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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Monday, January 21, 2013

Angry retort to the QOTW

Focus: CSM Summit Minutes, "Null-sec" sessions

Let's start with the most famous quote in these two sections, shall we?
On top of that, Soundwave added, the POS system by itself would only affect a small portion of the community.
Now, I've already mentioned this quote in another blog post and pointed to both Two step's blog post about it and his growing threadnaught.  It's up to 121 pages, and I'm told that CCP is counting the number of unique player accounts that reply to that thread.  So if you've been thinking about posting in there but think your contribution doesn't matter or enough players have already spoken up about it, I'd encourage you to revisit that thought process.

For those of you who hear it coming... BUT.  And there are two buts: first, that post was written before I'd read the full Minutes and before I'd had time to really think through them.  And second, my own position on this issue is a lot more nuanced than what I put in a single throw-away post.  So I want to cover it again in a bit more detail but to do that I first want to provide a little bit of context.

I have four sets of experience with POSs:
  1. I have two of them myself where I do T2 research and manufacturing;
  2. I have played with low-end moon mining and moon reactions in low-sec;
  3. I've been one of the POS-managers and -fuelers for a small alliance; and,
  4. for about six months, I lived full-time out of a POS in a class 2 wormhole.
Does this make me the POS demi-god that many of you are?  No.  Many of you have much more extensive experience with this topic than I do.  But I would say I have more experience with it than probably something like 98% of the EVE population... maybe more.  I believe I'm qualified to speak on this topic.  I'm certainly experienced enough to explain how the current POS system sucks, and to do so in a great deal of detail... but I'm not going to do that here.  I've got bigger fish to fry.

I joke lots on this blog that I'm capable of simultaneously believing two contradictory things at once.  In this statement that POSes only affect a small portion of the community, CCP Soundwave has proven himself a master of this skill.  That is because there are two factual things I can say about this quote:
  • It is absolutely true; and,
  • it is patently false.
Yes.  Both at the same time.  The simple fact is that every single EVE player in the game is impacted by how easy or complicated the POS system is.  If you've ever bought a T2 ship or module, ever flown or been supported by a super-capital ship, ever hidden in a POS shield from your enemies, ever mined in a system with no station using a POS as your storage location, or ever been a part of a null-sec alliance, you are impacted by the POS system.  That, as far as I can tell, is everyone.  You have been supported by a massive array of player-owned stations and haven't even known it.

The easier POSes were to set up, use, and deal with, the more of them there would be and the more interesting things could be done with them.  And that is a fact.  It is only the fact that POSes are fiddly, specialized, and annoying that makes them so relatively rare.  And it's the "relatively rare" part that makes Soundwave's statement true: very few of us actually know how fiddly, specialized, and annoying POSes are.  Kelduum Revaan frequently notes how many new players are interested in getting a POS... until they learn what's involved.  And for that reason, very few EVE players have actual hands-on experience with them.

But let's be fair and come at this from the CCP perspective, shall we?  It's very clear to me having read the whole Minutes that two things are going on here:
  • CCP has looked at the POS code and it scares the crap out of them;
  • they've done enough of the background research to realize that it would take a sizeable percentage of the company working on this to fix it in one expansion.
And I'm sure there are those of you out there that are saying "Good!  Summer expansion equals POS expansion!  Go!"  And sure, I sympathize with that perspective.

I just don't happen to agree with it, that's all.

As I hinted in my little throw-away post, the problem with a "POS expansion" is that it's not going to do a damned thing to bring new players into this game.  It would be nearly impossible to sell a POS expansion from a marketing stand-point, and other than the amusement value for about two days of all of us throwing up new POSes and taking some screen-shots, the game play value of a POS expansion is virtually nil.  And the reason is that those things that POSes are used for now would end up being those things that POSes are used for tomorrow.  CCP wouldn't put very much thought into the question "is there anything more we can do with these things?" because there wouldn't be time to.

So yeah.  I'm quite content with CCP taking their time on this one, doing it right, and really giving us some new functionality here.  More than that, though, I want CCP to transition smoothly into this new system.  I envision about an eighteen month period where the current POS code exists side-by-side with new POS code.  I envision systems that have "old school" POSes holding down some tasks while new generation modular POSes are put up in the same system taking on new and then (slowly, over an expansion or two) the existing tasks.  During this process, they can also take away some of the things that POSes should no longer be doing, ending with the decommissioning of the moon mining POS mod.

