Thursday, May 30, 2013

Slowest Kid in the Class FTW!!

~or, “No Moar Lost in Space…”

This may be my very first ‘Oh dear gods is CCP stoopid’ post. A sentiment I generally do not believe or promulgate but while the WiS part of Incarna was an extreme management and foresight failure, THIS is an intentional bag-full-of-fail… and as such they do deserve the Stoopid tag this time. What follows is all pulled directly from this Dev Blog, “Probe Scanning and other Goodies for Odyssey” and its feedback thread.

CCP SoniClover gives details on Directional and Probe Scanning changes (amongst others) coming in Odyssey and the reasoning behind them… in a nutshell, “The goal was to try to make exploration as easily accessible in the early stages as (mining and missioning), as exploration allows players to experience better the unique flair of EVE than mining or missioning does.”.

That’s it. The main objective with the changes to Directional and Probe Scanning are to make it LESS DIFFICULT (IE nerf it) for noobs in order to give them another accessible venue for initial ISK making other than mining and missioning.

Here is my gripe…

I.   Magic Probes.

"The recall and expire options have been changed a bit – recall is now instantaneous and happens automatically on system jump or dock. Probes still have a timer, but instead of being lost when the timer is out, they automatically recall instead... No more forsaken probes in space!"

‘Magic’ probes are probes that do not ‘time out’, instawarp back into your hold and cannot be lost… This is IMHO, the worst possible change and the worst possible gameplay breaker in the Odyssey changes. The reason is it breaks Risk and Immersion.

This breaks ‘Risk’, making EvE ‘Safer’ because probes are the ONLY way to gain access to some (used to be many) sites in new Eden… among them the wormholes that lead to Anoikis. Without probes, no one can explore W-space, ever. This breaks the single biggest inherent Risk one takes when one jumps into a wormhole (and one of the reasons it is so damned exciting) and that is, getting back out again.

Because Probes are a piece of autonomous equipment, they have a definitive ‘life’ and as things stand now you really have to watch what you're doing because if you run out of ‘time’ your probes die AND if you dunt have more in your hold… you are well and truly screwed… all of which creates excitement and Risk and Immersion and without which we have the beginnings of WoW in Space… What’s next? Spells to stabilize wormholes and make them appear on Dscan as warpables so new players can’t ever get lost?

SoniClover says ‘no more forsaken probes in space’ like it’s a GOOD thing… How in hell can he feel that way about removing an inherent risk so badly? I can only assume the Great Nerf Creep has begun… the need to bring in and retain new players and open EvE to the mass market may now be the Clarion Call of CCP. This is a weather change away from the PvP oriented ‘Risk is Real’ sandbox ideal that the game was based on and that the current playerbase has grown up with.

If I sound bitter, it’s ‘cause I am about this particular change because it is not ‘needed’ in order to make the game more accessible to new players. It does not stop, nerf or change any form of Non-Consensual PvP, it only removes an acceptable and well documented risk taken by the player himself. This breaks Risk completely in this area of EvE and once you start down that road… once you say, come on, it’s just 'a little change’ here and ‘a little change’ there… then the end is written on the wall… one day we will wake to find ourselves in Trammel surrounded by hoards of 12 year olds… all playing EvE in God Mode... now won't THAT be just so much fun!

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


  1. It's also fun, and occasionally wanted, to leave probes behind in a w-space system to enhance the locals' paranoia.

    No can do in Odyssey.

  2. LOL... and here I thought I was sooo sneaky... just goes to prove there's nothing new under any sun. =]

  3. I don't like the move from gravimetric to ore sites but ratting anomalies don't need to be scanned down either.
    I can also understand CCP wanting to make exploration more accessable but for me exploration is defined by probing something down. Anomalies don't count since there is no effort required.
    But making eploration easier accessable "in the early stages" has nothing to do with teleporting probes that don't expire while in space. Because really, if we can have teleporting probes, what about drones, fighters and bombers?

  4. Raziel, I actually don’t like most of the changes but, that is most likely because I am ‘used’ to things the way I learned them and I like things that way. Plus I’m a wee bit anal and a detail nut, I love puzzle solving and so much of EvE mirrors Real Life complexity in this way but… but I can put up with most of them for reasons given below, however the idea of ‘magic’ teleporting probes with infinite life is not making exploration moar ‘accessible’ to noobs… it’s just nerfing the fuk outta good complexity and dumbing down the gameplay… just like making these same changes for drones and fighters etc. would be.

