Tobold's Blog
Friday, April 30, 2010
 
You are not prepared!

Illidan, being unemployed for over a year now, allowed me to use his slogan. Otherwise I would have used the alternative title: "Is this still a game?". What I am talking about is the level of preparedness some players think other players should bring to a game. And it is getting silly. When I reported having gotten shot down in a level II mission in EVE, several readers informed me that the correct way to do a mission in EVE is the following:

1) You check the name of the random mission being offered.
2) You look up that name in an external mission database.
3) You refuse the mission if it is one of a handful real hard ones.
4) For the others you look up what type of damage the enemies use, and what type of damage they are especially vulnerable against.
5) You refit your ship to be resistant to the enemies damage, and to deal the damage the enemy is vulnerable against.
6) Only then do you accept the mission and start playing.

Am I the only one who thinks that this is just plain stupid? I would even call it cheating. And it isn't just EVE, there are websites explaining how to beat any given challenge in any given MMORPG, not just boss kill strategies, but also gold making guides, leveling guides, talent build guides, gear guides, bestiaries, everything, for every game. There is even a Farmville Strategy Guide, for heavens sake! How stupid have we become that we can't even play the simplest of games without a strategy guide? I can't find the link any more, but recently I read a guide on how to practice for the fight against the Lich King outside the dungeon, getting the movements towards and away from other players right, like a ballet, before going in and starting the fight. Apparently some people study harder for a session of evening entertainment than they ever studied for an exam at school or university. Is that still "playing", or is that just following a set of instructions?

Not only is that hardly a game any more, but it also serves as a giant pointer towards one of the real weak points of MMORPGs: They aren't adventures at all, they are only scripted, and therefore predictable encounters. Because the computer enemy is using a scripted set of moves, the best way to beat him for the player is to use a scripted set of countermoves. Gameplay then is reduced to rote learning that scripted set of countermoves. It is like if in Tetris the blocks would always fall in the same order, and to succeed you'd need to learn the optimal sequence of "right - right - turn - drop - left - turn - turn - drop - etc." Where is the fun in that? And as much as perfect execution of a fixed set of moves is to be admired in a ballet dancer, can we really call that "skill" in a game? If you were to suggest to those "skilled" players to try an encounter without studying it first, they'd tell you that you are crazy, and a n00b. Because hey, only a completely new player would have a silly idea like playing around with a game.

Just like Tetris is a better game for having random blocks falling down, MMORPGs would be better games if the challenges were less predictable. Because predictability is a vicious circle: The devs know that the players know that the encounter will always be the same, so the devs need to make the encounter harder to execute correctly. If the encounter had lots of random elements, there would be enough challenge in players having to think quickly, to react to what they see, to interact with the encounter, without having to demand split second reaction times. Virtual fantasy worlds have the potential to be world of wonder and exciting adventures. But instead lazy developers and minmaxing players reduced them to learning button sequences and moves by heart, with the only surprise left being the what epic from the loot table drops.
Comments:
You're absolutely correct. The same logic could be applied to chess. It's an an easy game, there is no randomness and all you have to do is learn how each piece is allowed to move. But some people even take the remaining fun out of that, publishing strategy guides listing entire sequences of moves and even making computer programs to play the game for them!

Or..

The preparation is a part of the game.
 
It sounds as though some of these missions are badly tuned and should warn you if a higher level ship is required (because that's not something you can just easily change, it might need days or weeks of training).

But aside from that, is it not possible to go in, fail, and then check what damage type the enemy had been using before you go in for a second try?

Hirvox: I think you'll find that chess is not an MMO and therefore your ship/gear will not have any relation to how you do in a match.
 
I pretty much agree with everything you said spot on. I’ve always – even when I first started – thought that the game I’m playing shouldn’t exist outside of its exe (with the exception of game discussion forums). I remember when someone first told me to go to Thottbot, or when being in a guild meant I had to participate in their website, and memorize raids. As convenient as Ventrillo is, I’ve always hated how jarring it is to the immersion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not a role-player, but there is a certain sense of adventure that MMOs provide that too many people take for granted. On the other hand, I always listen to itunes while playing, so I guess it’s only forced or “cheating” meta-gaming that I hate.

This is why I love PvP, no matter how imbalanced it can be. Obviously there’s no PvP system anywhere near perfect at this time, but it’s still the most dynamic and unpredictable part of an MMORPG. I’d also love some randomized dungeons, assuming it was done right. It’s strange that Blizzard has been pushing their randomized dungeon feature for Diablo 3 but hasn’t implemented anything like that in WoW.
 
Dear Hirvox, please send me that series of moves with which you win every game of chess. What, you can't? Well, maybe chess isn't that predictable as you say.

Recently you've been spouting nothing but nonsense. When I said that in the Damsel in Distress mission the player arrives in the middle and in firing range of 9 ships, you recommended "proper pulling". Doh, man! Don't you know that to pull you need to start outside of aggro range?

This is typical behavior of elitist EVE players, who turn any criticism of their game into a "you're stupid and not playing it right". It is because of players like this, for who the devs can do nothing wrong, that we don't get better games, because they don't even allow constructive criticism.
 
You can do all that junk for the missions or you could do what I did.

Train Caldari Cruiser
Equip an afterburner
Shoot Missles
Profit.
 
MMORPGs are timesinks. That's their business model. Any features that are exclusionary (i.e. including skill tests of any significant kind in most content beyond the braindead and easily explainable) cost MMO developers money. Complaining about a lack of strategy in MMORPGs is the same as suggesting that MMORPG-makers should try to make less money. The boat has sailed. These games have already been solidified in their mold--they are timesinks first and foremost; they are easy and inclusive--and for good reason.

If you're looking for a game that rewards strategic thinking and adaptability, you are in the wrong place playing MMORPGs. You should be playing actual strategy games, preferably with friends.

MMORPGs are the human version of machines that grant rewards to mice who press a button enough. But we are more than mice, we build networks of social obligation around these games. In this way, anyone looking to really play games should stay away from MMORPGs--if you're looking for an alternate reality where people are rewarded based on how much luxury time they are willing to spend in online worlds pressing a button to receive shinies, MMORPGs are the perfect game for you.

The more I seriously consider the big picture of MMORPGs and their design, the more I realize this sad fact. It is, though, the reason why MMORPGs see large numbers of players: because they're just enough soul-grinding and pseudo-egalitarian to be relatable to normal people on a meta-social level, while still having the glistening sheen of pretense to make it all passable as entertainment.
 
I actually like the scripted boss encounters as they are now. It's like a difficult puzzle to be solved. I'm not sure if more randomness will make the encounter better. Increased randomness means the encounter probably needs to be easier or make the game more "twitchy" as players have to react to them quicker.

I also believe that many fights are fairly random. It's just that the WoW community has collaborated and managed to come up with optimal solutions. Imagine if all the strategy sites didn't exist. I would expect many people to feel the encounters to be very difficult and random.

I do a lot of research on the boss encounters to solve them. Part of the enjoyment of the game comes from this. It is highly likely that this aspect doesn't interest you.
 
