Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Blog Banter 9: Who is Nibbling at My House?

Welcome to the ninth installment of the EVE Blog Banter and its first contest, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to crazykinux(at)gmail(dot)com. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

I'm a bit notorious for not 'officially' being in on CK's blog banter; I see when the topic goes up on the day it's meant to and if the topic intrigues me I bang out a response by dinnertime. I'm not the only one, either.

This one, however, is a doozy. CK posted it publicly -- it's a contest, so as many people as possible have the chance to get in on it. I'm more interested in the challenge posed by the actual topic:
Which game mechanic would you most like to see removed completely from EVE and why? I can see this getting quite heated so lets keep it civil eh?
-- Keith Neilson/Jmarr Hyrgund

Oh my. See, that is throwing the white glove down and asking bloggers, 'How well do you know your game?' You can't just pick something at random and babble stream-of-consciousness style about it; it requires some actual deep consideration about how the game works. Everything that currently exists in Eve makes it what it is, and if you only suggest removing things which cause you grievance, then you're missing the point of Eve's deliberately dark, cruel atmosphere.

...Well, I assume it's meant to be dark and cruel. Highsec is starting to look like Care-A-Lot.

In terms of game mechanics, there are a few things that should probably be changed or removed in order to either streamline the system or help it make more sense. One thing which strikes me as needing a revamp is a mechanic that is relied upon more than any other: the Local channel.

Don't misunderstand me: I love Local. I love seeing who's in system, recognising old friends and foes and giving shoutouts and chatting with people. But it's difficult to tell the difference from highsec to lowsec to nullsec. In the beginning, Local wasn't intended to serve as the intel tool it's become.

I would recommend removing the features of Local channel that have made it thus:

Take away the channel tags that reflect friends, foes and allies. Those are perfectly fine in personal channels and on the overview, but the addition of tags to Local has made people lazy about scouting ('Three reds, two blues'? How about actually checking corp and alliance info? Try remembering allies' names?) The other side of that coin is that it would be possible to once again hide in the crowd and bring back the sneaky abilities of scouting spies.

In lowsec, change the way Local updates. Give it an update every, say, five minutes. It's lowsec, after all: the crews managing the comms relay stations are bored and underpaid and the tech need maintenance. So unless someone starts chatting the moment they enter a system, others won't know they've been there for the first couple minutes. No more Local spikes raising people's hackles -- at least, not til the fleet's been in there for a bit. It would totally alter the dynamics of operations in lowsec on all fronts: gangs would have more freedom of movement, scouting would be a bit tougher and require good scanning reflexes, and you might not notice that war-target till the bugger's right on top of you and whistling for backup.

For nullsec, remove Local updates altogether. I've been in w-space a couple times, and the simple removal of that feature really gave the impression of being out in the wild-lands as far from civilisation as you can get in Eve. There shouldn't be any comms relays in nullsec: it's just a standard, open broadband channel that everyone can use to communicate. All of a sudden, your cosy Sov-2 home isn't quite so secure. You'd need scouts and patrols and people constantly running system scans to ensure your base isn't being invaded. People holding space would have to work to hold it. In fact, let's do one better: in high-sov systems, alliances could add comms-relay towers to their bases and turn their Local channel into the lowsec-style system I suggested above. I realise that would be tricky to implement on the development end of things, but the gameplay aspects would totally be worth it.

Communication is one of the most important aspects of the game. It's easy to take for granted the system as it stands now; simply removing the ease with which intel is gathered via the Local channel would add depth to gameplay and be a constant reminder to players that they need to maintain situational awareness.

Other Banters
  1. Diary of a Space Jockey -- Blog Banter: BE GONE!
  2. EVE Newb -- (EVE) Remove You
  3. Miner With Fangs -- Blog Banter - It's the Scotch
  4. The Eden Explorer -- Blog Banter: The Map! The Map!
  5. The Wandering Druid of Tranquility -- "Beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, mushroom, MUSHROOM!!!"
  6. Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah -- Kill the Rats
  7. Mercspector @ EVE -- Scotty
  8. EVE's Weekend Warrior -- EVE Blog Banter #9
  9. A Merry Life and a Short One -- Eve Blog Banter #9: Why Won't You Die?
  10. Into the unknown with gun and camera -- Blog Banter – The Hokey Cokey
  11. The Flightless Geek -- EVE Blog Banter #9: Remove a Game Mechanic
  12. I Am Keith Neilson -- Eve Blog Banter #9 - F**k Da Police!
  13. One Man and His Spaceship -- Blog Banter 9: What could you do without?
  14. Life in Lowsec -- EVE Blog Banter #9: Stop Tarnishing My Halo
  15. Cle Demaari: Citizen -- Blog Banter #9: Training for all my men!
  16. A Mule in EvE -- He who giveth, also taketh away?
  17. Speed Fairy -- Blog Banter #9: Down with Downtime!
  18. Kyle Langdon's Journeys in EVE -- EVE Blog Banter #9: Titans? What's a Titan?
  19. Dense Veldspar -- Blog Banter 9
  20. Morphisat's Blog -- Blog Banter #9 - Randomness Be Gone!
  21. Facepalm's Blog -- Blog Banter #9: What a new pilot could do without
  22. Achernar -- The gates! The gates are down!
  23. Ripe Lacunae -- The UI... Where do I begin... (EVE Blog Banter #9)
  24. Clown Punchers -- EvE Blogs: Which game mechanic would you get rid of?
  25. Memoires of New Eden -- You're Fired
  26. Roc's Ramblings -- Blog Banter #9 - Taking Things Slow
  27. Estel Arador Corp Services -- You've Got Mail
  28. Epic Slant -- Let Mom and Pop Play: Eve Blog Banter #9
  29. DeafPlasma's EVE Musings -- Blog Banter #9 - Removal of Anchoring Delay of POS Modules
  30. Podded Once Again -- Blog Banter #9 - Do we really need to go AFK?
  31. Postcards From Eve -- 2009.
  32. Letrange's Blog -- Bye Bye Learning Skills
  33. Warp Scrammed -- Blog Banter 9 - Never Too Fast
  34. Harbinger Zero -- Blog Banter #9 - War Declarations and Sec Status
  35. Ecaf Ersa (Eve-Mag) -- Can a Tractor Tractor a Can?
  36. Thoughts fram an Accidental Minmatar Revolutionary -- EVE Blog Banter #9 - Aggression Timers, WTs and Stargates
  37. Mike Azariah -- I don't put much stock in it...
  38. Rettic's Log -- Blog Banter: Overview Overload
  39. A Sebiestor Scholar -- [OOC] EVE Blog Banter #9: Slaves
  40. Diary of a pod pilot -- [OOC] EVE blog banter #9: Because of Falcon
  41. The Gaming-Griefer -- EVE Sucks, But I Love It: The Memoir of a Masochist
  42. Lyietfinvar -- Remove that monopoly
  43. Sceadugenga -- Blog Banter #9
  44. Industrialist with Teeth -- EVE Blog Banter #9