Hey look, someone finally tried an MMO near-everyone has been telling him to try. Of course, going into an MMO with the “I won’t be here long” mentality is like going into a restaurant right after you just ate a huge meal, thinking to yourself “man this place better be awesome, because I’m stuffed”, but yea. And of course, going into anything looking to spot the imperfections rather than, wait for it, just have fun, is likely to result in not much fun had. Shocking.
And right on schedule, day two brings us the whole “EVE Offline” argument, which should surprise no-one with some basic knowledge of said player. EVE offline is not the problem of course, the player is. If you want to pay for an account, buy yourself enough cash to make the first few months of expenses trivial, and then not actually play the game beyond a Farmville level, that’s kinda your choice. You can also just save yourself some waiting and buy an advanced pilot, just like you can buy an advanced character in any other MMO to skip ahead and get to whatever you think is ‘the good stuff’ (only difference here being that your bank account won’t be raped by some ‘reputable’ 3rd party). Now me personally I like to have fun when I’m playing a game, but if chasing a progress bar is your thing, go for it. Just don’t forget to correctly lay the blame when you step away and cry “no fun” later.
Also somewhat comical is the talk of the ‘optimal’ path, without the identifier that it’s the optimal path for a veteran player and not someone new. Yes, maxing out your learning skills is the best thing to do to ultimately have the highest skill point total, and if that’s your goal for the game, have at it. But again, if skipping ahead is ok to begin with, you might as well do it right and just buy a character with all of the learning skills maxed. Sitting there complaining about EVE Offline while you make the choice yourself to not play and not get skills that would help you right now is, well, rather silly. Just because the veterans of the game have min/maxed something, does not mean everyone is forced down that path, and that applies to any MMO. The fastest way to level 80 in WoW is certainly not the most fun, yet somehow I don’t see anyone whining about that, or calling new players out for ‘wasting’ their time getting non-80 gear. Don’t those idiots know the real game is at 80, and unless it’s an iLvl-capped item, its garbage? Fools, all of them!
And the wrong approach continues when the topic of joining a corporation comes up. The WoW-mentality is very evident, and rather than joining a group to share in the MMO experience, get/give some help from/with other players, and get involved in something bigger than just your own little experience, the WoW-mentality tells us that you don’t need help, don’t need camaraderie, and that solo is the way to go. That is the predominant mentality in the Massive, MULTIPLAYER Online gaming genre. Disgusting really.
Oh and one final note: How can someone who ‘plays’ the AH in WoW through a UI mod for an hour a day, day in day out, selling the same stuff and gaining gold in a game where gold has next-to-no meaning or challenge in acquiring it, call mining in EVE boring?
hmm I dunno I’ve played a few MMOs with the “I won’t be here long” mentality. Namely Darkfall which I thought was great and I’m currently giving AoC a little run around to check out the improvements (previously burned at release and stuck it out for a few months after) and its worked fine for me. I can still appreciate the game for what it is although I probably wont build up a strong bond with it.
I will say Tobold seems likely to approach it in a negative manner just to get in the ‘I was right first time around’ but thats why I only read his WoW posts.
Anyway you make some good points in relation to gameplay metality (in relation to WoW and other MMOs) and I’ve missed your digs at Tobold also. So yeah overall cracking post !
I just find the mentality totally wrong if someone is actually interested in trying something new. I mean you said you had a great time with DF, so why stop playing it? I don’t get that with people. “Oh I had fun, but you know, my month is up, time to return to some other game”. If you were having fun with your other game, why leave? And if you are having fun with your new game, why stop? If you know your gaming time only allows you to play one game seriously at a time, why try to squeeze in 2-3 and get less out of all of them?
Especially in the MMO genre, where the more into a game you are, the more you get out of it. Jumping in for 30 hours or whatever just seems like the best way to expose yourself to the struggle of learning a new MMO without the reward of finally ‘getting it’.
I can still enjoy another game but prefer another. And I am free to try any game I choose to pay for, its my money and my time. If I hear of a cool feature or think a game could be interesting then hell yeah I’ll try it.
