Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Gank for better player retention?

The following statistics provided in Fanfest are circulating among forums and blogs:
You didn't see this coming, did you?

The No1 EVE-killer is "what am I supposed to do in the sandbox?". Being ganked provides an instant reason: "get revenge" or maybe "become as strong as him". I'm a good example myself: the evil idea of Goons to take highsec POCOs just to give "carebears" a finger started something that keeps me busy (and lots of PvP-ers in ships) for more than a year now. Had the game disallow such griefing (it was obvious that Goons won't do PI in highsec), I never come to the idea of attacking CFC all by myself.

Now it's the very opposite of what "carebear prophets" claim, actually "being griefed" is making players to stay and play. By the way I've been preaching the importance of pwning Morons and Slackers since ever. This provides an obvious direction for further design changes both in nullsec (remove local) and highsec (make attacking others easier). Increasing CONCORD response time would be an obvious choice, both to increase ganking and the power of ECM anti-ganking.

However what I wrote about non-wardeccable highsec corps are still true. The problem with wardec isn't that it forces PvP on the target, it's that These problems must be solved one way or another, even if the end goal is to decrease the options to avoid legal PvP. Simply decreasing wardec costs will make more players retreat to NPC corps. Simply kicking out players from NPC corps will make them be in 1-man corps. Locking players into wardecced corps simply lead to hiding to avoid wardeccers. As long as there is a practical way to avoid a wardec, people will go that way. If you close all ways, people will go to lowsec/WH/NPC nullsec as there is nothing beneficial in highsec.

It would be a better way to get rid of wardecs completely and replace it with a new scheme to legally attack players in the unified Empire space. For example by default you are open to attacks (suspect flag), but you can turn on and off CONCORD protection while docked and CONCORD would charge you for every minute spent in space depending on ship size and security status of the system. So hiring CONCORD would be affordable for a 1 hour newbie in a frig in 0.8+ while would be around 200M/hour for a capital ship in 0.1. This system would make no difference if you are in corp or not, famous or hiding and would scale with sec status, providing reason to use higher security space.

PS: for some time the pictures were different and trollish. The reason is that I linked them from a third party site and Goons could somehow change them there. I uploaded them properly now. Luckily the Goons are dumb and didn't change the pictures to Nazi or porn stuff and then reported them to Blogger. That could get my blog down for a day or two until I sort it out. Lesson learned: save everything and upload it to my provider. At least they got me a nice traffic spike.


Ex said...

Would depend greatly on the cost to the new player. If its too high newbies wouldn't use it, even if it offered protection. Also concord protection for a newbie is useless especially if they are in a venture or lowskill procurer or retriever. The way code etc work now they attack with several catalysts and the average mining ship is down before concord arrives on the scene, mainly because code pulls concord away from the area first. Have seen it happen myself, Code etc cause an issue in one system, then attack in another afew seconds after. Newbie is down before concord arrives.

Anonymous said...

Concord should only operate in the central parts of highsec... as you branch out ganking should be policed by faction police. The damage should be tankable .. it should not be instadeath...

And protection should be dolled out along faction standing lines... If you have low gallente standings and you are hanging around in highsec placid, and someone takes a potshot at you, why should faction police care?

There should be more graduated risk... from central "core" systems where you are protected by concord wielding insta-death guns, through to slow and sometimes lazy faction police on the border lands...

the jump from 0.5 to 0.4 should not be as much of a cliff as it is now (all the protection to none of the protection).

nightgerbil said...

Typical CCP don't understand their own game. Like when they said 90% of their players leave because they are playing it wrong. OFC ganking isnt the reason the majority of new players quit in the first 15 days but its bad logic to translate that to the guys who quit later on, the ones who subbed and were leveling their raven.

Eve is boring. There I said it. Its pve isn't engaging. Its UIs are(were?) confusing and very easy to feel overwhelmed. The pvp is fun, if you can find somewhere to have a decent scrap, but you know yourself the eve mantra on pvp is "if its a fair fight someone screwed up"

I've met too many people IRL though who play video games and when I mention eve? "yeah I tried that it was quite fun we were mining and making ships for ourselves, but we kept being attacked and blown up so we left." or variations on that theme.

