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Pattern Clarc
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2007.11.02 08:01:00 - [1]
 

Disclaimer: Unlike my usual posts, I hope to come across as rational, benevolent, and constructive. If in any point during the next few sentences I appear anything but, I sincerely apologise.
Iím not quitting eve, giving my stuff away or suffering from emo rage because the CCP are ruining my internet space ships. If work permitted, Iíd be in Iceland right now speaking to a developer over a nice hot chocolate and probably realising that we have a lot of the same ideas, however


Iím going to talk to you about nerfing, balance, lore and what it all means to a game like EvE. There are several aspects of this I would like to cover and the first is a direct criticism of the direction and intent behind recent changes to the game.

The Path of Least Resistance
There is always a choice. A lot of people forget this. Most consider nerfing by default to the obvious alternatives of ďboosting everything elseĒ as the solution to imbalances in game. The developers (I fail to quote this right at this moment but bare with me) have even stated that they nerf things because it would require too much effort to boost everything else.
There is always a choice.
There is always an alternative and the easiest way may not (and most likely isnít the best way) to fix something.

I am not talking about boosting everything else.
I am talking about creative solutions that work in synergy with technical factors, cultural aspects and even with the games lore to provide improvements that fix more than just the symptom of a problem, but go right to the source.

The Wrong Type of Balance
The forums are rife with it. The boost this damage, nerf that tank, Iím guilty of it, we all are. Itís synonymous with many MMORPGís and to EvEís credit, the developers donít always respond to 99% of the subjective, unconstructive dross that emerges from the bowls of this community.
However, this is but a symptom of a much larger problem. A problem that is the route cause of the apparent lack of small gang pvp, cookie cutter setups as well as the Marauder problem.
I am a great admirer of EvEís tech 2 ship tree. It is where the niche driven racial flavours which define your play style really stand out. Especially in the recons, interceptors, interdictors and logistics, you can really test the edge of your play style envelope when flying these ships. However, back in tech 1 land, ships are meant to be general purpose, similar to the other races but with cosmetic differences Ė enough to get new players into the game and interested long enough to figure out what they like doing in the game.
There similarity breeds contempt. Because of the way these ships are in direct competition for the same niche, the margin for balance becomes so fine that even the relatively margin additional increase in performance between the other relegates the rest into the evolutionary cess pools of extinction Ė followed by the subsequent whines and demands for nerf here and boost there.
The balance culture that is consuming EvE is exactly why small gang pvp is almost dead. Balance shouldnít be based around A tanks, B ganks, C snipes and D runs away (all though that would be a great place to start from the current pov).
Balance should be done from the point of view of niches, and the environments to fit those niches. To put it simply:
in order for more species to thrive, there needs to be a greater variety of environments in which different types of species can specialise in specific niches.
If this sounds like itís been taken straight out of your biology text book, well thatís because it is. EvE needs more environments and from this a multitude of problems plaguing eve (from nano gangs to blobs) can be countered.
Environments have been discussed by the developers (briefly, again finding specific dev quote may take a while) however in my opinion, these should take highest priority, higher than factional warfare

Pattern Clarc
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2007.11.02 08:02:00 - [2]
 

Edited by: Pattern Clarc on 02/11/2007 08:18:38
So what is an environment?
Well one an example would be solar orbit (>0.5AU).
Being at this proximity to the star would weaken your electromagnetic resists and increase the amount of heat build up generated whilst you overload as well as increase the strain (cap use) on all propulsion mods (amarr boost? yarrr). Another would be breathable planetary atmosphere, a 95% reduction to the effectiveness (speed) of MWDís with a boost to the effectiveness of afterburners (nerf nano gang? well maybe). How would environments be used? Well firstly they would eradicate cookie cutter setups as you would setup for your preferred environment, if you didnít, you could pick a strange/hostile environment and call the enemies bluff Ė the potential for environments to radically improve small gang pvp in EvE is tremendous and itís an example of how we currently are striving for the wrong kind of balance in EvE currently.

