Over two years ago, CCP Veritas introduced the EVE community to a prototype on the Duality server called the “Dojo”. Players seeking some tournament style fun could set up a match based on ships which they select with a partner. They are then insta-warped to a deployable structure. While it did become an instant threadnaught on the EVE-O forums and was well received by the player base, it was something that was never iterated on or brought anywhere further than Duality. For all intents and purposes, this project died once Veritas left CCP. CCP Rise took the reigns of that prototype project, nothing since that forum thread and a few mentions in the social media have surfaced.
Walking in Stations
A little over a year before the defunct Dojo, there was another project released. Known as “walking in stations”, they never reached the full potential of what it could be. Even now, the idea of being in the captains quarters serves little to no purpose besides giving you a different way to do the same tasks you can do from the standard ship spinning point of view. Within that captains quarters, though, is a door leading to a place we have never been able to enter. Neither the character in the game, nor the player behind the keyboard, have any idea what is behind that door. Even with the wildest speculations from lore specialists, we received no confirmation from CCP one way or the other.
We have two dead projects that together could lead to a solution to a problem the EVE Online has had for over a decade. The vast majority of players stay in a high security space and would never think to venture out into low or null security areas of the universe. Due no small part because the groups inhabiting them already there have developed their tactics and techniques so well that they immediately crush the unaware wanderer.
Mining Fleet AI
Fast forward to now and we have a new AI introduced in the Ascension expansion on November 15 2016. This AI adds a new dynamic to the universe; NPC mining fleets from various factions and Empires gather resources like any other player might. In its current form, you will encounter NPC miners gathering resources in asteroid belts in your neck of the woods.
If you happen to attack those miners or have less than savory standings with them, their support fleet will warp in and defend the mining fleet. These protection fleets will not only aggress a player with firepower: they will provide remote reps to their fleet and have the ability to use electronic counter measures. An unprepared player could find himself riding the pod express back to his or her station if they come across the wrong NPC mining fleet.
Can we combine all these elements then? Cross a deployable structure for player created tournaments with a locked room in the captains quarters, and add an advanced AI for NPC’s that have the ability to destroy a player or small gang. The result is an ultra realistic training simulator that would allow players and their friends to form up a fleet and load a training environment using a variety of opponents in an effort to learn how to fight other players.
Most capsuleers know running any level of agent missions, including burner missions, is easy to run through. Or, they are so repetitive and farmed out that they are mundane. On top of that, little gain is realized besides that of ISK. There is no correlation between how players engage NPC’s to how a solo pilot or fleet would fight in PvP. The two are nowhere similar and could be a strong indicator of why so many players never make their way into dangerous territory, instead being content on remaining in their safe place of high security mission running.
Imagine being a new player just joining the universe of EVE Online. You have seen on the news or told by a friend about scenarios where fleets of ships gather in space and duke it out in massive battles consisting of heavy hitting battleships, pilots providing game changing boosts to their teammates, and ships that assist their fleet with remote repair modules and electronic counter-measures. This sounds like an awesome game that a lot of people might want to play. But newcomers find out rather quickly that not only can they not really participate in that kind of game play yet. Instead, that there are groups of players that have been taking part in this area of game-play together since the game was in beta thirteen years ago.
How could any new player ever hope to be that good? Especially when most fleets that corporations and alliances participate in consists of hours of hanging out on comms and maybe a few minutes of fighting dictated by the FC on which enemy to target. What does this actually teach a player besides how to press F1? A Training Room that simulates real fleet combat would allow for new players to learn how to engage the enemy. They would actually learn how to properly fly: targeting the right opponent and with the right ship fit. This environment would give budding fleet commanders the chance to understand how and why to call certain targets.
There has been plenty of talk in the past, including the latest episode the latest episode of The Mind Clash Podcast, on of having two versions of Eve. One in its current iteration and another being strictly for solo players. Alleviating their fear of being ganked. A good reason for wanting this is for those players that don’t want to go outside of their comfort zone or for various other reasons. But, this is EVE. By removing that layer of the unknown and essentially lowering the bar to entry into the PvP arena, more players would find themselves in the far reaches of space thus creating more content for the entire game in general.
