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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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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Small part of the community

Just a quickie.  Well, just a quickie that will probably get me yelled at.

Take another look at this graphic:

It's how CCP Unifex is going to position future EVE expansions: in an Apocrypha-like way, they'll say that the theme for winter is, say, "Wormhole space expansion".  And as part of that theme, they'll maybe have a new couple of ships, a small piece of the POS revamp, some additional PvE, some additional exploration.  Then the next expansion's theme is "Sov space", and that will include some sov changes, some POS changes, some PvE, some more new ships, some more exploration.  Et cetera.

"Look for what's missing," I say from time to time.  Did you notice the thing that was missing?

Here's how I put it in an e-mail to one of the CSM this week:
Therefore, they're going to have to re-market the game to us if they're going to proceed with this strategy that Unifex laid out.  What is implied by his cute little graphic but isn't SAID is that it could now be two or three expansions before the POS revamp is completely done.  That's why that arrow for POSes spreads from spring to winter to spring...  He didn't mean exactly that, of course, but sooner or later players are gonna figure it out and start asking if that's what he meant.
And needless to say, Two step knows this... and isn't happy.  I get where he's coming from.  I do, particularly for people living in wormholes.  Living out of a POS is hell, hell, hell.  And I want the POS revamp as much as the next guy.  But at the expense of adding actual game play?  Ummmm... not so sure.  And yes, I've heard the Ultima Online house analogy.  But until I can plant a flower box outside my POS, I don't buy it.  EVE ain't Minecraft.

Now keep in mind that there's lots of ways to solve this problem.  They could solve the problem in a much easier way: let players plant station eggs in w-space, particularly if you combine that with destructible stations.  I'm not saying that's the solution.  I'm saying that there are other solutions that are just as valid as the massive POS revamp needing an entire expansion.

But if you want to express anger over this, then Two step's linked the forum post to do it in.

Still reading the CSM Summit Minutes.  I'm on page 40-something.


  1. Avatars are not even on the list at all

    1. Well there's a positive at least.

    2. Anon 10:05
      (1) FO&D

      (2) http://turamarths-evelife.blogspot.com/2012/11/on-getting-back-in-contention.html

      Nuff said.

  2. Here's my suggestion:

    Everybody who uses the POS interface, stop playing EVE for a week or two.

    I bet you the repercussions won't be small at all. There's an idea for a blog post Jester; What would happen if everybody stopped using POSes overnight?

    1. I approve this suggestion.

      On page 15 Unifex says POSes are desperately in need of re-work. On page 38 Soundwave says the POS issue affects a relatively small number of players.

      Wait... I thought Greyscale was the evil one, what the hell is going on at CCP ffs?

    2. Please please do this. Also, don't worry about checking your fuel levels beforehand, nothing bad could possibly happen.

  3. We NEED some iterations over POSes, the most advanced and fun game enviroment is gimped by an old and restrictive system as POSes.

    I agree with Two Step 100%, we need private hangar and item storage and handling of roles for each POS independently even if it's a nightmare for POSes admins (at least the lazy ones).

  4. Just like Unifex said later on in the minutes, a POS revamp would only affect a small number of people. As someone who lives in nullsec space the only time I ever come into contact with a POS is waiting for a fleet to form up and using a jump bridge. I assume a good portion of players in K-space operate similarly. It doesn't make sense to dedicate a large amount of resources to something very few people will actually use.

    1. I wish we had access to stat on the number of players who live in POSes in W-space... cause if we did I'd roll the reams of paper up and shove it up... (ok, ok Jester, I'll be good..)

    2. You live in null sec? Does your alliance have a ship replacement policy? Where do they get the isk for it? Is it from moon mining? Then you are affected because someone has to manage that and it involves POSes.

      Do you ever go on ops to reinforce POSes? Isn't that boring? Perhaps improving POSes would change how reinforcement works and make it more interesting.

      You use jump bridges? Someone has to manage those POSes to keep them fueled? Do you ever use a Titan bridge? Someone has to keep the POS that the titan sits in fueled and secure. Where do you figure that Titan was built? A POS. Does your alliance use Supercarriers? They were built there too. Do you buy T2 components or ships? The manufacturer almost assuredly created the bpc's used for the invention in a POS.

      Do you wish there were more miners and industrialists about for you to roam around and shoot? Why would they be in null though? Industry using POSes is avoided if possible because its so painful and stations offer many benefits over POSes.

      Do you ever use boosters? The gas for them was refined in a POS somewhere.

