Monday, January 7, 2013

Response and its Murky Future: Update on the Static DED Complexs

I thank CCP for delivering a response. It is not the response that I wanted. At its core it is the response that I expected.  I am thankful that it contains seeds to become the response that we are looking for.

CCP Fozzie bit the bullet to enter the swirling 15 page thread of focused pirate attention and start off page 16 with his response.

#301 Posted: 2013.01.07 10:53
Sorry for the delayed reply folks. CCP Bettik is the man with the plan on pve complexes and he was gone on vacation then came down sick. The rest of us on the team had a good idea of the thought process here and had a chance to go over a bit of it with the CSM before the holidays but we wanted to wait until we went over it thoroughly with Bettik before making the public post.
The good news is that I've now had a chance to touch base with Bettik and go over the situation.
Back in the day when most of the DED complexes were moved from static spawns to the exploration system, the 1/10 and 2/10 plexes were left static because it was thought that leaving them accessible for people who had not yet learned how to probe would benefit new players. A happy side effect of that decision (that most of you are very familiar with) was that the lowsec plexes became geographical landmarks that give people a location to fight over to a certain extent.
However during this last release we went over some of the available data to look at how the 1/10 and 2/10 plexes were serving their various purposes. Our metrics made clear that they were not living up to their primary purpose as interesting pve content, with the majority of the completions performed by the same small group of experienced players, some of which were clearly farming the content. The decision was made that special casing these plexes from the rest of the DED system was no longer worth it, and that the content would serve its primary purpose much better and to a much wider variety of people as exploration content.
This of course meant losing some of the interesting and positive gameplay associated with the 1/10 and 2/10 plexes, just as the old removal of the 6/10, 8/10 and 10/10 statics removed interesting gameplay in its time. However with hindsight it's fairly clear to us that the benefits of the old static plex removal outweighed the harm, with the content being run by many more people than could ever use the old farmable statics. The benefits of this change will be wider access to the pve content provided by these plexes and hopefully more people exploring lowsec as a whole (although less concentrated than previously). The downsides of course are a reduction in the number of geographical features that make some systems unique, as well as the easily seen focal point for players in space. We feel that as a whole this change will be a net positive, although I completely understand that it may not seem the case to those people who strongly benefited from the previous mechanic.
One idea that came up from the CSM discussion that I would like your opinions on (no promises at this stage):
What would you guys think about the plexes being reintroduced with the same size restrictions but without the NPCs (or without the NPCs in the final room) as a simple location for size restricted pvp decoupled from the DED loot?
Game Designer | Team Five-0
https://twitter.com/CCP_Fozzie

I was not surprised by this response.  While the general chant has been 'bring it back' in actuality I did not expect it to be so simple.  I'd have loved for it to be.  What I did want to happen, hoped to happen, and wanted us to present ourselves well enough to happen was for a line of communication to open. For CCP to see that there was a problem here, an unexpected consequence that was affecting a factor of their player population in a negative way.  For some energy to become focused on this and not let it become yet another example of low sec being the unloved bastard red-headed step child left sitting on the back steps in a bare part of the sandbox with only a few grains to occupy their attention.

I got out of bed (I'm off this next week, woo!) and staggered downstairs to make some tea and ponder the subject.  Gameplay is a weakness of mine. I am a creative person. I can create ideas and run off with them.  However, my ideas are just that, wild spurts of imagination.  I'm not good with balance and structured content.  If you asked me to make a mission I could and would make it.  If you asked me to create a way to replace but replace the DED complexes in such a way as to fit into Eve and not unbalance things I'd stare wide eyed and start crying.

I did respond with my thoughts on some points of the topic.


