Thursday, January 17, 2013

Space Houses: An Expansion

I decided the other day that I wanted to make a flow chart about "Do I need a Pos?"  I started to write one up and what I thought would be a simple series of yes and no questions exploded into a massive, gigantic project that I will have to sit down and tackle over an extended period of time.  My knowledge about the is and why is whats of POS is a bit greater than I expected. I have been managing one for seven months now and doing several different things with it during that time.

The CSM minutes discusses the decision not to change POS on pages 37 and 38.
Unifex stated that what CCP did was spend effort and prototype what would make a good POS system. It would, however, only affect the group of people who manage POSes. Focusing that amount of time and effort on some small singular aspect of the game and delivering only that “is what will kill the business”.
Then read Two Steps response to this.  After that, the forum thread is a great place to go "wat?"

I'm going to look at POS accessibility and why they are something that should be seen as a focus for new players.

  • I am a POS user. 

I am someone who has to use a POS.  I am a drug dealer and drug dealers are not allowed to make drugs in stations.  The only way that I can manufacture boosters is in space at a POS.  That space must be in low, null, or wormhole space.  I must run at least a medium POS due to the basic power requirements 

Now, I am exactly who Unifex is talking about.  I am a person with a specialized side industry that effects a small part of the player population.   I am exactly who he is telling to deal and if my POS life was easier, no one would notice.  The boosters would still flow into the veins of the addicts that I supply.  If you sideline me and my POS needs it isn't a big deal and no one would much care.

It is like my job.  We complain about things but at the end of the day, we are still going to come to work and do what we need to do.  This broken, senseless POS system will continue to be used.  People want to build things and will use alt corporations for security.  People want to live in wormholes and they will continue to burn energy just to have a bed to lay upon.  It can even be labeled 'advanced game play' and the sheer unfriendliness of the system a reason as to why it isn't something for new players.

Now that I have comfortably shoehorned myself into CCP Unifex's opinion of things I'll move past it.


I'd love to just leave that there and let the weight of that simple sentence seep in.  But it won't so I have an excuse to continue on.

People come to Eve for spaceships.  More people come to Eve for space.   Space is that deep distance that we stare into every night. It is reaching out to the stars and cheering when you can visually distinguish Mars with your naked eye.  It is the chill of excitement and wonder when standing outside and watching an eclipse.  It is a strong and powerful urge and people come to Eve because Eve is about space.




But Eve is also about stuff.  Many games are about stuff.  Player homes are a popular topic.  In Fable and Skyrim and Fallout I worked my ass off to afford a house.  Owning something that is home is very important.  Last year the blog banter about home points to the fact that people define home and a place to be as something.

Yesterday, in help chat I said, "Our station" and a newbie mistakenly thought that we owned an entire station. It had to be explained that we do not own the station and all the fun, fine, subtle nuances of ownership in Eve.  "Only Sov Null owns stations," we explained, "But some people have POS.  They are not as good as a station but you can own them.

And that ownership is what people crave.  "How do I get a POS?" is a very, very common question in a new player chat.  When people discover that there is a thing, that they can own, in space and live in, they get excited.  They want to kick stations to the side and rush out and move into these chunks of space.  This will be their new home and they will love it forever and ever.

Then you have to pick up the well dented reality bat and strike them across the back of the head with it.  You have to explain that wanting a POS is pretty much stupid outside of certain reasons.  And then you explain them all and explain that the POS is so difficult to manage and expensive, such a time sink and logistical nightmare that you are warning them off of it because you are worried about the frustration being too much for them.

I wanted a POS.  I was with someone that wanted to do a mining POS in high sec in a stationless system.  This made complete sense.  It seemed to be exactly what a POS was for.  Now, I know it's a stupid idea and that POS as they currently stand do not support this on a level that a normal new player can access.  That is actually rather sad.  My idea was not original or unique.  I, like many newbies, was led away from it by a mature and sensible adult that explained to me why the idea was bad.

None of that stops people from wanting a POS.  People want their own chunk of space. This is why Sov works.  This is what happens in wormholes.  The fun part is that you can lose it and you have to fight for it.  However, people want to own something.  They want that spot in space they warp to to be theirs and when they hear about Player Owned Starbases they think that is it.

