Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What "matters" in EVE?

"Making stories", "emergent content", "EVE is real" are important part of the marketing of EVE. I left WoW with the will to make some of these stories and to observe how these made. In WoW you play in your own instanced dungeons, isolated from others. Your performance affect nobody who choose not to group with you. EVE is different... theoretically. However I see that most players aren't making any stories, make no impact on the game world or other players. My position is vehemently opposed by many, most prominently by WH commenters and a certain spaceship-violating drug dealer.

Let me clarify my position. I do not claim that "size does matter", that a null battle of 1000 vs 1000 is more real or important than a 100v100 wormhole battle or a 10v10 clash between roaming gangs. You are just one pilot in either case and the fact that other people lose and kill ships around you doesn't affect your personal experience of killing, repping and losing ships. Your experience is no less valid in either case.

I clearly don't claim that media coverage would matter. If that would be true, Kim Kardashian (256M google hits) would be more important than Charles Darwin (44M hits). Just because no one else know what happened it happened still.

What I call story or impact is what changes the gameplay of other player.

What does a lowsec pirate do? Earns money some way and violate spaceships. If I blow his ship up or he blows up mine, he will still earn money some way and violate spaceships tomorrow. If you observe him, you can't tell if he lost or won yesterday. Sure he wishes to win and both his killboard and his wallet will feel the difference. A pirate that loses 2x more ships has to earn 2x more money. He'll have a worse killboard ratio. He might won't get into an "elite" corp. But at the end of the day, he'll be violencing spaceships and earning money. The same happens in WoW: if you lose in Arathi Basin, you get less honor point and no progress in your achievement. If you win, you get more honor, some valor and achievement progress. But at the end you are playing on the same battleground, experiencing the same game.

The same thing can be said for WH battles: while one might loses ships, pods, POS-es, maybe even see his corp failcascade over an eviction, but a few days or maximum weeks after, he'll be back doing what he was doing: rolling statics, scanning, grinding sleepers and dropping on sleeper-grinders.

I'm not saying that nullsec is automatically different. It's often not. It however has the chance to be different due to the permanent capturing of the limited amount of systems and defending it. -A- was evicted not from this or that system, but from nullsec as whole. They lost their renters, lost their ratting space, they live in lowsec. When Nulli Secunda lost Delve, they were also forced to change their life. They went to faction warfare to get Amarr ships and ISK. NC. lost their techmoons and while they got themselves new space, it doesn't have money print. They now have to rat like the rest. If the 49U fight ended with TEST defeat, they wouldn't lose just some systems, the trend would have turned and SoCo would end their independent dreams permanently: they had to crawl back defeated to VFK and now they wouldn't be any different from a random CFC alliance.

While the lowsec pirate wants to win the PvP, he doesn't need to win it to carry on with his life. Nullsec empires need to win their campaign or has to face serious consequences: losing their way of life. My experience in null felt pretty real, it was clearly more than pixels on the line. I don't even try to pull a "I didn't want that nullsec anyway". I miss the Foxcats, I miss checking the system changes on Dotlan and sometimes wonder if my crusade against the forum circle jerk worth losing them. However what I miss is not flying a guardian in the HBC blob. It was making impact.

Other events made such shifts too. Hulkageddon didn't just cost ships to miners. They can't play like before that. They used to AFK mine, converting low-activity time into ISK slowly but surely. Hulkageddon bought loss into their life and they weren't happy about it. Not at all. Their cries reached CCP and lead to the barge rebalance, providing the ungankable Skiff. Now James315 tries something on this front: instead of ganking just for sowing fear, he wants to force miners to be active and participate in local chat which is a clear change from the AFK-ing custom.

I hope I could clarify that changing the way of gaming instead of their gaming scores is what impact means. It's not exclusive to null, while most prevalent. A WH alliance creating "Not red do not shoot" wormholes or monopolize all C6s would indeed make stories. A pirate alliance effectively blockading a lowsec region by killing jump freightes detto.

Did I make any stories? Hard to tell. I clearly defeated some old beliefs, mostly that highsec is not profitable (it's the most profitable zone) or that nullsec alliances are rich beyond imagining (the kings of Tech make 80-90M/member/month). But did it affect peoples way of gaming? Did they started highsec trader alts abandoning ratting? I don't know. I also stirred up TEST alliance like no one did before, without even making an effort (exact words of the diplomat who once invited me and regretted it 100x). Does it change them in some way? Only time will tell.


