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, August 10, 2012

Comment of the Week: The big picture

Fluffy Hyena knocks it out of the park with this comment on my IQ test post from earlier today:
The problem is that CCP does not so much "design the game" as design bits of the games without thinking about the whole of the game (the points you've made throughout your post are proofs of that).

Reading the dev blogs or the CSM minutes, I always get the impression that nobody in CCP is taking a look at the whole game to say this is how it all fits together.

Yes CCP Unifex, I'm looking at you.
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  Well said, Fluffy Hyena!  That said, there are indications that CCP Unifex does think about the game in this regard.  If you haven't read this interview with him, you really should.  He probably just hasn't had a lot of time yet to implement much around the big picture.

More about that post in a few minutes.


  1. And that is why we are getting shit for the Christmas expansion because, at some level, CCP knows they have to deal with a complex system where one change anywhere can mess up the whole thing. They have messed up many times on that front. So they try to be careful. They try to compensate by slowing down. And yet the same things happen.

    They cannot seem to see the game as a whole. They have an economist on staff to watch the value of ISK, but some sort of senior analyst with a background in complex systems seems to be missing.

    1. They need an Ian Malcolm to interject some Chaos Theory in this sum'bitch. ;-)

  2. In another one of CCP Unifex's recent Interviews he was crowing about only employing 4 content designers: IMHO this is short sided. Incursions were extremely popular but were left on the shelf for way too long ( and honestly didn't need that much upkeep to occasionally tweak )
    I hope he doesn't let the same thing happen to FW as did with Incursions there (FYI a breathe of life seems to have happened with the Wall of OTAs being cracked :)...
    Plus an occasional live event would be interesting ( imagine when 1 side overwelmingly controls FW an Imperial fleet comes in to balance things for a bit)

    1. errrr...that's the interview jester linked. and it wasn't really 'crowing' as pointing out that EVE isn't "theme park" it's "sandbox"

      I would like to see more 'live events' in the calender when i open it up...when's the last time anyone saw one in their ingame calender?
      Thing is, i come from an age when CCP would routinely kill off any content the minute their was a popular player run content arcing off from their 'official' "chronicle" and gave everyone the impression CCP didn't like anyone messing around with their 'fluff'

      I don't get what "incursion" you're referencing...i assume you mean some live event that happened at the beginning of the incursion release?

  3. After re-reading this interview, I had a few thoughts warping through my mind:
    - CCP Unifex accepts that they can't force features on the playerbase, so it looks like last summer's fiasco won't happen again, that's good news;
    - improvements/new ideas should come from the people building the game, that's more good news;
    - but in that case why is he the one who picked the theme of the expansion (this article and the CSM minutes make it sound like he looked at Eve and came up with this idea, not that the devs brought that up, but maybe I've got it wrong?)
    - he does say "How do we think this [idea] is best going to fit into the company? " which gives me hope,
    - but he also says "Key to the bottom-up philosophy of developing EVE has also been the CSM, which is in constant contact with the development team." which made me giggle :) Because 2 months earlier (according to the CSM minutes), he didn't know where the CSM should fit in the Eve organisation and wasn't keen to allow free access to the devs. Maybe one of the CSM members could tell us if/how the situation has improved (if it's been aired already, please tell where I can read it).

    It's true he's only been the (full time) top man for Eve since February 2012, and that Eve is not an easy ship to steer :D

    And thanks for the CotW Jester :)

    1. "Key to the bottom-up philosophy of developing EVE has also been the CSM"

      This would be a good thing, if the CSM more properly reflected the player base as a whole. But, in fact, it only represents a few minority factions, particularly those who those who live in null sec and those who think PVP is everything. There is no one on the CSM who represents the mission runners, the miners, the solo players, the market traders, the inventors & manufacturers, the non-PVPers (ie. carebears), etc. who still make up the majority of the player base.

      The forums are also dominated by the minority groups, who constantly troll any issues or feedback raised by anyone outside of their particular interests. CCP does virtually nothing to prevent trolling, so many players just stop posting and stop reading the forums.

      So, is it really any surprise that players subs are still going down, when Unifex and Co. are catering to a minority and ignoring the majority?

      Since the changes to the exhumers was released, at least ten people I know who mostly spend their in-game time mining, have unsubbed multiple accounts. They all say that the CCP devs really don't understand how or why they (the miners) play the game, and don't care to listen to them before making changes. They also noted that the devs go out on occasional PVP roams, in null sec, but they *never* have joined a fleet mining operation.

  4. The big plan at CCP is to make Eve much easier to play as a PVP game. This will encourage more new players, particularly from the FPS crowd, who have shorter attention spans.

    The so-called "rebalancing" and "role creation" of ships is key to this effort. The first step is to move towards eliminating the difference between racial ships of the same class/role and eliminate any unique/unusual ships, which don't fit the predefined roles. This can be seen in the recent changes in the frigs and particularly the rookie frigs. The "rebalancing" should also eliminate any advantage of a particular race over any other race. Choosing Minmatar vs. Amarr will no longer matter.

    We should also see the slow elimination of the difference between shield tanking and armor tanking, followed by the removal of the hull tank. At some point, these will probably all be merged into a single defence system.

    On the weapons side, something similar should happen, with weapon systems becoming more similar, and equally available to all ships of the same class/role. Drones will no longer be a Gallente specialty, nor missiles a Caldari speciality. Eventually, the racial drones will be eliminated, in favor of a single damage drone class, although the sizes may remain.

    Missile types and ammo types will be combined and reduced. At some point, expect to see lasers, projectiles, and hybrids merged into a single gun type.

