CZ Minutes: Slaves to the Grind

As a large portion of the CZ team, myself included, was making its way to #EVE_NT, CCP released a couple of dev blogs with rather drastic ramifications. The first dev blog details a fundamental change to how Citadels are captured in that they will shot instead of magic-wanded (entosis). However, in order to address the N+1 scalability of DPS, CCP have elected to counter it with damage mitigation beyond a certain level of DPS. It is a simple solution, the question is, is it elegant? What are the benefits to going back to an HP grind as opposed to the Entosis Link? Just to give dreads something to do, or is there more to it? The second dev blog, from everyone’s favorite executive producer CCP Seagull, consisted of a video in which she explained that CCP would bring back expansions. This is something I took the opportunity to speak with CCP Fozzie about on CZTV from #EVE_NT. It won’t be the expansions of old ad verbatim, but a hybrid model between continuous updates and large scale expansions. The obvious gain from this is the ability to market EVE and generate interest in a more traditional sense. The question is, what are the drawbacks, if any? Putting marketing aside, how do you personally feel about this? What ties both of these things together is that Citadels will be released as a part of the first of these new expansions, along with a new vision for capital ships. MukkBarovian: Over the summer I have been very angry with the direction that CCP has been going. This was exacerbated by the commentary we were receiving from CCP employees. I never believed CCP should fire Fozzie, but I was not fond of him and the things he had to say. CCP Seagull seemed to be MIA as far as communication with the greater community was concerned. I had problems with specific mechanics, with iteration on important systems, and things were bad. Reddit was up in arms, sometimes daily. CCP have managed a quick and remarkable turnaround from that sorry state of affairs and I am very happy to see it. They backed off their commitment to unpopular features. They changed the tone. And CCP Seagull is now visibly stepped in leading the effort. So things are good.
“I found the raging of this summer the most embarrassing collective behaviour I have seen from a part of the EVE community so far.”
Tarek: Contrary to many others I always had a more patient view of the developments as they went on. That may be easy to say for me as someone who is not invested in nullsec anymore, but even if I were, I don’t think I would have jumped on the bandwagon that was making the rounds through town every other day. I found the raging of this summer the most embarrassing collective behaviour I have seen from a part of the EVE community so far. That being said, I hope the senseless nerd rage is going to subside with the latest announcements. Of course there will now be the ones who start tinfoiling that CCP caved in to the major powerblocs, but that is just as ridiculous as the whining of all the players who complained that they can’t play EVE the same way they were used to in the last six years since Dominion. The most recent balance changes to Aegis sov were necessary, and the cap on jump fatigue is sensible too, although personally I would have made it a bit longer than just five days. The HP destruction requirement for Citadels also fits into the context of the sov mechanics. It would have been too easy to just hack some systems to destroy a station, and considering how many command nodes get spawned by every Entosis hack, regions with many Citadels would become ridiculous pretty fast. There is also something to be said for internal consistency of the game world too. It should require heavy firepower to blow up a massive structure. The one fighter shooting a torpedo down an exhaust port to the reactor should remain in the mythological realm of Star Wars. I also support the introduction of a diminishing return into the N+1 equation. In fact, I would love to see it being introduced even wider scale to end the stupidity of alpha vs. reps fleet battles. Call it targeting system interference if you like. Whether it is elegant or not, I consider it necessary. Concerning the change of the release methodology, I am personally in favour because actual expansions create focus points for marketing and this is something CCP will need. Fixing the game will appease existing players (if it doesn’t enrage them) but it does little to attract new ones. In a way I anticipated that CCP will eventually return to this model. Particularly when the roadmap for the redesign was finished. If we ever do get to the point of the player built stargates, that would be something on the level of Apocrypha where new space and new playstyles open up. You wouldn’t want to waste that marketing opportunity on a slow trickle of introducing such a major change over the course of five iterations. One final thing that Fozzie said, and I am not sure whether he said it on the broadcast, on the o7 show or in a private conversation, was that in the future they won’t publish devblogs under the name of a single developer but under the name of a whole team. I think this is a good idea, because that exposed position for single developers is not a healthy thing as we have seen in the last months. pvFsAGQ Dunk Dinkle: CCP’s approach to changing much of the null sec paradigm has been stretched out over a year and in halting phases.  This is understandable, but problematic, as parts of the game get out of balance.  For example, after the Phoebe expansion, the effective local power of Supercapitals increased significantly, since the risk of using them had dropped dramatically.  Each phase brings benefits and inevitably drawbacks that require remedy.  CCP has been doing a good job of watching and listening what actually happens and avoiding forum/Reddit blorfing. The use of damage in the Citadel vulnerability scheme will probably work well, considering the addition of damage mitigation.  The changes do move the concerns of pilots toward wondering what the roles of capitals will be going forward.  Dread pilots want something to shoot, and carrier pilots want a role as well.  With automagical regeneration on Citadels, there are outstanding questions, clearly. We’ll get answers at Eve Vegas, so judgement should be reserved until this critical piece is revealed. The role of capitals will make or break the plan for Citadels. Striking a good balance to make gameplay fun, fights encouraged, and investment in the new structures is a tough challenge, but I’m hopefully that the Dev Team has a good plan in place that can be tweaked as needed once the theorycrafters find the broken edge cases. Also, there should be new SKINs based on in-game metrics. Rep 100,000,000 HP, enable buying a special carrier SKIN. Kill 25+ carriers, enable buying a special dread SKIN. Make some crazy number of ships or mine silly amounts of ore, enable buying special SKINs. And, Tibus Heth was framed. Tarek: Malkalen was an inside job! Niden: I’m going to avoid speaking out of school for once and only talk about the return to expansions. As someone who works in marketing, I understand the need to return to expansions very well. EVE needs a shot in the arm after undergoing major surgery to nullsec sov and that’s what expansions will deliver I believe. Being able to traditionally hype up and market EVE makes it a lot easier to work with. Although I’m a big fan of Agile development, it’s only good if the customer is already hooked. You need the punching power of an expansion and the accompanying trailer to reach out to new people. I also think most of us veteran players miss the feeling of getting hyped about EVE. I look forward to Fanfest 2016 and seeing the expansion trailer on the big screen again.
Tags: cz minutes, CZM, dev blogs, expansions

