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Skill Points, Dailies, RoT and You

 

Back in the days before EVE was twinkle in the eyes of some Icelanders, there was Ultima Online.

Ultima Online (UO) was the first significant MMORPG ever. Back in those glorious days of dial-up modem internet access and 2D isometric gameplay, UO was revolutionary. PvP was non-consensual except in town (high sec) and known as Player Killing (PK). Players engaged in chopping wood or mining ore were PKed (ganked) by other players that notoriety level was so high they weren’t allowed into town (-10.0 security status).

When a player was killed the armor, weapons, and other equipment were left on their corpse for the victor to loot, while the ghost had to travel back to town (station) to resurrect (respawn). Some players would wait in instanced dungeons (deadspace) for others doing quests (missions) or killing monsters (rats), to kill them and take their loot, which was better than carpenters and miners.

At one point, the player frustration with non-consensual PvP was so great, the developers introduced Trammel, a mirror image of the ‘shard’ where non-consensual PvP was banned. Players could choose to live entirely in Trammel and avoid PKs entirely. A bunch of players got mad and posted on forums, so the developers created Siege Perilous, a shard with no Trammel, and an exceedingly tough rule set. It was the Hard Shard. Yet, many, including myself, flocked there for the challenge, even though it meant starting our characters over with no skills, equipment (ships), or gold (ISK).

But there is beauty in suffering and we joined a clean world and aimed to make it our own.

Soon, the problems of UO’s random generated skill point system, which typically was done by macro-driven grinding of repetitive actions, became all too apparent. But macroing is Bad and would get you kicked.

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Players wanted to rapidly increase their skills to allow access to gear and gold, but developers wanted players PLAYING THE GAME, not killing time doing repetitive non-interactive stuff. 

So they implemented Rate over Time (RoT), a system that guaranteed an amount of skill gain in the first hour you logged on and made macroing and grinding skills a non-issue.

Players complained vociferously in the forums when it was announced. But shortly, everyone realized that it was more fun to play and kill each other than grind skills on a target dummy for hours on end. Soon, players logged in, started playing, and there was much fighting in gigantic battles.

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A gigantic UO conflict with upwards of 75 players in a single battle

For all the fears that ‘guaranteed’ skill point increases would wreck UO, it didn’t. It created more interaction and activity, not less.

So now, I return to EVE, where upon the announcement of Daily Opportunities, there is much frothing at the mouth and gnashing of teeth, bemoaning the idea.

EVE is better for all players with more people logging in rather than playing Skill Queue Online.

Giving players even a small incentive to log in daily creates a larger chance that they will catch wind of something going on in-game and engage in a play session that lasts longer than killing one rat. This is the goal, getting more players to log in and participate in New Eden. 

Most of the naysayers fall into one of two camps, the “other, lame games do that” groups or the “my math shows it impacts the economy” group.

First, let’s address the “other, lame games do that” concerns first. Somehow the fact that World of Warcraft has daily quests means that EVE will immediately turn into carebear central has no basis in reality. The fundamental issues with Warcraft that make Eve players look down their nose at it have nothing to do with daily quests, and everything to do with the complete lack of risk in the game.  

Giving players 10,000 skill points for logging in is basically giving them a ~20% boost to skill gain for that day and does not create carebears.  Players in the safety of high sec are already in the safety of high sec. EVE is not suddenly World of Warcraft because players can gain skill points at a slightly higher rate. Most players never get +5 implants due to costs, yet having them in game doesn’t break it or make it into World of Tanks.

Second is the “my math shows it impacts the economy” argument, which has slightly more traction.

Thanks to the introduction of Skill Injectors, skill points now have a calculable value. There are people farming skill points on alts, tracking progress on spreadsheets, and monitoring the market carefully. They are putting effort into the game and they are reaping the reward.

This is fundamental design tenet of EVE Online: invest effort, reap reward. EVE forum denizens are already doing the math on the possible amounts of skill points that can be gained with the new Daily Opportunities system, and first impressions are that it could be significant. If someone wants to set an alarm clock that goes off every 22 hours, logs in each of three characters per account, undocks and kills a rat, then I’m happy for them to get a substantial chunk of skill points. They invest effort, they get reward.

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But just as most players are not farming skills points and making ISK via injectors, most players aren’t going to farm Dailies SP in any serious manner. It gives the more casual player a little more incentive to log in, chat with corp mates, and actually undock from the station. A few truly brave Jita traders might even consider undocking for the first time in years to build up a little SP. The horror!

Giving players incentive to undock in game is good for CCP in business terms and good for all players in general. A high population count in New Eden is better for the economy and for the amount of targets it provides. 

The worry is that it could all be taken too far. In Team Fortress 2, there are servers that exist purely to idle in or hit achievements that require no effort. In the trading culture of TF2, it’s fairly standard to run multiple accounts of idlers in the hope for rare drops and basic items to be turned into metal.