IO said...

Sorry to burst your bubble, but you did not. Because you did not participate in community! All you did was silently extract some billions of ISK from (mainly) carebears and that's it.

TEST thing is grossly overrated.

serpentinelogic said...

There's an article I read a few years ago that talked about high-impact vs low-impact games. I can't find it now, though ;(

Gevlon said...

@IO: is "participating in a community" needed? Chit-chat and such.

The question is "did significant amount of people changed to highsec trading from grinding"?

Anonymous said...

Your anon WH guy here again - I still don't buy your argument that nulsec is any more real. Yes you pushed -A- back into NPC nulsec. They've been pushed back here before. It may take them a while but they will either completely cascade, or they will move back into a poorly defended area and rebuild their empire.

Capturing of systems in nulsec is not permanent..certainly no more permanent then the occupation of wormhole systems. Whilst we do not have a sov mechanic to say "we own this", it is pretty clear if you have wasted an evening probing around wormholes when you run into a major player's system. Those systems are thoroughly owned.

A wormhole eviction is not something that you will typically recover from in a matter of days or weeks. To properly take and hold a system in wormhole space requires research - sometimes it will require kicking someone out in order to get the system you want.. the move itself may take months of slowly building up a force until you reach a critical defensible mass. Make no mistake, this is not something that you just pick up and do inside of a few days or weeks. We cannot pump convoys of freighters into a system on a whim.

If it is the fact that it is "easy to get back into it" that determines whether or not it is a worthy story then I'd suggest you interview the CEOs of some recently evicted corps. If it was that easy none of us would care about losing our space, certainly not enough to put hundreds of billions of isk worth of ships on the line and deprive ourselves of an entire weekend worth of sleep to defend.

Ways of (gaming) life are well and truly on the line.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: maybe I should learn more about wormholes, you clearly make them interesting.

However Sugar found a graph about population and PvP kills.

It says 6% lives in WH vs 60% in null despite approximately equal sizes. So there is simply enough place for everyone, fighting is more like for prestige than living space. An eviction is maybe not an easy thing, but they surely find a space to rebuild.

The 6% kills vs 52%!!! shows the same, considering how PvP-minded the WH-ers are: there are simply not enough people to fight with.

(PvP kills scale with the square of people as 4x more people meet 16x more times, explaining the 6% vs 52%)

While -A- might evict someone else and return null, this "someone else" will be evicted then. Have you heard of someone permanently evicted from WH space?

Anonymous said...

The x14 less people is not a bad thing. With the money you spent supporting communists you could have influenced w-space by creating your own group.

If you want to be in null, you either have to accept being a cog in a bigger and older machine, including accepting their cultural oddities. Or you have to start your own thing...which is next to impossible.

I'm not telling what to do, that's up to you to decide. I do know what you lost, the allure of the true sandbox which I experienced for the first time long before EVE was created. In EVE alone I participated in the destruction of four of the greatest alliances to ever exist in the game and I'm aware of the complexities this game offers (and others don't).

IMO the future of null is even more communist, a future that will manifest in a certain way I won't discuss now. By my standards, it's also boring, the victory over -A- was never in doubt. Unless DUST changes that w-space is the interesting place to be in the near future.

Alkarasu said...

"It says 6% lives in WH vs 60% in null despite approximately equal sizes."

You forget to take an account for the quality of that space when thinking about it's size. Sov-null is basically the same everywhere. Jump drives and jump bridges make it pretty much evenly accessible, the systems themselves differ, but not that much. WH is much, much different. First, the class of a system change its value dramatically. There are 348 class 1 systems out there, but holding them is pretty much pointless, and there are only 625 of class 5-6, which provide valueable enough valueables, while at the same time hard enough to get to, to protect your assets and operations from random roaming hordes of pirates. Next to it, each system in WH-space is different, each have it's own anomaly, each have it's bonuses, each have it's downsides. As you need to fight sleepers if you want to have any profit, that can make absolutley beautiful system useless, and also can make it a prize you'll need to constantly protect. And all that even without counting in a static WH destination of the system, which is also very important. As a result, there are pretty small number of WH systems, compared to overall numbers, where people can an do live, and ready to fight for.
Compare null to big plain, while WH-space will be a mountain range of the same size, with number of valleys.

