I am occasionally on EVE talk shows and tweet about my feelings on the game. People sometimes ask why I am “against change” and “refusing to adapt”. Here’s a slightly longer explanation about my views on the Ecosystems work for clarity that doesn’t fit well onto Twitter, Reddit, or Twitch.
Why am I frustrated?
My frustration with the Ecosystem changes over the last year is simple, they are dull, boring, weaponized inconvenience with nothing exciting for the average player.
Let’s compare to other major changes in EVE. Each of these changes were radical and changed fundamental aspects of the game at the time. Whether you like them or not, there is something about each change that created excitement, enthusiasm, and gave players significantly new things to do in EVE. We can argue if they were long term good decisions, but it is inarguable that players were hyped and enthusiastic about the innovative changes.
Capital Rework – 2015
Near complete rework of the way Capital ships operate – introduction of modern fighter mechanics and creation of Force Auxiliaries.
Result: Entirely new fight dynamics for capitals ships in almost every situation. New roles for pilots, new escalation metas, new PVE opportunities.
Aegis Sovereignty – 2015
Complete work of null security space sovereignty system
Result: New war strategies, increases involvement of sub-capitals, new entosis strategy & doctrine, significant redrawing of the null sec map.
Upwell Citadels – 2016
Replacement plan for POS (Control Towers)
Result: New fight dynamics, new avenues for industry, un-coffined supercapital pilots, new choices for structure placement and use.
Athanor Moon Mining – 2017
Complete rework of moon mining process
Result: New shift in revenue streams from passive to active, allowed wide involvement from many pilots, created open trade in moon materials, created high risk locations for fights.
Again, you don’t have to think all of these changes were great, but in each cases they were new, enticing activities for players that created enthusiasm and new emergent gameplay. Many will argue the pros & cons of each major change now in hindsight, but there is no doubt that the changes brought out excitement and enthusiasm in the players.
Now consider the changes to resources in the Economy work
Resource Redistribution – 2020
Resources are harder to acquire.
Result: Mine in other places. Haul more. Stuff costs more.
No new ships
No new incentives
No new strategies
Even the most positive comments are “It won’t be that bad…”.
The most enthusiastic players have pinned all their hope on some great, unannounced future feature set that will make all this “eat your vegetables” talk worth it.
Imagine for a moment that it was the Aftertimes, and CCP was presenting at Fanfest or an in-person meetup and that the big keynote message was “Nocxium is in low sec now!”
Do you think there would be cheers?
Do you think this would create excitement in the room?
Of course not.
As I have said before, this is all stick, no carrot.
More “The beatings will continue until morale improves!” than “Here’s cool new ideas!”
And all this Ecosystem change is about getting to ‘Healthy Ecosystem State’, a state that has never been described, never been detailed, and worse, never explained to the average pilots why it matters.
Players are told “Trust us.”, which is code for either “we don’t know” or “we don’t think you are smart enough to understand”, both of which are terrible.
In previous large changes, explanations were simple: “Large Slowcat carrier fleets are basically invulnerable and have no counter, they gotta go. Capital ships need to blow up a lot more often.”
Most frustratingly, we see innovation from CCP sneaking in around the edges. Filaments, EdenCom ships, Proving Grounds, and Space Weather all have generated recent excitement, but that excitement continually tempered and diminished by the overwhelming wet blanket of the Ecosystem changes repeatedly smothering enthusiasm.
Players need incentives
Players need excitement
Players need innovation
That’s not what players are seeing, they see harsh tweaks to force players to act in very specific ways, which in the sandbox universe of New Eden, is about as un-EVE as it gets.