Friday, February 1, 2013

Ramblings: So Many Threads

Reading blogs and twitter and the CSM minutes and the various opinions players have of the future and what will become the future has left me depressed.  The image that is bubbling up, to me, is that Eve needs to change and it needs to change now or it is going to die.  These things always depress me because I like Eve a lot and I get sad when I think about Eve going away.  It is melodramatic to say it that way but that is the vibe that I am getting.
The Need: CCP wants growth.  They want more players to play Eve.
The Problem: Eve as it is currently structured chases off players.  On top of the well touted and often commented on learning cliff the player base is not kind to new players.  Vicious player bases are common but normally new players are insulated from the interactions of stronger players.  It is funny that they won’t help and are verbally nasty to people while Eve is full of helping hands and support and often complimented for its helpful community.  Eve removed a lot of these barriers and people are not ready to step into a game where not only do they lose their stuff to NPCs but they lose it to players for no other reason than the other player feeling like taking it.
Voiced Thoughts:
“What would it hurt if newbies could not be killed until say, 2million skill points?”  I saw that question somewhere, reddit or a comment.  I didn’t comment at the time but the problem with that solution is that Eve is a game of alts.  You do not know who is a new player and who is not a new player.
That is the biggest, single obstacle to overcome.  Players in Eve have an incentive to play in low skill point or new characters.  Unlike most games where the leveling system means that to matter you need to have time and age on a character for relevancy, Eve is full of uses for low skill point and new accounts.
The game of alts is what makes every balance attempt so hard to manage.  An idea can be excellent and well structured on its own merits.  When then weighed against the measure of ‘alts’ or “How can experienced players abuse this” they often fall apart.  “Anything that helps new players can be abused by current players” is a very true statement.  This measure is of incredible importance.  A simple ‘help’ can quickly spiral out of control.
Why can’t high sec be safe?
Because Eve is interconnected.  What happens in high sec affects what happens everywhere else in space.  From the trade hubs and the market to the mineral acquisition.   ISK, Minerals and Manufacturing happen in large scale in high security space and no place is alone from another.
The next thought is often, “Well then Nerf it” but in the end there is nothing that can be done to stop people from grinding.  Because the people that want to just play Eve to play Eve without the scary parts are not going to be motivated to leave the comfort to get more.  Loss hurts. 
“Well kick people out of high sec.”  Really?  That is silly.  Don’t tout sandbox and then make demands on how other people play in it.
“Lure people out of high sec.”  It is a good idea.  However, it will not always happen.  And I’m okay with people who make their careers in high sec.  I don’t want to be forced into Sov Null.  If I ever go I want it to be my choice.  Look at incursion fleets.  They will never take their ships into low sec to jump to an incursion in a hgh sec pocket.  The risk is to great and the loss from waiting is worth taking not to lose their incursion ships.  Not for better item drops or more ISK because after a certain point Eve cannot reward a player in ISK/Items to make their probable loss worth taking.  There is more ISK in low and null sec but there is also just as much if not more loss.
“But null sec is safe.” I hate this argument.  It is ridiculous.  If null sec is safe it is because of null sec players.  Yet, if it is so safe why do they complain that they need more grav sites instead of using the fat asteroids floating in their belts?  They worry about AFK cloakers, they worry about wormhole residents, they worry about getting things through their low sec they have to access.  As much as everyone wants to tote the CFC and HBC and their massive blue fest several alliances have completed shattered and fallen over the last year.  All of those people lose their ‘safety’ and had to go somewhere else.  That’s risk they had to take and game that they had to play to get their safe areas back.  High sec does not have that potential. The Empire will never fall and shatter high sec into low sec until it is put back together.
It’s not a safe or not safe question its one of mitigation and that is the hardest part.  Someone is going to get left out and the question is who and how many of those typesof people are CCP willing to give up.  They have been working towards an aggression system that makes more sense.  People may tout it as a safer high sec.  It is.  The thing is people have grown used to tricking people due to ignorance in areas were knowledge is very hard to gain.
And trickery may be what they are trying to solve and it may work.  The safety button, perhaps well hated, is a beautiful solution.  It does not save people from ganks but it saves people from their own lack of understanding of game mechanisms.  While it is easy enough to say that they clicked the box (I’ve said it myself) really it is a bit deeper than that.
People don’t know what they are getting into with Eve.  That is one of the things that has become very clear to me while dealing with new players.  People do not understand and because of that their reactions are based off of the abilities and the rules that they have functioned under for numerous years before they reached Eve.  They have been able to counter attack or shoot things or interact and they have not died in a brilliant explosion where they lose everything for something that made sense to them based off of every OTHER game they have played.
Then they quit.  They are angry, they were fucked with, the game made no sense and they lost stuff.  It is often a fast, confusing swirl of activity.  If anyone has ever done a breakdown to a new player over why they died it takes quite a while to explain everything.  Then you answer all their question s and focus on more points in depth.  An hour later they kind of understand what happened.  The thing is it took an hour to explain why, how, what, and how to not let it happen again.  It took 30-60 seconds for them to die the first time.
What I hope CCP is doing is trying to give those players a broader stone to stand on when the game jumps them.  The safety button is an excellent example of how CCP is aiming their sites.  It’s clear.  Your button was red.  Deal with your loss.  You made a choice.  That part is easy.
I don’t have any answers. I’ve sat there and pondered about how a safe high sec would affect me.  The thing is, I don’t think that we would know until the ripples started to splash against the shore.  I don’ think it is a good idea.  I don’t think consensual PvP in high sec is the only PvP that should happen.  At the same time I don’t want to limit nonconsensual PvP anymore then it is. 
It still leaves them with having to decide on things like War Decs and Suicide Ganks.  Those are two major hot topics in high sec aggression.  I don’t think that they want to make high sec safe.  I do think that they want to make high sec reasonable to understand and mitigate for their new and current players.  Those of us running around on the forums, the blogs, twitter.. we are the vocal minority.  We are all listening to each other and arguing with each other but at the same time we are a small group of highly motivated people.  Thankfully, we cover a lot of voices.  There are things that I read that make me grit my teeth because I disagree with their view points with such an intensity that I can taste my displeasure at their view of how they would correct things and how it would change my game.  I’m sure I do the same for others.  The good part is that it puts a lot of opinions in the pool and maybe with some cooking something will bubble to the surface.
And, I guess it comes down to what type of game CCP wants to have.  We, as individuals often know what we want to have.  But, in the end, very little of that matters if CCP has decided upon a vision and plans to head forward with it.  We’re guessing. We’re giving thoughts and opinions.  We are still in a complete void and we are trying to fill it because we all see the sides of the problem.
I probably need to do less Eve reading and more Eve writing this weekend and clear my head.

