This is the kind of statement, were I to make it, that would cause my blog comments and Twitter replies to turn into a river of flame. Kirith seems to have gotten off light. ;-)
Kirith came to this conclusion after trying out World of Tanks apparently after several weeks of resisting hearing corp- and alliance-mates talk about it. Indeed, my last few weeks in LAWN, it was common for the main LAWN TS channel to be dominated by WoT discussions and battles. At that time, there were seemingly more EVE players playing Tanks than EVE, right up to Mittens himself, who is apparently a big fan of the Russian tank tree. From his own play, Kirith came to dislike the idea of modding the client of an MMO PvP game, but to admire the "instant on" nature of PvP combat in WoT.
Those who have read my blog for a while may have been able to piece together my opinion of it, despite the fact that there are zero posts on this blog tagged "World of Tanks." In short, I tried WoT myself for a few weeks and came away from it rather ambivalent. While I also loved the instant-on PvP, and I love-love-love the friendly fire, line of sight, and cover systems even more, the pay-to-win aspects of WoT turned me off the game in a big way. The first rule of micro-transactions in PvP-based MMOs, so far as I'm concerned is: don't sell power. The second rule is: let me grind to every item in the game. If your MMO fails those two tests, I'm not going to play it, and that's that. WoT fails those tests.
These days, if I want an instant-on PvP fix, I go to Global Agenda to get it. GA currently passes the tests, though it flirts with the lines wherever it can.
Siesmic Stan at Freebooted brought up the topic of arena combat himself -- also in favor -- then invited other EVE blogs to do the same.
All the way back during my CSM run, I was asked what I thought about this topic. I responded that I was in favor of it, as a game-play mechanic for Incarna. When I wrote up a series of Incarna game-play ideas back in February, I wrote that Incarna should include:
"Flight simulator"/EVE "arcade game". Two pilots pay a bar bet of not less than one million ISK. Then they "sit" at consoles and battle each other on an Alliance Tourney-style EVE grid with pre-defined identically fit, identically player-skilled Rifters/Ruptures/Hurricanes. Winner takes the pot, minus a percentage for the house.I also said that others should be allowed to bet on the outcome. This was just a short note, that I'd like to expand on, in story-board form.
You enter an Establishment in Jita. You've been challenged to a 1v1 PvP fight. In the old days, this would have involved a trip to an agreed-upon low-sec system, or a can-flip outside the station, or riding down the acceleration gate of a L1 mission. But players figured out the exploits to take advantage of these things long ago, and 1v1 PvP is all but dead in EVE... except in the bars. Besides, you've been playing since 2007 and have 75 million skill points. Your opponent is less than a year old. He doesn't think you're as good as you say you are, and he's willing to put 100 million ISK on it. That's good enough money to draw you to Jita.
You drop from your pod, suit up in your default Incarna clothes -- the NeX isn't for you -- and pass through the Door into the Jita Main Bazaar. You grimace. It's as crowded as when you first visited, two years ago. Still... let's get this over with. You move down the Bazaar ignoring all of the player-built clothes and jewelry and ship skins and enter a small Establishment called Pounders. It's run by one of the new wave of NeX billionaires, who made his money selling red high-heels to the masses, but he's not a bad guy for all that. He pumped his billions into buying the BPOs for, and building, a series of Consoles.
The Consoles are the game grid of EVE... the virtual world layered on the virtual world. There's the SecWars Consoles, and the Chess Consoles, and the Living Chess Consoles, and the DUST 514 Infantry Combat Consoles. You pass them all by. In the back are the EVE Arena Combat Consoles. Each one is a masterpiece, costing over a billion ISK to build from materials gathered from all over New Eden. Pounders has six of them, all two-seaters. The four-seater version is six billion. Pounders hasn't put one in yet. Your opponent has already claimed the second one to the left. He's garishly dressed, but you ignore that. It's beneath you.
The terms of the combat are set: 100 million ISK buy-in from each of you, identical ships, identical stats, winner takes 90%, house takes 10%. He's specified Rifters in 15 million SP characters. You accept those terms and have a seat. Behind you, you can hear the side-bets being made, and there are lots of them. You accept a few of them yourself, betting on yourself, of course. Pounders will be taking 10% of all of that money too... it'll be a good night for the owner. Someone else says that they'll put in a 250 million ISK stake to fight the winner, same conditions as this fight. You let him know that if you win, you'll be happy to take him up on that... if he doubles the stakes. He agrees.
The Console activates, specifying your choices: standardized ships from Rifters to Sleipnirs to the newest wave of Tech3 battleships. You select a standardized 1v1 Rifter build. It's one of the few choices not greyed out... the standardized game grid character your opponent has specified only has 15 million SP, after all. You accept the ship as presented. Off in the Market, the parts to build it are purchased and transferred to the grid. It's automatically fit for you. The game specifies that you'll have ten minutes to destroy your opponent. A moment later, you're on the grid.
It's a standard Alliance Tournament circle. You warp in directly to the beacon. Off in the distance, you can see your opponent has done the same. You take a deep breath, and the count-down appears in Local...
Thirty minutes later, you leave Pounders, 530 million ISK richer after winning both fights. You made another 80 million from side bets, and another million or so selling the Rifter from the grid back to the Market. Not a bad hour's work! You leave a couple of chastened noobs behind, transfer to your pod, and drop back into your CovOps for the trip back to null...
I think it's a means to bring Arena combat to EVE that has a lot of merit. It creates skill-against-skill fights, brings "instant-on" PvP to EVE in a way that isn't game-breaking, and doesn't hurt the Market the way a lot of arena proposals I've seen do.
What do you think?