Saturday, January 18, 2014

Rambling: For Want and Need

There is a survey up from Team Game of Drones who want to ask the players questions about the Science and Industry field of the game. They want to know how we use it. What we want out of it. As someone who has been managing a POS for the last year and a half I will answer this. I manufacture boosters constantly and it is a true pain in the ass. I know that the more complex production lines are worse. Nightmares made into living clicks.

I will answer this survey. I will do my best to present my ideas and opinions in a productive, consumable manner. I will send it off to CCP and hope that they read it and look at what the players ask and want. The fat that CCP has come to the players and asked for information for their base structure is a neat trap. To not give information is removing any chance of getting opinions and thoughts placed into potential, concrete changes. To enter into the exchange is to become something I often hear lamented at great, bitter lengths, Q&A.

“I will not be CCP’s unpaid Q&A.” 

I hear that a lot. I also understand where it comes from. After all, CCP is a company and players are paying for a product. In a way, we are paying CCP to do their Q&A and that comes off poorly to some. They should take care of that before the product reaches us. Well, yes, but there comes the problem that Eve flexes and evolves. The meta of the game is something that even the employees of the company that makes the game cannot fully predict.

CCP does not know what the results of their changes will do to Eve. They make solid guesses based off of their plans and intents. The players add feedback. It is all mixed up and released and then we see what will actually happen. A factor that cannot be taken into account is the non-contributors. While that sounds harsh it is not meant to be so. They do not contribute to the talks and the discussions for whatever reason they may have. However, they still play the game and their actions may have a startling consequence simply because no one else thought up that particular use.

I find myself torn on the argument. While there is a bout of validity to the statement of not wishing to be CCPs Q&A I also find myself approaching Eve as a hobby. Being an openly admitted fan-girl who goes to Eve events, I have to admit that Eve is a bit more than casual for me. It makes me look at the game in the same way I would any hobby that I have. When I was showing dogs I contributed to a genetics study that was attempting to decipher a particular color trait in my breed of dogs. I sent lots of DNA samples to a researcher in Canada simply because I love genetics and helping was a lot of fun to me. Similarly, in every hobby I have had I devote a lot of time and energy into it beyond the basics. I ride Motorcycles and I read technical manuals and learned to do most of my own maintenance and build work on my bikes. So when CCP says we want player input, if I have it, I give it because I am invested in Eve and whatever changes happen will have an effect on my future game play.

Eve has three central strands. There is CCP, Eve Online, and the Players. The three braid together to create the game that is Eve.

I started writing while thinking about the meta game. Right now CCP is rebalancing ships, modules, skills, and basically our day to day life. Their balancing is based off of what we are doing with items in the game. That is slightly different from what those items do in the game. The word 'metrics' (which makes one wish to spit when heard) speaks to the usage of various things. If we are using more of one thing than aother the metrics say something needs to be nerfed to make us find some type of balance. It is a direct assault against he min/max habits and stagnation attempts. CCP wants to make a well rounded game and that will involve a constant war with the players against changes.

Mostly, I think about the RLML thread. CCP Rise had swallowed his Hubrius and admitted that the changed, so spat upon, are not working as he intended. The changes came into affect for a module that was already in the game for years. That module rose in popularity when other, more used and more better modules were nerfed. For ten years (or however long they have been in game) RLML were fine. Then, when HAMs were nerfed and RLML rose into being they are now under scrutiny because Eve functions on a greater, global meta game instead of each individual or each entity having a complete separate fitting religion from scratch.

That also means that CCP has to take imput from the players outside of the basic usage stats. If null sec is doing something that does not mean the rest of Eve is doing it even if thousands are dying each day in some massive war. The current ranting and screaming over drones is the next thing that comes to mind. Whatever the opinion is about drone assist and sentry drones and drones in general there was a time, not long ago, that these discussions did not exist and people were not screaming from the pulpit of drone assist nerf to nerf a mechanic that has been in existence.

We are going to test the changes one way or another. It is each persons decision to enter into the debate when and where they will. Nor all will follow the forums or abhor it as a communication tool. Many will not see twitter and there are always the thousands that will not read a patch note and stumble upon the changes by chance. It is why I inject where and when I can. I understand why people burn out over their endless arguments. I'm still one that hates the magical probes and automatic aspects of the discovery scanner as well as the irrational bits like my freighters and shuttles getting scans.

I'll fill out this survey. I'll keep commenting where and when I can. It is incredibly, painfully frustrating. Sometimes, it is deeply disappointing. At other times, it is an overwhelming font of joy as a change, so pushed for and fought for enters the game.  I once wrote about having a cup of bitter. Mine is still not full. And one day it may be. It is ignorant to say that it will never happen. I don't know that. I may one day join those that I know that say it is for CCP to figure out on their own. I cannot fault them for their cup is full. For now, I have plenty of room to keep going. I don't believe it will be perfect. I won't always get what I want. But what I really want, beyond my immediate needs, hopes, and dreams, is Eve.

Disclaimer: This post fueled by Nyquil

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