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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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Comment of the Week: Patchwork

This week, it comes from an anonymous comment left regarding my post yesterday on the POS changes:
As encouraging as it is to see CCP take on things they could not be arsed to take on for years (knowing full well they had to), I'm still a little torn about how they take on things.

It all strikes me as something barely above the patchwork level of affairs they went by for the past few years. Engaging on something is good, but it strikes me as taking on something between shortcuts and low cost investments of resources.

I'm with CCP PrismX on the POS topic, time to end the love/hate affair: replace the construct, phase out the old.
Yep, steel on target.

Check the date on this post that I wrote regarding some predictions for the winter expansion.  In that post, I wrote:
The winter expansion will include the three remaining racial CQs, whatever mini-features we've been seeing that CCP can scrape together in time for late December (new cynos, time dilation, super cap nerfs, ship spinning, logi warp speed, new font, Dram nerf, a few other rebalances hastily thrown together), and that's... pretty much it.
Again, check the date that I wrote that.(1)  ;-)  As amazing as all of the features we're going to see for the winter expansion are, they're really just "patchwork" fixes for stuff that already exists in the game.  If you stop and really think about it, there are no new game play features in Crucible.

And that's only the second time that's happened in EVE Online that I'm aware of.  The first time was called "Incarna".

(1) If I were ever elected to the CSM, the hardest thing about it for me would be to shut up about predicting stuff because I read between the lines of what was and wasn't happening.  ;-)  I suspect CCP would take a dim view of me saying "I didn't break NDA!  I just figured out what had to happen next."


  1. What about new BC with BS guns? Those are new game features.

  2. I agree that's it really just a patchwork (and a good one) but they manage to add a mini new feature with the User Own Custom Offices which should be less of grind to shoot at than POS if you want to disrupt a corporation.

  3. I'm glad you are not on the CSM. Reading this blog wouldn't be nearly as much fun if you were muzzled by a NDA.

  4. Yeah, and I would also say that the changes to POSes would be new game features as well because they introduce a new industry to the game.

    I think the "patchwork" aspect was both necessary and wise angle to start on. Some of these things were complaints that we as the Eve Community had for years. They may be low hanging fruit... but they are still good fruit to pick.

    Since game play features have a much more impacting result over the long term, I am quite fine with them taking care of the small stuff now to show they are listening, while they start thinking deeper about the summer expansion. If they do good there, they might buy themselves a year or two of Incarna focused expansion.

  5. They're new "features" but not "game play features". Game play features would be a major new mechanic such as, say, if they had rewritten the sov system to make a little more sense and a little less structure grinding.

    At the very least, Crucible is adding patchwork things that we asked for and actually want.

  6. It makes you wonder what the winter expansion would have been before this reorganization. Was it just going to be more captain's quarters?

  7. I believe that to say there is no new game features is kinda missing the point. Crucible might not be loaded with shinny new features, but between the fixes, some new items (ships and mods) and the few new features (POCO), it has a chance to be as game changing as any expansion in recent memories.

    While I'm extremely excited about this expansion, in many ways i'm more curious and the one to follow. As you pointed out this is a 2-3 month expansion. What can they do if they bring this vision and energy, when they have 8-9 months to plan for an expansion?

  8. @Unknown: yep, you sum it up. I agree that there are lots of game-*changing* features, but I still don't think there are any new game *play* features.

    The closest thing to a new game play feature in Crucible is one that nobody's mentioned yet: TiDi.

  9. I dunno, CCP has a lot more on the table for winter expansion than what you predicted a month or so ago....Nebulae, PI stations, new ships, V3 skins, new UI tweaks, T2 mods....

    ....and it does all add up to improved gameplay- even sailing around the cosmos looking at the nebulae is gameplay for some....for others the new ships, new mods and other ship/weapon tweaks should amount to at least a couple weeks worth of new combat situations. In all of EVE's expansions over the years, how many have really included more?

    Maybe the boredom isn't really the games fault, if the new expansion really seems that trivial to you, perhaps it's time to move on to another game.

  10. ...Or here's another way to look at it: The game is already pretty deep with features- let's say you could make a wish and add a brand new, never before seen, "not a patch of something else that existed already" feature.

    What would that be?

  11. "I suspect CCP would take a dim view of me saying "I didn't break NDA! I just figured out what had to happen next.""

    You could still post your predictions in the CSM internal forum, even if it is just to show off to the other members later

  12. @Anon 0921

    People have been asking "give us wormholes" for many years. CCP gave them Apocripha.

    People have been asking "give us comets" for a long time now.

