You know how they say people go to the internet to find people they agree with? I always try to find some dissenting voices – if those voices can clearly communicate. Tobold, Keen (not Graev, since I agree with him 99% of the time) and Syncaine tend to do the best job that I’ve seen so far. Just to be clear, I don’t always disagree with them, just more often than not. I would say that the common thread for all three is that they are incredibly nostalgic and unlikely to take change well. Plus they are much more meta about gaming than I am. I also think that’s why they get so many people posting on their topics, since they tend to take a very different approach than most.
Take Syncaine’s post about the problems of depth. Read through the comments a bit to find that while the concept of the post is sound, the arguments used within are less so. If Syncaine is the target demographic for PvP and has 3 accounts, is that the baseline we should assume? PvP doesn’t run the economy as ISK needs to come from somewhere – and that is PvE. Sort of how in WoW nearly all money in the system is now generated from Daily Quests. EvE is a success story in marketing and development for being able to keep so many people active. It is not a success story to show that a new game today should have the same amount of depth. If EvE were to launch today as it did back in the day, it would fail. Not a question. Others have tried with the same model, minus the community, and have all failed. Worse than the PvE ones.
Game succeed and fail for dozens of reasons in terms of gameplay but they all fail because they don’t have enough money to keep the doors open. No matter how good your game is, no matter how deep it is, you need people to play it. People who are willing to invest in a game, PvE or PvP or Sandbox combination, are invested in their current game. There aren’t 500K people out there who are willing to subscribe to a game long term because they are already subscribed to another game out there. Developers need to aim smaller, much smaller and build from that point.