That must be Eve!  Founding and making your own place.  Defending it.  Living in it.  A part of the game that each player can carve out for themselves.  Tending it and caring for it.  If there is no ship that serves as this function then they will establish roots and create their own home.  It is exciting.  It is a goal that they can build up to.  It is an enchanting thought.  It is also not the reality of the current POS system.

But it is a lure.  It carries a romantic appeal to it.  People prep and save and plan for it.

And then they discover that it is not going to be something that they can do.  For a long time.  Maybe never. Not unless they have 'good' reasons.  The dream of having just to have is extinguished by the reality that the system will not support what it seems to promise.

  • CCP Moving Forward into the Future

CCP is moving forward and going back into themes.  Player owned structures would be a beautiful theme.  "Come join Eve, find a random chunk of space and make your home!  But other people can take it so watch out!."  My mind bubbles over at how exciting "Houses in Eve" would be to nonplayers.  Those people that we want to become players?  Video game houses are just that appealing to people.

You can't look at POS as they currently are.  What they currently are is a stream lined product (stream lined by the players)due to their ineffective nature.  It is not that people do not want POS and it is not that POS only effect a small part of the game (they do not but I will let the other POS people discuss those details) it is that the poor structure of POS creates the limitation itself.  If you define a broken chair by the fact that it is broken instead of what it is when fixed then you will say all chairs are not what people are using to sit because so few people are willing to balance on this broken one.

And my final words:

Why are there so many POS in high sec, anchored to every damn moon, if 'no one' uses them?

12 comments:

  1. Let alone us wormhole folk who live in the damn things because our space has no stations.

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    1. I know and I hope I do not come off as belittling your situation. I simply do not live in a wormhole to justify speaking for wormhole life and I wanted to point out how it worked in terms of their current 'goals' of new player retention.

      POSs are another reason I don't want to live in wormholes. I am constantly drifting out of my own. I want a tether to hook the ship to and not drift out of the shields.

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  2. Thanks, Sugar. My thoughts exactly.

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  3. Basically there are so few moons available near high sec hubs that "just in case" when there is one available someone will grab it even if he doesn't need it just because the location is valuable.

    When i was looking for a POS near Jita it took me hours before i found a system with free moons so "just in case" i put 4 towers to different moons. Also i bought a corporation with standings and the standings are reset after the first week so it makes sense to place more towers because i am not able to do so anymore.

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  4. I'm not sure how important POSes are, or how a revamp would affect me.

    I live in HS as a RvB member. I have no reason to have a POS at all. I don't do industry, research, invention, etc... What I do is PvP all day and the related tasks like fitting ships, market runs, etc...

    Do I want CCP to expend a expansion revamping something that will add nothing to my game play? No. Do I mind if CCP do a bit of a time to revamp them while keep delivering things to my play stile? No as well.

    CCP wants to give a bit to everyone in their future expansions, how about you guys come up with one or two crucial things that would make managing your POSes less of a chore and add value to everyone instead of pushing for a full revamp? I could work and your life would improve.

    All this housing thing seams to me misplaced. Having your own POS sounds cool, but where would it be welcomed? Not in HS as you have free stations and good or bad all the industry things can be done with the POSes of now. Low? If you live there is just a good place for your enemies to camp and destroy your stuff. Null? I can see a supercap blob cleaning all your assets in minutes with DD weapons. WH might be the place for better POSes, real houses, but only 5% of EVE lives there, and it's not because POSes suck, it's because is not casual friendly. Can't be a "lurker" in there.

    Do we need better POSes in the game, do you guys deserve better POSes? Yes, but don't take from me to get this done.

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    1. Care to guess where all those T2 mods you put on your ship come from?

      Thats right, they were built in a POS.

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    2. Many ideas have been suggested for the major issues. Security is a major one. Job queues and the corporate AI part.

      The thing is that if all you do is PvP in RvB then most expansions would hold no interest to you.

      I could turn it around and say that most players will not spend all their time doing PvP to the exclusion of the rest of the game.

      But you are a cog in the machine as am I. You rely second and third hand on a POS and an Indy person just as they do you.

      Whenever we think of expanding and new and fixing we have to think outside of just our own needs and wants. The thread ought discusses that people understand it won't be a year of POS. They just don't want it fully set aside.

      Also, part of asking to fix a problem is suggesting ideas and possibilities.