Deejavu
Do you remember in the matrix, when Neo experiences Deejavu for the first time after been told that the matrix isnít real? It was an immersion breaking experience that totally enabled him to detach himself from the events within the matrix. For anyone who doesnít know what Iím talking about, deejavu in the matrix happens when something has been changed. This relatives directly to EvE because the nerfing culture in EvE spoils immersion.
I talked previously about the path of least resistance and on how there is always another way. Well. Iím laying down the gauntlet to the CCP. Faceless, undocumented, unscripted, lore-defying nerfing is ruining your game. It isnít the balance you try to achieve with your nerfs, itís the fashion you do it in.

The greatest example in recent times was the propellant injection ventÖ well it canít be classed as a nerf because it was really an annihilation. Something had to be done about the state of the game and I respect that but the way in which it was done?
I kind of seemed that the CCP had no respect for the value of content in the game. No mention in any background story, chronicle or in game player news of there existence or to speculation of there removal from service.
It may nseem like a minor issuse but it degrades the value of content in the eyes of the player, multiplying the number of boost/nerf/whines on the forum and the proliferation of cookie cutter setups and tactics.
Now I know nerfs like this are common in the MMO industry, but thatís no reason for the CCP to follow suit. I mentioned something about a gualtlet, now here it is.

1) Abandon the path of least resistance mentality and justify changes to the game on a niche > lore > balance basis

2) Document every change done to ships and modules, in character of the universe with corresponding lore describing why it was done (with art work and videos) in a kind of running chronicle in which new players can look back on and admire.

3) Give players a chance to effect the changes to ships and technology, just as they would do in events with NPC characters.
For example, an in game event to disable the creodron factories which supplies the majority of drones Ė with the knock on effect of causing all drone bandwidth on gallente ships to be reduced (from 75m3 to 125m3) to converse usage of these now rare drones.
Let the players fight in game instead of in the forum for the changes they want and this would in turn give your content more value.


Thatís about it. For me, work and other commitments are going to take over so I doubt Iíll have any forum or playing time left after this weekend, however I do hope this thread provokes or re-ignites some worthy discussion into a lot of issues we take for granted.

Daram Thakk'ar
Minmatar
343rd Mining Division
Posted - 2007.11.02 08:03:00 - [3]
 

Can I have your stuff?

Trebor Notlimah
Lone Star EVE Group
Veni Vidi Vici Alliance
Posted - 2007.11.02 08:05:00 - [4]
 

I feel enlightened. But why have recons been on the recieving end of all that nerf bat hate. They are recons, they had a nitche, and with a skilled pilot they filled it nicely.

wow, nice read...


<3 treb

Mr Ignitious
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2007.11.02 08:05:00 - [5]
 

Edited by: Mr Ignitious on 02/11/2007 08:23:05
Edited by: Mr Ignitious on 02/11/2007 08:18:17
that is the best t2 text wall tank i have ever SEEN!! i don't even think 2000 posts could break this thing.... jk man, u have some insight i appreciate, but all those little letters make my eyes hurt Shocked

EDIT: so i decided to take the headache and readout what you said. it sounds really good, but the complexity of doing those things sounds tremendous, and would probably induce some sort of lag i'm sure. i do back you up 100% on the making nerfs lore based, or atleast trying to constitute nerfs with lore and such. recording the changes sounds like a beyond fantastic idea. you have officially earned one of my favorite posters, even though your text tank gives me a headache.