I view an MMO box purchase like I do buying a dvd, its good value for money entertainment wise if I spend at least 30+ hours in there. I have no need to feel guilty for leaving afterwards just because ‘Syncaine thinks its wrong’.
No no, but my point is I view jumping in/out of an MMO like buying a DVD and watching 30 minutes of it, saying you’ve seen enough, and then (the real issue here) talking about the movie like not only have you seen it, but you watched it on a HD big screen with a theater surround system.
Everyone is free to do as they wish, but when you go on and complain that this or that is broken based on watching a preview on a black and white TV with the mute on, well sorry, I’m going to question that.
But thats my point and why I question Tobolds motives. Jumping in and out of games is fine, I play what i think is fun at that time however dont and havent claimed I’ve fully played the game.
Tobold on the otherhand talks on other games like he is the authority on them after playing very little, he does this by comparing things (often to WoW ) without looking at the game and its mechanics/design seperately and in its own right.
Can anyone really experience an MMO to its fullest? I would say yes and no. Each gamer differs and will have different playstyles / goals which in turn they will relate more to specific games. Also as you state the more you put into an MMO generally the more you get out.
A bit jumbled thoughts there but hey I’m nearing the end of my shift and am tired :(
Looks like you doubled the post (it repeats at the halfway mark).
Quantity, not quality!
I agree with him about the whole EVE Offline concept. The underlying problem is not the player, it’s that PLAYING is almost as rewarding as NOT PLAYING.
A 14-hour gaming session in EVE isn’t going to get me any closer from a progression standpoint than a 5-minute login to requeue my skills.
That’s fucked up.
All MMOs are fundamentally about character progression. In EVE, there are three ways to progress: Skills, ISK, Faction Standing.
Of the three, two can be gained without ever playing the game more than 5 minutes a day. And the third, Faction, is so relatively unimportant by comparison as to be negligible.
The PLEX argument is also a good one in that even if you personally don’t want to buy/sell PLEX, the simple fact that others can devalues any achievement YOU gain by doing missions. In other words, earning $30 million ISK the hard way to buy a Drake is trivialized when someone else can just spend $15 for a PLEX and buy ten of them.
Particularly in a game where “loss” is supposed to be meaningful. For which player is losing that Drake more meaningful? The guy would did it the legit way or the guy who bought the PLEX?
Again, if you want to skip the character progression part of EVE, just buy a pilot. Just like if you want to skip the ‘progression’ part of Mario, you buy a GameGenie and enter a code. If I go through all 8 levels of Mario vs you entering the code, the ending is still the same for both of us. The only difference being I had fun playing the game and you paid $30 to skip the game. Are you saying the GAME is broken because you can skip to the end, or is it just the player cheating himself out of some fun?
The main ‘reward’ I get out of logging in to an MMO is the fun I have playing it with others. If all you are logging in for is to move along a bar, there are far cheaper and easier options to satisfy that need (plus you will have 80m friends playing ‘with’ you).
Ah. So, so the system isn’t broken because you can BUY a pilot instead? How does that make sense?
I make the claim that something is broken because there is no value in PLAYING and your solution is to just SKIP PLAYING ENTIRELY?!
As I wrote above, the problem is that if I spend 14 hours working my ass off in-game — there is very little reward to it. And what reward I do gain (ISK) is trivialized by the guy who bought a PLEX.
If I can just spend $15 to buy a new $300M ISK ship, how does losing that ship compare to the guy who actually earned $300M ISK by trading/mining/mission running?
If you can’t see that’s an issue in the game design, then I can’t help you. :)
Again, it’s like arguing there is no value in playing WoW because you can buy a maxed character instead and save yourself the trouble of ‘working your ass off’ to get there.
The value is in actually playing, in having fun, in doing it yourself, in learning the game, in playing the market to make that 300m ISK, in flying a ship you invested time in (so when you lose it its not $15 down the drain, but your time/effort), etc. It’s being in-game, its interacting with others, its being online when X happens randomly. You don’t get ANY of that if you buy PLEX. All you get is a 300m ship, which you will then use to… do the above (or buy more PLEX to buy a BS, rinse repeat until you quit because ‘there is nothing to do’)
And if Blizzard started selling officially sanctioned lvl80 characters fully equipped with high level purples, what do you think the reaction would be?
