Loot Fairy Triumphant (Blog Banter #69)

So… it’s been a while since I’ve participated in a Blog Banter, but this one caught my eye. They’re hosted by Drackarn of Sand, Cider and Spaceships; you should check it out if you write a blog and consider participating. Blog Banter #69 asks:

Because of Space-Magic
CCP sometimes get stuck between a veldspar ‘roid and a hard place when they try to blend realism with sensible game mechanics in our sci-fi simulator. Sometimes they create a scientific answer such as 4th dimensional drag to explain our ‘submarines in space’. Other times, not so much. When a null-sec Citadel is destroyed players ‘stuffz’ is to be magicked to another station. Why should a citadel be different to a titan? Should CCP ensure that ‘space magic’ always has a plausible explanation or do we need just to say “Well, its only a game!” and engage the willing suspension of disbelief? How should it work when a citadel goes boom, how do we balance risk with reward, and how should any “space-magic” be explained?

First, a disclaimer, or more appropriately an open letter of sorts to CCP Nullarbor, who has been the public face of the coming Citadel changes.

Dear CCP Nullarbor (and any other Game of Drones team members who supported his actions as noted here):

Thank you. Thank you for putting yourself out there, for admitting that you weren’t a wormhole guy and that you didn’t totally get how wormholers use POS and how disruptive the original plan was for wormhole mechanics and getting wormhole fights. Thank you for being willing to learn. Thank you for collaborating with Corbexx, Sugar Kyle and others to seriously listen to the wormhole community about what needed to change – and then advocating to change it. I am at last looking forward to what Citadels might be like for w-space – sure, there are still misgivings (particularly around reinforcement windows with intermittent system access), but it’s no longer a facepalm-worthy exercise, and for that I give the lion’s share of the credit to your willingness to listen and incorporate what you heard. Thank you for adapting your original design in w-space.

Sincerely, Rhavas

Now, on to the meat of my response.

<RANT>

With the now-updated exception of wormhole space, Citadel “space magic” that rescues player assets without dropping or any meaningful destruction is a mockery of what EVE Online stands for and was built on – utterly antithetical to its core design purpose. It’s not about how you explain it – the fact that you need to should be a warning sign in and of itself.

Let’s start with a nice summation of the core philosophy of EVE – namely that loss is meaningful and defines what makes EVE different (originally in the context of suicide ganking, but the principle is no different) – from CCP Falcon, less than two years ago.

I love EVE and the core of what the game stands for. That’s why I’ve been dedicated to it and its community for over 11 years now.

Risk vs Reward is a huge part of that.

Honestly, if that changed, and the game started to soften out and cater to those who want to have their hand held all the way through their gameplay experience, I’d rather not be working on the project regardless of how many subscribers we had, than sell out the core principles that New Eden was built on.

That’s a sentiment that I hear a lot around the office, because we are all invested in what makes New Eden so compelling – The dark, gritty, hard reality beneath the pretty ships and nebulas.

EVE is built on the core principle that you are never 100% safe, no matter where you go or what you do. When you interact with another player, you roll the dice on whether they’re going to screw you over or not. That’s a massive part of the social engineering behind the very basic underpinnings of the EVE Universe.

CCP Falcon, “High Sec Hauling/Mining Kills – TY CCP for No Protection”, August 2014

Unfortunately for EVE, Falcon is a community management leader, and not a game designer. The bottom line is that EVE is built on putting assets at risk, and gaining the benefits of doing so.

So why on earth would CCP completely throw all the core principles of the game out the window? Let’s go to the Devblog:

…we quickly decided that our new structures would need to be destructible, especially since they are going to be available everywhere from high-security to wormhole space. However, this introduces another problem: we want our structures to be used, but one of the deterrents against that goal is the fact they compete against existing NPC stations and player outposts. As such, we have to accept the fact no one will want to store items or minions (if you are an alliance leader) in one of the new structures if they can be destroyed and lost on a whim.

And that is how asset safety was born.

CCP Ytterbium, “I Feel Safe in Citadel City”

Um, wait – what? First of all, the very title of that devblog makes my stomach churn. Safe in EVE Online. This is your first red flag.

Second, “no one will want to store items or minions (if you are an alliance leader) in one of the new structures if they can be destroyed and lost on a whim.” Let’s see if I can sum up my reaction in two words. Yep: BULL SHIT.

The First Law of EVE Online: Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose.

The Wormholer’s Corollary of The First Law: As soon as you’ve brought it in the hole, consider it lost.

