Header art by Smultar
At Fanfest we have heard a host of new developments which have come out of the presentations, panels, and question & answer periods players had the opportunity to attend. To that end, several interesting facets of game and user interface (UI) design came out of the Game Design Q&A panel chaired by CCP Fozzie.
Most notably, and by no means an exhaustive list or in any particular order:
- Mutaplasmids will offer a limited benefit but are weighted towards diminished returns in the form of drawbacks or a loss of performance. This is RNG-dependent.
- Triglavian ships will likely require Abyssal materials or T3C components (maybe).
- CCP designers really don’t like Faxes, ECM, or super and carrier ratting. Expect those things to change Soon(tm).
- Triglavian ships will be considered Faction for the purposes of entering FW plexes.
- UI improvements are on the board somewhere, but not an immediate priority.
- Personal wallet subdivisions are on the designers minds, with Hilmar even expressing an interest in going over older code.
- Reimbursements for POS structures will come in the form of mineral and component returns from their reprocessing in stations and Upwell structures.
A full-text transcription of the entire Q&A session follows, and you can watch the video here.
Fanfest Game Design Panel
Friday April 13, 2018 – 15:00 UTC – Reykjavik, Iceland
Present (Left to Right):
– CCP Semiotics, UI Design
– CCP Larrikin, Game Design
– CCP Rise, Game Design
– CCP Fozzie, Game Design
– CCP Nagual, Game Design
– CCP DelegateZero, Game Design
– CCP PsychoGrumi, Game Design
– CCP Affinity, Game Design
– CCP Shark, UI Design
For the sake of ease of reading, the individual question-posing participants have been identified as ‘Q’, with the responding CCP designer identified. Each new query is designated by the use of a horizontal line separating the question segments.
Q: For the new ship modules you said you wanted to avoid effects that had a large impact on DPS, to keep them from getting out of hand. But one of the things I feel can have a big impact, whether a percentile increase or decrease, is fitting space. It’s one of those things where there is a hard cutoffs, where just a little bit more CPU or PWG could enable you to fit something like an X-type large ancillary shield repper or a bigger armor plate, or something else which wasn’t available before. This has been the past, for you to balance, the ships. How closely did you look at that and do you see a problem here?
A: (CCP Rise) It’s certainly possible that problems will emerge, and I agree completely that it is an area that could be really powerful, really fast, and one thing we didn’t talk about so far is that the way the stat ranges change for any given attribute is different. And oned that tend to be, well, anything that’s a cost – whether it’s cap need or fitting, in this case – costs average as penalties. So you’re more likely to… The top-end rule for improvement to a lower fitting cost is less likely than the likelihood you’ll get a penalty, and the max penalty that you’re likely to receive is higher than the max benefit.
So, an example is maybe easier to talk about. Like, for, I know there’s at least one variation that applies to a lot of different groups, where, the powergrid attribute can go up by up to 40%, but can only go down by 20%. So 2/3 of the time it’s going to be even or the cost will go up. The other 1/3, it’ll only go down by as much as 20%.
I don’t know if that’s the right balance, yet. It’s going to take a lot of usage before we see if that’s going to break, but any of the costs are tilted towards increasing the cost or increasing the penalty, on average. Whereas the primary action of the module, such as the speed bonus, tend to favor the benfit instead of the drawback.
Q: Two quick industry questions: First, the Triglavian ships, what are they made of? What do we make them out of? And the Second, any chance for failed T2 invention to end up with Meta blueprints?
A: (CCP Rise) Well, for the first one, Triglavian ships are made out of some of the same stuff that normal ships are made of, and some different stuff.
(CCP Fozzie) You raise an interesting idea, meta blueprints coming out of invention. Before we would look at that sort of addition to meta module construction, we would first need to continue on the path that we’ve talked about before; moving all of the meta modules into construction. We’ve done that with the capital ones, but we haven’t done that with all of the others so far, and it’s something we’ve talked about before that we’d like to do. We’d still like to do it.
Can invention hook into that? It’s an interesting possibility. Maybe it’s like a rare outcome? But we’d have to see. I think that’s a bigger question for down the line when we’ve got that system into a more solid place, where we can build all the meta modules.
Q: Thank you for preventing stabbed ships from going into FW plexes. So the question would be, do you have anything in the works which improves, or a small change like that could improve faction warfare health? Like, citadels…?