    My personal preference: some sort of mini AT all year long, every other weekend or something.

  13. @anon 09:58

    Comets? Like just in the background somehow, or as like some kind of *epic* ice mining? Either way, that's an interesting new idea. (although I don't think many people would be eagerly anticipating that)

    Expanding the alliance tournaments into a bigger system that happens more often and/or is more open to people (as in 1v1'ers and players not in the biggest alliances) is a neat idea even though not entirely *new*. I think the biggest hurdle for EVE to have a more elaborate PVP tournament system is inventing one that doesn't pull PVP'ers out of the sandbox...there would be (or already are) players that wouldn't do anything else, and the sandbox would suffer.

    Comets was a good answer, but the real point of the question was to make people ponder for a while- Trying to imagine new features that aren't already in the game, or aren't one of the projected ideas for EVE that CCP has on the drawing board is kinda tough. (and criticizing CCP for not being able to come up with more *new* ideas seven years into the games existence might be a little unfair)

  14. @Anon1117: CCP has contemplated dropping the current ice belts for ice mining in comets that would have to be scanned down.

    "Tournament play" or "arena play" is also something that comes up pretty frequently. EVE really suffers when compared to an instant-PvP MMO like Global Agenda or World of Tanks. My own idea on how to implement this kind of play in EVE is here:


  15. In all fairness, a common refrain recently has been for CCP to fix longstanding issues with the game. If Crucible is eventually known for a concerted attack on these bugs/issues (in addition to new ships, everybody loves the shiny) then that is something to be encouraged, even if by addressing a widespread range of issues it appears to be "patchwork".

  16. To be quite honest I'm very glad there is no *new* material out there this time. CCP has been so caught on *new* that all too often the issues and mistakes go largely ignored. These changes should result in an easier and more enjoyable gameplay overall. TBH I am looking forward to this expansion more than ever and hope that they continue with this trend in the future, God only knows theres more than enough to fix!!

  17. I'd prefer to have old features that are playable, rather than new broken features. Glass cannons & new POS fuel are indeed game play mechanics. Sure they don't cover everyone's game play, but neither does Sovereignty.

    We'll see in six months whether the glass cannons have changed the way people use super capital ships. If they do, will you admit that it's a new game play feature?

    Is adding a new bishop that can choose to move like a knight a game play feature for chess, or simply a feature?

    Some people are just trying hard to not be pleased, IMHO.

  18. Oh, scan for ice....interesting- On the one hand, obviously right now ice miners are wishing they had a wormhole like place to hide, and on the other hand my corp just ex-communicated a bunch of miners for wanting to mine riches in WH space, but not learn scanning or combat. Doesn't make the Comet idea a bad one, just an incredibly ironic one.... while some of the ice miners would cheer for the relative safety from the goons (they still wouldn't really be safe, just harder to find) the other half would cry ragequit having to meander the galaxy actively scanning for ice to mine on a daily basis.

    Back to the tournament idea, and to go with what I was saying about pulling players out of the sandbox: I downloaded the latest version of SiSi last week, and spent a good part of the weekend fooling with new stuff there... in the midst of the testing, I had an epiphany- the combat I was doing there was fun, but because the combat was happening outside of the normal setting of the sandbox, it was not as interesting. In EVE the situation(s) that makes combat occur, and the possible fallout after the battle is usually much more interesting than the actual combat is itself.

    EVE could do it like Guild Wars did it- have a whole "instant on" PVP arena and tournament system- and I've thought it would be a cool before...but certain players would gravitate to the PVP only side and never come back, PVP in TQ would become even more scarce, and at the same time battles would lose much of what makes them interesting in the game now...instead we would only care about battles based on "prestige" or rankings. (which is actually a dislike I have about alliance tournaments now- once you remove the prestige from the current ATs, the battles are actually kind of dull to watch.)

  19. I'm thinking the new fuel pellets aren't patchwork so much as foundation. POS need redesigned, but if they already know they wanted to change the fuel system, and the change is fairly simple, why not go ahead and toss that in while starting work on the rest. There's also the added benefit of going ahead and sneaking in a change to ice mining. During the AT there was talk of what to do with ice mining, changing the fuel requirements can reduce ice dependency and slide in a fix that has mass approval instead of being seen as a nerf.

  20. personally I'd like to see one patch per year devoted bug fixes and iteration of existing content

    The other would be the big 'newness' patch

  21. The only thing I can think of that's a totally new thing is the destructible/defensible custom's offices. They are (both in terms of defense/destruction) a New Thing To Do, especially for small gangs.

