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...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Anti-Jester

There's a funny scene in the first Lethal Weapon movie that seems appropriate here.  Riggs and Murtaugh have just attempted to interview a person of interest at her home, only to arrive and have the house nearly literally explode in their faces.  During the aftermath and attempting to find witnesses to learn what happened, they find that the only credible witnesses are a small group of young children.  While trying to interview them, the attention of the kids is drawn to Murtaugh's service revolver.  "Do you shoot people?" he's asked, and he carefully tries to explain that he only shoots bad guys in the leg... just to stop them.  In the midst of this, another kid states with utter confidence "Mama says policemen shoot black people!"

"Is that true?" one of the other kids asks, and suddenly all of them are asking it in a chaotic chorus: "Is that tr--" "Yeah, is tha--" "Is that tru--"  Like I said, it's a funny scene.  But I can't help feeling a bit like Roger Murtaugh right now.

A number of you have asked for my opinion and feeling about Poetic Stanziel's recent announcement that he's going to stop blogging and/or stop playing EVE Online.  And given the number of accusations leveled at CCP in this announcement post, I suppose it's not too surprising that many of you want my take on them.  Poe says CCP shoots EVE players!  And just maybe also CCP Sreegs!  Is that true?  ;-)

So, let me apologize right away: this is a long post.  But Poe brings up a lot of stuff.

Let's start with the easy bit: how do I feel about Poe leaving EVE?  I've said this before a number of times, but every person reading this right now is at some point going to lose faith with EVE or the EVE developers.  If this hasn't happened to you yet, then you just haven't been playing this game long enough.  Sometimes people just need a break, and that's what this feels like: I think Poe will be back.  That said, I am sad to see him go.  Even though I've described him as the "anti-Jester" and even though I disagree with a high percentage of what he writes, he both occasionally writes some really winning stuff and he's a valuable voice in the community.  I follow what he writes and I know a lot of you do as well.

In the big picture, we've lost at least four player voices this year I wish we hadn't: Poe, Jadefalcon, Azual Skoll, and Arydanika.(1)  But new player voices and content creators pop up fairly constantly.  Some catch on, some fade away.  Poe's departure creates an opportunity for someone else to step up.

Next easiest is Poe's accusation that CCP Sreegs left CCP because CCP wouldn't let him fight the war on bots his way.  I can tell you from experience that I'm occasionally sent stuff by readers that is unsubstantiated rumor presented as fact.  I've learned not to trust anything that's single-sourced and to go out and look for backing evidence.  Too many of you charming people love to troll bloggers into publishing something that isn't true for me not to be pretty careful.  Even so, I've had to issue a few retractions over the years.  Am I saying that's what happened here?  Let's just say that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

About Poe's reaction to the ToS changes, I will say again that I think the player reaction here is -- with a few exceptions here and there -- an over-reaction.  Yes, I'm concerned!  Yes, I'm still watching it!  But I honestly think this is a case of CCP unintentionally shooting their own foot with an elephant gun.  I do think the GMs involved do think they were simply clarifying a position that they've taken for years and weren't actually intending to actually change much of anything.  The unexpected player reaction was then fueled by GMs making poorly-worded public statements without properly vetting those public statements in advance.  Players took those public statements as gospel and here we are.

I continue to believe that we're going to see a much better explanation from CCP about what they meant by these changes and their intent is not to ban you for impersonating you.  When that explanation comes, it will come from a higher level than the GMs themselves.  But yes, I think Poe is over-reacting.

Regarding the hacking mini-game, I'm going to tread very carefully around the :nda: mine-field here.  Speaking as a player and not a CSM member, I honestly feel like the mini-game is an attempt by CCP to do two things simultaneously:
  1. make one small part of the PvE experience more interesting; and,
  2. increase the risk to players participating in the PvE experience.
So many of the PvE experiences in this game involve watching little spinners spin or watching timers count down: ore mining, ice mining, salvaging, complexes.  Hacking was once just another of these little spinners.  I suspect CCP came at this part of the game with a question: can we make this more interesting?  Can we set it up such that player skill matters?  That's where the hacking mini-game came from, I believe.  We've been asking for the same kind of thing for mining for a couple of centuries now and this struck me at the time as an interesting low-risk experiment.  Has it been successful?  That's too hard to say just yet.  I've brought up my own criticisms of it on this very blog.  But it had the added bonus that people hacking previously had nothing to do except look at their directional scanners.  They don't do that any more, which has gotten me some entertaining kills.  ;-)

But comparing the hacking mini-game to Valkryie is ridiculous.  EVR as displayed at Fanfest was a technology demo, not a game.  Games need to be secure enough and stable enough and intuitive enough to put them in front of hundreds of thousands of people without a lot of hand-holding.  Don't get me wrong: EVR is fantastic and Valkyrie looks even better... but it's nowhere near that level yet.