A: (CCP Fozzie) We’d definitely like to make more changes to F.W.; there really isn’t anything else that’s on this kind of rapid scale, like the change to the warp core stabs that we can talk about right now. We’d really like to talk about and look at how citadels interact with faction warfare unfortunately that’s not gonna be a small, simple change. That’s a very complex interaction. But in the case of the warp core stabs, it essentially came down to some great work by CCP MasterPlan – one of our engineers – who realized a way we can utilize this code to have that check in place and that wouldn’t be something that would slow down the server, and all that.
And so we saw a good opportunity and we knew we were interested in making some changes in that direction, and seeing that combined with an opportunity allowed us to pounce on it. So we’re definitley very intrested in seeing all the stuff you guys want in F.W., even if it means we might not be able to make the changes right away. It might mean that it can be something that sits in the back of our minds until we see an opportunity.
Q: My question is, I saw the old videos with the client, and I re-remembered, when are we getting clearer icons in the Neocom? I remember the older colour icons just stood out more and ever since the change to the monochromatic ones this topic has just come up over and over.
A: (CCP Shark) There are no plans to change the Neocom again. So, yeah, the change was made to – the old icons were just coloured blobs – and even the employees couldn’t figure out what was the fitting service or the market. Tha’s why we went to the clean, monochrome icons. We’ve considered several times colour-coding them, or giving you some sort of tools to work against them being the same colours, but there are no immediate plans to change that.
Q: I think my question was the same, about bracket icons on grid. I find them quite ugly. Especially when you have ships with many thousands of people on grid. Is there plans of representing ships in another way they could be represented, like a coloured outline you could click, other than just an icon on grid? I know many of us try to explain EVE Online to other people and they’re like, “Do you play that game where there’s all these purple icons on screen?” So, wondering if there’s any plans…
A: (CCP Shark) Currently no plans. There’s no plans at all, but it’s definitely valid feedback.
(CCP Semiotics) It’s definitely valid feedback and it’s definitely a persistent… problem… I guess we can call it. But we don’t have any actual plans, currently, to change it. But thank you for our concern.
(CCP Rise) I wanna talk about that a little bit. It comes up quite frequently that the UI is “not pretty enough”.
Like, there’s always tough trade-offs between usability and asthetics, because the game is so complex and there’s always so much going on and aesthetics, and that’s a situation where we haven’t… and there’s this conversation about how we make big fights look nice to, because there’s this thing where this happens, and it goes out in a bunch of news stories or whatever, and streams, and people see what looks like someone barfed on the screen, but if you change the barf, you guys wouldn’t actually know what’s going on in the fight.
So it’s tough trying to work out how to improve that, but we will keep working on it and hopefully some cool stuff comes up.
Q: Can we expect wallet divisions for our personal wallets at any stage?
A: (CCP Fozzie) That’s one of the things which has come up a couple of times before that we really like the idea of, but I don’t know how difficult it would be to get implemented, unfortunately.
The wallet code is some of the older code in EVE, and I would really like to see it, and that’s something that has been on the usability medium-sized list of things people would like to have that we’ve looked at a couple of times. I love it, but not sure when we’d be able to do it.
(CCP Rise) Hilmar seems excited about that, though, changing some of the older code. He actually coded a lot of that older stuff.
(CCP Fozzie) I think he actually coded a lot of that stuff, so yeah.
Q: As you stated in the economic review a lot of the income was made in Null Sec, the most of this revenue is made ratting in super carriers and carriers. Do you have any plans on balancing this stuff, or is everything okay, and did I buy my Nyx just in time?
A: (CCP Larrikin) It is the belief of CCP that everything is _NOT_ okay. We don’t have any short-term plans to change anomaly ratting in null sec, but we do believe that carrier and super-carrier ratting is _just too good_. And that also applies to Vexor and drone ratting, etc, etc. And we definitely want to do something about this, but your Nyx is safe for at least the next couple of weeks.
Q: I find it a very interesting choice that you put both of the UI designers on opposite sides of the table. But this is a question for you guys, as the UI for the game has changed significantly over the last fifteen years (obviously) and it has gotten very glowy, there are lots of transparency gradient effects that get added into the UI and I find very interesting because EVE Online is something which is supposed to be very ‘functional’ and we’re supposed to have all of the information available to us and it has been replaced over the last couple of years with lots of glows. I wanted to know what the philosophy is behind you guys adding all of these gradient effects in the UI and taking up that space, and really whether- or what the logic is for that?
