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I focus almost exclusively on PvP, whether solo, small gang, or large bloc warfare. In the past, I've been a miner, mission runner, and faction warfare jockey. I'm particularly interested in helping high-sec players get into 0.0 combat.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Paradigm Shift: A PeP Game

Every blog post, every comment, and every hour spent reading and writing about Eve is dedicated to the pursuit of an idea, of a single moment when all that fodder caramelizes into a breathtaking insight.  It’s a slow process, but when it finally appears, the absolute satisfaction and delight of a true paradigm shift strikes you like a thunderbolt of awareness.  At no point do you feel more aware that all is perception and representation as you do in that moment.

For several weeks, I’ve posted about “what Eve is”.  I argued that CCP wants – and the gameworld needs – players who are highly engaged and passionate about what happens in-game, that we needed people who argue.  I’ve argued that players who do solo PvE aren’t as desirable to the game as players who interact with lots of people.  I’ve argued that direct player interactions are preferable to indirect or non-interactive actions.  I’ve posited the belief that while all activities are intensely satisfying to someone, we need to keep a hierarchy of value in our minds based on whether those activities create content for others, improve the vibrancy of the gameworld, and retain players long-term.   I’ve still said that Eve is a complex game and should use every tool at its disposal to gain that initial player interest, then quickly draw them into other areas to guard against boredom.  I’ve argued that the passionate player-created content is Eve’s major competitive advantage, and that CCP should not try to complete based on its poor PvE offerings (which is a losing long-term prospect in even the best cases; look at WoW’s subscription yo-yo).

Through it all, I’ve been sniffing around a larger point I couldn’t quite articulate.  I’ve been intentionally provocative with the deliberate goal of triggering discussion that could lead to that thunderbolt.  Other bloggers have chimed in, both in favor of and against things I’ve written.  Other commenters have argued with me.  Some made good points, and some expressed their own biases and the flaws in their thinking.  And all of it paid off.

A paradigm shift is a radical, yet sometimes subtle, change in the way one views the world that has massive ramifications.  I’ve said before that we create our own perceptions of the world.  This can lead to a lot of doubt and confusion when we reject an idea of absolute truth, but it can also lead to delight and awe when we replace an old world-view with a new, better one.  For me, that happened last night at about 11:45 pm.

You see, Eve certainly isn’t a PvE game, but nor is it a PvP game.  It’s a PeP game: Players Engaging Players.

This insight wasn’t even mine, but I do take credit for a small part of it – as should every commenter and blogger who’s written in the past couple weeks.  I didn’t even discover the comment that contained this paradigm shift.  I have Turamarth Elrandir’s A Carbon Based Life on my blog feed (a nifty feature of Blogger is that you can follow new posts by your favorite blogs without having to go looking for them).  In his latest article, he quoted a player named Chanina who posted to one of Sugar Kyle’s articles:
The phrase “eve is a PvP” game doesn't catch the real essence of the game. It isn't a versus every time…it’s a PeP or Players Engaging Players game.” - Chanina

My God, this woman is wise.  Yes!  This is the definition I was seeking.  This can be the bold statement that defines Eve’s value.  Eve has always been an odd duck in the MMO world, and required a definition that is novel, yet still understandable.

Like all good revelations, it seems self-evident once you hear it, though it takes months or years to emerge.  And that obviousness was paved with every argument and interesting thought over the past few years.  In a way, it validates my view of argumentation … without the intense (and, at times, heated) discussion, comments, and counter-posts, I doubt this idea would have emerged.  So, score one for catalytic debate!

Eve is a Player-Engaging-Player (PeP) game.

On its surface, this definition is still aspirational enough to withstand criticism, yet concrete enough to actually have meaning.  This definition can still support a value hierarchy: that which is better for the game and for the overall group is that which creates engagements and complexity of interaction (http://targetcaller.blogspot.com/2015/05/player-interactions.html).