Know what I want first?  I want a POS I can dock at.  One office slot, a space-limited set of corporate hangars, a space-limited personal hangar for everyone in the corp, and that's it.  I think that alone would make the wormholers happy... and I think the rest of us can wait.  It'd be relatively straight-forward to do, I'll bet, and wormholers can leave their existing POSes in place for everything else.  Just a little dockable POS that's just as hard to kill as the current ones to start, maybe with the sentry gun code.  Wormholers would use it, null-sec players would use it, a few low-sec players here and there would use it, and it would start us down the road to a new way of looking at POSes.  And then CCP could build from there for the next few expansions until we can finally delete the current POS code.

In the meantime, that leaves a lot of dev time free for 2013 for game play and CCP Unifex's themes.  And that also strikes me as CCP's more likely approach to this.  And as the poet said, that's all I have to say about that.

I'll have lots more to say about those two sessions, but since that topic is a big part of where CSM7 spent their time during the first session, I wanted to cover it separately.  Several more posts today, so watch this space.


  1. 100% congruent with my own opinion. I'd like to see CCP start small with the modular POSes, with the smallest useful unit being an anchorable structure that we can dock with and store some stuff in: a personal shoebox. Heck, they can forget about corporate hangars for the meantime, I just need a magazine rack to store my copy of Pax Amarria.

    Fitting service? Don't care. That can be added later. Corporate hangars? Can be added later if not available in the first release. Roles and access rights? That can come later. Work on the divisions and storage capacity first, those of us who trust our corp mates can play with these things first, and those of us who don't can simply anchor personal shoeboxes.

    A shoebox. In space. Way better than 'ole in middle o' road what we got now.

  2. I totally disagree that you couldn't sell a POS expansion.

    For starters, allowing modular POSes to be conflict drivers adds an interesting game play dynamic. Taking the most "extreme" case of living in a POS, being wormhole life, as an example:

    Currently when you want to throw people out you start seeding ships, then one friday evening you spring a big trap, reinforce everything, spend the whole weekend waiting on timers, blow up the towers and go home with maybe some loot.

    It is boring from an attackers point of view and doesn't really offer a defender much of a chance.

    Bringing in modular POSes where individual modules are targetable it opens up the idea of raiding a base of operations, stealing a few things, getting some good fights but ultimately leaving the defenders where they are (albeit with less stuff).

    Given that it gives defenders a *sniff* of a chance at surviving they may be more likely to engage in a fight.

    The problem here is that CCP hasn't described what modular POSes may have in terms of game play. It is currently "redo POSes". If they fleshed out how it would drive game play, how individuals could have non-corp owned POSes as small outposts for storing their things or expanding their industry, how these could become corporation hubs, how these would ultimately replace outposts with destructable player built lego space stations, how new station combat mechanics could simultaniously solve the "grind" and the "steamroll" problem in one fell swoop... you would actually have something worth selling.

    Eve is a very closed group of people - most of the selling is to get people who have played before to play again. It is less about new subs and more about resubs.

    1. I see how you disagree with Jester on the surface. But I see how well your underlying assumptions match.

      The "new POS" system needs more game play options, you say. Which, hence, would make them appeal to a bigger share of the populace.

      Well, that's what Jester is suggesting, IMHO, only that he concludes that untangling / rewriting the current code AND adding game play features different and in addition to what a POS does today all in one expansion is not an option to CCP.

    2. Anon 4:35... I hope to god it is not about getting old players to resub/stay... and not about new subs... cause if that's true, then EvE has NOWHERE to go but down. It is ALL about New Subs... it has to be. Anything else is the end of EvE. And Ripard is right (go figger) POSes cannot draw in new players... they are simply too complex and high level a gameplay item.

      POSes are for players who have past their noobhoob, are maturing (or are mature) in the game and can see the long term benefits that outweigh the immediate complexity of POSes.

      No, to live and grow CCP needs draw new players AND to retain older players. That means marketing and features that are "exciting and immediate" for the noobs and constant "changes and improvements" to older features for the vets...

  3. Wormholers want dock-like inventory hangars. We do NOT generally want actual docking as that will lead to station games and the inability to see live ships (no Local remember?)

    1. It leading to station games is a complete non-starter of an argument.

      To suggest a whole new "docking" thing would result in "station games" is moronic in the extreme.

    2. Sorry Rhav, but gotta agree with Anom here... I want to dock up for the night and as far as station games... the mechanic is a little bit different in holes... I LIKE the idea of a cloaked corpmate seeing people pop into the hole and calling in reinforcements that YOU CAN'T KNOW ARE THERE cause they wake in the Station not in space inna ship which 'blips' on DScan no matter how fast you are on the cloak button...

