EVE’s Future: Through A Dev Darkly

Fozzie Storyhead

Just a quick, but I think appropriate, interlude in my review of CCP Fozzie’s deployable ideas thread. An interview Fozzie did with US Gamer just surfaced over the last day or so, and it’s full of interesting tidbits, and much more than just the ubiquitous Badgers Building a Stargate Picture. There were a few key pieces of this interview that stood out for me. If you want the most important, skip to the last one, “On The Future Vision”. Let’s dive right in – quote boxes are directly from the article.

On POS and Deployables

POS, or player-owned star bases, are something that we’re continuously trying to improve. It’s a pretty old area of our code base so in some ways we’re trying to improve the existing system and in other ways, we’re trying to rebuild a new system that will eventually replace it.

This comment is interesting to me because as I’ve worked my way through the deployables, I’ve taken to wondering whether or not the traditional POS is going to be fully replaced with these things, or augmented by them. Fozzie’s comment seems to suggest that the POS will continue to be tweaked alongside the new deployables, rather than being left out to gather dust all together. While I think everyone agrees that the POS today is an ugly and annoying thing, its basic concept is very sound, and the moon anchoring component to me is a critical smart move. So I actually hope that the deployables become useful personal pieces, but that the POS gets fixed for corporate use in some ways. There are several good ideas for POS use in the deployables thread, and I hope that CCP takes the next obvious step with Personal Ship Maintenance Arrays as well; that will go a long way toward helping the average wormholer feel more secure in public spaces.

On Industry Balance Between Space Types

There’s a bit less Mexallon in those sites in 0.0 than there is in the normal build payload that you’d use. That is something that we are pretty happy with. We don’t want any individual area of space to be entirely self-sufficient. 0.0 is much more self sufficient than it was before Odyssey, but we don’t want any one area of space to stop relying entirely on the others. So, the trade of Mexallon from others areas of space to 0.0 is intended

This is another thing I’ve long supported and even commented on a time or two here on the blog. I think that it is critical for a healthy economy for no one area of space to be entirely self-sufficient. That doesn’t mean that the current balance is the right balance, but this is the first time I’ve seen someone from CCP come right out and say that no single area of space will ever truly be fully independent. I think this is a good thing.

On Local as an Intel Tool

Will there ever be a way to avoid showing up in local? 

Potentially. It’s not something that is going to be an easy solution, but I can say that we don’t like the fact that local chat is so powerful as an intelligence tool as well as a chat but replacing it is something that’s going to be a pretty large project because it is such a valuable way of gaining intelligence right now. We don’t want to take it away without providing some other way to find out with some other act of gameplay who is in the system with you — or at least some of the people that are in the system with you. So, we don’t think it’d be a good thing to just tear it out and not put anything back in to replace it but we also aren’t fully happy with the way it is right now. It is something that we would definitely like to change.

This is another area of EVE’s design that is near and dear to my heart (I’ve written pretty extensively about it). This is the first time in a year (since the @Erlendur Twitter comments on that linked post) that I’ve seen any dev comment on the issue. This is still on the radar, and they’re taking it thoughtfully. I am encouraged that they are moving toward a more logical approach, even though it’s taking a long time. I agree that it’s not something you want to necessarily dive into recklessly.

On High-Skill Probing Sites

As of right now, you can find all of the Player vs Environment sites without having the max skills as long as you have the correct modules and ships but where the max skills do come in very handy is if you’re trying to find other players so that’s where their strong use is — if you’re trying to probe down other players. We do, however, have plans to eventually add more higher-end Player vs Environment sites that you’ll need extremely high skills to find. In the meantime, those skills at the top end are mostly used for finding other players.

As a wormholer, I live and die by probing. I was pretty disappointed when CCP drastically dumbed down probing, as were other wormholers. Fozzie’s commentary here shows a couple of key things. First, that skill still counts in combat probing, which is true. Second, that they are planning to actually make skill count in site detection again as well. This is particularly welcome since getting all 5s in the advanced scanning skills is a brutally long train, and Odyssey basically made the time getting those 5s useless. I’m glad to hear they’re planning something to reintroduce skill to scanning; it has been badly oversimplified in the last year.

On Mining Ships

We just recently updated and rebalanced the mining barges and exhumers, the main mining ships in the game. We’re very happy with how that worked out. There’s probably another rebalance pass on those — just to make small tweaks that we have coming up soon. And there may be some more mining ships in the works, but I don’t have anything specific to announce quite yet. But yeah, I definitely think that we will have more mining ships. Sooner rather than later.