A: (CCP Shark) The logic – more or less – is just the feel. I mean, a move away from ‘the spreadsheet’ and really make it look more game-y. But it’s a personal preference, if it’s too much, it’s a little. One of the things about the ‘glow’ thing is that the UI elements, they’re very light. They’re based on light. You could have the lights off on something when it’s not available, or on when it is. It’s just a stylish thing.
(CCP Semiotics) It’s also just a manner of communication. It’s just like colours, a helpful manner of clarifying or establishing accessibility and so on. As a way of making things clearer, it’s just a barebones logic like that. But definitely we need to keep up the balance of function and aesthetics as well. Sometimes we can go a little overboard in pursuit of being communicative, but that’s at the cost of losing some of the Horror/Sci-Fi feel. It’s kind of back and forth; we push it back and forth like that.
Q: Going back to the Triglavians for a second, obviously discounting the weapons which will obviously goint to be singular and specific to the Triglavian ships, are there any other limitations on the module stock for the Triglavian ships?
A: (CCP Rise) What do you mean?
Q: Like, what kind of modules can you actually fit?
A: (CCP Rise) No other limitations.
Q: So literally it’s just the guns then?
A: (CCP Rise) So, you mean, like, are they not able to use certain propulsion or any other limitations? No. There’s no other arbitrary limitations except the weapons system. The only thing which we maybe haven’t mentioned about the modules is, like, because they come from their own skill it also has its own damage module, rather than an existing one. Outside of that, they’re normal ships. Yeah, so we have like, a full line of the guns include T2 and meta variations, but all of the new fitting behaviors are around that gun, basically.
Q: Arataka Research. So, how are Drifters going to be balanced out against the Cruisers and such, and into the Abyss, because that Doomsday is absolutely able to destroy us.
A: (CCP Larrikin) The Drifters in the Abyss probably won’t be able to– well, they won’t have the Doomsday and it’s very unlikely that any of them will have the turbo-shield either. Because of like, “special stuff” in the Abyss that stops them from working. [Because reasons.]
Q: Will it be possible to get a tool inside the game for reporting players for actions outside the game client? For example, I have recently come under attack for being part of the LGBT community in EVE Online. Would that be a possible thing for us to get, because these players are absolutely cancerous.
A: (CCPs Fozzie & Rise) I don’t think that’s a decision for us, the game designers. I completely agree it’s an important question, it’s just not something that we (as game designers) work on. That’s a security and customer service issue, we’re just not the ones who can connect all those legal dots and everything or have the expertise, that’s not us. There are members of the security team here and members of the customer service team here who’d love to talk to you about that. But gameplay design is not going to solve that problem. Please come find us afterwards.
Q: I have two questions. One, the new modules (the upgraded ones) [metaplasmids], are we going to be limited to one per type (of module), or one module per ship?
A: (CCP Rise) We originally looked at restrictions like those, but moved away from it, because the groups we’re starting with don’t have tons of overlap where there’d feel like there’s a ton of overlap. So, it will be fine to have a super-blinged out ship where you don’t feel you have to have matching type, or where Absyssal tech will work well with existing tech but if that’s too powerful the easiest thing for us to do to fix that is to add that. But we’re not going to start with any restrictions like that.
Q: The second question is, when are you going to fix the 500-bookmark limit on corporate bookmarks? (Loud applause) Because we are all aware of the Null Sec groups don’t use corporate bookmarks, but wormhole corporations use them all the time. Just Wingspan alone, we reach that limit in two hours.
A: (CCP Fozzie) Yeah, the 500 bookmark limit, we’ve actually increased it in the past since bookmarks were first introduced, it’s quite possible we can increase again. That’s something we can talk to the UI and data storage people to about, because there may be some performance or data storage issues there we don’t know about. We already had the small-things roundtable and I’m not sure if anyone brought it up in that one – oh, good, it was, that’s really good to hear – but the engineers who are working on those systems will have heard of it. We’ll pass this along to our teams.
