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.

1 comment:

  1. I've never thought about the skillbooks before, but you're right - they don't seem to serve much purpose. They're not player made so contribute nothing to the economy.

    Although I understand that the economy needs ISK sinks as well as faucets, so the financial value of "unlocking" a new skill should remain.

    I suppose the counter-argument would be that it gives people cause to undock and travel, sometimes with highly valuable cargo (skillbooks they can't yet train). This valued cargo has been reduced since the capacity to inject skill was introduced, but sometimes folk must still travel with a juicy cargo of skillbooks.

    That said, I like the idea of ubiquitous availability. It makes sense given the GALNET/NEOCOM network that all capsuleers are constantly linked to.