If properly executed this concept could be the next step in the New Player Experience (NPE). Nothing is worse than going through a video game tutorial and then thrust into a world that you can’t take part in and still really know nothing about. Based on the response of my harsh critique of the developer who oversees the NPE, it was clear that most players agree that EVE Online is such a complex and ever changing environment. There is no way that it could ever get to a point where a new player could learn all there is to know without taking some college style course over the time of a real semester.
This is no way to learn how to play a game. A training room provides a clear benefit for new and old players by utilizing existing assets. If we could at the very least make this one addition in the NPE, we could finally open that door into a new opportunity for every citizen of New Eden.
You lost me at Walking in Stations. I cannot bring myself to care about playing Space Barbie and obsessing over my character’s shoes. My avatar hasn’t changed since before Incarna, and it hasn’t hurt the game, the game about space ships, one bit.
There are a ton of games on the market with micro-transactions and fashion stores….Eve didn’t need to be yet another.
Eve has been best when CCP innovates rather than mimics. Space Barbie, FPS genre, FTP games on dying consoles…..every time CCP tries to jump on a bandwagon and cash in on what is selling in other games, they just make Eve worse.
I think there is tons of room for other games set in the Eve universe….but I don’t think cramming those games into the existing Eve Online title is good for the game. CCP should create new titles and if possible link them to Eve Online, without having to shoe horn them into the core game itself.
Let the shoppers have their shoe collection. But don’t waste resources for Eve on it. Don’t bog down an already huge game with what amounts to fluff.
And as for the Dojo……why can people not simply fly out in space and lose a ship? What will be different after a few fights in the dojo changes nothing and players still lose horribly in ‘real’ PvP? CCP already added a ‘duel’ mechanic to offer consensual PvP on demand….and it accomplished nothing. No mass influx of newly ‘trained’ PvP’ers.December 28, 2016 at 1:48 PM
It’s internet spaceships. Pixels on a video monitor……if you cannot tolerate loss to the point where you think you need to ‘train’ for combat before daring to really do it…then you’ve missed the part where this is just a game and no one really gets hurt. Whether you die in some stupid training sim or at a FW plex in low sec matters not.
Anyone else remember when the advice given was simply– fit 20 Rifters and go fight people?!
Kael Decadence Apostophe Noodle
I mean… if you aren’t going to read the whole article, why bother with a lengthy reply? I think you missed the point of this whole thing.December 28, 2016 at 2:22 PM
Apostophe Noodle Kael Decadence
Or…I simply disagree.December 28, 2016 at 8:00 PM
Kael Decadence Apostophe Noodle
How can you disagree with something you didn’t read?December 29, 2016 at 1:22 AM
Daito Endashi Apostophe Noodle
Umm had you actually read the “Walking in Stations” paragraph, you would have known Kael didn’t propose anything to the likes of “Space Barbie”, this wasn’t even touched in the least.December 28, 2016 at 4:54 PM
Before you criticise something, please make sure that you know what you’re talking about.
Apostophe Noodle Daito Endashi
I said that Incarna and WiS is space barbie. At least the way it was handed to us, and that’s why it was created in the first place.December 28, 2016 at 8:07 PM
Now if you want to make lemonade from those lemons, go for it- but it’s a hard sell to make it useful in an internet spaceship game.
More, I don’t have any problem with any of those things- I just question whether it’s of any use in Eve Online, and if it has to be- would it not be better in it’s own stand alone title?
What is behind the closed door is a great question for a dedicated game to answer, not get tacked onto the internet spaceship game Eve is.
Kael Decadence Apostophe Noodle
What’s behind that door I’m proposing is…. more Internet spaceships. Hello.December 29, 2016 at 1:23 AM
Maybe someone should take it seriously when people stay in highsec shooting NPCs on their own as if that was what they want from EVE. Not PvP. Not playing with other players. Not low, null or WH.
Just stay in highsec shooting NPCs on their own.
Let’s say this is what your customers do and they pay you 15 dollars a month to do it. What would be your plans to convince them to keep doing it?
We know the answer as far as CCP is concerned: Nothing.
