Read the whole thing. His last comment requires a response but I felt I needed more room.
I think their are two discussion points here. On the top part of his comment about progression stopping early in most MMOs but not Eve, most if not all Eve players consider this a good thing as it allows for a player to take his character into deeper and more varied roles in the game. HOWEVER, the upshot is that players feel compelled to keep training instead of using their other character slots to progress other characters. I think we agree on this.
"On one hand you say non-Eve MMOs still have progression beyond max level in terms of gear, money, faction standings, acheivements etc, and then on the other hand you say they don't."
Okay - by my reckoning in EVE skill training is analogous to gaining exp/skill points in any other MMO.
I assert that YOU think that too based on your original comment which included this phrase: "Since Eve has no level cap, a character never stops progressing."
In EVE skill training happens in real time and has an end point that is unattainable due to CCP's algorithms. In other MMOs there is a cap that is generally pretty easy to reach.
Everything else - money, achievements, gear, raid progress, territory, housing, etc - is equatable in both EVE and everything else, and cannot be accomplished offline. So EVE has no advantage/difference here.
So, non-EVE MMOs stop your xp progression quickly, while EVE draws it out. CCP then slaps an arbitrary rule in place that disallows training multiple characters on the same account at the same time, which.
As discussed - psychologically most players can't handle hitting the STOP button on their main, and then capitulate and buy a second account when the decide that the need to experience OTHER aspects of the game. CCP knows this is the case, and probably loves it.
It comes back to this:
What would change in EVE if tomorrow CCP were to remove the simultaneous training rule???
I assert that NOTHING would change except that CCP would suddenly not have ~30-50% of their accounts due to people not actually needing them.
The second point of Andrew's comment is the meat of his contention and the assertion is what I disagree with.
I agree that some accounts would not exist as people who simply train second characters for other activities not related to their main could use only one account. I think these people are in the minority.
Most people who have two accounts do so for the ability to dual-box because so many activities in Eve are faster/safer/more profitable to do with two or more pilots:
- mining with miner and hauler
- missions with Tank/DPS and looter/salvager
- exploration with combat and prober/hacker
- pvp with cloaky scout and combat ship
- capital logistics with capital pilot and cyno bitch
- Alliance CEO and combat main
- Super capital pilot and pilot that can actually dock
Furthermore, I think we would see an explosion of characters in the game as everyone would have two alts at the minimum. I don't know for sure if this would be a good thing or not but my intuition tells me that the potential for mindless griefing/corp theft/scamming would climb exponentially with the proliferation of skilled alts. Not to mention the bottom dropping out of the datacore market! (Ok, a little too esoteric on that last one... time to bring it home.)
The fact of the matter is that the game has been developed and balanced with the current mix of accounts to highly skilled characters and to say that "NOTHING" would change is a bold statement, and in light of other complex systems in which a small change can have numerous ripple effects, I think it is overly optimistic.
Could the game be rebalanced to support skilling on all characters of an account? Perhaps.