Monday, February 20, 2012

Blog Banter 33: More Options

Blog Banter 33: The Capsuleer Experience

Like mana from Valhalla (yes I know I'm mixing my religious metaphors), the latest Dev Blog by CCP Legion asks questions which make for perfect Blog Bantering. To quote him "...we want to make the first days, weeks and months in EVE enjoyable and not just something ‘you have to plough through in order to get to the good stuff’" and the newly formed Player Experience team will focus on "...where and why people lose interest in EVE...".
"We invite you to pour your heart (or guts) out and tell us what you think is good or bad with the current new player experience and what you think could be done about the problems."

So let's get self-eviscerating. Banter on. 

Cheers, Seismic Stan

I started trying to come up with targets tied to the “first days/weeks/months”, but as I wrote this became more of a list of features I would like to see in Eve that would improve not only new player experience, but all player experience.  Without further ado, here is a list of changes I think would benefit all players.

Get rid of skillbooks.  Completely remove them from the game.  Having to fly around picking up skill books is a tremendous waste of time.  You can require pilots to dock to unlock new skills, but realizing you have to fly 5 jumps because no stations close to you have the books you need is a waste of player time.

Corps, Factions and Missions
Anti-faction missions should only come from specific agents.  It is very easy to accidentally tank your standing with an opposing faction in the first weeks of the game, and there is no indicator of exactly how hard this is to fix later.  This also becomes an issue for players who have played for a while.  If you log on Saturday morning, and draw four anti-faction missions from two agents in a row, it’s like CCP is telling you to stop playing and go do something else.  Constraining players by limiting choices of activities is a bad idea in a sandbox.

Let players choose the NPC corp they want to join, and make the corps have various benefits/drawbacks for non-combat aspects of the games.  For example, some could have lower taxes but more spread out agents, while other have higher taxes with lots of agents.

NPC corps should also provide something besides missions as standings increase.  Discounts, real time tracking of players, knowledge of surrounding systems, permanently renting lab or manufacturing space, all of these things could be potential benefits of building standings with specific corps.

Lastly, level 4 missions should be faster, with fewer ships, but harder to complete without either good tactics or friends.  Currently 4s do not teach players much besides how to tank large amounts of damage.  I would love to see missions involve fitting ships towards more specific goals, using EWAR, and other facets of gameplay mechanics.

Research and POSes
Research is horrible in Eve.  The concept is wonderful, but the implementation and wait time is so bad it drives people out of the activity.  Setting up POSes to do research is like pulling all your teeth and getting dentures to get rid of some plaque.So, here are a few proposals to get people into R&D.  

Let players rent space to anchor modules.  Pirates and NPCs do it, why can’t we?  Or, let standings open up research slots on stations.  So if you have high standings with Ishukone, you have access to a tier of slots that others do not have access to.  Waiting a month or more to do ANY research is pointless, and players should have some way to establish a place in space without having to anchor a POS.

Which brings up a related point.  Players should be able to make individual homes in Eve that are more than just the hangar.  A sub-POS structure that serves the player that anchors it would be phenomenal in letting players buy into their character and location would provide a nice stepping-stone to WH/Null space holding, and make Eve feel like more than a series of NPC subway stops.

Many people have talked about arenas or something similar, and I agree with adding something like this to the game.  One drawback for new players and high sec players is finding fights that are worth having quickly. Right now when I want some quick PvP, I don’t fly to low and scout around in a rifter hoping to find someone else, because that can take a evening and result in nothing but growing my heat map of traveled systems.  I launch TF2 and play that.  I can get a match in about a minute.

Eve could use a “push button, get bacon” pvp option.  This would let both new to PvP pilots come out and play, and open up a competitive arena system for more serious players.  Ladders, matched ship types, multiplayer matches, economics supporting the ships, modules, ammo, betting systems, and a whole new career path with prize purses would all be possible.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blog-a-Day 19: CSM7

Poetic Stanziel sometimes posts community discussion questions, with the most recent being:
Question #019
Do you know who you will be voting for in the upcoming CSM7 elections? If not, who are you following closely?