2 comments:

  1. You hit the mail on the head with the problem with Eve in one word...alts. Why do people suicide gank? Because who cares about sec status, I have a trader alt to use in high sec. Who cares about that ship loss? I have a miner alt to mine new stuff and an industrial alt to make new ships. Making isk is easy, just train a combat pilot, a logistics pilot and a perfect skilled scan/probe alt and isk just flows in. If everyone played the game with one account they'd see how badly this game treats anyone who doesn't pony up the plex or money to pay to win. I play faction warfare now and it's bleeding me dry. I've got lots of lp but with one account it's a huge investment in time and risk to get purchased items to market and post sell orders or I can kill any profit by contracting the load to a courier and clone jump to high sec taking me out of the game I want to play for 24 hours while my jump timer expires. I love Eve, but when the advice every noob gets is to pay 2-3 accounts until their characters pay for themselves so they can enjoy the game, there's definitely a problem.

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  2. Sugar, your problem may be that you're too luged in to the forums and blogs and whatnot.

    I know, I know, heresy, but I find myself falling into these cycles of depression about the game after long periods of reading about EvE and when I mention the lastest EvE gossip/news to a friend of mine who has been playing for 5 years, his reaction is a big shrug. He doesn't follow the blogs or the forums. He just plays the game and is still having fun.

    I sometimes wonder if those of us in the vocal minority are our own worst enemies in terms of bittervet disease.

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