      I live in low sec. I don't need a house. I would be all over one. I don't need to make boosters. I could too PvP all day to the exclusion of all else.

      But I like the more aspect of the game. Being one thing is to small for me in my concept of Eve.

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    3. Quick reply regarding the "where would it be welcomed".

      One of the better things I did in the game was taking over the T2 material production from my former industrial corp: it brought me out into lo-sec, I had to care about what I did when and where, I had something which I needed to defend, and it was something the corp could rally around. In game design words: POSes are conflict drivers, because they aren't easily welcomed by the incumbents.

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  5. Well, Felipe, what do you need? Because CCP can't allocate equal resources to everything, and not everything needs the same level of attention. POSes were rolled out near the beginning of the game as a placeholder for something better. Ten years later, they've been only slightly changed. You just got three expansions' worth of content, in the form of better T1 ships, simplified high-sec engagement rules. and fixed wardec rules.

    "Good or bad," POSes can be used for industry, but "bad" is actively discouraging people from industry and logistics. People burn out. People stop having fun. Corps lose CEOs and directors over how horrible the POS interface is. Ideally, people in Empire would stop using invincible NPC stations at the earliest opportunity, claim their own bit of space with a POS, and put themselves fully into the game, but right now that's asking a few valiant people to sacrifice their time, enjoyment of the game, and sanity. "Bad" needs to go away.

    You are far too skeptical of the utility of POSes in low and null (hint: they have reinforcement timers, so you can't just blap them "in minutes"), and before you contemptuously wave off WH dwellers, remember that living out of a POS is their only option. They don't have stations out there. Their part of the game has seen one improvement--corp bookmarks--since the introduction of wormholes. Can you really say that they deserve no attention? Have you ever flown a strategic cruiser?

    Make a list of the things you want fixed or improved or introduced. How big is it? How long is it? How urgent is it? How many other playstyles will the requests on your list benefit? (Improving POSes will benefit play in nearly every corner of the game, including yours if you like flying T2 ships.) Are they more important than fixing things that been broken for 3, or 5, or 10 years? The answers to those questions should determine how much attention CCP pays to your play style, or anyone else's.

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  6. Please don't imply that I want the expansion to me, I want some, and I think you deserve some as well. What I don't want is the expansion just to you, as CCP said the revamping POS would consume all their resources for a full expansion.

    Don't say that I don't know that I'm part of a bigger game then my small PVP, I know that very well, I'm part of this big universe the same as you, may have bought some of your boosters, who knows? My point was that EVE would benefit from a POS revamp but not as much it would from something new and fun for all the people to do.

    To Darsen,

    I know how POSes work, stront and everything else, having used one in the past. They are bad, no questions about it, but they are manageable by the people that uses them, hardcore gamers. You know the ones, the ones that cry dumb down every time that a change comes to the game. What I'm claiming is that there is no new game play or fun to be had with the revamped POSes. It's the same stuff in a new package. Lets say me and my mates decide to set up one in null to serve as a base for ratting. New or old it can be destroyed in a matter of a day by a blob. In LS what would be better for pirates than know exactly where they can find you?

    Not a single proposal so far include any significant new game play to them, just make the old easier. As much as I agree that you deserve a new one that is easy to use, why should I and let's say 50% of the players wait for a year to have something new to do because of that? Feels a bit like incarna, that some people use and want more, but nothing was added to most people game play.

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    1. Felipe, the entire conversation is about restructuring POS. People are not suggesting new features to the game because they wish for current features, vital to the game, to be improved.

      The sad part of your comment is that people will continue to use them, continue to be frustrated, and it will continue to be en excluding mechanic due to its complexity.

      It isn't about ignoring newer people for the sake of the hard core. It is about opening it up and expanding it to its full potential for everyone. I don't know if some of that opinion comes from knowledge from use and interaction or just opinions on what the possibilities could be if improvements were made.

      But, if I understand, none of that matters because you don't find the topic worth development time compared to something new across the entire game that time could be used for?

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  7. Agreed. I myself am planning and saving to get a POS (actualy two) of my own. I don't 'need' it, however the apeal like you spoke of of simply wanting my own space that is mine alone has drawn me such that I have to include it in my plans.

    As I dont currently manage one I am not aware of all the issues people have with the current system but I will be finding out most likley rather soon.

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