Ask Noobman, CEO of Hard Knocks, how much ISK they have wrapped up in the far more fragile and already destructible POS structures. Or Biterno Sintaph, CEO of Future Corps / SSC. Or Hidden Fremen, CEO of Lazerhawks. Hell, when he was banned from the game, MaxDEL, CEO of QEX, admitted that “On my (banned) accounts (where several dozen) are the Titans, Motherships, collected all the property and money of my corporation – more than 1500B isk (A great way to reduce the amount of isk in game by ban 1 person).” Most of that was likely in a POS or in nullsec.

Wormholers revolted against the proposal immediately because it’s the whole point.

Don’t tell me it can’t be done. I am a “migrant” myself – I regularly come and go from EVE, and each time I leave I evac all of my assets from the hole to a station in highsec or sell them off to corpmates, because I know that while I am OOG all of my stuff can disappear in a puff of capital hybrid dust. I only bring in the stuff I need or am actively working on. And nullsec has the same access to almost identical wormhole chains that I do – often better, in fact.

But shouldn’t nullsec have some way to ensure that their stations are safe? Let’s go to the source, shall we?

Finally there are 0.0 systems and systems with negative security rating; otherwise known as ‘null-sec’, there is no protection at all and survival here is all down to the skill and resources of the individual.

Official EVE Online New Pilot FAQ

I’m sorry, but I guess I missed the part where your stuff is supposed to be safe. What it really is: risk aversion and laziness. If there is a war coming, evac your stuff.

Next you’ll be hearing how we need a special magical insurance by which when you get killed the killer can’t loot your wreck, it will be waiting tidily for you in Jita where your WOW Clan … er, Coalition, can pick it up for you.

“But Rhavas,” I hear you say, “what about all the newbros? We want them to stay and play in nullsec.” Here’s my answer to that:

 

  • People who die play longer
  • <1% of cancellations cite ship loss

CCP Rise, “Using Science to Help Newbros” bullet points, Fanfest 2015

No, my friends, this is not about newbros. It is not about PVP. It is about subscription-paying veterans who want absolute safety in a place that was designed to have none, and the development plan knuckling under to that pressure.

Eat it or have it.

I say: HTFU. To the victor go the spoils. This is EVE. The wormhole model should be the model everywhere except perhaps highsec.

Somewhere, as she makes off with 100% of what you fought for, the Loot Fairy is laughing her ass off.

</RANT>

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14 Responses to Loot Fairy Triumphant (Blog Banter #69)

  1. hurr durr says:

    There is no benefit at all whatsoever to be found in sov nullsec that would make it worth it to live there with destructible stations and asset loss, when you could easily move to NPC nullsec or lowsec and gain 100% asset safety for zero cost. Over the years, sov nullsec residents have been beaten with sticks upon with sticks with no carrot in sight. Eve is still missing any reason at all to go into sov null beyond ‘stick your flag in space’. Until there is actually a strategic or economic reason to actually be there, why the fuck would you make it even more painful? Do you just want to depopulate it? Please stop talking about shit you as a w-space circlejerker have no clue about.

    We can all agree that Eve is all about the possibility of losing your shit, but in the mean time there are indestructible stations all over Eve.

    You either have asset safety, or you make all stations all over Eve destructible. Take your pick. I don’t see you proposing any solutions to this issue whatsoever.

    • Rhavas says:

      I’m not a nullsec dweller, so I don’t and in fact shouldn’t create a solution for what would make null better. That’s for null folks and game designers to figure out.

      I could get behind your suggestion of all stations (except maybe for high sec) destructible as well.

      It’s also beside the point. I honestly agree with you that NPC Null and Sov Null need more differentiation. But this post is about the rescue mechanic, which to me is antithetical to the entire design philosophy of the game.

    • TurAmarth says:

      “…no carrot in sight…”??, “Until there is actually a strategic or economic reason to actually be there…”??? really? So my friends who rat in carriers in nullsec… in fleets of carriers… who complain when their wallets go below 100billion ISK, they are what? The L33t few? Uh… nope. They are the mainline player in nullsec. But you don’t see this cause yer blinded by the ISK you make.

      And, Rhavas I hope you’ll let this stand… “…stop talking about shit you as a w-space circlejerker…” (1) ohhhh potty mouth! I so scared! Show us where the bad man touched you your poor abused thing you…

      Oh and (2) STFU asswipe. I am a veteran wormholer and I know all about nullsuc too… and you are the wanker who has no idea what he is talking about… not a clue. Risk adverse child.

  2. Helena Khan says:

    Love the picture of the loot fairy. So wrong… and yet so right 🙂

    I’m going to disagree with you regarding citadels on two points: future design possibilities and cost of recovery.

