The May 2011 CSM/CCP Summit minutes have been released for a few days now, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading them. There has been a distinct lack of blog entries on the subject aside from this entry from Orakkus on 2nd Anomoly From the Left and this from Memoocan at Progression’s Horizon.
Overall, I was really happy with the content of the minutes. There were a few snippets I thought were very interesting and closely align with how I would like the game to progress.
If you’ve been following the blog since I started, you probably know that I’m a big fan of players being able to do the jobs that NPCs get to do — at least the fun jobs. I also think there ought to be more motivations for players to help one another rather than simply destroy one another; this is all the better if helping one party gives you the chance to destroy another. This idea, briefly discussed in the minutes, is a small step in that direction though with a different mechanic (though it could certainly make use of this):
Soundwave and Greyscale reviewed the current game mechanic wherein NPC customs officers are responsible for confiscating contraband. The change that they envision would see this enforcement fall into the laps of players. A vague mechanic was discussed with the CSM about how the players would scan and enforce “the law”. The CSM response was positive, emphasizing that corruption and bribery amongst player-enforcers should be a viable mechanic. CCP agreed.
There was a glimmer of elaboration on this topic later in the document:
Establishments will be coupled with an iterative feature on contraband. Torfi was concerned that, currently, smuggling contraband & boosters doesn’t feel like the shady business practice it is. Additionally, the fact that NPCs play a large role in policing boosters does limit gameplay. Putting that policing into the hands of players, as well as making Establishments the venue for booster sales, would be a successful iterative feature.
I’ve also been a big proponent of delayed local in null-security and maybe low-security space as well; though I have to admit that after no word on this rumor for so long, I was a little shocked when I spotted this next quote midway through the document. While it doesn’t translate directly into delayed local, I’m hoping it’s a step toward removing local as an infallible intelligence tool.
Conversation then took a bit of a tangent, and Arnar mentioned that local as we know it is going to change in a Winter expansion. The CSM was taken aback by this and let fly a torrent of questions about this new “no local”. Local, as it was explained, had to change because of changes to EVE’s infrastructure needed for future Incarna development. However, it would be replaced by a new, yet-to-be-designed intelligence gathering tool. Local would not simply just “turn off” and turn into delayed mode, such as in wormhole space. It is worth a repeat – local will NOT be simply turned off and/or turned into delayed mode. Arnar and Torfi both emphasized the importance of not feeling alone in space; they reasoned that the game has fifty thousand players and that it shouldn’t feel as though you’re alone. The CSM will be kept in the loop regarding this design when more is known.
This was followed up later with another comment about the same subject:
The CSM was shown a design draft of new intel tools and wanted clarification on a number of things, such as if standings would be visible. The CSM emphasized the need for players to see individual standings. The CSM’s view is that if a player wants no local at all (because currently local acts as an intel tool, showing numbers of pilots and standings), they can go to a wormhole; for everyone else, there needs to be a method to determine if a hostile is in a system, not merely to avoid ganks but such that roaming gangs can find each other and engage in combat. CCP acknowledged CSM’s concerns in this matter and will provide further updates as they become available.
Lately I’ve been giving some thought to how EVE could be accessible throughout my day. There are many aspects of the game that benefit from increased access such as invention (if a job takes 2 and a half hours to complete but you can only log in once a day, the resources of a character capable of invention are only 12% utilized) and marketeering. Apparently CCP has plans to help with that:
CCP then introduced the Unified Service Layer (USL), a new construct building upon the API to allow a web-interface with Eve; effectively the API on steroids. The USL would be capable of allowing end users to buy items from the Eve market without logging in, and a variety of other similar things. If all goes well, CCP hopes to be able deploy the USL soon. This fed into a very brief discussion on third party monetization.
And finally, the statement I am happiest to hear coming out of somebody besides me is this:
CSM emphasized that there needed to be a role for every ship type in a fleet fight.
A role for every ship type. Please make it so. When I ran for CSM, I wrote this statement:
I have a vision of EVE.
My vision of EVE is like the trailers. A handful of large capital ships flash into view; these behemoths are followed by a larger number of battleships and an even greater number of support craft. The capital ships and battleships begin slugging it out while support craft swarm through the mass engaging each other when convenient.
EVE does not live up to that vision.
Instead you have a clump of capital ships and battleships which are engaging the enemy fleet one ship at a time as if they were soldiers in a queue waiting to get knocked down one at a time. One or two people are making decisions and everyone else is following orders — there’s no room for heroism or tactical decision making from small unit leaders. The support fleet may operate differently, depending on what the overall leadership allows, but in my experience it’s been pretty similar.
This reality deters a lot of players from participating directly in the grand strategy of politics.
That’s as true for me now as when I wrote it. I want to see a role for every ship. Homogeneity is boring. That’s why I spend my PvP time doing small-gang warfare instead of fighting for sovereignty in massive fleets.
Note: This has been a shameless plug for all of my favorite old blog entries.