Scanning is on its fourth major iteration (unless I have missed one). The original scanning involved some type of complex triangulation. The second one created an easier to use interface. The third was released with Odyssey and supported with the Discovery scanner that automatically told you where sites where. The fourth is underway as part of the new star map. It is very similar to the third.
The first scanning interface I cannot speak to. It was complicated and like many of Eve's early features geared towards mathish folks. Much of that was on the back burner with the second change that improved accessibility. The second one, which I did use, required some knowledge. It required knowledge of where to even look for sites and combined information such as what signatures various sites had. That knowledge became irrelevant because the discover scanner told you where to look. Scanning became a matter of getting the exact coordinates and not so much looking for sites. Combat scanning required you to look for the ship still. Now we are only the fourth major overhaul and along the way people have become disenfranchised with scanning as it became more accessible.
Many of Eve's features are fiddly. They tend to lack documentation. Some knowledge is handed down by players that hide under waterfalls atop tall mountains. You must apprentice with them for half a decade before a kernel of knowledge tumbles from their ancient lips. That leaves a satisfactions when the skill is mastered. A satisfaction that is lost when current progress removes that mastery by getting rid of steps and stuff that exist just to be there. It is always not about accessibility. Sometimes, certain things didn't make sense. But, what does that do to our investment in ourselves and our gaming abilities as players?
My belief is that time investment is very important for a player. It is an important part of how we shape our view of ourselves and how we define the meaning the game and things in the game have for us. As CCP moves forward with making things accessible, I'm curious about how this will change the culture of those using the product.
Skill points, for instance, have been changed. This is not the first time this has happened. This is not even the highest that starter skill points have been. Some say that it is not enough. Players should start ready to play the game at a competitive level from the moment they log on.
There is a value in the time it takes to learn a skill. Skill points and skill in game are not the same thing. However, that argument that I am fond of can be turned around. Now, it can be said that having skills doesn't mean they have skill but it lets them earn skill in a more fun way.
That is why I'm pondering investment. I am very invested in my characters. Sugar defines me in Eve. That investment comes from time. Would I still be as invested in her if I had it all instantly? I'm not sure. It is a question that I would ask for those who came into the game and purchased an advanced character to skip directly to the content of the game. How long did it take them to become bonded to their character? Are they even bonded to their character? Does that matter to others as it does to me?
And there is the question of mastery. There is a lot of Eve to learn but not everyone is going to be interested in learning all of it. It leaves a delicate balance. I often listen to people lament that they have mining skills trained on their accounts. I doubt preaching to them about becoming maxed out miners would give them a coveted goal.
Things often feel formless. What are we learning? What are we mastering? What are we in the game? It is easy to attribute it to the nature of the sandbox. In many ways it is. But, Eve is a bit looser than many other sandboxes. In Skyrim, I'm always dealing with being the dragon reborn. But, CCP has embraced the living nature of Eve's gameplay and it brings challenges along with it.