Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hurry Up and Wait

I've been back and forth about the industry impressions for a bit. I've been hoping that we would get some more Dev Blogs to finish the incomplete picture that we currently have. I do not like making prediction and guesses on inaccurate and complete information. My emotional and rational reactions are often quite different. I also suck at speculation. I'm a terrible guesser and I have no interest in gambling. I'm bad at these things.

I now expect we might get one more dev blog before Fanfest but I am doubtful. Some of the CCP devs on twitter have already sounded as if they are in Fanfest prep more than anything else. That means the Dev blogs will come after Fanfest and I expect rapid fire with more of their details mentioned during the various Fanfest presentations. All of the cat's will be out of the bed and busy lounging on the steps waiting to trip the unwary.


The slow roll release of the first two dev blogs is both a blessing and a curse. The good part is that with the reprocessing post people could start on their skill trains for the new changes. The second good part is that CCP could accept feedback before they had locked themselves into their development cycle. The bad part is that I worry some of the trickle is for marketing reasons. Lets release the expansion at fanfest. Lets get people hyped for the release. The result is incomplete information. Educated guesses are still guesses. Mix that in with healthy doses of opinion - opinion weighted by who has it - and suddenly swaths of the vocal metagame are in crisis mode.

I understand this. When the summit notes came out that Greyscale suggested gateguns that would balp carriers in five minutes (this is before crimewatch changes which improved gategun mechanics for fights) I, and a huge collective part of low sec lost our minds with worry. That was only over a suggestion during the Summit. The dev blogs are a reality.

The thing that worries me the most is that CCP is well known to not iterate on features. They say that they will come back to something but the team is reassigned.  To often players have beaten the broken mechanic to the point of enraging the game before it is corrected. This causes people to frantically want to fix anything before it enters because if it enters broken it will be an unknown period of time before it is corrected or acknowledged as not working. If anything this lack of review has made people gun shy. Once the build is pushed it feel as if we've lost our window to enact change. It's why I've tried to participate in testing.

Of course, I want that not to be. The review and recall of the scatter containers makes me hopeful. The surveys for the UI changes. The reasonable things lists. But the reality of it is that we have a lot of incomplete features that were someones project. We have a cycle of behavior where things are taken away without being replaced or something else added. While I argue against the snarky, venomous bitter I do acknowledge how they got there.

It is obvious that change is going to happen. That train has left the station. What that change is going to be is the actual question. When the first dev blog came out with reprocessing changes, Brando took a moment to run the numbers as did Detta. They found that build cost for a carrier would be around 300mil more expensive than build cost in null sec with the changes. However, we also acknowledged that we do not know what the future market price of compressed ore will be now that it matters. We are speculating off of current costs and prices but those too are going to change. I'd also expand upon that to say we won't know what the real price will be for a good six months at least because of stockpiling and general panic and speculation. One of the biggest problems is that compression will matter to low sec because sourcing our materials locally is not going to happen.

The refining changes are a nerf. What that nerf is going to be will remain unknown for now. Is that nerf bad? That's the struggle. Not really. I'm in the camp that it makes sense. I don't like it. I wrote how the career of salvaging is dying out change after change. Some changes are purposeful head-shots such as the refining nerf. Others are side effects, such as Odyssey making exploration so easy that the market was flooded with salvage components. That had the cascade effect of dropping not only rig prices but T2 rig prices to the point of being usable in the everyday world. What one thing lost something else gained. No one wants to be on the losing end but not everyone is going to win. It is one of the side effects to changing the game instead of tacking new things onto it and ignoring the old content or making it outdated. In most games you would not have 5 year old players undocking in a Tristan to go kick ass and take names. It may very well be that we cannot have both things.

I, for instance, have no Hurricane's to fly. I've not gotten over that. I miss them. I hate flying battlecruisers now. If I was told to undock a Hurricane not only do I no longer own one I would whine and say No and offer up something else. Yet I think the rebalancing was good even though I still dislike it. I do think the battleship nerf is too much. I also acknowledge that I am addicted to fast, agile things and that my opinion may not be the best one to base all decision making from when and if battleships are looked at again.

The POS changes. Ugh. The two things that bother me the most are the slot fees and the blueprint changes. Now, the slot fees I see as a new and reasonably clever ISK sink. I also am of the opinion that I pay enough for my POS and now I have to pay more. I had this grand idea that low sec could offer cheap slots through bribes and such. To run back on myself, slot changes themselves have some points that have not yet been addressed and need to. Slot changes affect Faction Warfare where their tier comes with station bonuses. Susan Black comments that it is not world ending. I agree. However, when the dev blog comes out about slot changes and if it does not have a section devoted to how they integrated Faction Warfare into their changes to give them bonuses that are at least equal to what they currently have, I will be standing there to point that out and it will not be an acceptable oversight.

But, I see the slot fees as an ISK sink. I see the range of fees for station slots as an ISK sink. I think that CCP is using these opportunities to manage their economy and drain ISK out of the game.

