CZ Minutes: Rat Attack


So last week we discussed the classic meme ‘Eve is real’ and what that means to the wider player base. This week we discuss the disaster that is PvE in Eve, whether it can be improved, indeed, whether or not the resources should be allocated to improve it…

Xander: PvE in Eve has been derided for a long time by all quarters. Incursions went some way to improving the situation but have seen virtually zero iteration since released at the start of 2011. CCP have tried to mix things up with Data, Relic and Ghost sites but the majority of Eve PvE is still a very boring process of rescuing damsels and shooting red crosses with terrible AI. How do CCP go about fixing this? Exactly how much effort should CCP put into this over fixing other problematic areas of the game?

Niden: That’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? How much time should be allocated for PvE. PvP issues are pushed on a daily basis and the part of the community heavily involved in it is also the most vocal. Developing PvE means taking time away from PvP, there are no two ways about it. The question is; do we, the players, actually want to sacrifice PvP in favor of a PvE overhaul? I’m not that certain that we do.

The counter-argument is that opinion is lopsided on this simply because PvE is not particularly compelling, creating a catch 22. I think the solution is not to overhaul PvE at large, but find a limited area of PvE to improve on, with a limited amount of man hours allotted. I however, being more or less a PvE noob, have no clue where a good area of focus would be.

Xander: What’s frustrating to me is that at first, Incursions were so cool! The whole concept of cooperative PvE was so well implemented. And since then, CCP have done exactly nothing to iterate on them and the likes of ISN and TVP have more or less ‘solved’ Incursions to the point that they are almost as boring as normal PvEing now.

They had another attempt at something a little different with the hacking mini-game and Ghost sites but again, there has been no iteration of the former and the latter are exceptionally rare.

But the ultimate problem is, sure, PvE is broken but do we want to see dev hours poured into it at the expense of more pressing issues such as POS reworks and sovereignty mechanic fixes?


Joran: I think iterating on PvE every time it becomes ‘easy’ is the slope to the theme park. I don’t think we need better PvE. If someone spends their Eve time shooting red crosses, I can’t hate them, but I don’t want to make it more enjoyable. Group PvE already has a lot going for it as far as endless grinding.

Xander: That’s interesting Joran. You don’t think CCP shouldn’t spend any resources improving the current state of PvE in Eve?

Joran: Any is a strong word, but major iteration? Definitely not, and especially not a plan to iterate every time PvE gets ‘figured out’, because the idea of making ratting an engaging activity is flawed. Even aside from that, though, I don’t think it’s smart for CCP as a business to iterate on PvE, because nothing they can do will be able to compete with modern MMOs. They need to stick within their core competencies. I also think it’s important to distinguish between ratting and industry, which can be as engrossing as anything else in Eve given the circumstances. Incursions were a brilliant idea because it brings the idea of group PvE to the masses. Once you’ve hit that ability to make mad bank by shooting the shit with your corpmates for a couple hours a week, that’s all anyone could ask for.

Niden: Joran, at the core of your argument there is a problem. Generally PvE pays for PvP, to a significant extent, in the current manifestation of EVE Online. If CCP are to focus on non-PvE elements going forward (that I btw think is not in itself a flawed principle) there needs also needs to be more money making in PvP and other core qualities of EVE that set it apart. Simply leaving PvE where it is and having it fill the same role it does today is detrimental to the game over time. There are two options here; either improve the quality of PvE or have other parts of the game generate the resources that PvE currently does, and improve upon those instead.

Forlorn: I think PvP brings a lot of income, not during, but afterwards. At least as far as farming NPCs in null or plexes in low is concerned. The only relevant changes that CCP did to PvE was the changes of AI aggro but in 90% of that mission/plex content has not been touched since ten years. The last full PvE thing that CCP developed was Incursions, and that was the theme for a whole expansion. Usually during the down times of campaigns I still do PvE. It is a dumb feature as it is now but I find it rather relaxing. In my opinion CCP is better off introducing new PvE content instead of polishing the old stuff, as it probably requires a lot of old code revamp which probably falls into POS mechanics as well.

Tags: cz minutes, eve, pve, rat

About the author

Xander Phoena

The good looking, funny, intelligent member of the team, Xander set up Crossing Zebras with Jeg in April 2012 mainly because he was talking too much about Eve on his other podcast. Playing the game for almost five years, Xander still has absolutely zero clue about how to actually play Eve but somehow still manages to talk a good game.