Q: I have a multi-part question about balance philosophy. I noticed this morning we looked at the T3 Cruisers and the Loki was improved to the point that it’s way off the scale from everybody else. So, do you see that as a success and are you going to raise the other cruisers to that level, or if you see that as a failure are you going to nerf it or bring it back down a little bit?
A: (CCP Fozzie) Probably a little bit of both. There’s definitely something that, when it comes to the usage of a ship, like we mentioned with the Bhaalgorn and the Muninn in that presentation as well – just the numbers themselves aren’t something you would use to determine if that’s a problem or not.
A lot of it comes down to whether or not the low numbers or the high numbers are creating problems are creating problems in the player’s choice. I think the Loki is reaching the place where it’s starting to limit the number of viable options a little bit too strong, so we have to take another look at that. But I also don’t think it’s too big of a problem for a ship to be really exciting and powerful after it’s been weak for a while, and it’s nice for it to have its time in the sun for a while, and then we can cycle it back into the rest of the ship lineup again.
Q: Lore nerd guy here. Just two quick questions. First off, the camera in the game, do you think there’s any possibility for having a toggle added to the game for the free camera where it turns off all the muting of the sound in the game – where it just muffles everything – trying to move things around and everything it just sounds a lot less cinematic (like it’s being heard through a muffler)?
A: (CCP Fozzie) Is this a question for any of you guys can really answer, or is this something we would need to pass along to the sound folks?
(CCP Semiotics) This definitely sounds like something that is in their domain.
(CCP Rise) Yeah, this sounds like something that we would just want to fix. It sounds more like something you’re talking about that’s broken, than that you want changed because you have a different preference. Where if that’s the case, we would just need to sit down with an engineer and find out what’s going on, so we would need to talk to Anda, and he’s not here.
Q: Alright, and the second one, back on the Triglavian type stuff for a moment here. That deviant automata suppressor; will it also be targeting our Drifter friends?
A: (CCP Larrikin) No, it won’t. It’ll exclusively be drones and rogue drones and missiles. So if you fire a missile through the area it will be shot-down as well.
Q: Over the last few years we’ve seen a lot of love for sov – for Fozzie Sov – and we’ve also seen a lot of love for Low Sec, but we haven’t seen hardly any love at all for NPC null. I was wondering if we can expect to see anything specific and unique given to NPC null sec space?
A: (CCP Fozzie) I think it would be really good to add some aspects to them that sets NPC null apart. Especially being able to build up things that interact with standings with the pirate corporations that live there or the corporations that control those stations would be cool.
Q: I actually thought it would be cool that if your standings with the corporation were like, 9 or above, that you could– that they would actually come and help defend your structures if they were attacked.
A: (CCP Fozzie) That would be really cool, yeah. We don’t have anything that we can announce right now, but in general a lot of the changes that we make – like for instance the structure changes – apply to a large set of areas like NPC null, but doing something specific for it would also be (I think) really nice. Yep.
Q: It’s one question that I would like two sides in my answer. I could not go to the panel where they talked about the modules, and whatever, this morning. So maybe the mechanical part was already answered, but, I wanted to know how the mutagen (sic) thing would work lore wise, and on what groups we could use them?
A: (CCP Rise) Okay, so I’ll cover groups for a quick second. We covered it this morning but I’ll go over it again really fast, and then I’ll send you over to CCP DelegateZero for the lore explanation. So groups to start are going to be active tank, armor rep, active shield, armor plate, shield extender, propulsion, which is afterburner and microwarp drive, tackle which is web, scram, and disruptor, and then energy neuts. I think that’s everything for initial release. Nos is in like a ‘maybe’ category, but whatever… maybe.
(CCP DelegateZero) The Triglavians have adapted to living in Abyssal Deadspace over quite a lengthy period of time and one of the things they’ve mastered is advanced bioengineering so they actually use bioengineered mutaplasmids which will interact with any technologies they acquire and adapt it to their liking. So what you’re actually doing is taking a piece of Triglavian technology that’s perhaps not fully understood and applying it to New Eden tech and seeing what the outcome is.
Q: So, technically, it could work with something like implants? Technically
A: (CCP DelegateZero) There’s no lore reason why it shouldn’t work with a range of different things.