Here is my response:

First off, I have not decided who I will vote for.  I will not be voting for null bloc candidates, as I assume they will have no trouble getting the votes needed.  Those blocs will game the system a bit to try and split the other voting blocs, which are much less organized.  Others have written about this already, and Mittens has talked about the shortcomings and benefits of the CSM voting system in more than a few places.  I am also not terribly concerned about most of the incumbents.  If they are running again, a vote for them is effectively a referendum vote.

I am following a few candidates though, so here are my thoughts on the ones I am aware of.  And yes, I used most of Seismic Stan's links for the candidates, because although I have been browsing Jita Park, it was easier.

I have a post up already on this guy.  He seems to have given a fair amount of thought to his campaign and approach to the CSM.  He seems focused on iteration over transformation.  As CCP seem more amenable to sharing iteration ideas as compared to overhaul ideas, this seems to be a good tactic.  He doesn’t talk about null or WH space, and states other candidates who will be elected can intelligently fill those roles on the CSM.  I like him so far.

CHRIBBA!  CHRIBBA! CHRIBBA!  But seriously...

I like E-Uni, and spent some time there on an alt, and contributed to the Wiki a bit while I was learning my way around Eve.  So all due respect to a great organization.  Campaign wise, I can’t tell what the heck Kelduum stands for.  He polled for support internally, then went silent.  He half announced, then went silent.  Since then most of his statements seem to be more platitudes than platform planks.  Further reading of the forum thread has done little to swat me to vote for Kelduum.  I have hope that this campaign will pick up and gain some content, but for now I cannot throw my support to Kelduum over other High Sec candidates.

He seems to be another level headed candidate, but I cannot say I know much about him.  His forum post is nice, and touts some accomplishments.  Unfortunately as I have seen him touting himself until now, and all CSM minutes were attributed to "the CSM", it is hard for me to judge his previous efforts.  This may be a shortcoming of my internet reading, but there it stands for me.

A self proclaimed man of few words.  Those words are interesting, but not terribly informative.  I'll keep an eye on this one to see if anything interesting develop.


And in order to be complete, here are the incumbents who are running, courtesy of Ripard Teg.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

CSM7: Hans Jagerblitzen

So Hans Jagerblitzen, in an effort for publicity and to court my vote, went so far as to find my blog and put a comment up linking to his blog, and even posted the comment on a post that talked about CSM7.  He's got my vote for organization at the very least!

But seriously, I read Hans' manifesto of sorts, and I think he is a very thoughtful  addition to the CSM 7 race.  Although I do not agree with all his stances, I find the effort he spent thinking about issues, compiling his thoughts in a mostly coherent document,  and crediting/admitting lack of knowledge on some issues are all good qualities in a CSM candidate.  He should pique interest, especially in the Faction Warfare and High Sec player bases he seems to be courting.  Hans seems to know where he stands (on the outside, looking in on the bloc voters and the fractured high sec mobs), and does not claim to be the end all candidate, but rather someone who wants to provide a reasoned voice to the CSM and CCP.

I agree with many members of the Eve community who have already given most, if not all, of the "full" CSM seats to null bloc candidates and CSM6 incumbents.  So a player willing and able to make a cohesive opening case for his candidacy ought to be looked at by those who are not already voting for null or CSM6 incumbents.  After all, the "best" high sec candidate is already a bit of a disappointment, failing to do much besides test the waters in order to both count his support and build his platform...

Let's see if Hans lives up to his nice debut.

Monday, February 6, 2012

KOTM: Turberfield Edition

Of The 843 Exhumers destroyed in Jan 2012, 409 were in high sec, 10 low, 406 null and 18 wormhole space. - CCP Diagoras

If I am reading this correctly, somehow 409 Exhumers were killed by high-sec belt or mission rats in January.  What?  How?  I have a Hulk.  With literally any shield mod you care to throw on that ship, this should not be possible.  You can walk away for fifteen minutes and come back to find a belt full of high-sec rats plinking away at your shields to no avail.

