Saturday, April 23, 2016

There were EVE-ers from the city having lunch in the park-

"When you look with your eyes everything seems nice
But if you look twice you can see it's all lies"

Lily Allen - LDN

So here I am minding my own business in EVE-Online, mining some asteroids in a system claimed by someone else -
Sun is in the sky, oh why oh why would I wanna be anywhere else?
- minutes before getting blown up for my trouble. Apparently nobody likes a claim-jumper. Why doesn't anyone tell me these things?
Flyin' through the cluster in my pod all day 'cause the filth took away my Venture.

However, the moral of the story's that I was mining inside a wormhole system. Back when I ran through the crafting process in EVE I enumerated some of the various means of resource acquisition EVE's built up over its considerable lifespan. EVE started small, though. Back at launch, resource acquisition consisted of asteroid mining. Period. If you've played an MMO you've likely encountered the concept of resource nodes. Iron springs out of the ground somewhere in the game world. You, intrepid adventurer, can grab a pick and axe it some questions. The chief distinction to be drawn between WoW-clone MMOs and the idealized persistent world which EVE approached more closely than such competition consists of... competition.

Asteroids appeared out in space where anyone could get them and they didn't respawn in thirty seconds. Belts, if memory serves, used to regenerate every week. Getting the good stuff meant beating other players to it and staying alive while you did so.

Wormhole systems are hidden. The wormhole leading to them has to be detected first, and its entrance randomly relocates around the game map about every day. While an interesting concept, this also means that once you've claimed a wormhole system, you face no competition for its resources because nobody will bother mounting a sufficiently coordinated offensive to challenge you on your home turf. Players might shove a ganking ship up your wormhole to grief you while you gather your resources (hits her over the head, doesn't care if she's dead) but if I had to guess, ninja-mining like what I was doing just doesn't happen. There's no incentive.

There's no incentive because the asteroid respawn rates have also been increased seven-fold since EVE's launch. Asteroid belts also seem so plentiful that there's always another one to mine. Rare ores also appear in high security systems. This trivialization started quite early, when players were allowed to acquire crafting resources by deconstructing trash loot from instanced single-player missions separate from the actual game world. Moon-mining is its own can of worms, with both good and bad features to be discussed some other time, but the latest gimmick, planetary production is utterly devoid of competition. Any number of players can colonize the same planet, and these colonies not only cannot be attacked but can be managed from anywhere in the galaxy - which doesn't make them less of a chore, since they were artificially imbued with Tamagotchi-level neediness. Crafting facilities in turn are no longer a limited resource.

Just as EVE's claim as a PvP MMO falls flat by centering on griefing instead of goal-driven PvP, its crafting system, while superficially very pleasingly complex, has been trivialized into a perfunctory, unchallenging prelude to griefing by removing its internal means of competition. Instead of an occupation into which to sink thought and effort, resource harvesting and crafting have been downgraded to something your alt does while you spend quality time measuring dick size over who landed the biggest artillery hit.

"You might laugh you might frown
Walkin' round London town."

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