Monday, August 19, 2019

CCP Rise On Why Make The Cyno Change

I have to admit the "Chaos Era" in EVE Online, like most major changes, is passing me by. But the complaints from the null sec whales are so loud I can here them all the way out in Heimatar. The latest outrage concerns the upcoming changes to the capital ship bridging mechanic. 

Talking in Stations broadcast an interview with CCP Rise, a senior game designer on EVE Online discussing the upcoming changes to the game. I figured I'd at least get one answer about the changes posted to the blog, namely, why? What follows below is a cleaned-up transcript of one of the first questions in the interview. I took out some of the verbal missteps, such as the use of the word "like", in order not to trigger Brisc if he happens upon this blog post.

Brisc Rubal: Starting in the September release, cynos will only be able to be fitted on recon ships and Black Ops battleships. That's a major change in the game. One of the big questions we've been hearing from a lot of people, what's the design goal with this change? What kind of behavior are you hoping to alter by making a change this big?

CCP Rise: There's a few different pieces to it. I've actually been thinking about the best way to talk about this because it has goals coming from a few different directions. One of them that's actually really important is just that cynos on their own have been in this really inflexible place where we don't have the usual leverage to balance them. They are sort of separate from the way balance works in a lot of other areas. If you think of other powerful, really powerful abilities to influence large scale fights -- influence small scale fights -- something like dictor bubbles for instance. They're class-confined, they're expensive, they have a clear set of levers and trade-offs that we can use to find a good place for them in balance.

Cynos don't have that. Cynos have been, for some reason, even though its one of the most powerful abilities we can give a ship, they have complete free reign to use whatever cost risk they want and whatever survivability and sort of tactical application they want. So, things like using interceptors is possible. Things using titans or FAX that can't be killed is possible. And that's just super problematic. I've been talking with people at player events or internally for years and years about how this is an issue. So that's one thing. Is just get them into a sensible place that looks like how we have other powerful abilities in the game balance. That's a big goal.

Second thing, which is something we talked about more in the post, is that part of "Chaos Era" and part of the current strategy is just be more disruptive. Especially for supercap umbrellas, especially for capital game play in general. Make it harder, give better risk/reward trade-offs, make it more dynamic.

Cynos are a huge piece of that. There could have been tons of options for that goal on its own. That's a big thing I'm seeing in feedback. If you just wanted to hit the response time for capitals to PvEers, there would have been other alternatives. That's actually totally true, and we considered a lot of those. But then the last goal, or the last big area goal, is what Hilmar talked about with you guys a ton the last time he was on here. I'm just going to take the opportunity to read his direct quote, which is:

"We want you on your toes. We want you to feel like the blanket is being pulled out from under your feet every single week. Your heart rate is going up. You need to take stress medicine to keep focused."

While that didn't on its own drive -- that's not why we made a change to cynos -- but that's why we chose a really extreme solution. Is that the overall strategic goal right now is to lean towards bigger changes, lean towards more disruption. And so, with all those combined, we wind up with this change.

And as far as behavior we expect to change, that's another whole complicated question. There's parts of it are pretty easy to anticipate. The simplest one is that we don't want Rorquals to be able to cyno freely a fleet in to defend them anytime they are attacked. It's pretty obvious that won't be possible now. You'll either have to have an alt there that is vulnerable to being killed, or a friend. Hopefully not an alt. So that behavior definitely changes.

But when you start talking about how escalations work, or how logistics work, it's much harder to say exactly what will happen or what we expect or want. I think mostly we want a shifting meta where people have to solve these problems and where we have new things we have to figure out and fix afterwards. 
I may transcribe one or two more of CCP Rise's answers to some of the questions asked. I thought the interview with CCP Rise was better and more informative than the one conducted with Hilmar back in July. Given some of what I'm reading and hearing, I think I may want to do so just so I have something to link back to.

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