EDIT: I've been informed in the comments that the new concurrent users numbers since DUST 514 players were introduced on Tranquility include the DUST 514 players, thus skewing any counts upwards. Without accurate DUST player counts to subtract from the numbers below, it is near impossible to get an accurate picture of how Eve is doing in the Retribution era. We will however, be able to see going forward how Eve+DUST are doing together.
NEW EDIT UPDATE: The PCU numbers do NOT include DUSTies as confirmed by CCP Fozzie on twitter. See here for details.
One of the best indicators of the health of an MMO is the concurrent user numbers, specifically the peak value of people logged in each day. More than subscriptions do, these numbers indicate the actually number of people playing the game, since people can stop playing yet their subscriptions have not run out, or they keep paying for a subscription but log in once a month for skill queue updates.
So, how is Eve doing? Has Retribution lived up to the hype of getting people to log in more?
One of my favourite sites to visit for this type of metric is EVE-Offline :: EVE-Online Status Monitor.
Its great, you can hover over any point on the line graphs and see the date and values. The bottom graph is the most instructive with each point representing the weekly average over Eve's entire existence. Let's take a closer look, shall we? I'll highlight some important dates for you.
Based on the weekly averages of the peak logged in accounts, Eve has not been as busy since the launch and heydays of Incursions in early 2011. I feel that this is primarily attributed to the improvements in ship balancing done by Team Game of Drones which has allowed a rebirth of cheaper ship fleet doctrines that can compete better with higher end battlecruiser, Tech II cruiser, and Tech III cruiser setups. Coupled with the excitement of the new features like bounty hunting and new ships and UI enhancements, things look good for Eve.. right now.
Next summer's patch is crucial.