Sunday, 12 January 2014

Blog Banter 52: Living Space

So this blog banter involves analysis of a chart.

Be still my inquisitive heart!

For the past four and a half years, the graph has hovered around that 30,000 mark; it is, for all intents and purposes, a plateau. But everything must come to an end sooner or later and that is what this blog banter is about.

What's on the other side of that plateau? 

Is there any path for CCP to follow to raise those numbers upwards for a sustained period, or is EVE going to enter a decline to lower logged in numbers from this point? How soon will we see an end to this plateau? Months? Years? Or will you argue that 'never' is a possibility? Or you can look at the root causes of the plateau and tackle the question if it could have been avoided or shortened if CCP had taken different actions in the past. 

Also, what would EVE be like with an order of magnitude fewer or more players?

Living space

Most of the participants in the banter have reached the conclusion that seems obvious to anyone of a marketing mind. They look at it as a supply and demand problem of capsuleers. My trade servant would interpret it the same way too.

I, despite dealing with such matters on a daily basis, look at it in another fashion. It'll probably be completely wrong, but if you take into account the current plan for development, it might seem to make sense.. Let us talk of living space.

New Eden is a closed system.

Despite our attempts at colonization of wormholes, the cluster as we know it roughly the same size as it was all those years ago, when the first human emerged from the Eve Gate. Humanity spread to all parts of the cluster. The first capsuleer then emerged from the chaotic mass of humanity, and they, in turn, spread across the cluster.

Which is why the graph has flattened out.

Populations rise when there is an abundance of resources in comparison to the populations needs. Once the population increases to meet the availability of resources, it naturally starts to plateau. Put simply there isn't enough space for it to grow anymore.

Capsuleers have grown bigger than New Eden.

I know most of you are reaching for your keyboards to talk about the vast tracks of uninhabited null security space. You are quite correct. However, due to the lack of protection in null-sec, that space can only support a certain amount of capsuleers. The losses in ships and structures required to live in null-sec means that, despite the abundance of resources, the current population is all it can support. The accessibility of resources restrict growth here, as it does in Low-sec and wormhole space.

This is population equilibrium.

Whilst some capsuleers rise to power, others are forced into decline. Titans of industry will inevitably lose interest in manufacture, leaving space for others to grow. The new capsuleers, in their infancy, are often strangled by the competition. Most of you have seen this... friends falling to a indefinite sleep, minds dulled by the daily grind to survive. Young capsuleers bio-massed before they can come to terms with the struggle.

Yes, there are more resources out there. Wormholes and null sec systems go unexploited. But the number of capsuleers eager to work in these areas are already at maximum.

New Eden is at it's capsuleer limit. What can the various councils and space developers do?

New space.

Now you might understand why the proposed changes in technology are necessary. The Empires can feel the capsuleers claustrophobic battles with each other over the hotly contested resources of the cluster. The promised 'race for prestige' of building the first capsuleer gate is little more than a distraction, keeping capsuleers happy until they can spill out into new worlds, and slake their ravenous appetites for ISK and ore, far away from civilization.

Which brings me to another point.

Populations only grow when they are secure enough to do so. If you want a population increase, you must either increase resources, or reduce the rate at which resources are consumed. Or lost.

If CONCORD had it in their mind to increase the borders of protected space, I would predict another increase in population... at least for a while. Too much safety prompts stagnation and decay. Chaos in null sec and low sec is the stirring current that keeps New Eden alive.

New space, with a different set of laws, can maintain this chaos, whilst providing more safely harvested resources.

So what would New Eden look like with more capsuleers?

Depends on the living space. More capsuleers in current New Eden would see space ablaze with fiery wrecks, as desperate capsuleers feuded over shortening resources. Eventually those immortals unable or unwilling to compete would join the Sleepers in their quiet stations, rarely waking. And the population will decline.

So there's a slightly different way to look at the issue, if indeed it is an issue. If I'm correct, New Eden's capsuleer population will experience steady growth followed by another plateau once the first jump gates are created.

In the mean time, too much stability can lead to stagnation... just look at the Jovians. Go and try something chaotic today. Stir the alchemical pot of New Eden a little.

For other thoughts on it, have a look here.


  1. Interesting take on the blog banter, nice read :).

  2. Interesting point of view. You've actually described the Dynamic Landscapes idea I've been proposing for the last five years to CCP :)