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Worries about the skill injectors, and the future of the game.

First post
Author
Reiisha
#1 - 2016-02-16 17:44:24 UTC
Normally i don't do this, but to my mind, a scale has been tipped. I've always been a staunch defender of CCP and their decisions in the 13 years i've been in EVE, but this recent development (which to my mind basically came out of nowhere) has made me very, very worried about the game and CCP itself.

Skill injectors

The core issue

The elephant in the room. The one that got me to finally doubt whether this game has any real future ahead of it. I know i'll get flamed for this, but let me explain why i think this is such a bad idea.

Skills in EVE are not analogous to levels in other games. They are core to the concept of the game itself. There is no max level in EVE (or at least, it should not be attainable), and there's no reason why there should be one. The skill system in EVE forces the player to learn some core lessons about the game, how it works and how it wants you to think. It teaches you the values of patience, planning and the consequences of your choices at a very personal level, to your character.

With skill extractors and injectors, these lessons are completely thrown out of the window. Choice, patience and planning do not matter anymore. Throw some PLEX at the problem and BAM! You're done! No slow build-up, no attachment to your character, and absolutely no concept of what the game is all about.

This made me wonder whether CCP still knows how their own game works. Who exactly decided that this should happen this way? Some common sense limits to how far you can take this system (who thought it was a good idea to INCREASE the amount of SP high SP character gained?) weren't even considered, or were removed 'after feedback'. Actually, i really hope that it's CCP who don't understand their own game anymore rather than some shady dealings, especially given how fast this feature was implemented.

Of course, CCP needs money, but honestly - and i'll get back to this later - I haven't seen much of the subscription money being put back into EVE now for quite a long time, so i fail to see how this would be different.

Catching up

As far back as 2004 there has been an absolute obsession with some people about 'how they can never catch up'. This is a clear indication of misunderstanding the system itself works, as catching up is perfectly possible, if someone specializes first. There's a lot of whining about how veterans are elitist wankers who feel threatened by newbies when they get on 'equal footing', and there will be in this thread, but it's usually by the same people who don't understand this system.

Why should someone be able to fly every ship with maxed skills within days of starting the game? Or even one ship? Where's the learning process, the value of actual experience - Not the stat, but the mind of the player behind the keyboard? There's no reason for you not to specialize and plan ahead after you've gotten your feet wet in the game itself, unless you want to avoid the consequences of your choices and have no patience. Getting on equal footing with a vet, charactersheet wise, is perfectly possible if you understand how this works within a reasonable timeframe.

New players should get some accelerated skill training, that is obvious. There are skills that can be pruned, so there's less skills that feel 'necessary' to make the system more about choice. There are improvements that can - scratch that - need to be made.

However, they should always be made with the core of the system in the back of the mind, which has clearly been forgotten here.

The character bazaar

Now here's one slippery slope, and i admit i've profited from this one myself multiple times. However, the concept of the bazaar differs wildly from skill injectors.

- You can't buy maxed characters.
- You can't buy a specific character name.
- You can't avoid the reputation that comes with the character (corp history or lack thereof, scamming incidents).
- You can almost never buy a character that has exactly the skills you want.
- Most importantly, you still need to know how the game works to use that character efficiently.

Aside from that last one, none of these apply to skill injectors. With the bazaar there was a natural ebb and flow of characters, a very specific system of supply and demand which made sure that the feature wasn't abused - 50m sp characters couldn't be made overnight afterall. this made it fundamentally different from skill injectors, and halfway acceptable to most.

The really bad stuff

Now we come to the really bad consequences of this feature. The first thing that comes to mind is that it doesn't actually benefit newbies, like it was intended to. It benefits veterans almost exclusively, due to the high ingame cost of the items and the source of the skillpoints to begin with.

Not only that, but this will enable an entirely new market of hackers and gold sellers. Right now, when a bot gets banned, it takes time to get a replacement up and running, even if it's just a few days. It also lets the botter go under the radar for a while as he made a new account with a new creditcard from a new IP before he gets caught again. There's little incentive to hack accounts, other than for stealing their isk.

