Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bounty Pool Focus

Earlier today I wrote some words about my curiosity over the motivation abilities of bounties.

Altaen responded with this comment:
"I agree...for most of those that were already participating in PVP in a regular basis, bounties do not really motivate at all...but I do think it's really cool that there is some ISK trickling in for the PVP I would have been doing anyway.
And it's entirely possible that there are plenty of people that weren't already PVPing frequently could actually fund some cheap PVP frigate replacements off of even infrequent successes while learning to PVP."
He made a series of good points. I am pleased that he commented.

In many ways, Altaen is my polar opposite. He is male for one. That may be a major fact point in him being an opposite creature to myself but beyond that, Altaen is a PvPer, fleet commander, solo pilot, prior-anti-pirate and chronically broke because he'd rather blow up other ships and lose his ships in the process than to PvE. I fly with him a lot and we live in the same community and social group inside of the game. This makes my breaking down his comment a bit different than someone who lives outside of my Eve world.

The first thing he points out is frequency of PvP. I don't consider myself a frequent PvPer because I gauge my activity by those around me. I am often on the bottom of the killboard when it comes to kills per month. Because of this, I assume that I do not PvP frequently. But frequency is more than a static number of kills. It is both participation and lifestyle. What I forget, due to the nature of my own social structure is that while I may not PvP very much by the standards of people around me I seek PvP at a more frequent rate than many other players in the game.

In using that as a measure, the next question is for someone who does not PvP frequently, what would a bounty payment mean to them? To expand upon it I next ask a larger question:

Who are bounty payments supposed to appeal to?

I play Eve. In my selfish, self centered fashion I assume that things added in the game are meant to affect me. But, when stepping back from my mirror of infatuation with me, I note that things are added to affect those things vs reaching out and touching individual players. My first question was, "Who are bounty payments supposed to appeal to?" but then I expanded it again to:

"Does CCP have a target audience for bounties in the first place?"

CCP has attempted to target various audiences to greater and lesser success. What they have been doing, instead, if adding things to the game and then watching how those things affect the game as the players interact with them. It is adding buckets and shovels and sand to the sand box instead of pre-constructed sandcastles. Will we make moats? Will we just beat each other with the buckets? CCP has said that they don't know what we will do with what they give us and often we do things that they did not expect or think of. We also have a tendency to not do what they intended with things.

If I expand this to bounties, my focus on, "Is a bounty worth it to me?" is an incorrect focus. The focus instead should be closer to Naoru's interaction with bounties. He is using them not as a tool to get people to kill other people but as a tool to extract tears out of someone who sends him raging eve mails over the bounties.

Altaen appreciates the ISK and while I appreciate the ISK the depth of our different appreciation shows that I have become somewhat of an ISK snob do to my comfortable finances. The ISK snobbery has the side effect of tinting what something is worth to me. I write a lot about it being okay to use expensive toys but I have obviously also forgotten the sting of losing cheap toys when you are financially tight. It is unintentional snobbery but one I'm glad has been brought to my attention.

This forces me to look at the fact that I am obviously not the target audience for bounties. Also, that audience may not be looking at bounties as a straight ISK pull to equate to the various risks they are putting out. If a group were to kill me, and they rarely make kills, the bounty payout would be a few million each depending on how many there were. For them, that along with the success of the PvP kill would be very sweet I believe.

And thus, I find myself caught in an unfamiliar place. I was judging something by the value of straight, black and white metrics when it is in fact a very gray area full of fuzz and Eve randomness. The telling point should be the tears. The tears that pour from the fingers of those that find themselves bounties for no other reason than someone else's amusement.

In bounties, people can buy amusement. That amusement may be at the cost of another but such is amusement often obtained in Eve. Instead of wondering why bounties are not formatted to appeal to me personally as a player, I instead ask, "Are bounties adding enough content to the game?"

It would be nice to get another update on the bounty numbers, this far in, to see if they are still showing a solid ebb and flow in placements and loss. Without it, having read bounty tears recently on the forums and seen the escapades of my own corporation members, by the metric of adding content, I say that they are doing that just fine.

Now if CCP would just allow bounties to be placed and show up on the forums...

1 comment:

  1. "Does CCP have a target audience for bounties in the first place?"

    The carebear victim.

    It allows carebears to vent their rage. It is one of the few ways they can strike back. Not that effective perhaps (especially against someone living in low) but it's the idea that counts.