"PvP kills scale with the square of people as 4x more people meet 16x more times"

Good calculation, but for a "plain". It doesn't work that way in the "mountains", where people tend to meet more ofted simply due to there being not enough passable routes for all of them. Imagine you live in C5, that have static to another C5. Most of the WH population is in C5. That places you in a position, where you can and must meet another WH dweller just because you need to regulary find your way to the hisec market. You can't build a safe route, as you can do in low/null. You can't even tell, that each time you go out, you'll be able to go back in the same way.

Stabs said...

"Did I make any stories?"

I'm not sure if you still have access to the Test forums but they've started using the Gv as a unit of currency. Eg one titan costs 3.2 Gv.

The Gv is the amount of isk a goblin can make in a month.

Gevlon said...

@Alkarasu: while C1-3 systems may worth not living in, I'd guess that 5.5% contain lot of highsec carebears who dip their feet into the water and spend some time in a C1-2. Do you have any reliable census of C5 population? The lack of Sovereignty system makes it impossible to just look up the owner corp/alliance on Dotlan. You can't even lurk on Local and count the people.

The problem is that we can argue all day but none of us have any reliable data to start.

Anonymous said...

There is quite a lot of vacant space in wormholes, you are right. We roll our static nightly and get "farming chains" - nothing doing in there, or such small entities living there that they turtle up in their POS towers and hope we will leave them in peace (we do, after we've farmed everything out of their territory) - but most of these systems are what I would deem to be "low quality".

Forget everything below a C5. C2's can be a bit interesting for roaming around and getting cheap thrills. C3s if you want lowsec roaming access.. but if C5's and C6's are where wormholes come into their own (thanks largely to their relatively small number and the fact that across these holes capital ships can be brought).

Within the C5's and C6's there are only a handful of combinations which are desirable. A C5 with a static C6 is a desirable defensive system - you can roll into any C6 entity at will but the big boys can't roll back into you. C5 with static C5 for consistent engagements....C6 with static C6 for the pinnacle of wormhole experiences (both in terms of money to earn and things to blow up).

Yes there are other class combos in the lower classes that might be worthwhile...

Next up there are certain very desirable and very undesirable system effects. If you have your heart set on a C5 with a C5 and you run shield gangs you now have to find a pulsar which fits the bill. If you want the magnatar system for obliterating sleepers as fast as possible but want C6/C6 - you have to mount an eviction force capable of rolling AHARM or NOHO out of their system as there are only 2 of these systems in the entire game and they are thoroughly occupied.

So yes, there is LOTS of space to move into - but not so much space with the desirable static and system effect combinations....thus wormhole space is really smaller (for prospective residents) then there appears to be on first glance

hg said...

You are aware it wouldn't be hard to find an alliance in the HBC who would accept you, right?

Anonymous said...

Just a wh comment to add: We made somewhere in the region of 5-8 billion this weekend by evicting a corp from a wormhole. Found them with a bunch of caps floating in 3 pos's. Brought a subcap fleet in supported by 2 shield tanked moros's (with actual tanks, it being a pulsar) and spent the weekend maintaining hole control, having a blast and ultimately trading 1 moros for 5 cap kills and 5-8 billion in loot depending on market fluctuations. We lost maybe 3 billion in ships.

Alkarasu said...

"Do you have any reliable census of C5 population?"

No, but as I sometimes have to cross many of C2-4, I can say, that there are very little in terms of population over there. You don't need to count people for that, you only need to count POSes. Most of C2 don't have any. One of 3 C3-4 have 1-2 (half of the time not even online, with no one willing to spend any time to tear them down). But most of C5 have something going on - even not very nice combinations. So while I don't have actual numbers, I can make pretty good guess, where the people are. You can easily check it out yourself, with your covops.
As for hisec carebears - no, there are not that many. WH-space is too different form any K-space, what keeps you safe in null, will kill you in WH. Most need only one experience with that to lose any interest.

Gevlon said...

@Alkarasu: I found some data. I'll make a post with the data on Friday. You'll be very surprised!

Anonymous said...

Just a though. With so much ISK that you wonder where to spend, I would try to bring down or break TEST and the Goons by placing a huge bounty on those Alliance.

That can make the story for the next EVE trailer.

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