Greedy Goblin

Monday, February 29, 2016

Someone's grandmother

There is a post on the League of Legends forum that caused lot of stir in the gaming community. It's written by Ghostcrawler, lead game designer, who used to be lead designer for World of Warcraft and he says:
Different approaches work for different products, and I don't want to second guess the WoW team. Let's just say that after working on Age of Empires and World of Warcraft for a total of 16 years, it's really refreshing to work on a game where I don't have to worry whether someone's grandmother can pick it up or not.
This was taken as a belittlement of WoW, a game that goes great lengths to be playable by non-gaming people. It's a hyperbole, using an extreme straw-man. After all the grandmother population is minimal in WoW, most players are young adults. They need welfare epics (a term used on record in 2007!!! for undeserved rewards given to casual players) not because they are old or disabled but because they suck.

So "someone's grandmother" is a derogatory term even for WoW and the former dev got lots of heat for his offhand insult. EVE Online and its players on the other hand consider themselves the most hardcore, most competitive, most HTFU gaming community. Both devs and player claim with pride that EVE is not for everyone and those who approach it with an entitled attitude are up for some tears. No one in his right mind would claim that EVE is or should be a game for someone's grandmother.

But someone without right mind or rather without any bit of honesty did. Asher Elias, shop assistant in the Emporium literally said: "I worry about the grandfather who I spend time with on comms, his voice is not being heard by anyone but me." [that he'll give up on ratting after the carrier changes]. Let's stop for a moment. The Emporium not only claims that someone's grandparent is playing EVE, but this is a great value and must be preserved by not implementing a change that would raise the skill floor and ceiling.

It's understandable in his point of view. A stream view or ad-click coming from someone's grandmother is just as good as yours. It doesn't matter if she can't play the game at all, so EVE must be dumbed down to her level. To a level that is considered an insult for World of Warcraft. Their goals (monetize the game) is mutually exclusive with the goals of anyone trying to enjoy the game. Not like they make a secret of it ("we are not here to destroy the game, we are here to destroy your game"). Now they revealed their utopia: an EVE where anyone's grandmother can play in safety and harmony.

Does anyone has doubts left that the Emporium is the death of EVE and must be destroyed?

PS: a commenter made a wonderful post about how nullsec ratters should react to the changes. I think it was inspired by a post:
Goofus whines in local after being hot-dropped.
Gallant thanks the hotdroppers for teaching him a lesson.

Goofus claims to be a disabled military veteran, or a single mother, or that carrier ratting is relaxing.
Gallant admits that he has no good reason for ratting in a carrier.

Goofus makes up excuses for being AFK while ratting.
Gallant always remains at his keyboard.

Goofus fills local with obscenities when a cyno inhib gets onlined.
Gallant promptly pays 10 million isk to the MOA donation board.

Goofus spends all day ratting to accumulate isk.
Gallant only takes as much ISK as he needs.

Goofus begs CCP to keep auto drone aggro.
Gallant uses a Vindicator to improve their DPS.

Goofus moans endlessly about MOA and npc trash.
Gallant admires all forms of emergent gameplay.

Goofus boasts about being a pubbie meatshield in a sea of 40k blues.
Gallant recognizes his place is at the bottom of the EVE hierarchy.


zax said...

Bearing in mind the youngest eve player I know is 15, and the oldest one I know is in his late 60s, there are plenty of grandparents playing.

Someone in their 40s can be a grandparent, and, as that is the age of a large chunk of eve players, I would not be so hasty to use it as a disparaging term.

Hell, I am old enough to be a grandparent, and I think you should HTFU and make your own corp, so, yeah, its not me that eve is dumbed down for.

Gevlon said...

@zax: I understand that both Ghostcrawler and Asher (and now I) use this term agist and we shouldn't. In an ideal word, Ghostcrawler would get shunned for using "grandmother" as "scrub". But we aren't living in an ideal world and must use the words as they are meant and yes, most gamers would think "someone's grandmother" or "a grandfather" is a bad player.

nightgerbil said...

The article was an interesting read. Now imagine it was a miner who wrote that arguing that highsec should be safe or that exhumers should be ungankable. The level of abuse heaped upon them in the forums when they write that is far far greater then whats been leveled at this null bear. Yet hes basically arguing the same thing; that he should be allowed to earn isk afk for minimal effort without risk.

The key problem though and the root cause of all this is eve pve is as boring as shit. It doesnt matter if its mining or ratting no normal human being can tolerate doing it for any significant length of time. CCP badly need to work on the pve content. I don't think its the fact its a pure blood pvp gank game that keeps the sub numbers so low. I think its the unintuitive interface that gives it such a high skill floor and after you mastered that the game itself is terrible to pve in.

If I were to somehow become a billionare and bought ccp, my first act would be to hire bioware to come sort this shit out.

Anonymous said...

EVE is not a hardcore game. Players and devs like to pretend it is, but simply having the ability to lose ships doesn't not make it a hardcore game.

Kevan Smith said...

Hey, I just turned 50 on Feb 25, 2016. I'm not a grandpa, yet, but I hope to be one day. Still, yeah, I'm in with the HTFU people. If there are some other grandpas who can't take it, I recommend Industry or PI or something where you can wear your green banker visor and look at your spreadsheets through your bifocals and ... oh sorry Grandpa Gevlon. :)

Anonymous said...

"Their goals (monetize the game) is mutually exclusive with the goals of anyone trying to enjoy the game."

If that is true than "Eve is dead".

I don't believe it is true, however. It should be posSibley to strike a balance that allows casual and hardcover gaming to coexist in a way that ensures CCP with am ongoing revenue stream and return on ahareholder investment. The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. That is actually the beauty of Eve - that so many different game play styles are posible.

