That was a lot more than I expected! I closed the Great Big Wormhole Survey about 10 days ago with 833 total responses. I’ve pruned it down a little bit since to remove trolls and “click the same thing for everything” answers but there are still over 800 results to play with. It’s a hell of a lot of useful data but as you’ll see from the results below, they’re a little bit predictable.
I’m also going to provide a document with the full results at the Google Sheets link below. If you’re an expert at data analysis and can pull some more useful information out of this then contact me on Discord and I’ll get your analysis presented here in the article! Names and corps have been omitted from the public data. The names were for the giveaway and the corps give me an idea of which groups participated. There is no reason to publish those publically.
You will also notice some randomised values in there alongside the sentiment responses. This is randomised up between 0 and 1 below the selected value. I did this to create some better scatter plots which aren’t entirely defined to a grid which just hides all the responses on one single dot.
To start with, let’s go over the basic stats for each question, starting with corps! The top ten corps (by number of respondents) to answer the survey are below.
- Signal Cartel -35
- Foxholers – 34
- EVE Uni – 31
- Be Nice Inc. – 15
- Hard Knocks – 12
- Exit-Strategy – 11
- Drunk’n Privateers – 10
- Holesale – 10
- Black Hole Drifters – 10
- Out of Focus – 9
Where do people live in WH space?
- C1 – 1% (8)
- C2 – 24.5% (204)
- C3 – 3.7% (31)
- C4 – 29.9% (249)
- C5 – 8.6% (72)
- C6 – 4% (33)
- Thera – 2% (17)
- Nomadic – 7.8% (65)
- Does not live in a WH – 18.5% (154)
This pretty much follows the pattern I expected, though it really does highlight the lack of people living in C5/C6 space. It might also be that many of the high-class residents dislike me personally and refused to fill in my survey for that reason. If we take the results as they are, though, they do reflect what I have seen in wormhole space anecdotally. Most of the active PvP groups are living in C4s and C2s simply for the plentiful connections for more PvP. Living in a C1 or a C3 isn’t great because it means you rarely have reliable connections into the rest of wormhole space.
So why are C5 and C6 so… quiet? I could write a whole article on this but it seems like it’s down to a combo of Surgical Strike. FAX changes, and Triglavian ships existing. A Leshak (or Ikitursa) fleet still brings an unprecedented level of power to a brawl, especially when melting caps. Caps which now have much-reduced resists and in the case of FAXes, heavily reduced capacitors. You combine that with our typical brawl ships melting unless they have turbo bling/Amulet implants and you get an unhealthy wormhole brawl meta.
This topic itself is huge so I’ll limit myself for now and cover it in a later article, but the community isn’t particularly happy about how our brawls don’t happen any more. I remember being a line member in Lazerhawks back in 2015-16 and the usual fights were truly immense. You can catch a glimpse of it these days when your logi are on point or if you build for buffer, but heavy armour as a concept is a little bit dead. It’s troubling because we didn’t brawl over objectives like nullseccers do. We did it because it was our thing. Sadly, a proper brawl is difficult to come by these days.
What are the preferred statics?
Now this is an interesting one. Obvious very few people have a C1 static because they’re generally useless wormholes and are difficult to roll. I suspect C3s and C5s are common statics because they are both good farming classes for 300m+ ISK per hour. There is likely also a belief that C5 space still has lots of PvP which just doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. C4 space has always been seen as trash for PvE (due to site spawn distances) and anecdotally there is a bias against C4 residents historically. Based on home system data, though, maybe people would get more fights if they switched to a hole with a C4 static instead!
K-space is again what you’d expect. Few people care for lowsec with the vast regions of emptiness and awkward security standings. Highsec is popular as a trading/market route, and Nullsec is popular for roaming for content. These null static owners are likely the majority of C2 residents thanks to the power of the C2-NS/C5 wormhole. PvP content in null, PvE content and connections in the C5.
What do people use wormhole space for?
Here’s a fun one. These graphs represent from one to ten how much people use wormhole/wormhole space for particular activities. Starting with the obvious one is travel – everyone does it. I had to include it as it’s a valid thing to use a wormhole for, but yeah, very few people just use a wormhole nearby to them, they’ll scan and jump through multiple (or to different regions).
Industry is also kind of expected, but I’d say it’s much deeper than it appears. 47.7% of people do not do industry in wormholes at all, but what does that mean? That means that over 50% of players who responded have at least some level of industry presence in wormholes. Given that there are certainly easier places to run an industry setup, I’d say that’s overall pretty healthy. I expect that these values could go up in the future depending on the future of resource distribution and if wormhole moon ore becomes just that bit more valuable.
