Friday, July 25, 2014

Weighting Want

Complexity for the sake of complexity is fun to theorycraft and talk about but not as much fun to live. I live a lot of theorycrafting these days and often times fascinating solutions are created that are so complex that I discard them. It is that entire 'playing a video game' part of Eve that I like to think about.

Today, I said that I'd love to have a personal savings wallet. I'd absolutely love one. I assumed that someone would say that having a personal savings wallet would make Eve to easy. It would make avoiding scams to easy. Anything that makes it easier for people to avoid harm is bad.

My defense to that was that we already have personal savings wallets. We call them alts or alt corporations. I know very few people who keep the bulk of their income, if they have stacks of liquid ISK, in their primary wallet. I do know people who have and one misclick in Jita corrected that for them.

It made me think of needless complexity. It is a current buzzword in the game. One example was the recent POS standings change. Someone said, "What about the grind?" I said that there are standings corporations and with a bit of research you can walk around the grind. Someone else said, "What about the standings corporations?" My response to that was that the standings corporations were a workaround for a mechanic that was not functioning as intended. If everyone ground up their standings and 'earned' their right to anchor that might be one thing. Instead, we pay people to run missions and share standings, or we pay someone to anchor, or we buy corporations with the standings present.

While a beautiful example of Eve player ingenuity it all circles around the fact that the system complex in a way that is not doing anything but creating intricate workarounds. I can understand being proud of those same work arounds but I don't think that means something should not change. I also think that our work arounds can often point to a problem that they are shielding.

I don't think the pitfalls in Eve should be the obscure mechanics. The PLEX scam is a lovely example. That scam you buy two PLEX, get the PLEX, and then have the PLEX taken away all in the same instance because of how the contract code works. The old Criminal Counters and Aggression mechanics where the same way. That means when I look at something such as, "I want a personal savings wallet." I ask myself if that will damage gameplay or remove a complex mechanic that is just there to be there.

To look at the skill queue discussion from the other day (fantastic comments and lots of thought and discussion), I had a few people tell me that a longer skill queue would make it easier for people to make character farms. My answer was that those people will already make character farms with the current hurdles. Are we actually doing anything to those people? Do we inconvenience the entire average population to stop people who will hurdle complexity?

It is similar to my arguments with Vov. Do we build mechanics to combat the most capable of min/maxer to neutralize them, or do we look at the greater audience and accept that there will always be people on both ends of the spectrum?

I ask these questions but my view is also stated. It is just that everything must be looked at from a dozen different ways.

I'd still like a secondary, personal wallet.

11 comments:

  1. I'd like the ability to create wallets. I'd like to set aside ISK for a rainy day. I'd like to separate ISK from missions/loot, ISK from PI, ISK from PVP, ISK from, well, other ISK sources.

    It seems a trivial thing to me, to add multiple wallets. Thankfully I'm not a game designer, so I have no idea how difficult this would be given that we already have multiple corp wallets.

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    1. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

      If individual players could do this, we wouldn't have to create single-player corps just to get the better wallet functionality.

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    2. Heh, I would still create single-player corps in that case, I just love making them and giving them silly names and stuff.

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  2. Caution: “Workaround”

    “Workaround” can hide unfounded assumptions when used in a manner that presumes the game mechanics are broken to begin with thereby making the “workaround” unintended game play. Quoting you Sugar, “standings corporations were a workaround for a mechanic that was not functioning as intended. If everyone ground up their standings and 'earned' their right to anchor that might be one thing. Instead, we pay people to run missions and share standings, or we pay someone to anchor, or we buy corporations with the standings present.”

    Curiously, if I read correctly, barely a week back when the desire to suddenly up your security status and rush to kitten rescue appeared, you displayed no compuction at deploying a Tags for Security Status workaround.

