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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The annoying half finish

Obviously I woke up grumpy this morning. Incoming rant warning.

Don't get me wrong. EVE is Hotel California and all that, you can checkout but you can never leave. There's nothing else out there like it. The CCP developers are smoking that rare stuff on the cutting edge. But one has to realize just how far EVE has come over the years. It did not start as a hyper funded AAA title. They did however have that rare thing: Vision. They also got ultimately lucky in loosing their original publisher. They have the luxury of pursuing their visions at their leisure. The level of balls that took is (Quake voice) impressive (/Quake voice). That could have gone wrong in so many ways.

But... CCP has this annoying habit of leaving features feeling half finished. They have this vision of EVE being the ultimate science fiction simulator. And as the game has grown they have been slowly but steadily pursuing this long term goal. Their skill system is geared towards this goal. They can make EVE as broad as possible without impacting the depth of existing "end game" game play. They also can go down branch roads towards their goal and determine that something didn't work. Rip up the tracks and lay a new road. Can you see Blizzard getting rid of Raid dungeons and substituting something else entirely? That's effectively what the sov changes were in the Dominion expansion.

The problem with this approach is they have still not reached their objective. And some of the side spurs are a little rickety. One of the two biggest is faction warfare. Don't get me wrong it's not too bad, and it works but one can't help feeling like a feature or three are missing that would make it truly rock. The glaring one is some form of income for the militia pilots that does not involve them quitting FW in order to build up a war chest just to blow it again. Another is for example wormhole space. Heck we know there is a 5th subsystem out there. They designed it, we still don't have it in game. There are plenty of others. T2 BPOs. The corp and alliance interfaces for CEOs (DON'T get me started on those nightmares).

The problem we have here is that we've got CCP who are pursuing their vision on one hand and the player base who are playing their game on the other hand. One of the good things to come out of the CSM is that at least we can keep reminding them that it would be nice if they occasionally finished off a project instead of constantly chasing after the new shiney. Unfortunately I think it is a case of the vision was greater than even the increased development resources they have available. Not to mention the massive projects they have underway - Tying in DUST 514, Incarna, (getting Tranquility running on infiniband at which point we'll need to drop the word effectively from the following statement: Tranquility is effectively a supercomputer).

If you follows the fan presentations and industry news and dev blogs and what not, you can see where they are going. The vision is impressive. But I reserve the right to occasionaly gripe about the occasional rough spot along the way. Je suis un grognard.

Look it up.


Latro said...

As a relatively new player (2008) I remember all the discussion around the features in the then upcoming expansion for industrialists that was to be "Quantum Rise." All they got was the Orca. That let me know right away that this was going to be a very slowly developing game, and you know what, I'm alright with that. It would be nice if FW as well as a bunch of other areas got re-addressed. However, while it is our sandbox, it's CCP's business so I figure they've got a good idea of how they want to progress.

Rixx Javix said...

It can be very frustrating. It can also be very exciting. I think we all have our wish list of changes, fixes and whatnots we'd like to see addressed, I know I do, but all in all I have to say I am cautiously optimistic. Which is one reason why I continue to play.

Anonymous said...

CCP have addressed the FW income issue quite well, I think, with the LP store items only available from those missions. But that system is nowhere near complete, as I've written about in the past.

Sadly, right now I have no confidence in the CSM process. Not in the player representatives as a whole, since the ones I know individually appear to do a great job. But I don't yet see evidence that CCP remain committed to the process. If they do, then perhaps they'll get to the stuff that doesn't interest developers quite as much. After all, creating something out of whole cloth feels way better than tweaking and iterating for the devs. For us players, that doesn't hold true.

Letrange said...

LOL, I'm an Orca pilot and leme tell you if that had been the only thing we got out of Quantum Rise, it would have been enough. That is one sweet ship.

Benoit CozmikR5 Gauthier said...

First off, LOL at the Chris Antkow impersonation :)

I got into the black hole called EVE towards the end of Trinity, just before Empyrean Age (and with it Faction Warfare) came out, and each time an expansion came out my question was this: "WTH did the vikings break this tme?" I know nothing of the Python code but it seems that each time they bring something new, something breaks. But what I hate even more is the fact that they start working on something that will be "better" instead of fixing what they broke.

