Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Incarna - Show Me The Metrics!

Well, Incarna has arrived, and all is not well in New Eden. Apart from the usual patch issues, some of them infuriating (my current favorite: the preferences folder location on the Mac was changed without notice and hard-coded, so running multiple clients is messed up -- and this was not fixed despite being reported weeks ago!), we have all the :rage: about Incarna and the new Noble Exchange.

While I believe that in the long run, Incarna will be a positive addition to EVE, it's gotten off to a very rocky start. The Captain's Quarters are a resource hog, the character quality doesn't even come close to what you see in the character portraits, and it doesn't add any gameplay. The net result is that a lot of people have been turning it off -- in particular, people running multiple clients (which I would be doing if it wasn't for the fact that I use the Mac client!). And note: the ability to disable the CQ is temporary -- as soon as performance is deemed adequate, it is likely that usage will be enforced.

One positive change that hasn't been getting a lot of attention: the NPE is significantly improved. I'm pleased about this since the CSM (and me in particular) have been pointing out that improving noob retention is a huge win. CSM got a big report on these improvements at the summit, and this will be detailed in the upcoming minutes (current status: 3rd draft, probably out by end of month).

The other big controversy is :monocle-gate: -- the insanely high prices for the few items introduced in the new Noble Exchange MT store. While I'm pleased that CCP has made clothing being worn indestructible (I argued at the summit that this would increase uptake, since it's a pain to constantly have to take off your monocle when undocking, lest you be podded and lose it), CCP seems to think that this makes these items more valuable than their real-life counterparts. Umm, no. I certainly think you can charge more for an indestructible vanity item than for one that can be blown up, but $70 for a monocle?

Needless to say, CSM was not consulted on the issue of monocle pricing.

Looking at the business consequences of Incarna, it will be interesting to see if CCP is fearless enough to go looking at metrics that might disconfirm their impression that Incarna is as wonderful as two blondes on a waterbed (I do not want to even speculate on the Aurum price of such a micro-transaction).

Two that I think will be very interesting are:

* What percentage of people who have logged in and experienced the CQ have turned it off?

* Has the introduction of the Noble Exchange increased sales of Game Time Cards, both on an overall basis, and in terms of GTCs bought per active character? Because if it hasn't, then it doesn't matter how many monocles you're selling, it's just moving the money from one pocket to another.

CSM has asked CCP to gather these metrics and tell us what they are. Whether or not they do so is, of course, a very compelling metric in its own right.


  1. I'd love to see the stats on the # of people who have audio off and the # of people who have CQ off. Personally I think CQ is the new EVE Audio.

  2. I'd like to add more precision to your metrics. It would be interesting to know after a while, how many people are actually using CQ interface - i.e., how many have no problems to run it from performance side, but actually just have old windows opened from Neocom and doing casual business. Not running around in circles, not sitting on that prison couch, etc.

  3. At this moment, my sales are the same as they were last week.

  4. @Diana: I assume you sell GTCs?

  5. Nice blog. I think CQ looks good considering it's CCP's first go at it. Unfortunately I hardly ever use less then 2 accounts at the time, and had to turn it off. If CCP had only made going to CQ an option from the hangar (after docking) and not mandatory, I would be able to chose when to disembark and with wich character. That would also truely help with immersion, giving the pilot the choice when it is apropriate to leave the pod. Cause at least 80% of the times I dock, I undock again after a few minutes and then the whole going to CQ part just seemes pointless and ruins any feeling of immersion.

    Some mechanic should be in place so you could chose where to end up when docking. In your ship like the good old days, or on the balcony. And while being docked you should always have the option to move between those places ("disembark"/"return to ship" buttons)

    And when it comes to the Noble Exchange, that was just silly... It was fun playing with it on the test server, but unless prices are by atleast 80% then I'll be content to limit myself to the Quafe shirts I got from my trip to fanfest...

  6. Well, I think recent events just made all this rather irrelevant

  7. I actually think the items should be destructible but only if you can purchase blueprints in the NeX and the items themselves are relatively cheap. Also, the only place you can purchase the blueprints are specific places in High Sec. What they really need to do is to release a "designer tool" that allows the playerbase to create custom items to be sold with their specific mark on them. This way, a corporation in lowsec or 0.0 can manufacture one of a kind monocles that people will spend lots of ISK for. Until the market ceases to be artificial, these high prices are a rip-off.