Tobold's Blog
Monday, May 03, 2010
 
Serial Ganker quits Darkfall

It appears that Sid67's thoughts on Darkfall are remarkably similar to my current thoughts about EVE. Key quotes:
"And despite how much time I've put into it, my character has barely broken into the tier just above the 'newbie' stage."

"Which just makes me wonder, is it even worth it?"

"Biggest Lie: New players can contribute in PvP"

"I don't want to be a cog in the machine. I want to contribute. I want to win. That's what drives me and motivates me. I'm just realizing now that I can't keep up that motivation when it's going to take a minimum of four more months to get competitive."

"I think I would have an entirely different perspective if I had played Darkfall from launch."

"The overall experience would just be more enjoyable because I wouldn't feel that I'm losing solely based on longevity."

"This is a perspective that I just don't think a long-time Darkfall player would understand."
Now EVE is a lot more carebear than Darkfall, because in EVE you can just stay in high security space. But even there you look at gameplay activities like mining or manufacturing and realize that it would take months to become even remotely competitive. Even buying low and selling high effectively needs skill training in EVE.

And that is a principal problem of PvP MMORPGs: MMORPGs by definition have character advancement, in one form or another. Whether it is time played, gear gathered, real time skill training, or skills used, a player of a MMORPG is always getting better with time. Which doesn't matter all that much if he is facing PvE challenges, which can be scaled to his current power level. But if he is facing PvP challenges, the new player is at a fundamental disadvantage versus the veteran player. And even if he is more talented and learns quickly, he might never catch up. The only solution I see that this is systems like Guild Wars, where you quickly reach a cap (and can even create capped characters) and then only grow horizontally into more options, not vertically into more power.

I get extremely suspicious nowadays whenever I hear of a game which allows you to achieve great things, lead an empire, and rule over the masses. Because by definition there are more of the downtrodden masses than there are emperors. And especially new players coming later to the game are highly likely to end up as downtrodden mass, and highly unlikely to end up as emperor. And the worst of that is that existing players have an interest to lie to you about this, because just like every pyramid scheme you need to recruit the next lower level to get higher up in the pyramid.

If I want to lead empires, I play single-player games. Looking forward to Civilization 5 very much, for example. In a single-player game my time to advance isn't depending on whether I start the game at release or much later, and the computer AI doesn't mind playing the downtrodden masses while the humans can all be emperors.
Comments:
"The only solution I see that this is systems like Guild Wars, where you quickly reach a cap (and can even create capped characters) and then only grow horizontally into more options, not vertically into more power."

EVE's system is similar also. Once the skills related to a given ship hull are maxed-out, there's nowhere to go but move sideways or up to a different hull. Of course, it takes longer to reach the caps than it does in GW, but the RoI rapidly diminishes.
 
I get extremely suspicious nowadays whenever I hear of a game which allows you to achieve great things, lead an empire, and rule over the masses. Because by definition there are more of the downtrodden masses than there are emperors.

There are also a lot less people out there who are able to convince the "downtrodden masses" to follow them. To bring that to Darkfall or Eve...noone will take you serious as a Fleet Commander or Alliance Leader because you have an 2003 character or 100 million Skillpoints. They will accept you only if you manage to convince them, that you have the abilities to quickly assess situations, to act correctly under stress, that you are able to stay calm, that you are a good leader. It's much more social than you think.

I know a ton of people in Eve who never will be leaders simply because they are lacking the social skills. But i also know some who are born leaders and who ended up in the right position because of that. It's not the game that decides who will lead the masses, it's the "wet skills".
 
I see the problem, but I do not accept your non-written conclusion, that this is why MMOs in genal don't work.

.. Well, nor do you, because you know that MMOs can work.

99% of Counter Strike players aren't very good. 80% of everything is crap - it also applies to human skills :)


Still, people play Counter Strike, as they play WoW. Even in WoW PvE 99% are not the guild leader and not the raid leader and not the maintank and not the top DD.

So what? They all have fun playing. As I said before: Fun gameplay is the most important thing.
Building on fun gameplay, new players not necessarily quit if reaching their goals takes time or is improbable.

My problem with EVE is not that something takes a lot of time, is hard or improbable. EVE puts a carrot in front of my eyes and then tells me to WAIT. That's the problem.
Either don't show me the carrot (remove skill point system, make it a real sandbox), or give a me a way to work towards the carrot.

To sum it up:
Not everybody can be the hero/the great leader/ the richest guy/ the top DD/ the main tank/ the raid leader. Yes. But if the (sandbox/non-sandbox) MMO is well designed it can offer these positions and still be fun.
 