But now - There is a MASSIVE new incentive for botters and gold sellers to start hacking and scamming like mad (not the ingame, good kind of scamming). They will want your creditcards to buy the plex necessary for injectors and extractors. They will seek out and hack accounts with enough SP to extract if they don't suit their needs, and inject them into ready-made new bots which can be used within minutes of their creation. Because of this, stolen accounts are basically worth double what they were before this 'feature' came around. I wouldn't be surprised if the efforts to do this haven't been started yet.

If you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all...

Reiisha
#2 - 2016-02-16 17:44:49 UTC
And the worst...

This new feature was supposed to be aimed at newbies mostly, however it's unaffordable for most of them. Worst of all, it's aimed at the kind of player who wants to get to max level, deplete the content, and then leaves because he doesn't find additional dungeons to run.

EVE is unique in the fact that player retention is extremely high. Where a lot of games manage 3, maybe 6 months, EVE might make it to 12 or more on average. This is part of what makes EVE's community so cohesive (albeit frequently frustrating). Those long term players were exactly what CCP was aiming for – Hell, what every MMO developer is aiming for, especially those who still use subscription models.

However, this new feature aims for the kind of player who plays a game for a few months and leaves to never be seen again, and at the same time chases away the long term, loyal players EVE has gained over the past decade. It's extremely saddening.

But that's not all...

In the past few years, the game hasn't been receiving the love it really needed. In fact, I feel it's been rather neglected in favour of shiny new toys and projects.

Incarna

Think about it. Since the 2011 riots, what has ACTUALLY been done with the game? Systems have been overhauled, revisions have been done, iterations have been made. But how did the game actually evolve? All the core systems still work almost exactly the same as before. We got some polish, but not much else. The game has remained stagnant ever since CCP decided to put Incarna on ice. Go ahead, take a look at the 'expansions' and patches for EVE since 2011. We haven't actually seen any game-changing content after Apocrypha hit, unless you count Dominion as well.

Player rioted because CCP was ignoring existing content and focusing only on new 'Jesus features'. Rather than find a balance between new features and iterating existing ones, CCP downsized the staff actually working on EVE and is now focusing almost solely on iteration instead. I hope I don't have to explain how this is also a bad thing.

Stagnation follows as a result. Rather than take a chance and completely overhaul sovereignty, CCP elected to make what pretty much boils down to an incredibly minor change. Wormhole systems were basically ignored after Apocrypha to begin with. Industry works almost exactly the same as it did 13 years ago, albeit with a new coat of paint. Missions are still incredibly boring as PvE content, including burner missions. PvP still comes down to mostly 'who brings the most caps and the most stable internetconnection'.

It's strange to see that the only worthwhile PvP basically happens in low sec and nowhere else.

Not to mention all the other systems which were introduced and barely have anything to do with one another. Planetary interaction? Farmville by any other name. Exploration? Right, scanning for random loot containers. What else is there that is really new and interesting?

Active versus Passive systems

Here we come to another thing where the game, at least in my mind, is going wrong. The insistence on passive gaming systems.

The prime examples of this are planetary interaction, and manufacturing. They are an activity where you come online, push a few buttons and go offline again to wait for them to finish. This is an escalating problem for the game, as players come online to try and find people to play with or against, and see that there's hardly anyone on, thus they go offline again and creating a viscious circle.

Passive game systems have a huge hand in this. These also feed into the current nullsec situation, where hardly anything that matters ever happens. Actual wars have pretty much ground to a halt, as pockets have become so deep and the systems so passive that there's no real reason to risk anything anymore. I don't have to point out the eve-offline numbers over the past few years.

The percentage of online players (online/total subs) has also dropped significantly following this – where it used to be close to 15% at peak times, it's now closer to 10% according to my best (hopefully educated) guesses. How this has not raised any alarms at CCP is beyond me, as they continued pumping out mostly passive systems and revisions to them.

Active systems

This is a very vague solution, but one that needs to be implemented regardless. Systems need to become active, more involved. One needs to be online for longer periods to accomplish something significant, to babysit the game systems they want to interact with – And most importantly, they need to be FUN to interact with.

