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.
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Friday, September 30, 2011

Incompatible beliefs: CQs

It's time for me -- once again -- to support two incompatible positions simultaneously.

And just to show that I'm really pro at this skill, I'm going to do it twice in less than 24 hours.  ;-)  Watch for the other instance of this later today or tomorrow.

In a day seemingly full of EVE devblogs, Torfi put out one of them showing off the three new racial CQs.  This isn't new work: the CSM was shown the designs all the way back in late June, and based on their descriptions (Trebor said he liked the Gallente one, Mittens expressed a preference for the Caldari one), we can surmise that the designs haven't changed all that much since then.

First and before I say anything else, all four CQs are overly dark.  The current Minmatar one is barely lit at all (apparently this is going to be improved somewhat when the others are released), but even the Gallente one would have Captain Picard saying "Computer, increase light levels by 50%."  Torfi jokes that repeated viewings of Blade Runner are required for a job in the CCP art department... except that that doesn't appear to be a joke from where I'm sitting.  ;-)  In the pictures for the Caldari and Amarr CQs, unfocus your eyes and you can't make out where the pilot is standing in those rooms.  Dark clothes in dark CQs in a dark universe, blah blah blah.

Yeah, got the message, CCP, thanks.

So, the new CQs are very pretty, but dark.  I like all three of the new ones in their own ways.  I'm not sure which is my favorite, but I already know which one is my least favorite: the Minmatar one.  Moving on...

Remember, the CQs (and Incarna in general) are about two things: immersion, and increased identification with your character.

Here comes the part where I believe two incompatible things simultaneously.  ;-)

I immediately asked CCP Fallout the question: "Will we be able to select one of the CQs as our home CQ, or will we be forced into a CQ based on the race of the station?"  I was told that the latter is going to be the case: if you only ever dock in Minmatar stations, the Minmatar CQ will be the only one you ever see.  You'll only see the Gallente CQ if you dock in a Gallente-owned or -produced station.

I could argue that either option would increase, or decrease immersion and character identification.

The "the CQ matches the station" argument goes like this: as a capsuleer, you're not living in this room.  You're only renting it from the station owner.  The station has sixteen hundred CQs, and all of them look like this one.  You can't bring your own CQ along wherever you go because that breaks immersion.  Besides (LtColLaurentius provided this argument), it makes no sense for the Amarr to have Minmatar CQs or the Caldari to allow Gallente CQs within their stations.

I simultaneously believe this argument and reject it.  I believe it because it makes logical sense.

I reject it because the argument is silly.  If the Gallente aren't going to allow Caldari CQs, then why will they allow me to dock my Caldari Navy Scorpion with all Caldari Navy fittings, piloted by a Caldari?  Hell, not letting me feel like I'm at home is bad business, and the Gallente don't believe in bad business.  ;-)  When I travel to India, I assure you that I don't stay in an Indian-style hotel.  I seek out and stay in a westernized one.  To those that say that this is immersion-breaking, I would argue that the vast individual dock where your frigate slowly spins where you can watch it from the balcony already does that, as does the Obelisk that can pop out of the tiny, tiny, tiny Minmatar station undock.  Or is every station a Planck generator that's the size of a Titan on the outside, but the size of a Dyson sphere inside?  And if it is, why can't it have a few hundred of each CQ type?

On the point of character identification, I can also support both positions.  If you can carry around your own CQ model from station to station, that creates the distinct possibility that a future development of EVE might include character-created CQs, NeX-purchased "premium" CQs, or even sub-modules that can be used to decorate your CQ.  Which are you going to identify with more: the blank slate CQ that looks no different from those of the other thousand people docked in the station?  Or the one where you've graffiti-painted the walls and replaced the couch with bean-bags?  Put another way, when you unlocked your house in Fallout 3, did you leave it undecorated for the rest of the game?  I'll bet you didn't.  But that's what CCP is asking you to do.

On the other hand, it's also easier to identify with your character if the environment he or she lands in changes as you fly around the galaxy.  Back in the old ship-spinning days, it was very easy to identify with your character's location when you docked in an Amarr station, or a Minmatar station.  The environmental sounds of those stations made it clear where you were, and lent a real weight to the fact that your character had flown half-way across the galaxy to end up in a new place.  And enforced racial CQs bring that back now that the ship-spinning environment and its associated sounds have been expunged.

So yeah, I can believe two simultaneous incompatible things here with no trouble.  ;-)  Still, I favor the incompatible position to the left on this one.  CCP, let me choose where I live.

