Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What Would Break Eve?

Dirk MacGirk asked during the CSM9 Town Hall #2 if Eve was evolving or if CCP was moving towards an Eve 2.0. In my scattered attempt to share my bumbling path to using my Rorqual's Vat Clone Bay Zazz asked if removing standings for clones would break Eve.

I'd love to write a complex, technical post about standings but I don't have that post to write. I actually know very little about standings and how they work. The reason I know so little about them is because I've not had to deal with them to make things work. I do not have standings for my markets for instance because the ISK that I lose is well worth it to me not to grind for standings.

It is funny because I do not dislike PvE. I can accept that Eve's PvE is not stimulating or interesting. However, I don't mind it. What I mind is the grind. What I mind is being forced into the PvE. Give me an DED complex to do and I am a happy camper. Tell me that I need to grind two hundred and twelve missions to gain a .5 percent tax decrease or get jump clones and my attention is instantly transferred off to something that I find interesting.

That's a bad thing.

Last August I discovered that if you right click on your standings you get an option to show transactions. Selecting this shows you your standing loss and gain. I had no idea that this existed. It felt as if I should have known such a thing was there. It seemed as if that bit of information should have mattered to me some. But, I've meandered through without worrying much about standings. I think that is good that I can do that but I also think that I should be more motivated to learn, use, and work with them.

Now the easy thing might be for me to stand upon my pulpit and cast down standings as an evil to be purged. The thing is, I don't think that is the case. I don't think standings are evil. I think that standings are poorly done and don't make a lot of sense. They are not intuitive and one can find that they have tanked their standings before they even know how they are gaining their standings (see Faction Warfare). That would be okay if raising standings was not akin to a punishment and penitence. Decisions should matter and they should have consequence but what those consequences are need to be evaluated.

I know that what we have was something conceived almost a decade ago and the game and game play has changed but core aspects of the game have no flexibility. I also know that until we have better PvE tools on board none of this can be addressed. But still...

The question I have to ask myself is am I annoyed for a valid reason or just because I dislike something. Right now there are work around to standings for jump clones such as jump clone services and clone vat bays. They come with their own list of negatives and pros and cones. Devaluing the work people have put into their standings is not my goal. It has never been my goal. Those who learn the system and put in the work damn well deserve a stack of goodies. But those goodies should be valuable in themselves and help make that effort desirable and satisfying not a sigh and the pushing up of shirt sleeves while a week or two is dedicated to a grind.

We walk upon a line where Eve the player created game of content and Eve the coded video game with normal video game aspects lay on ether side and we dip our toe into one or the other as we see fit. I'd love for them to meld better. Can they? I'd hope so. Sometimes the videogame part of Eve seems to be but a means to an end. Series of hurdles and inconveniences to make the game sticky and keep people involved. But Eve is so deeply mired in what was and what will be that the old mechanics are more like lumpy oatmeal than a nice buffet to feed oneself on.

I like oatmeal well enough but I'd like to have a slice of melon as well, not just a big lump or a small one.

These problems that we face can be used to improve the game and broaden the choices and situations that people can and will make while giving things more depths and reasons. They should be used that way. At least in my opinion.

20 comments:

  1. Amen. Standings are about the only things that make our toons part of New Eden for reals. The PvE and PvP activities we engage in should each affect standings, more so in hisec and less so in low and null. Whether you're chewing rock in Heimatar, cornering a market or claiming sov, NPCs should take note.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It isn't "What 'would' break EvE".

    "What 'WILL' break EvE" should be the question, and the answer is plain.

    When the ex-lawyer tells his minions to leave.

    It is only a matter of when, as that has been the plan from the very beginning.

    The only real question is which game will be the next to be left in the ruins of their purposefully destructive wake?

    What poor outfit will be the next to sell their soul for a phantom subscriber base who only exists to wreck the game and move on?

    It is a shame that history must repeat itself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Given that the Goons have been in EVE Online for 9 years and many games don't survive that long, I would guess quite a lot.