      Heck I'd like it even better if the STATION had a DScan we could access while docked. Have a feeling that won't happen though... =]

    3. Do you live in a wormhole my anonymous friend? I'm guessing not. There are no stations - just POS. And you can tell instantly if there are live pilots when you are on grid. It is a key part of the way things function to manage the viability of wormhole roaming fleets and combats because live pilots can always be observed, they cannot hide inside of a structure.

      This might not happen in highsec, but in wormholes it would create an entirely new - and unwelcome - dynamic.

      There is a huge difference to a wormhole dweller between "docking" and "having manageable inventory".

      PS Post with your main. Or some name.

  4. People asking for a POS expansion are vastly overestimating what CCP can do in 6 months. Their only consistency is in the ability to under deliver.

    If people had their way, they'd be promising WiS all over again and delivering a single room.

    1. This. And it's 4 months time to be exact.

  5. I think CCP is full of shit when they trot out the excuse that they don't understand their own code. It's Python for crying out loud, not some compiled binary that calls for an uber geek reverse engineer to sort it out. A competent programmer (two tops) could easily look at the existing code and come up with a spec/interface/design document that would inform the rest of the developers regarding exactly what the requirements are to replace things. Easily. I could do it in six months by myself. They're simply unwilling to pay anyone to do it. So yeah.... I'm not buying that excuse.

    1. You obviously have never had to deal with legacy code in any major application before!

    2. I completely agree with Toterra. Code that has been designed for one purpose, modified to expand the purposes, modified to fix bugs, modified to expand purposes, etc. for ten years will often end up as a nightmare. I've had to deal with such code professionally and it's a major endeavor. It's nothing like the little Python apps you write for programming classes. It's _big_ and _complicated_.

  6. I like Kirith Kodachi idea of a Player Owned Platform -- http://www.ninveah.com/2013/01/forget-poses-make-pops.html as a alternative while the POS is being revamped.

  7. After using the corp POS for ages, I generated an ALT for larking around with a POS. Attempt to work blueprints in high-sec - and you either wait a solid month and half; or bite down to attempt a POS.

    Just getting the thing into place was more grief than burning Jita. (to coin a phrase) Let alone anchoring the modules. Fueling, placement of materials and blueprints for research or manufacture. I just doubled my respect for my CEO.

    And one of these days I want a solid answer why refining modules can not be anchored in high sec. Better yet - scratch that; can I have a refining ship?

    But in the scale of things, better that I opt out of a pos for now, than group of players opt out altogether over something else which Winter could address.

  8. As wormholer, I just want a private hangar and SMA. Give me that, and I'll be happy for another year. I don't even want to be able to dock on it.

    By the way, POSes would be an awesome theme. They only need to make it recall the Death Star in some way.

  9. I agree with all that you stated, except for your last request.

    Docking in POS would eliminate some of the d-scanning intel in W-Space. Right now a player can scout all POSes in a system using dscan and getting eyes on said POSes. This gives the scout a rough estimate of how many people are online or active.

    POSes aren't just a technical hurdle. There are many little gameplay elements surrounding them. With every change, CCP has to check how they're impacting gameplay other than making corp and asset management easier.

  10. Speaking as a wormholer who has to manage POS/s, yes, updating them would be great. However it isn't a first priority in my books. It would come after spaceship developments, wormhole enhancements, new pvp opportunities, or an expansion of the Eve universe/storyline. I'd be happy with gradual improvements to POSs alongside other content release.

  11. I don't think a new POS system is something that can be released gradually. It has to replace the current system entirely, plus modular enhancements. Which would mean a lot of work that would not see light the light of day for a long long time.
    My issue - and maybe that of the CSM - is that players have been flogging this dead horse with electric cattle pokes for a even longer than it would have taken for CCP to knuckle down and deal with it.
    Anyone claiming to represent the playerbase has got to get a little frustrated at the total inertia CCP are displaying on the subject.

  12. I agree with what your saying here as well - its an easier route to create a NEW POS type than to simply scrap the old one and replace it. Its almost a phased obsolescence scheme for CCP eventually get around to replacing the old POS code by creating NEW POS structures and functionality along side it, but built in the correct way (ie, modular) and tweek it as they go until the new functionality either matches or exceeds the existing POS functionality.

    I think I would have to disagree about POS's not being able to bring in new players though - I think the idea of having your own 'space house' would actually be quite marketable to new players (especially RPers) and even opens other vanity markets for CCP to develop towards to a point where its essentially 'sims in space' - pay real money or aurum to furnish them how you please.

    You could even have specific modules that provide various bonuses to various industrial or business functions like placing buy / sell orders or allowing your personal POS to refine etc - even if its just a garage for one or two ships (with the possibility to expand).