EDIT: after reading mothermoons read of part deux of clarcs post i realized that that is genious as well. it would be frustrating when your favorite manufacturer gets owned by some angel infiltrators, but won't it feel grand when duvolle gets a mole into jovian design labs and gets a nice boost for a while? or perhaps that guy that keeps combing your missioning system uses a khanid ship, but turns out khanid had a virus planted in their data hardware and their tanking systems on all their ships are malfunctioning...PAY BACK!!....mind you all of this is probably wishfull thinking, but i felt like sharing Very Happy
ccp, this guy has some good ideas Smile

MotherMoon
Huang Yinglong
Posted - 2007.11.02 08:05:00 - [6]
 

Edited by: MotherMoon on 02/11/2007 08:15:07
Edited by: MotherMoon on 02/11/2007 08:12:47
Originally by: Daram Thakk'ar
Can I have your stuff?


slap, the man is posting his thoughts, let him speak.

also to the above a wall of text is text with no spaces...

rant ahead!!!!
--------------------------------

anyways, please don't forget that if they ever reduce the number of fighters a carrir can put out, they are also releasing more types fighters. Now I'm not a dev, so I don't know, but maybe the role they wanted the new fighters to fill is so overpowered they had to change the way the carrier works??

also I think drone bandwidth may be nerfing and boosting some ships, but it is what you spoke of, they are actually changing the way it works for all ships.

in some cases like the EOS they messed up and were covering their mistakes (even if it was a bit far)

Kind like how some ships still benefit form nos.

and the new changes to tracking computers, links, damps and such, are pretty cool, because all ships that use them as a bonus have had those bonuses doubled. so they inf act boosted a lot of stuff, while nerfing the 4 mid frigate.

I mean they nerfed ECM, but it's still now great when used with ECM ships, actually it's better because it ads taste to the universe.

I like it when only one ship can use the cookie cutter set up.
the domi is still a ***** when it runs nos and nuets.
but other ships aren't.

speaking of which... the pilgrim should be boosted just because it fits the role. but I'm still all for nerfing all but one ship.
or the other way around.

If my rifters tracking bonuses now means more while being disrupted I like it.

I still can't help but smile when I see the scimitar, and know it's more useful after the "nerf"


but the above just my views, I'll read your part 2 now.
----------------------------
part 2

I like.... no LOVE the idea of players making ships stronger or weaker over time. This could invole faction warfare maybe???
but dear god I can hear the programers crying right now Sad

Trebor Notlimah
Lone Star EVE Group
Veni Vidi Vici Alliance
Posted - 2007.11.02 08:07:00 - [7]
 

Originally by: MotherMoon

slap, the man is posting his thoughts, let him speak.[/quote




Thats it, we're having babies...

<3 TReb

Daram Thakk'ar
Minmatar
343rd Mining Division
Posted - 2007.11.02 08:08:00 - [8]
 

But I wants stuffs! Shocked

Anyways, to be a hair more srsly serius, a lot of good points from OP. The main issue for me is how CCPs nerf-fetish seems to kill diversity in the game. Pretty soon they might aswell remove everything but one single ship and the mods for one single fitting, as everything will be just the same in a different package anyways

Pattern Clarc
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2007.11.02 08:14:00 - [9]
 

Originally by: Trebor Notlimah
I feel enlightened. But why have recons been on the recieving end of all that nerf bat hate. They are recons, they had a nitche, and with a skilled pilot they filled it nicely.

wow, nice read...


<3 treb

Recons where all competeting with t1 and other ships in the same enviroment....
Smile
Hence the apparent need for nerfs

MotherMoon
Huang Yinglong
Posted - 2007.11.02 08:16:00 - [10]
 

Originally by: Pattern Clarc
Originally by: Trebor Notlimah
I feel enlightened. But why have recons been on the recieving end of all that nerf bat hate. They are recons, they had a nitche, and with a skilled pilot they filled it nicely.

wow, nice read...


<3 treb

Recons where all competeting with t1 and other ships in the same enviroment....
Smile
Hence the apparent need for nerfs


the cruse with nuets is sacrier than the nos one Twisted Evil
but I don't know what the pligrams prro drones will be like soon.