Yet it doesn’t limit itself to one myopic view the way “PvP” does.  PeP doesn’t carry the implication that players be against each other all the time.  Even though I use the term PvP to refer to player brains interacting with each other, compared to players interacting with a machine, the term PvP can also be taken to mean players conflicting and destroying each other.  But in Eve, cooperation and teamwork have a role, too.  The old paradigm, PvP, just doesn’t capture it all.  But with PeP, it’s all there.  The essential element that makes Eve unique and gives the greatest value – players reacting to and engaging with each other – is brought front-and-center. 

“Eve is a PeP game,” bridges the gap between the hardcore PvPers and the group mission runners and miners.  In both cases, players are engaging with each other, interacting directly and forming the social bonds that directly lead to long-term engagement.  And that’s the critical element… humans interacting with other unpredictable, emotional, hostile, ridiculous humans.   Whether you’re tear-farming or corp Rorqual-mining, you’re engaging in the same process… interacting with and reacting to other players to generate emotional satisfaction.  Whether the dopamine comes from coordinating a supercap build chain or burning down all the things, the dopamine is real, and it interacts with our brain in a way that says, “This game is awesome.”

A “PeP” definition bridges the gap between Sugar Kyle’s market and production delight, Evehermit’s solo play, my never-ending search for the toss-up solo fight, Rixx Javix’s war against warp core stabilizers and for a pirate’s code, the null-sec fleet lover, the high-sec pilot who loves sitting in Teamspeak chatting with his corp during a mass mining op, and the CODE ganker eyeing them up as the next target while he spins his narrative.  They all enjoy and delight in the same essential thing: engagement.  But both creation and destruction can be engaging and can draw people in.  Both urges link us to our activities with invisible tentacles that bind us tightly to this game and make us think, “This matters; I must fight for it.”  Whether that fighting comes by activating weapons, restructuring supply chains, or adjusting build locations is irrelevant… the passion instigates a desire to act in pursuit of our desires, which creates interaction opportunities for others at the same time.

A PeP definition blurs the line between hero and villain, rightly identifying them just as adherents to different philosophies.  The “good-evil” dichotomy isn’t as important as the “engaging-isolating” one.  A PeP definition recognizes the cascades of causality that, like echoes, spread and bounce off of everything.  The chaos of a thousand balls bouncing around a room creates a million interactions, which create a million more.  We are those balls, and those interactions are our experience.

This is the conclusion I was driving towards.  It’s one that I can put my heart behind and that captures the essence of many of my recent posts.  A few times, I’ve kept silent as commenters and other bloggers took the wrong interpretation of my words.  As I looked at the page, it was abundantly clear to me what I meant, but that wasn’t being conveyed.  Part of it was the perspective of others coloring their interpretation, but I was guilty of the same thing.

We lacked a common term to serve as the right framing thought to provide the right context.  A thought that recognizes the flexibility and freedom inherent in Eve.  A thought that validates the greater importance of engaging other players over interacting with a machine.  A thought that acknowledges a hierarchy of desires that places activities that create content for others as more valuable to more people than activities that merely satisfy our individual desires.  A thought that can combine what is good for the game with what is good for each of us individually.


And now, we have it.  “Eve is a Player-Engaging-Player game.”  That’s a definition I can do more than live with.  It’s a definition I’m going to rally behind and advocate.

31 comments:

  1. Coining a succinct, accurate, practical term is no small thing. Perhaps it deserves naming?

    Chanina’s Vision: Eve is a Player-Engaging-Player (PeP) game

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    1. Perhaps, but I really do believe this definition belongs to everyone involved. It was Chanina's insight that codified it, but all of us were involved in the discussion that led to it.

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  2. Yes! Excellent! I feel like we're finally on the same page.

    I just wish that there was a nicer way to say 'player engaging player'. I get that it has the two 'P's on either end, so it fits the pattern, but it just sounds bad. :|

    Why not, 'EVE is an Sandbox game'? :p

    I still believe that interactions, even 'buffered' by a machine, have value though. They fall firmly on the 'engaging' side of the engaging-isolating balance. Interactions that do not carry on beyond a machine do have little value though.