(CCP Fozzie) Putting untested tech into your head always works out really well. (laughter)
Q: Someone at the panel that I was just at mentioned something about believing CCP was of the opinion that Faxes were entirely too strong. Does anyone care to speak to that?
A: (CCP Larrikin) Faxes are entirely too strong. (Applause)
(CCP Larrikin) To be less glib, there’s a lot going on there. It’s a really complex problem. I’m of the opinion that Faxes are – in wormhole space but also in normal space – just a little bit too strong. When we introduced them we wanted to give more options to capital combat so that was actually the purpose of the whole capital rebalance, to have more of a metagame and a sense of mastery there, but the entire capital meta has been mapped and a lot of battles have just been a matter of grinding through faxes and it doesn’t even matter if they rep or not. You just have to grind through them until you can actually kill things, right? And I don’t think that’s super cool. So, yeah, I think we need to look at that sometime.
Q: A UI question; one thing that was a problem for me when I came back to the game is that the overview is saved but all of my windows and my column widths are all jacked. When you’re operating a bunch of different accounts that can take a while to get sorted out. Is there any way that could be saved or preserved? Like, say even transferred across different accounts?
A: (CCP Shark) We have discussed that many times, being able to save window setups, and it’s a good idea. It would be lovely for everyone to be able to achieve that. At present there are no plans to do that, as is, but I hope that this will comment will reinforce us to take a look at that.
Q: Two nice softball questions that have been asked before, but I want to ask again:
A: (CCP Fozzie) I love softball questions.
Q: POS Removal. We’ve now gotten to the point that POS, due to useful things and a couple of non-useful things (reactions, this year, were a big thing that got taken away from POS) now there are probably hundreds of POS just sitting in hangars and stuff somewhere. Is the plan not to institute any kind of buyback until everything’s removed; is there any sort of thing in the works just now?
A: (CCP Fozzie) So, we’re going to talk a little bit more about that in the structures presentation tomorrow but the plan is to move onto the reimbursement – essentially it’s setting up the refining materials so you can get materials back by refining them and converting blueprints. That’s going to happen for the actual starbase modules that have been phased out. For the industry ones, the moon mining ones, the faction ones, silos; all that kind of stuff. That’s going to happen relatively soon. We’re going to be giving the date for that, or at least the month, in the presentation tomorrow.
For the actual towers themselves, yes, the plan will be that we won’t be able to do a full reimbursement for those until we get towards the end because there’s still people building them and using them for the existing uses.
Q: Now that the NPC AI has been tested in multiple areas and has been a success in most of them, is there any scope to get that rolled back to existing content? 10/10s and 6/10s and missions and that sort of guff?
A: (CCP Larrikin) We would really like to do that and I think that’s part of the plan to deal with the efficacy of carriers and supercarriers in ratting, right, like we can help with the NPC AI and have certain reactions. Like, if you rat them for twelve hours straight maybe they get really angry and counter-drop you or something. (Uneasy laughter from audience.)
But that isn’t– we’re not planning anything like that in the near future. We also have to deal with some server load issues with the new AI because it puts a lot of load on the servers, more than the old AI, because it’s smarter. Or the old AI is dumber. So we just need to work through those issues before we do that.
(CCP Rise) And I want to add to that, that we… ah… this new PVE content that’s about to come out is also hugely about checking what we can do with really small-scale PVE, and we get really good signals from what we get out of small new PVE, then it becomes a lot more viable to talk about moving it out to other places where it’ll have an impact and stuff.
So that’s a huge part of the reason for the design of this expansion is to start testing if we have something viable enough to move around to other parts of the game that need refurbishing.
Q: Two questions: One is, what with, every year we seem to be pushing bigger and bigger fleet fights and obviously worse performance where we’ve seen M-O, 9-4, is that a game design thing or is that more of a hardware limitation that occurs, or? What’s the plan on improving that sort of fights or performance?
A: (CCP Fozzie) It’s definitely a bit of both. We’re always pushing the hardware to be able to help more people, so what we just end up running into is – constantly since EVE started – is just slamming the maximum possible amount of people into a system and it gets really laggy and then as we’ve changed the game, that’s just caused that number to go higher and higher.
Because at the end of the day, the only thing that’s keeping even more people from coming in is just the lag and the only way to completely solve it would be to start putting hard limits on the systems but that doesn’t really fit EVE’s philosophy, and so we decided not to do that – at least right now.