Hamlyn Medley said...

I belive the term we are trying to reach is "mature"
EvE must be sold as a mature game. If a 15 year old is "mentaly old enough" to play a mature game like EvE then he will adapt and play it
as same of a 50 yr old. Some of my friends can't play this because is "too dificult", and they have the same age as me...

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. How's Minerbumping connected, or comparable to some Goons in null?

Gevlon said...

The minerbumping joke refers to the fact that nullsec ratters aren't much different from highsec miners. Entitled and completely unable to fight.

Anonymous said...

More of the "grandparent" generation are actually playing video games than youngsters.

I only found 2010 numbers on the ESRB site:

TL,DR is that the average video is 34 years old with the following distribution:
25% under 18
49% 18 -49
26% over 50

The last numbers I read (sadly cannot recall where) showed that in 2015 the age average was actually even higher.

Additionally, older people buy more and7or more expensive games as they have a steady income.
So from an economic POV it is sensible to make games accessible to everyone, especially older folks.

Anonymous said...

My parents (69. 72) play solitair and freecell. They sometimes search the web and play some flash games. I'm not sure what appeals to them, but they game. sometime 4h straight grind of several decks.
I guess it is a bit more complex than hitting lfg button and rclick healer and click follow. minus all the loading and menus.

Esteban said...

Considering that my grandmother ganked falangists with a rifle in the Spanish Civil War, I don't think she'd have been too delicate or scrubby for EVE, even in her frail dotage. Ghostcrawler can go bugger himself with a hermit crab.

Since I take a dim view of carrier ratting in general, I am also quite pleased with the changes, just to get that out of the way.

However, let's take a look at Ghostcrawler's earlier comment, putting the crack about grandmas in context: "Yes, League is obnoxiously hard to learn if you don't have a friend showing you the ropes. That sucks, but it's not worth stripping away the depth or potential for mastery for our core audience -- you guys -- in order to attract new players."

That's nonsense. It's a prime example of a developer riding the idiotic 'game's got to be hard to get into to keep away scrubs' HTFU culture to furnish themselves with an excuse for not doing their job. That's not being hardcore, that's being preteen.

It's a shame that 'accessibility' has become devspeak for 'dumbing down'. Accessibility should mean precisely what it means in English: a game - even EVE and LoL - should be easy to learn, with in-game resources and NPE elements to help that learning. Everyone should have the option of taking the next step down the rabbit hole of complexity whenever they please, otherwise we end up with Raven-levellers.

So, yeah, grandma might not have the APM to work a carrier, and she might decide to do something else with her time, but she should absolutely have the opportunity to learn how to do it, and the game's interface should be designed so well that she can get the most out of her more modest reflexes. And let's not get started on EVE's interface.

99smite said...

I do totally agree with nightgerbil!

Once you have lopoked into most activities in EVE, you realize that most if not all of these activities are so uninspiring and boring that playing EVE becomes a chore. I'd rather clean my appartment and spend time with my son or meet friends than look at that damn screen with that damn UI and waste time...

Hell, I would even rather go daytrading in my free time wit RL money than get space rich in EVE...

And, no! EVE is not a difficult game. It is just a game without a manual by the devs, but with a huge manual online...

NuTroll said...

I also agree with nightgerbil. Most PVE is boring and should be automated. AFK mining and ratting is just an attempt by players to do what should already be programmed into game mechanics (hear me out), so players can concentrate on the much better task of playing eve. So here are my terrible ideas at improving solo pve gameplay.

For example, don't mine. Deploy a destructible deployable mining platform and use your ship to actively guard it / power it (barges could then be converted into pvpish/logi ships specializing in using/logi-ing/augmenting those platforms). Don't guard it? np, it'll probably get blown up. Don't interact with it? np, it'll have shit output.

So now miners can still get suicide ganked, their deployable certainly can, but at least they don't have to be in a ship where they cannot fight back (maybe the deployable outpost even has a "Defense" mode as long as the barge stays in range).
Alternatively, mining lasers could be reprogrammed/switched to "pulse mode" and do damage to ships, perhaps by loading a "combat crystal".

And if they want to mine afk? Well good luck getting very little ore from a super inefficient deployable. What if several miners want to mine in the same spot? Bigger deployables could be utilized, and even teamwork synergy bonuses could be applied.

Ratting? Ratting is stupid grindy. And whats with rats never warping off? It seems to me if a Rat is about to die and hes not scrambled, he should try to gtfo. If he leaves, no isk for you. Instead of having a mass of stupid incompetent crosses that are essentially a "gear check", have fewer rats that require pvp fit mods on a ship to get. Want to kill that rat, better have a point and a web, or really good alpha. That way if some pvp does happen to come your way, at least you aren't barely better than a highsec miner at defending yourself.

PI? can't really be attacked. PI colonies should be suicide gankable (the nodes themselves) and attackable. Maybe a ship that deploys simulated dust bunnies (ammo = militants), or an interactive ui screen that you can use to target PI command centers with orbital bombardment laser. Doing so in highsec without wardec should involve concord. No PI in highsec for NPC corp players.

To compensate, allow PI node types for shield and missile launch. If someone attacks your command center via orbital bombardment, then all allied command centers on the planet should launch missiles at it. You should also be able to harden/fit your command facility like a player outpost.

NuTroll said...

Maybe even a nullsec only deployable/constructable, from a page taken straight out of Starwars.

A Death Star. (perhaps a titan in a type of anchor mode).

Orbitally bombards a planet within the same system, destroying all Command Centers on a planet with a doomsday (complete with disruptable countdown timer).

Alternatively it could also be used on stations. (you have 24 hours to defend your system or a station gets one shot). Timers for jumping/moving/destroying adjustable as necessary.