    "Unanticipated" does not necessarily equal "unintended". Clearly Tags for Security Status is intended workaround. Standings corporations, while probably unanticipated, were left intact for so long we pretty much have to conclude that CCP came to accept them as intended game play. That they are superfluous now reveals nothing about whether they were ever intended or not. Being superfluous now only reveals that things have changed. Most specifically, the Empires are weakening.

    I make a big fuss about this because it’s important to emphasize that we can’t read CCP’s mind meaning we don’t know what they intended. Even more importantly, in the long run original intentions - while fascinating, illuminating and worth of study - may not be all that significant from an ongoing game design perspective. There’s only one Eve that matters and that’s the one actually coded and actually played.

    “True Eve as Originally Intended” is both shimmering chimera not worth chasing and harmful spirit obstructing beneficial evolution.

    Throwing caution to the wind ('cause I'm crazy like that), I too would find personal wallets a wonderful quality of life improvement.

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    1. It is funny. I didn't write about tags for sec as the fix for the broken mechanic that they were. I thought about it and I went, naw, I've written on and on and on about how amazing tags for sec are and how they fixed problems and didn't lead to things people expected. How they were introduced because ratting was so messed up.

      And that is what you picked to refute my argument on.

      Amazing.

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    2. If your argument is based around, “the fact that the system [is] complex in a way that is not doing anything but creating intricate workarounds” is often bad game design; I’m not refuting your argument.

      If your argument is based around the observation “that our workarounds can often point to a problem”; I’m not refuting your argument.

      If your argument is based around the observation that “the pitfalls in Eve should [not] be the obscure mechanics”; I’m not refuting your argument.

      If your argument is based around the observation “that everything must be looked at from a dozen different ways”; I’m not refuting your argument.

      Rather I’m taking you to task for appearing to claim that the recent POS standings change requirements were a fix “for a mechanic that was not functioning as intended.” I strenuously disputing this specific claim for two reasons:
      1) “we can’t read CCP’s mind meaning we don’t know what they intended”
      2) “in the long run original intentions . . . may not be all that significant from an ongoing game design perspective”

      Of those two reasons, the second in more important. Slavishly sticking to original intentions (presuming we could discern them) prevents improving the game beyond its original inauguration.

      >>><<<

      Bringing in supposed original intentions leads to befuddled argumentation. I dislike befuddled argumentation even when it leads to conclusions I agree with. As best I can tell I agree with your conclusions throughout:
      1) I support personal wallets
      2) Requiring Hi-Sec industrialists to grind standing (or workaround standing grind) to place their POSes is not optimal game design. Industrialists want to manufacture, not grind standing.
      3) It’s unfortunate that a clever emergent profession (standings corporations) diminishes in the process but alas one can’t have all things all the time
      4) Tags for sec is a cool mechanic. Personally, I’m entranced by just how corrupt it reveals CONCORD to be. “Criminals like you aren’t welcome here! . . . You know [wink, wink], we can decriminalize you for a mere few tags. . . . Nah [nod, nod], we don’t care how you obtain the tags.”

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    3. Ah, Dire. I expect that I will start disappointing you soon by continuing to be myself.

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    4. Frankly, tags4sec is just legalized cheating, as it circumvents the design philosophy that actions have consequences. It is a workaround where there should be no workaround, intended to allow players to escape a mechanic that is otherwise working as it should. If CCP introduces workarounds like tags4sec and eliminating the POS anchoring requirements, why have standings at all? Note that I am not advocating the removal of standings by a long shot, but rather I'd like to see the removal of such workarounds and the reinforcement of standings as a meaningful game mechanic.

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    5. I'd rather see standigns reworked and updated to something that is meaningful and doesnt cause people to give up parts of the game to avoid it.

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  3. I don't think more usable share tools, or even payroll instruments would be unreasonable.

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  4. If it couldn't be gamed in some rediculous manner, I would support an account wide wallet that all three characters on an account could access. Personal savings accounts (perhaps even paying a miniscule amount of interest a month) would also not be unreasonable... :)

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