Poe is disappointed with the last few expansions and says...
I blame it on CCP's short development cycles and their unwillingness to stretch feature development across cycles. Thus we continually get features that fit into four to five month development windows, which means we continually get features that are light on actual features.
And while that was once a valid criticism, I've said right here on this blog -- with good evidence -- that CCP recognizes this issue and is moving forward with a lot of long-term planning and thinking and development.  And Poe should know this.  Heaven knows he's been told enough times by enough people.  As we follow CCP Seagull's three-year road-map, you're going to see more and more of this become self-evident.  Hell, on this very blog I let slip that one of Team Five-0's major projects "for winter" is actually set-up work for a follow-on expansion.

He brings up disappointing EVE PvE in general, too.  Am I disappointed with EVE's PvE?  Obviously, I am.  I bring it up often enough as an area where EVE needs the most improvement.  I sat in a chair in Iceland and flat-out told the CCP developers responsible for PvE that if I want to do PvE, I go play another game!  Doubt many of you have the stones to do that.  ;-)  Trust me: the devs in question are not blind to EVE's faults in this area.  Know that they need to make it better?  One of those long-term multi-expansion projects that Poe claims doesn't exist, but which CCP Unifex made clear in January before he left the EP job were going to be the cornerstone of EVE development going forward.

Anyone remember this graphic?  I invite you to examine what's on it, other than POSes and exploration and ship balancing.


So.  To sum up, I am sad that Poe is stepping back from EVE Online.  But this particular post is unfortunately a mix of misinformation and over-reaction, with a dash of flat-out wrong mixed in for flavor.  It's precisely the sort of post I mean when I say I disagree with a goodly percentage of what Poe writes.  Any other questions on this subject?


(1) A couple of them may or may not continue playing EVE, but they've stopped creating content for and stopped talking about EVE.

22 comments:

  1. I have noticed a general malaise with the game. As a personal indicator, I am the final player remaining in a eight player corp - they all have gone un-sub in the last six months. I am not yet ready to call it a day. But the recent patch?

    1. ice mining is no longer for the casual player. the implants and ship rigging are highly specialised and do not loan themselves to rapid switching.

    Personally I would have preferred that CCP just completely pull the plug in mining as a game activity. It is a hold over from the earliest days of the game. Turn it over to a NPC function, and players can purchase minerals from the various NPC corps - including Outer Ring Ex for Null. The activity itself does not teach the pilot anything about the game, and indeed loans itself to non-play of the game being afk while the orehold fills. None of the skills for mining educate a pilot in the PvP aspect of the game - which is core to what the game is about. I think that the generational cycle of gank fodder should be broken in an effort to improve NPE and long term retention of players.

    2. HACs are a lack luster update. hands up how players switched over from tech1? (anybody, anybody?)

    3. the hacking mini-game. this thing would been at home on a tablet - it does not belong in eve.

    4. CCP changes the requirements of fruit salad. so the 500lb gorilla moved to take the banana plantation from pack of chimps. they dont actually eat any but sell them to the 1000 monkeys of high-sec. and where will the 500lb look to next?

    5. they seem to have skipped over logi, hictors and recons in a rush to marauders? the price will tank more than their EHP. it seems that the backbone of Incursions is to be broken. like ice, it is yet another stab at PvE style.

    Ah yes the departure of Poe. My very first thought was "can you take Dinsdale with you?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "5. they seem to have skipped over logi, hictors and recons in a rush to marauders? the price will tank more than their EHP. it seems that the backbone of Incursions is to be broken. like ice, it is yet another stab at PvE style.

      Ah yes the departure of Poe. My very first thought was "can you take Dinsdale with you?"

      But your point #5 seems to agree with Dinsdale :-)


      Delete
    2. 1. Mining needs some tweaking, no doubt about it. But keep in mind it's intended to be a more low-key way of playing EVE. I myself found it quite relaxing and a specialized implant set wouldn't be much of a burden at all, particularly with the new Advanced Infomorph Psychology skill.

      2. The Sac, Cerb, and Ishtar are pretty freakin' sweet for their respective uses. I actually dusted off my Cerb and have been PvPing in it. I'll grant you I'm still trying to figure out what to do with my Vaga.

      3. I've already written extensively about this one.

      4. ...wtf.

      5. Every ship in EVE will be rebalanced in due course. Marauders just needed a lot of help.

      Delete
    3. Jester, a translation for you: gorilla = CFC. Recipe for fruit salad= moon goo distribution and rarity.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous: I have addressed the ice harvesting "problem" by training up alts to do ice harvesting while my "mains" are free to switch between combat clone du jour.

