"Balance is boring."CCP Soundwave, as reported by Seismic Stan of Freebooted, who attended EVE Vegas over the weekend.
I only live four hours from Vegas, and this quote now kind of makes me wish I'd attended. ;-) Put into context, here's the full two tweets as reported by Stan:
@ktouborg "Balance is boring. How to create imbalance without breaking things?" #evevegasEcliptic Rift was good enough to provide the full context in his post regarding EVE Vegas (and I think I'm gonna go ahead and add Ecliptic to my list of featured blogs, because I'm finding him to be increasingly awesome ;-) ). I'm not going to quote the whole thing, because it's rather long, but here's the money quote:
@ktouborg "Give players access to the same imbalanced items. Make the imbalance slight or perceived. Rotate imbalance." #evevegas
Chasing the "next big thing" provides an incredibly powerful goal-setting mechanism; if all ships were the same, we’d be bored to death.Put in another context: "That's not a bug, that's a feature!" ;-)
It's tempting to see this kind of game design as just a little bit lazy. Yes, CCP recognizes that some ships are imbalanced, but yeah, they meant to do that. ;-) I get that balance is hard, but I disagree that it's boring. It's more boring to me if there are obvious optimal and sub-optimal paths to game-play. I want everything to be so equally awesome that it's damned hard to choose which way to go, but you're not punished for going this way rather than that.
It's gotten to the point in EVE where there are obvious ship-to-ship and fleet-to-fleet match-ups that are so well understood that the chances of victory can be calculated before the fight even begins. Which EVE battle video would you rather watch: a set-piece AHAC versus Alpha fleet battle, or Rooks and Kings doing something unpredictable and goofy?
I thought so. Me too.
Ships from different races don't all have to be the same. They should all be different... but equally awesome in their own ways.
Two other words Soundwave used -- "rotate imbalance" -- also annoy me.
When I first got serious about living full-time in null-sec, my selection of available ships was kind of limited. I could fly inties and AFs and EAFs from three races, and Gallente/Caldari cruisers and battle-cruisers. I couldn't fly any T2 cruisers yet, nor battleships, nor anything Minmatar heavier than a Wolf. My armor-tanking skills were also not all that good; I did a lot of relying on ANPs and active hardeners. Thereafter began my most frustrating year in EVE Online.
Ship tactics were changing remarkably fast, and every time I got trained up for a popular ship type, that ship type went out of fashion and everyone was called upon to get into some other type of ship. For a while, it was sniping shield HACs, so I trained into an Eagle. Then those were regarded as too fragile and sniping battle-cruisers became the norm, so I trained a 14 inch penis (aka Ferox). That led to the first serious use of full Drake gangs (which happily, I could fly already). But then those became boring and it was preferred to have as many Canes along in these fleets as possible. Then Drake/Cane gangs started getting their asses kicked by AHACs, particularly sniper AHACs, so I trained a Muninn. Then the ABHAC Zealot came to the forefront of this type of fleet, but they wanted Recon support, so I spent months getting into Rapiers and Arazus.
It never seemed to stop, and I always seemed to be a couple of months behind the trend, and unable to fly what was actually called for. I could fly the last "big thing" but not the current one, much less the next one.
Of course, these days, Ripard has about 60M SP and can fly just about any sub-cap, so my worries on this score are now pretty much over. I'm nearly nerf-proof.
But it's kind of a cynical way to design a game, and sure puts a strain on lower SP players! What it definitely does not do is reduce the learning cliff. "Rotate imbalance" just makes the learning cliff taller... and fits it with shale walls lined with poison spikes that pop out randomly to kill the unwary.
Happy Monday, everyone. ;-)