What is and/or should be the future for walking in stations?-Kirith Kodachi
Last year I was debating the perception of Eve and CCP by the player base. I had interacted with more vetran players then every before and I was puzzled why my sense and view of Eve was so different from theirs. I wound up writing one of my favorite posts at that time. I have referenced it more than any other post I've ever written. Not because my post was incredible but because I had managed to write down something about Eve that I think is a very important factor about the game.
Eve has generations of players. The easiest way to look at these generations is by expansion. But, that would not be the best way to look at it because developmental styles and the directional changes of the company have also come into play. As I've worked on my history of Eve's expansions over the last year I have reinforced that belief. With current changes and events since I have started the game I've solidified my belief that the Eve that you start with is the Eve that sets your expectations.
What pounded it in for me was the fact that we now have a generation of player, the "This is Eve" generation who have never known pre-Phoebe teleportation mechanics.
We have an grown generation of players who never played battle cruises online.
When the topic for the banner was first suggested I went through my normal thoughts on how I had nothing to say. I watched people wage extreme opinions for and against the concept of walking in stations and avatar based game play. I realized that I was personally pretty neutral on the topic. That seemed weird. There was so much passion for and against around me. Why was I standing in the middle watching the argument back can and forth to see what happened instead of on one side of the battle?
Because I am a post-Incara child.
I started months after the summer of rage. CCP had gone full back to spaceships. The Tier 3 - now attack battlecruisers - were introduced. As far as I am concerned, they have always been here. I started up Eve, felt a warm flood of excitement as spaceship grapehics happened, and got dropped into the character creator. I spent perhaps an hour sculpting Chella. I upped her age a bit, made her not stick thin. Boots and cargo pants with a t-shirt finished us off. I spent time picking my background and started the game.
I started in the captains quarters. Aura showed my how to walk around and go to my ship. I explored them, went to my ship, undocked, and fell in love. It would not be months until I learned I didn't have to go into my captain's quarters. It would be longer until I adopted the habit of not going into the captain's quarters. I considered them a loading room of sorts. A place to safely hang out while I worked on things, chatted, and etc. It reminded me of the avatar areas of the play station and xbox. Idle, eye candy places that had little or more meaning.
It was not till much later, when I started to sink deeper into the game and community that I learned CCP flew to close to the sun. It was the players who, as Daedalus, watched their loved one plummet to destruction. And it is player, such as myself, who only heard the story and its warnings but did not experience the actual event. I never knew that time in Eve's history.
Now we move forward. We are almost four years past Incarna. Four years where players have entered the game, grown, and learned Eve. Four years for wounds to heal and people to forget. For some, it is only the blink of an eye and they still watch Icarus plummet from the sky. For others, they read a fable and the story it is meant to share.
It creates a rift in perceptions, further detailed and supported by personal interests and choices in the game. I found myself criticized by some for my questions about Avatar changes during the Winter Summit and thanked by others. They came from all ages and experiences in Eve. Some had lived through Incarna and still tasted dreams. Over this last year I have proposed many things and spoken to many people about parts of the game. Three things get attention. Anything about non-consensual game play in high sec, spaceship balancing, and avatars.
I think that the desire for avatar gameplay is only going to start to grow again. It was there before Incarna and it never went away. I do not think that CCP should full stop on spaceships. I hope instead that their efforts to fixing the years of game neglect that came from the fast, big, flashy release generation that desires Jesus features, will allow them to catch back up to themselves and expand out from there.
Avatar gameplay is not inherently bad. Poorly planned avatar gameplay that takes away from spaceships and keeping the game irritated and healthy is bad. Incarna soiled the entire concept. A concept that is very normal and familiar everywhere else. And like most things that have hurt, people avoid it. At the same time, CCP has to rebuild trust and like anything else, negatives carry more weight than positives.
I don't know if it is essential for Eve's future. But, I do think it would create more paths and avenues to explore. Paths and avenues that may bring in a different type of player and open up another layer of game play. At the same time there are so many paths and avenues that have not been explored. I'm looking at you pirates and smuggling, the expansion.
CCP does not have a large enough development team to do it all at once and in my perfect world I'd prefer avatars to be a small dedicated team and the bulk to stay with spaceships and space. But, my knowledge knows that it doesn't work that way. An entire design section that mirrors the current but was smaller would have to be developed for it. It'd be almost a different game and so far we've had Dust launch and have some rocky times and Legion and Valkyrie not make it out of the gate yet, while WoD died before birth.
I know CCP has the talent to make Avatar gameplay. I would worry about making avatar gameplay and the rest of Eve continuing at its current rate of repair, iteration, and growth. Maybe when the repairs are done and its more a focus on iteration and growth some pressure will be eased. Maybe because I have grown up in the generation of Eve being fixed, I'm overly nervous. I don't know.
I don't know an Eve that as a whole, dreamed for avatar gameplay. I do know an Eve struggling to heal from its past and learn from its mistakes. I'm more than happy to see an Eve with a complex future. But I do not think the future is right now. Not when we are so close to sewing closed the final wounds left by the past.
But after? Soon(tm)?
I believe in dreams.