Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Deserving

When you log into a game what do you expect?

What do you deserve?

What basic things should be in place for an engaging game session?

I often walk around the edge of a swirling mass of thoughts, opinions, concepts, hopes, wants, dreams. At times certain things surface more than others. Often from this I collect bits and pieces that connect all over the game. At other times I am given ideas and concepts that I find distasteful.

I rarely write about the distasteful things. I could drown my blog in the darkness. But that has little value. I prefer to fight against the negativity even as it attempts to drag me under. So, I avoid it. But this one... this one I am tired of.

It is unfortunate that I can no longer count the amount of times that I have been told another player group does not deserve to be treated well in Eve. They do not deserve gameplay. They do not deserve development time. They do not deserve the ISK that they can gain. That they do not deserve the ships the fly, the modules that the fit, or the existence that keeps them logging into their client each day.

How angry it makes me. I can feel the bitterness washing over me. And I often wonder how we reached this point. This point where people can call out another and tell them that they do not deserve anything for they do not live, play, and engage in the right game environment for what they have and that it should be removed.

I know that Eve is not a perfect game. I do not spend hours writing about Eve's flaws. I acknowledge them. I then indulge myself in trying to fix the flaws.  I say this to voice the fact that the game is not perfectly balanced and I am under no illusion that it is. Things need to change. They need to change more often then they do. That is where I find my path.

When I log into Eve, I have several things that I want. I want a secure base. I want the things that I have gathered to be where I left them if I have taken proper measures to put them there. Things like that matter to me.

That is why I ask the questions above. I listen to people telling me what others do not deserve. I'd like to hear what a player does deserve. What are they entitled to? What are the pieces of a good gaming session? What should fill up that spot that is gaming? That makes us thirsty to return?

Maybe I can salvage something positive from my anger.

20 comments:

  1. I’ve been thinking about PvE ‘balance questions’ of late as well. Setting aside why such discussions all too often slip into mean spirited ‘overentitlement’ accusations, I’m inclined to think that whatever space career you choose and wherever you decide to partake in that space career, you should expect that if you’re halfway decent at it you ought to be able to make a damn fine space living pursuing that career. This strikes me a rock bottom fundamental game design requirement since it makes little sense for CCP to expend precious game design resources creating ISK making space jobs that you can’t make a living at.

    Important elaboration – by ‘space career’, I mean what one does to earn their ISK. If you can link up your passions and ISK generation so much the better but that doesn’t mean your passions should necessarily earn good ISK. I’ve been known to partake in high-sec, pod cracking suicide ganking and while it’s delightful malevolent fun it never paid its way as pods produce no loot. In fact, part of the fun was the profligate 'misuse' of hard earned ISK.

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  2. The root issue here is perception I suspect. There's a broadly held (within the EVE community) idea that some areas of game are supposedly harder then others and should therefore be more rewarding.
    The idea of an 'end game' is deeply ingrained in MMORPG communities. Frankly to me personally that notion is ridiculous in EVE. If you find you are perfectly content playing in empire space you should be able to do so and feel rewarded. Same goes for any other part of space.

    EVE takes place in the sandbox of New Eden what part of New Eden you choose the live in should be irrelevant to whether or not you can be successful or be rewarded. I think people who go on big rants about how incursions are to rewarding for example are silly, why do you care what incursion runners make if you're not interested in running incursions? vOv

    And the notion of trying to drive (read: force) people into parts of New Eden they don't feel they want to go (like 0.0) is even nuttier to me, why would you want to drive people to do something they clearly indicate they have no desire to do? That's morally reprehensible.

    At the end of the day I want to make enough ISK so that I can keep doing the things I enjoy in EVE, I really don't care about how that relates to what others make, if they make enough for what they want to do good for them, I say!

    What EVE really needs I think is way for groups *everywhere* in New Eden to feel special for some reason other then monetary or killboard success. Something they can point at and say 'Look we did that! We're proud of that! And this is part of our EVE identity!'. A record of sandcastles build perhaps.

    Ultimately I think the culture needs to change so that players focus on the things they want instead of being envious of what others have :)

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    1. "why would you want to drive people to do something they clearly indicate they have no desire to do? "

      Because that's exactly what CCP does about PvP, and multiplayer content, and null security space, and... you can do other stuff, but oh my, you gotta pay for your lack of "playing the game right". From the passive stuff like "less refining yield just because of highsec" to the completely active "you've been wardecced", EVE players are not equal and what CCP does for them depends on whether they do what CCP thinks that players should be doing.