"Don't you know that to pull you need to start outside of aggro range?"

Actually, here's how you trivialize all low-level EVE missions, including ones that spawn a bunch of ships on top of you.

* Fit long range weapons e.g. missiles
* As soon as you warp in and have ships on top of you, fly at max speed (afterburners on) in a random direction
* Once all enemies are an appropriate distance behind you (e.g. 15km), adjust your speed to keep pace with them, and start firing missiles.
* Try to ignore the boredom until they're all dead
 
Sounds just like Wowhead.

Here's a quest, here's where you go to complete it. You are going to fight X and Y mobs. They have Z abilities.

Oh, and the follow-up will require you to have item A, so get one from the auction house before you go.

It's an MMO. It's scripted, even when it's "random".

You're not going to get around it, unless it is 100% sandbox. And I don't think a game like that would sell and sustain itself.
 
@evizaer

Sort of like Tobold said earlier to someone else, your post shows a level of understanding with the MMO genre that doesn’t allow it grow. I have no doubt that everything you just said you’ve heard stated a dozen times before by equally unimaginative people who probably back up their argument by claiming they’re being “realistic”. MMOs have so much potential it’s ridiculous.

You’re being so pessimistic that you can’t imagine otherwise. I admit that your argument does have a bit of truth to it, but when I say a bit I mean just that. I don’t have economic or psychological facts to back myself up, but I know that your attitude towards the genre is skewed horribly. How are longevity and good gameplay always mutually exclusive to all you edgy realists? It’s just a narrow-minded, very opinionated, and tired argument that relies on the “realistic” claim and has very little actual discussion value beyond hating The Man for trying to take your money.
 
Undeniably true. Similar comments have been made on this blog and other and every time I have answered: MMO scripting must go. How hard can it be to have more than one or two or even 5 roles for pixel opponents to react or act? Surely programming a more varied response AI cannot be so difficult as to never implement it?

I have always abhorred the whole practised dance that MMO encounters have become, your examples are a perfect example of it. There is no room for real skill. "Skill" in an MMO player is defined these days as a combination of knowing which abilities to use most efficiently in a rotation and where and how to move. Both can be found in a guide online, making the creative use of abilities impossible and even obsolete.

It is one of the reasons why I enjoy using alts in many MMOs to solo the same content, since this sprinkles a bit of creativity into the mix as you need to use very different abilities in the same situation, adding some measure tactical complexity to encounters.

I sincerely hope that at some point developers will be able to provide non scripted encounters with more varied AI for GROUPED situations. This will force not only a more creative use of abilities but also using them and your group members as tactical resources. Something which up to now is only possible in PVP settings such as Warhammer and Eve.
 
I get a large amount of pleasure from doing the dance correctly in scripted boss encounters. Granted, it does get old fast. I do raid only twice a week for no more than 2 hours which helps keep it fresh for longer.

There is still a real sense of adventure leveling my nth alt knowing all the quests by heart. The adventure comes from playing this class and enjoying its abilities and play style. I even find not having to think too much about the quests lets me role-play freely by myself.
 
"I sincerely hope that at some point developers will be able to provide non scripted encounters with more varied AI for GROUPED situations. This will force not only a more creative use of abilities but also using them and your group members as tactical resources. Something which up to now is only possible in PVP settings such as Warhammer and Eve."

Actually WoW has done this with the Faction Champions battle in ToC, which spawns 6(10) heroes with various abilities. However, this fight was met with mostly negative feedback, exactly due to the "randomness". People feel lost when they don't know exactly what they're supposed to do.

So basically, while it sounds good in theory to have a fight where you have to "adapt", it doesn't really work well in practice.
 
@ Hirvox:

Chess is not predictable. Not for human beings. You can post rough strategy guides and you can learn openeings - after that the pure number of possibilities makes chess for all practical reasons unpreditable.

If fact, there are three ways of unpreditability:

1) Random Numbers.
2) Player generated content.
3) Chaos theory.

Since you play against a human and need to react, chess is obviouly partly 'player generated content'. But due to (3) Chess is still unpredictable if you play against a computer.

Like always, chess is a wonderful example for games in general. It has all the properties ofa great game, which certainly explains its extraordinary longevity.
 
@Azzur: you can have randomness without twitch. The idea would be instead of burst changes you have changes in attack pattern that ramp up instead.

In the end, you have to learn the "ballet" for each set of actions.

@Kevin and Carson: If that is the way to "play" EVE, then isn't boring? Yes! Carson already stated that it was.

@Tobold: I like to play a game, and get the feedback from the game about what I need to change. That's why I think that the improved battle log in WoW was such an important step. Do they have something like that in EVE?
 

How are longevity and good gameplay always mutually exclusive to all you edgy realists? It’s just a narrow-minded, very opinionated, and tired argument that relies on the “realistic” claim and has very little actual discussion value beyond hating The Man for trying to take your money.


I agree. MMOs are not static. The market is changing all the time. I don't want to quote the US president too much, but what he says about his country is true for most things in life. They change.

And MMOs change, too; not although, but because we live in a (social) market economy. Once the unpreditable MMO comes out and I can adventure and explore I will buy it. And so will most of you.

There may be hundreds of other MMOs that use grind mechanics to make chash, but here's the point:
I won't play them; nor will anybody else if there's at least one MMO that allows good adventure and exploration.
 
There's really no need to lookup missions. If you're doing missions in the same area your resist will never change, you set it to the type of enemy your doing missions against such as a specific pirate group.

As far as easy mode missioning, you run it in Caldari Missile boats. Kestrel, Caracal, Drake, Raven.. just enter the area, keep at max missile range and spam away. Don't bother to loot/salvage until you're doing level 3's or higher and it's worth your time.

Really the only research an Eve pilot needs to do for missioning is finding a good agent to start running for, in a spot that isn't bordering low-sec so you don't get missings taking you into there. Also if you carefully pick the agent such as Security.. you'll get missions for just blowing up enemy ships, or pick a certain one for just transporting goods.
 
Didn't you say something like this awhile ago, that people just want to learn how to win before they even play - then shortly after asked for a guide to palladins?

I think the old single player adventure games like monkey island or space quest or kings quest - they all worked, if you just liked figuring things out for yourself.

What your getting is 'good' old fashioned high school grade peer pressure, pushing you to look up stuff rather than just play.

'The correct way' is just the new guise for peer pressure.
 
@William

"People feel lost when they don't know exactly what they're supposed to do."

Exactly my point: people have gotten used to being spoon fed a winning strategy and of course their lack of real tactical skill and willingness to use their imagination and creativity will cause them to feel lost.

I am not advocating an "insta kill" by varied AI. I am instead proposing that varied AI will also give the players time to react to a changing situation. No one wants to have their characters die because they made one mistake in choosing the wrong tactical option in a changing situation. There must be room for experimentation in a situation after all.

To me, the axiom: "The best plan in war only lasts until the first engagement" should ring true for MMO encounters as well.
 