There is one design that could be possible, by the way:

You could try to design a game in a way that all estabilished guilds desperately needed new players all the time. Such, that you, personally, as a new player, can advance, but the guild really needs new players, not just you, when you are experienced.

This would lead to guilds actively searching (more than today) for new players. EVE tries something like that; you can be quite useful with just a frigate. But you need to skill (almost) every frigate skill - that takes an eternity from a new players perspective.

I wonder what hapened if every new player started (after some tutorial) with maxed out frigate skills. Just an idea.
 
Why all the hate on EVE and Darkfall as of late?

I really enjoy reading your blog because of the positive tone that you (typically...!) employ. I'm a big fan of EVE and Darkfall, and love reading about WOW, etc., from your perspective because I don't spend much time in that game.

But I'm starting to get turned off. Your perspective with EVE and Darkfall is just... myopic.

For example, you said:

3) Being a foot soldier is hugely less fun than being Alexander. But that is all that is available for new players. Tell me, what time would a new player need from character creation to leading a successful corporation in null sec. Years, I'd say, if it was possible at all. And how many of a thousand new players starting out with that dream will reach it? Only a handful.

You fail to realize that for a lot of people, a world where everyone is a hero is even less fun, and less realistic, than the mechanics / environment in a game like EVE. Look at WAR for an example. It's the same problem I had with LOTRO - I had NO capability to suspend disbelief in a game world where everyone was just moving through "Chapters" killing the same "superevil" mobs that were threatening (hah) the world. Talk about cheesy.

Anyway -- I think you're looking at EVE totally wrong. You need a new pair of glasses.
 
The problem simply is players feel like they progress too slow, due to a slow skill system.
Some PVP features like item loss and no safe zones can make progression slower, but I don't think those are the root of the problem.
I think it's good to have a skill cap which can be reached in a matter of weeks, not months, of playing. It'll keep players motivated to progress and at the same time shows them proof that their effort is not wasted (regardless of the fun a player might have during the progression).
 
@Tobold: "3) Being a foot soldier is hugely less fun than being Alexander."

On the contrary, in EVE being a foot soldier may very well often be much more fun than Alexander. Being a light, fast, rapidly replaced ship, requiring minimum skill-training, but increasing in capabilities quite rapidly, could very well be much more immediately entertaining than managing alliance politics for hundreds of pilots, while flying expensive, ungainly, capital assets. And if Alexander flies anything lighter he will die first.

In EVE the Alexander is always primary.
 

I think it's good to have a skill cap which can be reached in a matter of weeks, not months, of playing. It'll keep players motivated to progress and at the same time shows them proof that their effort is not wasted (regardless of the fun a player might have during the progression).


EVE consists of many vertical progression schemes that are roughly horizontally arranged.
Means: Frigate, Cruiser, Battleships, Titans etc. are actually different 'roles' players can assume.

It's actually quite comparable to WoW twinking. Twinking is horizontal progress in WoW, leveling and outfitting with T-sets is vertical progression.

Still, Titans seem somehow better than Frigates and take longer to train to fly.
Imagine Mages in WoW taking much longer to level up and then being 'somehow' more powerful, but still utterly dependent on Warriors to support them.

I'd actually like this EVE horizontal/vertical progression scheme if it weren't for the skill system.

In EVE you pay and it doesn't matter if you actually play, your character still progresses (vertically and horizontally). Thus, from your point of view, you progress faster (progress per hour spent playing) the less you play.

So, again and again, no matter from which point of view I start, I always come right back to the skill system. :(
 
@Nils: I don't think it's like twinking in WoW. It's actually not that much different from WoW imo.
When I started a warlock in WoW, I was incredibly excited about and looking forward to commanding a badass felguard, even though I knew it would take me weeks of playing before being able to.
In Eve it's the same, you set your path towards flying a badass battleship and make an optimal skill plan.
In the meantime, you enjoy the game in other ways which are available to you (WoW: spam shadowbolts to make sure you get to the felguard asap; Eve: a hell of a lot more options and no worries if you'll reach the battleship).
The only difference is WoW allows a variable progression speeds which requires you playing, and Eve has a static progression speed which doesn't require you playing.
If only we could have best of both worlds ;)
 

The only difference is WoW allows a variable progression speeds which requires you playing, and Eve has a static progression speed which doesn't require you playing.
If only we could have best of both worlds ;)


Well, WoW allows progress by doing many different dungeons, questing in many different places in a huge fantasy world and several different battlegrounds.

Of course, leveling speed (progress/time played) is roughly the same no matter what you do.

In EVE, progression speed in 'progression/time played' varies drastically. But if you don't play it often it feels like you level as fast as anybody else.

