City of Heroes had, to me, a very simple method of letting people play together. If your level was higher then the group you joined, you decreased in abilities down to the level of the group.
This came to mind this morning when I was going over a some feedback that I had requested. One topic was about a very experienced player who wanted to play with his friends who had just started the game. This is something that I approve of. I believe playing with people new to the game keeps ones perspectives in a very good place. What new players what and what veteran players think they want often diverge in interesting ways.
A topic that comes up quite often when it comes to new players is that they should receive some type of bonus to their training to get them up to speed. This comes in from suggestions that they start the game with T2 small guns and the ability to fly cruisers and most of their support skills intact to those that ask for an increased training time to make newer players more competitive with those who have been flying for a while.
It is not a set of ideas that I like. I have never believed that playing Eve is based off of skill points. It may appear that way. Many games now allow you to basically purchase a maximized character that you can then mold into what you wish it would be. I believe that there is value to be gained from actually playing the game. Value that will never be purchasable with a character.
Skill points are a beautiful frustration. Even when you can fly something you may not be able to fly it well. Even if you can fly it well you may not be able to fly it correctly for the group you wish to fly with. The only thing that corrects that is time because skill points are only gathered over time.
But, of late I have been questioning what seems to be an inflexible nature of Eve. I have seen the meta embraced and almost listed as a measuring point. "We fly this," and that means that you must also fly that. A person must meet a particular standard otherwise something awful will happen.
They will lose their ship.
Losing ships is inconvenient but a lot of time is spent convincing people that it is not a bad thing while crouched, protectively over teh statics of a kill board. There is something bad about it even if it socially bad. It is bad enough that people consider ship loss to be a thing that should cause someone to stay in a station for weeks or months training skills about.
As this was laid in front of me and I blinked owlishly into consciousness (for I had woken up not long before) I immediately thought myself, "Why can't they just go into a cheap, ewar frigate or cruiser? Sure, they will die, but they will be out doing things and playing. They will matter to the fleet. Not every skill needs maximum usage. And, along the way, they will learn to play as their skill points accumulate."
I may be far off in my understanding of how this works. I may also be chastised by those who do not support EWAR mechanics. My concepts of strategy centrally do not fit into the way things are done it seems. If it does or does not is not the case. There are pathways and avenues that people choose to close. That does not mean that they are not there.
I've always supported the tackle frigate. I know that they can be one or two shot off the field. I don't think that is a big deal. I know that people want to feel as if they are doing something in a fight, but is that enough to just start people out with 2-5 million skill points? And, will they feel like they are doing anything if they have the ship but still don't know how to fly it?
Or I may be drowning in my own delusions and pushing my beliefs onto others. Fair enough. There are times when I will not be able to avoid doing so. I feel that stepping down may be more beneficial to all parties involved then stepping up for the newer people.