@Kasdeva

I do agree that scripted boss fights can be fun sometimes, but to me it was only when there was a sense of accomplishment to be had. Back in vanilla WoW I had a great time learning and preparing for Molten Core and Blackwing Lair raids because at that time it still felt like an adventure, especially when we would use unconventional deviations from the usual strategies. Downing a boss was an accomplishment in itself and I didn’t even consider the loot until later. They way it is now, bosses are treated only like the assumed source of loot and it’s rare to find a guild with a different mindset than “we’re only together to get loot.” So as you put it, yeah it does get old.

@William

I think the reason it didn’t work in practice is because it was applied to WoW, which already has a different ideology about its important content. If that content was released a few years ago things may have been different. Also, it’s easier and far more likely to find a dedicated player complain than a more casual player compliment.
 
MMO scripting must go. How hard can it be to have more than one or two or even 5 roles for pixel opponents to react or act?

Actually, WoW already does it. Remember the PvP encounter in TotC? (Or BRD, classic WoW, for that matter).

This encounter is highly unpredictable. But, and that's the problem: WoW is not suited for this kind of fight. WoW is too fast. Therefore the encounter had to be down tuned until it's nothing more than /target A, /target B, /target C ...

What is one entity supposed to do against 25 people? He will either use very strange 'abilites' or be very preditable.
Unfortunately, many people like the 'one big boss' scheme. Therefore it will take some time until we once again get credible encounters.

I cannot let this topic slip past without a link to my blog, of course where, last year September, I have written many lines about predictability.

http://nilsmmoblog.blogspot.com/
 
Errgh, thats just about the least fun way to run missions in EvE *sigh*.

Do not get trapped into the all to prevalent view that isk is "everything" in eve.

That's what those sites encourage, the quickest, safest way to get into a mission kill everything and get your fat isk reward - rinse and repeat.

If you want to actually enjoy missions in eve as a new player just experiment, if you find a mission too hard ask around in the newbie channel, and if people tell you to go to a mission DB raise your finger and tell them where to go!
 
Oh NOOOO! Random element! Needs thinking!

You just lost 90% of the playerbase for requesting something they cannot do.
 
with the only surprise left being the what epic from the loot table drops.


Actually, even loot has been made predictabe. Badges, emblems, points.

Players, apparently, didn't like the RNG when it comes to loot; well, at least they complained .. .. ..
 
Dear Hirvox, please send me that series of moves with which you win every game of chess.
Take your pick. Granted, as a PvP game, there's always some room for the opponent to do something unexpected or you screwing up, but following the tried-and-true strategies will get you an edge against average players.

As for my advice.. even if you do aggro everything immediately, you can draw the frigates (which are faster) away from Kruul himself. That's not unlike having the puller aggro a group, snaring one mob and dealing with the rest before the dangerous one catches up.

You know these tactics and how to apply them. You've learnt them before from WoW, and could easily apply your intellect and knowledge to any other MMORPG (including Eve) as well. Is it elitist to remind you of something you know?

That said, the PvE side of Eve is easily it's weakest facet, and most of the Eve community acknowledges that. It does not support "thinking on your feet" at all. As you've said, the missions are completely static, and telegraphing is either nonexistent or very well hidden. Those who want dynamic encounters have either switched to PvP or left the game entirely, while the rest tend to rely on preparation. And for those players who do enjoy deriving optimal solutions, Eve does provide plenty of numbers to crunch.
 
@ Hirvox:

There is a difference between predictability and "chess opening+general patterns.

Certainly, you can gain major advantage against a new player if you follow chess books. But as soon as you play against a comparable player or even a good computer program chess turns out to be unpredictable.

You can see repeating patterns, sure. But the trick is to connect these patterns and draw the correct conclusion.

If you want to use chess as an example that unpredictability is not possible, just imagine a 40x40x40 3D chess board played by three players against each other.
 
"If you want to use chess as an example that unpredictability is not possible, just imagine a 40x40x40 3D chess board played by three players against each other."

And one of the pieces is able to mesmerize entire groups :P
 
Thats is why a while back i made an argument for more randomness in MMOs. This was deemed "unfair" though: all events and fights had to be *exactly* the same for every player, each time. Which makes for incredibly boring and uninteresting gameplay, imho. Ive given up on MMOs for now, partly because of these rigid gameworlds. That and the fact that i would like to reserve the apparently required resultdriven mindset for real life (where it actually leads to tangible results..)

Game-wise, right now im enjoying the Stalker games alot (the "complete" version of Shadow over Chernobyl and the recently released Call to Pripyat). Superb atmosphere, a credible and consistent gameworld (with random events) and freedom (or the effectively brought illusion thereof). Even without accomplishing anything a gaming session is a relaxing escape.
 
Saying that to someone running level 2 missions is rather elitist. The general idea though, largely propagated by the more professional mission runners who use all battleships or tech 2 ships is motivated by anything but elitism.

Every time you leave dock there is some risk you will loose a ship. Maybe you weren't paying enough attention and got warp scrammed, maybe your drones wound up getting systematically taken out leaving you vulnerable to interceptor frigates, maybe it's just your 20th mission of the day and by gum you left all your scout drones at base for whatever reason. whatever the cause, no matter how much preparedness you invested in, your ship will at some point go boom. That's even without taking into account the manifold ways a griefer can help the process along.

In a cruiser, who cares. If you haven't got the cash reserves most of your level 4 running corp mates aren't going to begrudge you a few mil. Level 2s aren't really so much "for profit" as they are for standings anyways.

On the other hand, if you're a corp officer or sometimes fleet leader running level 4s for profit to build up a war fund and keep your pvp ships ready to fly at a moments notice, well now you're dealing with an entirely different situation. Every time you loose a battleship, especially if it's one of the nicer ones, you're going to be set back by the best case returns on 12-16 missions. The amount you profit from missions is directly correlated to the number of missions you can complete before loosing a ship. If you loose your ship every 10th mission, you're operating at a guaranteed loss. If you loose your ship every 16th mission you're breaking even, not counting ammo and drone costs, and every mission after that is pure profit until you loose your ship.

So you can choose, be adventurous, do no research and operate at a loss costing you hundreds of millions a pop, or do the research and maximize your profits. Compound this by the fact that if you are someone who is busy in your corp, this also means profit sharing missions and corp business could keep you from being able to run very many "for profit" missions at a time. All the more important then that the missions be profitable ones.
 
Makes us wish for more "Chess events" like the one in Karazhan, doesn't it? :)
 
even a good computer program chess turns out to be unpredictable.
That's a curious thing to say, because most computer chess programs are essentially giant strategy guides which search a vast database to find the optimal preplanned move for any given situation. Any unpredictability is added as a handicap to give normal players a fighting chance. Compare and contrast chess with Go, where the number of move permutations is too large to catalogue. The same applies to your 40x40x40 3-player chess.
 
As Gevlon hints at here, you need scripted encounters. I think you prolly loose 95-99% of the player base if you change this. Every time Bliz tries to make an encounter abit random and tactical, the whining starts. Unfortunately the large MMORPG`s is not an elitist games, its mostly made for socials and M&S.
 
