Gevlon Globin is famous in the Word of Warcraft circle for having mastered the “gold cap”. 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.
“EVE is a harsh, dark universe” is all over the marketing. Why? Because here unconsensual PvP happens. “By undocking, you consent to PvP” they say.
My old WoW character reached 50,000 kills in July 2011 and ended his career with 96,000 kills, despite I shifted to EVE around 2012 spring. So in my last year I had around 4,000 kills/month. Very few EVE players have so many kills. In WoW I was very far from being top PvP-er. So the “sweet fluffy WoW” is much more PvP-ish than EVE. Let’s look at League of Legends and World of Tanks. These games are pure PvP, you can’t advance your character without PvP. Every match is direct PvP. Yet these games are rather considered casual fun games than harsh and unforgiving. On the other hand the original X-com had no PvP but the mind-controlling aliens still haunt me. How?
The solution is that PvP itself don’t make a game harsh. If you die in WoW, you resurrect in a few seconds without losses. Even if you are corpse-camped, you can talk to the spirit healer, take a 10 minutes debuff and pay a pitiful repair sum and you are out of PvP. WoW has very low death penalty.
Harshness = death_chance * death_penalty
PvP indeed increases death chance since you can always choose safe, overgeared PvE, but PvP finds you. However if death is meaningless, it doesn’t matter. What is the death penalty in EVE? You lose your ship, maybe your pod too and also your cargo. Is that a high death penalty?
It depends on the cost of the ship and cargo. And this is where EVE is constantly nerfed. While PvP-ers are always worried about EVE is made “space WoW” by making PvP harder, and cry loud on every mechanics change that makes it harder to trick someone into PvP, they are fundamentally wrong as WoW already has more PvP than EVE. What they mean is making EVE just as loss-free as WoW, but they are ignoring the second part of the equation. Even worse, many prominent PvP-ers and even the self-defined griefer Goons are premiere supporters of nerfing losses.
The supercapital nerfs (and the ongoing cries of “supers are still too powerful”) make the game fluffier than closing any loophole that allowed newbies to be tricked into PvP. The T1 cruiser rebalance removed more harshness from EVE than the imaginary “completely safe highsec” could ever do. Why? Because they allow players to be useful in ships they don’t mind to lose. With the original doomsday you had to put your capitals to the line to stop an invasion as subcaps would be eliminated by a pair of titans. That was risky for both sides. Lolling around in Drakes (the epic ship of Goons) is safe. The nullseccers are just as risk-averse as the “carebear pubbies” they hate. They just recognized long ago that the key of safety isn’t decreasing the chance of losing your ship, but decreasing the cost of the loss.
Since Retribution even the Drakes are history of the once harsh game, as battlecruisers are now considered expensive, “serious fleet” ships, the “fun PvP” is done in T1 cruisers that are pocket change even for a few weeks old newbie. Next patch will update T1 battlecruisers to further cheapen fleet battles. Flying anything that has a relevant price tag will be the territory of highsec missioners and Pandemic Legion.
The infamous exhumer rebalance was indeed a nerf to the harshness of EVE, but not because they got some extra HP. The real nerf is the increased ore hold that makes AFK mining easy. The easier mining is, the more mining will happen. The more mining, the cheaper minerals. Cheap minerals are cheap ships, less death penalty. CCP – just like every MMO developer – nerfs the game to cater the “casual” (read: bad) players. While the PvP-ers guard the “EVE-spirit” vehemently, protecting it from any limitations towards PvP, the nerfs of death cost is unnoticed or even celebrated. Cheap ships are good for all, right?
EVE will never be nerfed into a place where you can’t kill another player. CCP is constantly nerfing it into the place where that other player won’t care about the loss.
Against this nerf there is little player resistance. I’ve yet to see a single CSM opposing a change that makes a cheap ship stronger or ships generally cheaper. Practically only the New Order fights against diminishing death costs by destroying the farming machines (AFK-ers and bots).
So if you want EVE to be a harsh place (instead of Space WoW with dark marketing), you must:
- Demand expensive ships to be strong and cheap ones to be weak, to force people risk expensive ships if they want to win in PvP.
- Demand the removal of “insurance”, giving welfare to those who lost their ships.
- Resist every change that makes it easier to obtain materials needed for building ships.
Of course you can take matters to your own hand and blow up AFK miners. There is no point trying to blow up active ones, you’ll either fail or only win using extreme amount of resources. AFK-ers on the other hand are both very easy target and may give up on their activities. They are AFK because they want ISK without effort. Defending their ship needs effort, it’s easier for them to simply not mine when they don’t play.
- Glevon Goblin