Is EVE Online a multiplayer game? Of course it is. Just like in Elderscrolls Online, players coalesce into groups and engage in teamwork toward a common objective. Go through the list of multiplayer games and you see pretty soon that the vast majority has solid single player content and engaging multiplayer content. Apparently, the duality of both content streams is not seen as a “either, or” for the developers.
There are good reasons to have both, single player and multiplayer content in the same platform. Firstly, single player content allows the human to learn his craft, understand the controls, keyboards, mouse, weapons and so on. I challenge anyone to a WoW style battleground or Arena match who has not spend a day in PvE. Sure, someone has certainly done it. But its neither the norm nor fun. PvE content prepares for PvP content, its that simple. I give you one better. Shooting other players makes you a better at shooting NPC, as a tank in WoW, I valued my PvP experience in situational awareness and preparation for pulls.
And while raids and dungeons are fun, sometimes you come home from work and really don’t want to interact with people. You want to log in, envoy the scenery, solve a puzzle, basically, you want a single player experience. Please do not talk to me, right now. In all multiplayer games, this is possible. You do not have to raid, you do not have to PvP, you do not have to talk to other people if you do not want to.
So, single player and multiplayer content are seen to be vital to co-exist and support each other to give the player a whole experience.
Except in EVE.
In New Eden, the single player content is pitiful, the missions are boring and repetitive. Players who try to enjoy the content are harangued, ganked, laughed at and basically driven out. Not just by other players but also by the game company itself whose salaries they are paying. The famed EVE videos HTFU and the recent Killing is just a means of communication summarize the attitude of CCP. If you do not engage in PvP, if you do not fly in a fleet, if you do not live in nullsec gtfo of our game.
CCP published some interesting numbers. 50% of new players leave after a few weeks. Presumably because the game does not bring the enjoyment they were looking for when downloading and creating a character. 10% of new players engage in group activities and likely stick around for a longer time. A full 40% however starts running missions and faces an incredibly arrogant and hostile environment. Even CCP officially states that those 40% “don’t engage in a diverse range of activities” but “doing that straight-forward themepark” are “leveling up their raven”.
Ok, lets pause. If I derided 40% of my new customers in the way that this CCP employee did and do that in public, I would likely get fired. CCP thinks they get away with it because they officially do not like and do not want these players at all. They want to channel all of them into the group, PvP content because those players stick around and participate in media-generating massive
lag-fests battles. Nobody gives a crap about the solo miner, the declared goal now is to use the tutorial to channel the players directly into the segment of the 10% of “valuable” playstyle.
Oh my. And CCP is wondering why their game is running on a couple of hundred thousand players. (yes, yes, I know. 500k accounts. My ballpark figure is that the average number of accounts / human player is somewhere between 2 and 5).
So, instead of beefing up the mission system, instead of bringing new content for the single player, the lone wolf, the PvE player, the fix is to drive people into the megablobs of nullsec since that is the pinnacle of EVE team play. Right.
The blogosphere has responded rather quickly. Jester wrote about this, seemingly supportive of this move. Evehermit asks himself why should he expect that the promised new space is anything but an extension of nullsec and another playground for goons and their blue friends? TurAmarth posts a open letter to CCP asking what CCP will do for smaller groups, solo players.
We all expect this letter to be ignored since Tur does not matter. He does not fly in nullsec. (Edit. Tur did get an answer from no other than CCP Seagull herself. Go to his blog and read her response to his question. Its exactly what we all wanted to hear. A little bit too exactly. But who am I to call “marketing spin” after I have been so wrong with my first call?)
As usual, I consider CCP to be entirely on the wrong track. I do not care what they say but a solid solo experience with tie-ins to multiplayer dungeons and missions allows players to hone their skill appreciate the beauty that EVE can be, develop their character and some stickiness and the comfort level to risk a little more each day.
If anything truly “kills” EVE, it is CCP’s arrogance toward their own customers.