Archive for October, 2011

The price of soul searching

Posted in EVE Online on October 19, 2011 by cailais

Just as my hopes for CCP and EVE are raised a little by the publication of the POCO dev blog another crushing blow is delivered – and one which is all the more real to those developers and staff who are losing their jobs.

Having experienced unemployment I really do feel great sadness for those who must suffer it due to the strategic mistakes made by CCP.  Hubris is the only term for it and it is disappointing to see that people have to suffer the consequences of that in very real terms.  Those that have been treated most harshly, in my view, are those community reps CCP Zymurgist and CCP Fallout who despite their angst ridden player base stayed true and upbeat throughout: quite literally keeping the fires burning in the depths of winter.

Cutting staff whilst overstretched suggests a fairly large degree of corporate insanity.  Something we’ve come to more or less expect.  But we must also recognise this news post for what it is: damage control.  Between the lines it is quite readily apparent that the business case for WoD no longer stood up, NeX had not delivered the piles of gold expected and it risked entering a market bloated with new and current MMO titles. The loss of the community reps and the telling line ” We attribute this to our own mistakes and poor communications with our players” clearly marks the apportioning of blame to those responsible for selling the message.

The sad truth of the matter is that many Devs and community reps really did try and sell those new concepts – but those concepts (NeX, Incarna) were fatally flawed.  Equally disturbing is the relationship between the community rep element of CCPs staff and the Council for Stella Management (CSM).  Are those being removed from post carrying the can for ‘allowing’ the CSM delegates to become too vocal and thus a risk to CCPs self image?  What might this bode for the CSM process?

These are all questions for another time.  For now, whilst we are able to sit comfortably back and await the “fruits of this realignment” its worth considering the cost of those fruits.

I wonder quite how bitter they’ll taste.


It’s an Omen

Posted in EVE Online on October 18, 2011 by cailais


CCP Omen took advantage of capsuleers busy ship spinning to throw out a new dev blog on, of all things, Planetary Interaction.  From the outset, regardless of the minutiae of the player owned custom house as an idea, this blog is encouraging in and of itself.  It suggests that CCP are actually prepared to go back to a previous mechanism and iterate upon it. Let’s hope we see much more of this kind of thinking going forward.

The concept – PI custom houses being constructed, placed and owned by player corporations – is an interesting one.  A number of spin off elements and implications immediately present themselves:

  • Players using their own custom house to improve the income of their own PI.
  •  Players placing custom houses in order to tax other (non allied) players
  • Players spending ISK to protect / blow up said custom houses (perhaps with Corps specialising in this)
  • Low Sec PI communities evolving?
  • Encouraging emigration to Low / Null sec
In terms of the mechanics in detail the application of a HP total (with owner selected ‘window’ of attack post reinforcement) is somewhat concerning.  The current HP values have been described as follows:

=HP scpecification=
* Customs Office Gantry
** Shield: 10,000,000
** Armor: 500,000
** Structure: 300,000

* Customs Office
** Shield: 10,000,000
** Armor: 2,500,000
** Structure: 2,000,000

HP targets bring up the age old problem of “Builder VS Destroyer”.  Obviously the builder wants their structure to remain in place: after all its an investment of both time, effort and ISK.  The Destroyer conversely wants stuff to go bang.  HP structures don’t have a glorious history in EVE (POS, TCUs, SBUs etc) being, by and large, rather dull affairs to attack and rarely prompting the defender to actually mount some form of defence.  It remains to be seen what actual value players place on having / removing these custom houses and what effort they choose to employ in either defending them or breaking them down.

CCP Omen hints that custom houses will play a role in future elements of PI (perhaps a reference to DUST 514).  Personally I’m not convinced that individual players will actually expend vast amounts of effort in protecting these structures – PI can bring in a steady income but its rarely vast wealth and planets are pretty plentiful when alls said and done.  The primary issue is that PI is, well just a bit ‘meh’.  The original concept for PI, your own world with attendant populace and industry was a good one: but are today’s players really that attached to their PI processes that they are prepared to mount a sustained defence of them?

On the flip side, dominating planets with your own corporate network of custom houses may indeed be quite profitable.  The best way to think of this is that PI is an individual concern, tariffs are a corporate concern.  Corps may well bust out the big guns to protect their custom house network.  What is missing from that equation is how corporations can deliver incentives for random strangers to conduct PI under their own umbrella?  Preferential tariff rates may be one solution – but one which would need advertising in some fashion.

There’s an inkling of some good ideas within the player owned custom office (POCO), one which suggests expansion into concepts like smuggling mechanics.  Personally I’m just very pleased to see CCP getting back into the long neglected mechanics of EVE.

Oh and ship spinning.  Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee………………….