Sovereignty is a major offender in my eyes. This system seems to currently revolve around very specific times of day where they can even be engaged in, but there's hardly any reason to do so. Why isn't actual activity measured in claimed systems? Why does it always have to be a structure grind?

I don't have definitive solutions for this. I'm not a game designer. However, it seems obvious that sovereignty as it's currently concepted differs little to nothing from the original version we got in 2007 (I believe it was 2007?). Plop down a structure. Wait. Bingo, you have a system.

The current extreme mobility of fleets makes sure that you never have to lose a system, as you can be pretty much everywhere at the same time, even with fatigue. Via this broken system you make sure that the situation there is and remains stagnant, for obvious reasons.

POS feed into this as well. Why do moons have infinite resources? Why can't they be depleted, so you have to look for a new moon? Maybe some earlier, deemed worthless moon suddenly has new deposits found. Maybe systems in a POS itself can be changed, so some need more direct involvement – Provided it's fun to do so of course.

If you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all...

Reiisha
#3 - 2016-02-16 17:45:46 UTC
Alts

And this segues neatly into the issue of alts.

Alts are necessary to progress in EVE, right? Well…. Think about why this is the case. Might it be because of all the passive systems in the game, making the use of alts far more efficient than it technically has any right to be? What other game encourages you to log into 40 accounts at the same time in some extreme cases? Isn't this a little insane?

This becomes even more frustrating when you realize that CCP has been pushing the power of 2 promotion so often over the years, you swear that they don't even care about making the game actually interesting to engage in and have come to this solution to make sure it doesn't bleed out.

When moving to active systems, several things can happen. First, you will be forced to pay more attention to the game on your character. Second, alts will be used less frequently (unless creative bots come around) and third – Eventually, there will be more people online, especially if they active systems are fun to engage in.

There would be less reason to be offline so often, and to make alts in the first place. Yes, it will dig into CCP's earnings at first, but in the long run you'll have a much more active server.


The economy

This will be one of the most difficult things to fix.

Economically CCP will claim that everything is fine – Ingame at least – But really, it's not. The divide between rich and poor has increased logarithmically, because so many of the changes benefitted the rich players almost exclusively.

Sadly, I can't think of a way to fix this, and many players will claim that it doesn't need to be fixed in the first place. Still, I think that PLEX, and NEX items in general have done a considerable amount of damage to the ingame economy that needs to be adressed.

Rather than keeping things on a sane level, CCP increased the ISK faucets quite a bit over the years, while pretty much doing nothing with the ISK sinks. Worst of all, the faucets are almost solely the domain of people who are already rich as hell and have no reason to engage in any ISK sink activities.

Newbie mission rewards, and rewards in general have gone up rather than address this issue head-on, devalueing the lessons to be learned by new players. Pushing PLEX as hard as CCP does also doesn't help matters, as one of the most important rules of EVE (don't use what you can't afford to lose) is basically made pointless. Now, PLEX did 'fix' gold sellers to some degree, but not really. I still see spam floating about every so often.

I think it's time to re-evaluate how PLEX work at least…


The big fear

I've gone a bit ranty, haven't I?

Well, I'll be wrapping it up with this one.

My biggest fear is that CCP truly does not understand their game anymore, or wants to push RMT transactions further and further. If the playerbase accepts this, I fully expect EVE to become subject to it's own NGE, SWG style, in the near future. The game will be 'streamlined' for newer players, to fit into the 'modern' F2P market, all the while losing almost all loyal customers it had left up to that point.

If this happens (though at the moment I think it feels more like a 'when'), EVE will never recover.

Adding to this is CCP's inability to make (design) decisions as a whole (as evidenced by the years of delays for Incarna without having any kind of playable prototype, and WoD), and the strange tendency to throw large sums of money into ideas that will likely not work out (Dust on PS3 only, Valkyrie on Oculus only), I feel that the company behind the game we all love has lost its way and may never find it again.

The old CCP once convinced me, and a lot of others, that EVE would become the ultimate scifi simulator. The game to create a true alternate reality, where you can do all this cool stuff, all in one world.

