Exit Stage Left

Kirith Kodachi has a post up about the stagnation of Null Sec (for those who haven’t climbed EVE’s learning cliff, that is basically the wilderness area for large scale pvp). Its not the first time he has written about it, and it is something that is of interest to the rest of the MMO community as a sort of object lesson.

Basically, the game has been around long enough that the wars and mergers have created a survival of the fittest, and so there are only a few large stable alliances left that control all the area. This means there are some few spectacular large battles (which occasionally make the news), and some skirmishes here and there, but more often that not, its business as usual and something akin to a cold war. I say this is an object lesson because this is the kind of thing that pure PvP games (like Camelot Unchained) need to be paying close attention to and devise mechanics to battle against in the future.

At least that is my two cents. The grand large scale pvp of EVE is fascinating to watch, but its about as hard core as it gets for a game, and so while I follow the news with interest, I know its outside the scope of my participation, and I suspect that is true for a great number of gamers. EVE has succeeded in creating a core of deeply invested players (which is good) and also managed to segregate its playground in a fairly significant fashion (not sure if that is good or not, but my gut reaction is that I don’t like it).

CFC/Goonswarm is usually the most well known of these groups in Null Sec, but they are certainly not the only long term alliance around. They are though, the most successful and control a very sizable chunk of the territory. And I have had a theory for some time that I thought I was not the only one to hold. But nobody else that I have seen has mentioned it thus far, so I wanted to toss it out there. But first, some background information.

I know that the Goons have a great interest in Star Citizen – this was made abundantly clear as a threat when the World of Tanks campaigns started and some of the mechanics caused an uproar in the forums, along with the threat to leave WoT and go do something else. Along the way a huge thread opened about this very topic, and before a few pages had gone by, Star Citizen was brought up, and then lifetime insurance sales started (only existing long term backers can provide this to new backers…or could for a while, the whole thing may be done now). Interestingly enough, all the heavily invested Star Citizen players were also Goons. And by heavily invested I mean pledges to the game along the lines of $250 to $1000 and sometimes more.

I tell you this because it just gave some anecdotal evidence to my theory, which was simply this: I have always believed that at some unspecified point, when the EVE metagame got boring to the Mittani and the rest of the crew, they would simply pack up and leave. And I figured this would probably happen while they were on top. And I figured it would happen in typical Goon fashion: by causing the most chaos and tears possible in the process.

One day most of null sec is locked down and alliances are rolling and renters are renting, and then the next day, everyone wakes up and…its all gone. Towers are down, claims are open, alliances and corps are disbanded, trillions and trillions of ISK worth of minerals, items, and ships are locked in stations forever…

And then there are the secondary repercussions. Sure at first the other alliances will scramble for space, but the implications for what this mass withdrawal might do the economy of the game are interesting to ponder. What happens to mineral and ship prices? Are there enough pilots and alliances left to take all that territory? Will we still see fights involving thousands of unique accounts? Or will the vacuum cause an implosion and some fundamental changes in the way the game works, feels, and plays?

And what might be the impact to the out of game economy – what does CCP stand to lose in such a move? What if what started years ago in a move to bring down a player corp would end in a metagame that brought down a real life corp, or at least rocked its world financially?

Anyway, the final pondering here is that the EVE playerbase should be careful what it wishes for. Yes, Null Sec is stagnant. But now that it is there, be careful what you wish for. Because if you wish it gone, it may just happen in spectacular fashion, and in a way that might just impact the entirety of the playerbase.

Of course, you can tell me to take off my tin foil hat, and go back to the games I play and leave EVE alone. And there would be merit in that. But you can’t tell me the Goons wouldn’t absolutely love every minute of it if things went down this way. And I dare you to write a final act for that alliance that is in any way more fitting than this one.

And if it does happen this way? Christ Roberts, beware!

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