Perhaps one of the reasons I have quit EVE is that I tend to play one MMO at a time and I play it a lot. I went out of content way too fast in EVE and waiting AND PAYING for it seemed like a rip off.

I didn't join a perfect new player corp (I chose a small corp randomly). Of course I'd still be playing EVE now, if I had joined some super friendly guys and girls who had told be about the game I taken me into the interesting oarts of the game, while still giving me the feeling like being valable.

But, here's the point:
You could make me work 24 hours the day in a stone quarry, if there were super friendly guys and girls who take me into the interesting parts of the quarry, while still giving me the feeling like being valable to them.
 
And I will tell you from being part of, and raid leading in one of WoWs biggest raiding Alliances, that leadership is the most limiting factor. You think tanking or healing are responsibility positions?

Try being the person upon whom 10 or 25 players time rests. Or in EVE upto 250 (in a single fleet) putting weeks or months work of work on the line. (Wipe on a raid boss? bah that's 10g/person and maybe 10 minutes...wipe and EVE fleet? Youch!)

Do you think EVE's (or anyone else's) marketing would read better if it were true?

"Come play our game because you are shlub and want to be lead around by the hand by people who have actually done the work/research for you." Yeah, that would move boxes.

Not only is the average player not likely to become Alexander, but they aren't even interested when they realize the responsibility.

I, for one, find the meta game of leadership adds a lot to a game and am often willing to step up. And there are those who do it far, far better.
 
This is all more of the same. Everything cannot be for everyone. If it could, we'd only need one MMO, ever.

Very few, if any, MMOs actually function as "entertainment". If you want to be entertained, watch a dvd or read a book. MMOs are, in the main, resources that you can use to entertain yourself. Some of them make this a selling point, some try to conceal it but they pretty much all have it in common.

If you need to be "competetive" or to "win" in order to have "fun" or be entertained, then yes, many MMOs are bad at offering that possibility to most of their players. And the harder designers try to offer "winning" or even "performing competetively" to a larger proportion of their customers, the less "fun" winning and being competetive becomes.

The main thing I like about MMOs is that they allow me to make my own entertainment without a great deal of effort. I used to spend much of my free time writing, collaging, making videos, music, zines, websites, performing, rehearsing, all that stuff. Then I discovered MMOs and found I could satisfy all that creative drive with a fraction of the effort just by pottering around in a made-up world.

If I'd come to MMOs hoping or wishing to compete or win then I'd have given up in the first month and never played again.
 

Not only is the average player not likely to become Alexander, but they aren't even interested when they realize the responsibility.


This is actually also quite true. Most people what to be the boss. Once they are boss most realize that this job is (usually) not much fun.
The responsibility, the amount of work you could potentialyl do yourself, the CEO/investors who still want you to achieve things which you don't have much control over ...

Only very few people actually like to be boss. But since the 'boss' always has a lot of influence on the success of a group, evolution made everyone of us want to be him. Only to find out that we actually hate it.

This is actually something you can learn in MMOs that is very valueable in real life: You learn to understand your boss better, because you had a similar position in your guild/corp. And you learn that you don't really want his position, just his salary :)
 
Tobold, it is becoming clear that one big issue is like a wall to your enjoyment of EvE.

This is your adherence to the idea that your goal in an MMO must be "to advance." More specifically, your view of advancement is getting more powerful, getting the next "epic item", beating the next mission.

Your mind is completely locked on the concept of linear progression, and your goal is locked as the "end-game", which you have assumed is the biggest ship.

(Not only is there no end-game, even PvP success is not based on your ship size. Size isnt everything in EvE.)

If you cannot reach the "level cap" and play the "end-game" in a time period you are used to, you are always disappointed, right?

You have simply transplanted the word "skills" everywhere in your brain that you had "level". And your level cap is the big ship, so you can participate in the "end-game".

So you will always hate the skill system and never understand EvE unless you can get over this hump.

There is no set end-game. The whole game is the end-game, thats the beauty of it. Within a month at most your are fully capable of participating in any field you wish. And lets face it, it takes a month to learn to play a game like EvE.

The only real "end-game" there is, is the one you make for yourself. You choose your goal, and you get there on your own terms. Whether its PvP or industry, any area can be your end-game/goal.

It seems to me Tobold, that the worth of being something like a ruler or warlord is destroyed when you dont have to work a LONG time for it. Dont you think you are being unreasonable with your contention that no player should have to be anything but the emperor?

If you are only interested in being the "emperor", then why do you not demand this of other games? Simply because in WoW you are no emperor either, just another mouse running on the wheel for more epics.

And I would reason that if you didnt have the masses, the worth in being the emperor is naught. Why do you think this is the only goal in EvE though?