Right now however, we have a game which has grown stagnant, projects which have gone nowhere or may go nowhere and despite sharing the same universe are not connected at all (orbital bombardments really don't count with how little influence they have)…

I am very, very worried.




To whoever actually read all of this, sorry for my ranting. I recently listened to the symphony again (at which I was present in 2013), and somehow it just has a sour taste where I once shed a tear at the feelings it evoked. I felt I just had to jot down my thoughts somewhere.

Also, this is a spur of the moment thing, so not everything may have been thought out very well, some things may be rather vague…

If you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all...

DaReaper
Net 7
Cannon.Fodder
#4 - 2016-02-16 17:49:30 UTC
i did not read all your rant but your incarnia part is wrong. We wanted them to fix there broken ****, no one cared about new stuff, thats why we raged. we wanted then to fix what was broken. Which is EXACTLY what ccp are doing. Fixing things that are broken. Stuff stagnates during a repair phase, this is normal. Once this phase is complete you will see new stuff added which should, in theory, make numbers go up. If you look, the number of players are actually up sense vegas, and on a slow incline.

As long as they keep fixing crap then i could care less if they add micro transactions to supplement income till new stuff comes.

OMG Comet Mining idea!!! Comet Mining!

Eve For life.

Demolishar
United Aggression
#5 - 2016-02-16 17:50:32 UTC
Almost 3000 words. A pity that your great work will be locked for ranting soon.
Avvy
Doomheim
#6 - 2016-02-16 17:50:33 UTC
Reiisha wrote:


Skills in EVE are not analogous to levels in other games. They are core to the concept of the game itself. There is no max level in EVE (or at least, it should not be attainable), and there's no reason why there should be one. The skill system in EVE forces the player to learn some core lessons about the game, how it works and how it wants you to think. It teaches you the values of patience, planning and the consequences of your choices at a very personal level, to your character.




The skills only open up possibilities as well as giving an advantage as in the accumulation of percentages (i.e. 2% more damage from a particular weapon type).

Other than that the skills are unimportant. It's a sandbox, being a sandbox it's what you do with the skills that is important.
Mr Epeen
It's All About Me
#7 - 2016-02-16 18:02:55 UTC
Reiisha wrote:
Normally i don't do this,
Should have kept things normal, to be honest. It's hard to go back after that tirade.

Mr Epeen Cool
Amarrchecko
Hedion University
Amarr Empire
#8 - 2016-02-16 18:11:21 UTC  |  Edited by: Amarrchecko
Reiisha wrote:
The skill system in EVE forces the player to learn some core lessons about the game, how it works and how it wants you to think. It teaches you the values of patience, planning and the consequences of your choices at a very personal level, to your character.

With skill extractors and injectors, these lessons are completely thrown out of the window. Choice, patience and planning do not matter anymore. Throw some PLEX at the problem and BAM! You're done! No slow build-up, no attachment to your character, and absolutely no concept of what the game is all about.


Maybe if you're a RL millionaire.

For the rest of us, throwing hundreds (or thousands) of dollars at AUR/plex just to get a small fraction of Eve's skills trained via injector? That's not exactly something that we do without planning or consequences... if at all.
SKINE DMZ
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#9 - 2016-02-16 18:21:32 UTC
Amarrchecko wrote:
Reiisha wrote:
The skill system in EVE forces the player to learn some core lessons about the game, how it works and how it wants you to think. It teaches you the values of patience, planning and the consequences of your choices at a very personal level, to your character.

With skill extractors and injectors, these lessons are completely thrown out of the window. Choice, patience and planning do not matter anymore. Throw some PLEX at the problem and BAM! You're done! No slow build-up, no attachment to your character, and absolutely no concept of what the game is all about.


Maybe if you're a RL millionaire.

For the rest of us, throwing hundreds (or thousands) of dollars at AUR/plex just to get a small fraction of Eve's skills trained via injector? That's not exactly something that we do without planning or consequences... if at all.


Right, so you're a newbie.. joined EVE. See you can catch up for the price of hundreds(or thousands) of dollars, or.... months(or years) of training them yourself. What do you think a large amount of players will do when they realise this? Quit or develop the patience for it while other paying means are much, much quicker (instant)?

