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Aralis
Imperial Dreams
Curatores Veritatis Alliance
Posted - 2008.06.06 13:42:00 - [1]
 

To me the cause of most of the problems in Eve is the failure to think through what is actually happening in the world of Eve. Instead of thinking of the background and the logic of Eve there is too much thinking about nebulous issues like game balance - not that that doesn't have it's place but it's overplayed. This creates three problems - firstly an excessive requirement for suspension of disbelief with phrases like "yes but it's just a game!", secondly it makes it harder for CCP and others to work out what should happen next, and thirdly it makes the game unstable (I'll explain that later).

I'll get straight in with an example: What is a blueprint?

Well in realworld it's a bunch of diagrams and instructions for building something. (On blue paper traditionally - fancy that.) Is that what it is in Eve? "OK Joe I need 20 copies of this blueprint - pop down to the photocopier will you?" Hmmm problem? What the hell would be a bpc be? "This blueprint will self destruct after 5 uses Mr Phelps!"

Well you might say that the limits are legal. Ho diddly hum. How does that work? Who enforces these limits? (I had at one stage thought this was how CCP would make tech 2 more common by allowing bpc to be used without limit in 0.0 but the illegal product wouldn't be allowed to enter empire space. That's logical development.) How do you invent T2 bpc and once you've done it why do you have a limited supply?

OK so how about an alternative logic for manufacturing. Suggestion: In Eve manufacturing is done by nanites. Drop the appropriate nanites in a manufacturing bay along with the materials and they produce the required product. A BPO is actually a device for producing the nanites. A BPC is a collection of stored packages of nanites. BPC take longer to make than the product because storing these things is dangerous and tricky. Invention is a process of taking a batch of nanites and trying to slightly alter their programming - also dangerous and tricky, and unpredictable.

Everyone with me so far? Now some people will be here going what's the point? You're not suggesting actually changing anything!? Oh but I am. And in any case that's only part of the point. Keep going please. Once you know what's going on and why you can think more effectively about the whole game.

Second example:

CCP decide that a ship is overpowered/underpowered. A change is brought in in the next patch. Your character wakes up. "WTF!?!??! My ship had 7 turrets yesterday and today it's only got 5!? WTF happened?!" (Talking the Eos here.) Eve reality and sense shot to hell. But they needed rebalancing you say. Doesn't matter there are other ways of doing things. Sometimes CCP do it from a roleplaying point of view. Motherships grossly overpowered - able to jump out in low sec and nothing anyone could do to stop them. But this time CCP handle it well - New technology introduced of warp disruption field generators with focussed beams. Now the mothership pilots may be going damn. But they arent going WTF. New technology is a part of Eve life - and very sensibly and believably so. Those mothership pilots in Eve may be annoyed but they aren't wondering what happened to the nature of the universe! And they aren't finding they can't undock because their ships are now a nonsense. (OK MS can't dock or undock anyway gimme a break.)

Aralis
Imperial Dreams
Curatores Veritatis Alliance
Posted - 2008.06.06 13:43:00 - [2]
 

Edited by: Aralis on 06/06/2008 13:48:40
This is what I mean by making the game unstable. In reality if you buy the world's fastest car you may wake up tomorrow to find someone has a faster car. You dont' wake up to find it has a new top speed 100mph lower for no reason at all. If things need rebalancing new stuff can be introduced to balance it. And sure SOMETIMES that won't be enough and the nerfbat or boost may have to be brought in - but that should be an emergency measure not something done casually. It gets you (you=CCP) in big trouble and I'll get back to that. Also you have to accept that no matter what changes you make some ships will always be less popular and some be more. You CANNOT make everything equally useful it just isn't possible.

The big one. What on earth is going on in Eve? What is a pod pilot?