However, like any game it is highly subjective and personal what you find fun. Perhaps you will never enjoy a game that is highly initiative-driven and self-motivated. Some people just prefer being given goals, and set on the path to completing them. I can see the merits in both, and enjoy both.
 
I don't think EvE and Darkfalls problem is that I won't get to be a great leader. Its that I will feel like David going out to meet a field of Goliaths, where I'm slinging stones at an armor clad giant and he is taking swipes at me with a 10ft sword. Any PvP game should allow you a short climb to Goliath status with lots of horizontal customizability of your class once you get there. The climb is important to get comfortable with your class and feel connected to your toon.

But when EvE and Darkfall actively promote awesome space battles and castle sieges, yet the reality of the game is months of PvE and grinding, the problem is with the devs, not the player who is lead to believe that awesome PvP will happen as a daily part of gameplay.
 
This is one thing I definitely agree on. I tried darkfall and felt nearly the same issues as this guy.

I don't have the RL time to put in to ever get out of "uncompetitive" status and therefore found DF to be more of a chore than fun. If I could have seen faster stat progression, I would have probably stuck it out because the combat and overall gameplay is alot of fun.

its sort of like counterstrike, but where those who have put more time in can kill you in 1/3 the amount of shots that you can kill them in. It doesn't matter how much better skilled you are than them, statistically they will beat you more times than you will beat them. This becomes an issue of fairness to me and that you really cannot compete with someone who vastly out stat/skill points you.

In eve there is much more "horizontal" development as others have mentioned in that even with low skill points you can still offer a viable service to a gang such as tackle or webbing bigger ships.

Also it should be mentioned that even flying a low skill point frigate, you are VERY hard to kill when facing lets say a battleship due to transversal velocity and battleship guns will have a hard time hitting a small fast mover.

Now to be fair, in EVE I have traded characters and upgraded myself to a fairly high skill point set of characters to give myself more options as I felt fairly far behind where I wanted to be in skillpoints.

I think it is interesting to see Tobolds viewpoint as alot of his concerns were similar to mine when I first started EVE. It is somewhat frustrating initially as there are SO many skills to skill up.

My best advice for a new eve player is to take a bunch of things you find interesting to skill level 2-3 and then horizontally get yourself into at least frigates and cruisers for 1-2 races (support skills, weapons, drones etc.) so that you have some tactical options.

Within about a month of playing with a good skill level 1-3 plan you can fly a good spread of ships and fit alot of good modules and have a good time in eve.

In darkfall this is less of an option as you must actually grind the skills up whereas in EVE whether you are playing or not your skills are still increasing so the progression component is still there.

EVE requires a completely different mindset than most MMO's to play, and that is the biggest stumbling block for those of us who have a more traditional MMO mindset.

The best thing to do in eve is become involved socially as that is the most fun aspect. joining an E-UNI noob fleet is SO much fun and requires very little skill points to get involved with.

also eve has things like red v blue to get into at a very low barrier of entry, or even faction warfare or low level production/trade and you can still have a good time.

I think we can all agree that with MMO's you get out of it what you put into it, and for EVE you have to be more creative as there are very few "rails" set up for you. You have to find them yourself and make your own fun.
 

Now to be fair, in EVE I have traded characters and upgraded myself to a fairly high skill point set of characters to give myself more options as I felt fairly far behind where I wanted to be in skillpoints.


Well, I'd say it like this:
You bought these characters, because you ran out of content and the real time skill system didn't allow you to work to gain access to more content.
 
I think the main point here is about wanting to lead v. wanting to be a cog in the machine. A lot of us don't MIND being a cog in the machine, or at least playing a lesser role. Just because a MMO allows me to lead a town, or something, doesn't mean that is necessarily my goal. I can be just as happy doing far less, and leave the stressful job or leadership to another person.

A game like World War 2 Online is a good example of this. There is a player command structure that literally has control over what can be attacked and not, so players are in a very real way effected by what the leadership chooses to do. On the other side of it though, being a simple soldier can be quite fun, and comes with far less stress, and is still very rewarding.
 
You fail to realize that for a lot of people, a world where everyone is a hero is even less fun, and less realistic, than the mechanics / environment in a game like EVE.

Define "a lot". I would say that for at least 95% of players being the lone hero beats being one of many heroes, but being one of many heroes still beats being the underdog by a huge margin. Which is why PvE games have 20 times more subscribers outside Asia than PvP games have.

This is your adherence to the idea that your goal in an MMO must be "to advance." More specifically, your view of advancement is getting more powerful, getting the next "epic item", beating the next mission.

Yes, that is the definition of "RPG". No advancement, and you're playing something else. Are you saying that Darkfall and EVE don't have advancement systems? I think that one is easily refuted.
 
