BB78 – The more things change, the more they stay the same

BB78Suspend disbelief for a moment and imagine that at downtime today CCP reset everything in EVE Online. Everything! All player structures, PI infrastructure, Corps, Alliances gone. The Markets empty but for NPC seeded items like BPO. All players log into a starter system with less than 1M SP, a mere 5,000 ISK and a noob ship. What happens now?

I started out thinking about the immediate effect of such a thing.

What impact would it have on CCP’s financials?  There would be very strong demands for compensation.  There would be players who quit.  PLEX would not be purchased to be sold on the market for a while as no one would have a reasonable amount of ISK to buy them with. How much time would they have to spend fixing any design issues – the chicken before the egg scenarios where items or structures cannot be built because they rely on something that relies on them being built. What sort of balancing changes might be needed to allow – at least temporarily, for completely different skill levels and ship fit metas?

What impact would it have on players? Their sense of loss, frustration, anger. What a large adjustment for previously wealthy players on old money – who hadn’t needed to earn ISK for years. How long would it take big traders to have enough volume to start making inroads into recovering their wealth? Would miners and industrialists have a golden period of demand, and how long would it last?

I thought about what would not change? Ganking would be immediately viable, and pirating soon after. New players wouldn’t really notice aside from the poorer markets and less larger ships flying around.

I thought about how important existing knowledge would be – the advantage people would have for knowing what skills to train first, the best ways to gather resources and bounties and so on. Would those with multiple accounts use some for SP farming, not to sell, but to advance their mains more quickly against their opponents?

What about for me? I’d probably be able to continue to get the same sorts of rewards out of playing the game as I do now, and I would have the knowledge and doggedness to slowly recover from such an event.

As I did this, two key points kept coming up in my thought process.

First, there would be an arms race and land grab that would be dominated by groups who already had the out of game infrastructure to coordinate and mobilise their players. They would work together to mine and collect bounties, purchase group hull, weapon and infrastructure BPO quicker than anyone else. Yes, there would be changes to the political landscape, but generally the same sort of people and groups that control null sec now would control null sec then, and the smaller groups would in time be left with the same limited options as they have now.  In many ways it would nerf or impact the solo and casual player more harshly.

Second – I kept using the term recovery. Some people might change the way they play the game, but for the most part it would be about restoring where they were at previously. In the long run, I strongly suspect something like this would cause no real fundamental change to the game.

If these two thoughts are correct, why would you bother resetting the game?  For real change, CCP needs to adjust the rules or update or add sandbox tools.

Other Blog Banter posts on this topic can be found here

 

And then there was one

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I am now down to one pilot in my Corp / Alliance. That is kind of fitting.

I finished decommissioning my last Alt. I stripped some SP from the character from skills I will never use. That effectively covered the cost of loading the Fleet Specialist skills onto my Main. The pilot was left with 172M PVP focused SP, so is still useful if I wanted to reactivate it.

I have managed, despite going from half a dozen to just one pilot over the last few months, not to lose access to any skills.

I’m currently in the process of stripping away much of the bling on my traditional Exploration ships that I have or will use around The Citadel region. They were just a little bit too juicy of a target.  The modules fitted to my Astero for example dropped in value from 170M to 58M ISK.

Speaking of The Citadel – the exploration pilots seem to be far, far less courteous here. The majority seem to contest sites if you are already running them. If I am to do a lot of exploration in the area I will have to refit my ships for maximum DPS and speed – or change to bigger hulls and fit for PVP.

I watched the latest o7 show earlier. It is available on twitch here:

https://www.twitch.tv/ccp/v/103783319

It started off with 10 odd minutes (at least it felt that long) of player ads. Most were reasonably well done. The show itself seemed more polished than usual. There was nothing detailed about what is next happening in the game  – in fact, I didn’t write a single note down while watching it.  It was enjoyable enough anyway.

250 Pages Back

The document where I keep all my Blog notes was more than 250 pages long again. I cleaned out some of the oldest pages this morning. Most were from around 2012. Some of my thoughts at the time which I may or may not have posted about:

. I was pleased with the addition of a button to allow you to warp and jump with just one click. I think warp and dock was also added. I remember having to carefully time clicking on the “jump” button as you came out of warp – in case you bounced off the gate and shot off into space at high speed. Always annoying in a Freighter. When I first started playing EVE the closest you could warp to an object was 15km. If you wanted to warp to a gate at 0km, you needed to have a bookmark 15km the other side of it. Those were the days. When that was changed the PVPers of EVE were up in arms, saying it would make the game too easy and ruin it.

. I was complaining about the cost of upgrading my Clone. We no longer have to worry about that

. CCP remarked in CSM meeting notes that a notable number of people PLEX their accounts

. CCP was thinking about ways to merge the Market, LP Store, Contract System and the New Eden Store (called NEX back then) into one. I wonder if they are still thinking about that

. EVE is not a game, it is a hobby

. I remarked that I was much more comfortable playing EVE solo, but that it excluded me from whole areas of the game, and meant I would not likely have the opportunity to play a part in the events that become game history (still true)

. I couldn’t work out why Market manipulation was so easy – that people would cut 50% from the sale price of their 1,000 units to get in front of my single unit selling at fire sale prices. It still works that way.

. I said that every so often I get the urge to liquidate most of my assets and simplify things. Still have it. Been doing aspects of it since.

. I discussed my T2 manufacturing, and having to move various items into different regions to have suitable turnover and profits

. I remarked on how the path I followed to pick up and drop off my trading stock zigzagged over major trade routes to ensure I didn’t come through the more dangerous gates for suicide ganking. (I still think about such things)

. I complained about the new Inventory Interface – but felt happier as they added the ability to open up separate windows again. It was however still buggy when you undocked or jumped through gates and had your windows move and change type.

