Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Blog Banter #65 - What is Interesting?

Blog Banter #65 - Attributes and Skills
Does Eve need attributes? It's been discussed a lot recently. Unlike other MMO's your characters attributes don't make a difference in day-to-day gameplay. They simply set how fast you train a skill. Is it time to remove attributes from the game or totally revamp their purpose? Do they add a level of complexity to the game that is not needed? If you really need to use a 3rd party application to get the most from it should it be in the game? Should they be repurposed with each attribute adding a modifier to your ship? Are attributes a relic from the past or are they an important part of Eve - You make your decision and deal with the consequences? 
It is a worn out stick and a well beaten horse. Eve isn't a young game. Its twelve. That's a good thing. It is a fabulous thing. In a world where games barely make it into their third and fourth years it is a spectacular thing. Being unique is great. It keeps us in a game. It is fun being special. But it also comes with negatives.

One of Eve's best resources is the veteran player. Love, treasured, known, vets add a value to Eve that cannot be easily explained. They are the history of the game. You can sit and talk with them about game changing battles that happened ten years ago. Their knowledge and experience can easily accumulate into centuries. It is a rather intimidating thought.

But, there is a downside to veterans. That is the fact that they are veterans. Things are not new. That is fine. The fact that Eve can be played because it is interesting instead of bright and shiny is one of the aspects of the game that I love so much. However, familiarity breeds contempt. It is a natural process to forget our times of ignorance. Ignorance is not useful. Knowledge drives us forward. But, with it comes contempt and complacency. Those are dangerous things.

I may be in a somewhat rare position. A side effect of it is that I talk to a lot of people. I talk to people who would not normally interact with me. I meet and have discussions with people who would never know I exist or I they. And one thing that often rises to the surface is that aspects of the game are put onto the table for removal because they don't add any value.

But, I think what is often being said is that they don't add value anymore.

The old and the new can exist in the same place at the same time. It happens every day in the game. Eve has the unfortunate spot of trying to tie these two into a coexistence. But experience changes us and it changes what we do and how we respond. Today the topic is attributes. Remove them! I have heard. They have no value! They have no place.

But was not there a time when they did have value? A time when they did have a place? A time when sitting, figuring them out was new, exciting and thrilling. When it captured the imagination and plans spun on the exited dreams created because there was no experience to lean on? And then later, when experience comes and interests change, when knowledge has wrought its work upon our mind and changes upon our heart they had less value and less purpose. In fact, they seemed somewhat pointless and not something that was cared about any longer. It was not needed. It was known not to matter. So remove it.

I'm not sold yet on the idea of ripping things from the game because the absolute born of knowledge comes into play. When something is no longer needed it rapidly loses its value. The training wheels of a bicycle. The large, lined paper that I wrote my first letters upon. If someone where to give me training wheels for my motorcycle or large, lined letters for me to write my work reports on I'd find these objects useless to my needs, interest, and abilities.

But, there was a time when they had great value.

I'm torn on attributes in Eve. I think that attributes are a core part of creating a character. Customization has always appealed to me. There are few things that we customize in Eve. I've been playing for four years and Sugar sits over seventy million skill points. There is little that she needs and more that she can gain. Customization in Eve is simply how we approach something not what we are limited to doing. We can fly everything. We can do everything. It is just about how we decide to do it.

I like that part of the game. I'm not one for restrictions that we cannot overcome. I first made a Gallente character and it would be sad for me to learn that Minmatar was my home as a PvPer while trapped in a Gallente body.

I am also not good with my attributes. I have not remapped since sometime in 2013. Most of my characters do not have attribute implants in at the moment. I know, absolutely, that I am not optimized and I do not care. But, I do not care because that is an aspect of my personality. What keeps me on the line of this subject and not defending the small, unique qualities of attributes is those who are my polar opposites. Those who are so trapped by the need to maximize progression that they cannot exist in a state of comfort and relaxation without their attributes. They lock themselves into progression paths that last for months or years because of the gains they would not make if they approached the situation in a more casual manner.

I do wonder... would this topic be so fierce if we had more remaps? Remaps every quarter or six months instead of twelve? I wonder if we are approaching the wrong part of the topic? Do attributes bother us or does the specter of time lost drive this discussion?

14 comments:

  1. I think you're post title cuts straight to what I took ~2,000 words to try and say, which is that we should preserve interesting choices, but I can't tell if attributes are interesting or not. They're are very much a long term planning thing. I am sure that appeals to some.

    I am against more frequent remaps at some level, as taking the commitment away seems to do away with the potentially interesting bit. I think. Maybe.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I put in 6-month plan into evemon and optimizing my attributes saves me...4 days? So why bother with them at all? Unless they had a much greater effect on skill point progression.

    Also, I remember when bloodlines made a difference. Can we have those back, too, in some form?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think we can get rid of them safely. We had the same conversation when learning skills were removed, for 6 months everyone raged about loss of possibilities and blah blah blah. Now no one cares. In hindsight everyone considered axing them a good move.

    Instead just classify all the skills in a 5 renamed headings, then repurpose attribute implants to give a bonus in those off the base. It'll keep all the complexity everyone actually cares about. Knowing you destroyed someone's implants when you podded them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If you don't care about your skill training anymore, you could just start new alts on your accounts, train supercapital pilots and sell them. This way the account nearly pays for itself.

