Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Question Of Standings

Last week CCP decided to turn a bug into a feature and remove the standings requirement to obtain jump clones from NPC corporations. CCP Falcon explained the decision last Tuesday:
"Before the release, minimum standings of +8.0 were required with an NPC corporation in order for a pilot to be able to install a jump clone in their stations. This is no longer the case, and capsuleers can freely create jump clones in whichever NPC station they choose to do so.

"This was an unintended change that was a side effect of the release, however, after watching the reaction this change received from the community, we have decided that it will remain in place. This means that pilots will be able to continue to benefit from having no standings restriction on jump clone creation."
I realize that some CSM members believe the noblest act they can perform is to remove inactive CSM members and receive credit for doing so. But others see CCP slowly breaking a major game mechanic in EVE. Sugar Kyle pointed out the problem in her weekly CSM update on Sunday:
"I've made a lot of clones for people with my Rorqual but I don't think that that's the best reason to keep standings as they were. I think that it highlights the fact that there needs to be a better reward system created for high standings. At the same time, it also reestablishes the fact that standings need a serious sit down and rework as they become a weird, hollow shell of features. My concern is that this will be left dangling. I don't want that."
Over the past 12 months, CCP removed two of the biggest benefits of having high faction or NPC corporation standings, the anchoring of POS in high sec and now the purchase of jump clones, from the game. NPC corporation and faction standings still provide benefits (and penalties) to players who choose to help or kill NPCs. A partial list includes:

  • -5.0 and below: The player becomes shoot on sight to NPC factions.
  • -2.0: The player loses access to all of a faction's agents above level 1 (for faction standings) or just a corporation's agents over level 1 (for NPC corp standings).
  • 1.0: The player gains access to an NPC corporation's level 2 agents. If the standings with the faction are 1.0, then the player gains access to all of the level 2 agents for that faction.
  • 3.0: The player gains access to an NPC corporation's level 3 agents. If the standings with the faction are 3.0, then the player gains access to all of the level 3 agents for that faction.
  • 5.0: The player gains access to an NPC corporation's level 4 agents. If the standings with the faction are 5.0, then the player gains access to all of the level 4 agents for that faction.
  • 6.67: NPC corporations stop taxing a player's refinery use entirely. Between 0 and 6.67, a player receives a reduction in taxes, depending on the player's standings. This benefit does not apply to faction standings.
  • 7.0: The player gains access to an NPC corporation's level 5 agents. If the standings with the faction are 7.0, then the player gains access to all of the level 5 agents for that faction.
  • 8.5: Some factions will offer players a two-run faction frigate BPC.
  • 9.2: Some factions will offer players a two-run faction cruiser BPC.
  • 9.9: Some factions will offer players a two-run faction battleship BPC.

In addition, high NPC faction and corporation standings help reduce the broker fees a player pays when selling items. With both faction and corp standings at 10, the broker fee is reduced to 0.185%, saving a player more than 1% through the buy and sell process.

I know that a lot of players hate standings and would cheer if CCP removed the mechanic from the game. I, on the other hand, love standings. While CCP is working on improving EVE's PvE content, I'd also like to see the devs look at the standings system as well. Actions have consequences in New Eden, for good and for bad. I would really hate to see that end for actions taken in support of or against NPCs. If the devs can come up with some compelling, or at least different, game play choices involving standings, I'd love to see them on Tranquility.

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