Friday, December 19, 2014

Team Un-Building

My reaction when the dev blog about industrial rentable teams in the Cruis industry revamp was released was tepid at best:
Overall, I'm disappointed. When I saw teams were coming into things from the second dev blog I had more of an image from World of Tanks where you get inexperienced tank teams and train them up over time to become proficient experts in various abilities. Instead we get temporary random components to fight over in auctions.
And again, I feel this feature will aid the large scale rich heavy industrialists over the small scale and casual industrialists. Those with the wherewithal to hire the best teams to their hubs can amortize the hiring cost over their jobs and produce more cheaply even in busier systems than those who work with generic default teams or the poorer quality teams. I'm also willing to bet that capital ship production teams will be in highest demand even if poor quality because the large capital jobs makes savings more significant.
On the other hand, the devil is in the details. What's the spread of randomization of the teams? How many teams will be created? Will null sec powerhouses achieve any benefit from outbidding everyone to bring teams to null sec? How much will freeloading affect benefits (which ties back to my question of whether or not teams are tied up in jobs once they are working)?
Together with all the other changes coming this summer means I don't even know how this is going to shake out. Time will tell.
Well, time has told and CCP decided to pull the plug as the feature was seeing very little use and low impact on the game:
While we definitely think that the core idea behind teams is a good one and brings value to the game and you, in its current state it is adding the wrong type of complexity and not impacting the universe in the way we hoped. We have done some initial investigation and it is clear that bringing it up to the quality standards you should expect of us is a large project. A project which at this time is not the highest priority for us against some of the other things we are looking at. Given this, we believe the right thing for EVE and its players is to methodically remove industry Teams from the game over the next few months until such a time as we can properly revisit it.
Our rollout plan is to disable the seeding of new teams by the end of 2014 and to disable the UI features in one of the first releases of 2015. While we would stop seeding new teams, any existing teams in use would continue to provide bonuses until they retire, including those being actively used in jobs. We will also be closely monitoring the impact this potentially has on the Industry landscape and react as appropriate if the change is not as expected.
To those wondering why CCP didn't just leave this little used feature in, having extra code to work around for future releases increases complexity and risk for little gain if the feature is mostly ignored. I applaud their willingness to address the issue by admitting its not working out and removing the feature instead of letting it fester.

I admit the impact the teams had was less than I anticipated, probably because the effort of getting a useful team for your operations was complicated due to horrible auction mechanics and poor interface design and usability.  Ultimately, though, I feel the major failure of teams was in trying to force players to work together to achieve a common goal without providing sufficient tooling to accomplish that. Creating a secondary inflexible market for teams that are randomly generated and of mixed use seems to run counter to the main economy that is flexible and supplied via player actions.

I think the next iteration of teams, if they are ever given a second chance should:
- make use of the main market
- be player "built" (i.e. designed and created)
- can still have a limited lifetime and can still be used by everyone in the system
- have fewer but more focused bonuses

However... I have my doubts they will be coming back, which is a shame because I thought it might lead to crews for ships.

1 comment:

  1. I think it would be neat to see "industry" in Eve expand into "human resources" - training your own teams yet, but wouldn't it be fun to be able to train marines, station managers (janitors?), drone pilots, etc? Would be a fun way to grow that side of the game.


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