      Delete
    2. That is quite the interesting path you created and wandered down.

      Delete
  3. Just being a spaceship tutorial will no longer cut it. New space games are being developed. Standings were the only mechanic binding players to a backstory ... and CCP has been decimating this part of the game in favor of a dessicated sandbox theme. Big mistake.

    Eve's increasingly illogical Universe doesn't tack together without the Empyrean gluten. Marketing propaganda and game mechanics are at odds. The game will suffer as more cohesive, imaginative and playable space adventures come onto the market.

    "Standings" were the most critical element in the game. They simply dripped with immersive gameplay potential. I am sorry to see them neutered in order to paint the game all null.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'd like some reward to remain for having high standings and in most cases there are work-arounds in place or they provide only minor tax benefits in high sec space.
    For example jump clones. You can do all the work yourself or you can depend on human allies to provide. Estel Arador, Rorqual friends, Nullsec standings, etc.

    Like Art Hornbie I would like for standings to have more meaning as they do now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @ Art Hornbie & Raziel Walker,

      I think PvE grind suffers from being only half the story. If you grind for standings you ingratiate yourself to powerful NPC entities and get ongoing rewards in the process (lower broker fees, jump clone access, friendly faction police, etc.). For a player that enjoys navigating the NPC environment, it can lead to interesting, carefully considered decisions. But for a different type of player, one who wishes to impose their will on that same environment, PvE grind lacks interest.

      It’s a bit strange that one can run repeated missions in, say Minmatar space for an Amarr agent that cozies you up to the Amarr while simultaneously annoying the Minmatar but, despite hundreds of missions, has exactly zero affect on the supposed war between the NPC entities.

      In this sense, PvE grind, especially for standings, is much like an active version of the Training Queue. It changes you but does nothing to the universe. Not very Sandboxy.

      Caveat:
      PvE grind does get you engaging with the rest of the Sandbox via market interaction but I’m inclined to think that’s not quite enough. To really be intriguing to a lot of players, PvE grind should also affect the empires in observable ways. In this sense, PvE grind could and should be more Sandboxy. (Exactly how to make PvE grind more Sandboxy is a huge rethink of the mechanic that could lead to intriguing results.)

      Delete
    2. This is exactly the reason as to why they NEED to add more PVE. The lore of Eve is so interesting. But the only reason i know is because of the wiki. I wish i could become indepth with the lore, it would diffently bring me more into this game. PVP is great, and i love it. But, for new players to feel more from this game, the're needs another way to immerse themselves. Cause from time to time, we all need to have a something else to explore.

      Delete
  5. Standings are important to give players in PvE environments tangible, measurable and predictable goals to work against. After all, standings and ISK (LP = ISK) are the only reasons to run PvE content. Generally, players like positive reinforcement that comes with "leveling" (=graduation from one agent to a higher class one) and taking this out of the game without replacing it would create a hole in the gameplay.

    Instead of eliminating standings, they need to be more meaningful and progression needs to be easier to visualize and plan. The random nature of missions and the penalties for denying a mission, abandoning a mission and running missions against other factions create a punitive environment for the player that never works as well. The new burner missions seem to address that quite well.

    Personally, I think standings are a great tool but underused. Standings could be driving competition between NPC corps or between players working for competing agents. Why not enable limited kill rights on a corporation level (an example, don't take seriously)

    Like most things in EVE, standings were visionary when conceived but executed in a haphazard and sloppy way. Lets change them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Tags for faction standings please!

    - Than

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have 0.2% Jita broker fee, earned with 9.8 faction, 9.9 corp standing. I mostly did it with distribution missions. I liked optimizing the faction gaining method. I even cooperated with other players (if I got a security storyline, I paid someone to make it for me). I was working for something that I knew only a few people had.

    In Amarr, Dodixie, Hek and Rens, the trader alts have 6-7 standings for 0.28-0.24% broker fee.

