Our Prototyping shows…

This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ perspective to discuss an item from the CSM Winter Summit minutes – the conspicuously downplayed POS revamp.

I haven’t finished my trawl through the extensive CSM Winter Summit minutes yet, but I think I’m ready to weigh in on this topic.  Over a year ago now I wrote this piece on the flaws of the current POS system, and how I hoped to see CCP stepping up to tackle it in the coming year.

2012 turned out to not be the year of the great Starbase revamp afterall.  But we did see a building anticipation amongst the playerbase that we would see something happen in 2013.  The CSM minutes do not give us much hope of that either.

What is described there is the moment where the CSM learn that the expected full scale POS revamp is now off the table.  Apparently the ‘atmosphere grew more tense’ at this point. CSM not pleaantly surprised. 😉

CCP are moving away from the idea of building expansions around single large scale features that only address the needs of a part of the player base at a time.  They have looked at previous expansions and asked which were the best recieved and why.  The answer, predictably, was Apocrypha.  The reason is that Apocrypha delivered on a theme (exploring the unknown) that introduced content for a broad range of playstyles.  New ships (T3 cruisers) to be built, trained for and flown.  New resources to harvest, new space to explore and inhabit.

I think that CCP are actually on to a good track here.  It sounds like a good philosophy to adopt, picking a strong theme and creating interlinking features that will hopefully produce a more rounded product.  I like that.

Following Incarna, CCP formed Team Avatar to conduct prototyping work to evaluate what form avatar-based gameplay should take in EVE, and what would be required to deliver it.  The conclusion was that it is something CCP would like to do, but would have been very time consuming and resource intensive, so it has been put on ice.  Apparently the POS revamp has gone through the same process, with the same result.  Too hard to do as suggested, so it is not being done.

But.  Big but.  EVE needs that POS revamp.  If it can be done in phases rather than in one hit, as CCP now seems to be suggesing, then great.  But EVE needs it.  That post I wrte over a year ago still holds true now, if anything it is becoming even more urgent than ever.

The current poor implementation of Starbases and the corp roles governing them is holding newer players back from doing the things they want to do.  We need to see:

* A system that places the emphasis on individuals over groups, as the current group focus just locks the new guy out as corp managers simply don’t trust the new guys and restrict everything to a handful of trusted veterans.

* Corp roles that allow for much finer control than we have now.  If you let a cop mate run one POS, he can run any POS or structure the corp has.  This is a security risk corp managers are loathe to take.

* A system of corp role management that is intuitive and does not require hours of study and trial and error to learn.  In my experience most players will refuse to touch the roles interface for fear of screwing everything up.  This inhibits recruits from getting involved in corp duties.

* Individual pilots often don’t trust the security availiable in a POS corp hangar or ship array, meaning they can be loathe to leave their stuff unattended.  Or they trust it too much and something goes missing….  This impedes using POS for staging posts away from stations/outposts/personal carrier alts.

* Better POS gunning controls.  The interface is truly terrible and unintuitive.

There is a reason why CCP believe that POS are of niche interest, and that reason is because the current implementation is so poor that mosdt players either want nothing to do with them or are prohibitted from engaging with this area of the game because they are not already a trusted veteran.

An improved POS system could mean a great deal for industry across EVE, including null sec and wormholes.  It could bring about much more viable military staging posts.  It could mean many things and it is long past time that CCP did something about this.  Give your support to the CSM’s lobbying thread. 120 pages and counting, good work Two Step!

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One Response to Our Prototyping shows…

  1. Ugleb says:

    http://syncaine.com/2013/01/17/mmo-housing-is-gameplay/

    This little piece makes excellent points on what a POS revamp getting back to its original idea of player housing could mean. I’d be all for the summer expansion theme of ‘living in space’.

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