When it comes to design ways of approaching it, we’ve had things like the constellation sov system was an attempt to get people to spread out a little. I think that there’s a reason there to pull the constellation aspect of that system back into the new system we introduce in the future and combine it with some things that work well in other systems.
There’s definitely more we can do in that direction, design-wise, but at the end of the day we also know that EVE players… if you give them the chance to dog pile, they’re going to do it, and they’re going to do it at ridiculous levels, because you guys are really good at organizing people.
Q: Last question is, are there any plans to help change a little of bump mechanics and capitals, and like re-sizing models or whatever? As I understand it we’re waiting on change in bump mechanics before resize supers or whatever.
A: (CCP Larrikin) We would really like to do that, and it’s not strictly a game design thing, and unfortunately there’s no short-term plan to do that, but it is something we’d really like to do. It’s very high on my personal priority list, I can say that much.
Q: So this morning you guys had a slide in the presentation about how null sec had gotten a lot of updates but high sec wardecs had not, so my question is are there plans to iterate on that and also how do you guys feel about the health of high sec player interaction since a lot of things have been removed so it’s just ganking and wardecs and, like, wardecs are leaving a lot to be desired?
A: (CCP Rise) Yeah, the slide in the presentation was there not necessarily to say that’s where we’re headed next, but just to say we want to check in with more of these sorts of sub-ecosystems and make sure they’re healthy, so we’re not necessarily doing something right away. But I think we totally agree with you that there’s a lot of pretty degenerate and weird behavior in high sec just in terms of being nonsense and not being intuitive and not being fun, and we’d like to definitely go and work on that.
There’s been a couple of different periods where it seemed like we were entering real momentum and taking the time to go into wardecs or high sec or systems that affect that ecosystem and we’ve backed off because either something came up or it was complicated or whatever, but I think it’s coming time to do it. And there’s other things on that list too, like a Faction Warfare revisit to help with mechanics there – it’s sort of in the same boat.
Q: It was nice that we recently got a reminder of the EVE of 10-15 years ago in the interesting roll out of the new chat system. Now that that’s done, is there any interest in fixing some of the UI of the chat system at all a bit? EVE is a beautiful game that is, for most people, almost completely obscured. I have, like, 5 chat windows and can’t read the tabs on them – the channel names on the tabs – because they just won’t fit. So I was wondering what the UI guys think.
A: (CCP Rise) Yeah, I was working with the team that was redoing chat as they were going through it and the big goal for the initial release for that was just to get parity. Y’know, as it transitioned over, just to get everything working and looking the same as it did. Which, like, yeah… went perfect. (Audience laughs, so does Rise.)
But it puts us in a good position to go forward and investigate ways of improving that and stuff, so, I don’t know what their plans are next or what they plan to do with it, but I hope we can do stuff. It’s also that some of what you’re talking about is UI and there’s things we can do to just change how things look, without changing the actual functionality underneath. Hopefully we can do both.
(CCP Shark) Don’t you like big black boxes covering your space scene?
Q: I like the spaceship, too.
A: (CCP Shark) I mean that, I’d love to change that and give them a lighter feel, absolutely.
(CCP Semiotics) We should make them transparent and glow. (Laughter)
(CCP Shark) Yes, you seem to like it when things glow, let’s do that.
Q: Is there going to be a fix or a solution for the AFK cloaky-camper game? (Applause)
A: (CCP Fozzie) So we temporarily fixed cloaky-camping really effectively in the march release. When local stopped working. (Huge laughter.) Cloaking camping really went away. But, I actually do think that the cloaky camping issue is really tied with local and so that’s the kind of thing I’d like to see us look at with the observatory array structures we may look at in the future; be able to go in and look at that system as a whole.
Cloaking really is an intel mechanic, and so is local, and we see in other areas they’re really tied at the hip in how they work. So, that’s how I’d really like to approach that.
Q: I have a kind of two-sided question about hacking and exploration. We’ve seen some new use-cases for data analyzers in terms of showing us when structure vulnerabilities windows are. Is there, are there any plans to make offensive hacking of structures a thing, or on the other side of that, is there any thought to making higher-level hacking puzzles to scale up? Because at the high end you kind of top out and then end up running ratting sites and ignoring the cans.
