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...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Quote of the Week: Fairness

Warning: bitter-vet posting ahead.

When you get right down to it, there are only three types of science fiction genres.  They're best represented by three movie franchises that all got their starts in the late 70s, all classics in their genres.(1)  If you think about it, you'll probably agree that virtually all modern sci-fi follows one of these three genres:
  • Star Trek model.  Characters in Star Trek have control over their own destinies.  They are in complete control over the technology that they use.  While they can face dangerous situations, there's never any particular doubt about how events are going to play out.  The characters will eventually overcome all obstacles, and it will be through their own actions and control over the technology they have access to.  Other examples: most Marvel comic book movies.
  • Star Wars model.  Characters in Star Wars have the illusion of control over their own destinies and their technology.  Instead, the characters are driven along by plot, the technology services that plot, and the characters themselves are archetypes.  Things will get worse for these characters.  They will ultimately emerge victorious, but only after they're saved from disaster at the last moment by unexpected allies.  Other examples: the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, most DC comic book movies.
  • Alien model.  Characters in the Alien movies have no control over their situations or their technology.  Their situation starts bad and only gets worse, their actions are mostly irrelevant, and their technology will actively work against them.  While they will win short-term, temporary victories from time to time, the characters are ultimately doomed.  It's really only a question of how and when.  Other examples: most technological horror movies.
Guess which genre EVE Online follows.  I'll give you a hint: it ain't Star Trek or Star Wars.  ;-)

With that in mind, I present you with the Quote of the Week (edited slightly):
You're trying to add some measure of fairness into wars, which isn't really a design philosophy in EVE.  Why would I want to balance a fight?  That's never really been the goal in EVE and the war dec system wasn't built for that, either.
That's CCP Soundwave, responding to Jade Constantine's crusade against the war-dec system.  His whole post is amusing.  But really, this post isn't about that.

MMOs are still are relatively new thing in gaming, really only hitting in the last 15 years or so.  Parallel to that, there's been a lot of concern over the same time period about "balance" in game-play.  That one really hit the mass consciousness with the release of Starcraft, which was praised for having three different factions that played very differently and yet were still nicely balanced, one against the other.  Balance in game-play is about making all sides in a game fair for all of the players involved.

One of the ironies about being human is that when humans play games against each other, we expect those games to be fair.  We feel cheated if there isn't an equal chance of either side winning.  But in every other type of human conflict, we prefer a massive advantage for our own side.  Give a poker player four aces or a chess player five or six additional pieces, and humans will call that "cheating."  Give one side in a war or a financial negotiation a massive advantage and most of us will look on admiringly as their opponent is smited.

Soundwave just wanted to come by and remind us that "EVE is real" and is not a game, and therefore works the same way.  You won't have unexpected allies to come help you, and Heaven knows that the technology will be actively working against you, too.  You may win some short-term, temporary victories from time to time.

But ultimately, you're doomed.


(1) Yes, I know the history of Star Trek.  The movie franchise started in the 70s.

51 comments:

  1. Soundwave is at his best when he is trolling the Alliance Tournament forums and by that I mean his posting privileges should be revoked.

    He writes a post defending unfairness while simultaneously changing a game mechanic that was being unfairly exploited. The whole thing reeks of confusion and possibly gin. He wants to defend the proposed changes but he feels no need to explain what the proposed changes are supposed to accomplish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Um, he posted exactly what it's supposed to accomplish. Make Mercenaries, and only Mercs, work. That is the point of the Merc Marketplace, that's why it's called the Merc Marketplace. A place you go to PAY people money to pew for you.

      Delete
    2. So the whole frigging War decc change was only for mercs and only mercs? Give me a break. Thats about as short sided as creating a FW mechanic that's so unbalanced at the beginning that one side has already won... OOOppps

      Delete
    3. Mercs don't work because the costs are prohibitive. CCP has created a minimum wage that prices most people out of the market. It also discourages cooperation among smaller corps because creating multi-lateral defensive pacts serves no purpose. They would have done better keeping the old system and instead charging every allied corp 20M and giving that money to NOIR.

      Delete
  2. Not that it hasn't Ren said before, but it is sometimes ridiculously funny to take a step back and realize just how much ccp likes trolling their player base, I sincerely think that they have thur own tear drawer accumulated over all these years :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Seriously everything in life has balance. yes that one country may have the advantage now but they get complacent and 25-200 years down the line the lose it. I am sorry Soundwave. I ain't waiting that long for shit to turn around in Eve. "YOU NEED TO BALANCE EVERYTHING" or you will be without players. That line is just so much BS it's not even funny. Why make changes to any of the ships in the game to bring them in balance with the others if your.

