Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Illumination of New Eden

This is the official announcement of the player created expansion, to be launched in approximately 4 years. However some preliminary stages will be occurring from today onwards. Although I got little response to my call for sleeper materials to be donated during the sleeper research race, I have nevertheless created a character in game to interact in future EVE lore events.
This character's ingame name is Lucifer's Avatar. He will be the leader of an ingame player faction that will develop slowly over the next 4 years and will perform an instrumental role in both the role player and economic and military actions of the PCE.
Actions taken towards this character, and later others, both in official CCP and player roleplaying events, as well as random, or not so random, actions taken by players to interact with this character will shape the arrival and execution of the PCE. What actions? That is up to CCP or the players to decide. Results of such actions will alter the interaction between the Lightbringers and in game player factions and organizations.
You will not be likely to see results of these interactions for at least a year.
I understand that this is all rather vague but that is due to current in game circumstances.
Existing line members and leadership of almost all major and some minor eve player groups are sleeper members of the various PCE factions. Any player who has revealed the existence of the PCE to in game friends is a player/human aligned agent of the PCE. The mean of this statement will become clear to the whole player base over the course of the ensuing 4 years. Any information so far revealed is false, a trick, or non security essential to the PCE and is not official information as information put out by this Reddit account, the connected Twitter account or designated official PCE accounts in various media.
Remember, space is dangerous alone. Try not to upset each other so much you can't coordinate against outside threats when it counts. Take care when attacking(especially to completely or almost completely destroy, rather than to wound or to get goodfights), groups that are not part of the xXDeathXx, N3, or CFC coalitions. This may trigger PCE related interference whether said group is aware of its PCE status or not, and may also have consequences for aggressor parties in the future.
For the purposes of this statement: Rooks and Kings, Brave/Test, Provi, PFR, and NoHo qualify as potential PCE involved entities, among others.
This is a non roleplay post, as indicated by the lack of (RP) tag in the title. *Certain player groups may receive in game interaction disproportionate to their size and current significance in game.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Everything Helps Vets More Than New Players

In EVE it is commonly believed that any given change will always help older players more than newer ones. This doesn't really make sense. If you make a change, and it helps vets more, and you switch it back, it can't help vets both ways. So in theory we could be assured of helping newbies by reversing previous changes that helped vets, thusly the law is a contradiction.

The most important thing to actually move forward however is to look at WHY a change will always be more helpful to a vet. The most important aspect is alts. Any change that helps newbies must have a relatively similar positive effect upon vets because new vet alts will benefit from these changes. Boosting training time on new accounts? Faster training for alts. And a vet may have dozens of alts, which is dozens of times more benefit from the change than a newbie gets.

This alt effect is the major reason for the whole issue. NPC corps can't be war-decced? Fabulous. Vets put JFs and freighters into NPC corps. Moreover newbies must pay taxes to NPC corps from mining and ratting while the major value for vets does not involve taxable income. Vets also are far more adept at avoiding suicide ganks while newbies are often clueless so the lack of war-decs really doesn't protect newbies but is massively beneficial for clever vets.

Its true that there are changes that benefit vets without being alt based but clearly alts are a massive issue when trying to buff only newbies.

The major issue in EVE is lack of regulation. In order to be all sandy and what not players detest regulation. Scams? Only hurt newbies. But fuck those losers anyways right? We could fix margin trading scams any time if we really wanted but the internet sociopaths would probably drop a pipe bomb on the EVE monument or something.

What's the fastest simplest way to nerf force projection? Banning alts. Imagine if you had to have a real life individual person manning those cynos? Who would sign on to a null sec alliance just to sit in a station and man a cyno all day? You'd have to fly cyno ships out to every system. This would massively diminish the ability to spawn capitals half way across the map because you heard someone fucked up a titan bridge.

Now before you all lose your minds, CCP would then be able to change the gameplay to be more friendly to an environment where people couldn't outsource tedium to alt characters. Currently all gameplay changes need to be balanced around how easy it is to scale an activity with an alt.

I'm perhaps the poster child for overuse of alts, at the current time I possess over 300 characters and can successfully multibox 10 subcaps or up to 20 titans or supercarriers in a fleet fight. I know that a lot of the methods I employ to prepare for the PCE would not be possible in an alt free EVE Online, but then perhaps I wouldn't need to launch the PCE to clear out the stagnant, decadent, bloated nullsec coalitions that are generate by EVE's alt addiction.

The real question is, while alts may relieve the tedium, is that worth the massive impact they have on gameplay  and gameplay changes? Could removing alts and reworking the game mechanics be the necessary option for CCP to create engaging, dynamic, thrilling gameplay? Are the benefits of alts worth the costs?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Warring Factions, The Text Based Game EVE Wishes It Was

Warring Factions is, as per the title, the text based game that is more EVE than EVE.

