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What to do with Taboos?

On Sunday, I put together a question that I'd been thinking about over the weekend about developing high sec. I didn't expect the response. As I write this I have eighty nine comments, three other blog posts, and a forum post chugging along.

With this much energy, I've avoided writing anything else to detract people. The type and breadth of feedback has been amazing. I even went into the eve online forums and wrote what the goal of the original post was about to help people giving feedback to stay on topic if that is what they wanted.

This is what I'm going to do with it.

The CSM gives me the unique position of not having to let things fall into the void. When the comments started spawning and the forum thread burst into existence, I tapped the PvE team about it. Because, what else do you do with unexpected situations like this? They've read some of it and I've read all of it. I'm putting together a list of what is being said. Suddenly, work.

We have a lot of themes here.
  • What people believe high sec is.
  • What it should be.
  • What people think development goals are.
  • What they think dead ends are.
  • Nerf high sec.
  • Get people out of high sec.
  • Let people stay in high sec.
  • I want more missions.
  • Please some more missions
  • Okay if not missions group content?
The list goes on for a bit. There are very strong themes in these comments. Themes of control are strong. Controlling an individual game. Controlling other peoples game. Freedom for each sector of space. Sectors locked into each other. And that's just casual.

A few times people have limited me for narrowing the concept of the discussion. When I narrow topics down its because I am trying to extract information that can potentially be used.

An update and an explanation of my silence for my regular readers.


  1. Sugar,

    I too was shocked that “Taboo Questions” produced over 80 comments. That said, I’m not shocked that with very few exceptions, those initial 80 posts were chock full of really good stuff. Your regular readers tend to be good people Sugar (take a bow commenters). At the same time, your tendency to draw good commenters isn’t random chance, you’ve honed us into the fine group we are (take a bow Sugar).

    Self-congratulations aside, it’s wonderful to discover that much of what is being said has a good chance of passing under the eyes of relevant developers. I’m but one of 300,000+ (300,000+!!!) and it appears an appropriate developer very probably will read what Dire thinks Hi-Sec is all about. That developer may not agree. That developer may ‘spit take’ coffee all over the keyboard at Dire’s folly but by god it looks like silly Dire gets a seat at the table anyway. I can’t overemphasize just how super cool that is.

    Good work all,

  2. I said, and I repeat: Thank you for asking.

    I am not shocked, though, to see the amount of answers. Silent or not, highseccers are a massive force in EVE. I wonder what woud happen if CCP engaged them actively rarther than wait for them to speak to their representarives(?) at the CSM.

    I was appalled to see the initial plans for Rubicon adn now the development plan for the next six months. Maybe it's not late so CCP Seagull rethinks what should be the future priorities in a game where half the people is not doing what CCP thinks it is "best" or "what is working".

  3. Hey Sugar,

    Thanks for your consistent high quality posts. They create discussion points, get people thinking... everything a good blog should do.

    I'm curious; does CCP ever do surveys of their player base? I feel EVE players are quite passionate about this game, and would jump at the chance to partake in surveys that canvass their play-styles, what's important to them and so on.

    I think there's real opportunity there; you can ask all sorts of questions and derive answers that address players' risk aversion, goals, frustrations and so on. And CCP could give an incentive in the form of a small number of skillpoints per account, or some cash, or an item or something.

    I think a survey, when juxtaposed with the sort of behavioural data that CCP probably already has, would yield a number of interesting findings.

    1. CCP used to do general surveys once a year, but as far as I know no longer does them. They also did a survey about structures.

      Personally I would like if CCP engaged players individually, through personal interviews on demographically representative individuals (based on behavorial data) so CCP could hear the voices of those who don't speak but vote with their wallet.

      Would be specially useful to know why people leaves since that is a strong indicator of what is wrong according to the actual customers.

    2. They still do surveys to my knowledge pretty sure I filled one out last year.

  4. Thank you for having this blog Sugar.

    Reading through the forum post you listed was a harrowing experience. It quickly devolved into an argument over the validity of highsec in general. Reminded me why I like the blog community over the forum community. People are on average more thoughtful here. And I thank you greatly for providing a place for that.

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  6. I am not shocked either. I am more surprised that CCP hasn't presented a defined vision for High Sec. Whether intended or not, its role seems to be little more than a lever to be tweaked to encourage behaviours in other areas of New Eden. It is not even clear that CCP wants to keep High Sec in the long term future. If you were intentionally running it down, what would you do that is different from what has actually happened? Now I don't truly believe CCP are intentionally closing down High Sec. But without the vision thing, the evidence could be interpreted that way. I would like CCP to state why they think High Sec is (or isn't) important to Eve's future to at least give the inhabitants something to work with or even look forward to.

    1. Look at what happened to WiS people. CCP couldn't or wouldn't do anything to keep them interested and hopeful, and those people quit Thus CCP can just point at post-Incarna children and say "well, do you see *anyone* who still wants that shit?"

      So WiS = Problem solved.

      The same could happen, or be done, about highsec solo PvErs.

      "Oh surely we didn't wanted to starve Budgie to death... but we were so damn busy with the dog!" vºv

    2. I'm kinda hopeful something will be done with planets that effects highsec. When they were doing videos about the opportunities system they said multiple times they were surprised how often the playtesters warped to planets and then were puzzled why they couldn't interact with them in a meaningful way. Planets are the most... how to put it... not awe inspiring.. or notable... Planets are the thing sci-fi has made us all dream of going to. And PI is a sad puppy way of interacting with them.

