Monday, July 14, 2014

Lowering The Fear Factor

Sometimes real life gets in the way of playing games.  That's bad for a game like Wildstar, in which player advancement depends on playing the game.  Not so bad for an EVE player because CCP set up a skill system that doesn't require playing to advance your character or, perhaps more importantly, characters.  Given the nature of EVE, that also allows for time to watch a little of what's happening in the EVE community.

I guess the big news is The Mittani is back to writing, and not just his inspiring speeches to his alliance.  In his typical fashion, he stirred the pot Saturday by calling for protected newbie starting areas and eliminating high sec awoxxing.  A lot of players in the comments went one step further than a protected zone and thought of making the tutorial a computer simulation.  That fits in with the lore, but I don't think accomplishes one of The Mittani's (and CCP's goals) with the New Player Experience.  That goal is to take some of the fear of losing a ship or a pod away from new players.

Now, fear of loss is a wonderful thing in EVE.  I think that fear contributes to the adrenalin rush that players experience in PvP.  Has anyone experienced that type of rush in any other video game?  I know I haven't.  After a fight in which I actually walked away with a kill mail, I was shaking for 10 minutes afterwards.  Sometimes I still get a touch of the shakes after busting through a gate camp or escaping from someone who thought my Procurer was an easy kill.

But, fear of loss is bad when a player gives into that fear and won't venture into dangerous space.  I have no problem with a player making a rational choice, like choosing to run level 4 security missions in high sec instead of low.  Then again, if a player has a blockade runner, especially after warp speed changes in Rubicon and rebalance pass in Kronos, is doing level 4 distribution missions in high sec instead of low, that possibly is fear coming through.  Then again, I did take the time to create instaundock bookmarks for stations in several constellations, so maybe I'm the one who's crazy after all.

I think, though, that most people look at the issue of fear in whether players will join in PvP.  A lot of players don't want to lose something that they've worked hard to acquire.  In most games, dying at the hands of an NPC or another player only means repair costs, not a loss of gear.  A player will only lose the gear when it is no longer valuable through either selling it or a mechanic like transmutation or salvaging.  To a player used to playing other MMORPGs, losing gear and getting nothing in return not only hurts, but is weird.

Looking at The Mittani's proposal, a player would get a taste of loss.  Lose a ship?  No big deal.  Get podded?  So what?  In both cases, the player was rewarded, not punished.  Sometimes dying isn't so bad.  And if the player managed to kill another player's ship or pod, then that's a success too.  But if that happened in a simulator, a big part of the experience, loss, goes away.

Eliminating high sec awoxxing is also about the fear of loss.  But instead of addressing the fear of loss in a new player, the target is the fear of loss residing in the mind of a corporation CEO.  With greater responsibility comes the chance of greater loss.  Does a high sec CEO want to risk allowing an awoxxer into his corporation and wind up with a friend losing his Orca, Tengu, or blinged out Vindicator?  Safer just to not allow that new player into the corporation at all.  After all, awoxxers will create a clean account to get around any background checks.  And if someone is going to propose a change that hurts espionage in EVE, I highly doubt the former head of the Goonswarm Intelligence Agency is the one to do so. 

The change I think The Mittani has in mind is simple.  Make CONCORD intercede in high sec if a corpmate makes an agressive action. I do see a problem with that, however.  The old tactic of webbing a corpmate's freighter for faster travel would go away.  Would that also make MiniLuv's freighter ganking operations go smoother?  I don't know.  Besides, I'm sure other methods exist to eliminate the practice.

Looking at the details, however, I don't think was The Mittani's purpose in his article.  I think he just wanted to set goals.  How the goals become reality in EVE is up to CCP.  Assuming, of course, that CCP agrees.


  1. Webbing freighters doesn't require the ability to agress within corp.

    Freighter duels the webber and the webber accepts the duel. Webber webs and freighter jumps. Not the other way round, because the freighter is set to auto reject all duels.

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  3. I agree with mittani for a change, awoxxing should be eliminated, but I don't think protected newbie areas are necessary. Instead make it so there are real consequences for playing the bad guy in high sec.

    1. Change things so low sec status and low faction standings affect docking privileges and gate use. If status or standing is too low you can't dock and aggressive faction police permanently stationed at gates and stations will attack you on sight. You can run from the police but if you fight back then Concord responds.

    2. Make gate and station dock camping much harder to do in high sec.

    3. Make it so most of the action (fighting) is away from the gates and stations, at asteroid belts, anomalies, complexes, planets / moons without a station, etc.

