Archive for October, 2012

“EVE” Sport

Posted in EVE Online on October 25, 2012 by cailais
“There is no finer spectacle in the universe of EVE Online than the explosive dance of weapon-laden spaceships in combat. The yearly Alliance Tournament is the jewel in EVE Online’s eSports crown and the upcoming New Eden Open should deliver the same gladiatorial entertainment showcase.
 
Given the scope of the sandbox, what part should eSports play in EVE Online and what other formats could provide internet spaceship entertainment for spectators and participants alike? “

Blood. Sand.  From time immemorial mankind has been transfixed by the gladiatorial nature of combat for no other reason than the fight itself.  In our modern age our fascination with ‘versus’ (the etymology of which is the Latin for ‘turned towards or against’) is shifting into the digital spectrum: eSports.

EVE Online is frequently described as a ‘sandbox’ MMO and the correlation between a sandbox and the gladiatorial arena is immediately recognisable.   Out in the depths of Null Sec great Alliances and Coalitions strive against one another for virtual domination of New Eden.  In theory we already have the greatest of eSport spectacles playing out before our very eyes but with one small issue:  That interstellar battle proceeds with the pace of glacial crawl.

Sports (accepting the wider picture of leagues, ladders and championships) are more normally delivered in bite sized chunks of (hopefully) exciting and frenetic action.  More often than not they usually also deliver a clear and unambiguous result: a winner and a loser.  Which pretty much precludes Null Sec territorial warfare from the Monday Night Big Game slot on prime time.

The Alliance Tournament already defines what can be achieved through the current EVE Online client: CCP could tweak numbers participating, restrict ship classes and so forth but the generic format of ‘fleet A versus fleet B’ is the logical ‘bite sized chunk’.  But EVE is no longer constrained to just spaceship pew pew – DUST is also an additional arena.  The sensible step then is DUST team vs DUST team?

But lets not stop there, because DUST and EVE are linked.  How is that even remotely important? Well from a eSports perspective its possible to broaden the playing pitch.  Could we see a contest waged simultaneously across both DUST and EVE with the in space war impacting upon the land war and vice versa?

Until now EVEs eSport has been a separate event to Tranquillity – its plausible though that through some ‘arena style’ mechanism the concept of eSports could be embedded in New Eden itself.  There are pros and cons to this of course – embedded arenas may detract from the overall immersion of EVE as a wider universe in conflict, but an equal argument could be made that the lack of ‘gladitorial’ match ups in EVE is immersion breaking. After all what precisely would immortal capsuleers do if not pit their skills against one another?

eSports from League of Legends to Starcraft are growing in popularity but CCP has an unfortunate tendency to jump onto the latest band wagon (PI = farmville anyone?).  It’s hard to blame CCP directly for this – games influence developers as much as developers influence game design.  That said we should be cautious about throwing every effort behind the latest craze. Let’s not forget the bigger picture: that EVE Online is already one of the largest “eSports” – one writ across the entire universe and entrancing an audience well beyond its current populace.

C.

Advertisements

Hibernation

Posted in EVE Online on October 24, 2012 by cailais

 

It has been a long, long time since my last post.  I now need to metaphorically wipe the dust from the keyboard whilst reflecting on my extended break from EVE Online.  No longer a member of EVEs ‘blog pack’ no doubt many of these key strokes will fall unheard but no one ever said returning from the wilderness is an easy path….

So why now?

Things appear to be changing in EVE, developments in terms of the UI, Faction Warfare and,most importantly, rusted old mechanics like Bounty Hunting are at long last being rejuvenated.  Way back in ’06 when I started playing EVE players were then asking CCP to look again at bounty hunting as a ‘profession’ and its lack lustre mechanics.  You didn’t need to look far on the official forums to find some proposal or other suggesting a fix or a solution and (occasionally) a developer post would kindle hope in players hearts that this forgotten feature of EVE was going to be looked at.

It never was.  Months turned into years and bounty hunting (like other facets of EVE) remained on the “to do” list.

That is about to change.  The next iteration of EVE, Retribution, brings with it a revised bounty mechanism – it may not be ideal, or even a great system but to my mind that is less important than the fact that CCP is – at the very least – attempting to remedy a empty feature.  Features like the bounty hunting system are important not least because they have the potential to directly (or indirectly) effect every player in EVE: from the industrialist to the miner, the trader to the null sec fleet commander.

The revision to the bounty mechanism is also important for another reason: it suggests that CCP are actively engaging in revamping the core mechanisms of conflict in New Eden.  The placement of bounties and the player interaction that results in is of course a relatively minor thing, but if as I hope, CCP go on to apply the same philosophy to Null Sec Sov game play and Low Sec then 2013 has the potential to be extremely interesting for EVE and its players.

Right now my ship is drifting dark and lifeless in the deepest reaches of space but within a capsuleers mind is stirring to wakefulness and the thought that a new era for EVE awaits is a tantalising possibility.

C.