Let me share something about Eve content enablers that ties into the fleet warp changes that have me so worked up.
Science fiction is filled with the truly exceptional. Whether it’s the Mageborn in Melanie Rawn’s series, or the original 100 in Red/Green/Blue Mars, or mutants in X-Men, or the leroni in Darkover. Or the Starks in ASoIaF. And pretty generally, the key purpose of a group of outstanding individuals like this is to die.
Watching Star Wars as a kid, I remember the anxiety I felt not knowing if the Jedi were going to go extinct entirely. I was 18 when the prequel movies came out, and it wasn’t until I was 20 or 21 that I got to see the Jedi in action in Attack of the Clones (it pains me to even write that title, so bad…).
For, you see, the Jedi were truly skilled, capable of doing amazing things, with the ability to shape worlds. They were the best that universe had to offer, and they were a group you could get behind. In AotC and Revenge of the Sith, you got to see the Jedi in action, leading troops and accomplishing great things. The Clone Wars cartoon series showed more of their abilities. It made you really like the individual Jedi, even as you lost faith that the Jedi Order was worthy to be the defender of any society.
The details of the Clone Wars in the Star Wars universe really bothered me for a long time. You basically had droids and clones fighting it out – two of the most worthless groups of people in the universe. For me, I couldn’t care less about all the losses I saw on the screen. Nothing unique and valuable was being lost. Droids were walking pieces of garbage, and clones were grown from a vat for that very purpose, and had even been genetically modified to be mentally obedient. Death was, to me, a preferable state to a tendency towards slavish obedience. Besides, they could always grow more.
And then you got to see Order 66, and the way that all of the Jedi’s success was turned upside down. Almost as if the series was reconfirming that droids and clones were equally worthless, these completely replaceable clones were slaughtering thousands of these truly gifted, skilled, wise people. As the scenes cut from one execution to another, the sense that a shining light was going out across the galaxy was palpable. In that instant, all of the Jedi Order’s flaws faded to insignificance. Lesser being slaughtered the truly great.
It achieved, for me, everything the directors and writers could have hoped. They had successfully created a painful scene of greatness and worth being overcome by a tidal wave of meaninglessness. And to me, it lived up to the sentiment Order 66 was meant to convey. All I could think was that the loss of ten thousand clones was preferable to the loss of one Jedi. The halo of effect from one Jedi was wider and spread further.
In the Eve world, I am not a Jedi. I’m maybe a clone scout. The Jedi are the FCs, logistics pilots, CEOs, diplomats, intelligence agents, scouts, combat probers, and POS fuelers. The enablers and content creators are the Jedi. And while the fleet warp changes aren’t Order 66, I wonder how long they’re going to keep dealing with frustrations and obstacles that make their jobs harder. Some, surely, look on changes as a challenge to be overcome, but each person can only absorb so many of those “changes” before they start to question whether what they’re doing is fun anymore.
Every FC that leaves the game or stops creating content because the barriers are now unacceptably high is another fleet that doesn’t go out, and two fleets’ worth of content that is missing (incl. the fleet that would have otherwise engaged them). If that happens enough, with enough FCs not running as many or any fleets, content dries up.
Some will be replaced, of course. And that’s the key. How many clones are available doesn’t matter; what matters is how many new content enablers we gain and who stay with it. Are we net-gaining skill and activity levels, or net-losing? That’s the only factor that we should keep in mind.
I don’t have the answer to that, but I do know that as content enablers go, so goes the player login count. And I’m looking at that number very, very carefully. Less than 19,000 on a Sunday night is a very scary number.