Monday, July 18, 2016

Back When I Was a Kid...

Blog Banter 77 - The Malaise
Is there a malaise affecting Eve currently? Blogs and podcasts are going dark and space just feels that little bit emptier. One suggestion is that there may be a general problem with the vets, especially those pre-Incarna and older, leaving and being replaced by newer players who are not as invested in the game. The colonists versus immigrants? Is this a problem? Are there others? Or is everything just fine and it's just another bout of summer "ZOMG EVE IZ DYING!"
I always get suspicious when someone, even myself, laments that things were better in the past. If one digs deep enough we often find that its not that things were better in the past, but rather the new and unknown is scary and intimidating while the old known environment is comfortable like an old worn shoe despite the wearing seams and sprouted holes.

So let's apply a critical eye to some of the things being said in this month's blog banter.

Blogs and podcasts are going dark
Well, this has been an ongoing issue for years and not just an EVE phenomenon. Podcasts are always going dark as casters lose interest or move onto other projects (after all, no one is making money from free podcast episodes) and new podcasts come on the scene to replace them. As far as I can tell, there is the same amount of hours from talking heads in the EVE podcast community as there was 5 years ago, if not more. As for blogs, they have been replaced by a combination of EVE News Sites that take the most prolific writers and pay them for their services, and Twitch streaming that reaches wider audiences for showing gameplay experiences. Gaming blogs all over have been dying with the rise of Youtube and Twitch and others.

space just feels that little bit emptier
We literally JUST finished a massive null sec war (perhaps one of the biggest) that shook up the old guard political meta and had people logging in that had not been seen in years in great numbers. Now we're heading into the aftermath of that war in which traditionally a large number of the losing side pilots take a powder for a bit, combined with summer weather in the northern hemisphere that correlates to lower login numbers, and yes space is going to feel emptier as a result while the winners consolidate and losers recuperate and summer invigorates.

One suggestion is that there may be a general problem with the vets, especially those pre-Incarna and older, leaving and being replaced by newer players who are not as invested in the game.
Darn kids don't respect their elders like we used to! This seems like pure bunk to me, claiming somehow the "older" generation had some magic grit and perseverance that the younger generation lacks. While I grant that the gaming environment now compared to 10 years ago has changed, I don't think it means that newer players are less committed to the game than we were.

All that being said, I don't think its unreasonable that gamers coming of age today have different expectations of games than we did 10 years ago. As beautiful as EVE is in screenshots and cinematics, its not a visually entrancing game to actually play. As improved as the interface is over ten years ago, its still a monstrosity of menus, commands, and windows. Let's face it, EVE is a product of 13 years ago, practically a generation, and the visually stunning games available now tend to make EVE show its age. Make no mistake: EVE is an amazing game that has improved with age and has incredible depth that other games cannot match, but it IS a product of a previous generation or two in terms of game life cycles.

All that is to say, yes, EVE is dying. As I wrote last October in a post called Twilight:
After 9 years of play I can honestly say that EVE the game is in the best place its ever been.
But EVE is dying.
I don't mean "hemorrhaging blood from a gaping wound on the floor" dying. EVE's death is not imminent barring a sudden unexpected disaster in Iceland. I mean "we're over the hill and entering the golden years" dying. EVE's most vibrant and alive time is in the past and I don't think its coming back. We are fully in EVE's twilight.
Later on in that post I continue:
Couldn't EVE regain the glory days and subscription growth? I don't know, the world has changed a lot in the past decade and the potential pool of players has different expectations and that critical mass of players that grew like a black hole in a dust cloud has shed enough bitter veterans to poison the well just enough to break the feedback look. I think we still have enough to stave off immediate collapse, CCPs actions for the past two years have assured that, but we are never going to grow significantly again.
EVE is slowing down not because of any maliciousness or mishandling of the game, its simply gotten old. Unfortunate, but true. I think the game has a lot of life left in it and I'm truly excited for the coming winter and the next set of structures and the future in store. Its possible EVE's twilight could last another 10 years of great gaming as long as CCP keeps putting real effort into it. But let's not pretend that us of the original EVE players were somehow special in forging this gameworld community and that newer players lack that secret ingredient in their makeup.

EVE is still the best internet spaceships simulation out there and I welcome all old and new players in it.

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