Monday, April 7, 2014

Contract Feedback

Contracts and their interfaces are up for attention. It is time to make your opinion seen. Special thanks to Foo for pointing this out. I've been buried in threads and didn't see this one advertised on twitter (where I pick up a lot of Dev threads).

CCP SoniClover would like our feedback on the contract system on the forums.
Hello Capsuleers. We're looking into what small improvements we can make to the contract system to make it more useful and trustworthy. We would love to hear any feedback from you guys on this. We're most interested in suggestions for UI/usability improvements and comments on pain points you encounter in using the system. The more constructive the feedback is the better; 'Get rid of the scammers' is for example not particularly helpful.
The entire thread is worth a read. I decided to express my opinions before I read through all of the pages. I saw lots and lots of stuff that I agreed with post after post after post. "Sugar, what do you think of the contract system?" I've been asked. I think quite a lot of it. As a Booster manufacturer the contract system should be very important to me. Boosters can not be sold on contracts but they can be filled if people make "want to buy" contracts. I've even written out how to make these before. They are not intuitive and many people do not even know that they exist.

But the contract process is bad. I write dozens of contracts each week. I write them between TCS and my jump freighter pilot. I write them between myself and corp mates whom I am dropping items off for. I write them to my own alts to move things around. I write them to hauling corporations to get things moved. And they are a pain in the butt, every single time.

If I go back to the start, all my items are deselected. I've written so many empty contracts that way. The entire interface needs to be better, with fewer tiny checkboxes and long, scrolling lists.

Want to Buy contracts need to be an obvious selection somewhere. Not a tiny check box that suddenly opens up a magical, hidden section of the screen. They also need to be more expansive. I said it and so did others, you should be able to Want to Buy fitted ships. It would create an entire field for people who could fill other's ship orders. We still need a better ship fitting UI that allows us to fit large groups of ships too, but a fit ship would be an interesting start.

Auctions need to be better. I've been in a few and they have so little information for what is going on.

As stated in the thread labels for what the contract is. "Multiple Items" is not helpful when it is ships on contract. It took me forever to learn I could hover for its name. I felt dumb. It is still a sub-optimal way to label contracts.

Bulk contracts please! Anyone who has fit ships would like to write 5 or 500 identical contracts if the items are all there. Creating the same contract 500 times is not emergent gameplay. It is obnoxious and exhausting. Someone's entire day goes into that. This is a game of big operations and lots of people. Public roams, frigate free for alls, burn Jita, and other endless days of destruction that have to be fueled by some person, huddled in a closet weeping over their bleeding nib where their index finger once was for clicking. This is bad! People should not have to resort to prognostics just to get fleets fit up and contracts made. I may have wandered off topic but the two are interconnected.

Now, CCP SoniClover does make reference to a more trustworthy interface. When he uses trustworthy I hope we mean things like clarity of information. Scammers are going to scam. Jita is full of them from contract scams where the first two are closed contracts with a nice faction frigate for 1 million ISK and the third a hundred million or a billion that the greedy buyer grabs to the one that makes me grind my teeth a bit where the blueprint copy being purchased has 1 run left on it. That one I bump into quite regularly on the booster market and it is a due diligence situation.  It is like the Tengu or Orca scam where the Tengu subsystems are subsystem skillbooks and the Orcaless Orca. I like having to read my contract carefully before I click yes and throw my beloved internet spaceship money at it.

The one I do see vanishing is the PLEX scam. The PLEX scam works because of the contract systems set up. The PLEX that you buy is given to you and then taken away. If the contract system checked to see if you had the item first, as it does for money, it would never happen. That is why I believe this is a scam we will see going away when they overhaul the system. It reminds me of how the contract system used to not filter the contracts properly and people made oodles of money off of that until CCP fixed it. Player creativity I support. Badly implemented mechanics, I do not.

Now that I wrote all of this I need to go and write a secondary post with all of this in it. Go! Comment! Voice complaints and give dream solutions. User Interfaces seem to be very high on CCPs plate right now. We had the industrial survey. Now we have one about contracts. Rumor has it that the industry UI is getting a bit of attention to. Hopefully this all leads to a better, prettier, more usable Eve with less index finger trauma.

4 comments:

  1. Maybe it's just me but I preferred the old look of this blog.

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    1. I'll be doing some tweaks soon based off of.me and feedback. :)

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  2. Where is your vote Sugar Kyle for CSM9 button? Put that thing at the top of *every* article! I doubt regulars to your blog would mind (we want to see you get voted in) and it's a good reminder to those just visiting from Google or, better yet, your CSM thread! Turn your readership into voters with one simple badge! :)

    P.S. Good luck, you've got my #1 vote and here's why in a nutshell: Pretty much everything you wrote in December

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    1. I'm going to start it tomorrow when it links to the voting :D (once that link goes live). I don't want anyone disappointed and not voting for me!

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