All sorts of things in Eve don't appear to make sense - and yet can easily be made to do so. Let me run through some of the problems:

1) Why do Empires let pod pilots run around the place doing what they will with barely any attempt to restrain them even - let alone force them to serve in the empires navies or whatever as you would expect?
2) Why are NPC ships generally so much weaker than the same PC ship?
3) Why do NPC ships almost never warp out of combat?
4) Where are the billions of crewmen coming from who die in PC ships every day? Why do they not have to be paid?
5) Why do the empires happily provide PCs with free newbie ships if they have nothing else?
6) Why are PCs able to be cloned when they die but NPCs are not and frequently die permanently? (Sometimes with weak explanations of "We found and destroyed all their clones.")
7) Why do the empires let weak pirate ships roam their own belts? Normally you'd think that only the strongest pirate ships would make it deep into the empire not the weak ones.
8) Why do PCs do all the weird things they do?
9) Why do PCs frequently know next to nothing about their own world and how things work? I mean if they've just had years of training to become pilots surely they'd know more than they do?
I could come up with plenty more too but that will do for now.

OK suggested explanation (I can think of others for the record but this is my favourite and this is my post) :
PODs are Jovian technology (given originally to the Caldari as per the background story) that enable one man to control a ship all on his own from a sensory deprivation tank. Unlike a normal ship a pod pilots ship has a crew of one. However being put in a sensory deprivation tank and essentially "becoming" a ship is more than most peoples minds can take. 80% of pod pilot trainees become mad. And by mad I mean gibbering idiots who fail the course. Those who do pass are frequently psychotic and at the very least a bit odd.

To answer my own questions:
1) The empires find themselves unwilling to get their own navy personnel to go through such an effectively suicidal procedure. Only volunteers are taken and they can come from any station in life. If there was only one empire the procedure wouldn't be allowed but each empire needs it's own pod pilots for the hope of military power and for the enormous improvements they bring to space business. They are just too nuts to be fully controlled so the empires don't try but instead hope to benefit from their economic achievements and their support. Agents are setup to encourage them to follow any given empires line.
2) The enormous control that a pod pilot has over his ship makes them more dangerous than a crewed ship. Instant responses, no orders being passed.
3) Crewed ships have to shut everything down and get their crews in acceleration couches for warp travel - of course pod pilots are always ready.
4) There are no crewmen.
5) Each empire is hoping for the support of it's own pod pilots when trouble comes.

Aralis
Imperial Dreams
Curatores Veritatis Alliance
Posted - 2008.06.06 13:44:00 - [3]
 

Edited by: Aralis on 06/06/2008 13:48:02
6) Anyone could be cloned - but to be cloned you have to be wired in to the middle of a couple of tons of high tech machinery. Not a problem for a pod pilot but not a way most people can live their lives.
7) Empires know that pod pilots are frequently psychotic and start out looking for something to kill. They are happy to let pirates provide weak targets and let the pod pilots do the fighting. They are channeling the pod pilots the way they want them to go.
8) They are frequently mad. I mean just look at player names? How sane are most of them?
9) Pod pilots are volunteers from any background not trained navy personnel.

In summary - I'm asking CCP to create a more consistent background - perhaps following the above examples, perhaps not. So we know what is going on. So we can judge whether something is LOGICAL in the world of Eve. So the game can be stable - which doesn't mean no change! It means not randomly changing the things that are already in.

Last point - I said failure to follow these rules can get CCP in trouble. Well an example - Cargo Expander 1 BPOs were changed overnight into Cargo Expander 2 BPOs. This was obviously completely unfair - and spectacularly stupid. It gave unfair advantage to some people and hurt others massively. And the reason it was unfair was because no sensible thought could have predicted it. The world of Eve changed overnight, in a way no sane person could have predicted - for no reason whatsoever. I could give you dozens of other examples. And this is the key thing - STOP DOING THIS.

Dani Leone
Gallente
Positively Idle

Posted - 2008.06.06 14:33:00 - [4]
 

I'm in full agreement, a lot of the changes are immersion breaking and very irritating.

