Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Taking For Granted

As Andrew plunges into the Eve New New Player Experience in an effort to, I assume, experience the game so he can eviscerate from a position of authority as opposed to the position of outside drive bys with an AK47 and grenade launcher, I am struck by how much I take for granted as an Eve veteran.

Even the simple act of going four jumps, a quick and easy process done in my sleep, can be difficult for one that does not know how to setup the overview to show stargates, or operate the map to plan a route, etc but instead is told my the tutorial to set destination and then click on the autopilot.

Let me repeat that: the tutorial has him travelling around high sec with the autopilot. HOLY BATSHIT! No wonder so many new players quit in tears of boredom! Having to sit while the retarded AI ferries you to the gate a few times would drive me mental when I know I can do it manually and save minutes.

Then there is the questions of things like "where does the ammo go into my gun" and "can I see all my stuff regardless of the station it is in" and "why did it give me a skillbook to a skill I already have" and I can only hem and haw. Well, I can answer some questions obviously (like the station question: Assests Button for the win!) but others are two New Player Experiences beyond my experience.

He has also commented that combat feels really boring right now: orbit, activate weapon, prepare to flee if incoming damage is too much, and wait for red cross to blow up (which, when your using rookie equipment, takes a while despite the low level). All I could do is nod and say "yeah, early on that's about it." Later on missions get a little hairyer with more and tougher NPCs, and as you get into more powerful ships your damage dealing gets better, and tanking gets more involved, and managing transversal and ranges requires more thought, not to mention drones, but it will never be the combination of macros in particular orders and jamming on keys that is the combat in WoW (from what I hear).

However, that slower pace of combat in single player PvE situations belies the complexity of multiplayer combat where more than tanking and damage dealing is involved. The actions of the enemy and the ranges he fights at become crucial information instead of a trivia fact; electronic warfare of all the types come into play; battlefield intelligence/awareness and positional superiority; cooperation between your fleet members and disrupting the efforts to cooperate of your enemies; etc. PvE and PvP in Eve are just too different that to judge Eve based on missions/ratting alone is only half the story. The devs took a step with smarter Sleeper NPCs to try and improve that situation but regular missions still have the one dimensional combat NPCs... for now.

Despite my caveats / defenses in the previous paragraph, I am eager to hear what Andrew thinks of real missions as he progresses as I have nothing to solidly compare Eve to beyond time playing some PC games back in the day. Eve is my first MMO and I have no time for a second so I live vicariously through him and others to see what Eve looks like from the outside.

P.S. He picked Minmatar race so at least he won't contend with the mind dead boredom of Caldari missile ships running missions. :)

3 comments:

  1. I'm playing through the NPE on an alt and while it is much improved over what I went through over a year ago, it is still rough. Originally I depended a lot on blogs like this one and CrazyKinux to smooth things out, and I think that it is still helpful and somewhat necessary.

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  2. I'm finding it super-rough even with blogs, guides, and our rather EVE-addicted host at my disposal. As Kirith mentions - the amount of stuff that a vet takes for granted is huge...... personally I'm lost in a sea of buttons, windows, and arcane symbols floating across my screen.

    "but [EVE Combat] will never be the combination of macros in particular orders and jamming on keys that is the combat in WoW (from what I hear)."

    WoW combat takes all forms.... the class I play/played was a feral druid, which these days consists of balancing off 5 different timer-based buffs/debuffs using 6-8 skills. I press a key during combat once every 1.5s (on average) and the decision making on the fly is enormous.

    When contrasted to the much more leisurely pace of EVE combat (I click maybe 4 buttons per kill) the entire experience just feels so much less viceral, and really quite dull. Hopefully that will change.

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  3. It will change, particularly if you PVP. I won't promise it will be visceral because that's a very personal experience, but it won't be dull. Unless you are a zero risk type. If you take some risk and live a bit on the edge, you'll learn how quickly things can go downhill if you make a wrong decision. If you run too many mods or run them too long, and suddenly you're out of capacitor. Or you get too close and get webbed and can't get out of range. Decisions you have to make: do you run your MWD to keep your speed up but increase your sig radius? Or should you engage in close or from a distance (which depends on your weapons and your opponents weapons)? And if you lead a fleet, then there are more challenges because you must be aware of everything your fleet and the opposing fleet are doing and make the right call for your gang. I've never been FC, but I've seen how crazy that overview can get when there's a number of ships in it, with drones zipping about, and new ships warping in, that I really admire the guys that can sort it all out in a moment and direct their fleet doing the right actions.

    That's been my experience - I started in Jan 2008 and I now run 2 accounts and 3 characters.

    Cheers.

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