    I'm just glad that we've finally wrangled a definition out of the mire of unformed thoughts. Now onto the next problem...

    Just kidding!

    Rob K.

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    1. Have value, yes. A lot of my comments through this whole process were of the "Would you rather have..." variety. "Would you rather have a player interact constantly with others, or interact with himself and the PvE mechanics only?" The latter isn't valueless, but I'd much rather convince people to BE the content as they CONSUME the content.

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    2. I'll admit, much of my frustration with the idea of 'players as content', is that it is already so defined by the player-base. If you refer to a player as 'content', 99 times out of 100, you're talking about shooting them. Player become content when they're made targets for, or victims of, other players.

      In essence, becoming 'content' is normally a bad thing. I think that's why Sugar is opposed to the logistical changes I proposed, because there is no way of creating 'content' directly for a JF that doesn't put it at the risk of exploding.

      (On a perhaps unrelated note)
      As for consuming content, the absolute lack of engaging content beyond a certain period is probably one of the reasons PVE players leave, if they've taken a big loss. EVE's missions cease to be particularly engaging once you've run them the thousands of times required to grind enough ISK for the ALOD-worthy ultimate mission runner. If you lose that mission runner, why should you want to grind those thousands of mission to replace it? Thus you quit.

      A revamp of EVE's PVE would be one sure-fire way of encouraging player retention. Another would be creating a new 'fleet only' form of PVE that couldn't be solo'd or multi-boxed efficiently. Kinda like Incursions, huh?

      Rob K.

      (I also hope you're going to respond to the comments made on your Blog and Reddit in replies to yesterday's post. I'm looking forwards to it :) )

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    3. Is it possible to create content for PvE that is engaging enough for people who play Eve? In particular, the culture of Eve is seeped in unpredictability, and human ingenuity. Can a computer algorithm design a program that isn't predictable in some way? Wouldn't Eve players find a way to game any system CCP comes up with?

      I don't believe, at its core, that playing against a machine can ever be as appealing as playing against another human being. But, then again, my favorite games are chess, poker, and Eve Online. And playing against machines in the other two is a pathetic imitation, at best!

      As to the blog post, I'm leaning towards not responding directly. I really want to keep it as an open forum for folks to share their thoughts on the topic. A response post could come across as me shutting someone down or negating some of those ideas, and I don't want to do that. I really want to crowdsource and create some dialog.

      I'm sure some of those suggestions will find their way into my thinking and future posts, though. Don't worry about that!

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    4. Personally, I like ‘PeP’ more than ‘sandbox’ since it emphasizes the single shard nature of Eve (and single shard is all about how one’s actions interact with everybody else’s actions).

      PeP also gives one a good window into what’s gone awry with the ALOD worthy mission runner. That arduous climb up the mission ladder remained almost entirely isolated from the get go (there was some limited interaction with the shared economy but that’s well-nigh invisible unless you search down the results). Accordingly, our poor ALOD mission bear has nary a response other than “Why can’t you just leave me alone!” when rudely confronted with, very probably, their first overt interaction with other players. The problem underlying classic mission grind is there’s no PeP to it (pun intended).

      PePering up (again pun intended) classic missions could be as easy as designing missions that require three players to hop through the acceleration gate before the mission objectives spawn. Sure, players could solo multibox such missions if they really wanted to but a sizable number of players just might show interest in organizing three person teams. Just like group mining, over time the meaning behind such missions would be less about consuming uninspiring scripted content and more about working with your team.

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    5. "Is it possible to create content for PvE that is engaging enough for people who play Eve?" chase some Seekers and run from some Drifters and see how you feel about creative PvE bro.

      Look, PvE shouldn't EVER compete with PvP... Like you I also don't believe that playing against a machine SHOULD ever be as appealing as playing against another human being.

      That's not what this is about.

      This is about accepting and supporting the widest possible number of playstyles in order to attract and retain MORE players for EVE as a whole. Give both PvP AND PvE players good gameplay options and both will stay... and then I believe both will eventually explore a bit of the Dark Side as they see it, (PvP players enjoying PvE and PvE players PvPing...) as long as they are both well supported and given engaging tools and content to work with.