To come back on Quantum Rise, it did not only bring the Orca, but also the prettying up of stations and gates, the missing Amarr frigate and its T2 variant, the Magnate and Anathema v2, and the much debated speed rebalance. As much as I love speed, that one had to happen.

OkamiKurai said...

I haven't been playing long (Aug. '09) but I think that may work in my favor in a couple of ways, actually.

One is that I haven't yet had enough time to become as jaded as the rest of you ^_^

Two is the skill que. I might have quit in under six months if I had started playing before Apocrypha (and honestly don't know how you old guys made it).

I like the IDEA of Tyrannis. If deployment goes down like I think possible, it even has the potential of revitalizing low and null sec to a degree. That's not including tweaks here and there as things progress to help facilitate this.

But I am concerned about current issues not being addressed like many have stated. But for me, not so much for right now as in the near future. If Incarna and Dust happen with lag and other issues still occurring, the problems WILL be exacerbated - exponentially if Dust and Incarna are really well done and bring many old and new people to EVE.

I like the notion of after Tyrannis, leaving the current developement cycle alone for a while and just FIX SHIT....maybe for the next year or so.

But is such a thing even possible??

Letrange said...

@OkamiKurai, not realy with DUST and Incarnna barreling down on us it won't be until after those two things that CCP will be able to sit back and work on existing issues with anything resembling seriousness.

Benoit CozmikR5 Gauthier said...

@Okami: life without a skill queue wasn't too hard. You just had to triple check each time you logged, and EVEmon was a mandatory tool! You could arrange for skills to end at decent hours, but sometimes big ones you really want would end at crazy hours. Example: Evasive Maneuvering V ended at 2AM for me and I REALLY wanted to fly interceptors!

Anonymous said...

It is so frustrating: The high level ideas are so wonderful. The low level implementations are quite bad. A single-thread client with a user interface, especially out-of-combat, that needs massive improvements.

Partly it is CCP doesn't have the resources; Partly they seem to not want to dig too deep in the old codebase. But partly it is the customers. Some of them are "it was better in the beta" and many of them like the unfinished user interface: some because of they mistakenly equate inconvenient with requiring skill; small ship battles require lots of skill. Sitting at your keyboard and clicking WT0 occasionally for 30 minutes in hisec does not require skill, just low self esteem.

It goes without saying that most S&I and market UI could use some love. I assume the same for Alliance, Corp and POS.

EVEGate is certainly a hopeful sign.

Will the implementation drag down or catch up to the dream? Probably the former, but it is worth sticking around for a while longer to see.

OkamiKurai said...

@Cozmik - But that is what I am talking about; sort of. Like for my jack-of-all-trades -don't-wanna-be-labeled-carebear toon: I just bought transport ships and research project management (65 million??!! But my wallet being extinct is another topic entirely) and started training them.

I take for granted getting any skill up to level III with the queue. Without it, how did that work?? No big deal really if you planned on playing for a while. But what if you couldn't stay on for long?? Seems like it possibly got to be a SERIOUS pain or a waste at times....

I currently buy books ahead of time if I can. I even carry a few with me in my ship (High Sec station to station runs only) sometimes rather than forget that damn skillbook I needed 12 jumps back. I try to have the skill book right in hand ready to go.

@Letrange - But that is the EXACT problem. They will be too busy with issues that implementing those two will create and, probably indirectly, Tyrannis still. Which means the original problems get shoved back.

I am not whining like the rest (I WANT *WHATEVER* AND I WANT IT NOW!!!!), I just think they are gonna have WAY too much on their plate for a good bit.

Benoit CozmikR5 Gauthier said...

Back @Okami: Yeah, it made the levels 1 to 3 "interesting". To come back to my interceptor example, once I had Evasive V, well I couldn't stop there could I. So Inty I got done... call it 45 minutes. But if I had stuck on Inty II (2-3 hours) I would've have went to bed at the time I needed to get up for work! So I put on something that took a few days, and then switched back to Inty II when I got back home from work, and so on and so forth.

But you know what? As annoying as that was is EVE just too awesome so we didn't care. Oh, and don't get me started on ghost training :)