Monday, September 21, 2015

Blog Banter 67 - CCP TurkkDMC

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 67th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.

I am CCP X
There has been a catastrophic accident in the CCP Offices in the style of the Robbie Coltrane movie "The Pope Must Die". A leftover open bottle of Brennivin hidden behind a filing cabinet from the last Christmas party has mutated and released fumes affecting several senior CCP staff leading to some staffing changes. CCP Chair is now the CEO and CCP Cub is Executive Producer assisted by CCP Kitteh. In a freak accident your player account has just been upgraded to a senior CCP staffer leading a development team! With CCP now led by an inanimate object supported by a very young child and a fluffy cat, there is nothing to stop this from happening!

You are now CCP -Insert Your CCP Name Here- and have a team of developers eagerly awaiting your commands. So CCP X, what are you going to have your team work on?
Call me Turkk. Actually, CCP TurkkDMC.

Playing World of Warships has again brought to mind the differences between open sandbox PvP and arena PvP. In the former there is rarely a balanced fight, you are often chasing after targets or running from a larger fleet. Occasionally two fleets rush into battle but usually one side has the upper hand and wins handily. Only rarely, very rarely, is a pitched battle won by the slimmest of margins in EVE. Even in the tournaments a lot of the battle is fought and won or lost in the pre-match planning and meta maneuvers, with only the result being revealed in the unfolding battle.

In World of Warships and other "arena PvP" games, the opposite is true as the game is designed to pitch two equally matched teams against each other and allow (as much as possible) the players with the better overall skill to come out on top. While blowouts are not uncommon, there are a lot more close battles and occasional draws.

I enjoy both kinds of PvP. The hunt and chase, with scouting and intel gathering and marshaling forces and fleets, really appeals to the planner and strategic thinker in me. On the other hand, the pitting of pure piloting skill in the arena PvP is awesome for the visceral rush of hand to hand (or ship to ship) combat.

It bugs the ever living crap out of me that EVE producers have not seen the wisdom in expanding the sandbox to encompass both kinds of gameplay, literally freezing out a large potential pool of new players who want spaceship combat without the meta-battle that requires so much experience and friends virtually all the time.

Yes, there are tournaments, but they are modeled after EVE's DNA as well, dominated by the rich groups with tons of meta experience and practice. There is no drop in and play a match there, it is significant commitment and effort and then the battle's outcome is mostly determined before ships start moving. There is less imbalance than free form PvP in the wild, so to speak, but its not a large measure of individual PvP skill so much as its a measure of group meta-PvP skill.

Yes, there is the dueling mechanic, but its a small tool in the sandbox that is easily used and abused by the nefarious against the unsuspecting. Its just another tool of the meta-game, for the most part, and rarely actually used for a contest of PvP ship flying skill.

"Let the players handle it", I hear the cry! Things like the Syndicate Competitive League are held up as examples where players can get involved in arena PvP at a lower barrier to entry. But like all of EVE's tournaments, its afflicted with the same meta-gaming overhead and time commitment requirement that exclude the casual drop in and play crowd. Not to mention that CCP has been derelict in providing any readily available tools to facilitate these functions.

No, given the reigns of CCP what I would do is formulate a plan to introduce actual casual drop in PvP arenas, free of the meta-gaming overhead and massive time commitment that currently plagues arena PvP in EVE.

I would designate a number of systems, probably around ten, spread throughout the high sec, low sec, and NPC null sec regions, where a special station exists where arena battles are held. Each station would host battles for certain ship classes, for example, one station in high sec hosts battles only for tech 1 frigates and only with tech II modules (i.e. no faction or deadspace modules or ships) while a station in low sec hosts battles between cruisers and smaller.

You dock in the station with your ship or ships and enter a queue with your current ship (assuming it meets criteria) and the match maker transports you and 13 other queued players to a deadspace pocket with various terrain in system where you are divided into two teams and you have 15 minutes to battle it out to victory. In this pocket links, boosters, fleet bonuses, and implants have no affect. Just you and your ship, good luck.

Victors receive modest rewards in the form of ISK and Loyalty points for the special store in the new stations.

"But!" I hear many players wailing, "this will kill normal PvP in EVE!" No. No it will not. Because the people who want this gameplay, casual drop in PvP, are not currently in space or tournaments doing "normal" PvP, they are off playing other games. Adding arena PvP like this will increase normal PvP as players come into the game and try everything it has to offer.

Its time to expand the sandbox and CCP TurkkDMC is the one to do it.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm... I don't disagree with you at any particular point yet I don't ever see this working in EVE due to NPC and Emergent Lore. EVE is a virtual verse with history and story. Arena style battles, as anything other than codified 'sports', simply don't exist IRL and EVE is, to me and many if not most others is an IVL... an "In Virtual Life" a life simulation.

    Arena's as sports are fine and the players are doing a great job of creating and running them, as it should be IVL. Area's as sports are and should be a player based creation, not part of the mechanics of the verse we 'live' in. And it is that "we live in" part that defines it. EVE has no end game, EVE is a sandbox virtual reality in which we live out our virtual lives... it is not, from this aspect, a game.

    As for level playing field 'x'vs'x' group/fleet engagements... have you ever heard of RvB? I was in RvB for a while and there was not a hour that went by that I could not join a fleet where the 2 FC's did their best to work together to match fleet comps so that when we did jump and engage we had exactly what you are asking for. I never had to worry or spend even one minute on the meta or spai's or actually worrying about getting whelped by a massive hot drop. And the Directors of RvB (both sides) are absolutely 0 tolerant of rule breaking such as podding etc.

    Only this was not something forced on us by the verse, it was something we created out of the verse around us...and in the end that is what CCP wants for EVE.. and this is also, IMHO, far more fun and amazing... We do this!