Well, do you actually feel like you are a hero in WoW, Tobold?
I ask, because I really do not know. I just know that I try to skip these parts of the game where they tell me that I am the hero. It's like Coca advertisement that tells me that I am gonna be the best soccer player ever if I just drink their sweet stuff.
 
Depends on how you define hero. I sure feel that I am having fun in World of Warcraft, that I advance through my actions, that I'm not hurting any of my fellow players outside of fair battles. In groups I have the definitive feeling that I'm helping others to advance too.

I don't get these feelings in EVE. And I don't even see a far horizon at which I could one day get those feelings.

Unlike you I still believe that these are all just games. That limits both the amount of good and the amount of evil you can actually do. But I'd still rather do a tiny bit of good than a tiny bit of evil. Spoiling another player's fun is evil, even if it is just a tiny evil. I don't like evil
 
Well, in all fairness, you really shouldn't play EVE if you don't expect your fun to be "spoiled" at some point by another player. That's why you play EVE. Being afraid of it would be ... well, out of place, in the same way that a gamer that's afraid of losing is probably out place in a game like Starcraft 2. EVE-O is a competitive MMO game, and advertises itself as one - as a world in which players impact each other all of the time. Even if you're not playing, you're constantly impacted by what people are doing in Empire space in terms of mining, market manipulation, and so on.

I'd actually have to question the idea that this is a bad thing, too. After all, there are griefers in WOW. Think about all of the guild drama, killstealers, etc. that impact people in PvE games. Or, for example, gold farmers that screw up a PvE economy.

When you get right down to it, any game that lets MASSIVE numbers of gamers interact with each other in any way that can be considered meaningful (ie., that has an impact) is going to result in some people's fun -- at times -- being spoiled by other people. Hell, the game doesn't even have to be MASSIVE -- boot up a game of TF2 or MW2 and see how long you can go without some idiot ruining a 16 or 24 player FPS game. I can't even tell you how many times I have to hit "mute" on people in TF2 because they are spoiling my game.

But that's life, Tobold. The world is full of a@@hats. At least EVE empowers you -- as a gamer -- to avoid and/or get back at them. You won't do it by flying to 0.0 space in a frigate by yourself, but with just a little bit of work (arguably less work than even WOW), you can find a great 0.0 corp that will take in newbies and help you immediately contribute to their efforts in defending sov.

:)
 
Unlike you I still believe that these are all just games.

I think we're all with you on the "games" bit. It's the "just" that's harder to stomach.

And considering the amount of time you spend playing and writing about them, Tobold (even the ones you don't really like you really do give a fair chance!), that "just" does ring a bit hollow. ;)
 

Unlike you I still believe that these are all just games. That limits both the amount of good and the amount of evil you can actually do. But I'd still rather do a tiny bit of good than a tiny bit of evil. Spoiling another player's fun is evil, even if it is just a tiny evil. I don't like evil


Funny how you first say that for you it is just a game and then go over to telling me the importance of doing no evil ;)


Depends on how you define hero. I sure feel that I am having fun in World of Warcraft, that I advance through my actions, that I'm not hurting any of my fellow players outside of fair battles. In groups I have the definitive feeling that I'm helping others to advance too.


According to the WoW story YOU killed the Lich King and not just him. YOU have saved the world a hundred times by now.

Scrap the "that I'm not hurting any of my fellow players outside of fair battles." and I agree with you. As you know I don't play EVE for similar reasons.

In contrast to you, hwoever, I don't think I can hurt anybody by teleporting (=killing) his char in a computer run simulation.
 
I’ve been following your posts closely since you began playing EVE, which coincides with the date I created my account. It was interesting to observe your perspective but like others I am disappointed at what has transpired. No single MMO can please everyone’s taste, and to each his own. However I feel the urge to comment on your statements.

You seem desperate to find a justifiable reason to quit EVE, to put blame on someone else or in this case the game mechanic. I’d even go as far as claiming that you’re having trouble with your corp, if you are still a part of it.

I think there are two points that needs to be addressed in your original post.

1. King of the hill
A. How do you expect to lead others within, let’s say, a month of game play if you don’t know the basics? Would you expect a month-old player to lead a 25 man ICC raid? According to your previous post, that person might, if he or she memorizes the patterns and timing by heart. But why would a person want to do that anyway? That doesn’t sound very entertaining to me either. Besides that person would need to be fully aware of the necessary skills of the 10 classes that participates in the raid. Add to that the talent builds, and the number multiplies. How many ships and roles are there in EVE?
B. One could argue that your definition of leadership did not mean a leader of a group, but that of a hero. In that case, one could be perfectly pleased in a frigate and convince him or herself that he or she is the ultimate frigate pilot.
C. Rome was not built in a day. Yes, yes it is hard or even impossible to catch up. But why is catching up so important when you can overthrow them in one fell blow? http://eve.klaki.net/heist/ Check it out. Remember, EVE is a sandbox not a theme park.