Thats is why a while back i made an argument for more randomness in MMOs. This was deemed "unfair" though:

The 'fairness' argument is more and more becoming an obstacle in designing good games.

The credible, immersive ability to actually attack other players in world PvP has been removed, because it is unfair. No thought has been spent about how to actually make world pvp more fun.

Randomly dropped loot is unfair and has been greatly reduced with emblems&co.

Better equipment for better arena players is unfair, because the better players become even better with the equip.

Boss abilities aren't supposed to be unpredictable, because that's unfair ..


Fairness isn't unimportant, but it shouldn't overshadow everything else. Exploration and adventure, immersive survival simulations in the wilderness. Credibly ascending of a mountain range; not these strange mini-mountains of WoW.

This is missing in nowadays MMOs.
 
"Unfortunately the large MMORPG`s is not an elitist games, its mostly made for socials and M&S."

This is a pretty stupid and redundant phrase. If a game is made for an elitist group it can't, by definition, be made for the majority of the people. And if a game is made for the majority of the people, it can't be made for an elitist group.

Now, those so called elitists can still find challenge in most MMORPG simply by not reading tactics or by using alternate strategies. They simply won't do it. Why?

Besides, too much thinking in a MMO usually means much less fun. People want to have fun in MMO. It's a game, not a skill increase tool. Just imagine that you had to think a lot before going to the beach or before watching a movie or concert or whatever you do to have fun.

By the way, a MMO will always be made to socials. MM means, as you know, Massively Multi-player. Playing that while claiming to not be social is the most stupid thing of all.
 
“Besides, too much thinking in a MMO usually means much less fun. People want to have fun in MMO. It's a game, not a skill increase tool. Just imagine that you had to think a lot before going to the beach or before watching a movie or concert or whatever you do to have fun.”

Yeah, imagine if you were forced by your friends to plan for days and painstakingly prepare for your trip to the beach. It’d kinda take the fun out of it. Imagine if you went to a movie having already done extensive research on the emotional parts and how it’ll end. It’d kinda take the fun out of that too. My point is that this is the kind of “too much thinking” that MMOs are getting used to using, so it’s ironic that you’d try to draw parallels that way.

Scripted or random, both require thinking. The difference is scripted events require passive thinking, while random requires active thinking. The best system would probably incorporate both.
 
I am torn here.

Sometimes it does feel like cheating to look up strategy guides and stuff but sometimes it is an enjoyable part of he game for me. I actually enjoy studying up before a battle and going in prepared.

I certainly think my gaming experience would be much poorer if I didn't have access to all of the extra information and guides available on the internet.
 
That's a curious thing to say, because most computer chess programs are essentially giant strategy guides which search a vast database to find the optimal preplanned move for any given situation.

Emphasis mine. Because that is exactly my point here. Even a chess computer adjusts its moves to the moves of the human player. A raid boss in WoW doesn't. You don't get, lets say an AoE attack from the raid boss because that raid boss AI noticed there were many players standing together. Instead you get an AoE attack every X minutes.

What we have in MMORPGs is equivalent to a chess computer who is always making the exact same sequence of moves, players who downloaded the best sequence of countermoves to the known moves of the computer, and who then brag how "skilled" they are because they beat that computer every time.
 
"You don't get, lets say an AoE attack from the raid boss because that raid boss AI noticed there were many players standing together. Instead you get an AoE attack every X minutes."

Not true. There are encounters where you can't be close to other players or you'll be damaged. Or where players get mind controlled and use random spells. Or where the boss uses random spells.

But again, the players are also scripted even if we're not fighting bosses. We use always the same spells, the same moves, the same paths.

Maybe the solution is a random boss. Like that one in Trial of the Champion (the problem there is that even the bosses are different, they all have the same abilities) or the Opera encounter in Karazhan.
 
I think you prolly loose 95-99% of the player base if you change this.

Why does everybody who claims this *also* claim that *he* is in the 1%-5% of players who would prefer and could handle a more tactical game?

This argument is basically just a different form of saying "I'm so leet, but all the other players of this game are idiots". There is no reality to this. In fact the people whining about randomness are the 1%-5% of elitist jerks who minmaxed the game, the 95% to 99% of regular players would very much enjoy a game which was less repetitive.
 
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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
Didn't you say something like this awhile ago, that people just want to learn how to win before they even play - then shortly after asked for a guide to palladins?

How you play class X better, or in the case of EVE how to fly ship Y better is a totally valid question and part of tactical gameplay. The question would remain exactly the same in the case of a MMORPG which was unpredictable.

But only a predictable MMORPG allows the cheating question of "what moves do I have to do to beat encounter Z".

That is basically the same answer I was trying to explain to Hirvox: Reading a good book on how to play chess is a good thing. Having a list of moves that is guaranteed to beat a given (bad, totally scripted) chess program is a bad thing, and has nothing to do with "playing" chess.
 
Although I found the real Gevlon comments a trollish as the fake Gevlon comments, I finally followed Nils' request to delete the fake ones for identity theft.

@fake Gevlon: You are welcome to post comments after changing your name to something that doesn't pretend you are somebody else.
 
Besides, too much thinking in a MMO usually means much less fun.

Autsch!
Different people like different things. I always liked chess and disliked ludo. I have many friends you like lodu, but hate Skat, Chess and Doppelkopf.

Some people play RPGs at lowest difficulty, because they want to mow through the enemies. I chose the difficulty that I feel is credible (usually hard or very hard) and I constantly ask myself in an RPG: "What would I do next, if I were him".

In my opinion good games offer both:
Mindless grinding and intellectual challenging tasks.
 
That's a curious thing to say, because most computer chess programs are essentially giant strategy guides which search a vast database to find the optimal preplanned move for any given situation. Any unpredictability is added as a handicap to give normal players a fighting chance. Compare and contrast chess with Go, where the number of move permutations is too large to catalogue. The same applies to your 40x40x40 3-player chess.

You miss the point. The question is not wether a game is theoretically predictable. Hell, within Newtonian mechanics the entire universe is pre-determined and thus predictable.

The question is wether something is actually predictable by player. The weather for example is not; nor is a chess computer program that assesses a vast database.
 
Nice post. I agree completely.

In response to the "casuals hate randomness" posts, I don't think the evidence bears that out. Wizard 101 is about as casual as you can get, and there is quite a bit of randomness to it. Same thing with Puzzle Pirates, minesweeper, solitaire, and so on. I think many casual players would actually *prefer* that kind of approach in an MMO as long as it were well done.
 
Fancy giving us a link to that Lich King ouside-the-dungeon tutorial? I could really use it right now. We've been bouncing on the LK for 3 straight sessions and I'm willing to take anything that will mean I don't have to hear that damn overwritten speech more times than I have to.

(Is this fun? No, not really. Pretty much the entire guild is united in saying "no, actually, this fight isn't fun any more, but we've done everything else in WotLK and we want to actually finish it!")
 
Just for the record. I consider myself in the 95-99% bracket. I beleive I will find non scripted encounters annoying.
 