      And no matter how you slice it, the Sleepers/Jove/Drifters ongoing lore and activities are PvE content... just not your std. MMO Quest through the Valley of 15 Set Piece Dungeons to Kill this End Game Boss for the Magic Asswhacker of Ballsakk...

      No, EVEs PvE is more like Real Life... we have no idea where it is going and no Smelly Ancient Magic Gnome is gonna pop up and tell you all about it either... we have to decide if we are interested and if so Go Find Out on our own... the way it should be.

      I am not talking about replacing PvP with PvE... I am talking about making EVE's PvE as good as it can be, for those who enjoy that playstyle, and are willing to do so in a 'verse that allows always on PvP, will do so HERE... where CCP gets their money and we ALL reap the benefits of a financially profitable, sound and cutting edge game development company.

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    6. I somewhat agree that playing against a machine can never be as engaging as playing against a human. Machines are much more likely to be out thought than to out think. I do think that CCP's reasonably awful PVE is somewhat engaging, even in its current state.

      An interim solution would be to create a sense of randomness, even if it isn't truly random. A step would be to create a harder version of each mission that seemed identical. The aim would be to create chaos and unpredictability.

      What better to engage people like us!

      Rob K.

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    7. DireNecessity looks at Tal & Rob and scowls. Stop talking about machines. Until machines start regularly passing Turing Tests, interacting with them simply isn’t going to be as *emotionally* satisfying as interacting with fellow people. And the day some machine blows past a thorough battery of Turing Tests and thereby becomes as emotionally satisfying to interact with as meat humans is the very same day we probably stop calling said machine ‘something’ and start calling it ‘someone’ so, when it comes to ‘engagement’ machines change nothing.

      I’m not saying there’s no room for improving Eve’s lack luster PvE but I am saying some serious thought needs to be put into how to improve it and I’m pretty confident that expending a lot of resources to make it react more like people isn’t going to produce the desired results (unless, of course, CCP does manage to create Turing Test passing artificial intelligence in which case they’ll probably lose interest in space pixels as they’ll have bigger business to attend to).

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    8. There is only one topic that is not up for debate in my mind (and which I won't permit comments on this blog: the absolute existential threat that thinking machines represent to our species. I don't deem this topic one that is up for debate; it's not a question of favorable or not, it's a question of extant or extinct.

      Machines are tools, and we better damn well keep them in that role. When they stop being that, we won't call them "someone", we'll call them "master", if they choose to allow us to exist at all.

      The book is closed on that one.

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    9. Not everyone always finds interacting with other humans emotionally satisfying. Sometime people play games, and EVE is still a game, believe it or not some people find occasional grinding relaxing.

      That's not to say they're against overt player interaction, but it's not black and white that interaction with a machine can't be emotionally satisfying.

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    10. Passing over our incipient submission to our new robot overlords, the point wasn't to make interacting with them as good as interacting with a player, but to make interacting with PVE better .

      Introducing new missions that require intelligent thinking, changes in tactics, not being able to blitz, would *eventually* create a more engaging PVE experience, that might hopefully lead into PVP.

      Before you get too up in arms, I said hopefully and might, not *must* and *will*. I'd rather these missions function like a bridge to PVP, and not a travel-ator. The Burner missions were a nice step, but I'd really like to see CCP move onwards, and I think they might get caught up in the 'new' thing. I'd much rather CCP continue to challenge themselves than to remain where they are.

      As for "PvE shouldn't EVER compete with PvP", why not? We are not two styles, both alike in indignity. IF CCP can design a hyper engaging PVE experience, why shouldn't they? (and look at that big if!)

      Rob K.

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    11. If they can, they should. The fact that they haven't stands contrary to the possibility.

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    12. If they can, they should. The fact that they haven't stands contrary to the possibility.

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    13. The fact that they haven't does not 'stand contrary to the possibility'...it does not say they 'can't', it only says they haven’t yet. You cannot prove your statement with a negative proof Tal. I haven’t ever flown doesn’t mean I ‘can’t’ fly… this is a logical fallacy.

