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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Here's more Dust in your Eyes (Part 1)

There was an article a few days ago on PC Games N. You should go read it. It says more about how Eve Online will work post integration than anything else I've read to date. I'm going to highlight a few of the quotes in their entirety. Then I'm going to ponder publicly on how it might affect our beloved game. Now's a good time to stop reading this if you aren't interested in my opinion.

So, you've decided to continue. Don't say I didn't warn you. This is part one of a two part post. It got so long I had to break it apart. Since you've decided to continue, that's good news for you. You get two this week for the price of one!

Here's the first quote that got my attention,
“Our approach is going to be that DUST players are going to take on specific goals for an alliance,” says Kristoffer, “rather than win wars while you sleep. So if you’re trying to take a system and a reinforcement timer is inconvenient, your foot-soldiers can go in and try and adjust it. Maybe you can even send them in to disable a solar system’s local chat (and therefore intel) for a short period, the opportunities are endless. At the end of the day, they should provide tools for big alliances to fix specific problems. Think of them as a Special Forces team that any alliance would benefit from having, by virtue of being the scalpel that supplements the chainsaw in space.”
The emphasis is mine. The quote is from Kristoffer Touborg (CCP Soundwave.) I consider him a resident expert on Eve Online visions. Don't you? Marcus Andrews also participated in the interview according to the author.

One of the things I've read other bloggers complain about revolves around POS bashes. Some say they don't get enough time. Other's say they have too much time and therefor it becomes a waste of time. To be certain, no one is terribly happy with how it works now. But imagine if all those default timers got turned into dynamic timers controlled by some grunt with a gun. Neither side could accurately predict how long a POS bash would take. The entire operation becomes much more complicated.

The implication for the Eve player is an interesting one to a carebear who already likes spreadsheets. The days of just jumping in a ship and eliminating another's control of a system may be a thing of the past. These operations will need more planning than that. Fleets will need to be available at any time depending on who gets the upper hand in the "ground fight." When, where and how fleets are committed to the action will probably have much more bearing on the outcome than it currently does. Who knows, this may even encourage the end of blob warfare as it's become known. I'll go on the record as being in favor of any change in fleet tactics and strategy that morph it from a crude bludgeon to a surgical scalpel. The game experience overall doesn't benefit much from the bludgeon approach. A well thought out and strategically/tactically superior fleet should always have the better chance of winning. That's the pay off for being smart about it.

The second comment in the above quote concerns the disabling of local chat. That would be a phenomenal enhancement to the game! Who's watched Firefly? How close did they have to get to another ship just to know it was there? Here's a hint,
Damn close!
They had to be within thousands of meters. That is the nature of space. It's ginormous. It is one thing I am actually enjoying the hell out of in WH space myself. Without special scanners and enhanced technology, there is no way to really know what is out there. Hell, it wasn't until recently we had any chance of detecting near Earth asteroids. The local listing in Eve Online solar systems has long been a reality breaker for me. Taking out local makes Eve more real and that's a good thing.

Giving Eve players the chance to kill local is awesome. It adds another layer of strategic thinking to all operations. It sets the stage for real world like heroics to save the day. For example, I'll use the Battle of Midway in World War II. The Japanese fleet used a storm front to mask their approach. That wasn't necessarily genius but it was an excellent tactic. You can't sink a ship if you don't know it's there. The U.S. Navy knew this was a problem. They devised a tactic to cancel out the advantage the Japanese had. They sent "long range" Catalina flying boats out from Midway Island in a half circle search pattern to locate the Japanese fleet. These planes were not fighters or even bombers. They were unarmed cargo planes re-purposed to a new role.
How would you like to take the Eve equivalent of that out to find a hot drop? Guess what, it worked. That's the sort of thing Eve Online needs. The ability for players to affect the outcome with thoughtful application of resources and sheer guts rather than numbers. Again, it makes Eve more real.

So the article talks about some specifics on how Eve and Dust players will interact. It's all very interesting but  I'm mainly concerned about how Eve will change because of this. You can read other blogs about the mechanics. Look to the right side of this blog and you'll see some good ones.

The next quote that got my attention was this,
However, having DUST members as part of your corp could, at some stage of the game’s development, mean added logistical concerns, like troop transportation: “For Faction Warfare, you won’t need to [ferry DUST players to planets for fights],” says Kristoffer, “as we assume the militias take responsibility for moving the troops around. For the 0.0 integration, where we move away from a kind of loose coalition structure and into very firm and solid social communities, it’s something we’ve been talking about for a long time but haven’t entirely decided how to approach yet.”
I have to agree with the author's conclusion in the first sentence. Adding troop transportation fits in nicely with the "make Eve more real" mantra I've been chanting. Going back to World War II analogy, this would mean the attacker would have to mount a beach assault with their marines. How awesome would it be to see a D-day like fleet arrayed around a moon's planet?
And the fleet would have to stay there to prevent a counter landing. I wonder if Eve players are up for 24/7 operations?

It also opens the doors for more clandestine types of assaults. Back to World War II, remember the Guns of Navarone? That book was totally fictitious BTW. However, who wouldn't like to preface an assault with such an operation? Compromise the other guy's defenses before the fleet even arrives? Forget about taking years to gain peoples trust and then stabbing them in the back like an amoral thief in the night just to bring their defenses down around them. No one likes Doctor Yueh. He was a despicable yet tragic weakling who was himself betrayed and murdered by those to whom he'd sold out. That is not someone I would ever emulate. I'd rather be captain Keith Mallory than the pitiful Doctor Yueh.[1] These possible changes to Eve allow just that.

Tomorrow I will finish my thoughts on this article and it's implications for Eve Online. Until then...

Fly Careful

[1] Any resemblance to any person real or imagined is purely coincidental.


  1. Detection of asteroids may be tricky, but not spaceships:

    1. Thanks for the link! That's a very interesting read. Without going into it's every detail, I can say that he's correct - for as far as he goes. Detecting hot things in space is not difficult. Detecting any energy source in space is something we do very well. In fact, I recently has a university astronomer positively assure me that there are no fusion engines within 300 parsecs of Earth. Why? Because we are very, very good at detecting gamma ray bursts and every single one we've detected has been stationary. There are no moving fusion reactors nearby - sorry SETI buffs.

      Now, re-read the section on what sensors reveal. It takes 14 minutes for a signal to get to the Curiosity rover one Mars. Now, let's pretend that is actually a ship in orbit. It takes the same amount of time for my thermal signature to get to you in Earth orbit. All that tells you is that there was a thermal signature in orbit around Mars 14 minutes ago. If you try and detect me with an active system, I was in orbit 28 minutes ago (there and back.) Einstein's laws bite both ways. And you still don't know who I am. All you have is an unidentified energy source. Can you intercept me and kill me? Hell, I may be at Pluto by the time you even know I was at Mars.

      Now, you could say that since our warp drives break General Relativity it doesn't apply and you can have a sensor system that can detect me immediately. In that case I say I have an ECCM system built into my ship that prevents just that. You see, I CAN hide in space.

      Regardless, anything that ignores General Relativity breaks the believability index. But good news! This is Science Fiction. We do it all the time. :)

  2. funny I proposed the changing timer things months ago, got yelled at :P

    1. I think where the timer is concerned, someone is going to yell no matter what. It falls squarely in the "can't please everyone" category.


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