      While you may feel you don't come into contact with a POS very often, I would guess that you are affected by them far more than you realize. Improvements to POSes could have much wider repercussions than just making it easier for the people that manage them, to manage them.

    3. By this logic, no new features could ever be implemented, as the number of people using said new features before they are implemented, is always zero.

    4. Typically blinkered and small sighted, go back to mashing the F1 button on command and wait for your Alliance senior management team to tell you what your opinion is.

    5. Nobody ever bloody freaking asked for major POS work. People wanted to a. be able to refit T3 subsystems in a POS and b. better control over who has access to what hangar divisions. If this is a major undertaking that would consume years of developer resources then it's time that CCP just shuts down the servers.

    6. Maybe there are so few people using POS because they're a pain to use in the first place?
      I'm one of those, I've left 0.0 and WH space because of this crap design.

      A few days ago, I had a chat with a guy on Buckingam, who was out there to try them out. He was all "wtf?!" I guess that's one more person who won't use a POS extensively...

  5. I enjoyed the comments early in the Summit Minutes regarding transparency and "certain bloggers". I wonder who they meant? ;)

  6. Look at what else isn't listed...PVP

    1. Yeah, I don't think they've been spending enough time on pvp related stuff, like...I dunno, re-balancing all the stuff?

  7. I don't really get why they think POS's are something that will kill the company or how they think it's "niche". At one time or another everyone looks into POSes for one reason or another. It may be first day, it may be 4 years out. It could be for research, manufacturing, or many many other things that POSes do.

    Most of us check the market, do a quick back of the envelope calculation, and say, "*#@$ that!". Some of us get past the cost and look at everything needed to set one up and say, "*@#$ that!". A few get past the initial stages and start seriously considering the logistics of running one and say, "*@#$ that!".

    There are so many barriers to entry with POSes, all of them unnecessarily high, that no one knows what the true impact of them would be if at least small ones actually became something everyone could use. It's a great big unknown. And if they can't design a themed expansion around an unknown that large they are seriously horrible game designers.

    Off the top of my head: they can hit manufacturing with new ways to build stuff, include new resources somewhere that are required in their construction(everyone always seems to think lowsec needs something), since the things are destructible whole new loot tables can be added or salvage or whatever, one of the bullet points is they no longer need to be at a moon they so can be added into the list of things scan probes are good for boosting exploration, and that doesn't even touch the use cases that can be opened for the POSes themselves.

    Personal, Corp, and Alliance level hangers, bays, labs, lines, and what not. Want emergent uses? Allow smaller ones to be cloakable, lure a gang to it, uncloak, and open up on them with a mini-deathstar. The uses of a personal level POS that everyone can drop and successfully run easily all on their own is limitless. Even if they added no new features to the POSes themselves except making the things ubiquitous throughout New Eden it'd open up game play avenues no one has really dreamed up yet.

    I think CCP is being utterly dis-ingenious. If they think Nullsec or something is a larger issue and needs to be addressed NOW and put a POS themed expansion out afterwards; that's fine. But to say it's not worth devoting an entire expansion to? I throw the brown coloured bovine flag.

  8. What I'm seeing in the GD forums now is every time the the POS issue is brought up its threadlocked and a pointer to the entire CSM minutes issue or another entire subforum is posted. Looks to me instead of letting a single issue be discussed in the name of Damage Control the issue is being actively diluted.


    1. Welcome to Pete McKay's PR spin machine.

      It's all about controlling the message and silencing any dissatisfaction in case it be stumbled upon by a potential customer.

      They think they are helping put it makes the primary source of information for customers look like a depressing old people's home.

      You can't help wonder how fragile the whole thing is now with the release of Dog 514 coming up and the slow CCP realization that incremental-ism will get you only so far.

      It's been clear for a while the next series of patches would likely do little for new players. So we switch from the current plan to "Grab Bag". The only thing to note on that. You might change the theme, but you're unlikely to drop in any major "verticals" if you are trying to tweak what's there.

      So with a flurry of dev blogs, heavily sanitized CSM minutes and a thuggish bag of tricks from the forum police - here we are.

      Shut up, don't complain and just keep paying.

    2. Always nice when folks bring up a Canadian Politician. For those not in the Know, Peter McKay is our Defense Minister. Quite famous for the policies described, and part of a party in government that spends far more on PR and spin, than actually governing.