      Good engaging PvE has not been a focus is all. They did originally set out to make a game where they made the content they just wanted it to be an open world MMO with few restrictions on PvP.

      The guys who started CCP and created EVE were Ultima Online players who were disenchanted when UO got Trammelled and wanted that original UO open world PvP/PvE gameplay experience back but in a SciFi setting. The Emergent Player effects on such a virtuality were almost unknown and were not something anyone was intentionally focusing on or working to create and/or support.

      This is blatantly obvious in this story by CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson at Fanfest 2014 where he tells a story from the dawn of EVE about an experience he had playing the game during his paternity leave with some players who were corp mining (“Oh, what is that?”)… jet can mining… with multiple players mining and hauling together. His reactions to this and his sudden understanding, an epiphany if you will, of the ripple of effects across the game that this kind of unexpected emergent player behavior will have are obvious and are just as obviously completely unplanned for.

      They weren’t making the Sandbox as we know it today… they were making a game with planned content, not shovels and buckets for the kids to create with… that all came after Himar’s Epiphany.

      So, this changed the direction CCP developed the game in. After that, new shovels, bigger buckets and more sand were the order of the day for EVE and have been for years now. And so consumed “Content”, actual Dev created Content, fell to the wayside.

      Now, we have a fantastic verse full of amazing sand, an immense variety of shovels and buckets for the Emergent Players… but this has sidelined the gameplay of the Consumer Players… and we and CCP needs to readdress this imbalance.

      Both Emergent and Consumer players are important to EVE, they are after all the Yin and Yang of EVE… and we need CCP to bring balance to the verse.

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    14. Negative proofs, no, you're right. "Absence of proof is not proof of absence." But what we're dealing with is presence of contrary proof. And that puts us firmly in the realm of inductive reasoning. The PvE isn't engaging or best-in-class. Perhaps what CCP is trending towards with the drifters and sleepers can get us there, but it's too early to tell. I hope it does, I really do!

      The simple fact is that "engaging PvE" is kind of like a mythic beast across the whole MMO landscape. That's why you see subscriptions drift off in other MMOs, only to bump up briefly following new releases, until everyone finishes that new content too.

      That is, of course, for the MMOs that haven't already failed from their PvE focus.

      But generally speaking, PvE and PvP are two sides of the Eve see-saw. If one is covered in shit, you've got the other to pull you out until you clean it off and fix it up. That is, if people are highly engaged and invested in all Eve has to offer.

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    15. There is no spoon… nor is there any ‘contrary proof’.

      EVE’s PvE is not engaging or best-in-class because after the Hilmar Epiphany CCP changed the direction in which they were developing EVE part of and this was to make PvE less engaging and more just a way to make ISK, just like a dull boring work-a-day job IRL.

      CCP jumped on, hell they created, the Players-Are-The-Content bandwagon (and I give them my heartfelt applause for doing so) and they focused on this New Paradigm in gaming. So of course the PvE in EVE is lack-luster… they intentionally made it that way, this is by no means ‘proof’ that they were ‘incapable’ of making good PvE.

      This is not induced or reasoned out supposition… I have read this in articles and posts and comments by multiple long term CCP employees. I do now wish I had saved and copied those articles, posts and comments but alas… I didn’t.

      And, if I may, once again I disagree with you ”…that "engaging PvE" is kind of like a mythic beast across the whole MMO landscape.” What PvE Content there is takes months to create and weeks or mere days to complete. This does not mean it is not engaging, this means it is very hard and time consuming to make and conversely, with the tools and skills players have in their games, far easier to figure out and beat.

      And, strangely enough, as we all know in MMOs the bosses and NPC ‘could’ all be set, configured and coded to be very hard to beat… actually it would not be hard to make NPCs we cannot beat… if you don’t believe me gank a Freighter in Hisec and take on CONCORD… then lemme know how that works out for ya there m’kay?