Pattern Clarc
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2007.11.02 08:43:00 - [11]
 

Originally by: Mr Ignitious
Edited by: Mr Ignitious on 02/11/2007 08:23:05
Edited by: Mr Ignitious on 02/11/2007 08:18:17
that is the best t2 text wall tank i have ever SEEN!! i don't even think 2000 posts could break this thing.... jk man, u have some insight i appreciate, but all those little letters make my eyes hurt Shocked

EDIT: so i decided to take the headache and readout what you said. it sounds really good, but the complexity of doing those things sounds tremendous, and would probably induce some sort of lag i'm sure. i do back you up 100% on the making nerfs lore based, or atleast trying to constitute nerfs with lore and such. recording the changes sounds like a beyond fantastic idea. you have officially earned one of my favorite posters, even though your text tank gives me a headache.

EDIT: after reading mothermoons read of part deux of clarcs post i realized that that is genious as well. it would be frustrating when your favorite manufacturer gets owned by some angel infiltrators, but won't it feel grand when duvolle gets a mole into jovian design labs and gets a nice boost for a while? or perhaps that guy that keeps combing your missioning system uses a khanid ship, but turns out khanid had a virus planted in their data hardware and their tanking systems on all their ships are malfunctioning...PAY BACK!!....mind you all of this is probably wishfull thinking, but i felt like sharing Very Happy
ccp, this guy has some good ideas Smile

Well, the thing on enviroments was really focusing you on a possible solution to all eve's balance problems.
Enviroments is going to happen in some way or form
enviroments thread
As for the lore, yeah, EvE is one of the few games that needs it.
Imagine lucas arts nerfing the light sabre? They just couldn't do it, EvE needs that value on the content within the game - it promotes growthand respect in the community, instead of contempt when groups don't get there way.

Nicholai Pestot
Gallente
Scorpanti Corporation
Posted - 2007.11.02 10:00:00 - [12]
 

I agree with you Pattern.

Balancing should go:

Combat environment provides role provides ship class.

Then racial flavor should determine how that class is filled.

Currently you need what?

For fleet work:-

Ranged Sniper BS
Light tackler
Heavy tackler
Anti-support
Scout
Cynoship
Cap DPS

For roaming gangs:-

Light tackler
Fast DPS
Fast EW
Scout

Throw in a few more roles for POS combat (which I have thankfully had very little experience of over the last year so wont comment on with specifics) and you have at most 12 specific combat roles (some fleet roles are shared with roaming gangs).

Add in light transport and heavy transport work, then command ship and mining ship and you have a total of 16 ship roles commonly used.

Times this by 4 for racial flavor and thats 64 ships.

Balance complaints should then occur if a race lacks a ship for a given combat role (Fast nano-type DPS for Caldari for example) NOT just because one ship is 5% worse in its role than a racial alternative, or because it needs to perform its role in a different way to its racial alternatives.

Some races may be better in a certain combat role, but as long as no one race has a disproportionate amount of sucky ships (see-Amarr) there isn't a problem.

Eve is currently overloaded with ship variants given the number of 'viable combat slots' it has open so anything to increase the number of viable combat slots, such as different environments that will actually effect the fights between big pvp alliances and small roaming gangs alike (ie have environments on gates and around moons/stations ffs not off at random scannable locations) has my full support.

PS- pattern I want to know the instant BSG is ready Razz

Atreides Horza
Caldari
Malum.
Posted - 2007.11.02 12:59:00 - [13]
 

Edited by: Atreides Horza on 02/11/2007 13:02:55

The OP has valid points that CCP would do well to take into consideration - however, the OP fails to address yet another problem, which is so beautifully illustrated by the first response to the initial post:

That there is a vast and very vocal majority of EVE players who are utter ****oids with an IQ below room temperature, effectively drowning out any attempt at constructive criticism aimed towards future development in a tsunami of e-Peen slang fad fests and general ******edness on these boards. It's like offering a gardener advice on creating a beautiful park for a bunch of prepubescent teens with dirtbikes to do with as they please...

I do agree, though. The current state of EVE is in direct relation to heavy-handed use of the almighty nerfbat, which - in perfect synch with the current time trend - makes sure that if we can't excel as individuals, we can at the very least suck on an equal footing as a blob by being provided with the latest in lowest common denominators.