    The reason’s I am willing to put up with minor changes I don’t necessarily like (and that don’t break my belief in Virtuality and Immersion in EvE) is because I strongly believe in two main tenets that I feel CCP has long based their work on…

    1. Keep things interesting. To not allow the mechanics of EvE to grow or remain static, IE boring by continuously adding new mechanics, and changing actual gameplay not just the scenery, they keep us ALL on our toes, needing to adapt and learn. And by forcing us to constantly adapt and learn they keep the game new and exciting for all of us, from the newest noob to the bitterest ’03 vet. Change is the only constant IRL and this basic truth of life is well mirrored in EvE.

    2. Life is complex and difficult, EvE should be too. There is no Manual for Life (the Bible, Quaran, etc., etc. notwithstanding). EvE should, and has to a great degree, mirrored this basic truth of life also… and I have argued that IRL we tend to creatively come up with ways & means to simplify and ease the burdens in our lives… but in doing so we usually add the complexity of the tools & means used to ease these burdens.

    We do not necessarily make life ‘easier’ so much as change drudgery into something more interesting to ‘us’. Take washing clothes for instance…

    Back in the day we used to gather the clothing, carry them down to the creek and individually ‘scrub’ them against the rocks, or sit outside or in the kitchen and manually ‘scrub’ them in a washtub with warm water and soap against a washboard then lay them on the rocks or hang them on a line to dry, collect them fluff & fold…

    Now, with washing machines, we gather the clothing, carry it to the laundry room, separate by colors and fabrics, put a load in the machine, add detergent/softener and run a cycle (<- removal of scrubbing), then move them from the washer to the dryer, run a cycle, take them out, fluff & fold… BUT… with the washer dryer, we have added the skills needed to fix them if something goes wrong, we need electrical service to our homes, and the support thereof, we need the detergents and softeners, anti-static sheets, etc., etc., ad nauseam…

    So the washer and dryer have not ‘simplified’ the chore of washing clothes… it has just made it more interesting and replaced the drudgery.

    The question with EvE is EVERYTHING can be automated… it is not a ‘real world’ it is a computer simulacrum and therefore can be coded so all you ever have to do is press F1… The EULA and TOS are all about how we are not allowed to automate the game because we CAN.

    I think the payers need a PGLA and a TFP… a Program Developer License Agreement and a, Terms For Playing that CCP has to agree to… A definitive ‘here is what CCP can and can’t do to the game’… nice idea but we (the playerbase) would never get past drafting up the first paragraph without someone(s) getting podded… =]

  5. Actually, there is now a way to leave probes behind: disconnect/abandon them, then jump, then reconnect when you jump back.

    What it's easy to forget after you've trained Astrometrics 5 and bombed around wormholes for a while is how absolutely (@*%)@#%*@#(%*@#% completing the scanning tutorial was back in the day. It took me three hours, including frantic pinging of corpmates and squinting at YouTube videos, to resolve my first signature. This is a common problem, because nothing about the scanning interface gives you any indication of how the probes work, so there's nothing intuitive about it, and also because if you've taken the proffered frigate with no scanning bonuses and no rigs and trained Astrometrics to 1 or 2, good luck finding anything.

    To be blunt, this looks like some relatively quick fixing. But "making exploration more accessible to new players" means, in this particular case, tearing down one of the few genuine learning cliffs remaining in the tutorials. That's fine with me. The rest... could have been done more elegantly, IMO, but I'm willing to wait and see what it stabilizes into after a few iterations.

    1. So much THIS... "...tearing down one of the few genuine learning cliffs remaining in the tutorials." =]

  6. The problem with CCP's aim of making exploration 'more accessible' and the changes made are that they don't align. 'More accessible would be giving access to 8 probes with the basic skill trained, and having the basic skill already learnt. This is being done, and this is a positive change. However, the other changes don't really make exploration more accessible but simplified, and simplification doesn't necessarily encourage players to try something new.

    For example, the default probe configurations are not helpful. Sure, they are convenient, but they give the wrong message to the scanner. If CCP have created configurations that are optimal, then there is nothing to learn about probe placement and positioning. If the configurations are not optimal, perhaps to encourage experimentation, then the convenience of the default configurations is lost because the probes will always have to be repositioned after launch in to a more optimal configuration.