PvE/Hacking is super interesting, it’s all over the place. Looking more into it, I found that most of the high PvE responses were from C1/C3/Nomad/Non-wormholers and the lower PvE responses were C2/C4/C5/C6 space. Really what I suspect is happening here is that the PvPers in the latter selection of wormholes really do krab a lot, but they don’t want to say that they do. Shaming people for doing PvE instead of PvP has anecdotally been a thing for a very long time among PvP corps.
PvP ends up being a pretty representative graph. You’ve got a spike at the high end from people who are in wormholes for the classic PvP opportunities in and out of wormhole space. There is likewise a spike at 1 from the people who absolutely hate PvP/don’t want to do it at all. There are definitely some peaceful explorers out there and people who just want to make ISK. This is where things should be! I’ve always said that wormhole space needs both hunters and the prey. Shifting the concentration more towards the PvP end is also a good thing since it should highlight more corps willing to fight each other for fun. People who are less likely to just dock up and not engage with most of EVE’s PvP systems.
How do wormholers describe themselves?
This was a difficult question to get anything particularly useful from, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Almost 70% of respondents see themselves as a PvP player which correlates with what we saw in the usage graph above. Explorer and PvE are also very high, being two of the things which wormhole space is most well known for. Where I start to doubt this question, though, is with 40% of people being social and about 25% being solo players. They’re mutually exclusive and that doesn’t make 100% so it makes me wonder if people didn’t care to pick either, or if the average respondent was just a bit apathetic about being in a corp. Not solo players, but not people who want to actually speak to others a lot.
There weren’t many standouts from the “other” option other than a number of proud logi pilots (love ya!). I know at least one person says “I scream at my corp as a form of content” and someone who missed the point entirely and wrote “I might quit the game that’s why I’m switching corps” (?????).
I had some trouble getting Tableau to properly handle this comma-separated data so it falls into that bucket of info where there might be some interesting correlation with other metrics, but you’d need to be better at data analysis than I am!
Past vs present in wormhole space
With the time in wormholes questions, I started to see why a Pulse survey is commonplace at many large organisations. Extracting true temporal data out of people relating to past events is difficult and often rose-tinted with nostalgia. I also made a mistake with the survey in the first place where people did not have an option of not answering. This led to people picking 5 when they otherwise would not have answered the 1-2 years ago question.
Fortunately, it is possible to remove that spike at 5 by eliminating the people who have been in wormholes for less than 1 year when viewing the data. This creates a bit of a mixed bag of results as before, but with enjoyment overall on the up. I tried filtering this data based on PvP/PvE preference as well as home systems, even eliminating all people who don’t live in a wormhole. No matter what you change, the sentiment of past vs present is relatively positive, despite people being upset by the Surgical Strike and FAX changes. Wormholes are still wormholes and they haven’t truly undergone anything that breaks them entirely, yet.
There was a text-based answer to go alongside this question where I asked people to explain their answers. I’ve had a bit of a read through and it seems that the most common thing to pop up is (surprise) Surgical Strike. The FAX changes are also commonly mentioned. There are about 100 responses mentioning either the words “surgical”, “resist”, or “FAX” with a negative sentiment. Out of 535 people who wrote in that box and 423 people who have lived in wormholes for 2 years or more, that’s pretty significant.
Are people confident in CCP handling wormholes?
No, not really as it turns out. I kind of expected this, but there are a good few people with a low opinion on CCP and a good few people who don’t really care at all. Almost nobody actually feels CCP is handling wormholes super well. Is this just a wormhole thing, though? Is it even just an EVE thing? With a game this old and with so many hundreds of systems in it you can likely ask any group of people what they think about how their developer develops the game. Just take a look at Blizzard/WoW or at Grinding Gear Games/PoE to name two examples. The forums/Reddit for those games can sometimes echo what we see on r/eve with the salt flying everywhere.
The real question we should be asking is “what does it take to get people to change their mindset here?” It’s something I should have asked in the survey, but I instead asked people to explain their score. Most people said that CCP are not aware of how wormholes work or that they simply don’t understand wormholers and wormhole space. Honestly, I agree with that sentiment. There are specific people at CCP whom I know understand wormholes and the community well, but that’s not everyone by any means. I don’t blame them, it’s an esoteric bit of space and we want really weird stuff compared to the rest of EVE.
So what will it take? Knowledge and understanding. This is why it’s so important to have someone on the CSM who understands wormholes and can be the person to always say “what about wormhole space?” to any changes that are proposed. I recommend even if you are a nullseccer that you place a vote on your ballot for Teddy Gbyc and Mark Resurrectus.
