This month’s blog banter , 74th in the series, asks the following:
So when this Blog Banter goes live Fanfest will be over. Hungover geeks from around the world will be departing Reykjavik after a five-day binge of important internet spaceships and partying. Whether you were there in person, watched the streams or read the dev blogs on your mobile hidden under your work desk there was probably something in there that gave you a “nerd-boner”. What for you personally was the most important thing to come out of Fanfest 2016?
The most important item for me, personally? That is a tough question.
First of all, there was a lot of stuff brought up at Fanfest. CCP has a summary page of topics posted for each day (day one, day two, and day three) which gives you a nice list to choose from. And from those posts I could probably justify at least half a dozen as important or interesting or just plain fun.
I particularly liked CCP Quant noting in his presentation during the keynote that the ratio of player assets in the game, 3,070 trillion ISK worth, to liquid ISK in the game, 978 trillion ISK, comes out to just about 3.14, or pi. (Also, CCP Quant is NOT having your PLEX market manipulation theories, which might be the most amusing post-Fanfest read.)
And there were plenty of things that were important to the game, not the least of which was the new producer, CCP Ghost, giving us a vision of a better new player experience that might actually engage players rather than drive them away. (Also during the keynote, official video of which is now up.)
But given all those choices, I am going to pluck a small item off the list, one that showed up on day two of Fanfest and which did not take up much time. It was, however, big enough to make it to the day two summary page.
- Ship bumping – at maximum for 3 minutes
A small, but important change is coming. A ship will get into warp no later than 3 minutes after the warp was initiated, regardless of any bumping, as long as the warp engines aren’t disabled (warp scrambled, bubble etc.).
When this has been implemented, a ship will enter warp after three minutes even if it is being bumped out of alignment. Right now a ship, especially a big ship like a freighter that takes some time to align, can be bumped off its alignment indefinitely and without consequence, holding it in place until it can be blown up.
Clearly this is a swipe at suicide ganking in high sec, where somebody bumping a freighter on a gate in Niarja, a prime ganking system between Jita and Amarr, isn’t any sort of news. Happens every day.
But why pick this particular item?
Yes, I have been on both sides of the coin. I have lost a ship to gankers, back before I knew that was even a thing, when I blithely auto-piloted my way through Niarja with a valuable cargo. And, during Burn Amarr, I tried my hand at the ganker side, joining the catalyst swarm to kill three freighters.
Fair to say that suicide ganking isn’t really my thing in New Eden, so what brought me to this upcoming change?
For me, this change illustrates the intersection of a few threads that permeate the game.
First, there is the desire for CCP to not restrict how players play the game. They want a wild west sandbox where we can create the content rather than trying to force us into some standard roles. There is no playing EVE Online wrong, though you can still play it badly.
From that point of view, suicide ganking is completely legitimate and CCP is on record as such. It is emergent game play and they will not do anything that will kill it off completely. There will be no “safe” high sec.
Second, there is the desire by CCP to keep things in some state of balance. If something is too easy, if some ship is too strong, if some aspect of the game seems to be killing off others, CCP is motivated to tinker with the game to try and fix that. They have to, because while there is no “wrong” way to play EVE Online, people will flock to anything that presents itself as an optimal choice. As Edward Catronova, something of a fan of EVE, once said,
Being an elf doesn’t make you turn off the rational economic calculator part of your brain.
Or, in this case, being an immortal space pilot from the future doesn’t turn that off. When drone assist was the was to win battles, fleets of carriers and Dominixes and Ishtars ruled the space lanes. When heavy missile spewing battlecruisers were over powered, Drakes were everywhere. When insta-locking Svipuls are totally too good, guess what is a feature of every half decent gate camp?
So CCP steps in… or, in the case of Svipuls, will hopefully step in soon… and changes things up, nerfs one thing or boosts another.
And, thus, when suicide ganking seems too easy, CCP feels compelled to ratchet up the difficulty, as they have done on a number of occasions over the years. They don’t want to kill it, they just want to make it more of a challenge.
Of course, how well they have manage that leads me to the third thread, which is are unexpected consequences. CCP is at a huge disadvantage when it comes to making changes to the game. There are a couple hundred people at CCP at most looking at game mechanics, and many less on any given change, while there are tens of thousands of players looking for the optimum fit or tactic or whatever.
The mental processing power alone favors the players who will optimize after any change… something that isn’t improved when CCP won’t listen when players, or the CSM, point out the obvious flaws.
So we have, once again, CCP attempting to tweak things against suicide ganking, hoping to tamp it down some. But we have yet to see how players will respond. Will this make things more difficult for suicide gankers and cut back on kills, or will things simply settle down on a new optimum path? Will it be as easy as just having a sacrificial warp scrambler hit the target every two minutes and fifty seconds to keep it in place?
And what else will come from this? How many capital ships in low or null sec will escape now because somebody is holding them down on a gate by bumping, but the three minute timer lets them go? What other ripples will come from this particular pebble being tossed into the pond that is New Eden?
I always find this sort of thing interesting or amusing or important because it is, in its way, the essence of the interaction between CCP and its players, the give and take, the friction, the way things develop and progress. It isn’t anything unique to EVE Online, but these little items feel like they have more impact in New Eden than in places like Azeroth or Norrath.
Anyway, it was is a small thing, but one that jumped out at me. And the question didn’t demand the biggest reveal or most dramatic new feature, just what was important to me.
That is my response to BB74. Here are some of the other submissions:
- Neville Smit – Fanfest 2016’s Biggest Reveal
- Warp Drive Active – The Most Important Reveal at Fanfest
- Inner Sanctum of the Nineah – Building the Future
- New Eden Vagabondage – The Most Important Reveal at Fanfest Was……
- Rinn’s Rants – Fanfest Nerdboner
- Roc’s Ramblings – Fanfest 2016’s Biggest Reveal
- Sound ‘n’ Space – The big thing at Fanfest
- Sand, Cider, and Spaceships – The Biggest Reveal Was… Nothing
- Just for Crits – Fanfest 2016’s Most Important Reveal…
- A Missioneer in EVE – Not what was seen
- The Ancient Gaming Noob – Bump and Grind