    Modular star bases would also mean that players could band together and form little comunities and 'neighbourhoods' to share resources and protect each other.

    In low / null sec / WH they also provide conflict drivers as shooting down someones house is really going to piss them off!

    Larger POS 'sites' would then probably comprise of older & newer modules to suit their needs and as the functionality of the newer modules improve these sites would replace the old POSes for new.

    I would imagine that CCP would have to develop some clever code to allow public zoning areas where players can place their personal POS; you wouldn't want them too close to stations or other structures but space is a very big place and I'm sure that with as many star systems as the game has I'm sure they have enough space to allow everyone a little plot of land.

    I think the technical implementation of allowing systems to potentially house thousands of little POSes per system would be the real challenge.

  13. Your introducing QotW seems to be part in a little bit of wrong understanding. As CCP Seagull pointed out this statement was mend to be linked to the prototyping that was done in advance.
    And the results of this prototyping would only effect a small population of new eden.
    Now it would be nice to know what this prototyping really was ;-)

  14. Better ROLE tables first, minecraft in space later.

    I'd be happy with that.

  15. “Kelduum Revaan frequently notes how many new players are interested in getting a POS... until they learn what's involved. And for that reason, very few EVE players have actual hands-on experience with them.”

    “It would be nearly impossible to sell a POS expansion from a marketing stand-point”

    What is it again that you always say CCP needs to do to expand EVE? Something something new players right?

    Taking the stance that CCP would spend a ton of time revamping the POS system only to add nothing but a new UI to it is a bit strawman. Either its a full revamp that adds 'stuff', or its a quick throwaway as part of an expansion that solves one issue (the UI).

    1. I'm not convinced that the requirements for having a POS where new players could place it would be conducive to marketing this feature, nor would those very few things that a new player could do with a POS be very compelling from a marketing standpoint.


      New player> "Can't I do all that at a station? For free?"

      CCP> "UMMM... YES."

    2. Just a random thought... POSes that can be anchored in belts... interesting impacts there...

    3. Just like you can store your gear in the city bank in UO, yet people fall over themselves to get a house to store stuff (which is LESS secure) or craft. Why did clans own sub-optimal hamlets/cities in DF, or build them in SB? What was the major gameplay/benefit of SWG player cities?

      Plus in EVE, giving someone even one research slot would be a HUGE benefit to someone fairly new and interested in that. Same if they ever fix refining in stations to make it more POS-like.

      Again, I think you are greatly underselling the impact of owning space in an MMO. Maybe its because you have been in NPC null for so long, or bittevet has sunk in too far, but yea, the sales pitch you gave above would work on a lot of people, especially those not currently playing EVE. They would never say the second line. That is pure min/max bittervet, and at that point the hooks are in.

  16. I agree with most of what you said, but wormholers like myself do need two things concerning POS's well beyond being able to dock: 1) Ability to keep multiple jump clones within your hole, and 2) ability to assemble Tech3 ships for production and reconfiguration. We are hoping revamped POS's would include these possibilities. I am writing off-the-cuff, but I feel like the ability to complete Tech3 manufacture could have a small, positive effect on lowering prices of those ships because the final product would be easier to deliver (don't quote me, though).

  17. My idea of a POS is basically a capital ship like an orca. You anchor it, in the same fashion as putting a dread into siege mode or a rorqual into refine mode. Then you abandon it. to your pod. It can be reconfigured (in a station) like a t3 with sub-systems. Various industrial, warehouseing, offense, defense, subsystems allowing both highly variable configurations and limitations (i.e. offenseive and defensive arrangements on one subsytem. Tank or gank, pick one. you can have lots of ship fitting and individual hangars or you can large corp bay and ship hangars, similarly you can have more research or more manufacturing or a little of both) cloaking is just a module, but better make sure everyone is out of range. Boarding the boat is by password (a separate password from using the facilities on board). No POS force field. Once in anchored mode, it uses fuel blocks. when it runs out of fuel, a hacking module has a chance of getting someone inside the POS to take control of it.

    To me, this is something that can be created outside the current POS framework, but would be able to reproduce all the features of current POSs moon goo, jump bridges. Its just a matter of new code to the minimum of what POSs can do now PLUS a wide open canvas of emergent game play.

    Can you imagine someone screwing up their arrangements and having their POS Konkordokken because it shot first - hilarity would abound.

    In any event, I feel that the best way forward is to recognize the futility of recoding the POS interface. Strike out new. Call it the first t3 battlesihp, or a t3 industrial, I don't care. build it and once it does everything that a POS can do, pull the current POSs out of the game.


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