About the author


12 year EVE veteran, Snuffed Out scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.

  • Tornike Khomeriki

    “I found the raging of this summer the most embarrassing collective behaviour I have seen from a part of the EVE community so far.”

    Exactly. It was close to disgusting to see the spoiled kindergarten riot about a feature that was a WiP.

    And I agree with Tarek on the probable benefits of introducing the damage mitigation model for ship vs ship combat to penalize blobs.

    • JZ909

      Completely agree on the raging. It was really, really stupid. I didn’t think trollceptors would work, but I did predict that in the off chance that they did, CCP would fix it. This was never really in doubt, and it didn’t take a hissy fit to make it happen.

      On damage mitigation. At some point, the rep vs. DPS war has to become a little more dynamic, it’s sucking the soul out of fights, and destroying intetesting meta choices. However, I think there are much better solutions than simple caps on damage or reps and I’d hate to see them settle for such a mechanic.

  • Saint Michael’s Soul

    The move to the new structures having HP again is a retrograde step. Supers weren’t useful anymore? Good.

    • Dermeisen

      The theory crafting around how to judge who won a fight was inspired, perhaps flawed in some specific respects, but salvageable. This turnabout regarding fatigue however is so misbegotten such an apologetic collapse of intent that it shakes my belief in ccp’s conviction. Back to Goliath rampages and the consolidation and polarisation of power, goodbye the aspirations of a new generation of younger, time rich, players that threaten the recently challenged meta. This block parasitism of the game threatens its health, bad idea CCP, how shallow you’ve become. However, I do hope I’m wrong and I remain excited and passionate about the future of eve.