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  3. Sugar, I have the upmost respect for you and I'm sorry that this is bringing you down. Perhaps a large part of the problem is that some cut-throat PVPers feel the need to be very edgy when presenting their opinions, with anti-carebear rhetoric that detracts from their actual argument.

    I don't want to encourage PVE players to leave high-sec but I do want to encourage the alts of PVPers (who are in some of the best alliances in the game) to make ISK in the same space that they hunt in and fight to control, rather than farm high-sec incursions. I don't blame them for it and I don't want to force them out, what I really want is to feel that I am justified in taking the risk of doing PVE outside of high-sec myself.

    I feel that many of the ISK-making opportunities in more dangerous space are currently not worth taking because high-sec strikes the optimal balance between risk and reward (with incursions having both less risk and more reward than most other PVE activities in the game). So much content is rendered worthless and so many opportunities to promote adventure and conflict are squandered because of it. I signed up with the expectation of being hunted and having the constant adrenaline-pumping excitement of being on my toes. Instead, I find myself bored stiff by the stifling safety of high-sec or a fool for trying to make more ISK in more dangerous space.

    With so many PVPers using their alts to make ISK in high-sec, there are fewer targets to hunt and ultimately less activity. There is less world PVP, players are more bored and this has the potential to create a vicious circle that is lethal to the game. I don't feel entitled to targets but the game won't be worth playing if I can't find a fight.

    When I do PVE, I expect to make a choice between more risk or more reward and I deserve to be rewarded for choosing a PVE activity in a corner of the sandbox with a riskier PVP ruleset. When I do PVP, I expect to come across people doing exactly that and then have fun trying to kill them.

    The crucial thing for an engaging game session are the other players I come across.

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    1. "I don't blame them for it and I don't want to force them out, what I really want is to feel that I am justified in taking the risk of doing PVE outside of high-sec myself."

      And there you have it Anonomyous. Why don't you feel justified doing what you want to do? Why are you ashamed to earn your ISKies where and how you want to earn them? You're asking CCP to code your self imposed shame out of the game so you don't have to worry about feeling the fool among those whose judgmental attitude you've deeply imbibed. Well kiddo, that ain't CCP's job. If you want to do something, do it. Demanding that CCP first make what you what you enjoy the best min/maxed risk/ISK rewarded option before you deign to partake is a particularly baffling and extremely self limiting sort of posturing.

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    2. Do you enjoy the added risk and tension of doing PvE in more dangerous space? If yes, then aren't you already being rewarded in a way?

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  4. Sugar,

    This might be somewhat off topic but:

    If you guys are doing a PvE pass I urge you not to start the session with the words 'balance', 'deserve', or 'entitled'. In fact, balance shouldn't be a consideration until after most of the decisions have been made. THEN worry about balance. Let's cut the the core of the matter: With over a dozen ways people can be social while sitting on the toilet, the game client needs to pull people in enough for them to want to be social about it. CCP has a history of not doing horribly well in this are. Need proof? Go into the client's general options and have it play the intro movie the next time you run the client. We all know what type of inspiring clips CCP CAN and HAVE made. Does this movie leave you saying "Oh my god, I want to do THAT!" or does it have you saying: "Eve is so much better then that."?

    Continuing to try and get to the point. The user interation between the client and user needs to be iterated on. Dock at station -> talk to agent -> run mission -> dock at station -> hand in. This is the same exact same interaction present in every other MMO. And they can do it better, because they're 'agents' have an avatar and not simply a picture next to a wall of text.

    In fact, I would go so far as to say until this has been iterated on and changed CCP can't seriously say their target audience is anything other then us old folks who fell in love with the game initially.

    YMMV

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  5. Is there an activity in eve that is so powerful that it damages the experience of any player not participating in it?

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    1. In a dark room with a mirror, whisper, "Incursions" three times...

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    2. "In a dark room with a mirror, whisper, "Incursions" three times..."

      Incursions mean nothing if ISK don't drive you. ;-)

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    3. Yes and no:

      Even if you do not (want to) run them they will still lockdown your home constellation for all PVE content until they are over.

      And they are the only "NPC game mechnism" to do so. Everything else /bumpers, gankers, war decs etc) is done by players.

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  6. I deserve for the amount of fun I'm having not to be impacted for more than the amount I'm risking to have it. That's a fuzzy ideal which doesn't really say much. Everyone will have a different scale to measure that by. My scale for instance is going to be way different than it is for a newbie, but at the end of the day we all pay CCP for fun and escapism. So that's what we deserve.

