Blog Banter #59: Terrain

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 59th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

This month’s version comes from commenter Zappity who asks:

“Probably been done before… What about local force projection (as opposed to the longer distance force projection that is often talked about)? I think of ‘terrain’ in EVE to be how systems are mapped together by gates. Strong tactics which exploit terrain have historically been extremely important in deciding battle outcomes. How does this apply in EVE in the presence of cynos?”

You know that old story trope of knowing some place like the back of your hand? It’s a pretty common one in science fiction, you know probably know it well. Someone’s father took them through some treacherous area of space all the time on trading runs so now that skill will conveniently come in handy to escape the bad guys, or something like this. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the “terrain” of EVE allowed for this kind of play?

(more…)

Blog Banter #52: Falling Down

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 52nd edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

Go to the always useful EVE-Offline.net (http://eve-offline.net/?server=tranquility) and take a look at the All Time (weekly average) graph for concurrent accounts logged in.

For the past four and a half years, the graph has hovered around that 30,000 mark; it is, for all intents and purposes, a plateau. But everything must come to an end sooner or later and that is what this blog banter is about.

What’s on the other side of that plateau?

Since its launch in 2003, EVE has seen a fairly consistent period of solid growth. At a certain point however, the jumps in player activity have really only followed expansions, a common effect with MMOs that have been around for a long period of time.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but EVE is facing a hard road ahead, and I’m thinking the plateau will begin a downward slope soon. Lets look at a few of the reasons for this.

(more…)

Blog Banter #49: Silver Spoon

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 49th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

What is “rich” in EVE? Is it simply having more ISK than most everyone else, is it measured in raw numbers of some other ethereal quality? Can you actually be poor? Have you ever lost nearly everything and had to claw your way back? If you are rich, how do you know and how did you get rich?

There is absolutely no easy way to answer a question such as “what is ‘rich’ in EVE”. The amount of isk you have in your wallet is a function of how much time you can put into the game, and how much effort you are willing to put forward during that time. However, is that the only way to define being rich?

For the sake of argument, let’s make the (completely flawed) assumption that you have infinite time and effort at your disposal for playing EVE. We can then effectively eliminate isk as a richness factor, and get to the chewy center of the richness question: achievement.

For a sandbox game that is this sandboxy, you as a player — subconsciously or otherwise — will be putting a lot of value in whether you feel you are accomplishing something. For a lot of people this will be a fluid thing, since a new player might make getting into cruisers their goal, or capital ships, or making their first billion isk.

I remember playing Earth and Beyond back in the day, and one of the random fellows I ran into was disappointed by the depth of the game’s mining. While chatting with him about this, I found out that EVE would be his holy grail game, as the extraction of minerals from a game for use by others who liked to craft was how he defined the value of his gameplay. He was not interested in making piles of actual money, it was just the simple act of mining that provided him with that feeling of accomplishment. To him, that meant being rich more than anything else.

For some, piloting the biggest ships in the game is how they define being rich, and they’re not far off the mark with that; those ships cost a fortune even without fittings, and sticking basic gear on them is often a bad move. A small fortune and a set of officer mods later and you’ve got a flying tribute to ingame capitalism.

Other than doing mission running, I personally prefer to fly smaller ships. Back when I used to PVP regularly, flying an interceptor was infinitely more interesting to me, and cheaper, than other types of ships. Diving in to a furball with support and capital fleets and coming out alive (hehy, 10% hull is still technically alive) made me feel like a million bucks.

The way EVE is designed, isk is integral to progression. You use it to buy skills which allow you to fly different things and use different modules, it’s the core of the economy. In a way it’s the core of everyone’s experiences, but it’s those experiences and your sense of accomplishment in participating in them that really defines how rich you are.

Source:

Blog Banter #48: The Importance of Lore

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 48th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

This month’s topic is a request from CCP Sisyphus who wants to know how important is Lore in EVE Online?

“How important is “fluff” in Eve online? Would eve online be the same if it were purely numbers and mechanics, or are the fictional elements important to the enjoyment of the game? Would a pure text, no reference to sci-fi or fancy names still be an engaging game? Should CCP put more or less emphasis on immersion?”

I can’t imagine having to deal with the extreme challenge that is managing the lore of EVE Online. Whatever you do could mean so much to the game and how it’s played, or it could mean absolutely nothing to everyone. Meanwhile you have to do it all with a feeling for the overall plot that holds up to scrutiny from one of the most passionate gaming communities.  It’s important for sure… but why?

Maelstrom

One can’t really completely separate the graphs and maths of things from the inspiration behind them. The rust and duct tape experts we call the Minmatar use artillery and machine guns, relatively simple by science fiction standards. As a race that had bee subjugated by others for so long, they didn’t have the resources and time to worry about things like beautiful design and next-gen technology to exact revenge with. Their stuff looks slapped together because it draws upon the history of that race.

Hyperion

Contrast this to races like the Gallente which fly sleek ships with fantastic railgun-based weaponry, all funded by a society which favors pornography and drugs to complex corporate maneuvering and religious zealotry. Their libertarian history has resulted with smooth ships which employ the up close and personal touch to dealing with their enemies.

That basic starting point leads then into the design of how these two very different races operate as part of a game. Each favors a different style of tanking, their preferred weaponry force different approaches to combat, the speeds and maneuverability come into play in huge ways; and yet it’s all driven by that basic underlying concept of the story behind the races.

So you hit 2003 and the game launches, and you’re clear to kick back and let the players run around and play in your lore-filled sandbox, right?  Wrong. Reading about the backplot to the game is fine for an hour’s diversion but at some point you’re going to want to change the game in some interesting way, and you’re screwed if you think you can do it just because CCP Obama says he can change things for the better.

Complex plots involving defecting scientists and espionage have been used in the past to introduce new technologies for players to use. These usually start as slow burns, small news stories building up over days to much larger plots and sometimes culminating in some sort of crazy in-game event involving players.

Capsuleer

Is any of it “important” to EVE, though?  Well no, we don’t really need the lore to justify changes to the game; players by now generally get their information about changes through forum posts and patch notes.

However this is one of the few ways these days that CCP can still directly communicate the game’s vision with players. That vision isn’t just about balancing and UI improvements, it’s also directly involves and affects the day to day actions of players, corporations, and alliances.