Thursday, July 4, 2013

Rambling: The Worth of Words

[TL;DR: Sugar expresses personal opinions and worries over the balance between unique individuality and comprehensive 'everybody'. This is a sighing composition of thoughts.]

CCP has been moving in the direction of making the game more clear and accessible. They carefully avoid using the word 'simple' or 'easy' or 'easier' and the players carefully make sure to plug those words into many of these changes to point out their view of it and what they think is actually happening. Word manipulation only words to a certain extent. CCP may use the descriptive words they want to express their idea but the player base regularly points out a different absorption of the information from CCP's presentation.

It is a hard path to be on. Eve is CCPs game. CCP has a direction and a path that they are leading Eve on. At the same time, Eve is the players game. The players immerse themselves int eh world, int he company and in the information being presented. Opinions are going to agree and disagree between CCP and the player base over everything. There is only but so much of the future vision that we can see and that CCP can offer to us.

I'm a major fan of CCP's communication effort with the players. While I want them to both hear and do everything that I suggest, I understand that it is not always going to happen that way. At the same time, I also have been trying to participate in a productive manner when CCP attempts to engage the community. My view is that I need to say something about what bother's me instead of just bitching in corp chat. While CCP may log every bit of chat in the game I don't think THC2 corp chat is so fascinating that someone skims it to see my opinion on CCP's changes and developmental direction.

I participate because I enjoy it. With all honesty, rarely do I expect to be heard. Eve is full of somebodies. The side effect of being a nobody is that ones voice lacks the reach. Yet, that does not mean you do not try. Big things, small things, irritating things or things that you like. Positive feedback is as important as negative feedback and I try to offer up both.

Today is more negative than positive feedback. CCP Ytterbium has approached the community about certificates. Certificates are one of those things I don't care about in Eve. I am not a collector of achievements and they just seem like a set of achievement markets. Yet, if they can be better or add some true quality and direction to the game, especially for newer players, I'm game to participate in the discussion.

The current discussion is that they are changing the skill group name changes. Okay. This is part of their making things more clear direction. I am not against that. When I started, only a year and a half ago, I was told, "get the best named item" and I had no idea what that meant. None. How did I know? What was a named item? What was the best? Why was stuff more expensive. It was incomprehensible at first. Later, I caught on but sometimes the names are just weird.

The purpose of the skill group name changes is to neaten up the list. I don't think that is a bad goal. I think from the list, Ytterbium has presented, it is a bit of an over simplification of simplification. One thing that just made me go, "Why" was the change of targeting into multiple targeting (I actually think this makes sense but did not think that targeting was such a terrible simple name) and multitasking is changed to advanced multiple targeting.

I sighed. I sighed for the death of multitasking. Because it was a cool name. It was an interesting name. And sometimes this broad sweep of 'clarity' looks like the flat, gray paintbrush of bland. I cannot help but feel that the goal of making things 'clear to comprehend' and removing 'unnecessary complexity' is turning to many features into a puddle of indecipherable beige where beige is the goal. 

It is a worry that I have for ship balancing and one that I expressed in the hauler re-balance. At some point why is everything the same with only vague differences. Why are not there strong, bold directions that various things travel in. There has to be a balance between 'unnecessary complexity' and interesting. I was pleased when the drawing board was reapproched simply because the focus was more on each as its own.

Eve is interesting! It is a rich, massive, science fiction video game in the future involving four separate races, random rogue machinery, ancient killer technology, black holes, suns, jump gates, nebula, asteroids, plants, lasers and missiles. It is wild, strange, complex, different, new. It is its own world full of individuality, purposes, agendas and reasons. If the broad beige paintbrush rips away every layer of this for accessibility where is the uniqueness and the interesting? I cannot help but think that it is okay to leave in some of the 'this is Eve's way' in things. After all, we need technical speak that makes no sense to anyone that overhears us in public.

Changing Spaceship Command to Spaceship Piloting sounds silly. I'm not the only one that feels that way.  Sometimes things are fine as they are and changing everything to change everything just causes as many new problems as it may have solved old problems.

It is not that I have a problem with skills being restructured. It is not that I have a problem with ships being re-balanced. I don't have a problem with Eve changing. I have a worry that the direction of the changes when it comes to focuses such as 'removing unnecessary complexity' and Spaceship Command is changed to Spaceship Piloting with that focus pressing forward the change.

