Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blog Banter 32: Mechanics and Education

Seismic Stan occasionally posts questions to the Eve blogging community.  His most recent is:

"A quick view of the Eve Online forums can always find someone complaining about being suicide ganked, whining about some scam they fell for or other such tears. With the Goons' Ice Interdiction claiming a vast amount of mining ships, there were calls for an "opt out of PvP" option. 

Should this happen? Should people be able to opt-out of PvP in Eve Online. Should CONCORD prevent crime rather than just handing out justice after the event? Or do the hi-sec population already have too much protection from the scum and villainy that inhabits the game?"

Seismic Stan asked us if there should be a way to remove non-consensual PvP from Eve, which I will take to mean, should there be parts of High Sec that do not allow non-consenual PvP.  I cannot think of another way to reframe the question that makes sense.  So we are either talking about PvP free islands or a PvP free High Sec.  I vehemently disagree with the removeal of PvP in high sec.  I would cautiously support development of very small islands of low value, PvP-free High Sec, but with a lot of caveats.

I thought about how many ships I have lost to non-consensual PvP.  The answer is a handful of T1 industrials in low sec, because I was being stupid.  Then I thought about how many “newb” corp members have lost ships due to non-consensual PvP.  The answer was at least 4.  Specifically, four players who lost ships due to mechanics that are not really explained by the game and are rather counter intuitive.  Some variation on can flipping or ninja salvaging wrecks.  Those players proceeded to log off and never log again, without so much as a goodbye in chat.

 That’s four players who took the time to learn how fit, learned the skill systems, figured out the agent and standing system, and then got caught out by a mechanic they didn’t even know they needed to learn.  If a game mechanic can so enrage people who have already invested a significant amount of time to quit, there is either a problem with the mechanic, or there is a failure to educate players on how the game actually works.

So I will answer the question thus:  If Eve does not develop a better new player experience that actually educates on core PvP mechanics, I am fine with small islands where new players are able to learn mechanics.  By small I mean between 1 and 3 contiguous systems per Empire Faction in 1.0 space with no agents higher than 1, no exploration sites higher than DED 1, no ore besides minimal veldspar, etc…  Losing players due to obfuscated or unexplained mechanics is just bad game design.

But I would rather see a more formalized introduction to PvP built into the game so it is less likely that players can invest a month or more without understanding the rules of PvP conflict.


  1. You can surely see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers just like you who aren’t scared to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

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