But why do they call them “burners”?
And Nixon’s dead.
It’s an idea to fire the imagination, and perhaps the coolest notion of all is that of new (to us) players chattering in an alien language in some of the same comm channels. Yeah, I can see why this is desirable; cross-pollination has to be a good thing, right?
‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished, all right. World gamers getting to know their Chinese counterparts couldn’t help but defuse the international tensions willfully (or otherwise) deepened and prolonged by the current segregation.
Well, if it happens, it’s not going to be accomplished by CCP. Standing between us Tranquilitarians and the Chinese is The Great Firewall, a technological and political barrier that we barbarians are not going to be allowed to scale anytime soon. It’s unfortunate, but Chinese authorities are not going to permit ISK transactions and uncensored chat. Heck, we’d be lucky to be able to pass EVEmail back and forth; forum wars and ISK trading aren’t about to happen, either.
The barrier’s not insurmountable, but CCP isn’t going to tear down this wall. Even if they had the permission from the People’s Republic, there would remain a last hurdle: sharding.
Chinese players on Serenity aren’t playing in different space; they’re on a clone of the universe we inhabit. Serenity, like Singularity, is filled with the same star systems we see on Tranquility, with (presumably) the same divisions among hi-sec, losec, null and w-space. As amusing as it would be to watch an attempted merger of CFC sov with its Chinese counterparts, that’s not a task CCP is going to undertake.
Did I say that was the final hurdle? Strike that. The ultimate concern is budgetary. The desirability of international brotherhood aside, there ain’t no money for trying to merge what was sharded by design. The new space to which our player-owned stargates will bridge us is not going to be on Serenity–not until the government of China changes. Or changes its mind.
Much was made earlier in the year of a long-term dev scheme to push high-sec players out into low and null. CCP knows that players who play together tend to subscribe longer, so space that more or less forces lone wolves to band together must have sounded like a good idea.
Applause/boos greeted it, because this is EVE.
I think that my dim view of the plan was based on instant resentment toward being pushed anywhere. Who the hell is CCP to tell me how to play? The hell with that! I’ll plant my happy ass so deep in a high-sec station that there’ll be buy orders put in on it, thank you very much.
The recent tweaks of minerals and industry no doubt began the process, but what do I care? I haven’t mined anything in over a year, and I don’t manufacture. No, the first manifestation of which I’m taking note is the announcement of the Burner missions coming in Hyperion.
These will be L4 security missions, popping up randomly in rotation with the familiar PvE content. Each will pit a capsuleer against a single frigate-clad NPC who will be using PvP tactics and modules, That does sound cool. Baby’s First PvP! Or it would be, if this were happening in L1-3 missions, too. Why the heck isn’t that the case?
As odd as the implementation might be, I can dig it. This doesn’t smell as much like a push as it does a pull. Try this soupçon of PvP, says CCP, and if you like it you know where to find more. In the meantime, it’s free training (plus loot) in how not to panic when scrammed by a frigate–and in how to plan for it. Become a better pilot, ready for whatever the next step might be.
I discovered the Blood Raiders’ hulls just before the last live event. This 10MN armor Cruor was going to get me into the target system without being so easily locked by my fellow players. At the last minute I found a T1 hull that would do the job as well, but the Inquisitor and Navitas are so damned stupid-looking. Bah.
Art reminds us once again that one of EVE’s greatest potential strengths–its lore–lies rusting at the bottom of a corroded dev bucket. It’s a vast yet unfinished science fiction universe underpinning the game we know and love, and yes, it’s also a source of frustration. Why didn’t CCP get around to finishing it…or if they did, why didn’t they bother to set it in motion?
The answer, of course, is that that’s supposed to be our job. We are the ones who invest hearts and minds into making all the space politics go. NPCs, their corps and even their alliances are supposed to dance with us, fight us, and perhaps be bent to our will.
It’s been a colossal failure, hasn’t it? Perhaps you’re having too much fun to have noticed.
The one thing NPCs have in common with each other is that they all have jobs. Their behavior is oriented around activities that would further the economic or political interests of their bosses. This is convenient for our player characters, because the NPCs can be counted on to be in certain places, doing certain things.
Time was, there would be news posted. A bit of power would change hands here or there. Sometimes it would be written around faction warfare or live events. I never paid it much attention, because it didn’t seem to intersect with my game-play. You see, I didn’t notice the gaping hole where lore should be, either, being too busy flying pretty spaceships with my friends. Art seems to think this disconnect is potentially fatal. Surely not. Surely? A decade ago, it was a marketing slogan; in what may be EVE’s twilight years I think it is a lost opportunity.
I didn’t need EVE to be any more than it was, and perhaps I still don’t. I didn’t have a job, either, beyond the occasional mining ops with my crew. In that respect, I am a little like the HTFUest pilots out there. What fun there was to be had, I helped make, and I made it on my own terms, because I didn’t have a job.
While considering how my and Art’s points of view could be so similar and yet so different, I think I came up with a theory: capsuleers are not part of New Eden. While some of us have jobs (shout-out to miners, faction warriors, DUSTies and industrialists everywhere), the socioeconomic background of the game doesn’t really touch most of us. At all. NPCs are busy working for a living 24/7. Guess who that makes us? That’s right; we are the spoiled rich kids driving the Rolls into the swimming pool. We are the interchangeable Britneys and Shias, grabbing headlines for what amounts to less than nothing, unless a lot of ISK being destroyed or stolen counts.
Art’s already made the connection before, but the one thing that might cause us to reconsider the pool as parking is standings. Without some responsibility to NPCs (beyond a few crabby agents), we are rootless inhabitants of the playground the working folks have to live in. Standings are what could force us to engage with the opinions of non-capsuleers and thereby become citizens of New Eden rather than its vacationing assholes.
Give us standings, CCP! Give our standings hits and buffs when we interact with your myriad NPCs. Make those standings matter. Make it expensive to live beyond the law; make it less remunerative to operate within empires, and make the back-and-forth between these spaces be difficult to cross at a whim. Make the CFC (along with perhaps all PC and NPC sovereignty) a de facto empire; they’ve long since earned that status, and while you’re at it sov that can shelter carebears in relative safety need not give up as much loot as the wilder spaces.
That crew I just lost came aboard my battlecruiser in a station, where people still remember them and who may resent my stewardship. I might be able to buy a replacement ship in that station, but it will come at a cost, and my next crew’s loyalty will also be expensive. Where are the colonies and outposts who could use a helping hand from a capsuleer, and who will remember his or her name after a service done them? Should I be able to run for political office on Luminaire, leveraging my standings from the war into a lucrative income or a place at a strategy table?
Come on, CCP! Reward daring and ingenious players by working them into the lore. They belong on the screen in my CQ, not just on a statue in the parking lot. Let them drag NPC corps into their schemes. Make governments take notice or take flight.
That’s how to make your lore live, breathe, shout, fight, shit and fuck. Maybe it will even feature in a real-world news story someday.