    So either CCP have already done it right and there's nothing to learn, or they've not and we have to fiddle with probes as before. There's no convenience for the experienced scanner, and the beginner will not think to move the probes from what CCP imply is right. The best idea would have been to have no default configurations but an option to save one or more player-defined configurations. Then we would have experimentation done, guides written, and experience counting for something.

    1. So much this too...

      1. "...the other changes don't really make exploration more accessible but simplified, and simplification doesn't necessarily encourage players to try something new."

      2. "the default probe configurations are not helpful... ...they give the wrong message to the (NEW) scanner."

      3. " convenience for the experienced scanner, and the beginner will not think to move the probes from what CCP implies is right." and they will LEARN nothing.


  7. As a wormhole dweller, I like the scanning change. The old system wasn't polished at all.

    The risk of wormhole isn't the scanning, so these change really don't make wormholes any easier. Most newbies get killed when they forget to cloak after entering a wormhole.

    I really don't understand why you make such a big deal about these changes. It seems to me that you're mostly over-reacting. These changes have nothing to do with wow-in-space or wormhole stabilizer.

    By the way, the main reason why our people get stuck in wormhole is when their scanner gets killed or when they jump through a wormhole without probes, and it collapses behind them.

    1. Tahna, I full well expect a helluvalotta people will “like” the new changes… my friend Mab loves them… but just because you ‘like’ something does not mean it is necessarily a GOOD thing. I like to drink and smoke… and I believe we can all agree that is not necessarily a good thing.

      And I am sorry but how in hell can you say scanning is not a risk in holes?? NO ONE I have known in almost 3 years full time in holes has ever believed that, quite the opposite. The Magic Autowarpiing Immortal Probes ENSURES no one will ever get lost in space again… no matter your skills, in game or life.

      And I don’t know where you get you statistics on cloneloss from on ‘cloaking mistakes vs probe mistakes’… but no matter which is responsible for moar clonelosses, these changes totally remove one of those inherent risks, and that is nothing but an unnecessary Risk Nerf.

      I agree that probeloss it not a high statistic killer… but it is a ‘risk’, an element of gameplay that can get you killed that is NOT related to something someone else did to you, but is directly something you do to yourself. Making us safer from each other, or ourselves, goes against the nature of EvE. Jumping w/o probes, having a low mass or crit hole close behind you when you do not have probes are risks that remain…. until CCP nerfs them with a safety ‘warning’ or some such mechanic.

      Life does not come with warnings and magic probes… and I don’t want EvE too either. And, personally, I think you and all those who love these changes are under-reacting… It’s not the big changes that can lead us to Trammel… (read WoW in Space) it’s the little changes… the Nerf Creep… making this a little easier here and a little easier there that can, over time, lead inevitably to EvE on Easy Mode… THAT is my fear and why I am on this particular soapbox yelling at one and all to LOOK and THINK where this can (not will, but can) lead…

  8. So much truth in this post and its comments. Hopefully we get them to make probes behave like they do now. It is a shame to make them handled that easy. If I deploy my drones and forget to scoop them they are lost. That what should happen to probes too. Or make them One time charges and a bit cheaper. Eve doesn't survive because it is friendly, it survives because your actions matter and stuff you lost have to rebuild by you or someone else.

    Pushing hidden belts into the anomaly section is also bad. They should be precious and the challenge to find them is well deserved. If CCP wants Mining anomalies move the default belts into anoms but keep the grav sites as signatures. But most likely it is too late for this.

    By the way you should be able to leave probes behind by deactivating them. Then they won't get back to your ship when you leave system.

    1. I love when my dear readers make ME think!! Yes , yes and YES!!! If Drones, a vastly moar sophisticated system one would assume, can get ‘lost’ then Dammit, Probes should too!

      Quoted for Truth…
      “Eve doesn't survive because it is friendly, it survives because your actions matter and 'stuff you lost has to rebuild' by you or someone else.”

      CCP, how is it GOOD to REMOVE 'loss' from EvE?? ANSWER ME THAT!!

    2. Another thought occurs... They (CCP) want to make Exploration as accessible as mishing & mining and to make Exploration an ALTERNATIVE to mishing & mining... yet, they simplified (nerfed) access to mining sites...

      So our carefree nubbins can experience the joy that is moar easily scanning down MINING sites... say wha?


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