  9. Gotta laugh at a chart whose definition of improvement goes from pointing forward to pointing straight down :D

  10. The new graphic/plan for 2013+ is nothing but pure spin.

    What it really says is that CCP plans to make minor changes/tweaks to as many things as possible, in each release, but never actually invest the resources/effort to revamp or fix any major problem area.

    The "theme" nonsense is nothing but a way to wrap it up pretty for PR.

    Now, what this really means is that CCP plans to keep EVE in a minimal effort, maintenance release mode for the foreseeable future, while they concentrate the majority of their resources on doing what is necessary to "fix" DUST. None of this is a surprise to me - I actually expected CCP to choose this direction, since it makes the most sense for them, from a business POV.

    For us, the EVE players, then, is this a bad thing? No, I don't think so.

    There are many things in the game play which can be fixed or vastly improved by focusing on tweaks to existing code and database, rather than adding a lot of code to introduce more broken stuff. For example, Fozzie's ship changes are nothing more than simple database tweaks and they have proved to be far more successful than any "major" new feature in the past two years.

    The real trick for CCP will be to keep player expectations for each release realistic. I don't like the attempted "all is well" spin, though - I think that CCP should just be more upfront with the facts, incl. difficulties, so that we can support them fully in their efforts.

    As a caveat, given the success of Star Citizen's kickstart fund raising, I wonder how well CCP would do with a similar "kickstart" to support the development of new features in the game?

  11. I guess CCP figures that most of the high sec POS's will be taken down once they hammer high sec industry (page 44/45). I quite like that the minutes don't mention that Soundwave and Greyscale have both been quoted stating they want to remove T2 mfg from high sec. I imagine that will be one of the surprise features we get with every release.

  12. Its quite interesting to see that CCP in their current situation - I've seen it with my own company that when your so used to fighting fires that when you eventually put them all out you stand around wondering what to do. You get so used to having to put out fires that when that stops you find yourself a little lost :P

    CCP are now the dog that has caught the car and now doesn't know what to do with it, and to think that they are still in the 'planning' phase for the May expansion implies that they are running short of big ideas else they would be splashing them around already.

    I have to agree that POS's in general are not what I would consider 'game play' as the only really exist to store your stuff and you don't really interact with them all that much - but I guess the same could also be said about PI in that once its set up you just poke it once or twice a day and its hard to consider that to be 'game play' either.

    What it DOES provide however is 'roleplay' which I think for an MMO is still quite important. People do want to feel as if they own a little bit of space rather than just renting a CQ in a station. The potential to expand upon it in WIS to the point of having multiple people walking around the same station or having avatar discussions and meetings is actually a reall cool concept - could you imagine an ingame operation planning meeting inside your corp POS? Now that would be cool! :P

    Even if a POS would simply exist as a ISK sink for players to spend their money on, and if done in a way that it benifits everyone (ie, even solo players can have a little house with a white picket fence to store their rifter after a long day) rather than being so expensive that only large corps or players with very deep pockets will be able to make the most of.

    Maybe CCP should consider this as just one slice of the expansion pie and work on it in stages, providing incrementing functionality as the months go by rather than having to do everything in one large chunk. Surely the management of POS's is the first thing to look at and even then it should be nothing more than a user interface design issue?

  13. I wonder if they are just a bit worried about screwing it up. There are so many pos's and they would have a huge effect if they didn't work for a few days.

    It needs to be finished in one go two. Can't have "next summer shields!"

  14. Things must be real dire at CCP if they can't afford a small team of devs to work on a POS revamp and/or iteration.

  15. Notice how much Seagull keeps repeating how she thinks it important to cater to Enablers. POS managers are Enablers, so I think you can ease down guys :-)

    That said, I'm not on the team that thinks narrowing every last bit of ressources down on the community's latest pet peave is the only way to go about it.

    In regards to the Unifex/Seagull split, it would form up so that Unifex is the "managing director" and Seagull is the "creative director" which means that Seagull is definitely our new guy(-ess). And that, ladies and gentlemen, is none other than a small revolution given the mindset she will start bringing to the table.

  16. I take back everything bad I ever said about two step. He was the one asking the hard questions in most of the 2nd half of those minutes. Everything from CREST App exploits to the abandoning of POS improvements (what was the NDA deal on POSes anyway?) to the service-contract cum Bounty Hunting flip-flop to the Static Data Export debacle that plagues 3rd party EVE apps to the lack of PLEX in Dr.EggJoke's inflation index etc.

    I wondered why we previously found out two step isn't running for re-election to CSM8. I think I have my answer, and it doesn't reflect kindly on CCP at all.

