Gevlon Globbin is famous in the Word of Warcraft circle for having mastered the “gold-cap” concept. His Eve journey show a very interesting “outside the box” approach to the game, PVE and the trade hubs, reason for which we invite you to pay a visit to his blog.
Greedy Goblin: Why PvE is Boring and “Carebear”?
The post of GamerChick42 is probably the best about the problems of PvE in EVE. Funnily she just used it as a metaphor for the same problem in her field: faction warfare button orbiting. Go and read it, it’s perfectly written.
OK, I know you were too lazy to read it so I summarize for you: mining is boring because it lack risks. No code changes like stronger belt rats or so can change that. They would be annoying at best, but the miners would adapt by fitting a better tank or simply putting a battleship to the mining fleet. The only way risks (therefore excitement, accomplishment, fun) could be included into mining by making players come after the miners. However players will not go after miners because they don’t want the rocks. Only bored gankers go after miners, and the best way to handle a bored kid is to bore him harder: dock when he arrives local so he finds nothing. The same is true for all kind of EVE PvE activity. No one tries to stop you from doing it. Not even the players who actually gank you try to stop you. They can’t care less what you do, they just go after the officer items on your mission battleship, the kill report or simply griefing.
Because of lack of risk and competition, PvE is both boring and “carebear”: an activity you could suggest to an 8 years old kid. You can write a protocol for every scripted PvE activity and the internet people do write such protocols, so playing PvE will always be “read up the proper site and follow the protocol”. Boring, dumb, uninteresting after the “woot spaceships” novelty fades.
You can’t write protocol for PvP. You can’t know how many, how good and how armed enemies will come. Even the most experienced FCs lose battles. Excitement, fun can only come from PvP after the novelty of the graphics and lore fades. To make a game permanently fun, it must be PvP. In WoW the players did it by the bosskill race. While the boss is scripted, the time to complete it depends on other people. Everyone will kill the boss but if you don’t hurry, you’ll do it as World #50000. Of course it always need new bosses, without constant content addition, WoW would die in half year.
EVE is fundamentally a PvP game, so it shouldn’t be so hard to modify PvE to be PvP: the devs must make other players want your resources. Currently no one wants your rocks or rats or missions. There is practically infinite amount of them. Currently EVE PvE is simple grind that converts time into ISK. If you have time, you will have ISK. Funnily the above setup not only makes PvE boring but also makes PvP rare and sporadic. You have no other reason to PvP than being bored. Someone attacking a miner or missioner is most likely a griefer: he would get more “character progression” by mining next to him instead, killing him has no reward.
EVE lacks proper conflict drivers. Not I say that, devs and CSM do. “Seleene responded by saying that these days the major players in each alliance all hang out in the same jabber channels and conversations after fights are more akin to chat after a friendly match (even though titans and super caps were destroyed) rather than ‘hatred’ – everyone is so filthy rich that losses really don’t matter. The ‘romance’ of old times, where hate and animosity where driving factors are largely gone. The sense of loss has turned from ‘damn, now I have to go and mine to afford all this stuff again’ to ‘man, now I have to go to the market and spend money.’”
“Major players” considering matches friendly is indeed lack of conflict. However his reasoning is conflicting itself “losses don’t matter” and “I have to go mine” (something I don’t like), are mutually exclusive. Let’s see some more quotes: “Two step clarified this by saying that there would be conflict drivers if it meant something to lose, in order to get mad at someone they have to do something to hurt you.”, ” It could be said that people are perhaps ‘too’ comfortable at present and even though resources (such a moon materials) are tempting, they are not tempting enough to ignite a war.” It seems they agree that losing items (fundamentally ISK) is conflict driver, but they don’t see the conflict emerging. “Seleene added to this that personal animosity is the best conflict driver in EVE, not resources or space.”, which is merely a rephrasing that CCP sucks in igniting conflict so hard that the word “mate” outperforms them.
