Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Skills Versus Classes

One of the most distinguishing features of Eve that sets it apart from many other MMO games is that there are no classes. Much like real life, you have characters and careers that they can pursue but change at any time.

Over on Andrew's World of Warcrat blog Of Teeth and Claws he gets into a debate with Tobold over whether or not the "hybrid" classes of Druid and Paladin are too powerful (or rather too flexible compared to other classes) because they can do any part of the "holy trinity" (i.e. Tank, DPS, Heal) effectively depending on the specification they have chosen. This allows them to access more raids I gather from the posts.

This got me thinking how in Eve players are not restricted to roles except by their own choosing. Depending on the ship you pick and the modules fitted on it, you can fill any roll in Eve's combat (Tank/Tackle, DPS, "Heal") as long as you have the appropriate skills.

Of course, that's the catch: your skills train at a rate that cannot be increased by time invested in game. So a WoW player could grind levels for a short week and have a decently equipped level-capped character while an Eve player skill can't fly a basic Cruiser decently in the same amount of time. The WoW player could conceivably grind multiple characters in different classes up to cap and the Eve player is still considered a horribly inexperienced newb.

Speaking of level cap, the optimal training plan and character attribute distribution means that someone could train all Eve skills in about 4 years. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

6 comments:

  1. I feel like you've done a decent job of describing the situation without committing to too much of a position.

    Having played both games (EVE & WoW - amongst about 1 dozen others)I would like to put forth my opinion.

    Your point about the option for a WoW player to rapidly grind up several characters to max skill in a short time is well made. Conversely, although it takes a huge amount of time to train the majority of skills in EVE, I don't think anyone has maxed all skills or is expected to do so any time soon.

    My opinion is that it is, in fact, this long LONG training span that contributes to EVE players finding so much left to engage with in the game after 3, 4 or even 5 years.

    How long does it take the average WoW player to burn out entirely? 1 year? 2? And as much content as Warcraft has compared to most games, all of said content is available, consumable and digested within a very short time compared to the depth and diversity experienced in EVE.

    WoW is the fast food restaurant of MMOs. And just like American cuisine it is leading to a marketplace of obese, lethargic, ill consumers.

    I believe the steep learning curve and exponentially longer character development in EVE allows players to become much more deeply invested in the game...leading to longer subscriptions and greater grass roots growth.

    Very Respectfully,
    Diametrix (pod-poker.blogspot.com)

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  2. Luccul6:33 pm

    I like Diametrix's fast food analogy.

    I haven't played WoW, but I have friends that do and I've questioned how they can level up a character, and then they seem to be finished with it. I've played Eve for just over a year now, with two toons, and I still feel like I'm just getting started (not having as much time to play as I'd like might have something to do with that too).

    I tend to get bored with stuff too easily and move on, but Eve has had staying power with me. I've been annoyed with it, but rarely bored. Now if I could just get in more game time.

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  3. @Diametrix:

    "I feel like you've done a decent job of describing the situation without committing to too much of a position. "

    Whereas you let your bias hang out there for all to see. =)

    "How long does it take the average WoW player to burn out entirely? 1 year? 2? And as much content as Warcraft has compared to most games, all of said content is available, consumable and digested within a very short time compared to the depth and diversity experienced in EVE."

    Well - most people in my guild have been playing AT LEAST two years, and many have been playing since launch..... so you tell me?

    Also, the general statement that "all content is available" is correct - but stop right there, because it is not immediately "consumable and digested" within a short time (compared to EVE or otherwise). The real WoW game STARTS at max level - that's when all of the instances (and their heroic variants) are finally opened up to the player, and all of the raids as well.

    A fresh level-capped cannot just walk into a raid instance and expect to find success - often players must spend weeks or months running lesser content to gear up, and practice their skills (i.e. use of their abilities as opposed to merely acquiring them). And then once you raid there are tiers of content, each harder than the one previous.

    Consider that in the last major WoW expansion (The Burning Crusade) a mere 2-4% of the players had beaten every encounter in the game.... the vast majority were somewhere behind the curve, striving to overcome it all. Does that sound "consumable and digestable within a very short time" to you?

    "WoW is the fast food restaurant of MMOs. And just like American cuisine it is leading to a marketplace of obese, lethargic, ill consumers."

    While EVE is the trendy hip little cafe that is forever on the brink of obscurity/bankruptcy because so few people know about it, and even fewer care. It's all in how you spin things, eh? ;)

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  4. @ Andrew

    It is indeed all in how you spin things. And I did hang my bias out there for all to see.

    It's my bias! See it!?

    I do appreciate your comments. I have played Warcraft up to and including level cap content. I have not stuck with it to the level you and your guild have.

    I will give you this: WoW is a good game. It has definite draw power and playability. It did not become the Elephant in the Room without a lot of good stuff going for it.

    Having played the majority of MMOs on the market for at least a short period of time, I still hold to my biased opinion that some games appeal to players for different reasons...and among those reasons are:
    1)FUN
    2)Long term playability
    3)Depth & Diversity of Content
    4)Social Interactivity
    5)a myriad of other things

    One through four are my personal priorities in descending order. Your list will undoubtedly vary.

    World of Warcraft, for all its delicious flavor and population crushing subscription numbers, does not provide the player driven complex gameplay that EVE provides.

    Call EVE a little cafe on the brink of bankruptcy if you like; The over 1/4 million people that play on MY server in EVE seem to like it enough to stick around. How many people on your server, Andrew? (low blow..sorry)

    My bias: WoW is McDonalds. It's killing you. But hey, it's your diet. I eat what I like.

    And for what it's worth...you don't see me posting on a WoW blog.

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  5. @Diametrix:

    Your list of priorities pretty much mirrors mine..... however note that all of the items listed - including #3 - are very subjective.

    Your idea of fun likely does not resemble mine in any way.... and from reading the posts here, the author's differ significantly too. (But I knew this before - he's always liked different computer games than I have, with relatively few exceptions).

    And.... I have to laugh about you EVE players and your blatant adoration of your single-server architecture. It really boggles my mind how much of a kick you guys get out of it - To return a low blow: "Whoo hoo - my game is tiny enough to cram on a well designed server farm! Go me!" Personally I have no clue how many people reside on a single WoW server - but there's more than enough to keep things interesting, and provide a huge number of people to interact with whenever I log on.

    "And for what it's worth...you don't see me posting on a WoW blog."

    Two main reasons why I'm here.... (a) the author referenced my post (I write 'Of Teeth and Claws'), and more importantly (b) the author happens to be my best friend irl - I follow his blogs to keep up to date.... even when I haven't a clue what he's yammering on about.

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  6. Andrew,

    All barbed comments aside, I appreciate your interaction and opinion. And I have enjoyed playing World of Warcraft for entirely too much time in the past. In fact, along w/ BigBearButt's, I used to read your blog if I recall correctly.

    It is the best of all world's when each of us finally finds a game we can stick with and enjoy.

    Cheers

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