      I make use of all three character slots on all accounts in this manner: harvesting, combat, trade, scouting, exploration, etc.

      Delete
    5. https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=1912574#

      this from Fozzie indicates possibly why they jumped to maraurders.

      Delete
  2. Poetic - while occasionally spot on on some things and def. a good writer - has the mindset of a conspiracy theorist. He jumps to conclusions, frequently assumes the worst and isn't really ever looking for evidence, just for some possilbe confirmation of his suspicions.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jester, poe had a point about a lot of that stuff that I think is valid. I mostly agree with him, and if CCP doesn't actually do anything brand-fucking-new in the next year or so, I can see my next break becoming permanent, if not lasting several years.

    Lately, I find myself playing other games for everything. PVE: GW2. PVP: Exactly any other mmo ever. The only reason I log in anymore is to pay a couple of bills and help a friend with high end production/RND jobs.

    Poe also had/has a point about CCP softening the game up. They say they aren't, but I have my doubts. I've been around a while and I've seen a trend over time of trying to hide it behind various fronts such as redoing mechanics, or re-wording the tos (like recently) or what-have-you. I have to straight up agree with poe on it, I can't help but have the same feeling that this is getting turned into a softer game, and I don't really enjoy it. I'd like to be proven wrong, I just don't see the evidence for it.

    Tl;dr: CCP needs to turn the fuck around and actually put content into the game, INCLUDING work on Incarna, or they will lose people. I'm basically giving them until January of 2015 to do it. Also doing crap on "behalf of new players" is getting old, CCP needs to HTFU.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is wrong with PvP in eve?

      Delete
  4. The last graphic is interesting as it shows different elements being carried through on a continuing basis through several expansions.

    What was the "Sovereignty" piece of Odyssey? What will the "Sovereignty" piece be in the Winter expansion? No need to breach your NDA because I already know the answer to that. The Sov changes coming in the winter expansion will be about the same as the iteration to Exploration, i.e. non-existent.

    As for Poe's departure... I read one or two of his posts way back and never paid any attention to him after that. There's a false equivalence in your argument that says people who spout nonsense provide some sort of balance to a discussion. Even though he's right about some things in his recent GBCW screed, that doesn't mean he's not overreacting here. Which he is.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bang on about poe. He's an overreactionary player. He prattles on about stuff that he has little experience with. He's never ever ever tested himself as a player (look at his employment history and kb). The vast majority of the stuff he brings up isn't even things he does on a regular basis. He's a player that relies on others to do stuff for him and takes advantage of broken mechanics (like ganking miners with no chance to tank their ships). Its telling that when fw was no longer broken he left it for the biggest coalition in Eve. Now he can't mention enough how he has 45 billion in assets. F that guy and good riddance. I read his blog for a good period of time and his incredibly narrow viewpoint was more of a hindrance than a help. So here's to hoping he really does quit Eve until he learns to htfu.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Talking about stones...This would have been the perfect topic for your evil twin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, wtf happend to Garth?
      Did CCP gag him on election night??

      Delete
  7. One by one for currently visible comments:

    "What was the "Sovereignty" piece of Odyssey?"

    Moon rebalance, which led to one of the largest conflicts of the past few years and caused a dramatic shift in philosophy of the largest and most powerful coalition in the game, shifting coalition funding from moon goo to individual player. This change alone will have huge long term repercussions, especially if CCP chooses to build on it.

    "1. ice mining is no longer for the casual player. the implants and ship rigging are highly specialised and do not loan themselves to rapid switching."

    Mine veldspar / scordite, sell it on market, buy ice, profit - literally. The only thing different is that ice mining is no longer the afk mining it used to be due to shorter cycle times and 4 hour respawns.

    "Personally I would have preferred that CCP just completely pull the plug in mining as a game activity. It is a hold over from the earliest days of the game."

    There's a ton of people saying that PvP is the core aspect of the game and those not playing it their way are doing it wrong. Let me offer an alternate perspective - economy is the core aspect of the game. and PvP is just a natural consequence of scarce resources. Don't believe me? Go to eve-kill.net and look at the top. It shows kills, cap kills, +5b kills. Click on a random pilot - he'll have damage done, received and efficiency all listed in isk. Let's face it, number of kills are unimportant in this game, if the player kills a single ship worth 10b isk, he's considered "better" than the guy who killed 10 ships worth 100 million isk.