CCP needs to be careful not to create an unbalanced system, or a system that rewards one particular playstyle significantly more than another. These are reasonable concerns. Situations that could be gamed by players, will be gamed by players. Special care must be taken to avoid allowing the powerful hive mind of EVE players from find a way to rig the Dailies into an infinite SP machine.  

Too much of a good thing can lead to trouble if CCP rewards players for not engaging in New Eden by having too many solo activities. 

Personally, I’d love it if you got 20,000 SP if you killed your first rat in 0.0, but I fear that concept would cause a warp core breach on the EVE-O forums and we fall into a singularity of pure geek rage.

Tags: dailies, Neville, skill points, sp, wow

About the author

Dunk Dinkle

Dunk Dinkle has played Eve since 2008. A life-long gamer, he's played MMORPGs since the first days of Ultima Online. In Eve, he's taken a path from high sec mission running to factional warfare to null sec. After the battle of Asakai, Dunk landed in Brave Newbies where he annoys FCs with an extensive soundboard.

  • Black Pedro

    But isn’t this proposal, at least as Rise framed, exactly what you are concerned about? It penalizes players who do not regularly shoot NPCs, which as a fraction of all characters I bet is in the majority. It disadvantages players who engage in other play styles, like say exploration, industry or trading, and forces them to shoot a single rat in a belt somewhere to keep up with the other players instead of pursuing what they would like to in this sandbox game.

    Further, the bar is so low that it is best accomplished with no interaction with other players at all. Where is the advantage in incentivizing players to avoid a fleet or some other group activity to go shoot rats by themselves? How is that good for the game overall?

    I am all for rewarding players for undocking in this game, and could care less if SPs are the carrot CCP chooses, but as stated, this proposal encourages players to spend their play time logging in multiple alts and shooting meaningless rats by themselves instead of engaging in the greater, and more interesting sandbox game play. The idea has potential, but as presented incentivizes some of Eve’s most lackluster gameplay: logging in all their alts and shooting vastly inferior highsec rats solo.

    I am pretty sure CCP can do better.

    • Dunk Dinkle

      It doesn’t penalize anyone. By your logic, players are penalized for every rat they don’t shoot or asteroid they don’t mine when they are logged in.

      If you log in and do things, you are rewarded. If you don’t log in, you are exactly where you left off, when you decided to stop playing.

      Waiting for the magical unicorn of a mechanic that’s “engaging in the greater, and more interesting sandbox game play” is like chasing rainbows.

      • Black Pedro

        Of course it penalizes players. If I am an industrialist that never shoots rats I now train at 75% of the rate of my ratting peer. If I am the leader of an alliance whose game time is spent managing and in diplomacy, I train at 75% of my ratting line members. If I am a PvPer who is trying to fight a war and defend my sov, I train now at 75% of the rate of my opponents. I am at a complete disadvantage to my rat-shooting fellow players because my game play does not involve shooting rats.

        Worse, if I log in, I can make 50M ISK worth of skill points if I log in my three alts and go shoot rats for 5-15 minutes. There is practically not other activity I can engage in that makes me 500M+ ISK/h. That is going to massively incentivize solo farming SP on alts rather than the social activities that CCP spent much time telling us keep players in the game at Fanfest last year. How is that a good idea?

        • Nou Mene

          Dude it takes like 30 secs to go out in your newbie ship and kill a NPC frig in the closest belt, all with your civilian weapons…
          I live in wh, I’m going to cry because HS indrustialist can buy implants and never lose them, actually giving them a huge advantage over me.

          • Black Pedro

            Sure. It’s so simple yet pays so much better than anything else I can do. So instead of engaging in my usual gameplay, say logging in and updating some orders, and then scanning down a chain to go huff some gas before some PvP, I am going to spend the first half hour logging in and out multiple characters to shoot a single NPC in a highsec belt. That is by far the most profitable use of my time, so that will become my new routine.

            Maybe I am in the minority here but my gameplay, even in space, rarely involves shooting NPCs. And of course I will adapt to the incentive structure, but I have to wonder if it is really CCPs intention to change my game experience from doing what I like to do, to spending the first bit of each game session logging in multiple alts to chase these incredibly lucrative rewards. I can’t imagine, at least from my perspective now, that being forced into this menial daily grinding is going to make me like the game more than doing what I choose to do now.

            The Blood Raider event was great in that is gave good, yet still optional rewards, that were accessible to all players and got them interacting in the sandbox. I can’t help but think something like that as a daily reward would be a better model for getting players to be active and interacting rather than shoehorning all players into rat shooting so simple, and so isolated from the sandbox, that it does not make economic sense not to do it on all your alts before anything else.

          • Nou Mene

            I feel you didn’t understood what i meant to say.
            In any case, they said that they pretend adding other activities.

          • Daniel Plain

            consider for a second how retarded the activity you just described is in the first place. they might as well have us solve captchas for SP.