      No it is not that PvE or NPCs can’t be made tougher and faster and harder hitting than humans or even that NPCs constrained to using the exact same tools, weapons and defense the players have available wouldn’t be able to outshoot and outmaneuver us mere mortals … we are mentally slow and weak (try tracking ‘exactly’ ALL the drones and ships in B-R, which the server DID every millisecond of that fight) in comparison.

      No, what humans have is creativity and imagination… but the constraints of game mechanics could easily be leveraged by the creatively limited but far faster machines to their great advantage.

      No, the “Good PvE” issue stems from the need to create situations where the human players will eventually WIN every time, or even most of the time (cause if they don’t or can’t they simply won’t play, would you?)… and that is the crux of the PvE sucks issue.

      It is not a matter of can they or can’t they, or will they or won’t they… it’s ALL about balance. Balance between PvP and PvE, and balancing the code for winning or losing.

      And for once I think we are in complete… well, almost complete agreement…

      ”But generally speaking, PvE and PvP are two sides of the Eve see-saw. If one is covered in shit, you've got the other to pull you out until you clean it off and fix it up. That is, if people are highly engaged and invested in all Eve has to offer.”

      Well said that… =]

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    16. One interesting tidbit that I picked up on from Sugar's fantastic history of the expansions is that prior to 2008, there was no organised PVE content creation team. It was all done by hand, individually.

      Considering CCP's somewhat disorganised start and the apparently continuing lack of tools to develop missions in a cost effective manner, I don't really feel it's fair to say that because CCP hasn't, they can't.

      Hopefully, CCP will develop a future.vision for PVE just as they have done for sovereignty.

      As for 'must eventually win every time', why? Encounters that would be impossible to solo, should be an incentive to group up, surely? And an incentive that isn't so.massively artificial as '3 players must enter before the mission objective spawns '.

      I think there is a possibility for better PVE, and I think it can be done.

      Rob K.

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    17. 'must eventually win every time', why? This was a tricky line of thought and I spent more than the usual time considering how to say what I meant but just threw it in there to see if anyone would bite… and I caught a Rob!!

      There are missions/sites that can be run solo and there are missions/sites that simply must be run as a gang. This breaks down even further with skills/experience/ISK... the missions/sites that you can't run solo as a noob are a LOLfest when you are 2 years ingame with skills+experience and the ISK to afford ships that can PWN those same missions you used to fear warping into...

      So, yeah... that was a very simplistic way to say what I was trying to talk about... That is the difference between PVE that is very set-piece, that uses the same mechanics/tactics/ships/etc. every time to the point where you can have things like EVE Survival's Mission Reports... where what IS going to happen and how it IS going to happen is all laid out in painstaking detail with advice and guides on how to most effectively run the mission/site and even how to Blitz the mission/site.

      This is what I meant by 'win every time'. It is all formulaic and can be quantified and made easy once you have the skills + experience + ISK.

      Making missions/sites hard enough to be more challenge has involve limiting ships types and numbers and we have seen changes to NPC's like actively attacking drones and now we have Burner missions which I have heard can be very challenging but are still basically just much harder missions with netter tactics and ships... But all in all the basic missions/sites have remained formulaic and quantifiable.

      But the Seekers and Drifters... NOW THIS is amazing NPC Engagement! They are not limited to dungeons or rooms, they are out here in the 'verse with us... and they actively seek US out... once engaged they follow you and reengage, even through gates...

      The Seekers put up a decent fight for Cruisers but do not use Ewar/points/webs etc. and somewhat limited and formulaic in their tactics, but that is offset by the ever present, and very real, danger of the random Drifter spawn... Drifters can kill capitol ships... and they eat anything below caps... and they can even pod kill and scoop corpses. Now THIS cannot be Mission Reported and detailed and quantified and gamed to the point of utter boredom...