I’m not a miner myself, but I read several industrial blogs in order to have an understanding of the mindset and some of the market forces. While he’s a controversial figure, Gevlon Goblin does a number of interesting analyses of the various mining barges and their capabilities and gankability that I can’t help but think are representative of this need for tweaking. In addition, the only new mining ship in ages has been the Venture, which was overwhelmingly well-received (although not in all quarters). I love that it was bonused for gas mining specifically and am very interested to see what Fozzie & co. do with new ships in this space. I’m really beginning to wonder after this article if industry is going to be a big theme within the summer release. There are several other things in the interview that hint at that as well.

On the Phoenix Dreadnought

We’re trying to make the changes for [the Phoenix] one small, little bit at a time and watch what the result is because the Phoenix is a ship that, thanks to the way it applies its damage, could very easily become too powerful. We’re being very cautious about it, but yes, we are continuously tweaking that ship to try to get it into a better place.

I’m also not a capital pilot, but 2/3 of my corpmates are. The Phoenix is the universal laughingstock of their dreadnought discussions. Fozzie’s comments suggest that while it is clearly known (CCP would have to be extremely dense to have missed player hate for this ship), he is showing an intelligently measured response here. It would be all too easy to move the Phoenix from pariah to FOTM.

On Walking in Stations

Walking in stations right now is not the priority for us. We’re focused on the space game play in EVE: the core game play. It’s definitely something we could return to later, but at this time we’re very focused on making EVE the best space game it can be.

This again is an area where people have been guessing and assuming CCP’s plans and direction, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen someone come out and flat-out state that WiS is not happening in the near-term future.

On the Future Vision and Buildable Stargates

Will you ever allow us to build stargates?

Yes, yes, we definitely will. That’s something that has been announced by our senior producer as early as our last Fanfest and we reiterated that that our vision for the future of the game includes allowing players to build major projects together. One of those projects will be player controlled and player built stargates. I’ll say that the result of that may not be what people expect. They may not take the form that people expect, but yes, we are definitely working on in the future allowing people to build stargates.

This final quote is the most interesting of the whole piece. Now let’s combine it with another quote from a recent interview with CCP Chief Marketing Officer David Reid:

Rubicon begins a multi-expansion arc that will allow players to begin harvesting, amassing the resources, blueprints, the implants and things that it will take to construct the first Star Gates and then go forth and colonise new galaxies. At some level there is this very intricate balance of power that’s been going on in Nullsec for many years. We’re going to open up a whole new gold rush if you will. There’s going to be a race to build the first Star Gate, and the corporation that do that are going to be the first to plant their ‘flag’ on the hills of new systems if you will.

What you’ll notice if you read the Reid interview is that the writer actually fills in a ton of supposition, but Reid himself is pretty cagey on what it is. Fozzie in the upper quote is even more cagey. In fact, Fozzie comes right out and starts the de-escalation of the hype, not once, but twice: “I’ll say that the result of [player built stargates] may not be what people expect. They may not take the form that people expect.”

This is, in my opinion, a good thing. I think the idea of someone simply bolting up a gate from VFK to Jita (which many players on the forums seem to want) or just having one take you to wormhole space (which some who don’t actually live in wormholes seem to want) are dumb ideas. These two quotes suggest that CCP is thinking about something entirely different, and then presenting it in a way that’s familiar.

So what are they really thinking? Fozzie says: “we reiterated that that our vision for the future of the game includes allowing players to build major projects together”.

This is not just about stargates. It’s about cooperatively built projects. Stargates are just the shiniest example. And that should tie nicely back to the deployables post. What exactly does Fozzie want us to collectively build?

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7 Responses to EVE’s Future: Through A Dev Darkly

  1. pjharvey says:

    I’m glad to hear they’re planning something to reintroduce skill to scanning

    Well, it sounds more like they are planning to make skill training more applicable, not player skill.

    • Rhavas says:

      True. I doubt they’ll ever remove the “dumbscovery scanner”.

      • Yeah, I’ve hated the damn thing since day one. It’s cute visually but putting it on every ship ever is just bad. Should’ve been restricted only to ships with a scanning bonus or role.

        I’m still not entirely sold on the changes to the probing skill bonuses. I ended up with a net benefit as I had Astro 5 and supports at 4 (I now have one of the supports to 5, but have other things to train first), but I’m still not sold on how stupidly accessible they made it to people.

        Don’t get me wrong, I loved the idea of an exploration-themed expansion (and still do), but in retrospect there are a few things that make me do a fair bit of squintyface over their implementation.

  2. eciu says:

    I would also note that CCP is currently developing a device to “be large enough to cargo le mittani’s ego” as CCP Fozzie stated in the deployable things thread (few cents to the cooperation projects).

  3. Pingback: EVE’s Future: Through A Dev Darkly | Realpolitik0

  4. Realpolitik0 says:

    Reblogged this on Realpolitik0.

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