Eve Media / MetaIf it wasn't for the Eve meta, I think it's a lot more likely that I would have drifted away from the game in a more permanent way. That includes CCP run events like the Alliance Tournament, which had me tuning in to watch the matches as well as inspiring me to log in. Sure, the AT is very different from what you actually see on Tranquility, and whether or not TQ should shift to bring more of that structured PVP feel in is a huge topic if of itself. In listening to podcasts and reading blogs about what it's like to be in the AT I notice that people mention having to adjust to being back on TQ. With Thunderdome now in existence, I almost wonder if some of them might prefer to not come back, but keep playing the structured game long term.
The player-run meta (and media) also helps to keep me engaged with the game and paying my subscription. Threads on reddit can be news-breaking, but it's the longer and more thoughtful articles in blogs and Eve media sites that I spent a lot more time with. That is an interesting thought because we're potentially seeing some shifts there with the loss of gambling-driven funding for Eve media sites, and I hear rumor that CCP is considering changing the current Fansite policy. (For those who aren't aware, CCP offers gametime or PLEX to those on the approved Fansite list.) Harmonizing those two areas seems to make sense: an Eve media site is essentially a multi-author blog site, but currently both receive the same benefit. Would it make sense for CCP to offer the rewards based on content authorship instead? I'm sure there is much to be said there. I think most folks agree that CCP gets a lot of value in terms of player engagement and retention through player content creation, the question is just how to incentivize that.
New OpportunitiesI've been in Factional Warfare for a little more than two years now. Some players have spent a lot longer, or even lengthy entire careers here. For me, that's not quite half my time in Eve, and the balance is split between a newbie period and highsec and being a general low sec ne'er do well. Right now in Gal/Cal we're back in a place were the Caldari are pretty stomped and content is more about our corp/alliance versus "pirate" lowsec or slumming nullsec'rs. That's not particularly inspiring to the whole concept of FW, though it has meant fights that can range from T3Ds to AHACs to Battleships lately.
There's a lot more in Eve I could try out, though. Wormholes don't sound like they're in a great place right now in terms of player corp balance, and they don't seem to fit with a more limited playtime scenario. On the other hand I hear positive things from people in nullsec - perhaps the best state that nullsec has been in for years and years.
Old Secondary ActivitiesI've dabbled in industry, trade, and most recently PI - none of which terribly lucratively. I wrote an article on PVE for Crossing Zebras, and I've been quite happy with the positive feedback I've gotten on it. I won't repeat that here, but I'll add that I'm sometimes torn between the feeling that logging in to flip indy or PI jobs keeps me with the game, or the feeling that it's keeping me from doing more exciting things that would fire me up more. Sure, if I only have 15 minutes before I have to make supper for the kids then that's not going to be a solo PVP roam, but it's also possible to sit down at the computer and realize that 60 minutes later I haven't really done much in Eve but push some things around. The need for ISK is certainly tied into this and I continue to think that the desire to fly (and thus afford) a capital ship may not be beneficial to my overall Eve experience.
New PlayersThe coming change that I'm most interested in is to find out what Alpha Clones really mean for the game. I've heard wildly varying expectations of what it will mean on launch day or three months from launch day. I'm a bit worried that a lot of the value for us Omegas is that there will be lots of new players wandering into lowsec. That might provide killmails, but maybe not so much good fights or retained players. There's no real way to know and I'm sure that lots of people in Iceland and beyond will be sitting on the edge of their metaphorical chairs to find out.
My killboard stats may not show the number of times I've flown logi in fleet fights (not my favorite thing to do, but I am seeing more and more why people really enjoy it), and killboards are a limited way to measure activity, but I think I'll only really feel like I'm engaged with Eve again when I get back up to at least 50 kills a month. Maybe less if I get back to doing more solo, of course. Many of the blogs that I really am impressed by talk about having goals, and I need to set myself some new ones. I just need to find the right spark to do so with...