"You are welcome to post comments after changing your name to something that doesn't pretend you are somebody else."

Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

Anyway.

I think th problem here isn't the scripted event. It's the fact that you run it a lot. Having a strategy to beat an encounter is a good thing. And to most encounters, you have several strategies, depending on how good or DPS or Healing is, for example.

Also, until someone knows the encounter you have to know how to beat it. Normally, some uberguild does that for us and we just have to read the recommended strategy. But we're not forced to do it.

Do you do it, Tobold? Do you the boss strategies?
 
An excellent post, Tobold. Brings up several of my own longstanding issues with where MMOs have ended up.

I've never liked scripts. They're ok for one-off storyline events that just *have* to go a certain way. Those are like in-game versions of cut-scenes. Apart from that, I really can't abide them.

Better AI, a wider choice of options for NPCs that are reactive as well as pro-active, more internal consistency (aka "realism"); all of these are preferable to scripts. Although for my money I'd be just as happy with a really big monster and room for lots of people to hit it at once.

As for the need to prepare to play, it's ludicrous but it's in no way new. When I first started EQ, long before they had in-game maps, quest journals or any other form of having a clue what you were doing, I tried to just play the game. I lasted a few weeks like that but in the end I was so frustrated I started looking around online.

Pretty soon I had a folder of maps printed out from EQMaps, another folder of quest walkthroughs printed out from Allakhazam, guides on the classes I wanted play etc etc. So did most players. MMOs even back then were too daunting to "just play".

The saving grace was that SoE released very little official information and no matter how much research you did, lots of it would turn out to be wrong. You felt like you were prepared, which let you enjoy yourself without becoming overwhelmed, but still nothing ever turned out quite how you imagined it would, which kept it fresh.

Post-WoW, however, the trend has been for MMO companies to provide huge amounts of information about their mechanics, both in and out of game. The upshot of which is that if you want to perform even adequately in the eyes of your peers, you have to study. If I'm going to put in that amount of study time, frankly, I want to come out of it with something more useful than knowledge of how to play a computer game.

The bright side to all this is that I think we might be near the end of this phase of MMO design. The stuff currently coming from the Guild Wars 2 team is immensely encouraging, as is some of the stuff about FFXIV.

Let's hope that "jumping in and playing" becomes the mode for the next iteration of MMOs. So long as it's playing intelligently.
 
All Tobold is saying is that Eve should either spread the more difficult missions better (and we all know which they are) or that Eve warns the player about them and also list the damage they need to mod their ship against.

Its a very simple change, but Eve is ignoring industry standards about accessibility since its existence.

Still its a fascinating game but has serveral drawbacks, which they like adress once a year.
 
And the encounters that have massive amounts of randomness and responsability of players to react to changing situatiosn - like the simulated pvP of Trial of the Crusader in the 3rd encounter against enemy champions...

Are fantastic. Their should be more encounters with dynamic foes, imagine a raid or dungeon where the pulls are unscripted, a boss could show up at any time and you'd have to just wing it, and also surprises for loot :)
 
@ Fake Nils.

Like that name ;)
 
Looking up every mission isn't really necessary, you just need to know the faction you're up against. And before long, you'll have the pairings of resistance/damage memorized. And the whole purpose of this is simply to make the mission go faster.

For me, missions are a means to an end - they provide a significant source of on-demand income to support some of my more ISK-intensive habits.
 
There is no reality to this. In fact the people whining about randomness are the 1%-5% of elitist jerks who minmaxed the game, the 95% to 99% of regular players would very much enjoy a game which was less repetitive.

Very illuminating way to turn an argument upside down. There may be some truth here.
 
I usually play online games or MMO's to interact and play with and against other players. If I want to play predictable games I just have to turn on my console system rpg. Unfortunately developers are finding they can charge monthly dues to players seeking to just play with the computer and care less about gaming with other human beings.

I think Blizzard has figured out if they make a game where online human interaction is negligible and solo players can stretch and boast their e-peens by rankings, accomplishments, and eq they would still have a ton of players and continue to rake in monthly dues. Just imagine if the Final Fantasy developers figured that out and just made a continuous storyline online game and charge monthly.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
When there's a guide, I feel stupid when I don't use it. If there's no guide, that's the most fun.

Like mountain climbing: If there's a road to the top, the climb feels stupid. Because you don't use all possible means to attain your goal.

If only we could stop the road-building and the gameguides.
 
Heh, there's so many comments already...

But for a WOW diehard like Tobold to criticize EVE because people check damage types on an external website... all I can do is QQ

I mean, WOW has more cheat sites any other game. AND, I would be shocked if at least half the guilds in existence didn't check sites for raid strategy, etc.

This is a retarded post.
 
Do you do it, Tobold? Do you the boss strategies?

That might be a subject for a different post: In a cooperative multiplayer environment like WoW raiding, even if you don't WANT to do the boss strategies, you might very well be forced to do them anyway. Knowledge of boss strategies is a requirement in my guild to be invited to a raid, so I don't really get a choice there.

I mean, WOW has more cheat sites any other game. AND, I would be shocked if at least half the guilds in existence didn't check sites for raid strategy, etc. This is a retarded post.

I would say the retard is the person who fails to actually read or comprehend the post. If you had done so you would have noticed that I am very much criticizing WoW and every other game for its cheat sites, not only EVE.
 
Then there is how I have played eve to do missions.

Have 3 accounts
Buy 6 Plex

Fit 2 BSs and a Cruiser

Multibox

Grind the mission.


@Spinks

Yes saying the missions are poorly tuned is an understatement.

They need more than 4 levels of missions. It really should be something like 8-10 different levels to missions so that there is at least 2 times the fidelity.

I mean the agents have 4 levels and 20 sub levels of granularity. WTF seriously an missions can't?
 
Perhaps one way to address the problem of predictable fights long-term would be to introduce something akin to the Netflix Challenge.

Blizzard could release a limited arena-only version of WOW that specifically permitted botting (with a suitable API). The bot writers would then compete in a tournament with real players and other bots. Suitable random "lag" would be added to bot communications to prevent them simply out-reacting players.

This would allow people to devlop the kind of AI skills that would be needed to produce smarter bosses in the future. Smallish prizes would be awarded for the "best bot", getting larger the further the bots get in the competition. Any code from prize-winning bots would become the property of Blizzard.
 
@Ben

I know. It's crazy, right? I mean, criticize other games AND playing WoW... that's impossible.

Who would say that the most popular game has the most cheat sites? The world is going crazy, i say.

But you know what? This wasn't about WoW. Or EVE. If you had read the post you would have noticed the critics to the WoW bosse's scripted events. But i guess your patience died at the first criticism of EVE.

And, again, who would think that niche games can be criticized? It's madness.
 
"Then there is how I have played eve to do missions.

Have 3 accounts (...) "

Is this a joke?
 
SInce no one has mentioned this yet, I thought I should throw it in. Most people won't use guides for Level 1-3 missions, and will instead just jump in with an appropriate ship class and mow everything down. 1-3s are easy enough to completely ignore strategy, except on maybe 2-3 Level-3 missions total.