    And just to defend Jade where everyone is saying that he lost the social component of the game and should not have pissed off a big alliance. the same can be said about the big alliance they have to watch who they piss off or everyone with join the perma wardec for all the slights they are giving people.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Gotta luv it. War is unfair that is why CCP Soundwave's DEVs changed the war decc rules in a way T20 would have been proud: What its unfair agaisnt my big Alliance I better make it unfair the other way around!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Personaly I think on the heels of the Ally nerf the new Forums rumor/rant account bans are a quick reaction to the fear of the possibility of a new T20/Incarna event started leaking.

      Delete
  5. on recent allegations
    reported by CCP t20 | 2007.02.09 15:50:42 | Comments
    As you might have read and heard, there were recently some allegations posted regarding developer misconduct that basically come down to:
    •Developers helping (an) alliance(s) gain information they otherwise would not have.
    •Developers having an unfair advantage of game mechanics.
    •Developers helping themselves acquire goods in-game by means of in-house tools, otherwise not available to regular players.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can tell you exactly what it's designed to accomplish, but Soundwave can't tell you, because he's a hypocrite.

    CCP created a mechanic that allowed all the "little people" of Eve to stand up the most hated and disgusted group of people in Eve, someone noticed this and rallied those people behind a cause (Essentially beating the bully at this own game). However, he was a tad too effective, as it wouldn't enforce CCP's idiotic notions of 'nudging' people into nullsec, nor would it perpetually ensure the prevalence and power of Nullsec powerblocks. Therefore, this mechanic which allows the little people to fight back cannot be tolerated, they had to change it to ensure the survival of the status quo.

    And thus it is evidently clear to anyone who doesn't have something to loose or blinded with power, that this is just another example of CCP creating a mechanic which could take power away from a nullsec alliance, but then pulling out the nerfbat and killing the potential. Not to mention that fact that it reaks off insider dealings as well.

    Soundwave should be fired.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that does warm the cockles of my heart, Royalkin...except...well, to be honest i was shocked the aggressor didn't have a choice about this 'mutual war' going on forever. It sounded a bit ill-thought out.

      i think the deeper irony is for all CCP's vaunted "this is not what we intended our game to be played" i personally have always believed MMOG game developers have no idea how they ever wanted the game to be played even from the beginning.

      Delete
    2. The aggressor had the option of surrendering.

      Delete
  7. You said "one side in a war" when you meant to write "our side of the war", surely? I won't be "admiring" the USA smiting Australia when push comes to shove.

    The issue at stake here is the the new wardec system enhances the wardecs-as-greifing-tool issues of the old wardec system.

    The loser in this case will be CCP, in the long term. Who wants to play a game where you can't undock without getting blown up by a swarm of people with nothing better to do but watch the world burn?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The difference here is that if you're an Australian who doesn't like how things are turning out, you can immediately become an American instead.

      Delete
  8. The difference is the persistence of loss. When you risk nothing as in a game to make the win meaningful you imagine a fair playing field where you were the deciding factor but when you face a loss of something tangible its more important to avoid the loss than to validate the win.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Like this, subtle Jester.

    Soundwave continually comes off as a geek who cant plan anything beyond his next apparent knee jerk reaction to those that kiss his butt and make up for those years of being the butt of jokes in high school. Should hire someone at ccp to coach him in leadership. God i would hate working under him.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I prefer to think of #3 as simply: you get what you deserve and deserve what you're willing to claw tooth and nail for. Might makes right in such a universe as it is in real life. People can hurf blurf all they want but it doesn't change the fact that CCP owns the Eve Universe and the players are merely...visitors.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Actually, given Prometheus, the Alien allegory makes even moar sense now. So when things go awry from whatever plan you have, concoct an overly-complicated and obtuse plan that has a decent probability of backfiring, and almost certainly will fail. Add in a bunch of shit that doesn't really make sense and you've got a box office smash!!! Right??? right???
    Well, you've got some sorta smashing going on anyways...

    ReplyDelete
  12. The pedantic side of me wants to point out that your list of science fiction is not entirely exhaustive, EVE is not necessarily a Horror. Although fair use in making your point.

    Also.

