Friday, June 21, 2013

The Mammoth Kerfluffle

I've come to believe that where Minmatar ships are concerned, the Art Department and the EVE player base really don't see eye-to-eye.  First was last year's decision to remove the frill from the Vagabond because, "the Vagabond is a Thukker version of the Stabber, but with Brutor sails attached (rather badly, with intersecting polygons) to the bridge area that make the ship look a bit silly."  That resulted in protests involving the shooting of innocent structures accompanied by much mockery, even on social media, until the beloved appendages were returned, although changed to reflect the Art Department's sense of style.

Fast forward six months after the return of the frill and the Art Department comes into conflict with the players again.  Well, that's really not fair.  CCP Rise was trying to decide which Minmatar ship should fill the role of the maximum cargo, paper thin tank tech 1 industrial.  Since the Wreathe clearly fit the role of smaller, more agile ship, the choice came down to the Hoarder and Mammoth. Personally, I would have looked at the lore to make my decision.  Here are the descriptions of the Hoarder and Mammoth.
Hoarder - "The Hoarder is the second in line of the Minmatar industrial ships, it's not as strong as the Mammoth but its cargo space is very large for its price. It's perfect for operation in peaceful areas or when it has strong escort."

Mammoth - "The Mammoth is the biggest and the strongest industrial ship of the Minmatar Republic. It was designed with aid from the Gallente Federation, making the Mammoth both large and powerful yet also nimble and technologically advanced. A very good buy."
Okay, on second thought I can see where CCP Rise had a dilemma.  The biggest cargo ship is the one with the paper-thin tank.  That implies that the ship will operate in peaceful areas or when it has a strong escort.  But the Mammoth is the biggest and strongest industrial ship.  Hmmm.  If the ship is the strongest, that goes against the theory that the ship that can carry the biggest cargoes are the weakest.  But biggest ship also implies biggest cargo capacity.  So CCP Rise, the nice guy that he is, decided to ask the Art Department what they prefer.  Wanting to help make your co-workers jobs easier is a good thing.  But, d'oh!

Once again, the Art Departement's sense of style clashed with players desires.  Forget the fact that many pilots had a lot of ISK invested in their ships.  A lot of pilots just liked the look of the blend of Minmatar and Gallente technology.  As one pilot put it, "Seriously, I skilled up to get the Mammoth just so I could go to the nicer parts of space and not be called a 'sanitation engineer'."

I still think the outrage wouldn't have grown so great except for two facts.  First, the new role, at least in my eyes, wasn't clearly defined.  The second was a massive 21.8% nerf to the maximum cargo capacity.  Add in the buffs to the Hoarder and the previous red-headed stepchild of Minmatar industrials would have 39.5% more cargo capacity than the Mammoth.

To put the matter into better perspective, let's look at the number of Giant Secure Containers each of the ships could carry under the original proposal.  Giant Secure Containers are used when carrying bulk cargo like minerals, ice and planetary interaction products as each one adds 900 m3 to the effective cargo capacity.
  • Wreathe - 6
  • Mammoth - 7
  • Hoarder - 12
And to add insult to injury, the align time for the Mammoth without skills was 14.3 and the Hoarder 14.5.  Wow!  Both ships had an effective align time of 15 seconds.  But it gets better.  With the Hoarder receiving a 5% agility gain per level of Minmatar Industrial and the Mammoth receiving a 5% max velocity bonus, the Hoarder would actually align faster.  Given the results of the proposal, I began referring to the change as an extinction level event.
Yesterday CCP Rise announced that due to public demand that the Mammoth would return to its role as the Minmatar tech 1 industrial with the largest cargo capacity.  I'm actually kind of sad about that because that means that the ship will lose one high slot.  I liked the ship having two.  But, those are the breaks.

Okay, I've criticized enough.  I should now state what I would have done.  The first is to have left the cargo capacity of the Mammoth alone.  Going back to bulk cargo hauling, here's the number of Giant Secure Containers each ship could hold:
  • Wreathe - 6
  • Mammoth - 9
  • Hoarder - 12
Notice the even steps between ships?  I think that works.  But the most important part is the vision of each ship's role.  If I were CCP Noizy, here's how I would have explained the changes instead of implying the Art Department made me do it.

Hoarder - The Hoarder is traditionally considered a vulnerable ship that could only operate in peaceful areas or under heavy guard.  This vision coincides with our vision of the maximum cargo hauler/paper-thin tank ship so that seems a logical progression.  The Hoarder also only has one high slot, which is another characteristic of the new class of maximum cargo haulers.

Mammoth - The Mammoth is traditionally the strongest Minmatar industrial ship.  In addition, the Mammoth is the hull for the tech 2 deep space transport Mastodon.  We felt that turning the Mammoth into a ship with a paper-thin tank would not properly honor the traditional role of the Mammoth.  Instead, we have made the Mammoth more agile with tougher defenses to allow the ship to survive in more hostile environments, particularly wormhole space.  While the Hoarder carries a lot more cargo, with its two high slots the Mammoth can fit both a cloak and a probe launcher.

/CCP Noizy logs off

Admittedly I did not take into account the Wreathe, so perhaps this proposal is unbalanced.  But I would actually like something that works like this.  If the Hoarder turns into what I described for the Mammoth, I might just build myself a Hoarder.  Did I mention I have a researched BPO and all the materials already?


  1. Dinsdale PirannhaJune 21, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    Remember, these ship designs are being created by one, possibly 2 devs (rise and fozzie), both whose background is blowing shit up in null sec, not hauling stuff in high sec.

    They designed these ships from the perspective of the ganker, and wanted to design them to maximize pain for high sec casual players, and maximize profit for high sec gankers.

    Why would anyone be surprised that many ships were ruined, given the last time either of these 2 guys saw one it would have been at the end of one of their guns?

  2. whether a container has 3000 or 3900 does not make a difference is 1000 per block.

    1. Not if you refine it before you move it. A small part of my income comes from selling liquid oxygen.

  3. I don't think much of a dev who asks the art department for assistance with game design.

    Maybe CCP Rise really belongs in the same group as CCP Dolan?