A: (CCP Fozzie) So to address one of those things, we actually did introduce a slightly higher difficulty for the structures, so if you try to hack an extra large structure, it is actually one step harder than what’s available at the highest level in PVE right now. If you know what you’re doing and you have your good skills and modules, it’s still not too, too difficult. But it was a good experiment in making a new difficulty level, we hadn’t made a new difficulty level in a while. I think it would be really good to expand that further.
As for hacking and more hacking in combat. I think it would be nice to explore other options for that. I don’t know of any immediately plans, but basically for structures an opportunity presented itself to get the information and we saw a good opportunity to put hacking in, and we probably wouldn’t have been able to see that opportunity more than a few months ahead of time.
Q: I know you guys said earlier that you were kind of looking at toning-down the supers and stuff, has anyone taken a thought of solo or ‘krab’ holes in wormhole space? Any possible solutions to that?
A: (CCP Fozzie) In general, yeah, we’re always keeping an eye on any PVE which could be trivialized or made a bit too easy for people to farm without it being an interesting challenge for them. I’d love to see us do some things like put in some tweaks around reinforcement mechanics and such, because EVE players are gonna master whatever you throw at them, eventually. But I don’t know if there’s anything we can specifically say right now.
(CCP Larrikin) Yeah, not right now.
Q: Yeah, it just seems like a problem right now where you’ll have a C5 wormhole where a corp will have, like there’s like one or two people in there, or they’ll have their main characters in their wormhole with everyone having 2-3 alts off in their own personal ‘krab holes’. So that they’re able to make ridiculous amounts of ISK, where they can afford to get 2 or 3 Keepstars in a C6. So, thank you.
Q: Hi, I’ve been living on the fringe of where everybody else plays for the last thirteen years and so I have a couple of questions to that. One real easy one: What are going to be the restrictions to the new cruisers and frigates in Faction Warfare plexes? Where are they going to fit into that? Are they going to be considered faction, or…?
(Stunned silence from the Devs. CCP Rise shrugs and smiles. Laughs from the audience.)
(CCP Rise) I would appreciate feedback on that topic. (More laughs.)
(CCP Fozzie) Probably… probably that the frigate will be able to get in everywhere. It’s a tech-1 frigate, it’s not tech-2…
(CCP Rise) They are landing in kind of this funny place where they’re definitely not tech-2, but in terms of performance they’re going to land a lot closer to faction than tech-1. So, it might make sense…
(CCP Fozzie) I mean, we let Daredevils into those, so…
(CCP Rise) Right. Back to you.
(CCP Fozzie) I mean, I’m sure the cruiser will be able to, as well.
Q: My other question, on the fringes of things, COSMOS missions which, I’m sure me and like five other people know they exist anymore (and most of them are broken), has any thought been given to removing them, fixing them would be awesome, too, but I think at this point they cause so much confusion for people who stumble into the COSMOS constellations and try to do the things that they can’t actually complete anymore that is removing them a possibility?
And agents in space – sort of the static agents that exist in handfulls across the regions – some of them are also entirely broken and really just don’t work anymore, you really just cannot complete the missions.
A: (CCP Fozzie) The thought process you’re describing there is pretty similar to ours, that it would great to fix them up but that at some point it’s just easier to cut our losses with that content and to move onto some new instead. And I think that’s most likely the path it’s going to end up being put in.
We talked a bit about them when we were deciding whether or not to put them into the Agency, and decided we didn’t really want to be throwing people into those without them being EVE experts. Which is probably a bad sign. And I would not be surprised if they get phased-out eventually. Potentially with some sort of simplified replacement, but we’ll see.
Q: Small to medium-scale fleet combat combat – so between 1 and 20 people – is an area where a 5% bonus to a stat is so important that people will spend hundreds of millions of ISK on an implant just for that 5% bonus. And now we’re having these mutagen (sic) modules, that are up to 40% bonus I think you said in your presentation and I’m very concerned how balance is going to work, of ships and modules, with so much variance.
As an example, I’m very concerned about 100km web Rapier, a 40km scram Orthrus, all of these are possible with the numbers you’ve given us. I’m curious, what’s your thought process there?
A: (CCP Fozzie) Quickly, not every stat will go up to 40% potential bonus. That’s just some stats will get up that high but others won’t. (To CCP Rise) Anything else you want to add?