    What I want btw, is probably the most un-eve thing imaginable. A low risk low reward high fun fast paced system for getting even fights. A 5v5 10v10 instant action button arena lobby system. There's a lot of times I don't play Eve because I want 10 minutes of fun. And it's nearly impossible to get 10 minutes of fun. I want to log in, jump clone to a gladiator system where I've stocked ships greenlit for it, get in said ship, hit a find me a fight button, lose my ship, and log out. 10 minutes of fun. After the amount of years I've played, I think Eve can handle it so long as things are blowing up, and I deserve something that doesn't take hours to get into. :)

    PS. This sounds a lot like Jester before he quit writing. Please don't leave us. :)

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    1. Sometimes, when I get irritated its just easiest to spit it out and accept the results. Then I can hopefully learn from it, see where I fall compared to others, and in general work through it instead of brooding.

      Unfortunately, some CSM days are harder than others.

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  7. What I deserve from EVE... allow me to create (or at least find) new ways of using the things I've learned to love and do.

    Failing that, just give me new oportunities to use those things.

    And by the way. I've never have claimed that other players don't deserve this or that, or should be deprived of their content. I've never played ANY game to deprive other people from playing it. CCP disagrees, of course, and that's how I lost nullsec friends with each Goon war...

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  9. Sorry to hear you're down. This comment is not intended to disagree with you (obviously I don't know your exact case), but just to make the main point that sometimes gets lost in the way people say it.

    A box of building blocks is the classic sandbox toy. The toy makers spend efforts on refining and adding blocks to improve the building activity, allow new interesting things to be built, and sometimes take away existing blocks that are, say, obsolete or health hazards, whatever.

    A few people decide they don't like actually building things, but just collecting blocks and, I don't know, organising them by colour and size or something. Well, fine. Their blocks, they can do that if they want.

    But one can see why the players who do build stuff, would object if the makers start focusing too much on this kind of non-core gameplay. Like if they start spending too much time on new blocks not motivated for actual building, but just random shapes, sizes and colours.

    The problem is these discussions get perverted into pointless arguments about "player rights", "all gameplay is created equal", "don't tell me what I can't do", etc. It's nothing to do with that. It's just about making a video game.

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  10. Ah yes Incursions up there with the carebear as the greatest threat to Eve. Calls for the removal from high-sec or just removal is the chorus of the choir in the church of HTFU. Yet prophesies of Doom remain un-forefilled.

    I rarely fly Incursions, it is a serious time commitment and requires alternative time zone activity. Some fleets no longer fly because of a general decline across the player base. Others have substantially lowered the requirements for skills and fitting. The former domain of marauders is now the haunt of navy hulls. Sites are only contested within a brief peek window. Is this the lure of bodies abandoning null-sec? Or the mighty ISK tap dialled all the way to eleven? The actual reward itself? NPC Static in a dynamic player market which has seen inflation triple the cost munitions and replacement hulls.

    And what of risk you ask? Well good FCs watch local, and D-scan for trouble. Watch lists and black lists well kept. Ships are buffer fitted and Omni tanked. Logistics are on hand for those dire moments. People being responsible for their own safety is a serious threat and CCP needs to intervene before it spreads to miners.

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  11. One of the first problemis that people would like the best isk making opportunities to be in the space they live in, and also be the type of activity they like most. One of the fundamental problem is that unless CCP makes a system in which no matter what activity you are making and no matter how quick you complete it, you get a single universal fixed amount of isk per minute/hout, then the law of economics will be so that the most popular way of making isk will either see its own reward value crashed, or the value of ISK decreased. If you have access to the volume of isk created by incursions vs null anoms for example via your csm sits you can evaluate which activity is really responsible for the 1b PLEX, and if there is really a problem with incursion.

    Finally what I think Eve players deserve is a better PVE (as in fighting NPCs) experience. Both solo and in groups, (of 5/10). I know very very few people that enjoy running the PVE content just for itself. I would love to enjoy doing PVE in eve, but the reality is that I only do it when I need isk to do other things.

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    1. Honestly, I see no evidence for that. I just had a look at the prices of PLEX since Quantum Rise (Nov '08) and the inflation doesn't suddenly accelerate after Incursion (Nov '10). It's mostly a gradual increase with a bit of a bump up in early 2013 but that leveled off again. So I see no evidence for Incursions driving the plex prices upwards at all tbh.

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