Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Captain's eighths

Here we go.  In about 12 hours from now as I write this, at long last, we're going to have our first look at Walking in Stations.

The key line in his forum post?
  • The look, feel, and general impressions on the Captain's Quarters as a replacement for the current hangar-view
Emphasis mine.

Oh sure.  CCP Tanis and the other members of the dev team will say that this is isn't "Walking in Stations."  It's just the first tiny bit.  It's one Captain's Quarters, on one station, on a test server, with no other environments completed or possibly even started.  The total distance you'll be able to walk might be a whole dozen steps.  But at the end of the day, there are only three numbers that are going to matter to the Captain's Quarters.  All three numbers measure time:
  • FOUR YEARS.  This is how long, in most estimates, CCP has been working on this.
  • THIRTY SECONDS.  This is the amount of time that it takes a mission runner to dock, complete an active mission, request a new one, accept it, change out hardeners, and undock in his mission ship while waiting out the first session timer.
  • SIXTY SECONDS.  This is the amount of time that it takes a PvPer to dock, wait out the first session timer, then drag a new ship to fly on top of the old ship, then click the undock button, then wait out the second session timer before appearing in space, ready to fight.
These are the only numbers that matter to the Captain's Quarters.  If these numbers have changed, how good the Captain's Quarters are won't matter.  If it takes missioners longer than 30 seconds to get undocked for their next mission, or God forbid, it takes PvPers on home defense longer than 60 seconds to reship after being killed, expect howls of rage on that forum thread that's going to make the 150 pages of rage over the sanctum nerf look tame.

Make no mistake: CCP is betting their company on those three numbers.

If you have to (::takes a deep breath::) undock, wait for the catwalk to load, walk down the catwalk, wait for a door to open, wait for the CQ environment to load, walk into the CQ, walk to a screen, bring up a user interface, select your mission agent or ship, wait through several more interfaces, click a Submit button, walk back across the room, wait for a door to open, wait for the catwalk environment to load, walk down the catwalk, and then look up at your ship to reboard?

Yeah.  If that happens, God help the Incarna team.  TeaDaze's ghost will appear and eviscerate them body and soul, and Tea isn't even dead.  ;-)

Out in New York, there's a new Broadway musical you've probably heard of: Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark.

Traditionally, musicals on Broadway have several preview showings before they officially open.  These preview performances are intended to work out the kinks in the production, let the actors get used to performing in front of audiences, let the director identify and correct gaps in the marks, and so forth.  These previews are held without critics weighing in on the production in public.  The New York press patiently waits for the preview period to end, and only when Opening Night comes do the reviews start to appear.

Spider-Man is going a bit differently.  ;-)  It was supposed to open in November 2010.  Preview performances began.  They were widely panned on the Internet.  Changes were made to the production, then more changes.  Opening Night was delayed, then delayed again.  Then delayed again.  Yet more preview performances were scheduled.  There have been more than 100 of these now.  Finally, the New York press gave up.  Scathing reviews began appearing.  It still hasn't officially opened.  It won't officially open until June.

The producers of the show were outraged when the press reviews began appearing.  "We're still in previews!" they cried.  "When are you going to get out of previews?" the press replied calmly and reasonably.  The public's opinion of the show was already hardening thanks to the instant gratification Internet era.  The mainstream Broadway press was in serious danger of being made completely irrelevant.  And with so many preview performances, critics and potential customers weren't prepared to give the show's producers any more slack.  To be frank, they weren't going to wait around for seven months.

This is the position that CCP now finds itself in.

And they don't get to say "we're still in previews!" because everyone knows CCP has been working on this thing for four years.

They've only got one chance to get it right, and if CCP hasn't kept an eye on those thirty seconds and those sixty seconds, then whatever they have been keeping an eye on for the last four years isn't going to matter.

More on this topic in a day or two, after I've tried it out, but I've got my fingers crossed.  ;-)  I really want this to succeed.  As I've said already, EVE needs it.


  1. LOL @ your comment about Teadaze's ghost. Hee hee. I'm quite curious to read how this all goes, but I've uninstalled EVE so won't be trying it myself.

  2. It seems like you're either intentionally trying to stir up controversy or you've managed to forget the fairly obvious fact that during the CQ demo video (notably absent from this post) the station service window and neocom are both intact.

    There are valid points to be made, specifically that the loading time for the CQ may be long enough to affect those 30 and 60 second windows. But that's lost in the fear-mongering about having to stroll over to a console window in order to switch hardeners.

  3. You forgot to mention that Turn Off the Dark has had numerous director/producer/people switches during its production. They're also doing the multiple previews to rake in more money, because the play cost a ton!

  4. @Tarminic: if the new Neocom or something like it is there, then all is well and I'll say as much in 24-36 hours.

    It's the *wording* of Tanis's post that's worrying.

  5. From the big picture perspective I agree with most of what u have to say. However...
    1) CCP has only been working on CQ since December/January
    2) The dev blog specifically states that what is appearing on the test server is not yet optimized
    3) I don't recall any Incarna delays as a result of a Dev falling from a cable suspended 30' above a stage :P

    My point is, if you expect CQ to run smoothly the first day it's on the server, then you deserve to be disappointed. There are plenty of players out there who want to be disappointed and possibly already have a first draft of their raging forum post prepared.

    On a side note, that Spiderman mess makes for good reading.

  6. Takes me far less than 30 seconds to dock, hand in mission, undock. That is even when I change hardeners. The session change timer only impacts changing ships.

  7. @Mode_x: I get what you're saying, but the important thing here is perception. And I don't expect things to be perfect on the first day, of course. This is non-optimized, alpha code. There will be bugs: swarms of them. But perception will also be an issue, and people will cut CCP some slack with this... but not an infinite amount. ;-)

    @Mara Rinn: You're waiting out a 30-second session timer whether you realize it or not. If you undock before it completes, that time gets added to your undock time.


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