You really don't need to use strat-guides until you hit Level 4/5s, and even then you usually only need them for a small bit until you figure out the pattern that usually pervades all the missions, eg. the lone ship class/type/name in the odd group out is the trigger. As for the missions that are outside the obvious guidelines, you can usually learn them too after doing them a few times.
 
As has been stated each pirate faction in EvE favors a set of damage types. The pirate faction you will be fighting is listed in the mission info in game so once you know the types for the factions you don't need to use the guide.

For the record most mission reports for eve provide damage type info and the spawn triggers. They usually do not actually give any strategy.

If you are looking for less scripted encounters I would suggest popping your head into a wormhole. The Sleepers use much more advanced AI than the standard mission/belt NPCs. They will use Ewar, target your drones, remote rep each other, use range and intelligently switch targets.

CCP have talked about integrating elements of the Sleeper AI into mission/belt NPCs but so far it hasn't been done as far as I know.

You may also want to look into some of the epic story arc missions or the pirate speed boat missions. I am pretty sure there is a level 1 epic mission arc. I have not checked these out yet but I have heard they are pretty fun.

As for making missions harder I think that it needs to be said that eve missions are often very challenging even when using the guides. I have lost plenty of ships to missions in my career due to bad tactics or mistakes guide or no guide.

Exploration sites also offer some more challenge and in my experience do not always have published guides. The site I ran last night in 0.0 didn't have a guide available. These encounters are still scripted in that the spawn are preset but being that I could be be attacked at any time while running them I am ok with that.

On that note, there's also something to be said for the fact that we are putting our ships on the line when running missions in EvE whereas in WoW when my mage dies at worst it costs me a bit for repairs. Since missions in eve are more of a predictable method to make cash than an element of progression it would kind of suck if they got difficult or challenging enough to as to incur a lot of losses. If anything I prefer the more challenging fair to be separated as it is so people are given a choice.
 
The one issue I have always had about WoW raids is that you can't actually beat a raid boss without prior knowledge of the fight. They have abilities that are so powerful that without knowing about them, you will wipe.

So in order to beat any raid boss you have to prepare ahead of the fight. Without guides this means wiping to the boss over and over till you figure out what the boss's abilities due and then figure out how to counteract them. Heck, even with a guide and/or fight video you will wipe before you get used to the fight and its timing.

The problem with random abilities is of course that if they are too weak they will not present a challenge and if they are strong, an unlucky chaining of the abilities will wipe the raid with no chance of avoiding it.
 
Is this a joke?

Probably not. Quite a lot of EVE players have multiple accounts, as only one character per account can train skills. And if you are already paying for several accounts, why not use them for multiboxing?

Note that multiboxing missions is only useful if you do it for the loyalty points and standing. If you just want the ISK, it is easier to directly exchange the PLEX for ISK instead of paying with them for a second and third account.
 
Tobold,

What you are saying is correct I believe, that the preparation is immense for much of this, but I am not quite sure it is wrong for "game" to have this.

Take sports for example- At some point people who enjoy sports greatly find that massive amounts of preparation for amazing execution can be "fun."

When I originally likened Wow's raiding to my friends, I explained that it is akin to Softball, I realized soon that in fact it is not. Wow-raiding I've always found was extremely similar to a pseudo-team golf. Where there is only one team, and each week they go and try to "beat" the course. The course rarely changes (The greenskeeper does in fact tweak minor settings each week though... a la the Devs) but it is mostly the same course where you practice to perform perfectly.

The randomness in Golf comes in the players themselves, when one shot goes awry, the following shots must adjust for the mistakes, or lack thereof. Golf is not for everyone however, and of course some people take it extremely seriously (professionals) and some just play every once in a while "casually."

My point I am trying to make is simply that for some people, that sort of preparation IS fun. And for many many others, it is not. Where you fall is entirely up to you.
 
EVE's a particularly interesting example of the min/maxing mindset. CCP has supplied the tools IN THE GAME to keep track of this stuff (a notepad). Most missions tell you who you're up against and each organization has a favored damage type, so there's no reason to visit an external website to find out what you need to defend yourself against. Or do as another commenter suggested: fly in, find out what damage type you're taking, fly back out and set up your defenses.

But note that you received a lot of comments of the "go to this website and look it up" variety. Why? Is there some reward for most missions completed per hour that you need to optimize which ones you receive? Is it because people just don't want to THINK?

I fear for any MMO that tries to break the mold and uses more random elements or an intelligent AI. Asheron's Call 2 supposedly started off with a smarter AI that was cut after the deafening howls of the testers. I think Final Fantasy 13 (that forces you to make no meaningful decisions for at least the first few hours, and arguably for the first 2/3rds of the game) shows that the playerbase does not believe in critcal thinking skills outside of the multiplayer FPS market.
 
@Tobold,

One thing you should keep in mind is that people who hate thinking about and analyzing things aren't coming to this blog, and certainly aren't contributing to the comments. While I definitely agree with what you're saying, I don't think we have a "representative sample" here.

Sadly, while I'm not sure about it being 90%, I have to agree with Gevlon here in principle: most people don't like things which require you to figure them out. It is an extremely frustrating ability to be confronted with not having. In this respect, you are somewhat like a very attractive person who doesn't understand the woes of ugly people, asking why there aren't more beauty contests.
 
"But note that you received a lot of comments of the "go to this website and look it up" variety. Why? Is there some reward for most missions completed per hour that you need to optimize which ones you receive?"

Storyline missions are received every time a pilot completes 16 missions for a particular agent. They have substantially greater impact on standing than "normal" missions, and usually higher rewards.

So yes, beyond the normal min-maxing of income rate v risk, there is a reward to running missions at an "efficient" number per hour.

"I fear for any MMO that tries to break the mold and uses more random elements or an intelligent AI."

The challenge presented by EVE's Sleeper ai (used in wormhole encounters) seems to be a core part of the attraction of W-space operations - I'm told they really aren't smart compared to non-EVE MMO AI, but they are night and day more cunning than the standard mission NPC ai.

Sleeper sites are highly-rewarding PvE content only accessible from inside a high-risk PvP environment - so players involved are not strongly risk-averse, or at least have to jump several slightly frightening hurdles to get there, for the sake of tasty and enriching Sleeper drops of course. It's a system entirely parallel to the core mission-running experience.

Ie, CCP added "smart AI" only where it would be acceptable to and enjoyed by pilots, in a context that wouldn't cause economic melt-down, or surprise players with unanticipated loss.
 
But note that you received a lot of comments of the "go to this website and look it up" variety. Why? Is there some reward for most missions completed per hour that you need to optimize which ones you receive? Is it because people just don't want to THINK?


It is because of the result(or reward)-driven mindset i mentioned. Most MMOs are designed around this behavior. It is not (at all) about the journey anymore, reaching the destination is the only goal.

This remark illustrates it perfectly:

Like mountain climbing: If there's a road to the top, the climb feels stupid. Because you don't use all possible means to attain your goal.


