Monday, July 25, 2011

Fly Drunk - CCP Soundwave's Latest Eve Radio Interview

Eve Radio and DJ Funky Bacon's interviews with The Mittani and Dianabolic in the wake of the dismantling of the Band of Brothers alliance are probably what convinced me to take up Eve Online.  Not only because of the player-driven story, but I was amazed that Eve had a fan-run radio station.  I had to be a part of that world.

I've listened to a lot of music over the last two years and due to the influence of Eve Radio I no longer just listen to country music.  Lately, I'm getting a lot of my Eve Online news from listening to Eve Radio.  During the Monoclegate crisis DJ Funky Bacon had members of the CSM on for two Fridays plus put out a podcast with coverage of the press conference CCP held for Eve fan sites.  On Tuesday, Voices From The Void made its Eve Radio debut on its new 1600 GMT slot, giving Eve Radio a news show for the first time since I've been listening.

But the surprise may have been DJ RezRadgrif scoring an interview with CCP Soundwave on his show last Thursday.  DJ RezRadgrif booked the interview before the launch of Incarna, so this may have been a fortuitous occasion for CCP Soundwave to get out into the public again.  And with DJ RezRadgrif's main character flying with Dirt Nap Squad, we had an interviewer familiar with some of the issues in the game today.

I think that CCP Soundwave was a bit taken aback when DJ RezRadgrif asked him to introduce himself, but given some of the confusion I've read over his role, I thought the question was appropriate.  CCP Soundwave is the lead developer of the Flying in Space part of Eve as well as retaining the lead of Team BFF.  After the introduction, DJ RezRadgrif started taking questions from the audiance.

Since CCP Soundwave is the head of Flying in Space, no one asked him about Walking in Stations, right?  C'mon, this is an Eve Radio audience.  Of course they asked about Incarna.  When asked his opinion about Incarna, CCP Soundwave said he thought that Incarna was "really, really cool" but didn't really fit his play-style as he is not one of those players who obsesses for hours getting his avatar just right.  However, he is looking forward to establishments coming out so he can visit a casino and play poker or look at a corporate headquarters.

When asked about whether members of corporations or alliances under a wardec could fight in stations, the answer was no.  Physical fighting like that is kind of uncapsuleer-like.  Just having someone come in and shooting everyone would be "retarded".  Stations are gentlemenly space and outside the stations pilots can do whatever they want.

He also compared the changes coming to Eve to Radiohead.  He liked the group when they first came out, but now that he's old (about to turn 30) he doesn't really understand the latest music they publish.  That probably wasn't the greatest analogy, but his point was that games change over time and to expect that a game, especially an MMO, not to change is a bit unrealistic.

When asked by clothes are not destroyed when a player is podded, he turned to his dislike of the clone system in Eve.  "The clone system is a way to punish players who come home drunk on a Friday night and forget to update their clone."  Having to remember to take off your clothes before getting in your ship is in the same vein.  "It's just being dicks to people."  In other words, CCP Soundwave doesn't want to punish drunks.  Sounds like he endorses flying drunk, or, more likely, has flown drunk on many, many occasions.

CCP Soundwave also stated that CCP is not holding back any Incarna features to compete with the release dates of other games (i.e. Star Wars: The Old Republic).  The releases of other games don't really affect Eve so CCP has no incentive to do so.  New features will be released as they are ready.

Not all the questions focused on Walking in Stations.  He was asked about when we could see new ships like T3 frigates.  CCP Soundwave stated that while tech 3 is the obvious route to take with new ships, he did not have a time frame on when the next ship would appear.  At the end of the interview, DJ RezRadgrif asked a Dirt Nap Squad type question: would CCP consider a larger version of the stealth bomber based on a battlecruiser hull?  The answer to that was that such a ship should really be a battleship-class hull.  CCP Soundwave is thinking of changing the black ops ships to fit that type of anti-capital stealth bomber type role.

Another hot topic was engine trails.  Apparently CCP tried to get them into Incarna but the turret upgrade just took too much time.  He would be very surprised if engine trails did not make an appearance in the winter in this winter.

When asked whether CCP and he personally had anything against hybrid weapons, CCP Soundwave revealed that he had been abused by hybrids as a child.  Turning serious, CCP Soundwave explained that changing hybrids was more difficult than just changing a characteristic or two.  He then expanded on the theme of balance, admitting CCP had been bad at balancing ships and weapons over the last few years.  He stated that with things like the upcoming changes to capitals and super-capitals and a Dramiel nerf that the winter release will contain more re-balancing than the game has seen over the past two years.

CCP Soundwave was also asked about fixing low security space.  He replied that adding or modifying one single feature will not turn low-sec around.  He replied that CCP actually did not have any ideas in writing on what each zone (high, low, and null) was supposed to be.  So CCP started working on a rule set for null sec (that's the famous CCP Greyscale blog that hasn't been released) and we should see the results of that work on Tranquility this winter.  As for low-sec, "If we are going to make low-sec good we are going to have to put in the same effort we are doing for null sec now."  He did not make any promises but said that low-sec is the natural place to work on next.

As for those pesky ABC ores found in wormholes that the CSM is so worried about ruining the economy of New Eden, CCP Soundwave thought that the CSM overreacted a bit.  He also explained that while the CSM is important, not all of its ideas are enacted.

Finally, I found an answer to a question about what games CCP Soundwave plays interesting.  He plays a lot of League of Legends because he prefers playing games in which he competes with other players.  Until about a month ago, he used to play World of Tanks, but he didn't like the end game economy.  The fact that he needed to purchase a Löwe in order to compete at the highest levels ruined the game for him.

For those interested in hearing the interview, DJ RezRadgrif's July 21 show will remain on the Rewind page until July 28.  Just remember that you cannot fast forward the show so you will have to listen to the first 2 hours of the show before listening to the interview.  But I didn't mind; he plays a pretty good selection of rock.

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