Toy soldiers

Several times now I’ve read that there is an overwhelmingly amazing need for ship formations in EVE; I’ve tried, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why this might be a good thing for the run-of-the-mill pilot. Perhaps I lack imagination.

When people mention formations, I think of my youth wasted playing real-time strategy games (not really my youth, I’m old and real-time strategy games didn’t exist in my real youth) and how I was able to click a button and have my units march as a square, diamond, line or whatever interesting image I could dream up. It was great for real-time strategy games where the units didn’t have a mind of their own and didn’t care that I was ordering them about. But how does this translate into a massively multi-player online game?

I imagine the fleet commander clicking a button that says “Borg Cube Formation” and all of the myriad ships under his control instantly accelerating in the appropriate direction. That might be a lot of fun for the fleet commander, but where is the interest for a fleet member?

Picture the scene; you’ve just joined a 200-ship fleet and are on your way to take over a shiny new null-sec system. The fleet forms up on your alliance’s player owned station. There are more ships than you’ve seen all together throughout your entire EVE life (perhaps you’re a little sheltered). All of a sudden your ship starts moving on it’s own; “That’s weird,” you say to yourself. Then you notice all of the other ships are moving too and the movement doesn’t appear to be random. Soon enough, all of the ships are forming a giant wall. Then the wall warps to a stargate. The wall jumps through the stargate. More warping. More jumping. You find yourself in enemy territory shooting at something but you’ve not pressed a single button. Is this a game or a movie?

Please, somebody, help a dullard out. This is a game, right? Help me imagine how formations might be a good thing.


~ by paritybit on 2010/05/03.

3 Responses to “Toy soldiers”

  1. It would really depend on how they were implemented. Your example above of the FC doing everything is something I don’t theink the Dev’s would implement.

    If each individual pilot could set the formation they flew in in relation to another friendly pilot then maybe we would have something that worked.

    I’d like to think that individual pilots will be able to set up a variety of default formations (using orbit, keept at range, match speed, keep multiple targets at range etc.) sot hat they ahve some freedom and flexibility in their options. It would go agains the grain of EVE to have a strictly limited set of fixed formations.

  2. That makes more sense; nobody ever bothers to explain what they mean by “formations”, they just “MUST HAVE MOAR FORMATIONS.”

    It still doesn’t seem like there would be a lot of benefit to doing it other than the “it looks cool” factor.

  3. I can imagine that it would be handy for all cloaked vessels like stealth bombers so they won’t decloak each other.
    Perhaps it could be designed that you just get an additional button “move to my place in the formation” so you won’t get the feeling of being remote controlled.

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