There's no hisec or lowsec or even NPC sov. The universe contains around 70 galaxies, 100000 starsystems, 400000 planets. There are wormholes that cross galaxies or travel to new ones. They are static though. There are up to 100 wormholes in some rounds.

You also have no safety net. No characters and thus no clones and skills. No unkillable stations. The game is run based on planetary colonies which can be totally conquered.

Warring Factions is different in that you control an empire per player, which group into empires and factions. This allows for a lot of things but you can get some of them with just EVE's system.

For one thing there is no teleporting. Each player has to deploy their combat assets strategically to protect their holdings. This is just a dream in EVE where you can cross a whole galaxy in a mere 20 minutes. In Warring Factions cross galactic adventures can take up to a month.

Warring Factions often relies on player gathered intel, a sort of super d-scan, to provide safety. Launching a surveyor net, or putting "sentry fleets" consisting of 2 probe ships will give intel on the location of enemy fleets. Many people failed to put their surveyor ships in a spherical formation allowing even the supposedly excessively protect homeworlds, the safest space in the game with tons of player defenses active, to be attacked by a special strategy. This was called a warpnet. Warpnets were probably originally a method to allow another way to bridge the void between galaxies and were often used that way. However sneak attacks were their major purpose. Creating a warpnet above the galactic plane, where people tended not to deploy surveyors, while at the same time deploying them all over hundreds of systems to block attacks where fleets traveled from planet to planet(ships had a max range before they had to refuel), allowed you to make a an attack with at most 16 hours notice with a massive fleet, although the highscores list would show what players and empires had large militaries.

In Warring Factions you had to deploy ships not only for attacks and intelligence, but to guard the homeworld in case you went afk for a few weeks or from a sneak attack. If you spammed a lot of colonies you needed colony defenses for fast carrier attacks, regional fleets at least for normal speed attacks on isolated areas and so forth. Each and every decision you made had corresponding costs.

Imagine if EVE operated on a system where wars actually involved clever strategies and tactics rather than massing the TIDI spawning blob at prearranged timers.

Warring factions had a ton of other unique features. Unlike games where research involved laser weapons 12 making your single type static layout battleships 10% better Warring Factions had a player invested research system with ideal formulas that players narrowed down over months or years. Research results had a small random factor and were determined by your science indexes where you chose to train your new scientists spawns in specific ways over the years to get a unique layout of skilled workers. You would get different gun counts, hull costs, research costs, and so forth and had over 70 base types of blueprints you could research for. These could also hybrid if your project scientist formula was relatively close to two separate blueprint types.

A player I played with once invented an incredible spacestation/corvette hybrid that traveled super fast, and had a large carrier bay for its speed, allowing incredible cross galactic warpnet attacks and huge speeds. It also had a large cargo bay that allowed shipping a large volume of resources for ship building to save on the massive costs and long mining time of producing them on site. Combat would swing back and forth as each side developed various new military tech, one side might cost on a powerful fighter hull until another got an incredible anti-fighter battleship hull. Or maybe one side developed a powerful shield. To make something clearer, attacking planets generally required fighters or bombers for gameplay reasons, hence the value of a large fast carrier capable hull.

Although you lacked the customizability of EVE, WF had limitless module variations and unlike other games of its kind, at least when creating a ship design allowed you to customize it as you liked. Factors such as mass allowed for gaining 20% more armor from a change in armor plat mass requirements and not just adding armor integrity.

Imagine EVE with this kind of incredible strategic depth where it was less of a target caller and more of actually commanding a fleet of other players, making brilliant deployment decisions, causing space warfare to be much more real. This would make a huge change in the ways coalitions are limited, cripple rental empires, and provide other desirable changes.

Now for the downsides:
Warring Factions allows for players to have more assets making losses less crippling. Since ships don't have to be piloted long travel timers are easier to implement without annoying people and you have plenty more to do while waiting for ships to travel. Its much harder for CCP to implement vastly larger space so that its harder to control the world.

I also doubt people would approve of randomized research. This would allow for the sort of tech/gear race that EVE tries to avoid. However with the politics of EVE it may be that such tech would be hard to keep out of player hands. Players might also sell modules but not prints to accrue a lot of money. It might be an interesting experiment to try but probably would be exploited in numerous ways.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Across A Sea Of Stars, Or Maybe Its More Like A Pond

Jita is the main trade hub in all of New Eden. The game has something like 50 regions but only one major trade hub. Why is this?

The first reason is that its too easy to get to Jita. Economics are ruined by the same thing as nullsec, power projection.

The second reason is goods. There are not enough major goods to support multiple hubs. In the real world we have tons of goods that need to be supplied locally and often produced locally.

The third reason is population. EVE just doesn't have enough players for non-empire systems to need their own hubs, and anyone in Empire can too easily reach Jita.

The last reason is size. The EVE universe could really do with about 4x its current size.

