If you give players a way to use something to send a message, they will use it.
Since you can’t have warp disruption bubbles outside of null sec and WH space, you get mobile depots around Jita, the main trade hub of New Eden.
A mobile depot is a small deployable structure that lets you change fittings on your ship, put fresh drones in your drone bay when you’ve lost your current ones, and hide your excavator drones when your Rorqual is getting dropped. More about them over at EVE University.
They also sit in space, visible if you have your overview set to show them and, unlike warp disruption bubbles, they do not expire. So people will patiently deploy them one after another in order to spell out things in space. This is what was in space around Jita 4-4 earlier today.
Those are just dozens of deployed mobile depots.
There are a couple of words in Cyrillic and a line of mobile depots at the top with descriptions in Chinese. But there is also a sentence in English. In case it isn’t clear, and it might not be, it says “CCP MAKE NEW UI.”
Everybody is a critic. Not that I necessarily disagree. The UI was in my Top Five Problems with EVE Online post a couple years back, and I haven’t changed my mind on any of it. But after fifteen years we’re all sort of invested in this IU. To change it radically would be to change the game. But to leave it as it is means the game remains as opaque as it ever was.
Of course, this is laid out in 3D space, so I warped out to one of the mobile depots and one end of the message and selected one a the other end to see how big the whole message was.
Edge on you cannot read the message, but you can see that the mobile depot at the far end is almost 580km from me. That distance, about 360 miles, is quite a ways. The internet tells me that is about the distance from Boston to Baltimore, if you’re on the east coast, or about the distance from San Jose to Los Angeles if you’re out here on the left coast.
I would have done the Boston to Baltimore map, but California is easier since there is nothing between San Jose and LA really. At least not according to Google.
That is quite a distance. I happened to be in a ship fitted with festival launchers and fireworks, so shot a few at the mobile depot I was near. But a firework’s blast extends maybe a kilometer max, so they were completely invisible if you zoomed out far enough to see the message. Scale will do that to you.
You can also see that the mobile depot I have highlighted is named “check bio.” You can get info about the mobile depot and see who deployed it. They, of course, have their manifesto in their player bio.
I hate to start an argument, but if this person knew what the a 2002 game actually looked like… well, they would probably be shocked. Let me show you. Here is a Megathron battleship in 2007.
And here is a more recent screen shot of a Megathron.
Same shape, but better graphical fidelity. And you can’t even see the turrets, which track targets as they shoot.
But graphical quality is a very subjective topic. Somebody will always say whatever you have is not good enough, so I think devoting space in their bio, which has a character limit, was a wasted effort. The graphical quality of the game is actually something that CCP has evolved throughout the years.
As for the rest of the UI… well, the overview can be a dumpster fire. It is your prime source of information as to what is in space with you and it can be a pain in the ass to deal with and is one of the first major hurdles new players face.
On the other hand, I don’t have a better idea as to how to represent what is going on around you in three dimensions. You could add more information to the brackets for ships in space, as suggested, but that has the obvious downside of adding more clutter to what can already be a very cluttered display.
Anyway, I could pick apart every suggestion given with adverse consequences and still not like the UI myself. All design is a compromise. And players being mad at CCP because the game isn’t exactly what they want it to be is nothing new. This person, for example, seems to want to turn the game into more of a tactical spaceship shooter. But EVE Online isn’t that and won’t ever be that.
Still, I have to give this person credit. They did get CCP’s attention.
I assume Hilmar is still around because his retention contract has yet to mature. I expect he will be gone by the end of the year. Damn, I should have put that in my predictions for 2019. But still, somebody at CCP clearly saw it.
Of course, the best response to that tweet was:
That’s particularly impressive given how crappy the object placement UI is ;)
I am not even sure there is a UI for that. At least not for mobile depots, which you just deploy from your cargo hold. But I gather this person may have used the module placement UI for POSes.
All in all, just another day in Jita.