      But… change it so the Seekers stay the same but add points and webs so WHEN a/the Drifters spawn you die EVERY TIME… and no, then you have gone too far. No one will knowingly warp into a PvE engagement knowing in advance that their chance are truly less than 50/50… But we will, more often than not, warp into a PvP fight as long as we feel our chances are at least 50/50…

      Why? Because it actually means something to win or lose against a live opponent…

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  3. This was the very discussions we were having yesterday in Sugar's channel about the interactions that the game creates. Eve is a game where one either directly engages with others such as in PvP or ops, or indirectly through the market.

    Appreciate you codifying the thoughts a lot of us have been having.

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  4. The problem with PeP is it could be construed as Players eating Players as well.... We're not playing a space zombie game (as amusing as that might be).

    For awhile, I've been thinking of Eve as a 'Player Interaction Engine' (PIE for short). The players log in from their various places around the world and try to find something to interact with that is interesting to them. I feel that anything that can be interacted with should have various levels to it so that something can be found for every skill level. One of the problems in Eve is that some of the things do not have different levels to them, and instead only appear to have a hardcore setting... If one thing could be done to improve the game for all players it would be to fill these holes in the difficulty curves.

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    1. While "Players eating Players" certainly fits the acronym's letters, I don't think it can be safely "construed" as that.

      Including "engaging" in the description really resonated with me, because engagement is such a critical concept. Being subscribed and being engaged are light-years apart, and the distinction is a critical one. Engagement implies active participation and emotional connection; "interaction engine" suggests an automated process that drones on endlessly regardless of what the users do.

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    2. PIE IS A LIE!!!! Oh... wait... that's cake.

      Never mind. =]

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    3. Heathens. It's cookies, you fools.

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    4. The underlying systems of Eve drone on even without the players logged in to interact with them. What the PIE does is give players an environment to interact with and reasons to interact with each other. The problem I have always felt that Eve had was that it's environment falls apart quickly under scrutiny. The story has more holes than swiss cheese. The npcs never seem to make any progress on their own. It's almost as though we are playing a game and not a simulation.... :P

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  5. Good post, and a satisfactorily holistic viewpoint. EVE is often called a web service masquerading as a game because there are so many ways to play. PeP is a better label, but it's still just a label and as such fails to address all playstyles equally well.

    Even the solo miner, though, eventually goes to market and competes against other players, directly or otherwise.

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    1. Eggzactly!! Solo players play the same game, they are not un-involved, or sharded off or separated from the rest of us... they are as much a part of the tapestry of EVE as Mittens... (just overall quieter and probably with better facial hair management...) =P

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    2. They aren't uninvolved, they are playing the same game, yes... but if a solo player was threatening to leave and a content creator was threatening to leave and I only had resources to devote to one play style, I'd choose the content creator all the time. If we can afford to cater to all, then by all means, let's include them. But when hard choices need to be made (as is always the case in a world of scarcity), you have to go with the players that do the most for your other players.

      That's why I'm so against making logistics harder... those folks advance the game of many others.

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  6. Great discussion! "PeP" hits the nail on the head for me. One of the most fun engagement opportunities in EVE is to push boundaries of what is expected or normal ... whether socially or mechanically. The fact that the game lets this happen with such diversity as people apply themselves creatively to the challenge is awesome. The more CCP embraces that, the happier I am and the healthier I think the game's long-term prospects are.

    Regarding PVE: (*cue wild-eyed dreamstorming*), I wish that instead of providing canned PVE experiences, CCP would just provide a whole bunch of building blocks of content that could be "scripted" by players into a customized experience that could be shared with others the same way ship fits are shared...perhaps as one-time use link. The Opportunities content would be a neat place to start with such a model. How I would love to be able to design a customized curriculum for my newbro explorers. Players will always be more creative than CCP can ever hope to be because there are simply more of us...giving us tools to script PVE content (with the usual balance controls, etc.) could provide all kinds of gameplay and engagement opportunities...selling PVE scripts, setting up IC events, who knows!

    Really happy to discover this blog...this post was linked by one of my corpmates in our corp's subreddit, btw.

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    1. I'm glad you're enjoying it. Keep reading and commenting. By all means, feel free to link anything you feel would be useful to your subreddit. And feel free to PM me if there's anything you think needs a post.

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