Thus EVE is now 35% smaller than during Incarna. CCP is also 25% smaller than then. But according to sources, it’s doing good and EVE is better than ever…December 28, 2016 at 2:34 PM
Kael Decadence Bill Bones
Should that someone be me? Do you actually think that all those people WANT to stay in hi-sec shooting NPC’s? They are either too scared, don’t understand how to engage with other players, or are not even up to speed on what you and I know as the EVE Meta. You know how many players probably don’t even realize that there are news sites, podcasts, and streams? Its not that they don’t want to, they just don’t know how to. Simple as that.December 28, 2016 at 3:47 PM
Barkaway Kael Decadence
There are ofc a group of them that wants to venture further out in the great wild, but I’m actually pretty sure that a great number of them are happy with what they are doing in high sec.December 28, 2016 at 6:44 PM
Bill Bones Barkaway
That’s exactly the point. They liek what they do, but CCP doesn’t likes that they do. They don’t need a way out of highsec, solo play and PvE. They need a reason to keep paying CCP for it.December 28, 2016 at 7:57 PM
Bill Bones Kael Decadence
Wrong. If they don’t like PvE and don’t know what else to do, they quit, period. They also quit once they notice that PvE is a dead end. In the meantime, they PvE because that’s exactly what they like.
CCP and PvPrs don’t know who are this people. But I know them, I am one of them, I’ve talked to them. They are not organized and they never step forward and speak. Dammit, the first commandment of the PvEr is: DON’T MAKE YOURSELF NOTICED. But they do have an opinion, and a voice, and they share it if you as much as ask them.
Is that simple. Ask them. Don’t speculate. Don’t expect them to come to knock on your door. Look for them. Earn their confidence. Ask them. And then you’ll be surprised on how amazingly stupid is CCP to ignore them or think of them as “PvPrs who can’t find their way into the Real Game”.
They like what they do. But it’s old content and is limited for no good reason. So they stop doing it eventually. They don’t want to play with others, don’t want to leave highsec, don’t want to PvP. They want what they do.December 28, 2016 at 8:09 PM
Kael Decadence Bill Bones
I have always felt that the role play and NPC aspect of the game was lacking. With the new AI though, you can do so much more. This universe has such a rich lore… but you don’t see that reflected in the game. It’s a shame.December 29, 2016 at 1:21 AM
Lekly Bill Bones
I feel like CCP has tried to create more content for the HS PvE player base. A lot of the events take place in HS, they have lore based additions like the Drifters, and these mining fleets could have some serious potential.
I think the problem is more deeply rooted. Eve Online is an MMO, which in its very definition is based around being multiplayer. Other than Incursions, almost all PvE is solo. The reason pure PvE is a dead end is because anything that is purely solo in an MMO is in opposition to itself.
Eve is massive with hundreds of hours worth of solo content that can take years to complete. However, Eve is not just a space version of Elder Scrolls or some other in depth single player game. CCP knows this, they know that the people who stick around for a decade are the people who are involved with the Eve communities.
Even if only 20% of the people get involved with every aspect of the game while 80% stay in HS and stick to themselves. If four solo players join up and do everything they can by themselves and then quit after a year or two, CCP makes the same amount of money off one player who joins up and sticks around for five to ten years by being involved in more aspects of the game.
So, while I agree with much of what you are saying, I think that CCP may be looking at different numbers. It is natural for them to want everyone to try everything. And lets face it, their biggest marketing successes have been around massive space battles, not their innovative PvE AI.December 29, 2016 at 6:08 AM
Bill Bones Lekly
Having less players for more time is only of use when you’re not losing players who stay less time but are more abundant. Which is not what’s going on, since EVE has been losing players for the last years, and coincidentally that has happened as CCP pushed a PvP only development plan.
EVE was growing when what loomed in the horizon was Ambulation/Walking in Stations/Incarna. Now that what looms in the horizon it’s more PvP over space ownership, server population is going down.
Certainly CCP may have better numbers than any of us, but those numbers came AFTER they invested on the current development plan. So very likely they missed that PvE was a serious source of players. Once that source has been left to die, server population suffers.
See, yo don’t go F2P because new players are overflowing. You go F2P when you need a quick and dirty influx of new players and hope some will stick enough to pay for the lost revenue of veterans lapsing their subscriptions and playing for free.