I understood missile and implant name changes. I understand moving a lot of the skills around and making armor and shield and Ewar groups. There are hundreds of skills and items and sometimes one never knows that 'the black shiny pebble' will help your speed because, really? What? Creating a comprehensive, understandable focus makes sense. Restructuring skills into true focus groups makes sense. I still don't think there is anything wrong with multitasking as a word or having some spaceships not be able to do what other spaceships can do.

Words may be only words to some. I may be more attached to them than others. But the use of them, the approach to them, that particular ones used can change the depth and meaning in a moment. There is an area of grayness here that I do not know how to approach because Eve is sprawled across multiple languages. There are sentence structures that create a particular emotion or feel that will be lost in translation and I have to accept in everything I have just said when it comes to word usage that I may be out of line because Eve is a global game and my opinion may be to close minded and selfish.

I first wrote this, published it, and read Ytterbium's update. I felt chastised and like a ranting whiner so I decided to pull the post because he actually addressed everything right as I finished ranting. I figured that the act of writing it out had cleared my mind. However, I decided to respond to his response because I did feel that having a negative opinion does not have to be rage. He then went and edited his post. I found that interesting and pulled the thread on Eve Search.

Posted by CCP Ytterbium in response to the players over the changes.
#235Posted: 2013.07.04 17:25 | Report | Edited by: CCP Ytterbium
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Update based on what we have seen so far.

Starship Piloting instead of Starship Command:
For this particular point we wanted to distinguish the skill and the group so they do not overlap - it also ties on other plans we have on the future. However, we hear you, agreed it sounds less appealing than the one we have currently - we'll discuss this point internally again.
Energy Management and Operation:
Changing them to Capacitor Management and Capacitor System Operation makes sense, thanks for catching that.
Primary and secondary attribute concerns:
Relax, we thought this over, and this is less of an issue than you think it is
Armor: only consists of Intelligence / Memory skills
Electronic Systems: same, Intelligence / Memory
Engineering: mainly has Intelligence / Memory skills, except for Weapons Upgrades and Advanced Weapons Upgrades, requiring either Perception / Memory or Perception / Willpower.
Neural Enhancement: mainly has Intelligence / Memory, except for the Informorph Phsychology skill that has Charisma / Willpower.
Production: skills only require Memory / Intelligence or Intelligence / Memory, which is not a problem.
Resource Processing: mainly has Memory / Intelligence skills, except for Interplanetary Consolidation, Command Center Upgrades requiring Charisma / Intelligence, and Astrogeology, requiring Intelligence / Memory.
Scanning: only has Intelligence / Memory skills.
Science: skills all are Intelligence / Memory, except for Research Project Management, which is Memory / Charisma.
Shields: have Intelligence / Memory attributes.
Ship Modification: skills are either Intelligence / Memory, or Perception / Willpower for Offensive and Propulsion Subsystems, but this will exist no matter in which group Tech3 subsystem skills are.
Targeting: are Intelligence / Memory based.

Multiple Targeting and Advanced Multiple Targeting:
Agreed, it doesn't sound that great. As with Spaceship Piloting, this will be discussed internally again - some options listed in that thread sound promising, but please remember that we would ideally like skill names to be representative of what they actually do.
Where is the Cynosural Field Theory skill?
In the Navigation group, will add that to the first thread, thanks.
Electronic Warfare Drone Interfacing:
Agreed the name doesn't really makes sense, we'll discuss that one as well.
Planetology and Subsystem groups:
If possible we would like to separate skills by purpose, not feature. For instance we are not splitting Sience skills if they are based on Tech2 Invention or Tech3 reverse engineering.
How about Hardwiring Implants?
Good point, suffixes need to be renamed to match the new groups as well.
Typos, typos everywhere! Seriously man, are you rolling your face on the keyboard when typing?
Eeep sorry, didn't double-check the last section of the OP, will fix this now
Don't you think changing skill names is "dumbing the game down"?
EVE gameplay and sense of loss should be harsh, dark and unforgiving, in that there is no doubt and we agree completely. However, fighting the UI at every turn should not be the main complexity point here - it just means players have become used to an old and outdated interface for too long. Simply put, the hard and unforgiving nature of EVE should not be to retrieve information on a basic level, it should be on how players act based on that information and interact with the gameplay that revolves around it.
How about moving the Anchoring skill out of the Corporation Management group?
Definitely, CSM suggested moving it to the Electronic Systems group as it's tied with bubbles, but one could also argue it fits under Production as its tied with Starbases. What do you think?