2. Advancement
A. Looks to me like you can only relate to and draw analogies from level-based MMO. My first MMO experience was Ultima Online. It’s a skill-based open-ended game, and I personally believe EVE has its roots in UO. Unlike level-based games it required players to patiently train skills much like EVE does today. It is plain that some people find such progression to be unbearable.
B. Let’s take a look at Wow. You probably have a full set of heirloom items for all your low level characters. Assuming one has the chest piece, shoulders and ring a veteran has a 25% XP advantage over a newcomer. This veteran knows that he or she can reach the level cap within a week. When the level cap is reached, he or she can jump right into Crusaders’ and then farm ICC. Gearscore? With the right connections, it’s easy to reach 5k in a month of creating a new toon. I think you know this fact and feel that waiting for a set of skills to complete in EVE is unacceptable.

EVE PvP should be compared to UO, not WoW. When you die the cost of death is everything you brought to the scene. Battlegrounds are a joke. Even the arena pales in comparison because the underlying system is totally different. There is no fair fight in EVE simply because there are no restrictions and the penalties are painfully tangible. The server doesn’t hold players in waiting until a certain headcount is met on both sides. In fact there can be more than two sides to a battle.

Why did you even bring up Asia? Do you have any idea of the cultural differences, or what games Asians are into? I can say this because I happen to be an Asian living in the Far East who is familiar with the gaming environment. South Korea has a professional Star Craft league. The winners of international WoW arena tournaments also hail from Korea. What do you say to that? Could the PvE game you mentioned be Lineage or Aion? Why not stick to the topic of EVE?
 
The same thing happens in any sort of PvP though, even in WoW. In WoW, for instance, the players with the better gear have a large advantage over others.

Unfortunately there really is no way to make it all fair unless we remove all sort of itemisation and progression and make PvP purely twitched based. In that case though, we'd just end up with a FPS.
 
I actually think that your problems with EVE come from the same reasons that made me quit the game twice over the years.

You have has a taste of the PvE side of EVE and founding it unexciting and bland. It really is not much different than what you are doing in WoW and WoW puts more 'spice' into those activities.

The 'heart' of EVE is the PvP and the politics of 0.0 space. I find the base PvP of EVE too uninteresting and the 'meaningful goals' mostly self-delusion. At the same time I find the politics to be petty and merely a way for bored players to spice things up. I like to see myself too much as a 'rugged individual' type to participate in the 'cog in a machine' system that creates.

I like the sandbox approach to MMORPGs but I am a 'builder'. I play MMORPGs to build things cooperatively and EVE is too much focused on destroying things.

My advice is to call off your EVE experiment because you are becoming frustrated and are losing objectivity. EVE just does not 'click' with you and probably never will.
 
"Yes, that is the definition of "RPG". No advancement, and you're playing something else. Are you saying that Darkfall and EVE don't have advancement systems? I think that one is easily refuted."

In a word, nope.

You completely ignored my main point and made an (100% incorrect) statement with absolutely no bearing on what I said.

Once again, your IDEA of advancement in EvE is WRONG. It is NOT linear advancement on a set path with set goals until you hit the "level cap".

"End-Game" and "Advancement" are the same thing in EvE: Whatever you decide they are. Just because you are stuck in your beliefs about advancement does not mean you should be handed everything on a silver platter like in WoW.

---

As I mentioned above, your statement regarding the "definition" of RPG is so erroneous it hurts. Despite the common MMORPGer's assumptions, an RPG requires only that:

"players assume the roles of characters, or take control of one or more avatars, in a fictional setting"

Personally I find the idea that "advancement" is the definition of RPGs so ludicrous I find it astonishing ANYONE could even think it. What about games without the epix you consider the defining feature of RPGs?

The definition I have written above sums up the (very basic) nature of the acronym RPG. WoW seems to have made people forget the first two letters.

ROLE PLAYING game.

A game in which players play a fictional role
 
That is nonsense. By that definition Monkey Island and Warcraft 3 are both role-playing games, because you take on the role of Guybrush Threepwood and Thrall.
 
I tend to agree with your last comment, J. DangerouS.

Roleplaying is about assuming a role and then acting according to it. The possibility to change your role is esstial to be able to play it. (Vertical) progression, however, is not necessary.

However, why do you think EVE has this skill system? Why don't they just allow everybody to play in the sandbox and build any castle they can afford (available time/money/skill).