And once that’s done, it’s the end of the road. Either you go upwards or it’s downhill all the way.
Ironically there are better reasons to susbcribe for PvE than for PvP. You don’t need much to PvP (in worst case, numbers do the trick), unlike those pesky Level 4 dungeon rats…December 29, 2016 at 7:38 AM
Daito Endashi Bill Bones
I could see why CCP would want to focus more on HS, as it might mean more cash for them. But I don’t see how this is would be beneficial for the whole game and the community. If you’re into PvE, then why are you playing Eve? There are many games out there with their focus solely on PvE and farming stuff. PvE for the sake of PvE isn’t really the point of Eve, and that’s way it doesn’t give a fun and engaging PvE experience either.December 29, 2016 at 9:26 AM
I really liked the idea of the Dojos when they were announced. I also disliked WiS, but even more so disliked the abandonment. An in-station training room seems like a good redemption for these features.December 28, 2016 at 2:49 PM
Kael Decadence Andrew Sturgis
Yeah I think some readers see WiS in this article and just ignore it from the get go… as is evident from Apostophe here. Its not about WiS at all. Its about we have a room in our captains quarters that does NOTHING. So lets make it into SOMETHING.December 28, 2016 at 3:39 PM
A training holodeck doesn’t seem such an outrageous idea given that there have been holoreels in the game for quite some time.December 28, 2016 at 4:22 PM
Kael Decadence ER0X
Shhh. Don’t say holodeck. You don’t want CBS to sue the mittani.December 28, 2016 at 4:36 PM
Hanonymouse Kael Decadence
Copyright doesn’t work that way. However a lot of people seem to think it does including many lawyers, which is why we have the clusterf-ck we have today.December 28, 2016 at 7:11 PM
Interesting stuff again, Kael.
It should be obvious, but I’ll state it clearly; there is a stubborn portion of the player base of this game which demands from it nothing more than the ability to live and toil in Highsec.
The majority of them seem not to be interested in the slightest in duelling or indeed in any interaction with other players. It’s astounding, but the plain truth.
The figure I’ve seen (somewhere..) mentioned is as high as 80% of players living and staying in Highsec.
I may not like it, but as a business, CCP is bound to take notice.
I’m always suspicious of the implication that people ‘should’ be doing something other than their current occupation. It’s unrealistic, at the very least.
Non-consensual PvP must remain a feature of Highsec. There’s a danger that if some sort of separate Dojo is introduced, CCP might be tempted to nerf into oblivion other forms of Highsec PvP, dividing the region and introducing – by the back door – the 2-Region solution which I and many of my comrades reject.
But you have a fertile imagination, that I grant you. Also, there’s a kind of ‘Lewis Carroll’ feel to your suggestion…December 28, 2016 at 6:51 PM
Bill Bones Sasha Nemtsov
Exactly. They like what they do, until they stop liking it because it’s old and limited. Then CCP loses them as customers for no gain at all. And CCP can’t even be bothered to know who are this people.December 28, 2016 at 8:12 PM
Kael Decadence Sasha Nemtsov
I absolutely agree. I’ve seen the numbers and it’s crazy to think so many players live and die in the game for years in hisec, never leaving into low or null. Again I totally respect that and don’t think there is one true way to play the game, but I feel that this idea certainly carries some Merritt.
When I first started playing I might have stuck around if something like this was in the game in 06. Instead I stayed gone and only peaked back in on free trial weekends and finally made myself stick It out in 2013.December 29, 2016 at 1:18 AM
The notion that one could take what Veritas made, which effectively was turned into Thunderdome, and turn it into a sort of World of Warships variant of EVE hasn’t been lost on CCP (CCP Logibro specifically). However the issue is if CCP thinks investing time, resources, etc. into it is as profitable as other ventures they’re working on.
It’s a sad reality but that’s what it is. Thankfully there are player groups willing to put in a lot of leg work and time to produce esport events using the Veritas/Logibro hybrid that is Thunderdome. You see this in the form of EVE_NT’s tournaments, RVB’s tournaments, and even the smaller Imperium Tournament.December 30, 2016 at 4:00 AM