Back to the POS things. On the Low Expectations podcast, somewhere in my chatter, I'm pretty sure that we discussed neutral low sec POS. These are POS that belong to individuals who often have research going on. They pick low sec systems out of the way and moons with no value. Through not being interesting they are safe from the groups that live and roam through. POS bashing sucks. It sucks a lot. It just doesn't not suck at any point.

These changes mean that any POS out of high sec with labs that is knocked over has the potential to spew a lovely load of blueprint originals. Considering that blueprints take months to research and many of us used POS for this, instead we'll move them into stations and pay who knows how much to research them. Any active labs may be worth tipping over when people are bored. While I don't think it will be a huge thing it can and will happen. What motivates people can be unexpected. Knowing that you are just screwing someone over can have a lot of appeal to some.

When CCP talks about getting your stuff out of your POS before it is reinforced. I can only laugh at the complete and utter disconnect with what they think will happen and reality. I've commented often enough that Eve is a game full of adults. We go off to work for the day. In low sec people tend not to bash towers during other people's prime-time. It also can take 5-10 minutes to knock over a tower depending on how many dreadnoughts there are. That is not enough time to react. Yes, high sec will have a 24 hour war dec warning and some people think that is not long enough because they only have weekend gaming sessions. I do not know how I am supposed to reasonably be expected to respond to scoop my blueprints when a fleet comes to knock over my tower. Currently I mitigate that risk by dumping my silos every few days and keeping only the bare needs for a booster build in my tower.

That leaves me very torn about the blueprint changes. I do not know what the improvements to copying will actually look like. That may save some assets in space. It will not help with researching in labs. I'm pulling my labs and I will be reducing the size of my tower back down to a medium. A large tower does not mean no one will attack it. This is low sec after all and with the changes, I don't see my research efforts as worth it anymore. I expect my assets to be in danger. I expect to take risks. But, I have my limits of worth and this hits mine. It leaves me thinking that the push to leave BPO in stations to be researched and copied to sink ISK is a real goal and not that anyone is expected to put their BPO in their POS. Plus, slowing down and sinking more ISK with copying will change blueprint usage in general. Maybe copies gain more importance than they currently do.

We are about to hit an information deluge with Fanfest. I only hope someone as obsessed as I am with taking notes from the various round tables will do so and publish them.

Foo is amazing and did a huge breakdown. I'm in awe and instead of stealing it and acting as if I did the work, I advise those who want to enjoy someone else doing the break down go see what Foo made about the first two dev blogs. Because that is all we have, two Dev blogs of six. It makes me hate marketing. Teasing me with information just pisses me off.

Now, in my habitual way of wondering things, I wonder how many of us actually complain. Out of all of their subs how many of us are involved in the meta game of the forums, blogs, twitter, podcasts, streams, and all of the methods that we reach out to CCP in. In the test server feedback threads there tends to be an even smaller group who go and test the mechanics when things are released. Is some of the reason CCP does not seem to listen to us happen to be because there are so few of us speaking?

9 comments:

  1. This is an aside, but why do so many people *not* engage in the community? Could it be because they are afraid that someone will punish them in game for it? It's not safe for certain players to speak out. If you are a lowsec pirate, or in RvB, or a null pvp alliance or whatever, sure you can have a voice. For others... Wardecs and griefing may follow.

    Back on topic: yes I too am eagerly awaiting more details, esp about POS.

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    1. Because Eve is a video game. They log in to play said video game and they log out when they are done playing the video game. Even with it being an online video game populated by thousands of other players it is still a video game.

      "I don't read the forums, this isn't my job." And other such similar comments should be familiar to most. The background, reading, research, and frankly obsession that the participating player base enjoys is unpleasant to someone looking to unwind, kick back, and play video games.

      In many ways most games are static after release. Knowing that the game is expanded upon is not the same as actually caring about it.

      When the next expansion hits we will see rage posts on the forums from people who paid no attention to any of the chances being announced.

      TL;DR: I think it has nothing to do with the 'evil community' aspect of Eve and everything to do with Eve being a video game for entertainment

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  2. Well in the last Dev Blog comments they were saying they should have most of the blogs out before Fanfest. Granted it might be Wednesday but it would be before fanfest.

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    1. Yah. Lots of stuff should come at X time. The problem with time is that people expect it and it makes them even grumpier and the paranoid more paranoid when they do not come out.

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  3. ... Having burn jita at the same time as the fan fest, where all this information will be released, is interesting no?

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    1. I am being positive and hoping the overwhelming feedback made them back up and reassess.

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  4. Sugar, perhaps I'm being a bit dumb here, but could you point me to where you heard about slot fees for POSes? I've seen mention of how the removal of station slots will impact POSes, but nothing about the POS slots themselves.

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    1. Ah, thanks for that. To be workable that will also mean an enforced minimum fee, as opposed to the zero that most of us charge ourselves at the moment.

      That also means that some/all of those fees get removed as "tax" instead of going to the POS owner, else we'd get infinite slots for no cost :-)

      Interesting times...

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