Saturday, September 14, 2013

Another One Bites the Dust

AUTHOR'S NOTE: There seems to be some confusion. I'm not leaving Eve, or shutting down this blog. I've barely started. The title is in reference to the 2 or 3 other blogs that have gone dark in the last couple months, Poetic is just the latest of the bunch.

Bittervet. The urban dictionary was no help defining this one. According to them:
Bittervet: An experienced computer game player who keeps complaining about new features that are added to his favorite game.
- Cataclysm sucks, i want vanilla WoW back!
- Stop being a bittervet, no one cares.
Bittercat... at least I think it's a cat...
That's a shallow definition, but given it's probably in reference to the WoW subspecies of bittervet, perhaps I shouldn't be surprised. In Eve, the adding of new features is generally not so much a catalyst for the onset of Bittervet Syndrome, but if one were to class the constant carebearification of the game one step at a time as a feature, I suppose I can understand if some people will disagree with me on that point.

At a time when we have CSM members openly advocating for the removal of wardec mechanics, a constant nerfing of suicide ganking, and now what at least has the appearance of a first strike against scammers, I can understand how some people might be getting disillusioned with the game of late. Poetic Stanziel is the latest casualty of this disease that carries with it the risk of Eve's only permadeth mechanic: biomassing.

I personally gave up on highsec well over a year ago. Aside from hitting a major market hub on occasion for a shopping trip, I hardly ever visit the place. High sec has consistently become less interesting the "safer" it gets. I will agree with certain bittervets that CCP seems hell-bent lately on saving stupid people from themselves. Those same stupid people whose lemming-esque behavior and rage reactions have made their stories and adventures so entertaining to observe, are one of the driving forces of emergent content in high security space... at least I hope it's them, and not that damn damsel.

Imagine for a moment that high sec space was as perfectly safe as some people desire it. No war, no podding, just the peace of station trading, missioning, mining and hauling goods... all in perfect safety. Space truckers could autopilot around at will with expensive cargoes in their hulls with no fear of suicide ganks. Missioners could undock in 60 billion ISK mission running monstrosities with no worry of their loot being stolen, or their ship getting blown into oblivion by a determined set of gankers that have been stalking them for days. Miners could sit semi-afk enjoying a good book and Star Trek TNG re-runs waiting for their hold to fill up, where they could drop it into a can for their hauler alt to pick up with no fear of someone coming by to steal it. That guy who was dumb enough to believe HandJob667 was a representative of the CFC Rental Empire, could petition CCP and get his 6 billion ISK back and a ban for HandJob667.

Are any of the examples above actually playing Eve? Does any of that actually sound fun from a gameplay perspective? What makes any game interesting, entertaining even, is the element of danger, and prospect of failure. In Eve, we call this Risk vs Reward. The less risk, the less rewarding the gameplay is. Oh, surely you could keep the payouts of incursions, mining, and missions the same, or even increase them while at the same time reducing the risk those players are taking (in the form of danger from other players) but in the end, you will not increase their enjoyment of the experience.

It all goes back to that thing you really wanted as a kid. Some kids had to scrimp and save their allowances for weeks to be able to get that thing. Some kids were just handed it to them as a present. I'll give you 3 guesses as to who got more enjoyment out of the end result... since there's only 2 possible answers, this shouldn't be hard.

Eve is about player created stories. Every plot needs a key element to keep it interesting. This element is conflict. Without conflict, you have no plot, and the story fucking sucks. Removing risk from highsec isn't going to do anyone any favors. If James315's New Order shut down tomorrow and said "fuck it, it's just not worth it anymore!" At first his victims would rejoice. Then, over time, they would realize how empty and risk free their lives had become. They would need something else to complain about, some other conflict driver, or they would get bored and quit.

No one, not even the most die hard CCP employee, will be brazen enough to suggest that Eve's PvE content is the least bit good. Repetative missions that haven't seen their gameplay significantly updated in 10 years of eve, mining, space trucking, B O R I N G. Maybe not too boring when it's still fresh, but after you've saved that damsel for the 5th or 50th time, they've about run their course. Eve is made awesome by the player driven stories and content, and the more that aspect of the game is gimped, the less the game is for it, and the less our experience is.

And yes, Eve needs another Apocrypha level expansion (which happened to be Eve's most successful in history iirc). These short development bursts, with a bunch of minor features, but nothing big, are wearing thin fast. Ship balancing is necessary. Fixing broken or stagnating features is a must. We also need some new shit to play with. That hacking minigame? While I appreciate the work that went into it, no one I've talked to about it to date feels like it added any significant gameplay to Eve. If anything, the loot vomit mechanic, added to attempt to make exploration more of a group activity, only pissed people off. The Odyssey trailer was also probably one of the dullest CCP has ever put out, but then, at least it matched the overall excitement level for the expansion this time around.

Here's the difference between myself and a lot of folks like Poe though. I still have hope. I've stuck with this game for 10 damn years, and I'm not ready to quit just yet. I've seen CCP run head first into a brick wall more than once, back track, look to their community for guidance, and then get it right.

There may come a time when CCP is large enough to forge ahead with their grand plan without having to consider Eve's veteran players as much as they do now, but as Incarna has shown us, they're not there yet. 1 or 2 more Incarna level gaffs could spell disaster, which is why the CSM, and prominent voices in the community are more important to Eve than they would be to other, larger development studios.

If it IS CCP's intention to further carebearify Eve, then folks like Poe, and some of the others that have decided to hang it up over the last few months will only help that along. A certainly hope this is not CCP's intent, but as many have pointed out, when we look at the little changes that have been stacking up over the last few years, it is A direction Eve is headed in baby steps.

Who knows? Without the bittervets, clinging to Eve like a piece of driftwood in a sea of shitty theme park MMOs, screaming at the top of their lungs to make themselves heard over the din of rage and tears flowing in the wake of broken haulers and exhumers, maybe Eve would have already fallen over that NGE cliff Star Wars Galaxies took a swan dive off of all those years ago. (Yeah, possible run on sentence, but the imagery was too good to pass up.)

Brace yourselves gents (and ladies). The fight is only going to get harder.


  1. I don't know, man. What makes more of an impact on CCP? Screaming while still giving them your money. Or screaming and then stopping those payments?

    Time will tell, I suppose.

    1. With your main on a media account, you don't have to give them any money though...

    2. That is true ... but it seems hypocritical to cancel paying accounts out of disgust, yet continue playing on the free account.

    3. Well, I'm not here to tell you what you should do. I enjoyed reading your blog even if I don't see eye to eye with you that often.

      Next to the threadnoughts on Eve-O and the CSM, it's the bloggers and podcasters that carry the voice of the Eve community. You've played a part in shaping the game as much as any of us have with the postings you've made and the following you've gathered. Your silence will have far less of an effect on things to come than your voice would.

    4. I still plan to weigh in on CSM minutes and expansion announcements. Ask the question: "Is there anything here that is convincing me to come back?"

  2. Another shitposter who thought he was relevent enough bites the dust. Try to let the door hit you on the way out. EVE is minus 1 shitlord that provided nothing but sperge from the bowls.