Saturday, June 25, 2011

Eve has some problems

I may expand this thought later. The controversy over Eve Online is all over community websites. I won't re-hash it here. But I have been pondering how we got here.

MMOs have been changing. No one has yet been able to pull off WoW-2 or the Blizzard success story. Many morgs have thus been forced to more creative billing strategies like Free-2-Play and e-stores of game goods/boosters. Also in the last few years, Social Networking use has changed the way remote friends connect and communicate.

Throughout these years of turmoil, Eve Online has remained fairly static. I have often felt that Eve was a really big, really pretty, chat client. It was awesome to connect with digital friends and go shoot things. The scope of an MMO provides more content and variability than even the largest First Person Shooters. So while many FPS have voice comms and friends do play together, you're still often limited to a smaller group, you typically have to be in the same time zone, and well the games are pretty limited. But Eve was innovative then. It was social networking before we knew what to call it. But... now we have fully developed ways to find gaming friends online and schedule any shared game. And let's face it, many, many games are Internet ready now. I can talk on vent and play half a dozen games with my friends.

Eve tried to keep up with evegate and evevoice... but predictably, these are not as capable as the competition of Facebook, Ventrilo and Team Speak; how could they be? So if you remove the social exclusivity of Eve Online, what is left? The game itself. But that's the problem, the game is boring. There is very little action and the only real game challenge is the endurance of your butt in the chair. Time is the only challenge Eve. Everything from skill training to mining to planetary manufacturing... All of it is click-and-wait. Often there isn't even a pleasing effect to watch. Missions are arguably the most active task, but with only a few hundred or so missions, you quickly see them all and begin repeating them. These too become mostly a game of time.

PvP is the real champion of Eve, but even this is often hours and hours of waiting and/or chasing followed by 30 seconds of combat. The rush is a good one, but a very short one.

With all my social needs being met... and a many other game tools that work better than Eve's I'm forced to consider the game itself. To quote the Goonfleet Executor... Eve is a bad game. It is mostly just spreadsheets in space. Although CCP often talks about introducing new mechanics to the game... they seem to miss the point everytime and just deliver more spreadsheets in space. More click-and-wait... no game.

Today (if you care and if you look) you'll find a million complaints about microtransactions and apathy for your player base... but at the core the real problem is that Eve is losing its edge. It is showing its age and it is losing its game...

Game On, folks!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Not EVEn

So I got this off twitter... "@Masadaco consider this. If skill and skillpoints are equal, the outlaw pilot will always lose."

I've come across lots of hypothetical PvP discussions in Eve that start this way "If skill and skillpoints are equal..." Well, as soon as those words are uttered you can stop listening. You don't need to because it never happens. The pilots in Eve train over time for each skill and there are like 200 million skill points worth of things to train. No one has exactly the same skills. If you managed to perfectly train 2 pilots identically, no two people will approach combat that same way thus there are no two of "equal skill". In this case the Eve commentor didn't even mention ships and fittings; another area of vast diversity. So in the case of equal pilots, with equal skill points, with the same ships, fittings, rigs, and implants you have to just give up on reality. This situation will never happen. It is pointless to guess and what the outcome might be.

Eve is raw mob power. You are either much stronger than your opponent or much weaker. There is no "fair". There is no "equal". The romantic notion of duels has been lost to Eve for years now. If someone is offering to "1v1" you, the odds are just as high that they plan to have their friends gank you as soon as you undock. Don't be fooled. Give no quarter to your enemies in Eve. You won't last long if you do.