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, August 8, 2011

Course change

Even though I'm not playing Perpetuum Online any more, it's still an interesting game to watch develop.  I wasn't there for the very early days of EVE Online, so I'm still learning things about those very early days.  One of these days, I'd like to be in a popular MMO right from day one so I can watch the evolution.  When you join a game like EVE so many years after those early choices have been made, you don't get to see those early dramatic changes that can fundamentally alter game-play.  Even the biggest change in the EVE dynamic in recent memory -- Dominion -- didn't really change things all that much if you think about it.

Perpetuum Online is currently in the midst of a fundamental shift in how it will handle sov mechanics in the future.  If I'm understanding the current system, it's a little bit goofy and it's got a basic flaw in favor of large blobs.  Back when PO didn't have any of those, this apparently wasn't much of a problem.  More recently, the PO devs have realized what the future has in store for them if they stay on the current path.  ;-)

But there are two things going on here that are very interesting, particularly as to how they compare to EVE Online.  Here's the full PO devblog if you want to read it, but it's quite long and technical.  I'll be summarizing the relevant points.

The first interesting thing: Avatar Creations, the developer of PO, realized what track they were on, saw the direction it was headed, and decided to change course mid-stream.  That's pretty remarkable if you think about it:
Well, a change of plans. After the previous devblog about being able to block other corporations from entering your own outposts, there have been discussions about it both on our forums and ingame. The initial reactions were welcoming, but quite a few concerns emerged soon.

We have conducted our own internal discussions about this matter as well, and came to the decision that we’d bring forward an Intrusion revamp planned for later, rather than build upon a broken mechanic and create more issues.
In short, rather than try to patch holes in a failed mechanic, they're not going to waste any more dev time on it and skip straight to implementing an overhaul, rather than a band-aid.  It's a gutsy move, and one that later in a game's development cycle, can prompt a lot of back-lash and bad feeling.  Star Wars: Galaxies comes to mind as a game that tried to completely revamp what they saw as poor early design decisions later in their development cycle and paid the price for it.

The second interesting thing: Avatar goes on in the devblog to detail exactly what they're going to do, how they're going to do it, and why.  In the business world, this is sometimes referred to as going "open kimono", and it's regarded as a risky move.  In doing this, Avatar invites massive player reactions and feedback, but all of their cards are apparently on the table here, with nothing held back.  That is equally remarkable if you think about it.  CCP rarely does the same.  More often, major changes in EVE Online mechanics are either not pre-announced at all, or are dribbled out in a few out-of-context pieces.  Even more often than that, the only indication that something's going to change and how comes from players kicking the new code around on Singularity a few weeks before it's released.

So, two bold moves in a row here, and I haven't even discussed the mechanics change itself and how it's going to impact PO game-play.  To me, that's a separate issue that's just as interesting, but it deserves its own post.  I'll talk about it tomorrow.


  1. More interestingly, several times it has appeared that one part of CCP released something without any consideration for its impact on other parts. Almost as if the involved teams weren't talking to each other.

  2. I really hope both games learn from each other. PO has some neat mechanics and eve is way more developed.
    Would love to see some things from PO trickle into eve.


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