I'm one desillusioned EVE player, I'm afraid - and I await the day when another spotty kid will get to write the inevitable 'can I have your stuff' to my own unconditional surrender.

Good luck though - to constructive criticists and game developers alike. You're going to need it.

Pattern Clarc
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2007.11.02 13:36:00 - [14]
 

Edited by: Pattern Clarc on 02/11/2007 13:37:45
I have faith in people, the CCP and the future. I just wanted to give you guys who bothered to read the post a heads up on the route cause of problems in eve and a few major solutions.

If any of you are at fanfest atm, could you just ask the "what about enviorments" bit for me please, i'd appriciate it!

An Anarchyyt
Gallente
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
Posted - 2007.11.02 13:46:00 - [15]
 

Edited by: An Anarchyyt on 02/11/2007 13:46:36
Originally by: Atreides Horza
*****oids with an IQ below room temperature,


Asteroids?

Atreides Horza
Caldari
Malum.
Posted - 2007.11.02 14:10:00 - [16]
 

Originally by: An Anarchyyt
Edited by: An Anarchyyt on 02/11/2007 13:46:36
Originally by: Atreides Horza
*****oids with an IQ below room temperature,


Asteroids?


What other 'roids are a general pain in the @ss?

Zaphod Jones
Minmatar
The Real OC
Cascade Imminent
Posted - 2007.11.02 14:24:00 - [17]
 

excellent write up Pattern, i actually read the whole thing, now we need some dev to read and comment.

Dr Slaughter
Minmatar
Coreli Corporation
Naraka.
Posted - 2007.11.02 15:14:00 - [18]
 

Originally by: Pattern Clarc
Faceless, undocumented, unscripted, lore-defying nerfing is ruining your game.
110% agree. Great post, great ideas. Pity you're not in iceland.

Dark Flare
Caldari
0utbreak
Outbreak.
Posted - 2007.11.02 15:23:00 - [19]
 

Originally by: Daram Thakk'ar
Can I have your stuff?


gg on making yourself look like a tool.

Brilliant post Pattern, just hope a dev sees it and takes some of it on board.

I really like the ideas you're putting forward.

Polysynchronicity
Amarr
Posted - 2007.11.02 15:39:00 - [20]
 

aaand 100 points to Pattern Clarc!

Alz Shado
EverFlow
Posted - 2007.11.02 16:09:00 - [21]
 

Edited by: Alz Shado on 02/11/2007 16:20:23
At the risk of sounding out of touch, I'm gonna go with a big Duhhhh, and a little "finger and thumb in the shape of an L on the forehead" action.

We already have environments. Not ones that drastically alter ships, but ones that do change play styles. It's called Security, and by golly they have had effect on play styles. Fly a faction-fitted ratting ship through lowsec? Hells no. Fly a Dreadnaught through high sec? BZZT. Interdictor camp? Not anywhere +.1.

Ships have already been partioned. To use your high-school biology textbook analogy, the predators dominate where they have the advantage. I've never heard of a pack of tigers taking down a polar bear, or a shark eating an elephant. All that the suggestions for environments do is keep the very forces of PvP we want fighting *away* from each other. With the way combat was developed in EVE, it really does come down to Rock-Paper-Scissors. Why would anyone with a bankroll less than a few billion fly an MWD'd Speed-rigged interceptor into an atmosphere region when they know it's potential suicide? Hutspah? Bravado?

The problem Eve faces is that their RPS is being trumped by the the Blob. If you search my name in the forums you'll see I once made the statement "knowledge trumps skill trumps numbers trumps luck". But the number game, when used in conjunction with lag and other technical loopholes rather than tactics are becoming the de-facto way of combat, and the only knowledge that will help you is that if you jump your fleet into a node that's already populated EvE turns into powerpoint and noone wants to risk hundred-million-isk ships on who gets to load their mods first.

