Wednesday, April 17, 2013

BB46: The New Frontier...


or~ Blog Banter 46: Wagon Train to the Stars…

"EVE Online is a unique piece of science fiction that is ‘participatory’." - CCP Seagull, December 2012
EVE Online is heading into its Second Decade with renewed vigor and a new development strategy. At the CSM Summit in December, Executive Producer CCP Unifex and Development Director CCP Seagull explained how future development and expansions will be broader in scope than recent "collections of features" stating that CCP "want to create something more inspirational, that players aspire to play."

With the return of Live Events such as the Battle for Caldari Prime, clearly the prime fiction of EVE is back in favor as part of this new thematic approach to expansions. However, EVE's story is very much a tale of two playstyles, with an entirely player-driven narrative unfolding daily in parallel to the reinvigorated backstory. Often, they do not mix well.

How can these two disparate elements be united or at least comfortably co-exist in a single sandbox universe?

Banter On.

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In a nutshell my answer to this month’s Burning Question is… that the issue is not ‘can’ New Eden’s backstory or ‘lore’ co-exist with the ongoing player driven ‘emergent’ content, but how to create situations, stories, events that allow them to blend together.

The main issue as I see it is for CCP to avoid having a preset, or predetermined ending to any particular event. EvE players being what they are will in many if not most cases (and in ALL cases re Goons) work against any predetermined outcomes. See the Battle for Caldari Prime as an example. The Goons main after-action whine was they had the ‘Shigeru’ repped and holding, they could have ‘saved’ it until CCP stepped in and in godlike transcendence ‘interfered’ with the emergent outcome. So, for the Goons, this was just one more example of how CCP is screwing with the ‘sandbox ideal’.

In this case the “Shigeru” (the Caldari Titan) was fated to fall (CCP predetermined outcome), IMHO because CCP needed (had decided) that this was a Golden Opportunity to show off the tie-in between EvE & DUST… I mean, you can’t get much bigger than half a Titan crashing to the ground… from low orbit… in the middle of an Epic DUST Faction War Ground Battle… due to an Epic EvE Faction War Space Battle. The “Lore” has been expanded… Caldari Primes is freed from the Shadow of The Titan… the planet now has Burning Craters you can see from space… and CCP got a larger than life EvE/DUST trailer out of it.

The whole ‘predetermined’ and Goons ‘CCP was interfering’ issue is just that Goons will always, ALWAYS, take sides against CCP or against ANY preset, predetermined outcome, ending or whatever because… Goons first Loyalty is to Goons and their second is to Chaos. Always remember the Goon Creed, “We don’t want to ruin The Game, we want to ruin YOUR game.” which means ALL of the rest of us. Meanwhile ‘the rest of us’ who were there, especially the Fac War RP players, seemed to get very into the spirit of the whole thing or just have a lot of fun with what was basically a Hisec/Dreads Allowed/Kitchen Sink FFA.

So how could CCP blend the Ongoing Lore with Emergent Content? Well, future ‘events’ in New Eden will have to adhere to a few rules, they must:
(1) take place within the current Lore and not break past Lore;
(2) be crafted in such a way that the ending is not predetermined, can be ‘emergent’ and become official Lore (without breaking older Lore);
(3) keep in mind how EvE players LOVE to ‘game the game’ and will ALWAYS do the unexpected.

To work with we have the Faction Wars… Caldari v Gallente & Amarr v Minmatar, we have Sansha’s Incursions into the Empires, the mystery of the EVE Gate and the deeper mystery of Jove Space just to name a few. Now these are all accessible from Empire or Known Space. And in Anoikis or Wormhole Space we have the deepest mysteries of the Sleepers and the almost mythical Talocan. Now that EVE & DUST are readying for full link up all of the Empire War Settings have even greater possibilities. And Space Exploration is one of the oldest staples of SciFi… truly unlimited possibilities.

