Saturday, 7 June 2014

Vale CCP's Online Vampire LARP

According to the Guardian, there's an acrimonious tale of CCP mismanaging it'sWorld of Darknes (WoD) aka MMO Twilight Online.

Reading over it, the general timing of the various disasters meshes quite well with the in-EVE experience of a game that floundered through Incarna. Whilst the WoD perspective was one of EVE poching, and CCP interference and CCP mismanagement (which is probably true; let's be honest, many of us are mature men who've worked in for-profit companies where the workers can see the management has their heads up their arses) and misallocation of resources, the reality is that WoD was sucking a hell of a lot of money and time away from EVE.

Lets not mince about here. CCP is in the business of making MMO's for money, and right now it's only MMO which is working is EVE. it makes money on EVE, how much I am not privy to nor do I care researching (go nerds, nerd it). However badly managed and allegedly botched the WoD execution and build was, the money came from people like me paying our EVE subscriptions and playing EVE.

When EVE began to suffer post-Apopcrypha, with the changes to Sov in Tyrannis and the PI clickfest farmville in space of Dominion, with retarded spacebarbies clothing during Incarna, and mediocre war mechanics (since multiply patched to death) in Crucible, culminating with a move toward actual work on the game during Inferno and finally Retribution...yeah, it was clear that energy was being sucked out of CCP and EVE to go on Carbon(tm) and other shit associated with WoD.

To my mind, Retribution was when CCP Fozzie somehow got it through to Hilmar and company up top that spaceships were the key. Or maybe because WoD was dying a slow, shitty death CCp realised they couldn't afford to keep ploughing millions of dollars per annum from EVE into Twilight Online.

Money and time and a small team of devs seemed to grasp the bull by the horn and make changes to ships more than one per expension. I mean, seriously, the amount of rebalancing which went on pre-Retribution was ridiculous. It was seven years of shitty half-baked T1 and T2 ships which were terribly turdful.

However, you need to have the clear vision to deliver a product. You also need clear vision to make an awesome product and to iterate upon it in a coherent, consistent manner. It is clear that you cannot have clear vision trying to run 3 separate franchises from an ice-bunker in Iceland. It - sadly for Twilight Online fans - probably was good for EVE that WoD failed. It was a gigantic parasite upon the finances and management expertise (howevermuch Veigar and co actually have) and was sucking the impetus out of EVE. Maybe a sign of overly controlling icelandic executives, but entirely understandable.

However, the concerning this is that, right now, I feel that Fozzie has outlived his usefulness. The new medium MJD's and the fucking mordus ships aren't as much of a shitstorm of terrible as they will be simply because they are rare. Hardly any MMJD's have been built, they can't be deployed. It took 3-6 months for solid doctrines to be developed by the Null blocs before dualprop Foxcats came on the scene. It will take equally long to develop medium MJD doctrines, deploy them in force, and show Fozzie and CCP how the game can be broken.

It's nice to constantly change the game for the better. Inferno showed that you can do that by revitalising the game, by "rebalancing". However, Inferno wasn't so much a rebalance as a total reboot of the T1 ships. Rubicon and Kronos especially, I hope, is not showing that "rebalancing"is apparently a process of pandering to the worst elements of EVE gameplay and reinforcing a metagame of links, kiting, running away from fights and docking up.

If CCp has cut off the dead weight of WoD and Dust514, and devotes itself entirely to milking the cash cow, it needs to address the current imbalances in the game rather than ostrich neck it like saying "Battleships are really taking off so we see nothing wrong with the Ishtar". Fuck, Ishtars are totally OP. Drone tracking is beyond ridiculous and everybody knows it.

EVE is not a game of meaningless engagements like Counterstrike. People avoid fights and avoid risk precisely because of the real pain a ship loss can cause, financially if you PLEX, and time-wise if you rat (or karma wise if you scam or run ISK doubling, fie upon thee). This lends to sentry IShtar meta perfectly, and the responsibility is on CCP to realise an abuse early enough (or even beforehand) and get onto it. Perhaps they consider the MJD's are the counter to Ishtars which Ishtars are to the mythical dominance of Battleships.

Either way, how CCP responds by rebalancing things which are weak (AC's and arty, missiles) versus things which are strong (Drone boats) will show if CCP can manage a game now it hasn't got distractions and sinks upon management, time and money. More spacebarbies clothes in the New Eden store and ship paint isn't really showing the way here, is all I'm saying.

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