What you are arguing is that because unintended illegal RMT exists, it somehow validates the existence of bad game design which provides a dis-incentive to actually playing the game.
Are we seeing the pro-RMT argument coming from Syncaine? Do you suddenly think that Aventurine needs to sanction my being able to spend $10 to max out a skill?
I honestly don’t know what it is about Tobold that makes you so contrary but it’s becoming a little ludicrous. Think about what you are arguing for a moment. Imagine if it were any other game but EVE and the OP wasn’t Tobold.
Would you still be sitting here telling me that bad game design is OK because you can just buy characters instead?
The reaction would be the same as it was when EQ2 started doing it. Nothing new here, not with EVE, not with EQ2.
You’re really not getting my point though. I would never buy a character or PLEX. I play MMOs because I find them fun, so it’s self-defeating for me to pay to NOT play. That the option exists (legal or not) is not new to EVE, it’s been around since at least UO, and I don’t see how EVE is any different because one aspect (skill training) happens in real time.
If you find real-time skill training ‘bad design’, ok, that’s your opinion. Myself and lots of others disagree, and the growth stats behind EVE argue in my favor, but it still does not change the fact that if someone is hell-bend on cutting the fun out of a game, they can do so regardless of which game we are talking about. Nothing to do with bad design, just dumb players.
The ‘bad design’ part is two-fold. The first is that my reward (in terms of character progression) for actually playing the game is minimal.
You’ve said yourself that character progression is important because once it stops — people stop playing (i.e. max skill in Darkfall).
The second part is that what growth does exist (ISK) is trivialized by PLEX. Call me old fashioned, but if I work hard for something, I don’t want that effort trivialized by someone who can just spend $15 and catch-up.
Now while such RMT exists in all games illegally, it’s the sanctioning of it that trivializing my effort. For no other reason than it’s an acceptable, non-bannable action that culturally even advanced players accept.
I get that “playing the game” should be the fun part. And ultimately, that’s the reason I quit playing EVE. It was boring. But perhaps it wouldn’t have been quit as boring if the “skill” system had been more interactive.
That’s why I think this whole EVE Offline point is very valid. It’s systematic of the larger problem that character progression is time-based in EVE.
I can see the appeal of that type of skill-system for casuals and/or people who like to take long breaks, but that’s not my style at all.
I find it interesting that you think that main element in a MMORPG is purely progression. Progression is just a part of the game that comes as you play.
I am not too familiar with EVE, but I am sure that the players play the game for more than their skill progression alone. Heck, the progression is set up so it can be easily obtained (even through RMT as I have seen some of you mention) so I doub’t it is the highlight of EVE. From my understanding of it, progression in EVE isn’t made to be a key element of its gameplay.
And lets not forget the RPG in MMORPG. A complex game, such as EVE, allows games to take on their own role in the game universe. This seems to be EVEs key element. This is what the game should be played for, not just to become stronger
This is a separate topic, but it’s pretty commonly understood that the defining characteristic of an RPG is character development and progression.
That’s what makes it unique and different from a FPS or any other genre. Character development.
This is, of course, a different interpretation than the pen-and-paper RPG. In which you actually play a “role”. Although, even here, the character is the central idea.
Thus, if you take out character progression, then you are left with very little for the player to DO that is meaningful to them. This is why people quit when they reach maximum progression. They’ve run out of advancement options and simply playing for the sake of playing isn’t enough.
Unless you can find some other meaning in the game (like competitive PvP) than players won’t want to continue playing.
It’s also important to keep in mind that while progression is very important, it’s not the ONLY reason to log in (which is part of my point about buying a character or PLEX), but rather an additional motivator.
For example mining in DF is not all that exciting (unless a PK runs by), and no one would EVER do it if you got no reward from it. Someone is more motivated to mine when they are still gaining skill while doing it, and then even at 100 they are still gaining stats, and the entire time they are getting ore. Mining is in no way ‘broken’ because without the rewards/progression no one would do it, and the last thing I think anyone wants is for AV to make mining more ‘fun’ by adding a mini-game or whatever to it.