    As to the friendly webbing of freighters just make them simulations instead of duels. IOW, you don't take any real damage and you don't actually move or warp anywhere. When the sim is over you're back to the location you were at when the duel started with HP's, ammo, cap, etc. reset to how they were before the duel too.

    1. LIFO response: I don't think anyone would bother to web freighters if they didn't actually go anywhere; the point is to get them somewhere faster isn't it. But in terms of sims, why not have a simulation mode that connects to Sisi in a lore based way?

      3. This seems unnatural... conflict is driven in large part by proximity; stations (as the wild west saloon) should be where everyone see public beef spill out.


      1. I like it! In addition it would be nice to provide a sense of time with faction police... they would be more likely to spot you in smaller systems whereas in larger ones it would be easier to slip in with the crowd.

      P.S. I like your blog, sorry to hear about the evennui.

  4. Vets should not try to solve the Newer Player Experience problem. Their solutions always end up revolving around how to make the newbies willing targets for vets. Maybe newbies don't want to be fodder for bored vets.

    Vets should think about how to make the game more fun for themselves, instead. Sounds inherently boring out there. Maybe newbies could suggest solutions to vet problems ... like loss of accounts, training, abilities, ISK and/or assets for those who don't have active flying times.

    All newbies want is a chance to explore the broad aspects of Eve and play reasonably fairly. There is no Space to explore, learn or grow. Older entities occupy everything everywhere with no limits to their growth (human followers, POCO limits or POS limits per capsuleer, supplies for humans, etc).

    Newbies expect to be hunted and killed as they expand into space, undertake adventure or take on a role. They don't expect to be shot in a barrel. As you say, fear is not the issue.

  5. Here's the problem I had:

    I read about the game, it sounds fun. I start the trial. The intro quests are terrible but no problem, I can handle it, I can look things up. I'm prepared.

    But then there is this open loot object floating in space right where I start. It advertises itself as open to all newbies, courtesy of X guild. Is it a trick to flag me if I open it? Or someone kind? I don't understand the rules of pvp flagging yet, and there's nothing in-game to tell me if I touch it will I be a target for someone.

    idk it seems like eve is only fun if you already have friends you trust. You can't really play it if you don't know the rules already, and the rules aren't ingame

    1. If the can was blue, it wasn't a trick. If the can was yellow, it was a trick.

      The safest way to play is with your safety set to green. If your safety is set to green, then you should get a popup alert anytime you are about to do something that will flag you "suspect". Suspect is the term used for being flagged for PvP in high sec without your corporation being wardec'd, which is another PvP flag in high sec.

      As I was typing that, I thought that was complicated. But when I started playing, the rules were even worse.

  6. It’s important to recognize that Awoxing and, equally important, Reverse Safaris are Hi-Sec phenomena only since one can just up and shoot a “friend’s” ship in other locations without first playing a corp membership confidence game to gain the mark’s misguided confidence.

    Current corp mechanics present no sliding scale on corp membership risk. Vis-à-vis other corp members, joining a Hi-Sec corp is equivalent to entering a wormhole. Accordingly there are only two possible states: relatively safe (but lonely) NPC corp membership or paranoid filled Player corp membership (with others). Having only those two options available may not be ideal, game wide mechanics.

    Messy details like webbing freighters or RRing corp members without going suspect can be worked out later since the important question to consider is whether corp membership must always be an all or nothing decision. Equally important, new version Awoxing and Reverse Safaris needn’t disappear with Hi-Sec affecting corp mechanics changes; rather the confidence game just switches to a different point (talking a corp member into a duel or convincing them to join you in low-sec . . .).

  7. It isn't about fear of losing ships. It is about the "this is stupid" factor.

    New players don't stand much of a chance in a PVP encounter against a vet player. It is 99% guaranteed that they will lose their first encounter, and their second encounter, and their third encounter, et cetera. And, when that 1% event occurs, when a noob beats a vet, the vet's friends show up and pop the noob. This is when a lot of noobs say "this is stupid" and quit playing.

    In almost every competitive RL sport or activity, you don't match up noobs against vets in the same league. Nobody likes to play a game when they always lose.

    Noobs need special handling, via controlled PVP, such as in RvB - a place where they can learn to PVP, with a reasonable chance to win. Unfortunately, CCP doesn't see it that way, and encourages vets to prey on noobs, esp. any noob stupid enough to start their own corp with other noobs.

    This attitude even slops over to activities such as industry and manufacturing. The Crius changes pretty much put profitable manufacturing completely out of the reach of new players.

  8. A little side note to consider: Maybe I am a rare flower, maybe not - but if I avoid PvP for fear of anything, it's not fear of loss, but rather "fear" of shakes. I understand that many people like those adrenalin rushes, but I cannot find anything positive about them.