EVE Online players will know this by now, but “Blackout” was chaotic and fun. The forced removal of instantly updated chat channels in the most populous regions of the game sewed plenty of PvP and market chaos, leading to a lot of fallout, some of it wasn’t so good though. Despite a reduction in botting and a removal of significant ISK generation from the game, this change had a major negative impact, so CCP is rolling it back.
And based on the player reactions to other changes in the so-called “Chaos Era”, it may be that this rollback is the first of many. CCP originally introduced the NullSec blackout, or removal of instant local chat listings, a couple of months ago as part of the Triglavian storyline currently unfolding in-game, and it sure caused some chaos. The loss of instant notification of new threats threw NullSec power blocs into chaos, destroying a significant feeling of safety granted by their used bots designed to scrape intel channels for new threats. Now granted, not all NullSec alliances use such tools, but even the average player could feel the threat this change posed. Hunters rejoiced though, having much more freedom to target PvE players made for a lot more content. Supercapitals, major mining operations and solo ratters died by the hundreds in New Eden.
Player numbers took a dive though, there’s no doubting that. It’s mostly attributed to the fact that PvE accounts are far easier to scale than PvP accounts, so people unsubscribed PvE accounts in an era where their utility was massively reduced. After all, ratting ships are expensive, and the massively increased risk of fielding them led many players to decide the ISK investment wasn’t worth it, so player logins dipped. CCP tried to stave off these drops with login bonuses and events, but once those ended, the effect of blackout was too obvious to ignore.
When the average peaks for concurrently logged in users topped out above 30,000 throughout 2018, the month of September 2019 has seen a marked decline in user numbers to the point that the average PCU has dropped to below 25,000. For context, the PCU numbers during the hayday of EVE Online was more than double that 30.000 mark.
So all in all, the admittance that the change, despite good intentions for the economic health of the game, was a bad one is a good thing. It shows that CCP is willing to address issues as the players see them, I just hope they don’t abandon these shakeups in the future, as change is still sorely needed.