So okay, add environments. You'll put everyone into their own places. Then you'll hear that CCP needs to give incentives for pilots to go there. But if that can be done, why wait to throw environments into the mix? Why not use an existing system, say Deadspace acceleration gates that can't be accessed by capital class ships to reach otherwise unscannable structures necessary for Sovereignity? Or add a capital (titan?) bomb launcher that fills a grid with that hazardous gas cloud that does a small amount of shield+armor damage just for being there and thus keeps smaller ships away -- a DoT DD? The best environments are the ones created by the players, to suit their needs against an oncoming opponent.

Developers can artifically add boundries, change gate locations or security status, but the ships will always go where they're most powerful. The only way to break up that cycle is to allow the players to change the rules themselves; give themselves an unexpected advantage of high-ground and use it against a stronger opponent. And they need goals that don't require 600 ships on a grid.

Atmospheric flight sounds fun, but only to the ships who'll dominate there. The rest will prefer to stay in orbit.

Daelin Blackleaf
White Rose Society
Posted - 2007.11.02 16:12:00 - [22]
 

Excellent post Pattern.

Also to borrow a phrase from that most hated place and apply it to the direction the game is going.

"lore... lol." Crying or Very sad

Elles D
Caldari
Clan Shadow Wolf
Fatal Ascension
Posted - 2007.11.02 16:19:00 - [23]
 

Well put Pattern, summed up a lot of what i thought; i wonder how many more informed posts like this it will take for a dev to reply back.....

YouShallKnowFear
Fourty-Two
Posted - 2007.11.02 16:35:00 - [24]
 

/signed.

Dr Slaughter
Minmatar
Coreli Corporation
Naraka.
Posted - 2007.11.02 17:14:00 - [25]
 

Originally by: Alz Shado

Developers can artifically add boundries, change gate locations or security status, but the ships will always go where they're most powerful. The only way to break up that cycle is to allow the players to change the rules themselves; give themselves an unexpected advantage of high-ground and use it against a stronger opponent.

Which would be why mines got taken away? Adding more environments and adding more ways for the players to alter the environment tactically, are surely a good thing?

Torshin
Fairlight Corp
Rooks and Kings
Posted - 2007.11.02 18:40:00 - [26]
 

signed

Pattern Clarc
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2007.11.02 18:40:00 - [27]
 

Originally by: Elles D
Well put Pattern, summed up a lot of what i thought; i wonder how many more informed posts like this it will take for a dev to reply back.....

This wasn't necessarly done to inform the dev's, more the community.
For every nerf/boost/whine thread that appears on these forums, the more the value of the content in the game degrades.
If the CCP actualy build the nerfing policy into the game through the development of lore, I garrentee they will reap the benifits in the quality of the community ten fold.
Smile

MITSUK0
Posted - 2007.11.02 18:41:00 - [28]
 

Great Post.

Seriously, It feels a lot like this is how EVE was when I first joined. For example: Warp to 0km just seem bodged to me, yeh yeh catch them on the otherside, that is not my problem. My problem is that all of a sudden GOD ****ed with the universe and all of EVE became smaller and "home turf" vanished.

Home turf was like an enviroment, come fight me in kor-azor and I have the place insta'd and BM'd to death, hence I have a tactical advantage over someone with "on the fly" BM's and escrow purchased BM sets (purhased BM's being very dodgy as I had all the inbetweens/safespots BM'd myself).

A perfect example of devs taking the easy way out of a problem they faced. While warp to 0km is here and probably wont change I think the majority of people would agree that there could have been better ways to fix it.

BTW I did nto mean that to come off as a warp to 0km whine, but I think it is a relevant case study to the OP's point.

Anwylyd Al'Vos
The Knights Templar
Intrepid Crossing
Posted - 2007.11.02 18:46:00 - [29]
 

/signed

JabJabVVV
Burger Nip
Posted - 2007.11.02 19:16:00 - [30]
 

Nice thread, a shift towards a less homogeneous universe would be great (would make things much more interesting).

Having said that, I disapprove of your use of the word synergy Razz


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