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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reflections

So I've had a chance to pull back a bit and look at EVE from a bit more of a distance. Time to put some of my thoughts in order. Now as I've indicated I'm in burnout mode, so I'm playing some different games while I let my EVE burnout work it's way through. My alts are doing their jobs (those that don't fly much) and my main is simply grinding some NPC corps for standing in order to get perfect refines at more stations. This is the "turn off brain and grind" side of EVE. But unfortunately for me my brain does not turn off very well.

So I'm left with pondering the state of EVE and MMOs in general. So without further adieu (that's how you're supposed to spell it) here are some random thoughts on EVE:

1) Single server. This is by far the biggest factor in EVE's success. Anyone who doubts this just has not experienced the difference between an EVE meet and other gaming meets. The ability to know that anyone you meet who says they play EVE is someone you can run into in game is VERY powerful. Other games do not know what they are sacrificing in terms of draw to their game by not pushing the technology and game design with this in mind. This was brought home forcefully when it turned out that I was not the only player in my alliance in burnout mode. A bunch of us ended up on DDO independently. But because we had arrived independently we were split over 2 different servers and by the time we found out that we'd each ended up in DDO, we were all too far along to switch servers. Bummer.

2) PvP - the good. Now by definition PvP in MMOs is for the hardcore (or the jackasses, but I digress). Now the fleet battles and the operations involved that result in fleet battles - of any type - are incredibly well done. This is one of the few games where I feel they nailed mass combat and fleet operations PvP correctly. Scouting is critical, good fleet coordination is crucial. Lag notwithstanding in the 0.0 slugg-fests (EVE grows, but that means you need to put up with the growing pains from time to time), short of some FPS mass combat system it's the one aspect where EVE realy shines. Once you understand ship types and realize there's a role for the cruisers and smaller craft even in more end game situations and that it's not just a progression from frigate to titan things work much better.

3) PvP - the bad. Carebear ships. They universally suck (except the Orca). This is where EVE's design falls apart. The only reason these ships are like they are is to provide griefers targets. End of story. None of them have enough hit points and none of them have enough defenses. I'll simply point out that in pirate infested waters, in real life, eventually merchants arm up. East India Traders back in the age of sail were not toothless cargo ships. They knew they were operating in dangerous territory and were build and armed with the operating environment in mind. The sad part is they could be so easily changed to the point where they would be usefull and promote good PvP but certain elements at CCP just want to pander to the Bully/Ganker mentality that chases away newbies. There is no fun in a part of gameplay that forces you to be an indefensible sheep staked out for the wolves.

4) PvE - There are two ways to control resource acquisition in MMOs: Search for resource time and loiter time. For some reason EVE seems to like the second type over the first type. Once again this makes the types of ships involved rather badly designed. In the real world ships this badly designed for their job would be rather rapidly replace with more suited designs. Unfortunately this is not the case in EVE since we're stuck with the designs of the game. We keep getting glimmers of hope that this may one day be addressed, but for now simply have to suffer through. The biggest glaring problem on the resource side strangely enough is not the more traditional resource extraction stuff (although it works really well in Apocrypha). It's the fact that they've got very high reward for practically no risk for mission runners.

5) Crafting (industry) - This is where EVE is firing on all cylinders. With the exception of a few glaring issues in the resource side of the equation, the actual market is by far the best designed in the sphere of MMOs.

In the end, EVE is a flawed game. There is no doubt of that. The thing is that you can see the diamond in the rough from the parts that are light years beyond what other games offer. It's just too bad it's taking so long to polish off the rough parts.

8 comments:

Heyna Deltais said...

Yeah, I'm nitpicking, but...

Adieu is how you spell adieu, yes. But that's not the word that applies. The phrase means "without further fuss" and similar; ado is correct. Adieu means goodbye which is entirely unrelated.

Kyle said...

As usual, you've nailed it. An appropriate defensive balance to industrial / mining ships (and perhaps finally a true science ship class) would probably do much more for those upset about Hulkageddon than nerfs to the pirates. Preserve the sandbox but make sure everybody has the right kinds of shovels.

radsaq said...

Arming a ship involves tradeoffs. If you really want a defensible mining ship, you can use a combat ship with mining lasers. An exhumer should be reserved for when you have some defense and using a ship designed solely for mining is appropriate.

Also, am I wrong in thinking that it's possible to tank a Hulk so it's not trivially gankable?

Luccul said...

We all benefit from your brain not turning off well - good post.

I'm not sure I understand your point #4 well. What do you mean by "Search for resource time and loiter time". Loiter time would apply to mining, yes? So is your comment about the design of mining ships? Or mission running/ratting ship fits too?

Any game is a flawed game, but that's partly because the human players that play it are so varied that you can't possibly make a game that is everything to everybody. We'll see if EVE continues to improve - I'm a bit concerned that CCP's desire to move into console gaming will mean less attention will get spent on EVE. We'll see.

Minuit Soleil said...

Nice post!

I somewhat disagree with you on point 3, however.

To continue your analogy of pirate infested waters, many merchant vessels were indeed helpless ships designed simply to move goods from point A to point B.

They tended to be accompanied by rather well armed vessels designed to sink anyone between point A and point B who didn't stay the heck out of the way.

I don't think hulks being bad at defending themselves is inherently bad, but rather that the vast majority of us are fools for not hiring guards.

This of course doesn't address suicide ganking in high-sec, but that's a somewhat different matter.

Inglix the Mad said...

Well I would like a new "Mimic" or "Chameleon" module (with the new skill: Mimic Signature in Electronics) described in a couple of different posts I had.

Specifically it would allow Cruisers, Battlecruisers, and Battleships (the best of which would be CovOps battleships) to be the wolves amongst the sheep. Even with Hulkageddon in consideration, try to break my tank in a Drake or Myrmidon with a 4 cruiser gank squad. I'll laugh while you are Concordokken.

More here: http://inglixthemad.blogspot.com/2010/01/cloaky-things.html

and a bit more about it here, at the end...

http://inglixthemad.blogspot.com/2009/12/auto-profit-for-all-not-really.html

Sorry about the shameless self promotion ;)

Letrange said...

@a bunch of you: I'll be expounding on the whole points 3 and 4 in my next post since it seems to kick off some interest.

Rettic said...

Nice, Letrange. Good food for thought.

But Minuit sums up pretty well what my thoughts were on #3. Industrialists can have teeth, they just need to be hired and/or are a combat unit within the corp. It's only the industrialists fault if they aren't fighting fire with fire.