all in.

      See the picture?  Right now, when I took that screenshot, there were ~40,000 players online.  You can see exactly how much of that population is in null sec, based on the display that is set to show how many players are active or docked in systems.  Two words:  GHOST fucking TOWN.  The biggest dot of the dots in the outlying null sec space is 92 players, and that was only one dot on the edge of the Vapor Sea.  All the rest of the big dots?  None were over 50 - I checked.  The vast majority of the small dots were 1 to 5 people.  Yeah, I spent about 30 minutes mousing over and clicking on that shit just out of curiosity.  Lots of podders and bloggers like to throw around null sec populations like 20,000 or higher, but the last real numbers of active null sec ACCOUNTS were just under 12,000 accounts, and that number went up from the previous CCP population numbers by .05%.  And yeah, that's not five percent, that's 1/20th of one percent, and that was the end of 2010.  For people to imagine that the active accounts in null went up by nearly double since then?  Whatever shit they're smoking is better than medical grade pot.  So for anyone interested in guessing, 12% of the online population is about 4800 accounts in null vs a very optimistic 20% of 8,000.  Look at the dots and decide for yourself.

     So anyway, performance based sovereignty.  Lots of easy-to-see unused space will no longer be claimed.  That leaves lots of room for other corps and alliances, that aren't part of and don't have huge super-friend daisy chains, to move down into null and maybe carve out a bit of space for themselves.  THEN they can spoon up with all the blue-fests down there.  And holy fuck, if that doesn't mean that there would be room and reason for some of the high sec players to move to null, like the players are crying about and CCP expects.  Also, with all the problems in null sec, and the sov grind that exists, lots of problems need to be fixed before other things like POSs are touched.  It'll be extremely easy to completely fuck up POS reworking when the space the POS is supposed to go in is fucked.  Fix the space FIRST, then you'll have more of a clue about what the players want and need a POS to act like.  Fix null sec FIRST, and that will sate the Eve vets, and encourage other players to go down there.  Fixing null is unlikely to bring in new players and more money, but new player features can come later and I'll touch on options for more money too.  More on that in another post though.

     2nd, ship skins.  Drop all the bullshit that the CCP artists are doing for all the NEX store crap that the majority of players don't give a fuck about, and get them on ship skins.  Supposedly, according to CCP devs, implementing individual ship skins is not that much of a difficulty anymore with the new V3 graphics.  Apparently, some CCP staff take issue with the idea of players being able to change the colour schemes on the ships, but too fucking bad for the devs.  I might give a fuck if they ACTUALLY PLAYED, but they don't, so I don't.  I doubt the players do either.

     My idea on how to do this is for another post, but basically, each player pays for a ship skin, once, for each type of ship.  There are over 200 different boats, so that is 200 individual payments, from 450,000 accounts.  Each skin only has to be bought once and while I doubt many would want custom skins for ever ship in game, I bet it would at least get 10 to 20 ships per player, not to mention start a new graphics industry going in-game for designing skins.  If you ever want to turn off the custom skin, there's an option for it in settings.  If you want a new/different skin, you pay for it and it's applied.  There's some money for CCP.  That way, CCP doesn't need to fuck with people actually using PLEX for what they were fucking invented for, by "allowing" players to buy $150 video cards for $400 worth of PLEX, or fucking $15 magazines for $20.  This, obviously, aside from being a big revenue stream for CCP, allows the many creative players to exercise their art muscles and would go a long way of appeasing the player base while CCP devs try to keep their heads out of their asses and hit the next big problem.  For that, I would suggest POSs for the WHOLE dev team to get on.  The more people working on it, the faster it gets done and the more people available to work on more patches.  Ship skins would also pique the interest of new players.

     That's it.  Forget about FW, POS, the fucking NEX store, UI tweaks and anything else.  Fix null, get ship skins, then move off to the next point.  Keep Greyscale and Punkturis away from the processes, and everything should be fine.

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