(CCP Rise) I kinda feel that I think partly the answer is that it will bring some dramatic change, and that we think you can handle it and hopefully it’s fun to handle it. I mean, we’ve had–
(CCP Fozzie) And if it’s not we can change it again…
(CCP Rise) If it’s not we can do something about that, but like, with, y’know, when heat was added the situation changed exactly as you’re describing and all the numbers got pushed to new maximums and people had to adjust expectations and figure out how to exploit it. And that was a different system but it had a similar scale of effect, and turned out to be one of the most fun systems in the game.
And, uh, we don’t know what will happen exactly but, yeah, there can be 100 km web-range Rapiers – or whatever the examples you gave – that might happen in some cases. Then we just have to balance for those cases once they’re actually in the wild.
Q: In the video I noticed that, at the end of the video, that you guys had that excellent message that was put out there to “write the future” and I think a large part of that is knowing the lore and story of the game. So my question is – and apologizes to (CCP DelegateZero) as he’s already answered this to me in some ways – how difficult, or what is the desire and difficulty that might be involved, in linking the lore to the game a little bit more? I’m thinking mainly here of linking the fiction portal to the info window in-game.
A: (CCP Delegate Zero) Linking the fiction portal comes with a lot of challenges because we’ve actually had a lot of… it’s a very tricky task of linking a website in the client. We did this with EVEopedia and frankly it did cause a lot of trouble, a lot of problems.
What I would rather explore is more flavour text in the game, more things which don’t have flavour text getting descriptions, more solar systems having descriptions, possibly – although this is quite difficult to pull off – even to the level of planets, moons, and NPC stations getting descriptions. Looking in to the future.
However, the fiction portal is a big part of providing lore in EVE and that will continue to be developed, and we will talk about continued developments in tomorrow’s lore panel.
I’ll just say we plan to move the game world news and interstellar correspondence news to the fiction portal, those who are interested in those news channels will notice that it didn’t migrate with the CCP news to the new EVEOneline.com; they’re going to migrate to the fiction portal.
Q: Some questions from my PVP alter-ego: First question, about electronic (warfare) mechanic. As you know, pretty much every electronic drone except jam drone is useless. And jam mechanic is completely unbalanced, because you can keep your target jammed for infinite time. Do you plan on adding diminishing returns to jam effects, like it is done in some control effects in games about elf and orcs, do you plan to buff some other electronic (warfare) mechanics?
And the second question is about Factional Warfare. It is originally designed, I think, to force people to group up in fleets to teamwork and other stuff. But now when I capture some beacon and other guy from the same warfare is capturing as me, it is nice to kill him because we just split points and we have no bonuses to, uh, for capturing beacons together. Do you plan to do something with factional warfare.
A: (CCP Fozzie) Good questions, I’m just going to say that because we’re already out of time that this will be the last question. So, we’ll answer this one but sorry to everyone else who didn’t get a chance; come talk to us at pub crawl and in the hallways and all that. But these questions….
So, for the e-war drones one: ECM in general is not a mechanic that we’re super happy with. Generally you remember the bad rolls, whether you’re using ECM or fighting against it. So if you’re an ECM pilot it feels like it never works, and if you’re fighting against ECM it feels like you get 100% jammed for hours. (Even though the reality is in the middle.)
So, we would love to do something about that. Diminishing returns, however, is something that’s very difficult to do for a non-persistent effect or something that only has a point effect – that applies at a moment – like the ECM effect. It would be really interesting to explore more options there, but we’ve wanted to make changes to that for a long time; it’s a big pet-peeve of a lot of us. But nothing to announce.
The other e-war drones: That ties into the fact that they have diminishing returns and a bunch of weak effects is a lot weaker than a single one. I don’t know if there’s an easy solution to that. You’re right, at the moment they’re quite weak and it would be good to improve them.
And then for (Faction Warfare), yeah, shooting your allies if you’re in the same militia you lose some standings but it’s EVE and a bit of backstabbing is expected, and part of that comes with the territory of having been participating in a war which doesn’t have humans in charge of it – which is both a great advantage of FW (we can get this persistent war that anyone can join, it’s a lot more accessible) but the downside is that because there’s no actual human beings in charge of each militia no one is there to be able to handle stuff like that.