    The concept of fairness in EVE is ridiculous, as you have pointed out, by the time of fight starts the end is a foregone conclusion already. The concept of fairness needs to be adapted to the type of game that EVE is, the game should be fair in that, all things being equal, to players have equal opportunity to succeed based on their own decisions.

    See but now some people don't like that effort and intelligence can be an advantage in a game....

    ReplyDelete
  13. An unbalanced game mechanic means victory condition by default. "Fairness" might not be CCPs motto, but I doubt they intend to let someone 'win'.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I honestly think CCP doesn't want clear winners and losers in war, they don't want surrenders, they want conflicts.

    Honestly, how many war's are actually terminated? I would be interested in the statistics because every war I've ever been in just goes until the renewal period. I don't think I've ever seen a defender surrender (except the odd incursion corp), anyone who is contemplating it is immediately put off by the consequences of being known as a soft target, and I certainly haven't seen a surrender from the attacker, if it isn't going their way they just don't pay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If what CCP wants is conflict and not surrender, the way they're going about it is ironic in the extreme. But I'll have more to say about that today or tomorrow.

      Delete
  15. To CCP SoundWaffe

    Balance is god !
    A balance disorder is a disturbance that causes an individual to feel unsteady, for example when standing or walking. It may be accompanied by feelings of giddiness or wooziness, or having a sensation of movement, spinning, or floating = not good when flying spaceships !
    Without balance we'd all fall. physically, mentally, and emotionally. So it doesnt necessarily have to be fair, but surely balanced :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. There is one question left: why the popularity and the cult status of the movies is the direct opposite of niceness of them (Alien > SW > ST)?

    Because being one of the guys in total control isn't interesting. Being the one with no control, no real hope, no example of anyone succeeding ever in that situation AND succeeding is the definition of "epic".

    We all play EVE in the hope to finally be the one who can yell "Get away from her you bitch"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hm. And how did that turn out for the "her" in question? Do you happen to recall?

      Delete
    2. She had an alien larvae burrow its way out of her chest while she was sleeping. In fact, everything in the sentence Gevlon posted died a horrible death.

      Delete
    3. To paraphrase Dillon from Alien3: "We're all going to die. The only question is how you check out. Do you want it on your feet? Or on your knee's? Begging?! I ain't much for begging. Nobody ever have me nothing. So I say fuck that thing! Let's fight it!"

      There's a truth to the Jokers statement in Dark Knight about how you only really see who a person really is right before they (believe they are going to) die.

      I mean, what inspiration can you draw from someone that dies (ragequits) crying like a baby versus someone that fights back (sticks with the game, win or lose) to the end?

      Delete
    4. Everybody dies. In a hundred years we'll all be equally rotting corpses.

      But some will be remembered. Others are not.

      Delete
  17. I suppose the next shitstorm over the concept of "fairness" is going to be over E-UNI's little field trip into Molden Heath (Specifically Hield) featuring everyones lovable next door pirates, the Black Rebel Rifter Club and friends.

    No one blind jumps a T1 industrial around in lowsec, inevitably runs into a gate camp or someone willing to take gate gun aggression to open fire, and then make a reasonable argument that "it's unfair!". At the very least some laughs would be had at the crybabys expense, admonished to HTFU and "quit making dumb decisions", be given some good decision options (ie, MWD/Cloak, T2 Hauler, etc), and everyone would move on with their happy (or not so happy) lives.

    By chaos undivided, sometimes I just want my give-a-fuck-o-meter to hit zero on idiots that CBA'd to fucking think for themselves and adapt or GTFO of the sandbox.

    ReplyDelete
  18. So now what?
    Will all this "noise" change anything or things will stay the same?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I rather doubt it.

      Ho-huzzah, for the nullsec fuck-bag status quo! [/sarcasm]

      Delete
  19. There has to be considerable confusion regarding what "fairness" really is, what kind of fairness is expected from a game and what kind isn't, and I'd say it's quite probable that CCP Soundwave didn't mean to say what most people ended up understanding it as.

    Well, too late. :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Solid analogy Jester! I really enjoy EVE becuase of the totaly brutality and merciless nature of the game and the people who play it. EVE is fun becuase you're either the mouse or the cheese. Sometimes you can be both at once depending on what other mice are watching. Thats the appeal, the drug, what keeps me coming back.

    ReplyDelete
  21. "When you get right down to it, there are only three types of science fiction genres. They're best represented by three movie franchises that all got their starts in the late 70s"

    NO. Just No.