Personal observation only? perhaps, but if the majority of people I meet IRL who tried eve are quoting that as their expereince I believe ganking does have an impact on the player retention of the ones that survive the crappy NPE and go on to find something in the sand box they actually enjoy doing. What a pity CCP things these customers are simply flat wrong.

Anonymous said...

First, your setup in panel 1 is wrong. Only deaths at the hands of OTHER PLAYERS is counted... death by NPC, which occurs 100% of the time to new players doing the Career missions, is not. The proof of that is the "legal, not legal" distinction.

So, 13.5% were ganked legally, (Let's get real... there is NO WAY a noob in a 14 day account is getting into a "fair fight".) and 1% were ganked "illegally" as in CONCORD wacked the ganker.

Ok, great. That means 14.5% of the noobs actually tried the content to the point that they COULD be ganked at all.

The other 85.5% did not.

This is where it gets fuzzy. It is IMPLIED that the 14.5% has the greater retention rate... which makes sense. These are the risk takers... the people that joined corps (Opening them to legal deaths via war decs.) or foolishly flew their Venture into .5 space and got ganked.

That was me. I got ganked "illegally" 2 days into my 14 day trial. Yup. I flew my Venture into a .5 system. So I guess I'm a "1%-er"

Here's the problem. The majority of the human race isn't hell bent on ganking or, after getting ganked, slobbering for revenge.

The majority of people do the 14 day trial, most without even dying... and then figure out the reality of Eve:

There are only 2 jobs in the sandbox: Grind isk or gank.

Well, if they hang one for a bit longer, they find the third job: Subservient slave to a meta group.

The simple fact is that most new players quit because there is no content for them.

maxim said...

The Concord idea is a step in the right direction.
Simple player decision with simple mechanics and far-reaching consequences.

Anonymous said...

This is so incredibly wrong. Every time I lost a ship - I used to quit eve for MONTHS. About twice longer if the loss were to players.

Also, gank is the worst way to go. Well, war dec aside. The problem is wider than just allowing or disallowing ganking though, I think the main reason is that PvE ships are purposely made helpless in PvP situations, so you know for sure there is nothing you can do and will never be able to do about a gank - this thought alone makes me want to punch the ganker in the face, but outside eve, as game mechanics give me no chance to do it inside, since gankers are usually invulnerable, require days of camping, open for attack for 10 minutes, and never pilot ships even close to the value of the ships they gank, thus completely immune to any risk and any meaningful losses.

Which is why, for the sake of retention, we need to introduce skill to ganking. Reduce CONCORD reaction time for multiple offenses on a single grid, so gankers would have to get out of free catalysts into something more expensive when they want to gank big targets (also this will solve N+1 issue where gankers could infinitely span free catalysts continuing life without risk). Disallow docking and entering POS bubbles to -10.0 characters. Remove "removal of consequences" tags. There would still remain numerous unnecessary buffs to ganking (like hyperdunking, aka the only intended use of Bowhead), and the N+1 issue of alpha ganking, but at least it scales worse or requires real investment into tornadoes, which are not free like catalysts are.

No revenge can be carried out against a riskless risk-averse "leet hisec peeveepeer" who is essentially invulnerable most of the time, and only has free ship exposed when he isn't.

Luke said...

CONCORD as a protection racket ? Sure it fits dystopian universe!

As for people quitting. You only need to hang for very little time in starter system to know why.
1) whole NPE is tied to PVE activities
2) ads in local are usually for "we do all" failcorps
3) there is always a token flashy on undock. In Garmur.

So if you have no RL friends playing eve beforehand, you did not made homework about eve, or you would not roll a six on friendly, informative passerby, you will end up in most bland PVE experience. .. 15 days would usualy mean one basic career circle + SOE "epic arc" (insert frustration about not being able to shoot one of those two hard rats at the end and being forced to beg for help in local).
Neither of which even hints strongly about doing anything but levelling raven or shooting HSspace-rocks with "corpmates" for forever.

Few make the plunge for next level, and it is mostly by fluke of being in wrong place in wrong time, being hit with eve-purpose.

