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Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday News - EVE: Valkyrie and TESO

Working my way through my Google Alerts this morning I came upon two interesting reports, one through Massively leading me to Eurogamer, and the other from Massively itself.

EVE Valkyrie

Eurogamer interviewed David Reid, CCP Pokethuhlu, on What's next for Eve Valkyrie?  At the very beginning of the interview Mr. Reid says,

"There aren't a lot of white papers and APIs and ways of doing these things yet," says Reid. "It makes a certain type of partnership to make these things happen. We fundamentally have to trust that they'll get their part right, and they have to trust that we'll get our part right - that puts the pressure on. We want to be a flagship game. We're on the cusp, potentially, of a really big transformation in how games are built and played, but we have to do our part to make sure that's worthwhile for everybody."

I can wholeheartedly agree with this summation. Virtual Reality (VR) has been the dream of many gamers, myself included, since they began gaming. The ability to see the game as if you were actually there is the holy grail of experience. The only thing missing from that experience is feeling like you were really there. And me, I can forgo the smell of blood and the sting of steel, thank you very much. But I'm unsure what the "big transformation" is he's really talking about. It's a technology upgrade, not really a transformation. I've his own words to backup that appraisal too.

"I'll go and do a battle, and it's the beginning of that endless cycle of harvest, build, destroy, harvest, build, destroy. As I go into a battle and I earn skill points and I earn currency, I can translate those to having the capabilities to fly bigger, better different ships and can kit them differently. It's a fundamental mechanic of the Eve universe, in Eve Online and in Dust, and it'll be coming to Valkyrie as well."

That's nothing new. It's the same way EVE Online and Dust 514 are done now, as he states. And that sort of concerns me a bit. Mr. Reid said something a little above that about how gameplay will be. He said,

"Right now we're toying with the idea of a rock/scissors/paper mechanics. You've got your front-line fighter, there's one that's a bit more like a sniper with a more powerful gun and there's more of a heavy that has better shields but moves slower. And this is just the beginning of how we want to think about taking this forward, where you'll have people in a squad together and playing different roles. What would a support role look like? Those are the kinds of things we're going to start doing more of."

This is, in fact, no different than anything else that's already done in their other two games. It ultimately ends up that whoever can afford the best fit wins. Fortunately EVE Valkyrie will be numbers limited so blobbing won't be possible. But unless there is a very good skill level matching system, a lot of folks are going to get powned, and that'll drive them out of the game. I'd much rather see a system where everyone gets exactly the same ship with the same capabilities and it's the player's skill that matters, not their wallet size. It'll be interesting to see if CCP can implement something like that through "rock/scissors/paper," a game renown for being driven by simple dumb luck.

But by all means, go and read the Eurogamer article in full. There are other interesting tidbits about joint development on the two VR systems, and the last paragraph's conclusion is... not entirely correct to my way of thinking, but everything up to the last sentence is good.

The Elder Scrolls Online

The second news article to catch my attention was a link off the Massively report on the Eurogamer interview. It's about the first expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online. Yeah, you read the correctly. We are barely past go live weekend and Zenimax is already talking about Craglorn, the first major content update. Here, watch for yourself!

That looks rather interesting doesn't it? It's squarely aimed at veteran status players, requiring Veteran Rank 10 before one can enter, same as Cryondiil. It'll be some time before I can adventure there. But when I do get there, I'm excited about the content I'll see. Is it just me though, or is the video mostly about PvE content and very little is said about the 12-person PvP content? It doesn't even say if it'll be a PvP zone, though I think it will be. It's no big deal to me, I love PvE. And the limited resurrection mechanic is awesome with sauce. If your group is at the top of that leaderboard, you'll really have accomplished something; especially if the boss monsters are as difficult and the video leads me to believe.

And on a personal note, it looks to me like TESO will have a long, long life. This expansion was obviously already in the bag during beta, and it rewards all those who lived through the beta by giving them further challenges, while giving us noobs something to aspire too. Nice.

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