In Empire we have War…
Tibus Heth is a whack job and so is Sansha Koveki… either of them can be used to kick off live events the outcome of which could be determined by Emergent Gamplay. Similar to the downing of the Caldari Titan only without the foregone conclusion and the need for CCP to step in and assure things happen as scripted…

And we have Exploration…
Opening Jove Space is something all players want as every time we open the starmap we can see ‘em… they’re right frakkin over there… but we can’t get to em. Like ripe fruit hangin from a tree in the next field but we can’t climb the fence. Our mouths water for the sweet fruit and our trigger fingers itch for the fights that will win us that golden nectar… but…

What about outside of New Eden? What about the rest of the Galaxy…?
What if it was something as simple as a new type of wormhole starts opening into a new, unexplored star cluster, and few of these new wormholes are awe inspiringly large phenomena and seem to have no mass limits and they never close… They are determined to be Stable and so they do not have to be scanned down and CONCORD puts them ‘on the map’…

The systems in this new region only appear on the starmap as they are explored… and these systems are all connected by ages old Talocan Gates that CONCORD is able to bring back online as each system is opened allowing us to explore this new region gate by gate. But… to open the system we must first fight for it… because for the first time we encounter Sleepers in normal space… but they are camping the gates and actively defending these systems. We would have to overcome them and drive them from each system by taking their stations. But these are different from New Eden’s stations. Here you do not win by attacking the structure; you win by destroying the defenses... and then, by boarding and taking the station, on foot.

Once the Fleets of Sleepers and the station guns, missiles and Ewar towers are destroyed the station itself becomes open to Boarding Parties of DUSTERS… Outside it’s the guns, missiles and fleets that are hard to beat… (not some unbearable and time killing structure bash) but Inside it’s the Sleepers, Sleeper Drones and automated interior defenses that have to be eradicated hand to hand in order to ‘take’ each station in a system. And while the DUSTERS are hard at it inside, we are hard pressed Outside keeping the Sleepers reinforcements from reaching the station and repping their defenses. Only once the last Sleeper is dead inside the last station will the Sleepers reinforcements retreat from a system allowing CONCORD to begin work on any gates leading out... This is also how EvE/DUST corps can wrest control of stations from each other and exploit the new riches to be found here…

And, as we explore deeper and into higher (class?) systems we begin to see recent signs of a race long believed to be extinct… might we even meet, and fight… the Talocan themselves? with the tantalizing possibilities inherent in Talocan salvage and tech… maybe even a new meta, T4? We would find and explore new planets, moons and asteroid belts with the possibility of never before discovered minerals and ores…

The New Frontier would not be Hisec… nor Lowsec nor Nullsec not even Negsec. CONCORD would move in with us as we explored and they would build a presence in the Frontier but their role here would be different as this is a different kinda space. With CONCORD working so far from Empire they would be more a roving law enforcement like the old west Marshalls than a permanent presence in any given system. One day a system would have a CONCORD fleet, or a squad, or a maybe just a 2 ship patrol docked up and response times and tactics would equal 1.0 Hisec… the next day they have moved on and now that systems security is the same as Nullsec… or Lowsec… or Negsec… you never KNOW until someone breaks the law and CONCORD undocks, or doesn’t...

And we discover that no one can ‘claim Sov’, not us nor the Empires or Factions. You can fight for and hold individual stations, but not the systems… The Talocan gates work similar to wormholes with differing mass limits for different systems. The richest systems allow capitols but the poorer ones don’t… and CONCORD cannot get ‘local’ up and running, it seems the Talocan gate network doesn’t support that…

The Lore of this New Frontier would be written totally by us… Travel to and from the Frontier would be possible by the few new Stable Wormholes and normal random holes would begin connecting from both Empire and Anoikis to this New Frontier also…

Obviously I am interested in seeing a variant of the rules of W-space applied to a large new region of K-space with an ever changing security status for each system that is not ‘listed’ anywhere. Where taking and holding something requires you fight for it and be ready to defend it because it is worth fighting for (and FUN too!). A new region in EvE where the small gangs not massive fleets rule… but for everyone… not just us lucky few who live on the other side of the sky.  =]


Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

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3 comments:

  1. Thank you... TBH I wasn't sure where this was going when I started typing... it kinda wrote itself and was, therefore... as surprise to me as I read it! I liked my idea's too as a reader... (the Muse is a strange and fickle master...)

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