    3. Seriously kids, I enjoy a good grump as much as the next pilot but this kind of grumping is just silly.

      Kong: “I would like CCP to state why they think High Sec is (or isn't) important to Eve's future” . . . Or they could simply speak with their actions and do stuff like introduce Burner Missions (mishing is a common Hi-Sec activity), introduce a “friendly fire” on/off toggle (safety is a common Hi-Sec concern), fling Drifters all over the place (including Hi-Sec) and relate that to a surprisingly big deal Amarr empress death and succession struggle (Hi-Seccers have been known to role play). Kong, you sound like an impossibly high maintenance spouse, “I understand you just gave me a delightful Porsche, wrapped in a bow with ‘Happy 15th anniversary honey’ card attached but you didn’t repeat ‘I love you, you’re everything to me, the very center of my life’ aloud 15 times as the occasion demands so fuck you! You’re a lousy spouse. The Porsche doesn’t matter. The bow doesn’t matter. The card doesn’t matter. Only words matter.”

      Onions: You might want to get in the habit of spelling out that WIS stands for Walking in Stations. If you don’t a sizable chunk of the *paying* player base, being post Incarna children, won’t have the foggiest idea what you’re complaining about. Get with the times man.

  7. @ Dire I agree with your analysis You do enjoy a good grump :) We all have our burdens. Mine is just a desire for a tiny bit of clarity to reinforce the points you made - which are all generic to eve. They could occur anywhere, so don't in themselves define Hisec. And a Porsche would be so vulgar, with or without a bow.

    1. Kong,

      In practice, the "friendly fire" toggle is not generic to all of Eve. It has absolutely no affect in WH or NS, very limited affect in LS and huge affect in HS. Comparative difference seems a mighty good way to define areas to me. You appear to prefer something else . . . more clarifying words?

    2. The problem with comparative differences is there needs to be more than one thing to compare everything to. As it sits, everything is compared to either Highsec or Nullsec. Lowsec and Wormholes get described as some version or mixture of the two. Erroneously, as the comparisons don't really work. The difference between the two extremes of High and Null though, Null has a mission statement. We know exactly what null is, and what the devs want from it. We've no clue what high is, it's a hodgepodge catch all of many different conflicting gameplay ideas.

    3. Hi Sec existed before the "friendly fire" button I seem to recall so again is irrelevant in terms of defining it. Now you may feel there is complete clarity about the direction CCP wishes to take Hi sec. That is fine. Unfortunately I don't have that insight. But we do have he new roadmap and some genuinely good stuff is going to happen. However, hisec gets "comparatively" less attention as has been highlighted by many. So is it so unreasonable to ask about the ambiguity?

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Kong (and I suppose Halycon too, at least somewhat),

      You prefer "complete clarity" in an open world sandbox game? Really? It seems we aren't even swimming about the same conceptual universe.

      Look, CCP hasn't delivered expansions exclusively (or nearly exclusively) for Hi-Sec in a couple/three years (2012's Inferno & Retribution wardec overhaul and crimewatch rewrite come to mind) and I suppose you can point at that and uncork a "Yes, but what have you done for me lately?" if you want. That said, doing so may tend to get you branded a needy special snowflake rather than understood an punishing criticism of CCP but it's your call . . . "But, what have you done for me lately" to you heart's content.

  8. @Dire So you do think it is unreasonable to ask questions via a CSM to CCP about what plans they may have. But you don't have a clue either. Not really a credible position is it? You seem determined to overreact. Perhaps that suits your needs but it doesn't illuminate the discussion nor make you any more persuasive. Put the emotion to one side, reflect on what I actually said, the spirit of what I said and the context in which I said it. It might then occur to you that we weren't that far apart at the outset and on a better day we could reach a joyous congruence. Metaphorically speaking.

    1. No kiddo, we’re very far apart. If you’d simply asked a “Hey Sugar, anything interesting on CCP’s Hi-Sec agenda?” I’d have made no fuss but you didn’t do that. Instead you requested a “defined vision” from CCP which I found 1) unnecessary and 2) conceptually incoherent given that Eve Online is an open world sandbox game. 2 is the important dispute. Let’s see if I can illuminate a little . . .

      When Eve is like a restaurant:
      Dire takes a seat, opens the menu and informs her agent/waiter “I’ve a hankering for Gurista today, feed me a Gurista mission. That one right there, Gurista Pork. I dined on Angle Chicken last night.”

      When Eve is like a tool store:
      Wandering the store, Dire sees tucked away in the Taboo Questions isle an intriguing new tool set suggestion - Change war-decs from their current universe wide default to specific locations (say constellation for X isk, region for Y isk, and universe wide for Z isk). “Oh my God!” Dire squeals in delight, “that would be so terribly cool. The current tool allows only one possibility . . . ‘Get out of my game!’ but that new set of tools would enable ‘Get out of my yard!’. Think of the intricate player interactions that might emerge. Do it, do it, do it.”

      When it comes to developer time, I tend to prefer tool store updates. They’re sandboxier and Eve’s sandboxyness intrigues me more than Eve’s mission menu (though I’m not opposed to the occasional menu updates). Now tools are not defined vision things. Slotted screwdrivers twist screws quite well. They also make fine paint can openers. Tools purposes are pretty much defined by what the user does with them. The last thing I want is CCP defining what the purpose of my space screwdriver is. I’ll do what I want with it. That’s what sandboxes are all about.

      You may prefer Eve the restaurant and I would concur that the food is pretty bland. Me? I prefer Eve the tool store. That store is amazing.

      Now I’m not a fan of chasing last word victories and I’m rather bummed about commenting so many times on this particular post so if you want a last word victory it’s yours for the taking.

  9. fix ganking

    specificialy remove hyperdunking,make it a risk worth activity,currently it is straggling high sec

    make gankers buy a permit from concord so they can set their guns to shoot targets they are not supposed to ( maybe a 100m permit for 20 minutes shooting? )


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