I generally agree with that, but mining provides Ore, so it’s a bad example.
A better example of a “broken” mechanic in Darkfall in terms of progression is swimming.
But even here, I don’t think the “skill” is the problem but the “stat gain” from the skill.
As you already know, I think “stats” are the real problem child for DF. I’d rather they just got rid of it and made the skill system more complex (more forks, more tradeoffs for mages, more skills to learn, etc).
“A 14-hour gaming session in EVE isn’t going to get me any closer from a progression standpoint than a 5-minute login to requeue my skills.
That’s fucked up.”
Hmm… If you’re looking *just* at skill level, possibly*.
But do you think someone that only logs in every now and again to select skills for training is going to have anywhere near the *skill* of someone that actually plays? Or anywhere near the credits? Or reputation?
On the other hand, a casual player (who isn’t someone that just logs in now and again to select skills for training) certainly can compete with someone that logs in tons of hours.
I find that beautiful about EVE; certainly not ‘fucked up’.
*Keeping in mind that – unless you have someone else to hand you things on a silver platter – you *will* have to actually spend time playing the game to earn credits to buy new skills before you can begin training them.
I think EVE is very casual friendly. I wrote a blog entry to that effect back in January.
The skill system tends to reward the casual proportionately much higher than the hardcore dedicated. This works really well for a friend of mine who can only play on Saturday nights.
So yes, it’s partly perspective. If you are time limited or play infrequently, time-based skill-ups are going to be appealing.
As for the whole “playing more” makes you better — I disagree. In other games where twitch skill actually matters, then perhaps. But EVE is a a game where offline research is often more beneficial than actually playing.
EVE combat and it’s auto-attacks isn’t exactly something that you personally become vastly more skilled at executing over time.
I’d say the skill system rewards everyone equally, not one group more than the other. The perception issue comes from the fact that those who play more are use to progressing faster. Of course in EVE they still can, they will get more ISK, they will get more experience in-game (what value you place on that is up to you, but I don’t think you can say it has ZERO value), and they will get more involved with day-to-day activity. The ‘issue’ is that too many can’t look beyond their SP total, or the total of someone else.
In fairness, Tobold wrote this in the comments of that post:
Thus while it bugs me that the most efficient path to character advancement is to pay real money and then wait, I think this is something I can get over. It is a culture change, but once you got the “I need to this in game to achieve that” habit out of your system, then maybe you find the serenity to just enjoy whatever gameplay tickles your fancy. I’m still trying to find out what gameplay that could be.
It took me considerably longer to get to that same level of acceptance with EVE. Ultimately, the reason I quit was a) Darkfall and b) the boring combat mechanics.
In fairness, the most efficient way to get top iLvl items and all the achievements in WoW is to buy that character, so what culture change are we talking about?
No matter what game we are talking about, there is ALWAYS a way to get to the top by using money/time and skipping the fun, but just because the method exists, does not mean you are forced down that path (unless it’s a F2P game, and the design IS to force you to buy power to continue having fun. But unless someone wants to argue that CCP forces you to log off and buy PLEX to continue having fun in EVE, I don’t think we are talking about that)
The WoW AH is PvP, mining is PvE. The AH also has an element of exploration to it. It is a vast landscape that is constantly shifting as supply and demand changes. You can find an unexploited niche, make some money off it for a few weeks, then somebody else may muscle into your territory and you can decide whether it is worth it to move on or not. Completely different, despite the lack of pretty graphics and fairly glacial pace of the AH.
@Sid: I’m not buying the legal/illegal aspect of making what YOU do trivialized (and most certainly not less fun). You are going to fight bought characters in DF in alliances that buy gold, race for world first raid kills with guilds who buy gold/characters in WoW, and play the market against people who use PLEX in EVE. I’ve been playing against bought characters since 97-UO, and not once has it trivialized anything I accomplished with my own character. (Plus as a side bonus, even if you buy the most jacked-up pilot in EVE, he is still not maxed out). And like I said before, PLEX and cash shops are two VERY different things, hopefully I don’t need to explain why I’m cool with PLEX but stay clear of F2P?
