Malcanis's Law states that
"Whenever a mechanics change is proposed on behalf of 'new players', that change is always to the overwhelming advantage of richer, older players."These days, I'm on CSM8 with that very same Malcanis. Over the last couple of expansions, it's been increasingly clear to me that CCP might very well be trying to break that law. The tricky part comes with that descriptive phrase "overwhelming advantage."
Now, breaking Malcanis's Law isn't necessarily new. This past January, Malcanis himself came up with three possible areas in which CCP had developed the game in such a way as to try to break his law. And I'm not sure I agree with them, particularly the second one he mentions, the re-balancing of frigates into capable PvP platforms. To my mind, frigates are the most difficult ships to fly correctly in PvP, and benefit hugely from large numbers of skill points into a wide variety of support skills. When you've got two ships duking it out with only a few thousand EHP, even 10 or 15 DPS difference between the ships or a couple dozen meters per second can be the margin between victory and defeat.
But he mentions two other possibilities, the changes to NPE that were implemented late last year with Retribution, and the removal of the Learning skills and yes, I'd say that both of those changes broke Malcanis's Law at least to an extent.
The question I had was have a lot of the more recent changes to the game done so as well?
I've already made an argument that a lot of the features of Retribution and Odyssey are aimed much more at newer players than older players. Bounty hunting was one example I listed where the advantage seemed to swing in favor of newer players. While to an experienced player, ten or twenty million ISK for blowing up a player like myself with a relatively high bounty is something you might not even notice, to a new player that's a pretty good windfall. And in Odyssey, there are at least two features -- the Gnosis and changes in support of the new exploration sites -- that it can be argued break Malcanis's Law, particularly if you focus on that "overwhelming advantage" phrase.
When I talked about the Gnosis, I mentioned its most interesting feature: it requires almost no skills to fly, and it gives you its maximum bonuses right from the moment you can put a drone in the drone bay and some medium weapons in the highs. In addition, it's a ship that is remarkably easy to fit. Unless you're doing something unusual, you don't really have to compromise very much at all to fit whatever you like. Flying the ship a time or two myself as a veteran, I am underwhelmed with its performance. With my skills, it has a poor tank and poor DPS... when compared to alternative ships that I can fly instead as a veteran player.
But a newer player wouldn't be able to tank a combat BC or a cruiser the way I can, nor would they necessarily be able to optimize a fit to overwhelm the DPS of a Gnosis. So whereas I might prefer a much cheaper Omen (say), a new player might prefer a Gnosis that while more expensive, allows him to match what I can do... particularly in PvE.
So it's a ship that's aimed at newer players that doesn't give veterans like myself an overwhelming advantage. We get some advantage, yes: I can tweak the fit a bit harder than a new player can, and I can passively armor tank it if I care to and get more EHP out of it than a newer player can with the same fitting. But the advantage isn't overwhelming.
Ditto the new exploration mechanics. A couple of my alliance-mates had the good fortune of killing this Imicus in our home system the other day, running data sites with his custom-fit ship. A newer player was flying the ship, and yet had almost 150 million ISK in his T1 frigate's cargo hold from running the sites. I don't know about you, but I don't recall making 150 million ISK in a few hours as a newer player. Sure, I could do it today in an incursion fleet, or running hubs or sanctums, or perhaps some L4 missions in low-sec, or a half-dozen other ways. But it would require a hell of a lot more skill and up-front expense than a five million ISK Imicus fit.
And again, I can beat his fit here and there with a properly fit covert ops ship, and get a few more percent on my virus strength and the like, a bit more survivability against gate camps with a cloak... but is it an overwhelming advantage? I think not.
I'm not sure I have a point here. As with a lot of my more philosophical posts, they don't necessarily have points I'm driving toward. Hell, I brought up these very examples to Malcanis himself and he was inclined to argue with me a bit. Maybe he's right. Maybe I'm right. But it sure is interesting that the latest additions to EVE can be looked at in this manner, don't you think?