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Forced Interaction

There is Eve the story. It has four empire factions, multiple other factions, missions, needs, sales, and a story.

There is Eve the video game. Players log in, interact with the story line, shoot NPCs, get ISK, do things that the empires need done. Participate in events, and in general play.

There is Eve the metagame. This is where players interact with players and create the world around them.

Most of us play the video game to some level or another. We almost cannot avoid it. I will not give an absolute because there are many players who do avoid the video game part. Some play the story. They are a small culture in Eve but a rich one and their efforts of late have helped move the video game part forward and enrich it for others. And then there is the meta game. That is what Eve is famous for. It is the hardest, most frustrating, most rewarding, craziest part because it is all about people interacting with people.

People are hard.

Sometime, in Eve's near future Sov will be redone. One idea I have heard before is NPC's shooting Sov structures to make the owners respond to the area and defend their structures.

A NPC visited our POS a few days ago. He wandered off and vanished. A glitch perhaps. Or maybe he was curious.

Some people would find it interesting if NPCs interacted with player structures. Today, during a discussion about ESS it was said, "make NPC shoot the deployables." It made me wonder, is that what we want?

One of the most interesting things about Eve is that you can opt out of a lot of the video game parts. While the games core it is also optional. Many people spend their time playing with and against other players and only other players. NPCs are something that they have knowledge of but not interest in.

When you start Eve you can put everything down and charge into battle against other players within hours of starting. You can say, "No, Thank You." To the NPC content of the game. It gives CCP a complex dance of creating tools for players and supporting and moving forward their video game.

If NPCs were not avoidable, if they shoot player structures, if the players were forced to interact with them, how would it change Eve? If we did not have the culture where players could opt out of NPC content it would be a simple fall back. But, we expect players to shoot other players. NPCs are, honestly, laughable most of the time.

Except for incursions. In that one moment, incursions outside of high sec become death traps. They camp gates, snatch frigates, and in general ruin the area for the time that they are there. That is one of the few times that I can think of where you have to acknowledge NPCs in some way and mitigate their impact.

Now spread that out. Spread that to everything. It would change Eve as a game. It seems a small idea but it'd be a very, very large one if CCP were to force player and NPC interaction at that level.

Would it be bad?

Then I thought about our new, curious sleepers. Hmm....


  1. I did mean only anomaly rats shooting ess's specifically, but this is interesting too :P

    1. I know. You are not the first to spit out a way to balance things by having NPCs attack. On its face it sounds amazing and sensible. But is it? Is that the game we want to have?

    2. Well, since it was to solve an issue of the ESS being placed in crazy fully spawned anoms, it seems to sort of make sense for that situation. Elsewhere? Not so much. I don't think rats would ever break through a tower or poco's shield to reinforce it honestly. Not without rat Dreads hopping in or something

  2. I like this idea, but the more I think about it the more I worry about it. And not because of forced interaction. But because of time zones. If the sov rebalance moves toward dismantling, or at the very lease lessening the role of, the massive coalitions that's marked Eve for the last few years, that means smaller organizations taking Sov. Ones that can't support 23/7 fleet level coverage of the area it owns in smaller pocket systems that border the super powers. We're already starting to see that now just from the Jump Fatigue changes. Implementation of this could end up hurting smaller orgs like that horribly if done badly.

    That said, I'd like to see it happen. No matter how CCP does it it'll be gamed to where everyone knows feet composition of the NPCs and and it'll become a routine chore to every few weeks go out and knock off an NPC fleet attacking a tower or whatever takes the place of SBUs. People will figure out the best way to do it with minimal force in the fastest time. But NPC interaction so far as I'm concerned isn't the point of a change like this. It's getting people in space in the first place. So long as people are in space it allows PVP to happen. It may be a PVE activity, but one roaming gang coming through could turn it into a 3 way brawl with much fun had by the two player sides with the NPC's contributing damage to both and acting as a spoiler.

    I don't see it as forced interaction with NPCs, I see it as a possible place for PVP to happen in which there's a variable outside player control going on to make it interesting which changes the field terrain.

  3. I do not like the idea of NPCs being a deciding factor in SOV ownership. The beauty of Eve is that it is player driven. Once you started adding developer controlled variables, such as NPCs shooting structures, then it loses its flavor. If you dont want an alliance to hold space then go take it from them. Dont hope a RNG mechanic takes it for you.

    1. RNG isn't bad. Not when implemented correctly. Especially with a vibrant meta game. Poker is all about statistical probability of RNG and the meta game. I don't like it because I can't bluff to save my life, but it's still a great game where a statistical unlikely card could ruin a round. The trick is to look at it in aggregate, the game isn't about one round of the RNG picking winners and losers, it's about many random things happening that over a period of time that give everyone a statistical even playing field, even if they started out with a few bad hands.

      So, RNG is about implementation. It's about adding not one random chance, but a lot of randomness. Add enough and statistically, it isn't random. But each random number allows players to react to them, which in turn keeps things interesting moment to moment, even if over an entire encounter or war everyone is on a statistical even footing.