Walter Andersen said...

I think, the goblin-ish CONCORD idea could work, if two things are reliable:
1) the PfP (Pay for Protection) price must be easily effordable for new players (at least in 1.0 to 0.8, of course with increasing prices)
2) the protection, once bought, must be guaranteed

And in my opinion new players quit EVE because of two reasons:
1) Being killed (multiple times or only once - depends on the personality) is no fun for casual gamers. Especially when they get killed for "no" reason and from a guy with much better skills (player-skills, not character-skills).
2) They don't see their options in playing EVE. Not everyone is a content-creator like Gevlon or WiNGSPAN. Those guys (like me) need some hints, what is possible. And you don't get those hints in a 14-to-21-day-trial playing all by yourself. But that doesn't mean, that there is nothing to do but grinding ISK and ganking.
To let new players find "their" fun in EVE, you need to let them go around and take a look. So, when there is guaranteed protection (by paying a price), the players can find their thing to do...

Ryanis said...

à-15 days old players are not ganked. That's normal: they don't have/move costy assets. Gankers will prefer to gank worthy industrials.

Next question: most people don't die at all, why ? As said, the mostly die at least once from NPC. Then, there are many warning when you enter low sec/null sec or WH so they don't do anything dangerous. Remember, 0-15 days old caracters don't have assets to lose, especially when they look at big shiny ships as the utilmate warmachines.

Anonymous said...

"You can turn on and off CONCORD protection while docked and CONCORD would charge you for every minute spent in space depending on ship size and security status of the system. So hiring CONCORD would be affordable for a 1 hour newbie in a frig in 0.8+ while would be around 200M/hour for a capital ship in 0.1."
An excellent idea! And the cost could be developing exponentially, so that it remains "fairly low" all down to sec 0.5, and then climbs steeply. Thus, it would still make a serious difference between high- and low-sec as there is today. That would also fit much better the description "low" security (while there is really NO security in low-sec today). Also CONCORD could be stronger in high-sec and weaker in low-sec (people would learn to tank better when going to low), also fitting the description "low" sec.
There are more possibilities: "risk vs reward" could mean you can buy different levels of protection, e.g. Concord arrives with a single ship, a small squad, or an entire wing, depending on what you paid for (freigher pilots would probably tend to pay for wing protection).
NPX corp taxes could be replaced by this (lorewise: "Breaking News on TheScope: New deal between CONCORD and the Empire Corporations announced!"). Player Corps could opt to pay for their members by default (and with a discount), and members would gladly pay corp taxes for such a noble cause.
I hope CCP reads & likes your idea.

Robert said...

Those statistics are skewed.
The probblem is that there's such a small segment that get ganked, that it's natural that their retention rates will be more extreme, one way or the other. They're measuring a large group of players which gives a fair representation of retention against a tiny segment of players, but treating them as if they are the same. If 50% of players got ganked and 50% of players didn't, you'd find the retention rates to be a lot more similar.

Once again this is a prime example of how CCP put forward badly thought out statistics which will now make players cite it forever as an example for why denying players the ability to play the game is a good thing, and thus why concord need to be removed, etc, etc.

Anonymous said...

I want to know what a Legal Death is. That was my first question when watching the presentation. I'm willing to bet a sizable portion of those Legal Deaths involved lack of knowledge on Crimewatch mechanics. Which is just as bad, if not worse, than being straight up ganked. Someone tricked you into doing something which resulted in loss of assets.

Samus said...

I have to point out, someone who is averse to being ganked simply wouldn't try EVE in the first place. Of the people who give it a try, they quickly discover it is a far safer game than many of its players try to pretend.

Also, what portion of these "new" players are actually just new alts of veterans? It would seem to me that group would be far more likely both to stick around and to do things where they might die.

Anti said...

so 14% got killed on their first jump into lowsec and unsubbed.

of the remaining 86% of new players 1% had gathered enough assets in their trial to be worth ganking. so they had gotten involved in the game and economy and spent enough time playing to have a few tens of million isk.

I think the real statistic hiding in this information is a correlation between isk made or time played during trial and retention rate.