While I think that EvE is a good benchmark for PvP sandbox games, I have the underlying impression that it’s painting itself into a corner. To be noted, I feel the same way about WoW, though MoP was quite a break from the mess of Cataclysm.
If you follow EvE you likely follow Jester’s blog. Prolific blogger is only the tip of the iceberg. Of interest is a recent post on the current state of the game at the macro and micro levels. A long but educating read for sure.
The thing about WoW is that while the game still caters to hardcore raiders, over the years, the game has expanded to attract more player styles. The devs are the ones holding the real controls of the game as the cart can only follow the rails with a themepark. If you don’t like the game, you have one throat to choke.
EvE on the other hand is a different beast, where the devs are only able to provide tools and modest controls. While CCP might want the game to go in a certain direction, they cannot force null-sec to change unless they bring massive changes to the game structure -at great risk of pushing long time gamers out completely. For a game that presents itself as a PvP game, there’s remarkably little of it outside of ganking – with the odd large battles occurring from time to time. In fact, the massive battle a few weeks back was looked upon with derision since it essentially happened by accident and was fought over nothing.
EvE is at a point where the game isn’t about spaceships and moons and travel. It’s about backdoor deals, scams, trades, alliances and stalemates. It’s like there are two completely different games in EvE. The starter experience is the complete opposite of the latter end. And you can’t even bother entering the 2nd part of the game if you aren’t willing to make ridiculous sacrifices along the road. And the joke is that CCP has stated multiple times that the people in high-sec are funding the null-sec playstyle, essentially the sheep are funding the wolves.
My concern isn’t with the game today, it’s with the direction of the game today. Null-sec is moving towards larger, slower alliances with no middle or small alliances. New players are put into a spot of eternal ganking or subservience to the large alliances to see anything outside of high-sec. There’s no middle ground left. The worst part isn’t that CCP is ignoring this – they are not – it’s that the people with the real control, the low-sec alliances, don’t see a problem in the first place.