  17. Yeah, they seem to be switching to a dev philosophy of trying to appease as many segments as possible at a time... Personally, I don't think that will work for more than 6 months tops before folks are fed up with that approach. Seems like we'll have a whole lot of stuff half-baked until whenever... Good point DarthNefarius - I laughed as well... :)

  18. While I won’t argue about the measure of impact revamping POS system has, I can think of no better toolbox to build new gameplay opportunities.

    • POSes are scalable, form personal towers to important alliance assets.
    • POSes are configurable, so it is possible to add new interesting modules without introducing a whole new type of structures.
    • POSes are viable objectives for small gang warfare, especially if it’s true that they plan to remove the POS field.
    • POSes are ideal for providing groups bottom-up income, if their activities can be made taxable.

    Just by reading through the two null-sec session (that is how far I got on the document) made me realize how many goals stated there a revamped POS system could help achieve.

    POS revamp was said to be much more than just making its UI better, and as such it holds tremendous value for CCP.

    1. But you've got to remember the biggest goal of all: attracting a new generation of new players to EVE.

      If CCP dies because DUST isn't bringing them the revenue they need to pay their financial obligations and neither is EVE, it doesn't matter how good the POSes are.

  19. Please note that I am not demanding the modular POS stuff get done right now. What I am asking for is that they at least deliver a few critical short term fixes for the current system, and start work on the modular POS system.

  20. If they roll out a new POS system slowly over 3 expansions... I am okay with that.

    But the summit paper read as if they aren't going to do a new POS system at all. So I assume we get only tweaks and minor improvements. A bit of iteration on the old system. I am not okay with that. At all.

    So I want to encourage everybody to voice those thoughts in the threadnaught (be polite, be constructive, be firm): https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=194625

  21. Well, there is a proper threadnaught developing.

    And the whole notion of POSes being only for a small part of the community is so ... braindead ... as to need no spoken refutation.

  22. CCP is heading into a world of Pain...

    DUST for all practical purposes I'm betting will fail. 99.9% of FPS people aren't anal enough to want to spend years building a character.

    This coupled to the Bitervets who, once they figure out that 90% of CCP resources will be devoted to DUST will begin an all-out push to mess with and disrupt the Dusties...

    What CCP doesn't get is that the seeds for its own failure are with the very people it is relying upon...and ATM they are showing that they are totally unprepared for whats coming...

  23. Not sure ifthisiswhat is what you meantby missing but the 'TECH bottleneck' fix is missing
    Also Ring mining isnot there unlessit is covered by exploration.
    ps: if I got it right does that mean I get a cookie?

  24. Is it just me but does this all sound like they have no plan in mid-January for a release they plan for May? Given a reality of 3-4 weeks for polish and testing is there any feature at this point beyond small tweaks that can be delivered in 12 weeks that would make anyone excited?

    I don't buy it, they either have a plan for May and are going through the motions with the CSM (using them for PR let-down, deflecting attention)or they are deep into a schedule that can't produce anything of importance for ships in space beyond continued ship re-balancing.

    Sounds to me like not only was the CSM not effective in advocating for the top changes people wanted but they are locked out beyond PR purposes for the May release as well. The Summits over, threadnaught isn't going to change decisions at this point in the cycle beyond some small damage control.

    CCP Grayscale's comment = You people can't reliably listen to anything I say as meaningful from now on, my interactions are entirely theoretical BS.

  25. For $50,000 they could hire a single person skilled in reverse-engineering who, at the end of 6 months, would understand their POS code, client and server side, better than the original developers who designed and coded it in the first place. I know people who do this sort of thing, and since the Python source code is available then the success of this effort is basically guaranteed. I really don't know what their problem is. 23 people in the Art department but they can't afford a single programmer to work full-time for a few months on bringing an important legacy piece of their codebase up to snuff? At the very least, they'd be able to re-code the existing POSes and make whatever changes are needed to support T3 subsystem refits and corp hangar access rights.

  26. A lot of people overreacting here. And elsewhere. Check this out: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=2475724#post2475724

  27. From page 19:

    "Unifex: Once we have a theme, we can begin to thread the issues you've identified as needing to be prioritized into that theme. POS's, for example, desperately need some improvement. How do we fit that work into our theme? Maybe we don't do all of the modular POS work at once, but we start by making some modules, solving the hangar problem, for instance. But that new hangar module would also exist to support other new activities as part of the themed expansion. "

  28. "Look for what's missing": Carbon technology, the thing that was supposed to be the framework across all their platforms.


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