    I traded about 11T worth of items so far (not profit, total volume). The 0.5% tax you mentioned is 5.5B ISK so far.

    What I positively LOVED about standings is that I'll have them forever. It was one of the things that got me hooked up on EVE against WoW. If you don't play WoW for 4 months and come back, your gear (ships and modules in EVE) and reputation (standings) is worthless and you are no different from a fresh newbie.

    In EVE, even if I take a year brake and come back, I'll be still a near-perfect trader. Removing or trivializing standings would take that away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hell, I miscalculated. That 0.5% broker fee (actually not tax) is actually 55B!!!

      Delete
  8. If you are getting a headache I am sorry if I contributed to this, Sugar.

    Grinding standings? Like just about anything else in this great game, its a lot more fun in a fleet. Sometime back I was in a challenge to complete security missions in tech1 cruisers; I flew a exequeror. Plus it is new player friendly.

    In respect of standings - I have long since given up the expectation that my efforts in the game translate into some sort of long term reward. I trained scanning skills to locate Grav Sites for mining crews - for one example. So further changes to the mechanics of standings will not drive me to unsub or shoot a monument, ie will not break my game. I will endure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well better and more attractive fleet based PvE would be nice. At the same time I don't want to make it that the only way to have good PvE is to fleet up with people. After all, more people make it easier.

      Delete
    2. I know my corp would eat up small gang oriented PvE. I think encouraging people to do things together would go a long way towards new player retention. Something akin to the burner missions but tuned for 3-5 players would be something I'd totally be behind.

      Delete
    3. I used to fly with a group that did L4s in groups, mostly as a social thing, though we were able to bring new players along and show them some of what the game could be.
      That translated well to w-space.

      I wonder if ccp could do borderlands style pve, where bringing in extra ships resulted in more, better, enemies and similarly better rewards

      Delete
  9. really no matter how you look at it, everything in eve (and in every game) can be simplified down to being a grind. There's some grinds you find acceptable and others you don't. I don't really think doing missions for standings is a bad thing, nor do I mind the "grind" because I don't look at it as such. I look at it as making wrecks and watching explosions which is always fun.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Grinding standings has always been a choice to either do the PvE or not, you chose not to. Your choice has been you paying more ISK complete your market transactions, something you say you are willing to accept in your post. So if you know there is a choice and you chose to NOT do it, why do you feel it is being forced upon you? That is akin to people saying that CCP is forcing people to go to null with the last expansion. It's obvious it has never been something you are/were interested in, you had a learning experience last August and yet that has not motivated you in the least to chase standings … end of story.

    Now the issue you bring up with Jump Clones. I believe that it an eventual byproduct of a player driven economy, nothing more, nothing less. And there is risk involved in those jump clones, all of those corps are perma-wardecc'd, so there is a chance that you get attacked for using one. The same thing has been going on for years for putting up POS in highsec for people who don't want to grind standings ... pay someone to set it up for you … another workaround that has created a income stream for a player or a group of players. This is a foundation piece of code that needs not be addressed in any way at CSM or CCP … this is sandbox at its core.

    It should not be influenced in any way by PvP, there are already things in place that PvP benefits from. What could happen is PvE is EXPANDED to allow more use of standings within the game, thereby improving the sandbox by giving more options for players.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure where I said that I am being forced to grind standings beyond if someone wishes to recover their faction standings they have one set of options to do so and it is painful.

      The standing mechanics are stagnant. They should do more. They should have an interest in them. I should want to do them or have some reason to do so because it is another interesting and engaging part of the game that I enjoy.

      You can't have them do more and then say that they should not be addressed by anyone. It's ether leave them in their eternal state or look at them and make them better.

      Delete
  11. Wow, what are the odds that a comment of mine turns into a full blog post on SK's blog, and my banning happen on the same day....

    Unrelated to be sure, but life is funny some times.

    ReplyDelete