EVE Online Turns 14

May 6th has rolled around again and our favorite internet spaceship games turns another year older.  It has been 14 years since the game launched back in 2003 and a lot has changed along the way.  The game itself has changed and looks much different today, as old screen shots show. (Image below from this gallery of 2004 screen shots.)

War Drive Active… to the future!

And the world outside of the game has changed dramatically as well.  Back in 2003 EverQuest was the top MMORPG with 550,000 subscribers, while the following things didn’t really exits yet:

  • World of Warcraft
  • Second Life
  • Facebook
  • Orkut (Google’s first run at a social media site)
  • MySpace (didn’t show up until August 2003)
  • Twitter
  • Imgur (where those screen shots are hosted)
  • Smart phones
  • This blog
  • Tobold’s blog
  • WordPress.com, where this blog is hosted

What was even happening back then?  We were apparently hanging out on Friendster and GeoCities and maybe had heard about LinkedIn, which launched the day before EVE Online.

Also, I had a 2 year old child and was facing the prospect of turning 40 soon.  Now I’m past 50 and the child wants to learn to drive.  Oy!

Anyway, in the grand tradition of the game, CCP has a little something for capsuleers who play the game.  The full details are posted, but this is what you get on each account:

  • 1x Capsule YC119 Capsuleer Day SKIN
  • 1x Festival Launcher
  • 200x Barium Firework
  • 200x Copper Firework
  • 200x Sodium Firework

I am glad they keep giving us new festival launchers.  Every time we have a fleet doctrine with an empty high slot I slap one on there and inevitably lose the ship and the launcher with it.

The SKIN is nifty.  You don’t see capsules running around in my part of space… not for very long anyway.  But if you are without a ship you can go around with a sharp looking red and white paint scheme.

14th Anniversary capsule SKIN

You have until May 23rd to log in and redeem your gifts.  And even Alpha clone accounts get them.  I checked and redeemed them on my own Alpha account.  Another year down and a decade and a half of the game is just around the corner, a mere 364 days away.

14 thoughts on “EVE Online Turns 14

  1. Dinsdale Pirannha

    So, today’s peak PCU was 37,188. Precisely 1 year ago, long before CCP gave away free accounts, it was 38,014. The game is indeed dying, the PCU is indeed cratering. Now, granted, CCP is getting far more cash per player (wiping out using plexes for character transfers just another gouge of the player base), but that can pad a bottom line for only so long.

    The real reason for this disaster: Your pal in the lead RMT cartel proudly gloating over Delve’s numbers in his latest blog. You guys won the game years ago, but instead of stopping with just that, you just forcing CCP to screw all other sectors of the game, and we see the results in ever-declining sub numbers.


  2. anypo8

    @Dinsdale Have to respectfully disagree. For one thing, I don’t think a few-percent decline in PCU is reflective of anything long-term.

    Honestly, I look at that big flat trough in the all-time PCU graph starting with a decline in early 2014 and what it reflects to me is the delayed effect of Jump Fatigue, which drove a lot of long-time active players from the game over succeeding months, followed by a series of changes to game mechanics (in particular Fozzie Sov in mid-2015) that were both confusing and ultimately not great gameplay. CCP went through a long period of worrying about what was “good for the game” rather than what was “fun to play”, but it turns out what’s best for the game is making it fun to play. I believe that the big policy shakeup in mid-2016 represents a return to fun-first for a lot of players.

    I predicted Alpha clones wouldn’t by themselves ultimately have much impact, and I still think that’s right, but they’ve been around a while now and we haven’t seen PCU return to 2015 levels yet. In my mind this is because of all the new, interesting, and most of all fun things that have been introduced. The desperately-needed revamp of the new player experience isn’t great by any means, but it’s worlds better than it has ever been, and I believe it has been and will be a key factor in the conversion of a bunch of those Alpha clones to Omega and the retention of the existing playerbase. Fixing a bunch of the long-standing UI and play bugs and infelicities has become a priority, and that has removed a key driver to my staying offline. Make no mistake, the primary not-a-secret reason for the introduction of Upwell structures is to get rid of the nightmare of POS code and its cousins, and we’re already seeing the mostly-positive impact on many aspects of the game.