    Maybe. Unless you just lump it in with shooting structures, in which case it's no more new than 4 new BC hulls.

  22. The point of this expansion is CCP finally doing what we've been asking them to do for a very long time: Stop chasing the next new shiny mechanic and iterate on/fix the ones that are already in game.

  23. Ignoring numerous facts just to say you were correct on a random prediction from a few months ago is pretty pointless.

    Plus, even ignoring that. Iterating on new features doesn't turn this into patchwork. Things like V3 and nebulae are not patchwork simply because there 'were' nebulae and there were ships with textures on them, they are as new a feature as any due to the fact that they are coming from technological advancement and new possibilities. Not to mention entirely new directions of development. That is an important distinction, patchwork is in things like POS fuel [and even then it is arguable] and capital ship balancing where it is just a nudge here and a push there.

    "If you stop and really think about it, there are no new game play features in Crucible."

    Do you really want your audience to stop and think about it or just take your words at face value?

    Because if I stop to think about it I can see a fair number of game play changes coming with this expansion. New ships, higher degrees of immersion, flying a great deal of ships will become viable again, an entire weapon group will be brought out of a dusty closet even if it means it will be stuffed back into it again.

    I do like what you do, and your ability to 'switch' mindsets between nearly every post you make. Admire it even. But tone down some of these more random and less informative pieces. If able of course.

  24. I'm not entirely sure what they could add to this game in terms of gameplay, without having to have some sort of structured arena. The only thing I could think of that I would like is to make space infinite. That may ruin the game, though, as resources would no longer be scarce.

    I'm pretty happy with the fixes, and could always do with another class of ships.

  25. How about officers?

    Officers would be similar to rigs in that they are destroyed when you lose your ship, but different in that they can be moved between ships.

    Officers can be used to increase ship abilities, but their effectiveness is based on quality and morale.

    CCP still has the Incarna assets, they have Captain's Quarters and some character models. Officers could appear as NPCs in your Captain's quarters.

    If CCP would like to capture the player segment that is attracted to human-shaped avatars, then this is a way to implement that with little manpower expenditure.

  26. It is interesting isn't it, how things which CCP wrote off for years as neither practical nor doable (or even desired - rememeber that the commercial mess comes from CCP not standing up as a business to its own confusion of in service of who the service model operates) are suddenly practical, doable and desired.

    Here's the thing though, the real question remains whether CCP has truly been taking time for introspection & self reflection and thus implementing the lessons to learn, or whether it is all still regarded as a temporary hiccup before one can get back on the awesome road.

    Which makes this a really interesting time for both customers and CCP, but not as interesting as the road after the winter expansion. Old habits (particularly among those who saw no problem for several years long in making it about them) are very hard to break.

    Oh, one more thing. At Jester, don't ever worry about predictive scenarios for CCP. Remember the principles surrounding immersive service models and their requirements. For the whole to be more than the sum of parts, the synergy required by default includes both CCP and Customer.

    CCP is part of not just the meta environment of the commercial enterprise. It is ironic that CCP's bottlenecks for years saw this is bad, making comments of how they lead where the customer is required to follow. Funny thing though, when it was about their personal opionated convictions customers stopped following, now that CCP is once again making it about the Customer, they do follow.

    Here's to hoping that this is a lesson CCP does learn, may it provide strength and foundation to those there who do take the lessons to heart and may it allow them to stand up to the stone tablets of awesome. The bottlenecks created by people, who were not part of 20% but who are responsible for the tale of how CCP segregated internally and from its own customers (while believing their own showmanship).

  27. Thinking about completely new features for the game, few things come in mind.

    First, giant researching and manufacturing complexes, consist of, say, tens of POSes, placed in cluster and somehow linked to each other, and gaining various types of bonuses while linked. Sure thing, such complexes would be difficult to build, defend and destroy, with only strong and big alliances being able to maintain them, but on other hand, they would make logistics much easier and add new resource and targets for nullsec metagame.

    Second, there is plenty of stars, but they had no use so far, remaining just an eye candy. I think of a new structure, orbiting sun, consuming its energy and doing... well... something. Maybe a giant stationary solar cannon, aimed exclusively for destruction supercaps from whooping 30, 50, 100, whatever AU distance, but vulnerable to sub-cap fleets?

    Third, gene engineering. Further improvements of clones via new labs and researching. Of course, improved clones would come up as much more expensive compared to common ones, but granting some new abilities, like ship type specifications, i.e. there would be improved clones, designed for piloting HAC, or dictor, or BS or whatever ship type you want. And also clones designed for industry, scanning and such.


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