Theoretically you have losses if you lose PvP: you lose your ship and probably implants. They cost ISK. You should be mad instead of giving “good fight lol”. Let’s see how the PvE problem creates the lack of PvP conflict:
Only bored people PvP, they do it for fun. (experimental axiom, everyone sees that)
If they lose, they lose ISK (fact)
To regain ISK they (or some pet of theirs) must do PvE (fact)
To do PvE they only need time (fact)
Time they have in large supply, since they did PvP against boredom at the first place
The fixing can only come at point 4: time must not guarantee you ISK. How can it be implemented? Let’s start with mining. Currently if you want to mine, all you need is a mining barge and time. Theoretically you need rocks too, but you also need air to breath while playing EVE, but you don’t mention it because air is there. To fix this, rocks must be rare. I mean so rare that there aren’t any floating peacefully. They should be so rare that if a belt respawns or a gravimetric signature appears, in 2 minutes someone should warp to it and start mining. The average player must spend 50-80% of his “mining time” not by mining but by hunting belts. The chance that you dedicate an hour mining, yet you fail to find a single rock and mine nothing should be significant.
In highsec it would only be a campfest with occasional ganking. In low, null and WH the key is that the spawn is random and cannot be triggered or directed any way. Sovereignity upgrades that allowed more or bigger rocks to spawn must be removed or changed into some utility like “rock detection array” that give bookmarks to members to newly spawned belts and a bonus to the scanners for finding gravs. The only way to increase the chance of rock spawning in your territory (sov or simply “your turf”) should be increasing your territory. The more systems you have, the more systems you can mine. Unless a mining covops Tengu gets there first.
Rat complexes should be the same. They should spawn so rarely that every beacon is camped and you have good chance to kill no rats at all. The only way to increase rat access should be increasing your controlled territory or driving away competing ratters.
There should be only one incursion spawning every week and if it’s done, it’s done.
Mission agents should have a limited amount of missions, new ones respawning over time. If an agent is out of missions, he can give out no more until next respawn. While camping rats and ores is OK since it involves being on grid and prone to be ganked, camping agents on stations would be a terrible mechanic. So I’d suggest bribing them. You can bid with ISK at the agent and the highest bidder gets the next mission.
Of course newbies should be protected from this, so lvl1 agents should have infinite amount of missions, 1/10 complexes should respawn fast. Giving infinite veldspar would be bad idea as tritanium is used even in Titans, so it would be better to just place more lvl1 mining agents to help newbie miners.
It’s quite clear how the above changes would turn PvE into PvP: the best way to get rocks is killing the other miner. But how would it revitalize PvP and change it from a consensual timesink into a dark and unforgiving battle? The reason why no one cares about battle losses is the guarantee that he can re-grind it any time, anywhere. The competition for PvE sites would mean that you might have to wait, or you might have to move.
Now if a nullsec alliance would lose all its ships and a thief would take all its wallet and its members had no money either, they could still surely raise a fleet for the next timer, assuming the members are motivated to do some grind for the alliance. With the new scheme a defeat can be decisive. The enemy could effectively deny you PvE at the limited sites by roams and black ops drops, making you unable to make ISK in null. Combined by the overcamped highsec where farming a battleship would take 30+ hours (which is OK for highsec players as they don’t lose it, so have to farm it once) losing your fleet or your wallet being robbed can mean that you are done: you lost your space, can’t PvE in null, have to farm 100+ hours on your highsec alts to have the half dozen ships needed to return. That would eradicate “good fight” from local.
Of course I’m not naive and don’t assume that CCP devs don’t know that. They designed the game as it is on purpose. The No1 rule of MMOs is that players don’t tolerate losses and quit if they have some. The only difference between WoW and EVE is the “respawn time”. In WoW you can run back to your corpse in a minute, in EVE “respawning” your lost ship can take 1-2 hours of grind.
However EVE isn’t beyond hope with the current settings either. The above statement is true with the cheap crap most PvP-ers fly. You can “respawn” a Drake in an hour. “Respawning” a Rokh takes 4-5 hours. A Navy Apocalyps cost 10 hours of grind, a lost dread or carrier can take away 30 hours. So having a fleet that can only be countered by expensive ships, you can actually win a war in the sense that the enemy is unable to “respawn” in time.
- Gevlon Goblin