Sunday, August 23, 2015

Han Solo or is that, Han Social?

~or “A Social Player Playing Asocially…”

I have logged into EVE something like 3 or 4 times in the last 2+ months. I have however logged into Elite Dangerous nightly in that same time. At first I thought it was just that first flush of excitement when tackling something new… you know, the unveiling, the first time you hold a new joystick, the first time you log into a game and ‘see’ a new world… those first heady days of learning and exploring and joyful confusion… But then time wore on, and I found myself thinking about loggin into EVE less and less… and that worried me. A lot. A helluvalot.

But last night I realized it is not a lack of interest in the game, it is that I, in EVE, am a social player and there has been very little social activity in EVE for me to take part in.

You see basically after the stress of the move out-n-in from the old hole to the new and then the (seeming) loss of the 2 Directors to RL work/life needs etc. … well, the majority of the membership of our little band sorta backed off playing EVE.

We had night after night of people loggin in and asking if Sov or Tsra was on… and if no, poof! they’d just logoff and go play League or something else. Got really frustrating for a while and there was some talk talk about it, some “…well, how about staying logged on in case someone DOES show up!?” and some “…so instead of waiting on Sov or Tsra how about WE fleet up and run sites or go look for pew pew huh?!?!” … needless to say we tried this and we tried that and… well, there are people in the ‘verse who are just simply good at FCing and then there’s the rest of us.

So there we were, kind headless in a way with both Directors AFG due to RL shit, with the new bros not really wanting to play without our FC on, and the vets as left were seriously affected by all the above. In a joint corp/personal note… my son, AINeumann decided to take a break, one of those long ones with no scheduled return date… so he consolidated his assets in an NPC station in Empire, sold off a really huge amount of his stuff, and gifted out a not small number of billions of ISK (and yes I got some, and no you can’t has any…) and he left the game. AI is my son and he was the reason I came to EVE… to say this has been hard for me is putting it very mildly… so all in all things had kinda ground to a halt for our intrepid little Anoikis band.

As of this coming Nov I will have been playing EVE for 5 years and I have played solo and in small, middle sized and large groups and I thought I was competent and comfortable in all those playstyles… and here I was as guilty of popping into TS, seeing no one on and loggin right off again same as the new bros we were getting upset at for doing the same thing. Seems at some point the social aspects of EVE have begun to heavily outweigh the other gameplay options for me.

So, here I was with not much to do in EVE and basically no one to do it with and I, like all of us, knew all about the two biggest potential rivals to EVE… Elite Dangerous having gone live in Dec of 2014 and of course, Star Citizen, release date TBD (though according to the game's website, crowd source funding surpassed US$87 million in August 2015). So I gave each a try. Star Citizen just confirmed my belief that I am not a betahead. I want to PLAY the GAME… not ‘test’ the hangar.

And as of right now, Start Citizen reminds me far too much of Incarna… where you have these fantastic ships (avatars) and clothing and monocles (ships and stuff you can buy for really ridiculous amounts of RL money) and NO WHERE to fly them (just like the CQ)… granted they do have a Thunderdome you can ‘pretend’ to play the game in, but that holds no interest for me… Yeah all in all a bit too much like our avatars in EVE if you think on it a minute. I’ll wait for them to ‘open the door’ so to speak on Star Citizen before I invest too much time in it.

But Elite Dangerous… well, that’s all together very different as you have read here or mebbe even on a few other blogs. As I said at the top of this post, I had found myself thinking about loggin into EVE less and less, and that worried me… but I figured it out.

EVE is a social game, E:D is, for me, a solo game. I have enough ISK in EVE that I don’t have to grind site or even PI to afford ships to lose, and ATM I also have quite enough of them as twere so my desire in EVE is not ISK motivated now, it is ‘where are the guys’ motivated and the guys are, for the most part, busy elsewhere.

So E:D fills my needs at this time perfectly. I do have a few friends here, 2 of the guys I work with IRL who joined us in EVE have also decided to give E:D a try and, well, they are as taken with the FPI (First Person Immersion) as much I am. And they too were affected by the whole EVE corp’s slowdown in activities etc.

But even knowing they are out there, I simply don’t have the same desire to mix it up socially as I do in EVE. The mechanics for group gameplay in E:D, well… they suck in comparison to EVE TBH. There is a ‘wing’ mechanic and they guys are playing with it to see what it gives you, but it is nothing like Fleet in EVE (or what used to be Fleet in EVE… have they killed that off yet?) and there is nothing AT ALL like corps or Alliances in E:D… nothing period.

