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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bias against certain play styles evident in latest summit notes.

The CSM Summit notes are finally out. You can find the entire report here. Go read it.

On the surface, everything sounds just fine. But under the surface there is an unacknowledged bias. They just don't like lone wolf players. Here is my proof.
"The end result should be the people who can coordinate the larger groups for larger sites should be rewarded properly for their time and effort."
The last I checked, we all pay the same amount to play this game whether we do it alone or in a large group. Shouldn't our play time be equally valued regardless of what we do or how we choose to play?

I can guarantee you that Blake over on K162space expends a lot of time and effort on running his mega-industry. He does it with consummate skill. Yet, his items sell for no more and no less than my items (same item and market hub of course.) He just produces a lot more than I do. But it seems to me the time I spend making things is no less valuable, is rewarded no less adequately, than his.

All rewards in EVE should be this way. Whether I choose to FC a fleet or to simply run Propaganda sites by myself, the time I spend should be no more or no less valuable than other players doing similar things. All that should matter is the effort put into it and that translates rather neatly into total time spent.

But then some say a Vanguard site is more risky and deserves more payout. Really? All those ships working together is more risky than me flying solo in a T1 battle-cruiser? That's incredibly subjective. It's a rationalization for the bias toward group play more than an established fact. The risk in larger sites is not the Sansha Nation. It's getting a bad FC. I know, I've been in incursion fleets too. Them's the breaks though. Don't fly the ship if you can't afford to lose it. A good FC shouldn't qualify anyone for extra compensation. Not losing your ship is perfectly adequate compensation.

All this said, I don't think the Incursion compensation system is broken. Those that spend the most time fighting Incursions do make more: greater effort nets greater profit. There do need to be some small changes though. That said, the wrong change is to base rewards on a perceived superiority of a particular playing style that is neither proven nor justified. I object to the use of words like "can coordinate" and "rewarded properly for their time and effort," as if their abilities were special or their time and effort any different than thousands of other players. It isn't, but some players would really like to think it is. Now why is that?

Fly careful.


  1. So... because we all pay the same subscription fee, MMOs should not incentivize teamwork.

    I don't find this to be a convincing argument.

    1. If you ran a business would you treat some customers better than others because you somehow felt they were more worthy? Would you give them more of what you sold for the same price because they shopped in one way rather than another? EVE is a business. We are its customers. Teamwork should be treated no better (and no worse) than any other play style.

      I expect I will convince very few nor do I care if I don't. Most people, because of our inherent cultural biases, will always see teamwork as better. That does not mean the bias doesn't exist. It's just culturally accepted as preferable. Most people are completely unaware they have this bias. But it is there nonetheless.

      Thanks for sharing and fly careful.

    2. What we purchase from CCP is access to their game, and the game access they sell to us is exactly the same as the game access they sell to people who join fleets and run alliances. The difference is in we use it.

      To extend the real world metaphor, let us say that I sell you and another person machines which print money. You decide to print one dollar bills, and the other person decides to print hundred dollar bills. I would not expect to be blamed for the fact that you are making less than the other person.

      I don't personally prefer to work with other players, and indeed have made all my money solo; but even for me, teamwork is what drives the game. Without it there would be no alliances, no wars, none of the grand narratives which make eve interesting or worth playing. So, yes; provided that there are always decent solo professions, I am in favor of anything which encourage teamwork.

    3. If all our money does is get us access to the game, why do we get all bent out of shape if CCP doesn't update the game or change it in ways we like?

    4. Because many players aren't willing to pay for access to a game which is no longer being developed, or which they feel is going in the wrong direction.

  2. If all income were to be made equal regardless of cooperation or difficulty, where would be the motivation to form fleets, corporations, alliances?

    I believe rewards should be commensurate with effort, and there certainly is more effort involved in coordinating ten-pilot fleet than flying solo, just as there is in coordinating a hundred-pilot fleet than a ten-pilot one. It takes time, effort, and skill to gather the contacts, arrange schedules, and get everyone working together.

    All time is valuable, you're right. And as it takes more time to get a bunch of people together on-line and in the same fleet, in the same system, that extra time should be rewarded more than the immediacy of flying solo.

    That's not to say there is not and should not be value in flying solo. It is important to keep as much as possible accessible to the casual pilot, or even a serious pilot without connections. But it would be misguided to think a single pilot has as much effect on the galaxy as a region-spanning alliance.

    As for your analogy with business, it already happens. Companies who order lots of items from the same business are rewarded with bulk discounts, and probably priority shipping and support. Some smaller markets find it very difficult to get the parts they need because suppliers can make more money more easily from supplying only the big businesses.

    1. Hmmm, my experience with Incursion fleets is I that I show up in a DPS Drake and get an immediate invite. Only once did we wait an hour for someone to make 17 jumps to get to the fleet. Then s/he left early.

      My argument isn't against people making ISK. What rubs me wrong is the seeming overt bias towards some forms of game play as opposed to others. Capsuleers are allowed their opinions. However, CCP should be completely impartial and give all game play styles equal treatment. The cynic in me knows that will never happen. This is really just a tangent off the old argument that null sec is treated better than hi-sec or that low-sec is always ignored. It really only goes to prove that old paraphrase, "You can please all the people some of the time, some of the people all the time, but you can't please all the people all the time."


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