Shadow of the Serpent EVE Online

CZ Minutes: 118.6

 

The 118.6 release is stacked with changes, as well as featuring the much anticipated Shadow of the Serpent in its payload. Setting the event and the issues it’s had aside for a minute, we have some significant changes to fighters as well as other capital-related things, updates to the tactical overlay, graphics and animation updates (among others, the hotly debated docking animation), legalisation of boosters, updates to the NPE, added features for citadels, and so on. Some of these updates have been warmly welcomed by the players, while others have them going for the old pitchforks again. What’s your view?

What about the Shadow of the Serpent? Have you had a chance to interact with it, and if so, what is your impression? How did CCP handle the launch of this ambitious feature? What is your impression of how it’s rolling out in the “real world”?

Rixx – I’m sorry I don’t do impressions.

Ashley Traynor- To me, the biggest talking point of this release is definitely the Shadow of the Serpent event itself. Replacing dailies, The Scope Network now takes its own place on the overview and guides pilots towards a plethora of red crosses to shoot, each one a little duller than the last. That’s where I feel the problems lie in this update, not so much about a slightly awkward camera or the janky placement of a Nag turret, but in how boring the actual content is.

CCP are building off their recent successes with Frostline and Crimson Harvest but not in the way that actually made them popular. Last year we had so many players wanting to run those sites since they were so lucrative, not because they actually wanted to grind. You could have earned billions by playing your cards right and training speed increases were just the icing on the cake. Now, with Shadow of the Serpent we are being told that we have to put in about 15 hours worth of grinding just to reach the lowest reward of some customisation options and a single cerebral booster. Even stepping up your game from there throws you into a gauntlet of 70+ hours in order to pull a faction dread shaped rabbit out of a hat by the end of it.

To most of us, this sort of commitment is beyond reasonable reach

To most of us, this sort of commitment is beyond reasonable reach. Sure you could squeeze in one or two hours consistently for the next 40 days straight but who even has that time any more? The Eve player base is certainly an aged one and you’d be hard pressed to find players willing to tell their husband or wife: “No I can’t see the kids, I missed my krabbing yesterday and have 4 hours to catch up on today.” My thought is that CCP should have played on that, this event should have been much more modular. There should have been more opportunities for playing well rather than shutting yourself in a dark room and clicking red crosses for weeks. Discussing how to make PvE actually skill-based though, that may be a topic for another time.

EVE Online Serpentis Serpati

Cosmo: A lot of this patch content, the carrier changes in particular, can be adressed by people more in the know, i’m just really happy with the extra overview tabs and the little vector arrow in the tactical mode.

Also i should also probably write a long-winded speech about the NPE opportunities and the evolution of the dailies/seasonals but after so many iterations for almost a full year, I’m just tired. I should be more excited about them but for some reason, they just end up falling flat for me. The progression just feels slow, like checking back every few months on an Early Access game and not really seeing much change in between. Sure, it’s different, maybe even an improvement, but it’s far from where you expected it to be a year from when you first made contact with it. And sure, it’s CCP, and that’s their speed and how they do things, and sure, the codebase may be extensive and complex, and the social metrics defangling necessary to get the activity and participation they want.. but as i said, i’m tired.

And it doesn’t help that they moved away from the Crimsom Harvest per-site reward system to this overarching grinding metagame. It works well in World of Tanks for seasonal-long-term-rewards since it blends with what you’re already doing, but the way it’s implemented now? It’s like starting in one of the later Assassin’s Creed games after playing the series so far. You start, do the tutorial, then finally look at the map and you know exactly how your next 40 hours there will go. Map reveal towers, side missions, equipment grinding, looking for secrets, etc.

The only reason i can think CCP is having this much trouble with it is due to not seeing the forest for the trees. They’ve been doing this for so long, it’s hard to take the necessary steps back to see a fuller picture, even outside the context of their game, in the context of the evolution of microtransaction powered freemium gameplay. As much as we say that the Eve community is unique, i think that’s very often an overstatement. Think about the fact that a lot of freemium games are made to be casual, hour, two-hour long romps at most, which should mesh fantastically with Eve’s ‘aged’ playerbase with apparently little time to dedicate.

And the—

Fuck… i did write a long-winded speech, didn’t i? Whatever, i’m done, peace out.

Niden: All I know is that we finally have more overview tabs. Thank god, finally. Now if they’d just overhaul the broken mess that is the overview in general… The direction and orbit indicators on the tactical overlay are pretty sweet too. The community (especially those of us that PvP) have been asking for these for a long time and CCP finally delivered.

Obviously, Shadow of the Serpent is the big one in this patch, but I just don’t interact with EVE in that way and honestly haven’t checked it out. From what I’ve heard, however, besides the issues it’s had, It seems like a bold new direction for CCP and appears to be engaging players, which means more people in space and more people for me to shoot, so all good. As Ashley mentioned, it still has some pretty big kinks that need ironing out though. Whatever the case, CCP will have a wealth of data to work with when they get back from summer vacation in order to take this new avenue of EVE gameplay to where it needs to be.

Having faced fighters a couple of times, I think it’s good that their rebalance is giving players more tools to deal with them. Also, retaining ECM immunity in siege was a good change and I’m glad CCP were flexible on the issue.

I would be remiss not to mention the new, secondary lighting. It looks bloody amazing. Well done CCP art team, my Mach has never looked this good <3

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Tags: 118.6, cz minutes, patch

About the author

Niden

Perpetrator of thuggery in low security space, artist, and known as “The Stalin of Crossing Zebras” - Niden is the Editor-in-Chief of CZ.

  • Messiah Complex

    With Frostline and Crimson Harvest, PvE took a small step forward: shorter time frames, more reasonable bounties, player competition, and a decent chance at valuable drop.

    Shadow of the Serpent is CCP falling back on old habits: you get nothing without grind. Tedium reigns.

    • Druik Arbosa

      I found Shadow of the Serpent was a lot more accessible when compared to the Frost Line and Blood Raider events, but geeze, combat sites are way more technical and lucrative in the short term.

      • Messiah Complex

        I do see more SotS sites around than with the previous events, now that you’ve mentioned it.

        • Druik Arbosa

          And all you need is a smart bombing bs.

          • Messiah Complex

            ‘Til someone else warps in on top of you.

          • Druik Arbosa

            One would hope that;
            a. You move away from the warpin.
            b. You fit a couple of warp stabs.
            c. Don’t be a sore loser when you get tackled by a Fed Nav Mallus that stays out of your smart bomb range. 😛

      • Bryan Frye

        agreed triedndoing them during the 3 day weekend playing nonstop when they popped up … didnt seem worth it past that realizing my progress vs other things i could be doing