          • Nou Mene

            I was discussing EVE with corp mates and realized how different I see the game.
            Anyway, I don’t know how what I mentioned can be seen as retarded. And I’m completely in favor of adding features that would facilitate lower SP pilots to catch older pilots faster, I’m around 70m SP and I would have no problem if every new player was getting 70m unallocated SP.
            It looks like I somehow don’t measure my progress in the game by the amount of SP my character says it have, or the amount of ISK in my wallet.

          • Daniel Plain

            imagine you have a dozen or more accounts and actually care about the amount of SP your chars have, for example because you train them to fly a titan or to sell off the SP with injectors. suddenly you have to log in, undock, warp to a belt, kill a rat (which can take an eternity for industrial characters), then dock back up, log into the next account, rinse repeat. for hours, every single day. this is exactly what i DON’T want to do and if i had to do it, i’d do it in another game and just leave EVE for good.

          • Nou Mene

            I cannot excuse you.
            You say you have more accounts, then I would say you have an unfair advantage over me. And that you should be penalized.
            Then I don’t see why would you need to sacrifice yourself for the “dailies”.
            It feels like your advocating to negate other players any aspect of the game where they could make an advantage over you, and that sounds unfair (you seemingly go from a “dailies are bad POV” to a “I’m getting penalized by this POV”, IMO the first one you can argue, the second one you shouldn’t).
            So I’d like to finish with 2 remarks:
            – CCP said they would very probably add other activities, that probably suit your gameplay better.

            – You are not being obliged to do them. The same way I’m not doing SP farming (I know I can make profit, I’ve done the figures), or not doing PI (for less time clicking you get more profit that with those dailies), or not doing station trading (same…)

          • Daniel Plain

            i am not obliged to do the dailies the same way i am not obliged to do anything. but whatever career path i am following, whatever my goal is, getting SP as quickly as possible is part of the optimal way to reach it (*with a few exceptions like scamming). therefore not doing the dailies is inefficient and counter to any player’s desire to improve.
            if you are not one of the players who want to step up their game, that’s fine. you can fly around, do lvl1 missions and mine in a rifter. but a substantial part of EVE is competitive enough to be significantly bothered by the dailies being the source of a huge chunk of SP, me being one of them.

          • Nou Mene

            whatever…. clearly we cannot get to an agreement
            o7 fly safe

          • Daniel Plain

            clearly we could, if you were able and willing to admit that i am right or present convincing evidence of why i am wrong.

          • Nou Mene

            I’ve gave you, I believe, enough arguments of why I think you are not completely right. It seems you want me to say that your OPINION is completely right. I cannot do that because I indeed disagree with it. So be it, I gain nothing by arguing you, and things are going my way.

          • Daniel Plain

            you cannot make something not a fact by claiming that it’s “just an opinion”. the fact of the matter is that most players (including me) will feel compelled to log in all their accounts every day, which is exactly what this change was supposed to achieve. it is also a fact that we don’t like it and that many of us are contemplating to leave for greener pastures.

          • Nou Mene

            when you leave can i have your stuffzzz

          • Daniel Plain

            no. go ask CCP if they give you more free stuff for remembering your password.

      • Daniel Plain

        it does penalize people who don’t have time to log in each of their characters every day by giving those who do *extra* advantages on top of what they would normally make. in other words, if you play for one hour each day, you will get more than the guy who can only play 7 hours on saturday, even if he is willing to play the stupid game of log in, shoot a rat, log out, repeat for all his characters.

  • fdsfads

    CCP should just give 3x the SP for the first 3 rats to the one main per account instead of having ppl logging all 3 chars in an account. Logging into each of your cyno alts at the same time every day doesn’t add meaningful content to gameplay.

  • unimatrix0030

    I think they should add “or be on a killmail” .
    Since the goal is to be in space, being on a killmail just counts for that.
    That would reduce the grind for pvp players

    • Dunk Dinkle

      This is a great idea!

  • scentrella

    dude, EvE online is by far much bigger “carebear central” than WoW. Amount of daily PvP activity in WoW, per player/in time (including only arenas and battlegrouds) was like 9.6 times highier in WoW than EvE. One war every 3-5years is nothnig to compare, and 60-70% of EvE population sits duck in highsec.

    • Wolzotan

      Just come into the Wormhole!

  • Daniel Plain

    “If someone wants to set an alarm clock that goes off every 22 hours, logs in each of three characters per account, undocks and kills a rat, then I’m happy for them to get a substantial chunk of skill points. They invest effort, they get reward.” consider for a moment how retarded that sounds. it’s the same kind of grind that you were complaining about just a few paragraphs above, except instead of punching a target dummy, you are logging in your characters (i have about a dozen), undocking, doing the minimal amount of clicks necessary, then logging out again. it’s like PI, except even more repetitive and rigid.

    one of the main reasons i still play eve and not any other MMO is that i cannot log in every day, sometimes not even every week. but now i get punished for not doing my dailies just like in any other game. thanks but no thanks.