But when approached with a different (in gameterms : more sandbox) point of view that climb doesnt feel stupid at all. In fact, it becomes the purpose of the whole exercise.
 
Like mountain climbing: If there's a road to the top, the climb feels stupid. Because you don't use all possible means to attain your goal.

This is why I've often written that beating a chellenge is usually undistinguishable from circumventing it. And therefore it is the same thing.

The idea behind 'rules' is actually to not allow people to win a game 'just like that'. So every argument that goes like: "You shouldn't use every available way there is to beat a challenge" is neglegting the core idea behind the ruleset of a game in the first place.
 
Heres the thing, you could say that about any game

Oh in WoW you're doing it wrong, you should be going to wowhead to do your quests better. That doesn't mean you CAN'T figure out how to do them in game, just that it isn't the best or fastest or most efficient way of doing it.
 
(Previous response should have been @Silvanis, sorry).

@Tobold:

It's not cheating if the official wiki tells you to do it. ;)

http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Missions_Guide#Know_Your_Enemy

Your point 5 - fit resists and ammo to match enemy damage and weaknesses - is core to the balancing of EVE's missions. It's the reason a substantial proportion of all player-written public biographies contain a summary damage/weakness table.

If a pilot does not do this, and instead simply omnitanks (creates flat resists), or doesn't fill a vulnerable low racial resist, they will find a large proportion of mission content in EVE to be too difficult to run solo, or take too long to be considered rewarding compared to other content.

EVE missions, as well as being content, are intended to be reliable - or at least "manageably risky" - income faucets. "Difficult to solo unless you follow the script" is about the simplest way of doing that.

Adding enjoyable randomness to mission-style encounters would add risk, and require increased payout. In fact, that's what CCP did with the Sleepers, and probably why they're hidden away in W-space.
 
Unfortunately it is going to stay this way until you get truly procedural missions and put some serious work into the AI (not just EVE has this problem).

Part of the problem is that NPCs for the most part, don't run away when they are over-matched. There's no natural selection going on here. So once you figure out the spawn and agro order, cracking a mission is much easier.

Incidentally nothing is stopping you from avoiding eve-survival.org. On the flip side, most of the w-space sites are still not very well documented and our alliance's internal wiki still has better information on some sites than I've seen in public. Those first few months of Apocrypha were indeed quite exciting in the exploration sense.

More general mission info: The damage ratios are well known, as is the method for determining them. One trick if you don't want to head over to a site is to simply fit for specific damage type, and all missions will tell you what you're up against faction wise (which determines what they are vunerable to and what they tend to shoot back with).

But until we get to procedurally generated missions the phenomenon of reporting on how a mission works will continue.

Incidentally: you can from within the EVE browser access the site and modify a wiki. One can assume that such sites (either for the corporation or general knowledge sites) would be available to the datanet of an advance space-fairing civilization. So if you do your browsing from within eve you can maintain the illusion of immersion.
 
@Hobonicus

I am surprised more people didn't mention PVP as a highly unpredictable gameplay supported by MMO's. I sometimes raid in WoW but quickly lose interest in it after the encounter is learned and performing the same "dance moves" gets boring.
 
Tobold, is it a bit ironic that you are complaining in your gaming blog that gamers use blogs to research their game?

I'm not necessarily saying that your blog exists because of the fact that MMO players post and look for online information like gear guides, strategy guides, etc.

But that's what got me here.

@evizaer
Isn't any entertainment really just a timesink? Saying that MMO's are a timesink doesn't preclude it from being (or trying to be) strategic.

I do find the preparation to play WoW just as immersive as the game itself. I like that.
 
Shigeru Miyamato once commented, in response to a question on why he had included such elusive easter eggs in the original Zelda, that they're presence was an important and deliberate design choice meant to encourage social play. That might sound odd at first, given that Zelda is ostensibly a single player experience, but what Miyamoto had hit on was the potential of players collaborating outside of the game proper to discover secrets or solve nigh impossible puzzles.

The community that springs up around any successful MMO is just an extension of what Miyamoto had in mind. All of those sites, guides, forum posts; they're all just forms of player collaboration to overcome obstacles that the game designers deliberately made too difficult or obtuse for the average player to accomplish or solve on his own or with his small group of friends.

Perhaps you want the meta-game out of your game, but if so then maybe you need to find another genre. That there exists these meta-game components to most MMORPGs is not an accident and certainly not the result of developers being "lazy" (and please, if anything don't make ignorant claims about the work ethics of developers). Developers can't build the community around their games but they can make their games congenial to a community that will in time form.

There is probably an optimal strategy for the Lich King. The encounter designers certainly knew that, the first guilds to face him discovered that in time, and everyone else piggybacked on those strategies modifying them to fit their own guild culture and composition. Just as intended.
 
@ Sean Boocock

I think you may have misinterpreted the discussion. We’re not saying that this meta-gaming is unintentional or a byproduct of lazy developers. There is certainly an optimal strategy to the Lich King fight, as well as most of the rest of the game, we’re all aware of that. Of course it’s intentional, that’s the issue. We’re just saying that we don’t necessarily like it that way.

And forums for social game discussion are different than websites that post facts and statistics you’re required to study. When was the last time you popped on wowhead to find the optimal gear needed for a certain dungeon and thought “Golly I sure feel like part of a community.”
 
Look at it that way: You decide to try your hand a Sudoku. I sure wouldn't complain if you wanted to read a book with general Sudoku strategies, which help you solve it. But MMORPG gameplay often degenerated into looking up the complete solution to the Sudoku and just copying the numbers from the solution.
 
@Tobold and Hobonicus

My comment was directed at a thread of this conversation that suggested that developers poorly (and lazily) designed fights that relied on gimmicks players should research prior to ever encountering them in game.

Do I want a game where the secrets of success to every encounter are discoverable before I try it and by dint of my own contemplative effort alone? Perhaps a single player game, but not a game that relies on group collaboration in a persistent, social world.

Your argument, Tobold, applied to WoW might be stated, "Most raid encounters are based around an opaque gimmick, which when laid bare by websites/guides/etc reduce the encounter to a coordinated dance and/or Simon Says."

Contrary to the premise, most raid bosses in WoW are not reducible to a simple set of instructions. The suggestion that someone could walk into the Lich King fight (or for that matter Professor Putricide, Deathbringer Saurfang, Blood Queen Lane'thel, Anub'arak, Yogg-Saron, etc) having each read a guide and expect success is laughable. And it's not simply for lack of practice executing on the strategy prescribed in said guide. Most WoW fights are dynamic and they require both the ability to adapt and change tactics moment to moment as well as knowledge of the boss's entire complement of abilities.

Guides to WoW fights are most often written as battle reports or as idealized abstractions of the fights themselves, neither of which have much bearing for how you and 9 or 24 of your sundry friends will actually beat an encounter. A more valid criticism of these encounters is that they are in large part twitch based especially when first released. I like the blend of twitchy execution, tactical adaptation, and strategic iteration between fights as my group creeps forward towards success. To each their own.
 