  • Strata Maslav

    The rage was obviously a side effect of the release cadence. People thought Fozzie Sov would directly drive conflict which it did not. In conjunction with certain evasive tactics for harassment such as trollceptors, the release brought very little additional ‘fun’.
    My main concern for CCP’s current path is the lack of conflict drivers. Why should any entity try to displace parts of the CFC or CFC another entity? Space seems too flat and not dynamic enough to drive conflict.

    We need dynamic sources of wealth. For example nullsec solar system or constellation should receive ‘super asteroids’ (+100% mineral yield) or ‘super pirates’ (+100% bounty) for a month. Entities might actually fight to control these spaces in real time. Pure pvp entities might setup a blockage on the system, where as a larger entity might look to secure the income for its members.

    • Ben Ishikela

      For “Space Jealousy” we need Geography to matter. But JumpDrives ignore that with quite a portion.

  • Messiah Complex

    From Tarek: “I also support the introduction of a diminishing return into the N+1 equation. In fact, I would love to see it being introduced even wider scale to end the stupidity of alpha vs. reps fleet battles. Call it targeting system interference if you like. Whether it is elegant or not, I consider it necessary.”
    I had (a version) of this thought as soon as I was reading the damage mitigation section on the September 17 dev blog. Then I had this weird vision of a continuous target spectrum breaker effect on every ship that would serve to mitigate both incoming damage *and* reps.
    Like I said: it was weird.

    • Strata Maslav

      TL:DR, Lets add offensive weapon systems that counter effectiveness of rep power of logistics while maintaining a reasonable time till ship death to allow targeted players to react to incoming fire.

      There are so many directions that CCP could go that might allow players to deminish the effectiveness of Logi. One way would be a the introduction of a new EWAR type, that slowly reduced the effectiveness of remote repairs on the targeted ship. For example the debuff could start at 10% reduction in efficiency and each cycle could cumulatively add 10% up to an upperlimit of between 50-70%.

      If the debuff wasn’t refreshed within say 20 seconds (10 second cycle time) then it would be removed fully. So warp off of grid or getting range of the debuffing ship would allow you to receive reps. While the aggressor would want to keep you locked down and eventually break you.

      Another alternative is weapons platforms with low initial DPS which after each consecutive cycle increases in damage. Imagine a wave emitter which slowly heats up the hull of the ship (your spacepotato in a microwave). If there was a limit to amount of these weapons that could be targeted on a single ship or create (deminishing returns, lets call it ‘wave interference’) then you could ensure that large fleet would have to split their focus to several targets. The target in this case would see that they were under fire and it would be best if they could get range on the aggressor. This would give the pilot a meaningful chance at piloting his ship to safety and allow his ship to ‘cooldown’ while if his ship is successfully tackled the damage would continue to pile up until their destruction. Logistics could give the pilot more time to escape but we wouldn’t have the current stagnation that can result in high logistics counts in fleet fights.

      • Messiah Complex

        My (half-cooked) concept: (1) conceive of sensor strength as a point value, (2) a given hull type can be targeted by a certain number of “points” of sensor strength with no “targeting interference,” (3) once the number of points is exceeded, additional points start creating targeting interference, (4) targeting interference increases exponentially.

        What is targeting interference (TI)? It means each additional ship above the baseline has a chance to have its lock fail. Let’s say that you want to have a baseline of 10 frigates being able to lock another (one) frigate with no TI. Let’s assume that the average sensor strength of a frigate is 10 (it’s not, but it’s nice and round). A frigate-sized ship could therefore be targeted by up to 100 points of sensor strength before additional target locks start failing.

        How often do locks fail when TI starts? Oh fuck: math. You could make a formula where TI increases until 100% of locks fail after 200 points, or 1000 points, or whatever. The point is that ships that already have a lock don’t lose it, but additional ships trying to target the frigate are failing to lock at an ever-increasing rate. That includes friendly logistics ships.

        Like I said: half-cooked. But it’s an idea.