    2. UH... may I ask whereinhell you got "NPCs taking Sov." from >>> NPC's shooting Sov structures to make the owners respond to the area and defend their structures???

      That's a bit like,
      proposal: "Hey what if..."
      response: "WAAAAA! "WAAAAA!"

      Seriously... no where did Sugar say anything about NPCs taking Sov... she said 'inch' and your fevered imagination heard 'mile'... but something IS going on...

      (1) The Sleepers (NPCs) are trolling around Empire space now... they are passively interacting with us already scanning everything... but mostly us... and it's weird and a big lore change.
      (2) See Sugar's pic of a Gurista Renegade scouting a POS...

      With CCP Seagull at the helm CCP is no longer afraid of US... of their own customers.

      CCP Seagull – (quote from Minutes of the 2014 CSM Summer Summit, ‘Veteran Player Retention’ section [pg 120])…

      “For the record. This [Incarna] was so many years ago and we have done so much work to reach now. I, as the executive producer, am in a risk taking mode. But, in the new way that we work. Not just random things. We need to be bolder. We should be able to get over our trauma of Incarna. We need to own our game and be courageous with it. I think our players want that of us.”

      "It's time to get over Incarna and start taking risks again, educated and calculated risks of course, but we need to make sure that we deliver solid content to veteran players. We have trained players to be afraid of us doing big things. It meant we put something big out that was half done and it never got touched again. Us doing something big, such as industry, means CCP is going to mess it up again and we will have to pick up the mess. We, internally, have become scared in a sense of making bolder changes to the game so that we know we can control the outcome. Because we do not want to be perceived as messing up again. We can predict what is going on. That predictability is boring everyone to death now. We need to challenge and move forward with solid plans owned by teams that are building the vision in their hands. We need to turn up the volume."

      Lastly... and directly to the point...

      "When we add things into Eve it is a form of behavior shaping. Our responsibility is to make a rule set and a landscape that makes it as good a game as it can be for many people. If the environment is unbalanced it is our responsibility to try to correct the flaws or change them and not be afraid because they have always been broken. It is not a simple system. We have avoided changes for fear that changes are bad. But we want an interesting and viability world for as many people as possible so we have to make things change even if some things won't be liked."

      We are in for interesting times ahead... expect the unexpected... and, Si vis pacem, para bellum... The gods alone know what's coming, but I think it will not be what you think it might be... =]

      But I seriously doubt NPCs will be 'taking Sov'... sheesh.

    3. Alrighty replace "taking" with "disrupting". I hope I never read a battle report that says "After the skirmish we tried repairing our ships to return to battle, but we couldn't because NPCs shot the repair facilities.". That to me should me the players job, not the NPCs. Or whatever the style of disruption may be. " We recalled part of our front lines to attack NPCs who disrupted our PI capabilities. Our enemies took advantage of this.". That is the scenario I'm fearing. Goonswarm has done some pretty cool things with their so called 'reavers'. Why do we want to replace player driven disruption with NPC style disruption?

    4. OK... so lets try... "After the skirmish we tried repairing our ships to return to battle, but we couldn't because a storm blew up and damaged the repair facilities."... hows that? Ever heard of fog-of-war? unexpected conditions that strongly affected a battle? (adversely or favorably depending on who wrote the after action report...)

      May I give you just one RW example, Kamikazi... the Divine Wind, a typhoon, two actually, that both wiped out invading Mongol fleets and saved Japan...

      EVE has nothing like this... battles take place in perfect external conditions (no 'naturally' occurring anything that can affect a battle, TiDI does not count as that is the same for everyone involved) and with perfect intel (local) every time... (except in Anoikis, which does have a form of 'weather', system effects, that affect our ships and does not have instant local)...

      "Why do we want to replace player driven disruption with NPC style disruption?" Because we need more randomness as I see it, more having to cope with stuff the game and environment throws at us AND all the stuff the players do too ... I say bring on NPC's throwing a monkey wrench in all of our well laid plans... deepen the immersion, the reality of our great game... hell yes.

      Keep in mind the upside here my friend... you could all blame your losses and derps on the NPCs and the game instead of "Fuk, I hit 'jump' instead of 'bridge'..."... that should fill the forums with years worth of whining and tears... Hell, personally, that alone is good enough reason for me. =]

    5. Fergot to add... "I never read a battle report that says 'After the skirmish we tried repairing our ships to return to battle, but we couldn't because NPCs shot the repair facilities.'" Uh... so? Or do you mean that just because it's always been that way, teh gods above forbid change? Hmmmm, let's all take just a quick look at 'force projection'... yea, I believe that answers that.

      Change is good.

    6. Turamarth you are very polarizing. Just because I'm against this change doesn't mean I'm against all change. If you look on the forums I have been very positive about this new CCP

      Jump fatigue, unlimited skill queues, all of this is great.

      However uncontrolled randomness isn't always good. In fact one of the reasons CCP is looking to change how ECM works is because its decided on RNG.