    There is a 10% recovery fee on all assets relocated iirc. How many alliances/individual pilots within that alliance could afford to pay 10% on what they already own? How many could afford to do that repeatedly? Because that is what is going to happen if someone comes and blitzes through your space killing citadel after citadel while taking your sov. I can see a very rapidly shrinking piot/corp/alliance coffer if you don’t evac (leading to more opportunities for engagement) or defend.

    Future design. CCP has stated numerous times they want everything in New Eden to be player built. I would not be surprised if NPC stations went the way of the dodo at some point, including those in high sec. You want a mission agent? Talk to your local citadel owner. You want a market? Same deal.

    However total destruction would likely be too big a step in the initial stages (and possibly later too if I’m being honest about it). They will likely want people to become used to living out of these and start valuing the advantages. Don’t spook the horses etc. I’d imagine metrics would show an uptick in usage (or not) before such a decision was taken in any case.

    Lastly, WH space is unique. Why not keep it that way? Exploding POSes and citadels included.

    • Rhavas says:

      The 10% fee is good for discouraging abuse but doesn’t really do much for the attacker. If rather see a straight loot drop or even 50/50 where half drops and half is magicked (instead of destroyed).

  3. TurAmarth says:

    Could not, could not, could NOT put it better myself. This is the Nerf Creep I go on and on about like Vince Snetterton AKA Dinsdale Piranha does Teh Gewns and Mittens and RTM in nullsec… A “little meaningless quality of life change here”, and a “little nothing of a nerf over there” are not the problem… it’s ALL of them all together… the Nerf Creep, and one day you log in and wonder when in hell did EVE become WoW in Space?

  4. Chanina says:

    I strongly disagree with you Rhavas in this point and agree with Helena Khan. If I check my API for values, the stuff I own is 300 times the amount of ISK I have (yes I’m space poor). I have some assets in WH and some in 0.0 and the majority in high security, but even bailing out the small portion of stuff in 0.0 would render my wallets empty. Currently I live with the choice that I may leave a lot of stuff in some outpost and sell it of later. Having to choose to either bailout or loosing it completely is already a hugely higher risk.

    Furthermore the citadel itself is destructible and the XL once aren’t cheap. Compared to the investment on an outpost this new concept already introduces a huge amount of additional risk. There won’t be flip in owner ship, if the citadel isn’t secured it will be destroyed unlike an outpost. Yes I am against too much risk. It is fun and a core of Eve that looses are real. But loosing multiple years of research time while I’ve been on vacation (where I’m working 4 weeks vacation is normal) isn’t fun and highly discouraging. Loosing the billions put into that structure to build it is something I am fine with.

    As an incentive for those attacking structures I would agree to some sort of loot extras in the lower one digit % area. Like there is a chance of 4% for any docked ship to be dropped. Having an all 50/50 on any assets inside the station may be heaven for you but it surely would prevent me from placing too much stuff there.

    Finally to the topic of the banter with “space magic”
    There doesn’t need to be any magic. The SCC already takes control over any freeport station and lore wise these structures aren’t empty (right?). There are people on it working there. And with the 10% fee to get that stuff moved out, the poorly paid low live humans (those not immortal) get a fortune there great grand children could live from. Maybe that mechanic should be changed in a 0,x % per month bill for every pilot / corporation that have assets on a citadel?
    And why wouldn’t that be possible for WH? Back in the new industry the teams could be recruited to WH systems. The Sisters of Eve have colonized a WH system. So the non immortal humans are able to navigate into Anokis space. Why wouldn’t some of the opportunist offer their service of stuff evacuation to filthy rich wormhole dwellers?

    • Rhavas says:

      Sounds like you keep too much stuff there for the new model. This is specifically what I’m talking about. You keep 300x in a station. When that station gets destroyed you want to keep all of it. That my friend is high sec thinking. Have your cake (safety) or eat it (null).

      As for this helping me personally? It would not at all. In 5 years of play I have never once laid siege to a nullsec entity structure. This mechanic does not do a thing to help me. It’s about the principle – this is not Eve thinking.

      And lore wise, no … In wspace attacks are not telegraphed weeks in advance so that “some opportunist” would offer services there. In wspace you almost never see it coming – and those who show their hand early fail anyhow.

      As for filthy rich wormholes? Too many I know make their money ratting on a sov null alt.

  5. kkodachi says:

    Pragmatically speaking, outposts already offer 100% safe asset storage in null sec. In order for Citadels to have a hope of replacing outposts, they need to compete with them in this regard. Perhaps 100% asset recovery is too much, maybe 50% recovered and 50% dropped in citadel wreck would have been more palatable?

  6. Pingback: Blog Banter 69–A kind of magic | Morphisat's Blog

  7. CmdreTurk says:

    HA good article i agree 100%, but you seem a bit angry do you need lay down?

    hope all is well ‘

    Gendreau

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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