    Don't forget to remap them though!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just something interesting I noted:
    My hisec alt is also 4 years old. Thanks to me being borderline OCD on remaps - and stupid enough to spring for +5 learning implants early on - he is now up to 100 million skillpoints to your 70 million.
    Thats around 7.5 million a year - but that only works if you avoid combat PVP (nearly) completely.

    Anyway, even though I like the minmaxing "minigame" of atributes, I still think the game could do well without them. And especially without the "I cannot come into fleet now with that 500 Mill pod" learning implants. They kill content.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a good point, if you want to fly the ships that you want to fly (asap) then you have not play the game how you want to play it. (pvp).

      Althought the changes to jump clones not needing standings definatly helps, the lost training time can feel like you wasted time. I always hate losing those skill points when the game makes me pause my skill queue for something.

      Delete
    2. "This is a good point, if you want to fly the ships that you want to fly (asap) then you have not play the game how you want to play it. (pvp)."

      So you get a benefit (faster learning) if you accept a risk (lost ISK if podded). And you get to choose your level of benefit and associated risk.

      How very... EvE.

      Delete
    3. +1, Bitter.

      Implants are like everything else in EVE...don't use them if you can't afford to replace them or are not willing to lose them. I've lost several sets of CA-1/2 and have finally stopped replacing them because it's too much money (for me). But I still fly a pod worth 100 mil, and it's not like I'm flush with funds. I just choose to accept the risk.

      Delete
  6. Losing attributes opens up 5 implant slots. I think a lot of very interesting implants could be created to fill these slots. It could also be a good way to overhaul the loyalty point stores of most NPC corps.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I’m fascinated when a particular blog banter happens to catch fire (not all do). That this one’s a veritable conflagration strikes me particularly strange since attributes have no direct in game consequence. Charisma, for example, does not affect standings with NPC corporations rather in game actions and skills such as Connections do. Anonymous @ 8:49 AM above calls attributes a ‘minigame’ which, as I think about it, is very probably the perfect moniker. In most parts of Eve if one misplays or doesn’t even partake in a particular minigame ones activities outside the bounds of that particular instantiation of that particular minigame aren’t affected. The attribute minigame and specifically the neural remap portion of that minigame is, however, quite different. Given the long term rarity of the remapping option, and the very real possibility that what one is training today will be wildly different from what one will be training three months on, I (and very possibly many others) are quite cautious about deploying a remap since we are aware that long term harm could very well overwhelm short term benefit. Accordingly, my attributes long ago ended up as flat as I could make them meaning neural remapping is a minigame I deliberately avoid.

    Having undertaken the ‘problem definition’ portion of my comment - there's no problem with attributes but rather there's a troubled neural remap minigame - let us pursue rehabilitating the troubled minigame. Three thoughts come to mind:

    1) Introduce more remaps. I’m not a fan of such approach since if they become too common you in practice trivialize the minigame as you day to day rejigger your attributes to match the training of the moment. No deep decisions are made as good bookkeeping renders deep decision making unnecessary.

    2) Remove remaps (or, larger scale, attributes altogether). I’m not really a fan here either. While I purposely avoid the remap minigame others may not and I see no reason why my particular preferences should dictate other peoples’ enthusiasms.

    3) Introduce an exit remap option (reset to flat). Ahhhh, now this could entice me back into the remap minigame since it enables me to partake in short term gain while avoiding long term harm. In this scenario remaps become even more valuable as deploying one needn't necessarily gimp future options since, via reset to flat magic, you’re never worse off than where you started.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't really care about attributes but I loathe learning imps. They must be gone like training skills.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I don't think that the Attribute and Remap system itself adds much value to the game or that removing it would be a significant improvement to EVE. When somebody inevitably suggests that they 'cannot' train a skill because they aren't mapped for it, I consider that to be a problem with their mentality and not a failure with the design of the game.

    However, I am very disappointed that CCP intends to remove Learning implants. I think that they currently represent one of the best working examples of risk versus reward. Refusing to risk your expensive clone is the consequence of a meaningful decision rather than a failure of game design.

    I can understand why null-sec players are unhappy with the current situation just as I can see that the desire for this change is driven by self-interest. I considered clone costs to be a poor mechanic but I'm alarmed that there might be a trend towards reducing the cost of PVP. I like a good fight but I'd argue that cheaper PVP is intrinsically less meaingful and less worthwhile to participate in. I chose to play a full-loot game, rather than a world PVP game with no significant death penalty, so I consider diluting the taste of defeat to be a bad thing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. That's an interesting way of thinking outside of the box, Sugar.

    "They do nothing, we care nothing, so let's get rid of attributes" vs "WHY attributes do nothing and veterans don't need to care about them?"

    I've read other bloggers pointing how attributes don't matter since they don't have an impact on gameplay. Why?

    If your brain is better at tracking movement, why shouldn't that impact how your turrets track targets?

    I think that CCP should examinate (if they can) the discussions behind attributes. What did they decided to do, and what don't, and why. And evaluate those reasons in the light of a game where new players are becoming rarer and complexity is rampant.

    Personally, I used to be proud to keep a +4 learning implants set. That would set me apart from PvPrs who lost their pods too often to afford such items. I also feel stupid since at some point I dismissed +5 implants and only God knows how many SP did I miss earning because of that...

    ..as if it mattered now. :/

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think this game is first wonder of adventure fulfill.It has changed our life,society and culture.It is a grate source of power and energy.It works like magic.So i love this game and more and more then i play this game.I request everybody to play this game and enjoy.
    http://www.artweddings.co.uk/bridal-accessories-uk/wedding-umbrellas-uk/

    ReplyDelete