Archive for November, 2011

Seeing through the DUST.

Posted in EVE Online on November 9, 2011 by cailais

Whilst EVE Online’s players chew on every morsel of information about the Winter Expansion little drops of detail are also falling from the DUST514 table.  Most recently regarding the Mobile Command Centres – essentially floating command and control platforms for the aspiring DUST General.

What this blog really got me thinking about is how EVE capsuleers will perceive DUST514s battles.  At first glance this might seem a trivial question but if we remember that EVE and DUST are supposed to intertwine really rather closely then this question becomes quite fundamental.  For example we already know that it will be possible, encouraged even, that DUST and EVE players will share the same corporations and presumably the same goals.

With this in mind it seems quite likely that EVE players will be ‘spectators’ to an extent to what is happening planet side.  But will this actually be realised?  To date all we know in general terms is that EVE players will be able to issue contracts to DUST Mercs to conduct certain operations.  This naturally suggests that the contracts system (or one very much like it) will be used to enable these contracts, open them for auction or exchange much like current items or courier tasks.  Is this it though?

If that all it is then I would suggest that EVEs players are going to find it quite hard to relate to their DUST colleagues or really get all that excited about DUST at all.  Its one thing to review the results of a sports match: its quite another to be a spectator and see it happen.

Should EVE players be able to view an on going DUST battle and to what level of granulation? Live or semi live feed from DUST Mercs themselves ‘helmet cam’ style? Or a super high level satellite view – little green and red dots moving across a map? Or – as the MCC suggests – will their be an intermediate view point like that of the MCC commanders?

My preference would be for something akin to a satellite perspective (top down with limited detail) – to do otherwise might make a MCC commander rather irrelevant. Anything less than such a view will make the entire experience of DUST – at least for the EVE player – an extremely dull affair. CCP need to give this some decent thought if they hope to see the actual interaction between the two platforms communities as they hope – recognising that the majority of EVE players will never have experienced DUST and vice versa. With no shared experiences, and no shared understanding the meshing of two radically different genres could ultimately fail.



Gunboats and Glass Cannons

Posted in EVE Online on November 2, 2011 by cailais

Speculation is rife regarding the forthcoming additions to EVE Online’s pantheon of ships – the Tier 3 Battlecruisers. Whilst others will be pouring over the specific data for the Tornado, Naga, Talos and Oracle its worth taking a step back to look at the wider picture.  EVE is going to get a whole lot more violent than it has been for some time.

What’s my reasoning behind this? Well not only do we see the new Tier 3 BCs coming in and packing a not inconsiderable punch with their BS class weaponry but Destroyers also are looking likely to receive a decent buff with the removal of their ROF penalty.  Winter will be the season of the Glass Cannon.  Additionally Player Owned Custom Offices are on the horizon – replacing the current ‘NPC’ controlled custom offices used with Planetary Interaction.  These POCOs are (in null sec and low sec at least) vulnerable to destruction.

Pool together these elements at what we start to see is a a lot more ‘universal DPS’.  Universal DPS is my way of thinking about how much potential damage is ‘out there’: something comparable to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or in simple terms more players with the ability to dish out more damage.  Both destroyers and the Tier 3 BCs are inherently weak when it comes to absorbing damage however and I don’t think we should be too surprised to see kill boards filling up with the wrecks of these ships.  In medium sized gangs they’re both likely to be able to deliver maximum gank in the shortest time: get it wrong though and failure will be swift and decisive.

POCOs also suggest (much to the dismay of the comfortable PI manufacturers) a far more aggressive field of play.  At least some players will fight, and fight hard, to defend or destroy this low level infrastructure.  Its also worth bearing in mind what the ramifications of this could mean.  With POCOs being destroyed the PI materials market (which in turn fuels pretty much everything else) could become rather volatile, at least in the short term.  If POS fuel costs rise, so will the manufacturing bills – ‘stuff’ will cost more and competition may well increase resulting in more conflict and more demand as players scuttle back to buy (yet another) Tier 3 BC.

The DPS to COST ratio of both Destroyers and Tier 3 BCs are sure to make these ships popular – players will get more bang for their buck: a fragile investment but one which is likely to appeal to the ‘gank’ crowed.  Hulk owners beware. With both vessels offering a relatively cheap option to shoot someone in the face hard the appeal of low cost PVP is definitely there.  But it doesn’t stop there.  AF changes have been hinted at (even the elusive ‘4th bonus’ and even if the changes proposed to hybrids don’t suit everyone’s tastes we can be confident that players who are currently gathering dust in their CQs will undock that old Astarte or Vengeance if only to try it out.

All in all this will be a good, even great, thing for EVE.  Yes there will be the inevitable forum howls of pain that ship ‘X’ is useless, gate camps unfair, blobs increasing etc etc: but the changes currently on the far horizon will, I believe, act as a catalyst that will stir up the rather placid waters of EVE. Don’t believe for a second that this will all be plain sailing – the rules of engagement will change and with that change will come both winners and losers.

You can choose to adapt to that change, or die.