War Decs: I'm Sorry That I Hurt You
I am introducing a new tool into this discussion. The comments have been a great ground for discussion but I'd like to expand this a bit more. I have gone to Steve who has gotten our 'things' websites together using SSO for authorization. I've asked him to give me a war dec subsection. These are things that I, the CSM, and CCP can see and read the results on and you the player can write and vote on. Comments are wonderful for discussion but as we move towards the Winter Summit in January, I plan to drag this topic kicking and screaming along. I'd like you all to come with me.
This is the third post in my open, crowd sourced, discussion about war decs.
From how it looks to me, as I've worked through Eve's history, the early days of Eve's development where geared towards war and the concept of space battles and players fighting each other as the focus of the game. The first six expansions, or three years where geared towards this goal.
In its earliest phase, Eve had no gate guns, no station guns, and no Concord. These things where added later to balance out the game. CCP built war focused expansions and often discussed player conflict, player empires, and supporting the war machines out there through their corporation efforts. It was supposed to be hard. Players would work from the ground up building their spaceships to go to war in massive battles against each other.
The game was not about killing wolves for some rotten leather and better ability to stab with sharp sticks. It was about building empires and going to war with them.
Somewhere, something didn't go as planned. Shocking. Eve has changed. It has grown. It has evolved. What now exists is not something that could have been fully conceptualized ten years ago. Game play has changed. The player has changed. And as we as players challenge our game, CCP must do the same to continue to build Eve.
This was a different Eve and a different game development focus. However, we have to learn from the past and we are in a position where we have been working with the game design decisions of the past. I bring this up to discuss the fact that we try to understand war decs in our current game when the implementation was for a different world.
I was going to start writing about objective war dec systems and non-objective war dec play styles. But, I think that is moving to fast across this topic. That is why I went to Steve to see if we could use his 'things' system some. That is why I am focusing not yet on the mechanics of war decs but on the reasons for war decs. We cannot simply rampage about and push for mechanical changes without understanding why and what we are trying to accomplish.
We cannot have objectives without a reason to have those objectives. And when I speak of objectives, I speak of game mechanics. Currently, war decs function on player objectives and purely player objectives. When people ask for reasons, when they ask for objectives, I first want to ask, "What are we fighting over?"
There is a problem of one size does not fit all. We could sit down and define the most fascinating, best sub game of objectives ever. However, I do not think that any of us or even a collective of us will come up with a way to give everyone objectives. We first need to figure out what are we fighting for and what part of that fight is an actual war dec.
Inside of the game mechanic war decs we have a whole host of things that may be going on.
- Territory dispute
- Logistics chain interruption
- For fun wars
- Targets of opportunity
- Structure removal
- Gate gun/Station gun removal (low sec)
- Sec status loss avoidance
Not all of these make sense as something to go to war over. Most are good reasons to fight for those that want to fight. But a war isn't about want. A war is forced. How many of these common reasons for war decs under the current mechanics are actual for war?
Does this mean that we break down into different mechanics? We've had suggestions for area effects. There have been suggestions for players to defend territory for bonuses. There have been reasons to pool abilities together for greater gains. Many of these ideas provide fascinating conflict motivators that on their own would stand as interesting game play additions.
To discuss revamping war decs we have to not just discuss how we'd like a war dec to look. We also have to look at what we are affecting. There are people on both sides of this discussion and many more shoved in between. If I where to say, latch onto and campaign for war decs involving targets and a neat system, how many other players and play types would simply stop existing? I think I know what we could gain but it is as important to think about what we may lose.
I've been part of a marginalized group more then once as Eve has expanded. It is a terrible situation to be in. I do not think that we can stop that from happening fully. Change is exactly that, change. But, I want to look at them and make sure that people are not casually cast people aside.