As for EVE being boring, to each his own, but there is arguably as much to do in-game in EVE as in any MMO out, especially if we are talking long-term (1yr plus of active playing). I doubt changing the skill gain to lets say DF’s system would really change that to make it more fun. If anything, it would change it so people have even LESS fun and are MORE focused on ‘grinding out’ skill points by doing silly things.
Ultimately it comes down to this: do you play to have fun? If yes, then don’t do things that will make the game less fun for you, and if you enjoy character progression (like virtually everyone playing an MMO does), don’t cut your fun short by buying a character, or PLEX, or not logging in.
As far as illegal aspects trivializing what i’ve earned the hard way, i’d say that directly depends on the frequency of the illegal stuff.
To use Darkfall as an example: If i ran into a bought character once a month, or even once a week, that would not trivialize my character and i really wouldn’t care. On the other hand, if i ran into a bought character a few times a day for pvp or whatever…that certainly would trivialize my character and his hard-earned stats and abilities and would probably lead to me leaving the game.
Hmm. Two separate things are getting jumbled here:
1) Does RMT (legal or illegal) trivialize other people’s efforts?
2) If so, is it more trivialized when it’s legal RMT?
Yes, and Yes.
To the first point, what other people do DOES matter to me in an MMO. I’m not playing in a vacuum. If I get my ass kicked because some other guy bought a better ray gun, that does impact me.
And if I lose a ship that costs me hundreds of hours to effort, that’s much more meaningful loss than the guy who kicked my ass with a ship he bought for $15.
To the second point, does it make it worse when it’s legal? Yes. Why? Because culturally, it’s an accepted part of the game. Which means that more people are doing it, which magnifies the impact on me.
Also, when it’s “secret” than at least from my perspective it might not exist. Is a bot, which no one can tell is a bot, as detrimental as bot everyone can tell is a bot? Not really, because people don’t know to care.
Now obviously, intrinsically, there is no difference. It just feels different.
But all that said, I think if you are GOING to have RMT, then the PLEX version of it is the best I’ve seen. I’m not saying that I like it, just that it’s a better alternative to F2P.
Stop blaming the player. Tobold bring up valid points, thats how HE plays. Do not try to force your vision the throat of other people.
I personally did not like many aspects of eve , on of them was skill system. I think many players feel same way and Tobolds just validates it .
Not every game is for everybody, its all about your core audiences. But it helps to analyze why exactly some players do not play your game if you ever want expand your subscription base, or planning a target market for a new mmo
Let’s analyze and review Eve like somebody would, shall we?
“I’m going to analyze and review Eve. Remember kids that I just love wow and I hate Eve. Ok, let’s start.
Day 1: Installing Eve here. I’m sure I’m going to hate it. I better check my auctions in wow while I do so. What’s so great in wow auction house system is that you cannot do it offline, you have to be logged in to the game and watch a progress bar moving for 15 minutes.
Day 2: Played some Eve today. I noticed that it’s not wow. I really hate mining in Eve. Auction houses are much more fun in wow.
So, time for my final review and analysis: Eve is a crappy game. It would be much better game if it was wow.”
I think I tend to agre with SynCaine on this one, although it took me a while to realise it. It’s not that anyone should dictate what “fun” is, it’s that once a player has worked out what he enjoys, that player has no-one to blame but himself if he chooses to take shortcuts that reduce the fun he’s having.
It’s really up to each of us to decide what constitutes “fun”. I like sorting my bags and banks and I am well aware that’s a minority taste. Fallen Earth, a game I enjoy, offered enormous entertainment for me in this respect. I spent hours sorting inventory there.
Fallen Earth also offers a pretty good “auto-sort” facility, which would have saved me most of the work. I tried it once and realised that while it was efficient, it was having the game do for me something that I enjoyed doing myself. So I never used the auto-sort again.