    Blaming the Goons for that recent bad period seems nonsensical to me. PL has been more of a driver for these changes than the Mittani, for all his bluster, could ever be. As far as I know, the roaming fleets of rampaging supers were never really the Goons’ main thing, and they never had a huge rental empire.

    In short, in the past year or so CCP has done better game design and invested more effort and resources in their game: that, rather than Alpha clones, has been the primary driver of recovering PCU. The biggest danger is the impending sale of CCP, which could flip all that in a hot second, and in any case will constantly tempt management to show short-term profits that make them look saleable at the expense of long-term development. For that, the players can take little credit or blame.


  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @anypo8 – The thing you have to understand about Dins is that he isn’t interested in facts or discussion, he just wants to bad mouth EVE Online in the hopes that it will die. He is a bitter ex-player who cannot let go.

    If he were interested in exploring the PCU he could look at what I was posting about a year ago. Not only was there a null sec war going on (which he cannot acknowledge because he would have to admit that null sec wars draw people to the game) where in the people he accuses of bribing CCP somehow managed to lose all of their territory (big hole in his story) to a group that was in fact funded by people who were later banned for RMT.

    Not only that, but this weekend a year ago EVE Online was having a free trial weekend on Steam, which saw a spike in users. This year, however, there is no war and no special event, so the PCU is down to what was a spike a year ago.

    As a regular reader Dins knows all of this, but chooses to ignore it because it contradicts his anti-CCP narrative. Instead the PCU has cratered in DinsWorld and CCP is to blame because they are being paid off by some players who continue to wreck the game.


  4. SynCaine

    Honestly I like this Dins much more. If you are going to a nutjob, might as well go full bat-shit crazy like other entertaining ex girlfriends.


  5. Dinsdale Pirannha

    Go back any timeline you like in the past 12, or 18, or 24 months. The trend for the PCU is down. And trying to suggest that free accounts equate to paying accounts is ludicrous. Now, I will grant you those free accounts do two things:

    1. They drive skin sales, and any other thing that CCP can monetize within the game.
    2. They drive demand for ISK, which CCP uses to sell off plexes. Only issue with that is they are in competition with they friends in the RMT cartels. Really convenient that goonland in Delve started cranking out tons of ISK about the same time all these supposed new Alpha players showed up. And when you read Nosy’s blog, showing the crazy 1st quarter spike in RMT sales, well….

    Bottom line, instead of managing the cash cow and taking a piece of the 2 million U.S. plus RMT industry, goon leaders and the other RMT cartels got greedy and have now driven changes in the game that look to end the game. It may take a couple more years, but the trend is indisputable.

    I liken the RMT cartels to the fascists and ideologues running the u.s. They are robbing the treasury blind in the short term, ignoring the long term effects, or just simply don’t care.


  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Dinsdale – So you, a person who has to my knowledge has NEVER said anything good about the game, simply complaining loudly about imagined foes and how bad CCP is, is trying to raise concern that somebody is hurting the game.

    Hurting the game is literally all I have ever seen you try and do. You are trying to kill the game in your own way, mostly by making stuff up. If you want a comparison to the current president of the US, you can start with his claim about millions voting illegally and your equally unsubstantiated claims about alleged RMT cartels making millions and paying off CCP. You are literally running an Trump-esque campaign against the game, and have been for years.

    Is EVE Online in decline? Yes, it is clearly past its peak. I have said so on several occasions, including in a couple of posts here on the blog. But that happens to every online game. There comes a point when it just cannot attract new players due to age, play style, and reputation. It happened to Ultima Online, it happened to EverQuest, it is happening to World of Warcraft. It is the nature of the genre. There will be a plateau, where we will hit the core player base that will never leave the game, where replacements will come in at a trickle enough to replace attrition for a long stretch.

    CCP can either cater to its core and keep improving the game as it is to keep them engaged, or it can turn its back on its core, swim against the tide, and try to cater to some other demographic. The latter has a much better chance of killing the game.


