Wednesday, January 22, 2014

CCP Can't Win

Yesterday's post got a few comments but there is one by Wilhelm Arcturus of the Ancient Gaming Noob blog I want to address directly:
On the one hand, I understand what you are saying. We have had plenty of warning in null sec that nodes aren't going to hold up to big fights with lots of drones. Nodes have crashed or behaved badly before and they will again. Going in with the expectation that everything would just work would be pretty silly.
On the flip side, you come across with a tone as though feel that null sec blocs are somehow doing this to themselves (Min-maxing power games? We call those people "dead" in any PvP game.) and that the game mechanics are just fine.

But CCP put in tidi so that bigger fights could occur. CCP loves big fights. CCP encourages big fights. CCP wants big fights. This sort of thing gets them more press than almost anything else in the game. Now they are getting the biggest fights ever, their servers aren't up to it, and we have a situation where the bloc that gets in a system with 2,500 ships first wins. Is that working as designed?
I think you get what you get when you commit to that large of a battle. The idea of applying for a reimburse from CCP wouldn't even occur to me. But if CCP wants these big fights, they have to make them work.
First off, the point of yesterday's point was that if you are a pilot in a null sec bloc going into a big coalition level important battle, you have to accept the risk that the servers are not going to handle it well and bad things might happen. And when it does, petitioning for ship reimbursement is stupid and thus they are stupid for doing so.

But let me address another point Wilhem brings up in the comment. CCP can never win the "everything will work" line with current mechanics, and I have doubts that they can win even if they change mechanics to spread battles for sov over a constellation. A simulation game like EVE is always going to face the computational wall when they allow as many players as want to to enter a common space. Much like a gas, EVE's largest battles will always fill the space allotted to is until something breaks. Then we are back where we started.

So while I think CCP celebrates the big fights, and loves the publicity from them, there is no way they can ever design a system to handle every scenario of player combat. Eventually, the node is going to lose. CCP's best hope going forward is to change the terrain and mechanics so that having the most players in one place is no longer the advantage to winning the fight. There have been lots of ideas and thoughts thrown around about this topic the past few days and tomorrow I'll add my own.


  1. Gah, I can never escape my mis-typing. I meant to say that people who do not min-max in PvP are dead. Who doesn't fit their ship to win?

    And having my comment addressed directly, is that like being called to the principal's office?

    1. Nah, its more of like "Good Comment, I want others to see it and I need more space to properly respond" :)

  2. Well if they would be able to distribute the workload i'm pretty sure it could scale to sizes of battles that would never be reached with ~500k subs.
    There are sooo many things that could be distributed quite well, could get calculated predictively etc. and if you have 1sec ticks or 10sec in the 10% tidi case, you have all the time in the world to distribute the workload between as many servers as you like. It just seems that it would be too much work to redesign the backend in a way that makes the calculations distributable.

  3. Anonymous5:24 pm

    I cannot help but wonder what CCP could do given the chance of redesigning EVE from the ground up... i.e without all the horrible legacy codes...

  4. From professional experience: if you build a road with a higher capacity traffic will increase to utilize it. Building roads that have the capacity to meet future demand is a mug's game, and municipalities (metropolitan ones, at least) have finally realized that the benefit returns are diminishing hard.

    Without a strong (i.e. strong enough to make the min/max folks go the way you want them to) reason not to take the system to its limits, we will continue to swell numbers to kill nodes. Right now, the benefits of sheer numbers scale too well.

    I can't see any way around it, except hard limits on numbers in a system, in a constellation. I also suggest mass limits on portals, if I'm not allowed to eliminate bridging altogether.

    Some suggestions like stacking penalties for EWAR and remote reps may be a start, but honestly, I see cap limits as simply the lay of the land. There is only so much width at the base of the valley to march soldiers through.