Had I gone on using it, then complained that I wasn’t having nearly as much fun as I had been before, whose fault would that have been?
I have recently cancelled my EVE account, as I found that I was only logging on to add training skills. I am in a really nice corp, but I just don’t find the gameplay engaging, and it seems that I need to take a lot of time each play session to get enjoyment out of it if i’m actually playing. It does not really lend itself to short bursts of gameplay other than market trading or skill training.
I was looking forward to the next tobold post:P
The progression in EVE is you yourself, not some stupid xp bar. It is your own skills as you learn to … (insert pretty much anything). Your skills on your character sheet are far less important in almost any ingame endeavour than you, the player, actually learning.
Syncaine, you are the ALPHA MALE of MMO bloggers. I wanna sniff your butt.
The “must train all learning skills to 5” mentality really doesn’t affect every player. Someone such as Tobold, who only plans on stopping by for a few weeks or a handful of months may not even see the benefit of training those skills that high. I believe the tier 2 skills to level 5 don’t see any benefits unless you stretch out your skill plan beyond a year or more.
Reading his entries I can’t help but hope that he finds a bit more direction. Simply logging in and running a few missions or sucking on a few asteroids really doesn’t provide much entertainment or point you towards any medium to long term goals (a must have for EVE) beyond simply training that next skill to fit that next ship. There are quite a few in game organizations that recruit, educate, and sponsor new players.
It is always amusing to me to hear people complain about EVE combat and how you just hit orbit and then activate your weapons. There is SO MUCH more to PVP combat than that and much of that knowledge has nothing to do with skill points or time in game.
Just think about Tobold analyzing Planetside… “Oh I really hate Planetside, it doesn’t even have auction houses where I could be so elite, and I need some points to fly a plane – sure I could switch my tank driving points to the plane flying points but then I couldn’t drive tank and what’s the point in that when some people can do both. Clearly you just have to run along with some massive zerg group while not having any fun and doing nothing so you can collect some points, so you can drive a tank and fly a plane some day. I’m sure it would be fun then when you can do them both, but I can’t be bothered to play this game that long. I need to check my auctions.”
I have been following Tobold’s posts on this topic and even responded a few times. I was formulating a comment here and then some there and in the end I wound up throwing a post of my own. Take a look and let me know what you guys think. http://bit.ly/dAmBSz
That’s a very spot-on post, both about Tobold’s intentions with EVE and about the game itself. Great stuff Beowolf!
I’ll guess I’ll become a broken record on this topic since you’ve certainly cemented your reputation:
“The WoW-mentality is very evident, and rather than joining a group to share in the MMO experience, get/give some help from/with other players, and get involved in something bigger than just your own little experience, the WoW-mentality tells us that you don’t need help, don’t need camaraderie, and that solo is the way to go.”
The phrase “WoW-mentality” is ambiguous and even you, with your limited exposure to WoW’s group based PvE content, know as much. WoW has its flaws and will not appeal to every person who tries it, but suggesting that WoW can be distilled to a single-player experience that just happens to occur online is disingenuous. WoW’s best and most unique gameplay is its end game PvE raiding, an activity that requires, at bare minimum, at least 9 or 24 other committed people to engage in.
You want to go solo doing quests and hunting achievements in WoW? Fine, but don’t be too surprised when a month or two later you find the experience dull and unrewarding. That isn’t the fault of the game just as if someone tried to solo EVE, missing grinding and mining high-sec fields, and complained bitterly that the game full-stop was boring and repetitive. EVE has its strength and so does DF; but WoW does too, and for those who like that sort of coordinated PvE experience, there is none better.
Actually he probably is better without joining a corp. I had really only one good corp in all of 6 months playing EVE, and that was RvB. I was accused of being a spy multiple times in both militia and player corps, and joined several corps that had zero members and (to me) seemed like the leader was just farming us for mission running taxes.
After awhile I just stopped looking.
Syncaine. Mining is boring as hell. Thats why people afk macro it, and I just opened up the ingame browser while I did it. It was so boring it drove me to ratting in lowsec. EVE PvE is braindead junk, way more so than any other game I have played.