Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Eve online - The tale of 2 sandboxes (Part 1 of 2)

Today’s rant is mostly observation on what I have been watching over the last 10 years in Eve online and what I learned first hand at this year’s Fanfest. I think that the trend I am looking at is nothing short of an evolution of MMO game playing.  

Let me explain why and yes this is going to be a long post!

  • PvP players. You know who you are. You’re the bastards that try to, and occasionally go catch myself and my corporation members when we are playing poorly :-)
  • PvP players. Usually work in teams. In high sec we normally see gangs of 2 to 3 pilots doing successful ganks on the afk miners every day. Sometimes it is larger groups up to 7 players but it gets hard to tell if it is actually 7 players or someone that is ISBoxing it. (1) 
  • PvP players. Usually just want to log on, get in a group of like mined people and blow stuff up. The higher the value the better it is for them. The easier it is to blow up makes it even better!
  • PvP players. They have changed in what they want to shoot. Will explain in another blog (2)

So now that we have loosely defined how a random but current group of PvP folks operate lets now take a look at the other half.

  • PvE players – usually work solo but do it socially. In my corp we talk about eve in both alliance and corporation chat. We sometimes will be mining in the same fields at the same time but we are not really doing it “together” so to speak. There is no dedicated “Veldspar asteroid – POINT!” when your mining this way. We will usually have an Orca (Rorqual) boosting us all through the system and everyone is happy.
  • PvE players – when they run missions usually have their main running the mission and their alt cleaning up after them. You might find 2 people actually playing together when they are newer to Eve but as their skills develop this tends to migrate over to a single player play style.
  • PvE players – that are in industry will have one alt that is good at trading while another alt is doing the hauling while still a 3rd or 4th or 5th alt is working another region doing the same thing. This is more a single player way of doing this because we have all been taught to play Eve this way. There will be a blog about this as well in the near future. (3)
  • PvE players are the players that are playing the game for a reason other than to blow things up. They play longer per day, have long term goals and are for the most part the backbone of Eve’s economy. Without them doing all the above work there would be no PvP.
  • PvE players – in some cases are the PvP players that have to do the PvE things so they can afford to do the PvP things that they like.

The above statements would not be accurate without some kind of graph or slide right?

50% play solo
25% play in a group
the other 25% do both.

So what can we draw from the above?

Well the first thing I see is that PvP takes money out of the economy and PvE puts it back in.

What are you talking about? How do you know this?

Time for another slide!

Here is just one item from the beginning of Beta till now. I have this data at home but it was also very nice to see Dr. Eyjólfur G also show the same data :-)

What does this show other then the obvious? It shows you the increase of Tritanium in both price and in volume. As larger ships are introduced to the game, there is a need for more Tritanium. Since there were not enough miners in the game to meed that need the price goes up. Simple economics.

You can see this trend again and again from item to item in Eve. This blog is not about that. I am just trying to justify what I said above with cold hard proof. That is one of the nice things about going to fanfest. You get to see and hear a lot of things that do not make it into Dev Blogs and you also get to spend the time talking with the Devs and ask them direct questions. It is well worth your time if you are that hard core of a player :-)

The next thing I see is that this was not how Eve started. It shows me that it is indeed a sandbox.

ok, ok! Why did I tell you all of this?

Because, Eve HAS changed. It has evolved and while it has evolved its player base has also changed. Players now use Kill boards to rank how well they are playing the game. It is not about the ownership of space or controlling the regions of the game any more. It is about who's kill board is the best. Who has destroyed the most and that is the bottom line.

When you can take a few million ISK in destroyers and add a few hundred million in miner kills to your kill board you view yourself as a winner. That is how the PvP people track their progress. They developed the tools to make sure that they could show how good they are at the game.

Just for clarification, I DO NOT SEE YOU AS A WINNER but I know some of you view yourselves that way. I don't mean any malice in that statement, just stating a fact is all.

I will add more to this theme in later blogs. This one is reaching the "wall of text" that most people try to avoid so I will let you add your comments below. The PvP people have their kill boards as their sandbox. What do the PvE people have? I will write about the PvE Sandbox soon™...

(1)      ISBoxer is software that lets you control all of your accounts with one interface. Interesting software.
(2)      PvP players are looking for all the low hanging fruit.
(3)      How Eve teaches us to play solo.

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