AchiEVEments

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Got into a bit of back and forth with folks on the subject of Achievements in EVE today on Twitter. Sugar has already posted a blogpost version of her thoughts.

Traditionally, people think of achievements as little milestones along the way that you get to keep you playing, sometimes with “badges” or icons to go with them. And that’s fine for most games. I generally don’t much care about those things, with the possible exception of the ones in Left4Dead (why? because there are so many wacky ones).

So let me say this straight out – I’m not in support of a traditional “You mined 10 asteroids” type of badging system for EVE.

That said, I do see utility in a number of other potential uses. This would however require CCP to do some very thoughtful, research-driven work to be effective. In my RL job, I spend a lot of time working with what’s called “Human-Centered Design”. Briefly, what that means is going out and spending time with your potential consumers in as in-person a manner as possible, to see what their real needs and uses of your product are. In any company, you spend so much time immersed in your work that you lose sight of how things work with your product in the real world.

Imagine with me if you will, what sort of achievements or badging might actually be of real use in EVE.

Achievements for Newbies

As Seismic Stan (Freebooted) has pointed out, there is some potential real value to new players. This is the closest thing I can think of to the classic achievements approach that would make sense in EVE. A way to get new players eased in and help them feel comfortable that “Yes, you are ready for the next thing”. This would be closely integrated to the new player experience. While she hasn’t posted her thoughts yet, I suspect this is what Ali Aras was thinking as well.

How might they be designed? Think about a redesigned certification approach – one that takes the NPE missions, marks them complete, and suggests a series of next steps (maybe via EVEmail?) for them to progress their career in that area. Obviously there is a gaping hole in PVP in the NPE, but that’s another story. Imagine if as a newbie you finished your mining tutorial and got an evemail with some tips and links around how to progress up the mining chain, with some specs on what makes the barges unique. If your mission tutorial gave tips on how to progress to Level 2 & Level 3 missions. Would there be points & badges? Not in the way I’m envisioning it. Maybe a small icon somewhere on your profile that tags – for your info – that you’ve completed that tutorial and has a permalink to the advice page.

Achievements for Recruiters

No, not achievements they earn. Achievements they use.

Think of it as a resume, automagically built by the game. As a player, you could have it public, private, or share it with only specific people, and could of course see it yourself. Yes, recruiters would still want the API since you want to see other characters, wallet transactions, etc. But those are security checks. What is it the RO really wants to know?

They want to know what you can fly, and if you have experience. Can you fit T2 tanks and weapons? Can you fly the right ships for their doctrines? Do you meet a minimum SP threshhold? Even if you have the skills, have you ever undocked in ship x? Have you ever killed anyone in that ship? Have you ever died in that ship? What’s your efficiency? How many other pilots on your average killmail? What are the top 10 ships you’ve spent the most time sitting in?

While it can’t be done today, it would also be cool if there was a way to capture some of the more esoteric non-measurables like being a scout, an FC or a logi pilot.

The certificate system is overly cumbersome and doesn’t necessarily translate to real-world use. Imagine instead a resume that lists the kinds of things noted above, that is automatically presented to the RO as part of the application to corp. Maybe there are a handful of icons that represent some key things (e.g. T2 capabilities).

Achievements for Explorers

One area that’s more like traditional “badging” – this would be for the people that, well, like to have a record of places they’ve been. I admit I’d like these, since I consider myself an explorer. I’d love to have a set of achievements specifically aimed at exploration … to encourage real exploration (as opposed to site scanning). This would be by default only visible to the player, for their own personal satisfaction. They could share it if desired but it would generally be a back-tab section of the character sheet where those who didn’t care could totally ignore it. People like to share their maps – maybe that would change to sharing this page.

Any easy one might be for visiting Site One in Eram, or the Mysterious Shuttle in Geztic. A slightly harder one might be visiting all four empires, or all four types of space. Harder would be visiting all six types of wormhole system, or all regions in an empire or space type. And the most rare would be things like having run all the COSMOS sites, or visited every k-space region.

It wouldn’t be for everyone, but it’d be easy to ignore for those who don’t care.

Achievements for Veterans

These would be very rare, and some would be rare enough that they would need to be manually set by CCP. Their primary purpose – informational, bragging or shaming rights. These would be publicly visible on the show info window. What could be that rare?

Automated ones might be for things like losing a supercap. Or visiting all of the shattered planets (shameless self-interest alert). Hitting 150M skillpoints. Being subscribed in the first year of EVE without a character transfer between then and now.

Manual ones might be for being on CSM, being in an Alliance Tournament, or winning an Alliance Tournament. Being a current fansite owner. Being a former CCP employee.

What do you think? What other ideas did I miss?

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9 Responses to AchiEVEments

  1. Ahnog says:

    Aren’t certificates achievements?

    • Rhavas says:

      If so, they’re pretty terrible. Certificates don’t match to what recruiter ask for or look for. They also are driven purely by skills rather than use. I CAN fly many ships that I never have. Certificates may once have been intended for that but they are poor at both informing recruiters and educating/directing players.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As an RO i like the idea of achievements for recruiters. However, individuals can and have built the something similar via the api system.

  3. modex says:

    Always good to hear of someone else who practices, and is a proponent of Human-Centered Design. CCP has made some noise in the past about using it, but its hard to tell just how committed they are to HCD.

    I like all of the ideas, but in particular I think there is a lot of room for achievements in exploration. At the very least it would be a nice way to keep track of what you’ve already “discovered” in New Eden. Could also act as a way to push content. I think ideas like this have already been suggested, but something along the lines where visiting a series of sites unlocks a story (achievement). Would require some well thought out content development, which CCP seems loathe to do, but I’m willing to bet there’s a fair number of players out there that would enjoy that kind of addition to the game.

  4. Pingback: Banks of the Rubicon | Interstellar Privateer

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