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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lacks Vision #1

Call it coming off a break.  Call it looking at things from a distance.  Call it madness.  I am finding that EVE is still like no other game out there.  But it's got it's flaws.  And warts.  And maddening idiosyncrasies.  And like most games it ignores some realities of human ingenuity when at war.  It also ignores a whole bunch of possibilities and gradations.

This post is part of a series that going to be a look into some of what I see as issues and some possible ideas of ways to implement changes to the game to resolve said issues.  Vague semblances of possible plans.

Risk vs Reward.

That right there is one of the major problems with EVE online and the cause of it's population distribution.  Specifically it's industrial base in this case.  Let me ask you a few questions:

Is manufacturing something in a station safer than at a POS?  Then why does it cost less than manufacturing at a POS?  When one puts up a POS for any industrial purpose (as opposed to for a tactical or strategic PvP purpose) it represents taking a risk.  You need to invest in the infrastructure and you need to invest in defending said infrastructure and there are ongoing fuel costs or it's just an item sink.  All of this costs.  There are some time savings with POS but in reality that is much less of a consideration than you would think since the time scales are so short and the differences are less than an order of magnitude.  Besides for most things the rate of resource extraction is more of a restriction on rate of manufacture than the strict manufacturing time itself.  As far as I can tell only super capital construction and T2 ammo are scaled at what feels right-ish time scales.

The point here is that CCP seems to want to have a risk vs reward scale on things.  But they fail in a lot of cases to set things up so that riskier stuff has more rewards than safer stuff.  And I'm not talking about mission levels either.  A Level 4 mission is actually LESS risky to a skilled battleship pilot than a level 1 mission is to a newbie in his first Rifter.

My point here is that a) manufacturing (and researching) in stations is WAY to cheap for the level of safety delivered.  The time scales of manufacturing for the most part are too short relative to the materials investment so allow for any change in manufacturing time at the scales that CCP allows to have a significant or even relevant effect.

So, what would I do?  Ideally you want some incentive for those carebears to set manufacturing facilities in places that can be attacked.  Although I would SERIOUSLY like to totally revise POS ...  fuck it while we're on a lets revise things kick let's go all the way. 

So lets look at this:

Desired outcome: 

1) Industrial work in attackable facilities must either be NECESSARY or CHEAPER than industrial work in stations.  This is to provide incentive to industrialist wanting a competitive edge to move out of stations.  Stations should primarily be market locations rather than service locations.

2) Attack-able facilities should have as little impact on the physics engine as possible.  Look, the current situation where a POS is made up of a whole bunch of separate pieces that are individually anchored in space is bad design.  Looks cool, but has a cost since the physics engine must keep track of them all.  This can't but help add to lag.  This is bad

3) The cost of manufacture needs to go higher.  MUCH higher in empire stations.  Heck Dr. E was complaining that the new anomalies in 0.0 have caused the balance to tilt too far in the direction of faucets than sinks.  Increasing the direct isk sink in empire accomplishes 2 things simultaneously.  1st it provides an isk sink in the one spot where it'll not impact the people directly involved (from the spreadsheet point of view it's simply an increase in cost passed on to the customer).  Two it provides incentive for people to get into player corps and put things that PvPers can attack in space.

4) Two the basic station hanger that each pilot gets at each station is currently effectively unlimited in storage space.  Provide a minimum.  Add extra storage for pilots an ongoing fee.  Ditto for docking space.  Make it cheaper for corporations to expand storage in stations but charge them as well.  Make it cost competitive with exposed storage in space.

The whole idea is to make safe spots more restrictive and more expensive than less safe spots.  NOT THE OTHER WAY ARROUND!!!  friggen idiots.

So...  Let's think about this.  How would I change current station/pos/something else design to accomplish this.  Hehe, I'm going to save my ideas that for the next post but I'm going to let people think about what we're trying to accomplish here as a thought exercise.


Tom Hoffman said...

Excellent points and tbh, it just seems like raising the rates and cutting down the slots in Empire stations would get you 80% of the way there.

Toldain said...

I like your thinking. I cosign the whole thing. Absolute safety costs extra.

Kind of a side note, but it would be nice if you could get salvage or something from blowing up dead, offline POSes.

The research POS seems to be more viable in hisec because the station research slots are always full.

But the risk thing would apply here, too.

Cozmik R5 said...


