BB78 – The Great Reset
Okay, so, my first attempt at doing a Blog Banter!
So, obviously I’m no expert, regardless of my active account time and game time.
But I do have some experience, so I’ll just have to draw on that to paint my picture.
Blog Banter 78 – The Big ResetJust for a moment engage your “willing suspension of disbelief”. Imagine that CCP, at downtime today, reset everything in Eve Online. Everything! When you logged in you were in a starter system with your character… but now with less than a million skill points, a mere 5000 ISK and a noob ship (now with civilian afterburner!). Markets are pretty empty other than a few seeded items. All Sov is gone. All player structures are gone. All PI infrastructure is gone. No corps or alliances exist. Nothing remains. New Eden is suddenly a completely level playing field and the next great gold-rush is on? Or is it? What happens now?
Okay, so that’s our topic this time out!
So let’s get the first bit out of the way – what is the immediate response?
Well, let’s look at the response to capital changes – we had a loss of people who simply didn’t like the loss of skills, the loss of abilities, the loss of range, the addition of fatigue, etc. This is true to a lesser extent of a number of expansions in the past that changed the game to any significant degree while “taking away player abilities” (or just swinging the nerfbat, on occasion: REF: the Great Nano Speed Nerf). Some have come back, some have not.
A Great Reset would absolutely cause this to happen, but I think it would occur on a larger scale. We’re not just impacting specific groups of PvPers, but the entire game from end to end. All progress, effort, player structure, reset. All that sov, all those skills, all those billions of isk, all that trade, that massive economy, all that entire player built history, wiped out in an instant. Nuked into nothing. I guarantee we would lose a large swathe of players who just wouldn’t want to re-play all that hard effort all over again.
That’s the negative side, and the immediate negative reaction. It’s also why it’ll probably never happen – too much of a financial risk to CCP’s wallet to chance losing all those paying customers. Hell, I’d be pretty hacked off to lose out on all the work I’ve done over the years to reach the skill levels I have now on some of my accounts.
But now let’s consider the positive.
Okay so I lost all my stuff. I also lost my history, my corp, my stake, and my rep. My in-game record of all the good and all the bad. All my achievements are gone, but so are all my foul ups. IF the slate is wiped clean, it’s completely clean, unless perhaps my name is also retained, in which case we’re not completely fresh. But let’s go with that.
I can start again – this time with foreknowledge of what is to come, and how difficult a lot of it will be. I know how to build, mine, manufacture, and invent. I know how the core PvE works, and I know how a lot of PvP works. I know how to group up with others, and build communities with them. The RP community could build from scratch, new histories, new stories, no baggage. “No fate, but what we make” if you will. I wouldn’t need lots of alts, as I could use my current experience to let me rapidly specialise into the things I enjoy, rather than floundering with various alts, and stumbling into things as I did in the past.
We could create new heroes, and villains. New politics, a fresh take on the meta as we rebuild towards what we once had. New reasons to explore the universe all over again. For those with the will and drive to ignore the losses, with a taste of adventure, and a desire to make a new mark, and build new structures, possibly with an eye for a better future, this would be a wonderful thing. No more Goons, no more PL, no more capital hotdrops, no more titans (maybe literally, as CCP could possibly remove Titans and Supers outright, with nobody left who owned one). From this perspective (idealistic – arguably naive) this could be fantastic, as we might even lose some of the toxic parts of our unique internet community.
So what do I predict would happen? A lot of old players, from null, high, low, and hole would leave the game. This is a certainty, especially of those who are not used to the EVE of old, where a loss of a poorly chosen clone would cut you back a month of learning – more if you were repeatedly unlucky. Such people, used to a cushy EVE life, easy earnings, safe incomes, the protection of skills, and defences such character abilities provides, these are the ones we would lose first. Whether carrier ratter, or highsec bulk trader, such players with such attitudes would rapidly leave for greener pastures. Some due to entitlement. Some due to loss. Some due to bittervet syndrome. Some because they have better things to do in real life rather than spend time on our shared world rebuilding what was taken from them.
If you need my basis on this, look no further than capital changes, or for another game, the destruction (and player owned reconstruction) of Star Wars Galaxies. There are efforts to rebuild and recreate the SWG game on a number of places on the intertubes, and many of them are very well done, and I applaud the effort. But the player count, after the loss of all that progress? Especially given that many of these player efforts wipe their data by necessity on a certain basis relative to their development of the software? It’s nothing, not even compared to the player count prior to SoE’s annihilation of their game world. Even if the SWG rebuild was officially sponsored by Disney, it wouldn’t be enough for a large number of players. Bitter, hurt, NGE’d out of the game, you’re not getting them back, especially after destroying their worlds and histories. Sure, it’s just a game, but that’s still real time spent on this little hobby. And the loss of any amount of effort, virtual or real, based on the time spent is absolutely a real thing.
The influx of new players to replace the old would not be anywhere near enough – REF: Everquest F2P of EQ1 and 2. Also UO historical efforts at such. See also – UO changes to create a completely protected/controlled region to prevent PvP (something which basically killed the remainder of the community and thus the game). EVE is a niche game, and much like UO in its latter days, cannot afford to take such a risk. We are reliant on our current community, such as it is, to be the skeleton around which we attach the muscles of newbies to expand and support our game world. We are reliant on our current progress and game state to be the skeleton which supports that fresh meat.
EVE is no fresh game to build a community from scratch, or rely on an existent one to start from year dot, especially when we continue to look at things like our GUI and NPE, both of which continue to need improvements and development so that they can remain relevant and useful towards bringing in and maintaining the playerbase. EVE’s survival relies on the historic and veteran players to remain so that newbies can become veterans themselves. Without that veteran presence to help newbies find the fun, all too many of them would, alpaca program aside, end up bouncing off the issues I’ve mentioned, and leave in search of other games. Only the most die hard, or space crazy would remain and, like the rest of us, play such a niche game. And also CODE. I mean, come on, it’s pretty easy to build catalyst pilots to slaughter alpacas. If you don’t think the trolls would stick around, maybe even have an easier time of it, you really need to look at how nasty a catalyst or arty trasher can be. “Easy meat” is an accurate description of that situation. It sucks to be so negative, but it’s the realities of the world we created in this game. Newbies need to be supported and shown the good as well as the bad, because we need them, and they need us.
And if you need proof of this, look at all the newbie programs that have arisen in the last decade. Groups like TEST, BNI, EVE Uni, Horde, RvB, Pancakes, Karmafleet, etc. Without veterans to support them, to hold their hand, and teach them that losses aren’t so bad, and CODE can’t win ’em all, a number of these wouldn’t have gotten off the ground. Without the will and drive to push on, many wouldn’t have made it to veterancy. And without existing structures, logistics chains, communities, and player knowledge, many might not have made the massive differences and ripples that they have. We need these groups, both veteran and newbie, helping and teaching each other, working together (and against each other because pew pew). Wiping them out to blank slate zero would be nothing but detrimental for most. Only the insane minority, – people like me – or the equally small influx of curious and inquisitive (of which a number would turn around and leave again), would remain to try and rebuild the frontiers. Because internet spaceships are serious business.