    First off .... Star Trek is not late 70s. It's mid 60s.

    Second ... Sci-Fi has multiple routes, you only mentioned 2. Space and Aliens. You forgot Post-Apocolyptic (which is the most popular it seems), time travel, alternate history (modern Steam Punk is that), Paranormal, and for Space there are multiple aternatives one of which that ST and SW don't cover is the Space Western. Cowboy Beebops, Pitch Black and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. And really in terms of Grandfathers for Sci-Space genre, Dune is really king. All are space genres very close to relation to EVE. Picking out the crappy most simplistic chilren's space stories to compare on EVE is like taking Winnie the Pooh and Mikey Mouse up against the Writings and Teachings of the Tao.

    Rest I agree with and I even see your point. However, you are not forgiven on the use of defining absolutes about a broad subject topic for the sake of symbolizing a point for the arguement at hand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The "Tao of Pooh" is one of the best books I have ever read.

      Delete
    2. Many of the counter examples you quote are science fantasy, not science fiction. I enjoy both myself, but the difference is science fiction tries to keep the science at least somewhat realistic. Science fantasy has its own genres and tropes.

      Pitch Black, though, clearly follows the Alien model. Most space westerns -- notably Firefly -- follow the Star Trek model, probably because Star Trek was really just modeled on westerns itself.

      Delete
    3. @Anon - While The Tao of Pooh was a very popular book and had some pretty amazing comparisons for relating the different teachings between Tao (Laozi), Buddha and Confucius in a great plot between Pooh, Owl and Rabbit, the overall problem is that Pooh in the book really just becomes a symbol for Pooh, and not really Tao. Reading Pooh and then Tao you draw the same conclusion everyother passage, "pooh's not taoist, he's just retarded."

      Simple proof in the anti-pooh tao is Tao is really the exercise of three importances in wu-wei (non-action): Compassion, Humility and Moderation.

      Simply the Tao of Pooh ignores many aspects of Tao for his conclusion. Simply because Pooh only really defines the inaction and simplistic wisdom. in all respects he's driven by Hunger for Honey and generally puts himself and others in danger.

      The proper conclusion, Pooh is more a fat retard than he is a Taoist. Close, just subtle differences.

      @Jester

      I'm lost on Science Fantasy arguement. That's a very specific genre and I'm not sure one that I listed counted. I would put Comic Books and WAR 40K in there at best. But at least I'm in your head as to why.

      Ps. I now see the qoutation about the ST in the 60s.

      Delete
    4. Uh oh... you just indicated that you view the distinction between science fantasy and science fiction as meaningful, and that you think Star Wars is in the latter category.

      Nerd war begins!

      As for why Jester picked out the three he picked out: most people in our culture are going to be familiar with them, more so than Dune. They may not be the roots, they may not be the best examples, but they're the most popularly known examples of the tropes he was talking about.

      I mean, hell, can you really talk about the roots of boldly going and exploring strange new worlds without talking about the Odyssey? And that assuredly wasn't in the 70's. At least, not of the 20th century.

      Delete
    5. Star Wars is science fantasy. Dune was far more science fiction than star Wars ever was.

      Science fiction has always been about what it means to be human. Examine the best science fiction, through TV, film, novels, or short stories. It is always the under lying theme that theme runs through good science fiction.

      Star Wars ? Not so much.

      Delete
    6. Star Wars is pure "space fantasy", not "science anything". There is no science in Star Wars, even George Lucas admitted this, in the early days when Star Wars was originally released (and before his ego expanded and he began retconning himself as Emperor Palpatine).

      But, Jester, we do get your point, anyways.... :)

      Delete
  22. After reading this, the only question I was left with was what your personal views are on fairness in eve. Which do you, Jester, think eve should be? A true dog-eat-dog sandbox, or a more balanced game?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Leaving aside the difference between "fairness" and "balance" for a game mechanic (If war is not fair, then why rebalance the other T1 frigs to match the rifter then? or any ship for that matter?) The new "war is not fair" argument has become the new "sandbox" one, a phrase used to justify any arbitrary position.

    Regardless of where you come down on the new war dec changes though, it's a bit hilarious/sad/funny/conspiratorial/insulting/trolling for Soundwave to come out and justify a change being made because it was considered "not fair" to someone, by saying Eve is not fair.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't balance things to be 'fair' in a game where anyone can fly any ship, to balance them to promote diversity of play style. If one ship is the only reasonable one to fly, that's sort of boring.

