Quote of the Day – Screwed by the Autopilot

Every player shares the same gigantic persistent universe, which sounds impressive but means that the main gameplay mechanic is “commuting.”  Ships hopscotch across the universe from stargate to stargate. This can take hours, which is why you have an autopilot, and that autopilot might as well be a self-destruct system.

Cracked, 6 Groundbreaking Ways Video Games Are Screwing Players

True enough.

The main complaint in the EVE Online part of this article is that the autopilot in EVE doesn’t warp you to zero when traveling through jump gates.  Which, I grant you, does slow things down when traveling.  And I won’t even go into how “warp to zero” wasn’t even a thing when I started playing.  “Warp to 15km off” was the way it was for everything back in the day.

Fine.  EVE has lots of things that annoy people.  And I cannot say that I like travel all that much.  While a single trip can be an adventure, hauling crap repeatedly over the same space quickly turns into a chore. But then I tried to factor in the title of the column.

6 Groundbreaking Ways Video Games Are Screwing Players

That seems like a bit of a stretch for this issue.

I mean, with all the things going on in the gaming industry, in a world where Zynga still exists (remember them, Cracked?), where selling hotbars is a thing, and where making single player games “online only” is a trend, ranting about the autopilot the EVE Online might not actually be worthy of the #2 spot on such a list.

Putting the auto pilot in there feels more like “axe to grind” when lined up with daily presents you must log in to claim, lock boxes, DLC porn, and consumer behavioral optimization.  There are basically five decent, money related issues that link back to the opening paragraph, plus the one non-monetary entry seemingly added just to piss all over that internet spaceship game.  Or maybe it was an attempt at link-bait trolling, knowing the EVE Online community and such.

But it does make me wonder how much it would change EVE Online if the autopilot warped to zero.  It certainly wouldn’t save people in null sec.  I get popped on gates warping to zero already.  It happened last night, thanks to an erroneous “clear” response on the intel channel.  (Clear aside from that Pandemic Legion camp on the gate.)  Likewise with low sec.  It just makes the ignorant and the foolish mildly more difficult to catch.

And while it might cut back on suicide ganking in high sec choke points like Niarja, I get the feeling that the align time for a freighter fresh through a gate would give the sharp gankers the time they needed to scan and destroy likely targets.

So, warp to zero for the auto pilot:  Would that be a game breaking change or just another tweak with the usual unintended consequences?

Hat tip: Harbinger Zero

9 thoughts on “Quote of the Day – Screwed by the Autopilot

  1. Corelin

    At first I thought this was the article 2 years ago or so where they put in the autopilot. Then I read the date. Then I wanted to hammer my head through my desk.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Corelin – “At first I thought this was the article 2 years ago or so where they put in the autopilot.”

    Well, the autopilot has been in for a lot longer than that. My first glorious death in EVE was Sep. 5, 2006, when I auto piloted out to null sec. I did not make it.

    @Archare – Indeed, I had a whole section wondering what constituted “groundbreaking.” The ground was broken on annoying travel decades ago. But that started to stray way off course, so I removed that bit.


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  4. E'dyn

    I doubt that it’ll change much, although I would be more comfortable doing autopilot instead of sitting and clicking when flying. But I still wouldn’t move around too much doing autopilot.. Just my mission ships/small indy ships.

    Freighters would be a no no


  5. bhagpuss

    I rather like ” daily presents you must log in to claim”. I do it in several MMOs and it’s pleasant enough. Hardly seems worth complaining about – either you want the present, in which case logging in is hardly a big ask, or you don’t in which case where’s the problem?


  6. SynCaine

    Daily login stuff is ‘gamey’, and if you are playing a virtual world MMO, it detracts from that. I’m generally not an “immersion breaking” zealot, but I do have my limits, and daily login stuff falls on the wrong side of that.


  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – It depends on the implementation, how intrusive it is, and what they are handing out.

    The Need for Speed World daily gem hunt, which isn’t exactly the same thing, kept me playing for a while, but ultimately made me stop playing.

    In LOTRO, the Hobbit Presents are a wheel of fortune that gives you one free spin a day, then charges for additional spins. It gives out some very nice equipment that no doubt helps diminish the already weak player economy in the game. And there is no avoiding it, you get a popup about it every day you log in. Somebody… Moxie maybe… was writing about how her husband blew a pile of mithril coins on Hobbit Presents.

    In WoW, the Blingtron 4000 hands out level 85 potions and some vendor trash worth some gold, so it seems like some sort of minor social welfare bot. You just have to find it as it shows up in different spots. So at least it isn’t very intrusive.

    Basically, the more in my face it is, the less I like it. And, as was my point in the post, it revolves around money like most of the other items in the Cracked article I linked. The autopilot gripe is about travel not being instant, easy, and on demand, which makes me wonder if he just doesn’t like MMOs. But then the rest of his article makes that point pretty clearly.


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