I have no further words for this.

Update:  Apparently 121 of those were in Incursions, I assume doing that mining thing I've heard about.  But that still leaves 288 taken out by other NPCs

CSM7: The Blanding

 I am waiting for something to happen in CSM7 land.  So far we know most of CSM6 is going to run again.  Here are my brief thoughts on each, with asterices:

  • The Mitanni - CFC will get him elected, so no point in even paying attention.
  • UAxDeath - Not sure what he ever did.
  • Two Step* - I like this Two Step, talks a lot, even if I do not agree with some of what he says.
  • Seleene* - Useful knowledge of CCP and Eve
  • Meissa Anunthial* - Posts frequently on the forums, so hooray!
  • Trebor Deahdoow* - Another communicative CSM.
  • Prometheus Exenthal - Who?
  • Elise Randolph - Again, who?
Not already on the CSM but making noise:
  • Kelduum Revaan - Eve Uni CEO, no substantial info or platform yet.
  • Mintrolio - "I Love All Secs!" campaign is funny but uninformative.
  • T'amber - Moar pink ships, smaller boobs and Serious Business.  Probably more interesting than Prometheus, but hey, that's not hard.
And that's about it so far.  I think I saw someone nominating Chribba, but I have doubts.  Ripard Teg made a pass at the pretty girl in the bar, then talked himself out of it in a weird bait-and-switch where he failed to make the bait obvious.  Not much depth in the field, although I have hopes for The Apostle to start poasting, as those are always a good read.

Someone call me when we have new candidates worth caring about. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Titans and Supercaps

Update:  My original link went to the wrong post, so I fixed it.

Over at 2nd Anomaly From the Left, I read an interesting post.  Orakkus talks about potential ways to increase the multiplayer aspect of supercarriers and titans in order to make them, essentially, more of a logistical problem to use on the battlefield.  He proposes a Voltron-like solution.  It's a very interesting idea.


After thinking for a few seconds, I thought why not take an in game model, strategic cruisers, and apply it to these behemoths?  I leave figuring out skill system tweaks to others, but you would end up with something where multiple players would each control a portion of the Titan, and each portion could be targeted independently and have an impact on the overall performance of the Titan.  The ship could function with less than the full crew, but with some form of penalty. Here is a sketch of the idea.

Titan Roles
  • Navigation - Controls flight, jumping, and movement related tasks.
  • Gunnery - Controls the onboard weapon systems and the doomsday device.
  • Engineering - Controls defensive and power/cpu related tasks.
  • Communications and Electronics - Controls targeting and jump bridge operations.  Would receive the comms role of Commander if that role is not present or eliminated.
  • Commander - The bare minimum role that could provide bonuses to other roles and could potentially be the only pilot that could communicate with other ships/pilots in game.
Sir, there appears to be a... Velator hailing us?

Obviously tweaks would be needed.  Perhaps supercaps have only three roles, such as Command, Flight Command, and Triage Officer.  The point is, it would increase the complexity in order to both increase the planning going into use, and potentially increasing the benefits of a well run ship.  This could even lead to players having officer specific roles to fulfill that require less training that current skills for each individual category, but would allow for specialized roles and bonuses.  

The increased player count to field these vessels would also hopefully change fleet composition and give reasons to have a few supercaps and titans supported by more diverse fleets.  Having titans and supercaps become rare yet powerful factors in a battle seems more fitting to the idea behind these massive ships.  Hell, make various the modules with variants like T3s.  Some Titans would be fleet support, some could be POS killers from hell, some could be triage monstrosities with no offenses at all.

Such a design could also lead to opponents strategizing against super caps and titans.  Do you target the comms module to disable targeting and try to get away?  Do you go for their navigation to hold the ship until support arrives?  Do you cut off the command section to turn the ship into a decapitated chicken, stumbling around the field with subsystems struggling without commands?  

But most importantly, who hasn't wanted to be ont he bridge of the Enterprise or Galactica?