  7. Bhagpuss

    I have nothing to say about EVE per se but I do think you (Wilhelm) should consider setting up a consultancy business for developers and producers of aging MMOs. Your last two paragraphs, if understood and implemented, would ensure the longest, healthiest, gentlest of declines for many a game that’s currently thrashing around trying to claw its way out of a pit.


  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – I wish I could take credit for some special insight, but I had a professor back in college tell me that it is easier to sell to your installed base than to convert new customers as products/companies grow older, and I have seen this as the case repeatedly in my career. And, of course, we have seen the trajectories of MMORPGs over the years. Decline is inevitable and attracting new customers becomes more difficult as a game accumulates more baggage, more history, and more of a reputation.

    EVE Online has some advantages. There is the oft-repeated truth that even low skill point new players can find effective roles in the game. And there isn’t really anything like it available elsewhere. But the game is also hindered by some factors, like being PvP, having a sordid reputation, and by the single server nature of the game. The latter has its pluses, but it also means that CCP can’t go down the path that Daybreak has been by making special servers for specific demographics of the game. The PCU has not cratered, and Dins saying it a thousand times won’t make it so, but there is a PCU level below which the game becomes difficult to sustain.


  9. Dinsdale Pirannha

    Of course, catering to its core would have meant actually maintaining a viable high sec, but hey, you keep on with your narrative about how the RMT’ers were always CCP’s core customers.


  10. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Dinsdale – No, RMT is your made up narrative.

    Meanwhile, high sec seems pretty solid every time I pass through and mineral prices aren’t even down to the old lows they were when I was mining out in Amarr space. And if you looked at that economic report, production is still highest in the immediate vicinity of Jita. The Forge region rules production, with Lone Trek and The Citadel still very strong as well.

    What CCP really needs to do next is get a clue with the Russian translations as they are reported to be so bad as to be driving away Russian players. That is a key, long standing demographic they have actually neglected.


  11. Gevlon

    Unlike Dinsdale, I had nothing but good words for EVE Online itself – until a dev out of the blue came after me, just because I dared to facilitate shooting spaceships and taking systems in a spaceship shooting, system capture game.

    There are lots of evidence for CCP openly working with RMT-ers:
    – giving faction scorpions and an event to Somer Blink (later banned for RMT)
    – unbanning IWI despite public protest of their own security head (later banned for RMT)
    – constantly making ratting (the most bottable income source) easier, while constantly neglecting lowsec, WH space and highsec where botters aren’t prominentm, and where 80% of the players live
    – devs marketing to and giving free intellectual property to the $150K book of a publisher with ZERO book publishing experience
    – one of the top RMTers literally and publicly said that he made a dev “bend a knee” and is still allowed to play

    Unlike Dinsdale, I do not blame Goons and the Mittani for it, despite I fought them for years. While the Mittani was the most prominent and visible abuser of the system, he couldn’t abuse it if it wasn’t corrupt at the first place.

    EVE is a competitive game with stinging losses and as such it lives and dies by the APPEARANCE of fairness. We can agree that it’s hard to find an EVE player who wouldn’t blame CCP for favoritism against his group – this includes the Mittani who raged (rightfully) against the No Sions rule. While it’s clear that CCP (or individual devs) can’t favor so many groups at the same time, it’s also clear that there isn’t an inch of trust for CCP among those who do log in and play. You can guess what kind of marketing they do among their friends. At this point it’s irrelevant if CCP is actually corrupt or not, its bad rep will do the work and prevent competitive players from joining/staying.


  12. SynCaine

    Why look, the other EVE bitter ex gf has shown up and is also crying about the mystery RMT bogeyman. It’s funny how they keep crying RMT, yet haven’t once explained how said RMT would actually work in the null groups the believe it is happening. I wonder why…


  13. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Jester – I actually remember those phones and used to work with several people on the team that released them. With respect to my friends, I’ve seen those early phone and would consider them something of a proto-smart phone, the way I would consider BlackBerry or NTT models of the time. The Treos were primitive in a way that kept them from ever being popular. But you could very well make the smartphone claim for some BlackBerry models and some phones they did in Japan back into the late 1990s. When did they really become smartphones?


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