    Mining (along with exploration and salvaging) is the core activity of this economic system. Mining gives ore, which turns into minerals, which are combined into ships and modules, which are sold in the market, which are blown up. For comparison, ratting is a pure isk printing activity, without any direct contributions to game's production cycle. The problem is, just like exploration before the hacking minigame, mining is a fairly boring activity - you activate the module, wait for it to cycle and receive the result. Like exploration, the solution is not removing the mining, but shaking it up through a system of some sorts where player interaction is the key to securing a full cargo hold (and hopefully drawing his attention away from D-scan, making this activity more dangerous).

    "3. the hacking mini-game. this thing would been at home on a tablet - it does not belong in eve."

    The hacking game is not perfect, I agree. In fact, in many cases it decreases explorer's isk/hr, especially if the cargo scanner will be fixed/nerfed. In case of WHs, it can be problematic from time perspective as well - since the sites are timed, you may well run out of time to open all containers. However, the system is vastly superior to the boring module cycling we had before. A bit of polishing and it can be a trully awesome addition to the game. What's more, it has insane potential in the long run, limited only by CCP's (and CSM's) imagination.

    "2. HACs are a lack luster update. hands up how players switched over from tech1? (anybody, anybody?)"

    I like the new Cerberus, the Ishtar is insanely good and I hear great things about the Sac. Vaga took the bat this time, but I can still see it useful as a sort of "supertackler".

    "5. they seem to have skipped over logi, hictors and recons in a rush to marauders?"

    They're not doing T2 ships smallest to largest, they're doing them according to how much attention they need. That's why they started with Command Ships, switched to HACs, now on to Marauders. If they hold this pace, expect Black Ops to be next.

    Just my 0.02 isk.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The really sad thing is that Poe could have run a damaging story, like the one about Sreegs, past Sreegs himself or CCP Stillman - for any sort of verification. If he had, he'd know the story was a silly troll attempt. The fact that he neglected to fact-check, or ran it anyways after fact-checking, says everything about Poe: He's not a complete idiot, the Sreegs story was an intentional drama bomb. A flaming paper bag of dogpoo left on CCP's doorstep on his way out.

    There is plenty else in his post that you cover extensively, also categorically false about CCP. Again, Poe's smart enough to know this stuff. It all boils down to the fact that if he was going to quit, he was going to create as much of a ruckus on his way out the door as possible, in typical fashion. Chaos over clarity, always.

    This is the real difference between him and more serious bloggers in the community - Poe splashes just enough truth into his posts to be taken seriously by those that don't see through the act, only to enable his real pastime here: reveling in juicy conflict.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "I sat in a chair in Iceland and flat-out told the CCP developers responsible for PvE that if I want to do PvE, I go play another game! Doubt many of you have the stones to do that. ;-) "

    Really? I'd say every last one of us would be willing to do that... Just that you're the one we voted into trips to Iceland. :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I doubt that (every last one of us would be willing to do that). Easier to say than to do when you face the real person. Doesn't mean I doubt you would be willing to.

      Delete
  10. "Regarding the hacking mini-game, I'm going to tread very carefully around the :nda: mine-field here. Speaking as a player and not a CSM member, I honestly feel like the mini-game is an attempt by CCP to do two things simultaneously:
    make one small part of the PvE experience more interesting; and,
    increase the risk to players participating in the PvE experience."

    Very interesting if CCP actually attempted the latter of what you assume, because in that regard the completely failed (except in high-sec where you now can risk losing your loot). Being able to fly a dirt-cheap cloaked T1 scanning frig through a relatively quick minigame is way less dangerous than the previous model where you had to clear the rats with a properly fit cruiser (preferably T2).

    Or does your :nda: remark maybe point towards that even CCP isn't content with the current state and might want to fix it? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. About the stones comment... fly my ass to Iceland and lets find out.

    About the TOS change... unless you know more than you can tell us i call complete bull that players are over reacting. when a senior GM comes out and states that claiming to be an alt of a character you are an alt of to scam is a bannable offence there needs to be a revamp of the policy, Clarification at that point is useless because the things that have been said are not hard to understand. The rage is that they are quite clearly and succinctly "pants on head retarded"

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's somewhat ironic to see Poe emo-rage quit over Eve becoming insufficiently HTFU for his tastes.

    Entertaining blogger though, wish him well.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Couple of comments

    Poe, who cares.

    Mining removal, breaks economy and then you might as well have everything purchasable from npc's. Then the PVP crowd will have the game to themselves.

    TOS overreaction, based on the GM comments it's an under-reaction. Needs to be fixed asap by higher ups. My sub ends in 6 days, will not be renewing while the are still "pants on head retarded".

    Anyone want to start a fund to buy CCP after they kill EVE? We can start over with a plan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nah, not a fund, but the accounts I let lapse, put the equivalent into the Roberts kickstarter, just need something to do for the wait

      Delete

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