I find 3 different groups of commenters on these issues: external sites & reading are cheating; good games don't need them, and my camp which is I expect to use them for sophisticated games.

E.g., I never read instructions for free flash games. I read at least two books before playing bridge, chess, go, or poker. I sometimes say that if you don't read anything. then either your game or you are simple. One of the best insults I heard at the poker table was after a dubious play. Someone asked the player: "did you know there are books on this game?"

There is something very different between looking up the puzzle solution for something like Zork (I am ancient) vs downloading someone's 2,000 line spreadsheet so you don;t have to type all that in before making crafting decisions.

This is especially true for EVE where, while it is not required, the overwhelming number of people use at least two external programs, EVEMon and EFT. If you do most any crafting, you almost certainly use a spreadsheet. The lack of a ingame UI customization means an external application to keep track of your inventory or manage production is probably used. If you PvP, then a website to track your killboard and DotLan maps are frequently used. Traders use EveCentral or EveMetrics. etc. Plus you probably used another website to determine what agents were where before you even ran that mission.
 
“I read at least two books before playing bridge, chess, go, or poker. I sometimes say that if you don't read anything. then either your game or you are simple. One of the best insults I heard at the poker table was after a dubious play. Someone asked the player: ‘did you know there are books on this game?’”

Eek, talk about buzz kill. I’ve always played games for fun, but I guess there are plenty of people who play for success or contentment. I suppose it’s just another way to ease your stress, but dear god… this is why children have more fun :P
 
I have been saying this for years!

http://www.frogdice.com/muckbeast/arrogance/fed-up-raiding-sucks-as-a-sole-form-of-end-game-content.html

Pay close attention to #3, #4, and #6.

Raiding doesn't even feel like playing a game. It feels like acting out a part in a play or marching in formation on a parade.
 
Some good posts here...

As an Eve player I generally avoid the missions, because they are essentially so repetitive.

And as others have said, the trick is to just know what the enemy is weak to, and ammo type they use. Which is consistent by their faction type. So it's entirely logical this is stuff the average pilot would know (from a RP perspective).

In Eve, the fun really comes from the PvP side of the game, be it in industry or combat, because you are facing other human beings, with their own tendancies and tactics.

For many of us, the PvE content is just a means to an end, that end being the "pvp game" in all it's forms.

And as others also said, the trick is to kite the rats when you arrive in a mission zone...

Personally, when I do occasionally run missions, I only check the mission guides if I've had to warp out two times or more.
 
Actually, this sounds like exactly how some of the events in Final Fantasy XI work.

There is a tower with 100 floors. The trick here is, that every floor is generated randomly with each having different monster types, objectives and floor layouts. You have 30 minutes time limit to get as far as you can (you can save your progress with every 5 floors cleared).

There is no way to predict what kind of floor you'll get next, and some objectives demand good cooperative skills from players.

For example, one of the possible objectives is to light a set of lamps found throughout the floor, but there are also subobjectives: some "lamp" floors require everyone to touch the same lamp, some require multiple lamps to be lit at the same time, and the hardest ones require you to figure out the right order in which the lamps must be lit. If your group can't communicate well enough, you'll end up failing the task, and thus the event as well.

Every 20 floors you also get to fight a larger boss with 6 variations. You can't predict which one it'll be, and all of them have unique moves and tactics to defeat. Add the time limit in which you need to kill the boss (you need to clear 4 other floors And defeat the boss within the 30mins) and it's quite unpredictable and challenging.

There are other events like this in the game, but this one uses the random element best, by far.
 
Heh, there's so many comments already...

But for a WOW diehard like Tobold to criticize EVE because people check damage types on an external website... all I can do is QQ

I mean, WOW has more cheat sites any other game. AND, I would be shocked if at least half the guilds in existence didn't check sites for raid strategy, etc.

This is a retarded post.

to be clear, that was the nega-Ben posting, not me.

imo, EVE is not designed for the solo player. This may be why you dislike it so much, based on the play experiences you've written about you're mostly soloing. It's more about the Corp v. Corp warfare, group PVP.

It's a little ironic to me, because for someone who writes so frequently about wanting "unscripted" unpredictable MMO encounters, that's exactly what PVP is; something you detest. Maybe you should try something like WoW's PVP on an heirloom-item twink, there the power levels are equal.
 
Sorry for the lenght, brevity is not my strong suit.

It's a bit ironic blaming the game design for player written guides, and especially for your choice in reading those guides. People give randomization far too much credit. I'll take a well designed PvE encounter over a randomized one every time. It only becomes dull when you repeat it over and over again.

But even then randomization really would not help the longevity of Eve's mission enjoyment. Without serious risk, there can be little fun. If there's high risk, or even say, 70% success rate, it's not going to be a good source of income. Aside from teaching new players the basics of Eve mechanics, that is what missions primarily become after a while, a reliable source of income.

I know it's said so often it has become a little tired, but in the long run only PvP can offer the dynamic fights you desire, within the limitations of Eve.


Yeah there's a ton of numpties in Eve, and apparently in other games as well, who will not just always read the guide first, but order you to do so as well, on threat of being ridiculed.
I understand peer pressure, and especially in Eve where you lose your gear upon failure, the aversion to doing things the hard way. Also the competitive advantage lost by ignoring them, once you get further into the game.

But the choice is still ours, yours and mine, so the shame rests with ourselves. And yes, I too, have sometimes succumbed to reading every wave and spawn trigger in advance, but it hasn't happened many times.

Enjoyment of Eve PvE has two phases, with profit being an additional motivator, that inevitably takes over after some time.

First, it can be fun to explore, see what's behind the next door(acc.gate), and then to to try and beat it.
This is ruined by guides.

Later, it becomes a quest for perfection, for efficiency, for getting the best result, quickest completion time or biggest isk/h.
Here, guides become more of a tool, which you give a quick glance to remind yourself of the triggers and opposition. But they can also reduce or even remove the enjoyment from figuring out an optimal solution yourself. This is the only form of competitiveness Eve PvE has to offer, apart from mixing it with PvP.

People whom I refer to as headless chickens, call the second phase min/maxing, which to them is a pejorative.

To experience the first phase properly, you need to jump on new PvE content immediately, BEFORE it is ruined by ridiculously extensive guides. That, or have an iron will and not mind initially performing below your peers.

When I started L5's, where I lost a number of ships experimenting, there weren't any guides. Missioning became fun again, even rewarding emotionally, like L4's used to be the very first times with shitty skills and little knowledge, before ever picking up a guide. Beating a challenge.

Apocrypha release, when w-space was introduced, was a fantastic time. So very very little was known and there were NO guides at all. There was lots to explore, in the true sense of the word, and though risk was rather high for PvE, rewards were awesome. (iirc up to 1bn / Instrumental at best :p)

It is inevitable that people ruin this experience by documenting every detail, every facet, every trick of the trade, or, close to it anyway.

But lets not forget, without those guides the "plebs", the majority would never access the highend PvE content (L4 isn't highend).

You see it in this thread even, "Boss X is impossible without guides".....No, he's not, because a lot of peeps did it before there were any guides.
 
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