. There were 4,405 Characters whose active ships were supercarriers. Most were Nyx, the least were Hels. There were also 2 active Revenants.

. I ran my EVE client in a 1920×1080 window. Now it is 3000×1800.

Little wonder people re-joining EVE after many years are finding things very different.

Fresh Air

It has been a month since I decided to drop back to one account. In that time, I’ve decommissioned several alts and their assets, sold off ships and gear set up for multi-account play, abandoned my NPC Null Sec base (I didn’t want to stay without access to a scout), and moved almost my entire collection of EVE gear 15 jumps to be closer to Jita.

There has been a surprising and unexpected feeling of liberation with this transition. I hadn’t realised how much of a weight I felt in trying to maintain multiple characters. The game has been constantly changing in recent years, and ships, fittings, implants, training and assets all had to be regularly adjusted across half a dozen characters. It was tiresome and I had fallen well behind.

As I have mentioned before, one of the steps in this process was to look closely at what skills my Alts had that my Main did not. In moving back to a single Character, I did not want to lose access to a skill or module or ship that I had already trained for. I had already done this with my Industry Alt, and the only thing missing was being able to create an Alliance. I used Skill Injectors from that Alt to pick up the required skill.

I’ve now gone through that process with my Main Alt. For the most part they just had a dozen odd PVP related skills to rank V that my Main only had to rank IV. I could still use the same gear, just not quite as well. I did not feel I had to make up that gap. The area of difference was the Alt had all the Leadership Specialization skills to rank V, and my main had none. I purchased 6B ISK of Skill Injectors off the market and trained the Warfare skills from Rank IV to V, and the Warfare Specialist Skills from Rank 0 to IV. That covers off fitting T2 Command Burst modules like my Alt was able to.

I think the only thing I am missing is the ability to use T2 Mindlink Implants on my Main – something that at the moment I don’t feel like I can justify in injecting or training the required SP for.

I still have about a month left on the subscription of my second account – but now that I’ve completed my Command Burst testing, I’m not likely to have a use for it. Its last function will be to get me a second copy of the Ascension gifts CCP is meant to be giving out today.

This whole project has been interesting. It has got me to log in and be more active in game. It has fed into my EVE To-Do List and made it healthier again. It has left me feeling a little more rejuvenated, and more ready for another year in EVE.

Out and About

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There has been an unexpected number of things to do with the Ascension release. Hunting down new BPO, new skill books, new charges, testing new game mechanics, looking into new ships, updating old ship fittings and what not. I don’t recall an expansion generating this much “stuff” to do in a long while. Even my training queue had an overhaul. A long-time bastion of “whatever” and “just because” skill selections, it now has more than 100 days of purpose.

There is lots to like.  I was playing around with the new Command Bursts just this morning, and on initial view I like them a lot.  The fact you can boost yourself when not in fleet makes for interesting fitting variations for the ships that can use Command Burst modules.  There are also some annoyances.  The “warp drive active” announcement grates.  I want to hear “Docking permission requested”, and “Docking request accepted” messages, but cull plenty of the others.

And what about the high online user count this weekend?  It was well over 40,000 when I logged in earlier.  I hope this isn’t just a short term blip.

Anyway, it was nice to have reason to be out and about.  (Well, in game.  I was in and not moving in real life.)

WoWS – Forgetting to Play

The time I have spent playing World of Warships has fallen off a cliff. I’m forgetting to play, which shows how enamored I’ve been with it of late.

I like the concept, pace and tactical aspects of the game, I don’t mind how the progression has been worked out, and I have battles that I really enjoy. A little more often though I come away annoyed or frustrated.

There are obvious balancing issues between ship types and ships that are placed in matches together.

There can be an element of rock-paper-scissors – where against one ship you dominate, but against the next you are easy prey.

A little too often you come up against opponents with fully skilled captains and all the best flags and consumables loaded.

The match maker probably needs to be less random – for the reasons above, and because there are too many matches where the battle is painfully one sided.

Early aggressive play tends to be punished, almost forcing you to hang back at the start.

All these can be irritating, but for most you can just focus on certain ship types or tactics.

I think the biggest problem however is that as a middling player, the results are generally out of my control.

Hold on – doesn’t that make sense? Isn’t that how’s it is mean to be? Yes – except the majority are just middling players. When you look at the stats at the end of the battles, there are commonly only 1 or 2 out of 24 who make that key difference and carry the win. It feels that really – if I die within the first two minutes under focus fire or in the last minute after a valiantly and well played match, I wasn’t that important in the grand scheme of things.

There are exceptions – as I said, some battles are really enjoyable. There are just not as many of those battles as there should be.

Are exploding ships overvalued?

I’ve often wondered why it is commonly espoused that exploding ships is some sort of panacea in EVE.

The notion or fear is that if ships don’t explode, the games industry and economy will ground to a halt.

Isn’t that rather simplistic, and not matched by the economic reports released each month?  There is almost always more ISK coming into the game than leaving it.  Why hasn’t industry stopped yet?  Yes, destruction and replacement is very important, but it is only part of the equation.

What drives the manufacture and buying of new ships – aside from destruction? New players, old players with new skills, changed rules, new doctrines, speculative trading and so on.

What effectively removes ships from the game – aside from destruction? Some reprocessing, but more left unused and forgotten in hangers, and even more disappear when people stop playing.

I’m not sure exploding ships is the be all and end all holy grail people hold it up to be.