Pull Up to the Bumper (Musclemix)
Duncan Ringill

Ask your grandparents

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.

Spoiled Rich Kids
Duncan Ringill

Ask your parents.

Ask your parents.

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.

Happy Anniversary!
Duncan Ringill

flatline01

Heh.  Noizy offers condolences for the events of eleven years ago today!

Chribba did a search of the forums and discovered the first mention of “EVE is dying” was posted by Madox on 30 July 2003…

Drackarn must not have known what he was getting into, back when EVE had been dying for five years.

So Drackarn just turned six years old. Oh, they grow up so fast these days!

I started with Eve Online in July 2008. Thats the year Sins of a Solar Empire was released. You may have been playing Army of Two on your 360. Grand Theft Auto 4 was released as was Mass Effect and Spore.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never played any game as long as six years. Why is Eve different?

Bring out your dead!

 

Principles of Industry in EVE Online
Duncan Ringill

CCP Greyscale outlines the philosophy of industry and where it’s headed:

EVE industry generally treads a different path to comparable professions in other games. You’re not crafting that one perfect weapon, trying to work out the perfect ratios of rare ingredients, because you’re not a master craftsman, you’re a master industrialist, and you work at /scale/. And in the new system, that’s where your challenges will be: how to scale up, how to spread out, where to settle and when to move.

Your sums will drift over time, as the activities of other players around you affect your costs and your outputs, and you’ll have to figure out who to team up with and who to compete against. Maybe you’ll find a quiet backwater system and hire mercenaries to keep others out and your costs down. Maybe you’ll cut a deal with some fledgling nullsec group, trading arms for facility access. Or maybe you’ll pick a high-value system and form a local industrial cartel to control the system and outbid those heathens in Jita for the best manufacturing teams. And you’ll always be asking “am I working in the right place?”, but the answer will only rarely be “no, I should move” – because industry works on a slower cycle, and because in teams and player interactions you have the tools to change the answer if you don’t like it.

Testing EVE Online’s graphics with ‘EVE Probe’
Duncan Ringill

Coming this summer, a way for CCP to sniff and analyze your EVE experience on your computer:

EVE Probe plays back animated scenes using the very same graphics engine as the EVE client, but everything is deterministic and not dependent on player input. When it is ready, we will offer it for download so you can run it on your machine – with your graphics hardware and your exact configuration. EVE Probe then gathers performance data, such as frame times and memory usage and sends that back to our server, along with your machine specs and display settings. This gives us valuable feedback on the performance of our engine on a much wider variety of computer configurations than we could ever hope to cover in-house.

Note that this data is sent anonymously and we don’t collect any data that could be used to identify any individuals – all we care about are the machine specs.

Coming in Crius: Introducing what’s in EVE’s big industry release
Duncan Ringill

EVE Dev Blog

Dev blog explains it all:

Crius, the next release for EVE Online, will bring about a massive set of new features and changes to science, manufacturing, research and reprocessing in EVE. For those new to manufacturing in EVE Online, it’ll be the perfect time to try building your own ships and ammunition, or to  try setting up a small operation at a starbase….

If you have been fascinated by the market and industry aspects of EVE Online but not tried this area of EVE yet, Crius is the time to jump in!

Here are the features coming in Crius on July 22nd. These features were introduced in a set of dev blogs in the spring and in keynotes at Fanfest, but many of them have now matured and you can expect a new set of dev blogs with updates on each feature before Crius. You can also try all of these changes right now on Singularity, our public test server….