I would of never developed the patience if I knew there were other players around me buying their way there. It was satisfying to know everybody got to this point by time.

Completely agree with you OP, bazaar is completely different and like you I fear many haven't thought of the long term consequences of making SP available on your own character with $$$$.

I disagree

Titus Cole Dooley
Fuel Blocks for Dante
Test Alliance Please Ignore
#10 - 2016-02-16 18:23:38 UTC
I hear that in the summer we will be able to change names, employment history, and date of birth. I think they are going to call it "no regrets at a cost". Pricing unknown
Annemariela Antonela
Sebiestor Tribe
Minmatar Republic
#11 - 2016-02-16 18:28:56 UTC
Yeah, not reading all that.

Y'alls gots to chill.

Spending that much irl $ on a character is idiotic. Then again, some people also purchase gold-plated testicles for their Dodge Rams.

“Culture is like a smog. To live within it, you must breathe some of it in and, inevitably, be contaminated.”

― Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon

Aiden Terona
Ministry of War
Amarr Empire
#12 - 2016-02-16 18:31:40 UTC
Annemariela Antonela wrote:
Yeah, not reading all that.

Y'alls gots to chill.

Spending that much irl $ on a character is idiotic. Then again, some people also purchase gold-plated testicles for their Dodge Rams.


"didn't read but chill! and heres something irrelevant to OP but I didn't know that because I'm too cool to read long threads but still want to throw my irrelevant opinion down"

Talking about idiotic. Ironic.
Avvy
Doomheim
#13 - 2016-02-16 18:32:30 UTC
Annemariela Antonela wrote:
Yeah, not reading all that.

Y'alls gots to chill.

Spending that much irl $ on a character is idiotic. Then again, some people also purchase gold-plated testicles for their Dodge Rams.



Does it really matter as long as we don't get into gold ammo.

People with lots of spare cash are happy to use it.

Now if they want gold testicles more power to them, great for the company and irrelevant to me.
Jenn aSide
Dreddit
Test Alliance Please Ignore
#14 - 2016-02-16 18:37:30 UTC  |  Edited by: Jenn aSide
Only in this forum can a well thought out, logical and well presented (if over long) statement be considered "ranting".

Well, I say about them what I said to my own kids: let them learn the hard way if you don't want to listen.
Some of the same people who (naively) think this is good for the game probably thought that Dominion would be great for small gangs and buffing EHP on mining ships/giving freighters low slots will sure show those damn gankers what's what.....

You can't convince a short sighted person of the truth until after the fact, sad to say.
CCP Falcon
#15 - 2016-02-16 18:54:13 UTC
Demolishar wrote:
Almost 3000 words. A pity that your great work will be locked for ranting soon.


I don't really think this is a rant to be honest, and many of these points were discussed internally before the feature went live, or was fully fleshed out.

I've also been with EVE for 13 years, ironically my first reaction to skillpoint trading was negative too, but it was a knee-jerk reaction from a 13 year veteran of the game who thought a change so fundamental would destroy everything he loved about EVE.

I'm happy to say that I was wrong, and after I looked at the situation from what I consider to be a sensible point of view that came after my initial reaction, the rationale for it kind of fell into place and I now understand the system.

There's a simple flaw with any "Pay To Win" argument against skill trading.

A pilot who knows what they're doing with a Rifter and a 2 skillpoints can end the world for a clueless player with 300 million skillpoints. Put the average driver in an F1 car and they're not going to have the first idea of how to drive it, despite having a driver's license.

All skillpoints do is unlock the ability to fly a given hull with a given weapon, or utilize a given module to a particular end. Using the ship and modules is where the skill lies, and is the key to victory or failure. That's what defines you as an EVE player.

Being able to trade skillpoints and freely respec your character changes very little. What it does is allow people to keep their gameplay fresh and try new things, or gives new players a leg up to be able to try new things faster if they choose to do so.

That's my take on it anyway, as a 13 year vet of EVE.

