In Soviet Russia, Crime Watches You
CCP Masterplan has just released the new DevBlog on the highly anticipated/morosely dreaded Crimewatch iterations, and I can literally here Poetic, Ripard, and at least 40 other Eve bloggers furiously hammering out their responses from here.
First of all, I will clear the air right off and say this post will actually not be about how Crimewatch 2 applies to Ninja Salvaging. Yes, this will in some ways effect that particularly close-to-my-heart profession, but Ninja Salvaging has always been a sort of gray area fringe niche, and will move forward with this in some form or another. The real nerfs to the profession came more than a year ago with loot drop and salvage price dives, and the community has and will continue to find creative new ways of ruining someones day regardless. I’m honestly not too worried about the effect his may or may not have on Ninjaing as a profession, because if anything, it blows the doors wide open for conflict escalation and further tom-foolery.
That said, there are some glaring problems with Crimewatch 2 (CW2) that need a hard looking at.
First of all, I do believe that CCP deserves a medal for even attempting to take a look at the absurd complexity of the aggression system in Eve and iron out some of the wrinkles. Granted, I myself and other like me have based a solid chunk of their entire play-style on exploiting peoples inability or refusal to understand the rules, but I can at least accept that its a messy situation that needed looking at.
That said however, I’ve got some major concerns about where this takes us. I understand that Eve needs to be, at a ground level, more accessible to a new player. Retention after all, means this game continues to grow and thrive. What worries me though is that the path we seem to be on now equates “accessibility” with “easiness”. Historically (and I know its been said a million times), “Eve is hard”, and that’s actually been its draw to most people who play it. Now, that mentality might be changing as CCP ramps up for the big leagues with the DUST release, but its definitely what drew most of us to this game in the first place; lets now forget that. Eve is a harsh, cruel learning curve, and everyone really is out to get you. There are no “pvp shards” or do-overs, and when you lose your stuff, that stuff is gone, not back in your castle/dungeon/magic toadstool manor.
So why dumb it down? Sure, people should be aware of the consequences of their actions, but that’s called “learning the rules”, and it does not and should not involve a giant neon blinker in your face yelling “WARNING YOU ARE ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING DUMB“. Eve has always been about trial and error, and learning from your mistakes. This just seems like we’re diluting it down to make room for some squishy new players. What ever happened to HTFU? About 6 months ago, I wrote a post entitled “Eve Was Hard” about the dumbing down and homogenization of Eve, and it seems we’re back around to the same issue.
Interestingly and conversely, CW2 in some ways actually makes being a fresh new player even harder. Lets look at can-flipping, which has been pretty much every budding PvPers first foray into fighting other players. In the past, feisty new guy steals from a can and either A.) kills the common-sense-deprived retriever that actually shoots back or B.) retriever runs off and comes back in a PvP ship to stomp on him. Anybody with an IQ north of 70 would typically go with B and either go get a PvP ship or more commonly, request help from another corpmate nearby. Whatever the outcome though, our feisty new guy learned a lot about fighting a real person, got his adrenaline pumping, and went out looking for more.
That, it seems, all goes out the window with CW2, because now when you steal from a can that isn’t yours, everybody pretty much anywhere can now shoot at you. In our brave new world, when our new guy grabs a can, he no longer gets a 1v1 and a valuable lesson, he gets a 1v30 and says “fuck this”. The lesson learned here now is that large blob mentality wins, and he should probably go off and join one of the biggest null alliances in the game and join rank with thousands of others who now realize that doing anything without at least a fleet behind them is a waste of their time and ship. So much for encouraging solo and small gang work.
There are other points of the new Crimewatch that I think are a great addition to the game; the new logging off mechanics for instance, or killrights for even an attempted gank (and I say that as a suicider). But again, I hope CCP keeps in mind that we love this sandbox because it is what we make it, not because it came with pre-made sandcastles and someone to hold our hand as we play in it.
Eve-O comment thread on Masterplan’s DevBlog can be found here: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=160005
My original response (SPOILER: liberal copy/pasting was utilized between the forum post and this blog post. Why dilute a good point by trying to surmise yourself?) can be found here: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=2003689#post2003689
[Fake Edit:] Its now been pointed out that freighter ganking in highsec is about to get hilarious. Gank-squad pops freighter. Use neutral freighter alt to scoop loot thats so big ONLY another freighter can scoop it. Get sad when every pilot in the game can now shoot your neutral freighter for “stealing” from original owner. Rinse, repeat. Remind me to bring popcorn and a lawnchair to Uedama on expansion day.