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.
Now, on to the meat of my response.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.