Smile

CCP Falcon || EVE Universe Community Manager || @CCP_Falcon

Happy Birthday To FAWLTY7! <3

Fa Xian
Garoun Investment Bank
Gallente Federation
#16 - 2016-02-16 18:54:22 UTC
Reiisha wrote:
The skill system in EVE forces the player to learn some core lessons about the game, how it works and how it wants you to think.

...

With skill extractors and injectors, these lessons are completely thrown out of the window. Choice, patience and planning do not matter anymore.


Skills do not teach players the game. Flying a ship teaches players the game.

Playing. Undocking. Trying to get at some task. That's what teaches.

Injecting skills means learning the same lessons in a more expensive way. Skills don't play the game. Players do.
Big Lynx
#17 - 2016-02-16 19:02:50 UTC  |  Edited by: Big Lynx
CCP Falcon wrote:
Demolishar wrote:
Almost 3000 words. A pity that your great work will be locked for ranting soon.


I don't really think this is a rant to be honest, and many of these points were discussed internally before the feature went live, or was fully fleshed out.

I've also been with EVE for 13 years, ironically my first reaction to skillpoint trading was negative too, but it was a knee-jerk reaction from a 13 year veteran of the game who thought a change so fundamental would destroy everything he loved about EVE.

I'm happy to say that I was wrong, and after I looked at the situation from what I consider to be a sensible point of view that came after my initial reaction, the rationale for it kind of fell into place and I now understand the system.

There's a simple flaw with any "Pay To Win" argument against skill trading.

A pilot who knows what they're doing with a Rifter and a 2 skillpoints can end the world for a clueless player with 300 million skillpoints. Put the average driver in an F1 car and they're not going to have the first idea of how to drive it, despite having a driver's license.

All skillpoints do is unlock the ability to fly a given hull with a given weapon, or utilize a given module to a particular end. Using the ship and modules is where the skill lies, and is the key to victory or failure. That's what defines you as an EVE player.

Being able to trade skillpoints and freely respec your character changes very little. What it does is allow people to keep their gameplay fresh and try new things, or gives new players a leg up to be able to try new things faster if they choose to do so.

That's my take on it anyway, as a 13 year vet of EVE.

Smile

Just a question and nothing personal falcon but who brainwashed you? Your collegues of controlling or marketing?
Grauth Thorner
Vicious Trading Company
#18 - 2016-02-16 19:02:57 UTC
Mr Epeen wrote:
Reiisha wrote:
Normally i don't do this,
Should have kept things normal, to be honest. It's hard to go back after that tirade.

Mr Epeen Cool

At least there's no TL;DR, so not many people will read it anyway Lol

View real-time damage statistics in-game

>EVE Live DPS Graph application forum thread

>iciclesoft.com

Annemariela Antonela
Sebiestor Tribe
Minmatar Republic
#19 - 2016-02-16 19:06:12 UTC
Aiden Terona wrote:
Annemariela Antonela wrote:
Yeah, not reading all that.

Y'alls gots to chill.

Spending that much irl $ on a character is idiotic. Then again, some people also purchase gold-plated testicles for their Dodge Rams.


"didn't read but chill! and heres something irrelevant to OP but I didn't know that because I'm too cool to read long threads but still want to throw my irrelevant opinion down"

Talking about idiotic. Ironic.


Touché.

However I read enough to see the similarities to all the other posts proclaiming the descent of the sky itself. It's just another Trojan Horse for the "Eve Is Dying" rhetoric, however thoughtfully written.

Hope you're not as mad as you sound.

“Culture is like a smog. To live within it, you must breathe some of it in and, inevitably, be contaminated.”

― Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon

Grauth Thorner
Vicious Trading Company
#20 - 2016-02-16 19:10:37 UTC
Big Lynx wrote:

Just a question and nothing personal falcon but who brainwashed you? Your collegues of controlling or marketing?

Funny how a lot (I'm not saying it was you) of players used to say 'nah, you don't need skills to PvP, you need experience!' to new pilots before CCP introduced the skill injectors. Roll

View real-time damage statistics in-game

>EVE Live DPS Graph application forum thread

>iciclesoft.com

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