Daily Archives: November 7, 2011

CCP Vs. EvE Online

EvE Online and CCP are two separate entities.  What is good for CCP is not always what’s best for EvE.  EvE Online is a game that generates a healthy profit for the company that runs it.  CCP Games is the company that runs it.  If CCP sees a way to do things that will make more money than what is necessarily best for EvE, they will do it.  CCP Games is in a very difficult position right now.  Where the world markets were stable and fine 4 years ago, and their main product was making a lot of money facilitating easy acquisitions of loans, in addition the health of this product reduced the urgency of setting up redundant product lines.  That is, while the odds of EvE failing were low, there was no need to have something to back it up to ensure the health of the company, thus the urgency of developing backup lines was also low.

Now the world market is very unstable, EvE faces an uncertain future, and the other product lines are an absolute fiduciary responsibility for CCP Games.  This means that for the good of the company they have to have something other than EvE to make money.  However the way they finance things is on the back of EvE’s strength.  This means that CCP faces a conundrum.  To be strong and secure they need EvE healthy and the playerbase growing and happy.  To do this requires most of their effort, but will allow them to finance future growth. When EvE is unhealthy, the future growth is even more important, but less practical, as CCP found last month when they had to unfortunately release 20% of their staff.

All of this is a bit above what the average EvE player needs to know.  It also brings me to the point of this blog.  The reason we constantly see boosts to one race or another, and that nerfs are very rare, is that boosts are popular and marketable.  Nerfs are not.  The forums are full of supercap pilots whining about their new stupid expensive ride being worthless.  My heart bleeds for them.  Honestly if they had made these changes shortly after supercarriers had been buffed in the first place they wouldn’t have the crocodile tears to deal with.

When you boost a race you can send an e-mail to all former players saying:  Come back to EvE and try out the new, stronger gallente ships!  Boosted hybrids, speed, and agility!  Which sounds a lot better than: Come back to EvE where everything is slower and hits weaker!

EvE might be a better game if certain races or ships were nerfed (Yes I’m talking to the Drakes out there) but it wouldn’t be popular.  Thousands and thousands of people are affected by any nerf, and when you get into common ship types like the Drake, Hurricane, Hulk, Raven, or common play styles like Droneboats, Snipe Fleets, what have you, making significant changes affects tens, if not hundreds of thousands of players.  This is why companies (which is what CCP is) will almost always boost first, and nerf later.  If CCP Notices that, say, the Enyo has become the terror of EvE as a result of these changes, they can nerf it slightly, call it an adjustment shortly after the patch and not many people will be angry because they haven’t adjusted their playstyle much.  If they wait 2 years and then nerf it, they will be mad.  See the Dramiel pilots crying as they frantically use their ships as much as possible before their nerf hit.

Even if the Nerf is in EvE’s interest, it angers pilots.  Some supercap pilots will not continue to subscribe, they will cancel and disappear quietly from EvE.  Nerfs make people cancel.  Boosts can be considered features and will bring new people in.  CCP wants more money, not less so they will always try to find boosts and features over nerfs, unless something is completely game-breaking.

What about Major Kong?


POS Changes

New Dev Blog today:  http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3029

Focus of this one is POS towers.  Now I’ve used one, and my contribution to upkeep was mostly sending the poor bastard fueling it isk every couple of weeks.  These changes make life simpler for people.  They also make faction towers more expensive.  The writer of the Dev Blog, CCP Greyscale defends this by saying: “We talked to some large-scale starbase operators about this, and they told us that the main bonus of faction towers for them is actually that they last longer between fuel cycles.”  Well that may be the reason they bought the towers in the first place.  Small scale operators buy them for different reasons, convenience is a factor, but the main one is that they cost less over time.  Up until the recent goon price fixing fiasco our nice little Shadow Tower was quite comfy to run, and had already paid off the expense of acquiring it.  Now it will cost as much as the others.  I’ve got two potential solutions.

Instead of 4 blocks, make it 9 per mfg run.  Regular towers use 3, 6, and 9 blocks / hour respectively.  Faction use 2, 4, and 6.  Now they use 2/3 of the fuel of the regular towers.  Option 2 is a bit more elegant and allows CCP a very finite control over how much fuel is used.  Regular towers run on a 1 hour fuel timer.  Faction towers don’t.  They run on a 75, 80, or 90 minute timer depending on the faction, and how much fuel CCP wants to see burned.

Now this devblog is an early version of the POS Fuel Pellet experiment, and it has already changed once, going from 8 pellets in Soundwave’s video not even a week ago, to 4 now, so there is good reason to believe things will change further.  I encourage people to make your voices heard on this.  A nerf to faction towers will have an effect on many small manufacturers who rely on them for industry and cause things to cost more.  Raising the fuel cost of these towers when it is not absolutely necessary based on information from a tiny, highly biased sample of the POS running population is a pretty poor decision and hopefully will get changed.

What about Major Kong?