Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Killing Is Just A Means To Communicate Activity In EVE Online

Another month is in the books. November was a bit special in EVE Online due to the launch of the Havoc expansion on the 14th. For the launch of Havoc, people seem to downplay the number of players logging into the game. Even Jester wrote a cautionary post on the EVE sub-Reddit and hasn't posted the November average concurrent user numbers to his website like normal. The month ended with an average ACU of approximately 24,000 players logged in at any one time according to what Jester posted to Reddit.

If logins are not a reliable statistic, then how about the number of explosions players create in the game? Dotlan Maps only provides statistics for the three main security bands, high sec, low sec, and null security space. For most of the categories provided, New Eden saw numbers not posted for years in most cases.

High sec in an interesting study. Player ships that explode are in large part inflated because the tutorials and career agents send new players into situations in which they lose their ships. The 403,064 player owned ships exploding in high sec last month hasn't been seen since the pandemic days of August 2020. And while the number of NPCs players destroyed is still drastically down compared to 2013-2014, the 108,326,826 killed is the most in two years.

One of the constants in CCP's three expansions over the past 13 months is a focus on low security space. The number of ships players managed to lose in the security band, at 294,946, fell just short of 300 thousand. Still, players managed to die at the highest rate since January 2017, or in almost 7 years. The draw back at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 was the introduction of the free-to-play Alpha character option. 

Finally, the number of ships exploding in null security space almost reached 300 thousand for the first time since January 2022. The 297,582 ships players lost in November was the most in almost three years. Players still feel the effects of the Scarcity Era, but the 166,606,543 NPCs killed by players last month was the most since players destroyed over 205 thousand in October 2020.

Perhaps all the cynics are right. Perhaps in the long run Havoc will fail to attract and hold players interest. But so far the return of the expansion release schedule is rebuilding the player base after some questionable decisions by the upper management of CCP Games over the past few years. Hopefully players will continue to communicate their approval of the current direction of the game in the most EVE way possible: blowing each other up.

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