BTW bro... have you thought of running for the CSM? :))

Boris Kourtoukov said...

Good read, and I agree completely. There are some clear balancing issues when it comes to the smaller things. :)

Manasi said...

I tried to leave comments on manasi's tree but I could not

Morolen said...

Certainly Signed good sir.

Tom said...

It's not newbie friendly, how will you get new players to do research/manufacturing ?

Your approach is the French way 'People use something I dont like, lets take it away'. Please consider a solution where you try to make something else more attractive..


Letrange said...

@tom it's effects would be limited since there's still a large portion of the player base that would NOT like to go into unsafe operations and would simply pay the price of the more expensive but safer stations.

The equivalent options would be to introduce material as well as time savings for using POS'es. No added restrictions but that would not address the current issues with lack of sinks.

Trent said...

Of course it's newbie friendly, since the industrialists will put their own POS up, freeing up spaces in station for noobs.

Virtuozzo said...

Good points, but considering the state of economics within EVE it strikes me that at this point in time it would be futile. As Hilmar, CCP's CEO said: "the EVE economy is badly managed", and he is right.

To enable an effective usage of such changes, would require CCP to not only engage in far deeper (and certainly not snapshot based) metrics, but also in an understanding of those metrics. For each perspective of user type, game niche, and gameplay orientation. That is asking too much of them, it appears, but who knows .. maybe if we vote in the right folks to engage and challenge CCP constructively and consistantly .. maybe that will see change.

In contrast to comparable trendings in real life, for EVE it would not be a bad idea to more structurally shake things up. Think of the concept of cataclysmic events within the model.

You are right: risk vs. reward as a principle of EVE has been long compromised in these and other matters. But I do wonder whether it is a case for applying a bandage, or chopping off some limbs and watch them regrow themselves - so to speak

Trent said...

IMO, the risk/reward should be, from lowest to highest:

1. highsec station
2. highsec POS (cheaper, but uses fuel)
3. lowsec station (cheaper than POS+charters)
4. lowsec POS (may fluctuate over lowsec station due to fuel prices and poor setup)

tweaking number of lines and cost should get this happening.

antithaca said...

" Absolute safety costs extra."

This is silly. You all know there is just no such thing in EVE as absolute safety.

Why are you trying to drive me to botting bro?

Remember, you drive me out of manufacturing (I shut down my research POS, stoping buy fuel, and stop buying minerals.)

You just nerfed t2 manufaction, ice mining, mineral mining, and PI all in 1 shot.

Brilliant. Try playing the game.

swelke said...

I don't think cutting down the number of slots in empire space is the way to get there. This is an economic game (at least for the carebears). Let's use an economic solution: charge a sliding fee for use of station slots. The longer a slot is continuously in use, the higher the install cost and per-hour cost should go. Conversely, when there are empty slots the price should go down.
What this would do is that the most dangerous stations (i.e. non-highsec) would charge very low prices for manufacturing and research, and the safe places would be expensive to use. This gives an incentive for carebears to spend time in lowsec and nullsec, as it directly affects their bottom line. Also, when someone REALLY needs to research or manufacture something NOW, they can do it. It'll cost more, but it's available. You won't see the 60-day queues for material efficiency slots if it costs 1M isk/hour.

Orson said...

If you wanted to make it more risky wouldn't it be easier to just, make it so that you can't manufacture anything bigger than a cruiser or anything above ML 3 or so in high sec. That should make it somewhat more risky. Actually probably make it lot more risky, since pirates will just camp the systems with manufacturing facilities, and just shoot anything that dares to undock.

But hey you'll increase the risk right?

xalorous said...

Many overreactions in the comments here. You can modify risk vs reward ration by increasing risk or by changing the profit ratio. One simple step to adjust this would be to make Highsec manufacturing more expensive. Perhaps have it scale by 1. sec level of the system, 2. meta level of the object, and 3. size of the object.

No increase in risk needs to be added. Just increase in manufacturing costs in safe places. Significant enough to encourage industrialists to consider low/null/w-space alternatives.

Bottom line is the current risk/reward is not logical.

Personally, I think POS mechanics need a huge overhaul. I agree that the current system is very convoluted and costs much resources to track. Perhaps a system similar to the ship fitting screen where you can drag a module into the POS. And each module will have a visual cue so that you can see what modules are on a POS in PVP.