Past design philosophy:
Over the past five years, CCP have continually demonstrated a dedication to certain core design philosophies. These are things that should never change no matter what direction EVE's development takes. My experience of EVE over the past five years has shown the game's strict adherence to the following goals:
- There should be only one world with no instancing or sharding.
- EVE should be a sandbox style game.
- PvP should be the primary activity.
- Free-form gameplay is encouraged.
- The world of New Eden should be a harsh, cold place.
Many players have complained that removing speed-tactics as a viable PvP strategy violates the sandbox design philosophy. This is a philosophy whereby CCP develops ships, modules and tools and it's up to the players to find out how to best use them. The argument here is that changing ships and equipment in light of players finding the best way use them is moving the goalposts and is counter to the sandbox style. This position is refuted by a lot of the older players, citing examples of much larger balance changes
that were ultimately good for gameplay. Suicide ganking revisited:
Following a recent article
investigating the phenomenon of suicide ganking, this was the first of the CSM's issues that CCP have produced a definitive plan of action on. In a controversial move, CCP plans to increase police response time significantly and increase the security rating penalty associated with suicide attacks. Added to the planned removal of insurance for pilots involved in suicide attacks, these changes could mean the end of suicide squads
While support for the changes is huge, many players complain that this removes yet more of the free-form gameplay elements that characterise a sandbox style game. CCP maintains that the current mechanics are biased in favour of the attacker. The changes are intended not to make suicide attacks impossible but to more appropriately punish those involved. Wardec changes:
During his meeting with the CSM, CCP developer Noah made the wild claim
that "the current wardec system amounts to a pay-to-grief system"
. CCP's possible plans for moving forward include the implementation of a form of goal or objective for wars and a way for the defenders to cause a war against them to end. EVE
being a game that is essentially built around non-consensual PvP, the thought of these massive changes ever coming to light has a lot of players up in arms
The creation of game-defined goals rather than letting players define their own could mean an end to the current use of wars as a free-form social and political tool. This seems to violate the sandbox design principle by forcing players how to conduct their wars the way CCP dictate. It's also feared that should the viability of wars be reduced, EVE
may lose a great deal of its individual character as a harsh corporate world where social darwinism
is the rule. The sky is falling!
One of EVE
's core developers once coined a phrase that I've always found to be true. He said that given any piece of information, the players will always assume the worst possible scenario. It's a sad fact that every time a major change is announced, there will be players on the forums who act as if the sky was falling on their heads. I should know, I'm usually one of the people overreacting. In my time in EVE
, I've seen my fair share of massive changes
to the game and in almost every case, player fears were unfounded.
The most important thing to realise is that EVE
itself is an organic entity, attributing its slow and steady growth to the low rate that players leave at rather than a high sign-up rate. To maintain this low turnover rate, a EVE
has to keep players interested in the long term. An MMO that doesn't undergo constant re-development
is unlikely to keep players interested for more than a few months. Since EVE
is constantly evolving and undergoing development, new problems will inevitably arise that will eventually necessitate balance changes.
The suicide ganking changes have been necessitated by the drop in ship prices to their theoretical minimum over the course of the past year and the subsequent proliferation of cheap-and-easy suicide squads
. After mass-reducing modules and rigs were added to the game, a set of speed balance changes were required to prevent nano-battleships being as fast and agile as interceptors. Although that round of changes was eventually pushed through, cruiser sized ships escaped the change and are only now being brought in line. Changes to the war system may be interesting but until a devblog on the issue is released, any speculation cannot be taken at face value. Summary:
In the five years EVE
has been going, its design philosophy hasn't changed significantly and CCP is unlikely to change their record-breaking formula any time soon. With the CSM, however, players are now taking a more active role in the game's design and fears over the design direction
may have some validity. It's a well-established rule that given the opportunity to change an existing MMO for the better, 95% of players would completely ruin the game in question.
It's important for every EVE
player to remember that what works now may not work a year from now. Learning to adapt your PvP styles after each major patch gives EVE
a special character that has kept me interested for over four years. The sooner a player can accept that adapting to changing circumstances is part of EVE
, the sooner he can begin to love EVE
for what it truly is – a new game every six months.