In all cases, many thanks for the comments people!
The sarcasm that was deleted.
Posted - 2013.07.04 17:25:00 - [235] - Quote
Update based on what we have seen so far.

Starship Piloting instead of Starship Command:
For this particular point we wanted to distinguish the skill and the group so they do not overlap - it also ties on other plans we have on the future. However, we hear you, agreed it sounds less appealing than the one we have currently - we'll discuss this point internally again.
Energy Management and Operation:
Changing them to Capacitor Management and Capacitor System Operation makes sense, thanks for catching that.
Primary and secondary attribute concerns:
Relax, we thought this over, and this is less of an issue than you think it is
Armor: only consists of Intelligence / Memory skills
Electronic Systems: same, Intelligence / Memory
Engineering: mainly has Intelligence / Memory skills, except for Weapons Upgrades and Advanced Weapons Upgrades, requiring either Perception / Memory or Perception / Willpower.
Neural Enhancement: mainly has Intelligence / Memory, except for the Informorph Phsychology skill that has Charisma / Willpower.
Production: skills only require Memory / Intelligence or Intelligence / Memory, which is not a problem.
Resource Processing: mainly has Memory / Intelligence skills, except for Interplanetary Consolidation, Command Center Upgrades requiring Charisma / Intelligence, and Astrogeology, requiring Intelligence / Memory.
Scanning: only has Intelligence / Memory skills.
Science: skills all are Intelligence / Memory, except for Research Project Management, which is Memory / Charisma.
Shields: have Intelligence / Memory attributes.
Ship Modification: skills are either Intelligence / Memory, or Perception / Willpower for Offensive and Propulsion Subsystems, but this will exist no matter in which group Tech3 subsystem skills are.
Targeting: are Intelligence / Memory based.

Multiple Targeting and Advanced Multiple Targeting:
Agreed, it doesn't sound that great. As with Spaceship Piloting, this will be discussed internally again - some options listed in that thread sound promising, but please remember that we would ideally like skill names to be representative of what they actually do.
Where is the Cynosural Field Theory skill?
In the Navigation group, will add that to the first thread, thanks.
Electronic Warfare Drone Interfacing:
Agreed the name doesn't really makes sense, we'll discuss that one as well.
Planetology and Subsystem groups:
If possible we would like to separate skills by purpose, not feature. For instance we are not splitting Sience skills if they are based on Tech2 Invention or Tech3 reverse manufacturing.
How about Hardwiring Implants?
Good point, suffixes need to be renamed to match the new groups as well.
Typos, typos everywhere! Seriously man, are you rolling your face on the keyboard when typing?
Eeep sorry, didn't double-check the last section of the OP, will fix this now
How dare you dumb the game down? Raaawrrrraaage!
This expression, "dumbing the game down", is not appropriate here. EVE gameplay and sense of loss should be harsh, dark and unforgiving, in that there is no doubt and we agree completely. However, fighting the UI at every turn does not make one "elite" at the game - it just means you have become used to an old, outdated interface for too long. Simply put, the hard and unforgiving nature of EVE should not be to retrieve information on a basic level, it should be on how players act based on that information and all the gameplay that revolves around it.
How about moving the Anchoring skill out of the Corporation Management group?
Definitely, CSM suggested moving it to the Electronic Systems group as it's tied with bubbles, but you could also argue it fits under Production as its tied with Starbases. What do you think?

In all cases, many thanks for the comments people!
I regret that he deleted the sarcasm. It actually worked on me. I still did respond, calmer and less fretful than my original thoughts. The entire topic may be, silly, but words are important for me. They paint images, even in the most casual of manners. I again, admit, I may be more partial to them than others but other people are driven crazy by Eve's sounds and I cannot comment on them because I never have them. Still, I know that the pitch and type can make or break things for people. For me, that can be word usage.

And so I end my thoughts on something that has been bothering me a bit of late.

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