      The best strategy games out there remove RNG so that the outcome is based on decisions and skill, not luck. StarCraft 1 used to use RNG to determine if you could hit enemies on a cliff. Starcraft 2 eliminated that because its bad gameplay.

      RNG aside do you really want an NPC influence in SOV? This is suppose to be the part of space where outcomes are controlled by the players. Its really hands off, and we've had some great stories come out of that.

      I love the changes CCP has brought. It almost feels like Eve is coming out of a ten year Beta.

      However NPC interaction on a SOV scale is not what SOV is about. Before you dissect that into another polarizing quote let me explain.

      Lowsec would fit well with NPC disruption. You have automated guns at stations and gates. You have Mordu's rats bringing back belt ratting to lowsec. Lowsec has a "free but not totally free" feel to it. As it should. Put weird randomness with rats in there.

      However if a player goes into null and conquers space then it should be his space. You dont want a player to have to begrudgingly log in to combat NPCs because the game tells him he has to. That's the same thought process behind 24 hour skill queue. Logging in cuz you have to, not cuz you want to.

      And for reference I live in lowsec

    7. Also why would you want to blame the game or npcs for your losses? I'd rather blame my loss on myself, review what I did wrong, and better myself for next time.

      It would be incredibly frustrating to have to say "well this mechanic randomly spawned and there's nothing I could do about it so I died.". That's not good complexity. That's poor gameplay

    8. Personally, I don't see why it has to be all into a level that can disrupt SOV and still provide interesting gameplay. Incursions disrupt the crap out of systems, Goons still farm them whenever it lands in a system they control. And I don't remember anyone complaining about Incursions upsetting wars, even when they happened during them. This is just moving it a step further from upsetting normal income generation in a system, to actually limited activity toward structures players control. Baby steps. See how players cope with NPCs randomly raiding POCOs, which no one but logistics people are going to complain too much about since they'll be the ones putting them back up. Just how it goes. If it provides interesting gameplay for PVE people in alliances and coalitions, and gives interesting possible battlefields scenarios for small scale roaming gangs, to kill the PVE fleets that form to fight off the NPCs... it can be looked at for expansion into other areas.

      You don't need full fledged NPC fleets disrupting Sov fights to cause interesting gameplay which gives players different ways to interact with the game and each other. It's possible to be more subtle than that over several releases of iteration and still make an impact on how people approach Sov with a change like this.

    9. If there is a benefit other than "ridding an annoyance" then it could be good. Having an incursion in your system sucks. However if you run the incursion you make a lot of isk. So there's a benefit besides getting rid of cyno jammers.

      If they can implement it this way with interesting benefits then I could see it adding interesting gameplay.

      Let's say there are NPCs that increase tax on pocos like you said. You run the "poco incursion" to reduce the effect. Running them could also give you, I dunno, rare booster bpcs or something. OK that's good complexity. Now you have communities forming around these new drugs that are only found with these poco npcs. Maybe there are players who will daytrip into Null for them, like ppl daytrip into wormholes. That's exciting and adds to the game.

      My first understanding of the idea, which may have been completely off, was that there would be NPCs disrupting sov. And all it did was make sure there was someone in system fighting them off. That sounds like a chore. I dont believe that would add anything meaningful to the game.

    10. (1) not responding to all above due to...
      (2) "My first understanding of the idea, which may have been completely off, was that there would be NPCs disrupting sov."

      Ms Kyle said... "Sometime, in Eve's near future Sov will be redone. One idea I have heard before is NPC's shooting Sov structures to make the owners respond to the area and defend their structures."

      It was prolly the "...respond to defend their structures..." that got cha worried... I did not read this as breaking Sov so much as 'messing with the meta' you might say...

      Something like what you said... (but without adding to the ridiculous ISK streams that already exist in NULL...) I would not mind seeing some decent additional NPC drops in Low and Hi... but the last thing Null needs is more ISK... seriously.

      I read Sugars main idea differently than you... maybe, if it does not break NDA, she might clarify for us... did she mean NPC threats to Sov or simple added NPC interaction?

    11. There is nothing NDA here. It is a 'how how about this!' that corps up a lot. There was a discussion about them shooting ESS as a way to stop people spawning anoms to guard ESS. And it made me wonder if NPCs are the answer, or a tool, or something to avoid.

  4. I've said a few times, will say again: make NPC respond to players. Make them mind who you are, what you did for them (or don't), what you did TO them (or their enemies). Let players mess with NPC working for other players, and let NPC hit other players in lieu of yourself (a new form of PvP).

    I think it's absolutely retarded that the Warren Buffets of New Eden stab each other personally, just because they're inmortal (which negates the point of stabbing the competitors).

    But then... CCP adds "high level exploration content" and turns to be lowsec/null business only. There's some sleeper freaks in highsec but apparently they aren't worth shooting. Will you bet that what CCP intends to do is to spread more PvP into hisec, rather than new PvE worth having 50 million SP and flying a BS worth 2 billion ISK?


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