If you haven’t already, check out my thoughts on The Good and The Bad of the upcoming Retribution release. I’m still stewing on “The Ugly” – the draft of which is quite ugly. A flat-out tirade, in fact.
I work in the technology business, and am a RL technology director in a Fortune 100 company. This means that I understand corporate politics, release planning and the software development lifecycle. I also understand that honey catches more flies than vinegar in the corporate world.
So I am going to try a nice version first, and hope that CCP will respond positively. It will also tell you what the rant in draft is about. After all, I am at heart an EVE supporter, and want it to succeed. Therefore, I hope they will consider this as some advice on how to ensure that Retribution is successful once patched.
An Open Letter to CCP
Dear CCP Games:
I have been a paying customer for most of the last three years. I spent most of the first year in high security space, more than a year in low security space, and have lived in a wormhole for the last four months. I am, for the most part, excited about the feature and change list for Retribution. There are two issues that give me deep concerns, despite seeming trivial on the surface.
I was disappointed to learn that you had made a management decision to release Safety to production in an incomplete state. To make matters worse, it removes existing, heavily used capability (persistent weapons free without warnings). Because of this change, and the playstyle I have, along with the limited time and lack of second accounts means that I will literally need to un-set the safety once per hour in an average play session due to character-switching on a single account. I consider this unacceptable, and believe you should too. At the least, I would hope that you could release it with the default to Yellow, allowing players to shoot at ships in lowsec by default. As a customer and a software development Director myself, this gives me a poor impression of your quality and release standards, and because of that I have deeper concerns about the quality I should expect across the product as a whole.
Second, as someone who spent his early career in high security space, I can understand your desire to remove the ability for players to “Orca swap”. As you of course are aware, this involves a string of advanced and obscure mechanics that would baffle the new player and potentially lead to a reduction in long-term players as well as a costly glut of support requests. However, I fear your team has thrown the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. As someone strongly involved in the storyline of your product, especially in the area of the Apocrypha storyline – wormholes, Seyllin and Vitrauze – I was long impressed by how CCP intertwined the story mechanic of the Sleepers with the game mechanic of skillpoint loss – but gave the player the choice to lose the ship (via abandonment) or the skillpoints (by exploding) via ejecting or staying in-ship. In your understandable zeal to fix a highsec problem, you have detracted from play in other areas of the game.
Here is what I am requesting – that two small changes be committed to and implemented as soon as possible to restore my faith – and that of many others affected – in your release and quality planning.
- Enable persistent Safety settings in a point patch release no later than January 1, 2013. If you are unable to meet this date, please commit in public to a specific delivery date (or no-later-than date) at the CSM Summit in December 2013. I will commit to filing a bug report within a week of release to ensure there is a proper record of the current problem with details and suggested methodology from my experience with the feature post-release.
- Please also reconsider your decision to enforce non-ejection on Tech 3 ships – I think we can all agree that player choice makes for a better sandbox. Please review the addendum below for detail on why I believe that this is not only the original intent, but also the right thing to do. Please commit to a response on this issue no later than the CSM Summit.
I believe that these are reasonable requests, and I look forward to your response.
UPDATE: I have gotten a response from CCP on these items. Please check out the update post.
Addendum: T3 Skillpoint Loss and Ejection Mechanic
CCP Masterplan stated the following on the forums when questioned about the T3 ejection mechanic question:
As a close follower of the wormhole story and the background and implementation of the Apocrypha expansion, I believe the above characterization is misleading.
“Penalizing T3 death” for its own sake as a mechanic is not, in fact, what drove this feature in Apocrypha, and the ejection mechanic has been part of the initial intent since before it was released.
In fact, the reasoning was to back the story – namely that use of Sleeper technology deeply intertwined the mind of the capsuleer in the ship. However, the ejection mechanic added great new gameplay – a capsuleer could choose to abandon the ship, knowing someone else would likely steal an expensive investment, or could eat the skillpoint loss and deny the ship to someone else. An excellent duality of choices – better gameplay – better sandbox.
“Due to the sudden rift in the symbiotic relationship that exists between a pilot and a Tech 3 ship, losing a Tech 3 ship will result in a random skillpoint loss … ejecting or self-destructing does prevent the penalty, giving players an incentive to abandon ship…”.
Reason: Unique story attributes of T3 ships.
Alternative to consequence: Tactical ejection.