EVE: Instanced battles would mean a lot more headlines for the game

I wanted to follow up on the last post, talking about the possibility of bringing instanced battles to EVE, specifically the one major area it would greatly help EVE; attention.

For most of EVE’s history, the big events have always focused around loss, especially losses that are expensive. Its easy for non-EVE players to understand a headline of “$50k lost in massive EVE battle”, and its a headline even non-gaming news sites like posting. It grabs people. And it also attracts people to the game itself, which is rather important when we are talking about one of the longest-running MMOs out now.

The problem with such battles in EVE is they are rare. Even as capitals and supers have become far more common, its still rare for two sides to both use and risk such ships in combat, and most of the famous exmaples have happened because mistakes were made rather than both sides planning to fight. By far the most common source of super deaths is still ganking them when they are out doing PvE or traveling, rather than in actual combat, which isn’t exactly ideal.

Life is Feudal, on a much smaller scale, has this same problem. Its too easy to run away from a fight, so if one side doesn’t want to engage, you are left with the option of trying to gank them or finding someone else. But in LiF, in an IB, that’s not the case. In an IB both sides not only want to fight (they showed up), but once inside fighting is assured, and people do die. It’s fun, its effective, and it provides the kind of content people envision when they think of ‘good fights’ in MMO PvP combat.

IB would also mean that if you are involved, you know a fight is going to happen. No more signing up for a fleet, traveling for 2 hours, sitting in system under TiDi for another few hours, and traveling back home without a single shot fired, which happens in, sadly, most major fleets today.

I’m not going to pretend to have all the details figured out, but if the system was added, and it did work as intended, large-scale battles with significant losses would become far more common in EVE. Not ‘too common’, since that’s unsustainable even for the larger alliances, but far more common then they are today. It would also mean we no longer have to deal with big event disappointment, like the “1 million dollar fight” that never happened somewhat recently.

It would also lead to a new meta, one that I think many theorycrafters would enjoy. So much work and effort goes into the Alliance Tournament meta, and that is far more limited than what IB would bring, both in size and in ship/module options.

But yes, most of all, it would give EVE more ‘newsworthy’ set-piece battles, which would draw more attention to the game, and ultimately more players trying it out. EVE needs that, and really, it needs combat to actually happen a lot more than it does today.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Combat Systems, EVE Online, Life is Feudal, MMO design, PvP. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to EVE: Instanced battles would mean a lot more headlines for the game

  1. bhagpuss says:

    This is a curious discussion. I don’t play EVE, only read about it, but my impression is that it goes against the entire ethos of the game. Wilhelm says CCP would never do it and it would be guaranteed to be incredibly controversial if they tried.

    That said, EverQuest was entirely non-instanced for the first few years. Most servers were PvE but it was heavily contested, highly competitive PvE, with much PvP-by-proxy in the form of kill stealing and intentional training. That was just how it was and probably how everyone thought it always would be – until the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion four years after launch. LDON added instanced dungeons, to the great skepticism of the playerbase, but almost immediately they were not only accepted but adopted with enthusiasm. Thereafter the game featured a mix of open and instanced content and still does.

    Whether something similar could happen to EVE I can’t guess but there is precedent for developers changing track in that way and players going with them.

    • The contested PvE thing is yet another thing that came from MUDs. In MUDs the population was small enough that social pressure could keep people from messing up with other people’s zone runs. EQ got big enough fast enough that, despite the fact that people talk about server communities and reputations, social pressure could not contain it. People just wanted to take their groups and do something more interesting than camp spawns or fight against getting trained in open dungeons.

      The catch here is PvE vs PvP. In PvE what you do as a group doesn’t really affect anybody else and can be instanced off safely. In a PvP-centric game, and EVE Online is that in spades, taking people out of the main world to do things that affect the main world is a bad plan.

      I mean, I recall somebody around here mocking Wintergrasp in WoW when it had to be instanced due to too many players jumping, so it seems very strange that they are proposing the same thing for EVE.

      • SynCaine says:

        The difference between instanced PvP in WoW and this is that AB/WG (and later WG) literally removed world PvP from WoW, while this would simply be the ‘final stage’ of end-game PvP in EVE. Now that I think about it, its basically what Warhammer Online end-game was supposed to be but never got to; open-world RvR, with the final event being instanced (for both mechanical and technical reasons).

      • Trego says:

        I recall somebody around here mocking Wintergrasp in WoW when it had to be instanced due to too many players jumping, so it seems very strange that they are proposing the same thing for EVE.”

        More bullshit from the bullshit artist. The details of the Wintergrasp article weren’t that the very idea of instancing was bad, it was that Blizzard said that handling 100v100 was impossible, despite WAR at the time handling over 200+ player battles fine with better graphics than WoW, and EVE having just having had a 3100 player battle at the time. That criticism is and was valid, and Syn’s current proposal isn’t comparable for multiple reasons:
        A. If CCP gave up and said they were done trying to make 3100 player battles fast enough to be fun, there’s no other company having fights an order of magnitude larger to point to and laugh about.
        B. IBs are being proposed not merely because of size, but because of the apparently growing problem of showing up and no fight happening. which IBs solve pretty well in LIF, but it would in EVE depend on how exactly they were implemented.

        Did you even look at the Wintergrasp article before referencing it?

  2. Vince Snetterton says:

    I would think it would be simple enough. Create a timer that is associated to the size of a fleet. The more ships in a fleet that are cyno’ed into a system, the longer each ship in that fleet has to stay in a system until they can jump out. A secondary timer could also be created that affects the same jump timer depending on how many fleets are cyno-ed into a system. (3 x 256 ships vs 30 x 26 ships), though perhaps to a lesser degree.

    Null sec players would hate it, because we all have seen the hue and cry the past years over jump fatigue. And it would penalize large groups of players simply migrating across territory.

    But the concept would work, to some degree. It not would force fleets to engage, as FC’s would still do the same cost/ benefit analysis about engaging as they do today. But if a fleet, or fleets, jump to some intermediate point, while the FC decides to commit or not, well, that group would be vulnerable for some period of time in that intermediate system.

  3. Pingback: In Which I am Against Instanced Content for Once | The Ancient Gaming Noob

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