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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some thoughts on Dev Blogs

The slew of Dev Blogs out of CCP lately got me thinking. The biggest problem I have with the Dev Blogs (and it's a small one) is that they are so irregular. We can go almost a month without a Dev Blog, then as per the run-up to the Quantum Rise expansion, we get the flurry of Dev blogs we got. I really wish they would put them out a bit more regularly. Once a week would be nice.

I will state that I think that part of the communication issues we've had with CCP over the last year an a half are probably due to rapid growth they have seen over the last few years. I've been noticing new names in the Dev Blogs and on the forums. CCP has always been more open than other developers about what they are doing and where they are going. More to the point about how they are going to get here.

Just look at some of the footage of the pannels that were held at this year's fan fest. It was like computer geek porn. Progress on the server structure, migrating to 64bit code. Changing the networking layer. I also think that after the baptism by forum fire that Zuluparc went thru the newer developers are finaly finding their feet. I'm also glad to see that CCP can still hold fast to modifications to the game in the face of voiciferous objections from the nano-vested interests.

Best quote from fanfest I've seen so far (I'm paraphrasing from the keynote speech): "EvE's learning cliff".

Part of the cliff is that EvE is a sand box game. So although you can learn the mechanics in a straightforward maner, there is the fact that you're up against people who've been pushing the limits of what's possible within the game. This is the skiing equivalent of letting the 200km/h speed racers thru on the beginner slope. Not only do the newbies in EvE have to handle unfamiliar equipment and learn how to use it (snowplow anyone?), they have to dodge the speed racers at the same time. So of course they occasionaly get run over (and we loose another prospective player). The other is that eve is not a "follow the path" game. There is no path. There are no goals except those you set yourself and the goals that the other players have set themselves.

There is the phenomenon of "setting un-realistic goals early on". Since the game is by nature like a sandbox, it's a bit like when kids in the sand box say "I'm going to be a doctor" they when they get in school and realize how much work it is only a few of them make it into the medical profession. Except in EvE a lot of them can't change their initial expectations and quit the game saying "but it won't let me be a doctor". This is untrue, they should be saying "I'm to lasy to learn how to become a doctor". The thing here is that EvE does not try to do your thinking for you. It just gives you plenty of rope. Whether you build a rope bridge between yourself and your objective or you hang yourself in some strange and creative of way is entirely up to you.


Carole Pivarnik said...

I'd like to see more regular Dev Blogs as well, even if they're chatty about general progress and not focused on a specific topic. Or maybe share a few tidbits of CCP's culture or silly office insider's view, so to speak. It's just nice to hear from the devs of this game we all love so much.

"Computer geek porn" had me, so, so true!!! I often comment to my husband that it is addictive techno-lust which compels me to require more, better, faster, cooler computer hardware, gadgets, and stuff. He's learned to live with this competition for his affections, fortunately.

I suspect the player base is going to swell as EVE gets back out in the retail market. Hopefully, those new players do the smart thing and start looking for a player corp that can help them get a handle on the game.

Benoit CozmikR5 Gauthier said...

More dev blogs would be cool, but admit it: we are SPOILED ROTTEN compared to every other game we've played before. These devs actually LISTEN to players.

As for the "Learning Cliff", when I talk to people who I think would be interested in EVE I tell 'em these things:

- Read all the guides you can find before even installing the client.

- Install the client and read and re-read those guides.

- If you know someone already in the game, cool. Get that person to help you. You'll need it.

- If you do not know people in the game, talk to people. Send apps to newbie-friendly corps. THIS IS NOT A SOLO GAME !!!

- and of course, what all of us already know: FLY ONLY WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE !!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they release only intermittent Dev Blogs because the Eve community seize upon every word with a fervour, attempting to turn them into a promise.

But where people are passionate about a game, this sort of thing happens I guess.