13 comments:

  1. The straightforward compromise is to allow you to buy your premium/preferred CQ for Aurum. There are a few different ways to implement this, but none that make any essential difference.

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  2. I like the idea of the quarters matching the faction of the station.... on the one hand it matches how the different parts of space "feel" different because the gates and stations are particular to that region- and on the other hand, because of how CQs have been delayed I have already experienced what having the same quarters no matter what station I dock at works. (although I can see that point of view and some of the interesting ideas that could come with it too)

    Maybe there could be an in between- make it so when travelling about the quarters match the station, but have it so that when you are in the station where your original clone is you can customize. (CCP has tons of ideas to sift through and implement when it comes to the interactive part of Incarna)

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  3. I think it would be satisfactory to be able to choose the style of CQ you wish to use while retaining the race style of station's owner past the balcony. So, for instance, I might want a Caldari style CQ but in an Amarr station so that when I look out from the balcony I see the golden cathedral-like setup of an Amarr station with the little shuttle thing zipping about on the ground and the somber Gregorian chanting in the background.

    As an aside, it only makes sense that station's would cater to the different tastes of their customers. It has actually already been established that this happens. In the short story "Catch of the Day" the Gallente trader Gaspar is on an Amarrian station but his room is decorated in Gallente styles. God, I'm such a nerd.

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  4. You could have a compromise where you have an individual racial CQ which you choose (and can be personalized) but when you walk into the station environment (someday?) it is the definite racial environment, so you can have both types of immersion.

    This of course assumes we'll be able to get out of the door :p

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  5. "So yeah, I can believe two simultaneous incompatible things here with no trouble."

    I'm with you on that point. Great analysis. I found them gorgeous, still a tad too dark but also rather improved over what we have now.

    About time CCP!

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  6. You also have an issue with stuff...
    CCP are obviously planning to sell decorations for your CQ, stripper poles and the like.
    Do these magically follow you round the galaxy, or do you need to buy one in every station you live in?

    If you think of the CQ as a personal holographic chamber it gets alot easier to deal with.

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  7. "The Door", whether green, yellow, silver or brown, is still a door.

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  8. One of my biggest complaints about EVE has always been how there is very little difference from one part of New Eden to another. Allowing players to just choose one default CQ is even more immersion breaking. Also, I believe that CCP has already stated that the current CQs are more of seedy airport hotel variety as opposed to the "I'm in a foreign country and want to pretend I'm still in my home country" style of accomadation. Once CQs are customizable and you can pay for bigger quarters, then it makes more sense to allow the truly wealthy capsuleers to change the scenery. Also, it should cost more to change your CQ to Amarr style in a Minmatar station.

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  9. I'd like the standard CQ's always to match the station faction.
    Want a custom CQ? No problem, you just go and buy the one of the race and Tier of your liking, deploy it in a station and whenever you dock there you get to use your customized CQ.
    So now you want to use your custom CQ in a different station? No problem either, you just "repackage" it, so it becomes a 1000m3 container. You then bring it to the desired station and deploy it there.
    And now you want to avoid all this hassle? Well, you will need to buy a lot of CQs.
    Seriously guys, if you are a businnesman that travels a lot you may very well like your home, but you don't get acommodations that look exatly like your home everywhere you go.

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  10. Has ship spinning ever been anything but matching to the racial look of the station exterior? There are many stations of various racial types in various systems to include enemy factions. If you do not like the look of the CQ you have only to weigh the malcontent with the inconvenience of moving. Heck its inconvenient for me that the Abaddon does not look like a Hyperion. Should I be able to change it to a gallente model on whim? Mind you I want to keep the convenient ship bonus of the Abaddon. EVE is all about being convenient. I am sure that's why bloodline looks and racial tattoo selections exist too.

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  11. I think it would be funny if when you set your clone station (the one you get sent to when you are podded) that it essentially becomes your house, so when you change it to a different station an animation plays where you see your character standing there next to a 'Movers R Us' Badger loading cardboard boxes of his things from one station to another.....now that would be immersion and crap

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  12. There is a good solution for this. Just have a matching area in each CQ type (trophy case, medals case, etc) that is populated depending on which "flags" are set in your character database.

    If (you have a standing of >X, or done a certain mission, etc)
    ->populate medal case with medal_type_344.

    This way the CQ would be station-specific, but you would still have unique items "carried" with you.

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  13. Seems to me the reasonable compromise would be your chosen CQ in each station but with spacedocks that change based on the race of the station, preferably showing your entire fleet of ships lined up from your CQ window/balcony

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