No contracts, no personal trades, no station hangars, no buying and storing modules… you can own more than one ship and what is fitted on it, but that’s all… and I have found no way other than on-at-a-timing it on your own to move ships around from station to station. And this is a far far more painful process than in EVE.

Yes, there are some real downsides to E:D… it is not EVE and I know now it cannot replace it. At least not for me, not as long as I would really rather fly with my bros in the deadly skies of New Eden… and I do miss my corpmates. I have heard rumors of rumors that they may have more free time in the not too distant future… and if that comes to pass then I will… once moar…

Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=

Sunday, August 9, 2015


~or “Driving on Planets…”

It aint WiS, but it just might lead to something BETTER…

You see one (there an many ATM) of the reasons I have been playing Elite Dangerous more than EVE lately is greater “personal” immersion.  Not that EVE isn’t immersive, we all know how deep that great game is… and E:D is no replacement for EVE, again comparing a watermelon to a grape… both round n food n tasty n all, but NOT the same by any means.

However as Mynxee recently discussed in her post, Walking In Stations: An Impossible Dream?, CCP was at one point going to expand EVE in a moar personal direction and give us ‘Ambulation’ (horribad name that, sounds like we're all shuffling over to an ambulance…) moar colloquially and better known as WiS or “Walking in Stations”… IE we could get out of our PODs, scrape off the goo and wander ‘bout and kill shit as PEOPLE for a change. But CCP screwed that pooch without Vaseline or a reach around… I have said my piece many times on my desire for WiS and feelings about how CCP horribly mismanaged it. But at the risk and desire of repeating myself once moar…

The Why...  

OK, so that’s what happened in EVE… and it does not seem like CCP wants to do a helluva lot about it either, or, at least they are keeping their mouths shut about it if they are looking at a WiS feature for EVE… and after Incarna, that would be best. I just hope and pray they are because the competition is heating up… really heating up.

My title reference to DoP, ‘Driving on Planets’ is about Elite Dangerous and the Horizon expansion coming THIS YEAR… and as there are only 4.5 months left in 20and15 and the beta for Horizon is out NOW then we will actually see this SOON™. The Horizon expansion is a very reasonable, logical and workable first step into a fully immersive First Person SciFi Space MMO game.

You will be able to fly your ship, from space down to the surface of ‘airless’ planets and moons (leaving dealing with atmo flight etc. for a later iteration, smart that). Once down you will have a vehicle… a Surface Recon Vehicle (SRV) called the ‘Scarab’. That’s what depicted in the Title pic above… we get a teaser glimpse in the Horizon trailer… fast shot, speed blurred, of a Scarab BLASTING in 8 wheel glory over a moonscape… OH HELLZ YES.

Per the Horizon site’s blurb… “The first expansion, Planetary Landings introduces players to planet surfaces and the first all-new Surface Recon Vehicle (SRV) the ‘Scarab’. Scanning airless planets and moons brings new gameplay as players detect signals, crashed ships, mineral deposits, outposts and fortresses.

All good stuff IMHO and a great step towards one day landing, getting out of your seat, walking to the cargo bay, getting in the Scarab, dropping the ramp, finding a wreck and getting OUT in your EVA suit and Walking On Planets… and in stations, and in our ships… oh hell man, I wanna walk ALL OVER the place, and fly all over space, and drive it like I stole it!!

And in Elite Dangerous… it looks like the Devs at Frontier want the same thing.

1. Should EVE have the same thing or at least something similar?
B. Should CCP “copy” Frontier?...

A. Yes.
2. Not if they had done it first…

Some things to consider though… E:D aint EVE and EVE aint E:D.

E:D is far more a PVE game with PVP allowed but somewhat heavily restricted (as compared to EVE’s open world sandbox), and with few mechanics for really cooperative gameplay and with player Emergent Behavior affecting the verse to a greatly lesser degree. So is E:D gonna sway huge swathes of players from EVE?

I don’t think so due to the different gameplay and goals. However, those who want a vastly moar solo game with reduced yet still existing risks will be drawn to it. Add to that a greatly expanded gameplay ABILITY… First Person, flying and driving and one day walking about… so yeah, I think CCP needs to read the writing on teh wall and get to coding on teh screen.

Should WiS in EVE be like E:D? Nope… it should be like WiS in EVE and take into account EVE's basic nature and playstyles and Emergent and NPC lore and playerbase. Before I just really wanted WiS in EVE for myself… now I believe it really needs to happen… for the game.

Fly reckless and see you… on the Surface =/|)=