One way out when nerfing ships would be to grandfather the existing ships of that class and have all newly off the production lines varieties be of the latest greatest design.

Herschel Yamamoto
Agent-Orange
Nabaal Syndicate
Posted - 2008.06.06 14:38:00 - [5]
 

I sort of see what you're saying, but there's two major problems. One, this is a game before it's a universe, and it has to be treated as such. While it's nice to swear off certain changes for role-play reasons, it's just not feasible. Two, a lot of your proposed fixes actually violate your principles. What pod pilot would wake up tomorrow, find out his entire crew had disappeared, and shrug his shoulders?

Letouk Mernel
Caldari
Posted - 2008.06.06 16:16:00 - [6]
 

Edited by: Letouk Mernel on 06/06/2008 16:18:42
Are you asking for a retcon of the lore to explain game features better? Or are you asking for more stories and roleplayed patch notes from now on?

PS: Blueprint = the complete program/procedure/set of instruction, and the chip or computer it resides on, that allows you to reconfigure a car manufacturing factory to produce a different kind of car, in volume. It's millions of processes that must be re-calculated and controlled in detail, so that the robots don't make a 1 micron mistake and weld the wrong thing, not to mention supply flow, work flow, safeties, testing, and so on. Don't think Joe can make 20 copies of that easily.

I agree with your other example, though, and with the questions and answers posts. Not sure what you want / they can do, though.

Spoon Thumb
Khanid Provincial Vanguard
Vanguard Imperium
Posted - 2008.06.06 17:10:00 - [7]
 

Edited by: Spoon Thumb on 06/06/2008 20:07:14
As i said on CVA forums:

Naming Conventions:

A lot of the problems are to do with naming conventions in programming. When you initially code something, often the prgrammer will pick a name for a class / object or game concept, but slowly over time it will evolve, change or you'll realise you can't really do it the way you envisioned. Thus what you end up with isn't either what you had in mind or what you originally called it

But the names stick because no one can be arsed to go back through the code and change it in every place, and the devs have already talked about this or that in the dev blog

"Magical" Changes:

This is really rather dangerous as one of star fraction's arguments is that the sov system is unrealistic as overnight you magically gain the ability to anchor and online cyno jammers and jump bridges or whatever else with no logical or realistic explaination

This is why I've suggested having sov based on fulfilling the needs of an NPC population and developing a system to give legitimacy to a basic sov claim made with towers. The system needs just a little changing and explaining so that changes made by devs fit in with the storyline better

iicr, there is a backstory about blueprints and it says they are actually specifications. No two blueprints are the same and the reason you can do ME research on them is that you can improve the actual design and still have a product that convorms to the "vespa medium drone" specification and thus has the same stats for less input

The real crux of the problem though is that there are various legacy and design flaws in Eve.

For example, the whole economy will never develop beyond a certain point since there is no way to differentiate two different products on the market aside from price and location. You can't get a more durable or more reliable or cheap and cheerful, made in a sweatshop kessie, as whoever makes it, it is exactly the same, identical item. But if you let people make their own items, a) balancing issues b) explosion in the number of items in the database. Devs have said before "it'd be nice, but not likely this decade"

Edit: I've given up on Eve. Just playing it till something better comes along and blows it (and every other MMO) out of the water

Savesti Kyrsst
Minmatar
Sebiestor Tribe
Posted - 2008.06.06 19:04:00 - [8]
 

Disagree, I like the idea that ships have crews.

Dau Imperius
Amarr
Posted - 2008.06.06 20:39:00 - [9]
 

Pod pilots do not replace ship crews entirely, they merely replace the 'bridge' crew: ie, the 'never centre' of the ship.
Pod pilots don't suddenly have the ability to do all the manual internal ship abilities, such as actually storing the cargo, loading the ammunition, changing out your equipment, cleaning, etc. (they are stuck in a pod while flying, and not all the time, contrary to popular belief that once i a pod you're stuck ther forever. Pilots do get out of it when doocked.)
The pod pilot merely picks what they want done (reducing command time to virtually nothing). The crew still has to make sure it's all done.