#312 Posted: 2013.01.07 13:45
(Quote from Fozzie here)

There is a problem with this. Removing them and dropping them into the scanned sites reduced the amount of people who had access to this content. 1,2,3/10's do not spawn in low sec and below. Low sec and below already suffers for want of content and things to do for frigates and new players. A player is advised to get a cruiser or assault frigate if they want to do exploration in low sec.
There is a problem with this. Removing them and dropping them into the scanned sites reduced the amount of people who had access to this content. 1,2,3/10's do not spawn in low sec and below. Low sec and below already suffers for want of content and things to do for frigates and new players. A player is advised to get a cruiser or assault frigate if they want to do exploration in low sec.
If this is the true goal then we need to have lower end complexes spawn in low sec to be explored. New players that wish to live in low sec by choice or by joining an established group early in the game have very little to no recourse for content that they can work on on their own. This area of the game appeals to people who enjoy doing things by themselves but they are constantly forced into holding patterns to wait to be able to handle that content. The security of the space is important sure but that danger has to do with the lack of protection from Concord and the Empire's control not only the strength of the NPCs.
I like to point out that I am an advocate for social game play and group needs but a new player needs content they can do. It builds confidence and it also builds good survival skills. The nature of our corporations tends to lead to small groups and having someone logged on every moment of the day to help with the most basic of Pve needs is not going to happen.
(Quote from Fozzie here)
The issue with farming comes from the high price of the reward of these complexes and the simple nature of access. If the complexes were re-induced with a more balanced reward mechanic or a smaller cookie of some type.
While the focus is on what the people did with the content due to its nature is the greater goal, the smaller goal was the natural creation of that content manipulation. As I said above there is not a lot of content for smaller class ships in the area. To keep the belivability of the content as something interesting to look at the murky explorer focused depths of my mind almost wonder about it becoming a static radar/mag site.
I'm terrible about coming up with game play ideas. It is not my creative area. I just feel that the focus for replacement/change/new needs to work off of the original goal of the original complexes so that player fueled game play can grow naturally out of that. If we try to make it happen from the start we are introducing a mechanic that has the potential to be broken from the start because it's Eve and it's hard to see every angle of things.
So this is where we stand now.  I do not believe I am the one to come up with an amazing concept.  However, that is why this is a task that involves the community. This change isn't just about me it is about everyone.  While not everyone wishes to spend their time writing out a blog and thread sitting a change that is something I can do to be a part of this.  With the door opened and communication flowing, those that have the deep game concepts and the startling possibilities based off of knowledge and experience can make steps I can not do.

None of this is singular. Its not about me. Its not about one corp. It is about low sec as a whole.  As people have worked together on the issue, contacting the devs, correcting the negative assumptions, sharing their various experiences and motivations in the thread now that collective group whole can be unleashed to solve the problem now that we have a course to walk upon.

This is activism   This is involving oneself in supporting what one loves.  This is the energy that we need to stop low sec from being cast back into the pit of where people roll their eyes and call it lolsec.  It is also what will show CCP that there is value in paying attention to us.  There is value in working on our aspects of game play and remembering that we are there.

I'm writing a bit passionately.  A bit fast.  I know my limitations in this thing.  I've seen the thread starting to flow.  Two pages already this morning.  If anything burbles up from the depths of my mind I'll share them. I only hope people will continue to go and share, create, refine, and help us come up with a solution to this and a beginning to improvement to low sec and another step towards the future vibrancy of Eve as a whole.

2 comments:

  1. Why's everyone so hung up on "DED designation"?

    What's wrong with those "plexes" that're scattered around hisec, abandoned shipwrecks, gallente outposts, minmatar mining stations, etc, that hold non-deadspace pirate spawns and provide that "geographical beacon"?

    Easiest solution would be to sprinkle a gated version of those around low, keep them non-deadspace (so no deadspace drops), though maybe with a small chance for an appropriate-sized faction rat spawn (because Shadow frigates always drop great stuff, like Shadow Iridium S ammo ;-) ) for the occasional buffed bounty or chance at T2 salvage.

    Make them somewhat profitable, but nowhere near on the level the old static 1/2 plexes were. I have to agree that farming those was ridiculously simple in an Ishkur, and while the bounties were shit, but if you didn't get a good drop on the first go, come back half an hour later and whack the loot pinata again. That was way too easy.
    Then again, I will say that at least they dropped loot, that to me is far more palatable than "pres butan, get Inflationary ISK".

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  2. I kinda think Fozzie is talking out of his ass, but i think its to late now, CCP will say anythign to not undo something they have done. I did like one persons idea of making low sec DED plexs show up on everyones overview after someone has sanned it down and warped to it, force peopel to fight more often for their loot. Im just not a fan of staged arena ideas, the hield plex wasent staged, it was made that way by players.

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