The easiest way to make changes is a system suggested previously by PCC members. Break up the kiddie pool. If we split empire by a river of null and low space this will at least force hisec players to create 4 hubs, one for each empire. This will also provide many other fun and interesting effects and opportunities.

The more difficult way is make New Eden, primarily EVE, 4x bigger. This will resolve a number of other issues EVE has as well.

Other options may be more obnoxious. One would involve a little less "fun per hour" perhaps but would be good for the overall health of the game. Players should ideally require some high volume, cheap, locally producible goods to consume every day in order to survive. Perhaps increase training time if consumption is not kept up. This would require players to seed a market which could then provide the seed for a larger market to grow in each region.

Regardless of the limited downsides to various ideas, they would provide a much more robust market potential for a game supposedly all about market pvp.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Creating The Red Ring Of Death; Sunrise Over New Eden

Like each of the members of the PCCC, although I share a general belief that sovereign nullsec is broken and what needs to be done to fix it, the particulars of my view are my own. Here we go:

The first thing that is wrong with sovereign nullsec is sovereignty. Is EVE a sandbox or not? Seems like the proper answer right now is no. My associate PCCObliteration attempted to placate a certain post in his reddit thread wrt "flag planting". That was wrong of him. The hardcoded ownership of Sovereignty is a cancer upon New Eden.

Sovereignty for supercapital ships has to go. Sovereignty for PI has to go. Sovereignty boosts for fuel costs has to go. TCUs and SBUs are a waste of time. As are IHUBs.

Since there is no sov, supercapital fleets lose some of their oomph. Sovereign nullsec becomes just an upgraded version of NPC nullsec.

You can read PCCObliteration's Reddit post for the general idea of how the PCC believes sec status should be replaced with a more dynamic index system. I do disagree somewhat with the specifics but that's for another post. In general some activities raise the index and some lower it, regardless of sovereignty. Groups that open up their space to the public may gain a good index boost through such an action, perhaps at the cost of a bit of security.

Multiple stations should be possible in each system, one per planet. This may well result in the proliferation of stations but who cares.

In the post sov world renting becomes pointless. Aside from the activity issue involving the economic development indexes, you can't "own" space in the same way. You can build your own station if you lack docking rights at another station. And even major blocks don't have the power to station every single system in their current renting empires. Indeed it would provide little value for them aside from keeping others from possessing stations. You don't have any restrictions on lucrative activities like PI or building supercaps, which previously were restricted to Sov holders.

Furthermore the old sov influence maps become pointless. You can't claim to own a system where a dozen unaffiliated corps have higher activity scores than you. Map painting becomes effective impossible.

Massive blocs have little incentive to fight hard over space where they can't derive any value, not even rent. In my new world the logi changes, details in the air, that pccascendance proposed are in effect. Hotdropping and supercap deployments become a little less safe. Slowcats are no longer effective. You no longer have tons of timers to form up your massive army while small corps and alliances have to scuttle away in shame.

Which brings me to my next change. No more timers. At all. Outposts and POSes function simply on supplies. You need to haul in a large amount of "fuel" to power the shields, possibly strontium which no longer has a purpose without reinforcement. Strontium powered shields possess 90% resists and 10x the health. Sadly, yes, you still have to deal with high structure HP. Outposts function in a similar manner except instead of being destroyed they change ownership. Strontium powered shields do not take reps. They recharge over timer, consuming stront at a constant passive rate. You cannot rep shields up to retrigger reinforcement, flip timers to your strong TZ or any of that. Outposts are simply much larger POSes as far as defenses are concerned. Because the shields cannot be insta recharged by reps that aren't affected by resistances, you can beat down on an outpost, leave when you need to log off, and then come back to finish the job. Much like a medieval siege, as long as the attackers continue to exert pressure, the defenses slowly collapse.

Further you cannot enter a stronted outpost. If an outpost or starbase has enough damage on it to count as besieged, its offlimits. Assets in a station will be secure regardless of ownership.

Shields hit 20% on conquest. So you need to keep the enemy off the outpost or starbase to get back to 100%.

I know this seems like a grind. And it is. It should be. What do you suppose stopped mass conquests IRL? Evicted owners can try to apply tons of pressure to a system and its structures to make it not worthwhile to stay.

Oh do you have a 40000 man coalition? Not enough to own half of null anymore. What use is teleporting around in supercaps if you can't conveniently space out battles using timers? Multiple front wars just became much harder. Now we don't need to limit supercap mobility as much as might otherwise be the case.

Fighting has more of a purpose now. You expand to a system because you need that space for something. You need to require that space enough to fight a concerted battle for it. This is on top of the fact that indexes drop during prolonged periods of conflict, especially if assets in a system frequently change hands.

That's all for now. More specific detailed posts may appear later. Note that I am aware I didn't cover every tiny little detail in my plan. Try to stick to major holes when you whine about how my ideas are stupid. Try not to worry about the WHY of fighting. I have plan for developing drivers of conflict.