    As much as the Eve bittervets might complain, these changes are all for the better in the long run, because they will make the game easier to play. Easier to play means more players and more players means more money. And, that is the "big picture" for CCP.

    1. Wow, you're post is really silly. Please never post anything anywhere ever again.

      Thank you.

    2. Anon0349 might be taking it to extremes, but he isn't necessarily wrong.

      This past year, CCP has been actively dumbing down the game, under the pretenses of "fixing" and "rebalancing". From renaming modules and implants, to removing agent quality, to modifying ships and making them easier to fit for a specific predefined role, to the new UI (unified inventory), to onscreen button mouse-over popup labels (which I hate, btw)... all of this is aimed squarely at attracting newer and dumber players, who thought that the old Eve was just too hard, too complicated, too many numbers and too many windows.

      I remember seeing a stupid cartoon long ago, where a game designer was working with company suits to create the "perfect game". Big roll out, cool videos, lots of hype, actor promos. Player downloads the game. The game had one button, centered in the screen, which was labeled "Click here." Player clicks there. The screen flashes "You win!", and in smaller text underneath "$49.99 has been billed to your credit card. Please play again soon!".

      Will it really go this far? I certainly hope not, but the recent changes - and utter lack of any major expansion features - don't bode well.

    3. wow. "hull tank." gotta bone up on my DERP fit from when i was a n00b. god, that tech2 hull repper sure looked sexy in that midslot...along with that civilian shield booster and low slot armor repper.
      I agree with you that making everything in this game simple would be great for n00bs. it be like WoW in space...i'm sure if that game WASN'T sucking hind tit you'd be boasting about how that game design vision works. But.....you can't back that argument up anymore. Can you? I thought not.

      And that renaming stuff? that was brilliant. That extra info column for "required for" in skill info is BRILLIANT. bring it the hell on. this game is very very complex but it shouldn't be a game killer for everything in the game early on.
      I don't see them nerfing wormholes so any n00b could fly them. haha...sleepers. right. okay, next?
      I don't see them nerfing nullsec so any n00b could potshot a titan if he got lucky enough. okay, next?
      I don't see them nerfing low sec so that any n00b in a mining frigate could petition some meanie and get them banned for podding them. okay, next?
      Yeah. game's too complex for n00bs out of the gate, but there's a world of stuff to do that they CAN'T get into right away...and they never will.

  5. "We've got some very talented game designers who understand how to make the right kind of game for our players to enjoy," ~CCP Unifex
    "participation goes up, because it's not about giving players a feature to play through; it's about giving them tools to do their own stories." ~CCP Unifex

    alright, i'll accept that....except...well...then he says something so full of bullshit my eyes boggled:

    ****** excerpt ******
    The reason Lander thinks more developers don't take this approach is because "it's not our game anymore."

    uh huh. That's a crock. Developers are well known for taking things personally when players find out ways of playing the devs never imagined (and never tried to) and do the "whack a mole" thing with the nerfbat. And it's a badly swung nerfbat because the devs really DON'T 'understand' the game...putting the lie to CCP Unifex's telling quote above (see the first sentence of mine)

    So, what's this mean to his context now? They are making 'tools' not 'content' because they haven't got a clue about what kind of "themepark" the players are dealing with in the past, in the present and in the future.
    There's no vision (big picture) and never has been. Devs constantly prove how clueless they are even about the most basic game mechanic and how it impacts a player. They make assumptions instead of doing their homework...

    Kinda makes you wonder how much CCP can actually tell what does on with their game. Do they really know how to look up "gee, if i tell players ore is lost when their mining lasers turn off from a full cargo, am i just reading the popup warming and taking that as gospel?" in the database of eve telling them the description is WRONG and the excess isn't lost.

    It's the sort of "oh well, we know how to play the game cuz uhm...well WE PLAY IT TOO" instead of doing their frickin homework they go onto the forums to trololololol

  6. reading google'd interviews with this guy comes up with some hopeful alternatives of spin that aren't so full of wasted bandwidth.
    In a recent interview, EVE Online's Senior Producer Jon Lander expounded on the bottom-up philosophy that CCP practices for its massive space sandbox. He discussed how EVE is focused on building tools for players to use instead of cranking out content for players to consume.

    Lander credits the game's success to listening to the player base and the developers who are more intimately familiar with the ins-and-outs of the game world. He states, "What we've done is we've devolved an awful lot of the power of the decision-making and the accountability for what we do in the games to the people who know best, which are the developers on the ground who've been doing this for a long time." He also noted that the company learned a valuable lesson when it deviated from that philosophy in 2011 and the company took its success for granted.

    EVE also benefits from focusing on building a social system instead of content. "We build a social engine that people actually love, hate, despise each other, love each other, backstab each other, and play the good Samaritan," says Lander. "People know each other, and there is this history. They feel a big emotional attachment to that, and that keeps them coming."

    now that's cool...kinda...except i do hope he isn't referencing CCP Masterplan as one of those great down in the trenches know it all guys and more full of himself forum troll.

    "If the appropriate bay is full, the module/drone will deactivate as normal, and excess ore is lost." ~CCP Masterplan

    yup. they know their stuff alright! straight from starring at the popup when their cargo bay fills up instead of actually like doing their homework cuz they can look up stuff better than we can...or can they? Does CCP even have someone in their employ who even knows how to find the data that'll tell them what CCP masterplan said on the forums is a load of hoooey?

    are they gonna code that in someday? i'm sure that'll be their stock answer of "it's in that concept stage"


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