Thursday, 16 February 2017

Becoming dangerous

While I was away from Eve, one of the games I was involved in was Albion Online.

The game is not yet released, although it is expected to be (at long last) some time this year. I was/am one of the alpha testers, and the game developers have expressly set out to create a cross-platform sword and sorcery sandbox game heavily inspired by Eve (which is what drew me to the game in the first place). There are a huge number of Eve players among the beta testers, and several large Eve corps have guilds in Albion.

One of the questions that came up very early in the development process was how we encourage pvp. Drawing on my Eve experience, this is what I wrote:

I agree that we want more people to pvp. How would I do it?

Well, first I would give it time. I know from playing EVE that some people just jump right in, but most like to get comfortable with the game and game mechanics, and also build up enough wealth that they can afford the losses pvp brings. And they also need time to explore the other things that are more important to them than pvp before they will make time for pvp. A four week alpha is not long enough for that, so I suspect that when we hit release the problem will, to a certain extent, solve itself.

The other thing I would do (and this is where the game falls down) is make pvp more spontaneous. Right now, because of the flagging system, I have to know that I want to pvp ahead of time. And for a lot of people that means it's never going to happen.

But in EVE, you get a lot of people out in low sec (yellow zones) looking to make a little more cash, with no thought of pvp but how to avoid it while going about their merry.

And then one day they encounter someone a little weaker than themselves. Perhaps somebody blunders into their exploration site, or warps to their asteroid belt while they are ratting. And they think to themselves 'I bet I could take that noob'.

So they attack. It wasn't their plan. It's not what they set out to do. But an opportunity came up, so they give it a try.

And it works. They liked it. They want to do it again! Slowly, another predator emerges from what used to be a carebear. And they realize that they've become dangerous. That they are now one of those guys that everyone warns people about when they talk about low sec. And they decide they love this game.

The current system actively prevents that kind of encounter, and needs to be changed.

I was reminded of this post, made years ago now, when I was helping some new players on the Eve forums find their feet in w-space. In particular:

So this morning i'm running my little combat sites, blapping sleepers half afk. Then im warp disrupted! 

I **** myself, look at whats attacking me, it's a Stratios! and a curse! 

So rather than accepting my fate I overloaded everything, got within optimal and then this happened. 

I did die to the curse and hit survey planet instead of warp so lost my pod to the curse aswell but **** me, that was the most hyped i have been in this game ever! First proper solo kill! 

Don't think they expected my Harbinger with t1 guns to be doing nearly 600dps with wormhole effects. 

I love wormholes and i'm never moving out. 

The circumstances vary, but the results are the same. Another pilot realizes that they've become dangerous, and that they love this game.

Don't ever change, Eve Online.

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