On a side note but related to immersion: Clear Skies would not work: a three man crew on a Tempest? No way three people are running everything on a ship that is actually bigger then portrayed. They forgot they need a large crew (in the thousands), especially with no pod pilot. (Er but other then that tidbit great movie!)

I reckon most people don't get 'immersion' though. They completely ignore things that have no physical numbers for them to min-max or effect the game.
Take FW for instance, they see no value on anything in-game visible only, that has no modifications to any stats or attributes such as ranks or medals. They just see blowing other ships up as the only benefit to something and gettign useless killboards running. (which aren't even helpful in the least themselves, so why they complain about ranks is beyond me.)

Back to the blueprints though...yeah I've always been meh at why blueprints have a limited run of copies as far as immersion goes. But I reckon that's immersion that had to go out the window in order to get them working in the games ecnomoy. (We made the copies out of sub-standard digital records that degrade if read too much?)

For the magic changes. Yeah that stinks as well. Personally sometimes, it's up to the player to do the work on his onw. (which is an almost impossible task for the kids without a shred of immagination in most online games, as none have ever roleplayed in their life with pencil and paper, and seem to have no interest beyond shoot 'em all dead.)
We the players just have to 'assume', perhaps the mechanics made some tweaks to the ship design in order to make it work, and it went fleet wide. Technically it was a free hull upgrade/refit. I wouldn't complain if a station did that. I'd just go: Ok, what did you all fek with this time? Oh, shiny. Ok that's different...now give me a list of the changes, and I'll see what I can do.

So in some ways, it's part of the gamers responsibility to get things done, and the games as well, to give a great backstory and show what mistakes the gamers have made to what's been written for the backstory before. Pod pilot issues and crews is the number 1 common mistake in EVE, because some can't be bothered to read the old in-game stories and old diagrams. And why should they? They don't give a rats arse how many ship and crew they blow up because it's not a game stat/effect. I blame CCP for not doing more on that subject though. But that's another topic that's ben discussed, and never given a direct answer from CCP about its future.

Until then, we'll have to take all the changes in stride and do some immersion on our own. Perhaps if we make it work enough (more stories that are correct and in-line with what's been set, and that actually used some common sense and immagination to make it work, rather then ignoring it) then CCP wmight go: Hmm, ok let's make it part of the in-game mechanics (since it seems to be the only way to get some pilots to acknowledge it).

Allaria Kriss
Minmatar
Native Freshfood

Posted - 2008.06.06 21:09:00 - [10]
 

Edited by: Allaria Kriss on 06/06/2008 21:14:18
Would be difficult to pull off, since balance changes mean nerfs, and nerfs mean making something worse. How can you ICly explain that your sensor booster which worked great three hours ago now needs a script to work less than half as well?

I'd love the idea of keeping game changes IC, I really would. However, I think it's impossible.



Other than that, I like the idea of making as much in the game world as possible make IC sense, and because of that, I'm going to go ahead and support this, just to see how much of it is actually possible without violating prime fiction. Gotta keep the writers busy, and besides, I miss the old technical/historical Chronicles.

Robert Kauliford
Kauliford Trading

Posted - 2008.06.06 22:16:00 - [11]
 

Theres very simple RL example of how something can be made worse.

Its called regulation. Its how I think of nerfs.

Spoon Thumb
Khanid Provincial Vanguard
Vanguard Imperium
Posted - 2008.06.07 03:03:00 - [12]
 

Originally by: Dau Imperius


RE: Immersion




You can get immersed in a virtual world as well as at the same time recognising it is not a real world or a true to life reflection of that world

Immersion breaks when someone injects something from the outside or some other world into the current one, creating an inconsistency that can't be reconciled

What is truely immersion breaking, and a cardinal sin, is when some mechanic is left unfinished and/or broken because devs never got round to finishing it

No amount of RP trickery will ever explain why you can't name a POS silo, even though you can name other structures and there is a "set name" option on silos.