      Delete
  24. uhm, Jester, this blog entry is not a bittervet view, is a mockery of a plain silly argument.

    War is not fair, no need to discuss it.

    But should it be fair for the aggressor? in this case the whole goons-jade drama is because the mechanic was used to make war unfair to goons...

    Now, if wardecs are effectively pay-to-grief tools, why such tool is not available in the same conditions to the victim of the war as it was to the aggressor?

    Simple, it is not about fairness, it is not about balancing, it is about giving players the tool to grief each other and therefore one side should always have to be the farmed otherwise it does not make sense, mutual wars are just two groups who decided to keep going until they are bored, the griefing go as much as both parties can stand it. Can it be called a regular war-dec? or just a freepass to fight?

    What you avoid commenting in any of these articles about the wardec mechanics is the way real life people react when a bully repeteadly comes your way to hit you in the face.

    Most eve players would argue that the victim must grow a spine and learn how to fight back, if you take that into real life it means if a bully comes your way and kicks you, you need to kick back in the same way, IT DOESNT WORK THAT WAY, people outthink and outmaneuver others either to gain advantage or to better do what they are CAPABLE of doing, fighting on the same terms as the bully is not the smart thing to do.

    Goonswarm wanted to wardec several people in high-sec in a way that for those targeted, it was impractical to fight back in the same terms, and would surely mean loosing ships. Someone attempts to outsmart goons and what happens? yeah ....

    keep saying that CCP is the one fixing things...

    ReplyDelete
  25. "MMOs are still are relatively new thing in gaming, really only hitting in the last 15 years or so."
    ------------------------------------
    Admittedly, I sometimes get distracted by things that most people would just skim past; the above is one of those things -- 15 years seems ANYTHING but new. But I digress from the purpose of the post........

    The larger point is very well-taken. Just look at the sheer amount of effort expended trying to "balance" (term used loosely) WoW, usually caused by the tears of the class(es) who weren't the "Flavor of the Month" in lolPvP (read: arenas), which then fucked up the balance in PvE aspects of the game. Meanwhile, the larger game as a whole suffered and was left as a hand-holding theme park that is a shadow of the original rendering.

    EVE cannot afford to waste that much time and energy. The universe is what it is - adapt or die.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I should have made that clearer. I was looking at balance in the context of the history of gaming (and human conflict, for that matter). This is why I mentioned chess, for instance.

      In that time scope, 15 years is nothing.

      Delete
  26. Also, too often (again using WoW as the comparison) "balance" becomes "homogenization". Homogenized is boring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. You can have everyone fly rifters, or you can everyone fly ships that are identical to rifters. Neither of those situations are ideal, imo.

      Delete
  27. Eve is not real. Fluidic space is not real. Not here at least. Warping at 1400 to 1500 times the speed of light is not real. Targeting and shooting through sold objects is not real. EVE is a game. To keep the game funded there needs to be balance. And the players need a level of confidence that fairness and balance are a vital part of the game. So while war is a vital part of the game there is no reason war should closely follow human reality.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Soundwave only seems to be inconsistent. He fully supported the unlimited ally system, before it was released, knowing exactly what might happen. Now, he does not. But, don't assume this has anything to do with incompetence or stupidity on Soundwave's part.

    The real reason is pretty obvious, at least to anyone in the business. Soundwave has made friends with certain players and solicits their input on game issues. They complained. He made changes to the game mechanics based on their feedback. Simple, enough.

    Since every other game designer does exactly the same thing, it is difficult to single him out for fault. Most design decisions are going to end up biasing things one way or the other, or give the appearance of doing so. So, the game designer might as well base his/her decision on the advice, suggestions, and/or preferences of his/her friends, who play the game, rather than the ranting or raving of unknown players in a forum.

    And, only a fool would think that any game designer could or should be "neutral" or "unbiased", in any case. Grow up, people. Eve might not be real, but these sorts of game design decisions certainly are.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Here's some serious fairness for you: seems a few Goons figured out how to manipulate some items FW LP values used in the new FW ship destruction mechanic. They used a portion of the LP to drop into FW systems to make Minnies reach tier 5 and have cashed in the LP to what looks to be 5 trillion ISK. CCP really bit off more then the DEV's & EVE could chew with Escalation & Inferno:
    https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=124145
    Glad I wan't invested in +5 learning implants or Minnie FW items items they have taken a REAL dive in Jita

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.