Friday, July 12, 2013

Have you done your Odyssey survey?

The Odyssey Post Expansion Survey is out. I am not a lover of survey's but I do try to fill out the Eve Online related ones honestly. I think this is the first one that I have filled out that wasn't gushing fangirl everywhere. I'm disappointed in what the presented theme of the expansion and the execution of it and I felt the need to say that.

I also commented on positive things. The expansion isn't all bad and I try not to focus on the negatives without focusing on the positives as well. We are six weeks after the expansion launch and some things are coming up over and over again. Other things are so silly that I'm puzzled on why they were not noticed and still others have altered game play in negative and positive ways.

Things like the hacking game I am neutral on. I don't like it. I don't like it to the point that I have not done exploration since a week after Odyssey was released. I've not been in the mood to hunt for DED complexes. Instead, I find more satisfaction hunting for tag rats to make a bit of extra ISK. Both of these things are part of the Odyssey expansion. I lost one activity and gained a second in the same expansion. I consider that a balance and while I am displeased with the state of relic and data sites I'm relatively neutral to them. Some people like them and some hate them. I don't like the mini-game and chasing the spawn containers got old quickly.

What bother's me more is the discovery scanner. I like it a lot for its general feel. I keep it running because it is pretty. I can not express how ridiculous it is that my pod and freighter have this active. Every single time I jump my freighter through a gate, I am told of unscanned sites out in space. My moduleless freighter. But, the freighter is at least a ship. The pod is worse. There needs to be some exceptions on this effect. Ships that cannot fit high spots should not get the system scan information.

These sites are also not exploration. This expansion was theme for exploration. We geared ourselves up for lots of new and interesting additions. I don't say new content because there is a lot of new content. I say new additions. We thought we were going to get new places to look at. Instead, we got a redesign. The redesign was fine but it came along with the removal of exploration from the exploration system.

Right now when you jump in and scan you get every site in the systems approximate location. That is not exploration. Before, you at least had to scan every celestial. You had no idea if a system had signatures or not. Now you jump in, look at your scanner and warp to the next gate if none of the signatures interest you. That is not exploration. On top of it, new sites appear and scream out their location to you the moment they spawn. It has been expressed in other places how this defeats some once interesting and intense aspects of the game.

But, things are about accessibility? Then make the accessibility focused in high sec only. The simplest way to explain is is that the empire has the resources to bounce that information around quickly. Let low/null/wormholes have new sites spawn without instant knowledge to the pilots. Making people look around and try to figure things out is not bad. If it is felt to be to exclusive and unfriendly to newer players, leave the information overload in high security space. Once they are tired of the exploration fight there but the basic skills are learned they can expand out to where they have to pay more attention and work for their cookies.

And that is my fundamental problem with the Odyssey expansion and why it disappoints me. It is not about exploration. The tools, the ship changes, the additions of tags for sec, even the changes to the exploration sites are all fine with me and I approve of them even if I may not like all them. But exploration, the actual theme the focus of the expansion and trailer, is lacking from this expansion. I know that it was a small expansion and whatever else Seagull said but it had so much potential to be more in the way of finding stuff. And that theme was supposed to wrap up all of the beautiful projects the developers did and present them in a way to shock and awe.

The next wave of Odyssey changes are coming out at ... some point. The tweaks and adjustments will be interesting and good for the game. I don't think that true exploration can be born from what the expansion is, but I do think that things can be adjusted to add some depth and scope back into the system without alienating new players for "unnecessary complexity".

Also: People really want the jump gate mechanics changed. Every fleet I hear it and I happen to love the mechanics. Yet, when I have four clients rolling around the game at the same time the freezes do become worrisome. Also, my newest and most simple complaint is that one Gallente gate has a cap on the side that your camera focuses on right before the jump. Your camera then slams you through that cap. It is silly, but after watching it a dozen times last night I was thinking that it should be open ended on both sides because the cap really breaks the effect some.

But take a minute, give CCP your feedback and let us see what Odyssey 1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1.... brings us in changes, tweaks, and feedback responses.

3 comments:

  1. Agreed about the "sites screaming where they're at" -- my suggestion in the comments on that survey was to make the range limited, and have a ship "scan strength" (maybe feeding off your sensor strength?) for the overlay, so you would have to warp around to get an idea of what was in all but the very smallest systems.
    As you warped in closer to celestials near anoms, they would "resolve" and you could BM/Warp 0/etc on them.
    The key there is you would have to warp around, thus "exploring", not just "press butan, receive data on all the things".

    Secondarily, I know the mechanic was designed to simplify things and get more people, and newer players especially, interested/involved, but the problem is that the sheer ease of finding anoms means that they are now "first come-first serve", and whoever can lay down the most DPS will easily take the site in hisec.

    So new players move to lowsec for their exploration. This is the :intended consequence:, right? Get more people into low/null? Only problem is that it's easy for an unskilled newb to find sites, and therefore how much easier is it for a skilled PvPer to lie in wait? Again, :intended consequence:, I'm sure, but the :UNintended consequence: is then new players get that first bitter taste of non-consentual PvP, and are thus turned off from PvP and lowsec in general, probably exploration too, and perhaps the game entirely.
    Net result: little or no change (best case), minor decline in new player numbers (worst case).

    Again, CCP is trying to help new players, and that's great, but they're doing so in a way that even more greatly benefits experienced players.

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  2. I rated almost all the categories as slightly happy. There were some very cool things, like the gate animations, but mostly this expansion promised the moon and didn't get us there.

    I love the mechanics of the new probe scanner; makes my job in w-space so much easier. But I've gotta agree with you and Hong that there's just not a lot of, well, exploration in this exploration-themed "expansion".

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  3. I like your suggestion of not having the overlay scan for freighters/capsules.
    But obviously there are scanning arrays in each system that just broadcast their results to any online navigation computer of ships in system. Just as we know who is in system by looking at local.

    Perhaps in that regard W-space shouldn't have the overlay system active just as they don't have local. There are no system arrays scanning everything in range and broadcasting the results.

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