As a side note, you get a slight negative correlation of confidence in CCP vs Years in WH Space. I see you, bittervets 👀
Sentiment towards various wormhole mechanics
Ok there’s a lot to talk about here. I also went ahead and performed some analysis on the correlation between various different numeric values and created a matrix. This is where you can start to see patterns of “if someone likes this, they also probably like this” and the opposite. I should note that positive numbers in the matrix do not mean that people like those activities, merely that the closer you get to 1, the more well correlated the data is. Let’s go through the standard survey responses one by one anyway:
Overall positive. People like sites that are difficult but with great payouts for Capsuleers who can complete them. Hell, I can see how popular they are thanks to my How 2 Krab guides. The only thing stopping this from being higher might be that C4 sites suck and that C5/6 escalations aren’t as complex as they used to be. Throw some of that new spicy AI into wormhole space to shake things up. That’d be fun.
No Local Chat
People love having no local chat. If this ever changes then frogs will fall from the sky and everything will burn. What else can I say? The people who marked this super low are (for the most part) people who say they love PvE and most of them are very new to the game. They feel like a different breed of player that should probably stick to another area of space.
Controversial! We’ve got people who love them and people who hate them. There are even comments running through most of my free text boxes talking about their hatred of frig holes. My belief is that people have either been saved or been burned by them. People who like running evictions hate the fact that defenders can get back in. People who have been evicted like the fact that you CAN get friends in for a (bigger) and better fight. I just can’t prove that with data… I personally like frig holes anyway but I’m not sure what I would do to keep both sides happy. Should we even try to please everyone?
Lack of Asset Safety
Another clear-cut answer. People like not having asset safety. It makes living in wormhole space a real risk, and it makes things quite lucrative for attackers. If it were my choice this would be how every structure operates. It just feels more realistic to not be able to instantly teleport everything away to somewhere else.
Wormhole System Effects
People like system effects, though not to the same extremes as other values that we’ve seen already. At the very least there are extremely few people who actively dislike system effects. Perhaps this could be leveraged. Do some more with system effects to enhance wormhole space for the modern age. We’ve had the same effects around for a long time, how about some storms?
Wormhole Time Limits
Yet again a positive one. People like wormholes being transient like they are right now. Whether that means that everyone is perfectly happy with the exact times is another story and is not reflected in the data. I personally think that this is an avenue that CCP can explore to shake up wormhole space as long as they are careful. Make things unpredictable but not to the point where it feels unfair or makes people more risk averse.
Randomness of Wormhole Connections
This is pretty much why people live in and use wormhole space. It falls into the bucket of things that should not be changed about wormholes. I can’t really say much else other than that this is great.
Similar to system effects, these are another anomaly of wormhole space and another one that people don’t really dislike. They just sort of exist and they’re pretty damn cool. if anything this serves as further proof that players really do like the mysterious nature of wormholes.
The Current Eviction Meta
Mostly negative responses here with a significant spike of people who don’t really care either way. Really, it’s spread across the board anyway and is a controversial topic. I suspect that many of the people who dislike the eviction meta right now might be disliking evictions in general which is understandable. What’s more interesting is the next question.
Doorstopping is the act of holding a cloaked higgs battleship on the opposite side of a wormhole. When you see a hostile fleet approach or a scanner jumps out you instantly close the wormhole. There is no real counterplay and the people doorstopping must stare at their computer screens doing nothing for 4+ hours at a time without a break. The wormhole community loves this though so what can I say? I think I’m a bit out of touch here if doorstopping is a fun mechanic.
Wormhole Rolling/Mass Limits
Much like wormhole timers this is very positive and is one of things that people live in wormhole space for. You have to be extremely careful whenever you touch the mass limits on a wormhole, though I do think that there could be some more randomness here than already exists. If there was more of a variance in mass than 10% either way (maybe 50% either way?) with some semi-unreliable scanning tools (like the Ship Scanner) to help determine the amount left. Now THAT would be cool.
Log Off Freighters
It turns out that people kind of like log off freighters which strikes me as odd. They like not having the safety, but they have safety anyway in the form of their freighters. Maybe this is something of a “asset safety is good if you prep for it” or “I like having asset safety if my opponents might not”. It’s at least a bit controversial at least so we should probably be talking a bit more about how healthy they are for wormhole space. Also notably, there is a spike at 5 here of people who don’t really care.
Reliance on Out of Game Mapping
Another huge topic that I can’t really cover in just a paragraph. This is an incredibly controversial result with nobody agreeing at all on if us requiring out-of-game tools for day-to-day operations is a good thing or not. Yes, it helps things remain mysterious, but we have to consider the idea of wormhole mapping to be solved. There are a few mappers out there to choose from and they all have slightly different features, but they all do the same thing. Should there be a first-party in-game option instead that can better leverage the tools available to a player? Capsuleers are 23,000 years in the future with so much advanced tech and they can’t manage a temporary map. Hmmm.
I’ll end things here and let the data speak for itself for the most part. It was a lot of work to go through this and I’m not yet done so expect a part 2 with deeper learnings from the data when I get the time to do so. If anyone else can help me with that then I’d appreciate it.