But

Nerfs are also immersion breaking because the game universe is inherantly artificial. (This is kinda what I was getting at with my earlier post). In theory, all blueprints should be like T2 BPO's are now. No more will ever be produced, and as they are destroyed or accounts go inactive and they are removed from the game, they become even more rare and valuable(?).

So you start with Kessie MK I and MK I BPO's / BPC's and then comes the boost/nerf in the form of the makers of BPO's (the NPC's) changing the schematics to be MK II. All new prints bought off NPC's will be the MK II variety and produce Kessie MK II's

Thus you end up a). With a much more exciting universe with obsolete or old fashioned technologies (they don't make 'em like they used to) and b). A whole new set of items in the items db every time you boost/nerf something

This point b). then comes back round to my earlier point about why manufacture/industry will never develop. You can't have ppl add items to the db and risk an explosion in number of different item types

Hence the conclusion that there are underlying reasons relating to the game's core design that means things like this will continue.

p.s.

(Same deal with the current generation of MMO's and grinding mechanics. Whoever makes a game that can get around all that will clean up)

Karze Dywine
Minmatar
Gradient
Electus Matari
Posted - 2008.06.21 02:00:00 - [13]
 


Artemis Rose
Clandestine Vector
THE SPACE P0LICE
Posted - 2008.06.21 04:40:00 - [14]
 

Your 1st example:

Well I think the blueprint mechanic is there as for the sake of game play. After the initial investment, any player can build a Raven battleship. Same thing with the blueprint copy mechanic.I believe in the past that blueprint copies were in fact, infinite runs, and they were phased out in the name of balance. You could say that a blueprint copy is like a textbook that had been photocopied and printed with ink that fades away when exposed to the elements (the rigors of production for example).

2nd example:

We need to realize this is in fact a game, and those "mysterious" changes are due to make the game balance. Unfortunate, yes, but you can't expect a game that has a lot of tactical variety to be balanced from the start. There are so many more players than developers, it impossible for them to conceive the amount of combinations that the player base will seek in their quest to best other players. Yes, its unfortunate and I'm sure nobody likes doing it, but you have to maintain a semi-balance.

The questions

1. We are immortals. We individually command the power to financially back entire solar systems, wealth that would make a thriving planet system with billions of workers pale in comparison. This is again a game play mechanic, much of this game and the MMO genre is about escapism. You don't want to be mopping the deck on an Armageddon, you want to set the battlefield a light with lasers. You can serve the navies, both in militias and running agent missions.

2. Not entirely sure, but a pod piloted ship is a better interface to pilot a ship than a traditional bridge crew.

3. Where would they go? If it was your mission to kill that NPC and they warped to safespotted and cloaked, then what?

4. The amount of ISK you would pay them would be minimal. iirc even 2-4 ISK is the equivalent of a planetside fortune. I'd presume they'd come from planets at their chance to be aboard a starship amongst immortals.

5. Gameplay mechanics. How the insurance companies in Eve stay in business requires a suspension of disbelief however.

6. Cloning technology is incredibly expensive, why would you clone a non-pod pilot who has 1/10000000th of the latent potential. These people aren't piloting battleships by the will of their mind.

7. Who knows. Where do the endless hordes of NPCs come from to populate Providence belts, or busy empire mission hubs?

8. People are weird. The internet allows them to mask who they are in RL.

9. You do know how to do a lot of things. Warping, navigation, activating modules, operating scanners, targeting, even things such as docking protocols to get inside stations. This would be the equivalant of flight school for years.

You can't make Eve mirror every single aspect of real life. A lot of your questions and solutions addressing that they aren't "realistic" would have far reaching consequences to game play, rendering it practically unplayable. Eve RP is very achievable, but you have to suspend your disbelief in order to enjoy them sometimes. It is a quirk of sci-fi themed games/media.


 

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