Why is there this artificial limitation that not only serves as a tutorial (I'd be ok with that), but that actually limits you no matter how long you already play ?

Why do they want me to play EVE for about two weeks and then become bored as I cannot access some content, although I might have all the money/skill/commitment as anybody who has been paying longer?

Why do some players, who just log on for years, have access to more content than I, even if I have more total play time after two weeks?

Would you agree that the skill system is a bad compromise between WOW-like games and a true sandbox?
 
That is nonsense. By that definition Monkey Island and Warcraft 3 are both role-playing games, because you take on the role of Guybrush Threepwood and Thrall.

Mmh .. this is becoming tricky ;)

I know that I played role playing games with friends before we knew about the commercial ones. These were role playing games, but there certainly was no vertical character progression - our roles didn't grow in power :)

So, while the game soyu mention might not be considered RPGs, I don't think that is because they offer no vertical progression.

However, arguing about the defintion of some expression doesn't lead anywhere, I fear. These definitions change all the time.
 
Alot has been written about the definition of RPG especially in terms of Mass Effect 1 and 2.

One must control one character, or a party? Must one advance levels? Must it be a medieval fantasy? Must their be dialogue and conversations? Must their be an inventory or items to manage? What if their is no buying or selling? What if battles are in real time? What if their are no battles?

With the XP gain and leveling is Battlefield 2: Bad Company an MMORPG? MMOFPS? FPSRPG?

Don't get hung up on trying to define what EVE is.

And theirs no need to nerdrage or be an apologist for EVE because theirs some aspects of it Tobold finds lacking.

It's just his opinion, and one that perhaps many online gamers would share. His opinion shouldn't make the game less enjoyable for you, nor should you be arguing that his opinion is wrong, as many of you are.

I grew up playing UO and M59. I like impact PvP, full ganking and looting are not foreign concepts to me. I like playing a cog in the machine, a mere foot soldier or the raid leader and main tank.

The fact is that we all come from a different background and enjoy different things - instead of disagreeing with Tobold's opinion, why don't you take his well-writtern remarks, EVE fanboys, and look at ways in which your game could be improved - from the perspective of both new players and veterans.

And it sounds like more diplomacy and some revamps to the skill system are something everyone could agree on.
 
I think I’d prefer a game where there was no statistical growth, but you still earned new spells, skills, and gear. When I gain a level I don’t think “Awesome, I got 2 more points of Strength!” I instead head straight to wherever I can get my new abilities. That way a newbie would be able to swing for as much damage as an experienced player, but would still be at a disadvantage because of a lack of diverse skills or gear.

A lot of MMORPGs have issues with endgame priorities. In my opinion, there should be multiple different goals. Solo PvP, guild PvP, PvE, crafting, business, exploration, politics... these should all be equal goals to reach for but as it is now, MMORPGs promise it all but mostly only offer it superficially through Raids and instanced PvP. If these were all actually available, then being a foot soldier versus being a king would be different but equal in terms of advancement, and therefore still fair and fun to all. Obviously players partaking in the rarer career objectives would have to sacrifice certain aspects that a foot soldier would normally have. This is a big reason why I loved the way Star Wars Galaxies handled classes. A Politician could build and control an entire city with the help of others, but they would generally ignore combat because that wasn’t their chosen role.

What I’m getting at is something like a profession system for the world. Imagine if WoW only had the Warrior class, and they advertised that you could “become a hunter” because technically you could go and “hunt” animals if you wanted to. Similarly, “become a lord, rule the world” can’t actually happen now because modern MMORPGs only focus on combat as the only “profession”, and combat simply can’t do anything else, the same way a Warrior simply can’t be a Hunter.

This is why everyone as a hero doesn’t work, because everyone HAS to be a hero. As much as I dislike Farmville, would it kill a developer to allow players in a large open world to tend farms and sell their goods on more than a lazy Auction House… or hold tournaments of a Magic: The Gathering-esque card game… or sell maps they’ve drawn by hand of unexplored land… or hell even let someone become the Champion of Checkers? Most people will probably want to become heroes, fight giant monsters, and dominate others, but without these other modes of advancement the “heroes” have nothing to compare themselves with and become trivial.

It’s generally accepted in Sociology that we experience our sense of self from the reflection of others. These games need to quit being so narrowly focused on heroic combat instead of diversifying player choice and experience. Gameplay needs to spread out more; its cramped nature is what causes people to lash out by ganking lowbies and become frustrated by progression.
 
Ah, Hobonicus.

You bring back such fond memories of UO... PvP, PvE, guild intrigue, role playing, politics, dedicated crafters, real estate, decorating, exploration, chess, checkers, pirates, theives, lords, auctions, dungeons, adventures!

