This post has some relation to this post over on MinerBumping.com, so you might want to go read it first. Then come back.

Engagement is the key to success for Eve Online. I've always believed that and have been preaching it from this pulpit for almost five years now. Getting new players engaged is the critical piece of long-term success for Eve. This is not a surprise.

Since last May I've been hard at work building an engagement system in Eve, most commonly referred to as a Corporation. Since May over 200 pilots have responded and joined Stay Frosty. Applications are open and anyone can join. We have no rules about staying and some people come and go freely. Right now we are hovering at the 170 member mark and hope to reach about 200 in the next few months. That has always been our goal.

Running a large corporation is a lot different than running a smaller corporation, in many ways. But one trend that I've noticed involves engagement. Over 90% of the pilots that leave Stay Frosty never even bothered to register on our forums. Which means they missed out on an extremely vibrant, helpful and engaging part of being in our Corporation. It also means they never registered for Comms, since those two things are tied together.

So for a Corporation whose entire purpose is engagement, we are missing out on engaging a small percentage of those pilots coming to us to be engaged. Make sense? I mean, in the overall picture, we are talking about a very small percentage of players - not many people leave Stay Frosty. But it is something that I've noticed.

In the larger picture, if WE are having issues engaging pilots, imagine what Eve must be experiencing on the larger front. Players coming to play with SF are certainly not "normal" players, so I can only assume even worse retention numbers for Eve as a whole.

This is, as I've said before, one of the biggest challenges Eve faces moving forward. And, I believe, it is critical for its long-term success. Something I am rather keenly interested in. As I'd like to continue playing Eve for a long-time to come.

All I can do is continue to try to engage players from my small corner of the Universe. And in 2014 I would like to dedicate myself to upping my own game in this regard. More events, more posts, more people joining Stay Frosty, more engagement of our victims, more of more. Whatever I can personally do to help engage a larger percentage of players, to show them the true nature of Eve, I will try to do.

Isolation is not engagement. Community is. Whatever sense of community helps you stay engaged, a blog, a corp, an alliance, whatever it is, eve is full of it. It is a rather vibrant and amazing place when you jump in. But playing alone on your corner of the sandbox is nothing more than a recipe for boredom and eventually boredom leads to failure.

I've seen it over and over again.

I'll continue to do my part. But I'm only one wittle dood.


  1. You've got a lot of good points here. I'm on a slightly different camp as to what gets people to feel engaged, in that it's teaching players to do things on their own. I think that hosting and offering events is a terrific thing to do, but I've found in my training corporation that people will continue to be spoon fed if you let them.

    Perhaps EVE Online will never be able to break out of its current style, where the majority of players don't get involved. Whether that's a symptom of EVE Online or gamers, I couldn't say.

    1. I never meant to imply that one style of "engagement" is better or worse than another. In fact, I fully support the individual finding the type of engagement that works for them. All I do know, from experience in over five years of playing and being involved, is that lack of any engagement leads to failure. Failure being measured by unsubs or inactives.

  2. So... you, and that drooling idiot over at MB.com (yes that was intentionally rude), feel there is NO PLACE in the sandbox for solo play? Either join a corp and engage or you WILL quit? Really?

    Look, I agree EvE is not a PvE game, the PvE sux... quite possibly on purpose, because EvE is a PvP game at it's heart and the PvE is really there to support the PvP... right? But EvE is also a sandbox of amazing proportions... the sheer number of things one can do... be engaged with... is astounding to me.

    And, how does it profit us, or CCP, to limit the number of players in the game? Tell me how this is a good thing? HTFU? Too bad, EVE is a niche game and that's that? EVE aint WoW?

    I will NEVER argue to nerf PvP or to make EvE safer or easier than it is right now... but that doesn't mean we have to limit ourselves, that CCP has to limit this amazing sandbox in ANY direction either.

    1. Goodness knows I don't want to limit Eve. And no, I do not think Solo play is necessarily NOT being engaged. Engagement varies by individual, my point is much more general than that. But the truth is the truth, non-engaged players quit playing. I see it all the time and I'm sure you do as well.

      Whatever form that engagement takes, it is important to get it as soon as possible and keep it going.

      You've been reading this blog long enough to know the answers to those questions and my own feelings when it comes to these issues.

    2. http://www.academia.edu/4696798/Spoilt_for_choice_The_role_of_counterfactual_thinking_in_the_excess_choice_and_reversibility_paradoxes

      ^^ Actually, "limiting" the sandbox, at least in the beginning stages, may be exactly what EVE needs.

      Think about it, think back to being a BRAND new EVE player. Not your latest alt, go back to your very first main.
      If you were smart and lucky, you did some research, figured out the basic "core" skills you needed, maybe a helpful soul in your NPC starter corp gave you some friendly advice on skilling or a "career path".
      Other than that, what did you have? A daunting list of ships and skillbooks, and a pretty shitty bunch of tutorials and "career" missions that still didn't really do a good job of explaining how the whole game works, let alone the intricacies of each individual potential "general area" and "specialty".
      Then, you're booted out on your own with a frigate/destroyer, maybe an industrial or barge, and off you go.
      "To what?"
      "Well, that's up to you. You can do a billion things in EVE if you spend enough time training skills and all."
      "But which do I do?"
      "Only you know that."

      Now, oppose that beginning to any theme-parked WoW-clone MMO out there.
      "Do you want to be the 'good guys' or the 'bad guys'?
      Which do you want to be: a warrior, mage, healer, or hunter/ranger?
      Great, here's your starting area, oh, and here's an NPC to walk you through all the essential functions for your character. Just keep warrioring/mage-ing/healing/hunting and you'll level up. You might have to pick from skills in diff skill trees eventually, but by the time you do you'll have enough grasp of the game to do that just fine on your own."

      Now, if you're used to the latter, and you join EVE and are surprised with the former -- is it any surprise that without serious "engagement" from an active NPC corp like CAS, or joining E-Uni, OUCH, Agony, etc, is it ANY surprise that people would go "Wow, this is so confusing, it sucks, I quit"??? Especially if mechanics that they didn't even know existed, let alone that require some actual study and pondering to fully grasp, are the cause of an "unfortunate incident" for them. Ragequit, here we come.

      Add to that the fact that outside E-Uni, OUCH, or Agony, most player-corps want you to be skilled and proficient at _something_ before accepting your app. Kinda hard to do that on your own without any assistance or advice, right?

      So as-is, right out of the box, EVE is pretty biased to being a confusing, overwhelming experience for a new player, one that is only accessible or fun for those of us who have tenacity and temerity, and climbed the "Learning Cliff O' Doom".

      I don't think the "main body" of EVE should be limited, but I think the options at the beginning should be presented in a more clear and concise fashion that may be a little more "common sense" and "mainstream" to new players, and the "beginning skills" and mechanics laid out in a better, more understandable format. I think the New Player Training sessions are a good start, but there needs to be a lot more of them, and perhaps the Devs should orchestrate and supervise the sessions, but leave the actual training to players who're clearly acknowledged as knowledgeable in the fields they wish to teach.
      Everybody knows that with the exception of Rise and Fozzie, Devs don't play EVE except for the occasional derpfleet. ;-)