Do you press one of these buttons when you log off from EVE Online? CCP added them a while back as something of an exit survey.
For about a week after they showed up I diligently and thoughtfully clicked one of those buttons every time I exited the game. And then I stopped.
I stopped because, on reflection, this seemed like data collection without value. It lacks any context and, given human nature, can be waved away by circumstances of the moment. There is always something going on that will allow CCP to say, “Well, that i just because we announced X and a few people are mad about it.”
I would not be surprised to find out that the buttons are not hooked up to a backend that stores the results, that CCP put them in there as just a way to deflect anger into the void.
It is a very Reddit-based response, let people down vote the game when they are upset because it lets you feel like you have done something, even though down voting never changed anything because it can always be explained away. And that makes it very appropriate for the Chaos Era that CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson has declared for EVE Online.
Things have been somewhat chaotic since the Invasion expansion arrived back at the end of May. That brought Triglavian incursion-like events to high sec, leading to NPCs camping the routes between tutorial and career agent systems and the joy of logging in an alt only to find you had best just log off because you’re system is now an NPC kill zone.
And, of course, that has expanded, so hanging out it a belt in a 0.9 system might end up with you getting blow up right away as well.
CCP also spread the chaos to null sec, which has tended to monopolize the headlines (Because who cares about new players?) with Drifter attacks and the Blackout and the sudden VNI nerf and the tax increases and now the coming cyno changes, with the promise of more changes to come. I have mostly watched this from the sidelines, this blog being little else than that. If you’re reading this you are in a tiny, obscure part of the EVE Online player base.
Just the other day CSM14 representative Dunk Dinkle was encouraging people with strong opinions on these changes to speak up publicly.
To me, strong opinions are part of the problem with any EVE Online discussion. PvP players can be exceptionally vocal… roll footage of the forums of every PvE focused MMORPG ever… and the chaos era changes have brought them out en masse to cheer CCP for making changes that disrupt the status quo. Anybody speaking against the chaos is shouted down because their motives are based on self-interest. As such, every CCP proposal seems likely to go forward unchecked, since it isn’t difficult to find a wave of vocal support for them.
So the chaos will continue until morale improves.
However, I wonder if chaos is really a viable long term strategy. Hilmar mentioned the novel The Three-Body Problem as one of his inspirations during that interview on Talking in Stations. It was already on my list of things to read at some point, so I picked it up last week. I have gotten far enough along to see where Hilmar swiped the idea for the Chaos Era.
In the book there is a video game which experiences alternating orderly and chaotic eras. During the orderly times the player society of the game progresses. During the chaotic eras nothing is predictable and everything is in disorder. CCP seems to have decided that is the path forward for EVE Online. They want to keep changing things constantly so that nothing is predictable in anything but the immediate time frame.
What I found interesting in the book was the player reactions to the chaotic eras. While a select few persist through those eras, trying to discover a pattern to the chaos, the vast majority dehydrate themselves and are stored away, only to be revived when the next orderly era appears. Then everybody gets back to work on progress in the game.
I could not help but associate the dehydrated state in the book with something akin to becoming an Alpha clone in EVE Online. People often find chaos to be wearing over time, not what they want to devote themselves to as their hobby. I know I am feeling a bit weary from the chaos era of New Eden, and barely any of it has an impact on me. Only the coming cyno revision will change some aspect of my play.
And there is a very vocal choir that supports the chaos, which means that CCP would have to work to see a reason not to keep on with it. So I suspect that the chaos will continue.
But it makes me wonder if chaos a viable long term strategy?
Addendum: After writing this, I listened to the Talking in Stations interview with CCP Rise, and it sure sounds like chaos is the long term strategy CCP has chosen. My question as to whether or not we take Hilmar and CCP Falcon and their vision of where they want EVE Online to go appears to have been answered.