Posts tagged EVE Online
This week on MMO Reporter Chris, Bill and Harry talk about an article on Gamer.nl about SW:TOR, announcement from Blizzcon about giant Pandas, CCP’s layoff and more!
With Bill away this week, I asked Rich Fisher, host of Horde for Life, to join me to discuss the continued EVE uproar, booming times for Global Agenda, the new Firefall dev diary, the 2nd TOR Bounty Hunter progression video, and the quote that TOR will have “200 hours of gameplay per class.”
We’ve mentioned the uproar and scathing feedback that EVE Online players have been sending CCP’s way on the last several podcasts. It’s a continuing issue that seems to be pretty slow to wind down, and I took part in a recent teleconference with CCP on behalf on PC Gamer and I wanted to share with you the final result.
Enjoy the article, and I’ll see you in-game!
This week, Bill and I discuss the astounding trend towards free-to-play, featuring WoW, the continuation of the EVE fiasco, Star Wars Galaxies coming to an end, Guild Wars 2 fan day, and the review of the Steelseries World of Warcraft mouse.
Last week was a big one in EVE Online. Let’s see if we can sum it up and provide some commentary, shall we?
WARNING: this article – like all of my EVE articles – is going to look at the situation by comparing EVE to all other MMOs (and CCP to other companies). This method yeilds different conclusions than if you look at EVE all by itself, floating in a vacuum, like the frozen corpse of your enemy.
First up came the release of Incarna. A massive undertaking, this update to the game involved – essentially – building an entirely new MMO engine and inserting it inside an existing MMO, like some kind of digital turducken designed to lure hungry new players off the street. The main features of this release (both good and bad) include:
- The Captain’s Quarters: a new environment that loads when you dock in station, allowing you to walk around your cabin, go out to a balcony/catwalk to examine and fit your ship, watch some local news, and generally interact with the game in a way that’s a little bit more like your character lives in New Eden and a little bit less like clicking a series of menubar options from Microsoft Office 2007.
- Hair lag: Although EVE introduced new character customization with last year’s Incursion (which updated the art to the point where your pilots started to look more like people and less like drawings of the characters from your eighth-grade DnD campaign), Incarna marks the first time that said character is actually walking around and – you know – doing stuff; this in turn meant that the players’ machines had to cope with rendering every single one of the hairs on the character’s head, every second. For some players, this resulted in significant lag while in-station, an increased heat load on their video cards, and some other issues. Even those players who had no issues with a single instance of the game running (like myself), experienced performance issues with multiple EVE accounts running at the same time (only one miner-alt in station at the same time, please). This development has resulted in a marked uptick of bald characters in New Eden.
- If you Don’t like the CQ, here’s the Door. Literally: An extremely vocal minority of the EVE playerbase had no interest in the CQ, and wanted a way to ignore it when docked. CCP, never known for its command of the finer points of diplomacy, gave them that option — if you opt to shut off the CQ environment, you are instead shown a screenshot of the door of your captain’s cabin. In closeup. Now, this response — a snark-shot from the CCP developers (who have worked on the CQ for [*mumble*] years) across the bow of the bittervets who were rejecting all their hard work — is… understandable.It’s a terribly undiplomatic joke between vet developers aimed at vet players, and should have never made it off the test server, but it’s understandable. However, for the player’s who are legitimately suffering from significant performance issues, who need to shut off the CQ simply to play the game, it came as an unwelcome insult added to the injury.
- The NEx Store: basically a vanity-item store in which players use a new form of currency (made available for purchase directly from the website for cash, or in-game with ISK via a suitably EVE-like series of convuluted steps). More on this later.
- New guns!: Unheralded and unlooked for, the EVE art department reworked the appearance, sound, and in-combat vizualization for every non-missile-launcher weapon in the game, as well as mining lasers and several other non-combat modules. On the whole, a sterling implementation that injected a lot of life back into combat.
EVE Online is a game with which many new players struggle. First, the game itself is complex — a depth of content and function that intimidates players — and honestly the developers (and the resident players) seem to pride themselves on that fact.
But funny images to the contrary, the learning curve isn’t that bad. It’s not insurmountable. The tutorials in the game are solid, and most activities are, once you understand them, pretty straightforward. (It’s the complications that EVE’s meta-game brings to the table that make things as rich and robust as they are.)
For example, combat in EVE can be brutal, but it is not a twitch-gamers domain — if you find yourself thinking “that happened so fast I couldn’t even do anything before my ship was gone”, chances are pretty good you missed (several) warning signs, and chose to ignore them. To be honest, the actual combat sequence is almost simplistic: target enemy, orbit them at an appropriate distance, turn on guns, watch guns fire, profit — even the most simplistic kiting technique in your fantasy MMO of choice requires more complicated keyboard gymnastics. Veterans have found dozens of nuances to this that raise their game to another level, but I can tell you from personal experience that the basic breakdown I listed above will get you through almost any PvE encounter in the game.
So: EVE has a pretty rough learning curve, but not an insurmountable one (at least, not anymore).
And yet player retention amongst new players remains low, compared to any other similarly-popular MMO.
I find myself asking why. More >
Wyl glanced over his shoulder at his corpmate, who sat across the room, flipping through screen after screen of Sinq Laison public market reports. “Troubles?”
“I’d rather be shot at,” muttered Ty. He tapped one screen closed and pulled up local private contracts available for the same products, but judging from his reaction, Wyl guessed the results weren’t any better. “At least with pirates, you know what’s going on: you want to kill them, they want to kill you. Simple. With this…” He flipped the screen to the side and spun in his chair, watching the ceiling. “I can’t tell if the prices on some of these modules are that high because people are stupid, or greedy, or if there’s actually a good reason.”
I’ll confess that, as a new and fairly enthusiastic player of EVE Online, I don’t spend a lot of time on the forum — this is simply because I do like the game, and I’ve found that the easiest way to start hating an(y) MMO you like is to visit their official forums. The experience ranges from “OMG MY EYES” to “Now I need to take a shower” to “Show me on the doll where it touched you”; no exceptions to this rule come to mind.
The release of EVE’s new forums, timed to coincide with the release of Incursion 1.4.1, might (might, I say) get me to change my mind… or at least check it out.
The new forums are now fully integrated into EVE Gate (which (unlike a forum) is a very cool website that lets you send and receive in-game mail from the site on behalf of your characters, as well as chat with corpmates and contacts in a format similar to twitter or facebook). Continuing that social networking emulation-trend, the new forums have added the ability to “Like” posts, add threads to personal favorites lists, and create RSS feeds for threads or even search criteria you’re interested in keeping tabs on.
Interestingly, CCP chose not to move the old forum’s posts to the new location. (The old forum “will be ejected into space where it will remain frozen in time and fully viewable, but in a read-only state”.) Maybe there were technical problems with a move, or maybe they figured it would be a good time to clean out the stables — who can say?
One thing’s certain — you can clean the stables all you want, but they’re always going to smell like that, CCP. Sorry.
But maybe I’m being pessimistic; are there any MMO forums you can name that don’t make you want to kick puppies and deny your membership in the human race? DO TELL.