A true sandbox where one could truely do or become anything.
 
As to the definition of a role-playing game, I’m gonna have to seriously disagree with J. DangerouS. Actually I’d argue the exact opposite of Nils’ example, in that some sort of personal progression is a feature in every RPG I can think of, while taking on a role happens in literally almost every genre. I think the definition of role is where we’re getting hung up. I play the role of every main character, whereas you may be referring to archetypal roles…?

I DON’T KNOWWW. It’s completely pointless. We’re all human; we all know what a goddamn RPG is when we see one. I’ve seen this “what is an RPG” argument before and people always act like it’s some mistranslated lost philosophy from an ancient race of transcendent beings. It hasn’t LITERALLY meant ROLEPLAYING in almost twenty years, c’mon you guys know this.
 
"If I want to lead empires, I play single-player games."

Just because you can't (or don't want to) lead doesn't mean you can't enjoy the hell out of games with things like territorial conquest and player leaders.

Basically there's two psychological hooks that these kind of games can sink into you:

1. I'm Special: this works better with theme park games. With more sandboxy games this sort of psychological hook is harder to maintain.

2. I'm Part of Something Greater Than Myself: this is the psychological hook that a good sandbox game sinks into your psyche. Sandboxy games (especially ones that are as guild-centered as Eve) rely on thinking that's a bit more collectivist than that of themepark games.

For exampel the feeling of:
"Wow, the group that I'm a part of has conquered territory X, nobody else in the entire game can claim that. We're awesome!"
applies whether or not you're the person who came up with the plan that allowed you to conquer territory X.

Also on a personal level I'm a huge history geek. Playing a game that can have a real history (with wars, alliances, empires rising and falling, and absolutely everything right down to the infantry being determined by real people) is just pure crack for a person like me. I don't have to be a leader to actually see history in a game developing over the course of years in a game around me.
 
As far as the definition of roleplaying games, it's hard to define since (at least for me) I find strategy games (like Civilization) vastly more conducive to roleplaying than games that are labelled "roleplaying."

Right now I'm GMing a Dresden Files RPG pen and paper game and the sort of roleplaying I'm getting in that one is just completely different from a computer game and advancement is really besides the point.
 
I think the big question in a sandbox game is: can you be happy if you aren't alexander?

Because the people who really want to be on top will be putting in a lot of hours, that's even assuming they have the soft skills. It's so hardcore that the WoW raid game pales in comparison.

But if you can be happy carving out your own niche then that won't matter.
 
Tobold, its ok to bash impact PvP/any MMO that isnt WoW etc. its your blog/opinion after all.

But this:
"Now EVE is a lot more carebear than Darkfall, because in EVE you can just stay in high security space. But even there you look at gameplay activities like mining or manufacturing and realize that it would take months to become even remotely competitive. Even buying low and selling high effectively needs skill training in EVE."
is just wrong. And i'm seeing this as an 3 month old eve-noob.

You can start trading on your first day. After maximum a week you have all skills you need until you'll operate with 10bil+ in orders. Trade IV, Retail III, accounting IV, Margin Trading III +minimum in learnings takes something like 5 days from scratch ( with remap and +3 imps).

You can start participating in PvP on your first day. Join a frig-zerg fleet at RvB or eve-uni and get pewing.
You can be competitive in "real" PvP in your first month of playing (lowsec, frigsize).
T2 ACs, Thermodynamics, Minmatar Frig IV, minimum in support skills and you can compete.

You can make some serious ISK (for a noob) after a few days with ninja-salvaging or salvaging after corp-mates.
Farming lvl 3s and easy L4s with noob-BS is possible after a few weeks....

While i enjoy eve i never tried Darkfall. Exactly because the "macro or GTFO" is a dealbreaker for me (and probably a lot of others who like other features like impact PvP, player-run universe etc.)
 
And that is a principal problem of PvP MMORPGs: MMORPGs by definition have character advancement, in one form or another. Whether it is time played, gear gathered, real time skill training, or skills used, a player of a MMORPG is always getting better with time.


Its a principal problem in EvE and DF. It was never a big problem in WoW as leveling was fast

Real players skills are ever present in multiplayer FPS and RTS (I bet you dont play them though as they a lot more brutal than any MMO- you cant fallback on your gear and levels , you lose or win entirely on skill)


SO yes PvP MMO needs a entirely "new" way ." -New to MMOS, not new in general. Horizontal advancement in form of badges, titles ,etc , maybe marginal improvements (1-5%).
 
Old post, but just wanted to say that's a really good point comparing pvp games like this to pyramid schemes - hit the nail on the head.
 
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