Splitting Hairs

I’ve found it very interesting observing my adaptation to the windows 8 operating system.  Specifically the things which I find most annoying about the new environment. You might think it would be the in-your-face start menu replacement (TIFKaM or The Interface Formerly Know as Metro), buts its not. You might think its the memory leak which shows it hungry jaws every time I launch battlefield 3 but its not. No the biggest annoyance so far, is that I can no longer press the windows key to bring up the start bar, and thus the time. Literally since the standardisation of the windows key, I have been using it to find the time, and now I have to press windows-c (or side swipe on my tablet) instead. The windows key was never intended to be a time telling button, but I like many others have been using it as such for years. Its a hard habit to break. Its things like this which begin to cause problems when you want to bring in change, or fix a problem. The effect it can have on the things people did with the item which you never expected (or are not accounting for in you change testing).

 

Its this entanglement of expected usage vs. Actual usage in eve which I really want to talk about today. Because I believe there is a fine line (which has been crossed) between “Emergent Game play”, and missing functionality. The problem as I see it is that although emergent game play is a great thing which helps define our game, it also ties together items when it comes to balance. If item One is used for Action A and action B, and A becomes over powered, the nerf to Item One could affect how well it performs Action A as well as Action B. Confused? Let me cut to the chase then.

Often referred to as the suitcase carrier, the carrier class ship has become the defacto standard for personal logistics in nullsec. When an alliance moves homes, or deploys to an area of operations, I would bet my bottom Rifter that 90-95% of ships are moved within the ship maintenance bay of a carrier. An i think that 5-10% are mostly ships which wont fit in a bay. The reasons for this are simple; the carrier can carry 2 BS sized ships (or more of smaller classes), the carrier can carry ships assembled and rigged (unlike the Jump freighter), the carrier is cheap (unlike jump freighters or Super Carriers). So most Nullsec Pilots will have a carrier for moving their things around (or will rely on friends to do their moving for them with a carrier). Yet at the same time, a carriers intended primary role is combat logistics. It seams to me that one of the 4 biggest fighting ship classes in the game is used just as much for fighting as it is for shopping. Its like watching an old lady beat a thief around the head with a handbag, or use a rocket launcher to carry melons home from the supermarket. Some might call this emergent game play. I call lack of functionality tying two actions together.

 

If tomorrow CCP decided that carriers contributed to much towards power projection, and nerfed their jump range by half, it would directly effect both Carrier Combat and Player Personal Logistics drastically and I don’t believe this should be the case. I believe that this is evidence of a hole in the current industrial ship menagerie; that of a ship transporter.

 

To split the function of Personal Logistics from Combat, Carriers should be split into two; a combat capable ship very similar to the current carrier, but with a hold only capable of holding 1-2 cruiser class ships (because ghost riders are the most balls out example of emergent game play I have ever seen), and a transporter; thin skinned and incapable of combat, but able to hold 1.5x the current cargo/SMA capacity of the carrier. I would even be for allowing for “retro-fitting” the current carriers between these two roles with a module i.e normal carrier, triage carrier, transport carrier. I cannot reiterate enough, that currently the logistical ability of the average Nullsec character is at the mercy of how CCP thinks the combat carrier needs to change to be better balanced. Think on this with a mind that sees the current nullsec stagnation, the amount of blame “Power projection” is getting for this and the ever increasing speed of the ship rebalancing.

 

I  suspect that the carrier isn’t the only example of this, but its certainly the one which worries me the most in the near future. It would not surprise me at all if before the year is out, I will have to make double if not tripple the number of jumps to redeploy in Nullsec. I am all for emergent game play, but there comes a point where pointing at players shoehorning something into something else completely unrelated and shouting ’emergent game play’ becomes an excuse for lazy development.

6 thoughts on “Splitting Hairs

  1. Ah, it’s worse than that. The carrier is simultaneously:

    – Capital Logistics
    – Capital Droneboat
    – Capital Fitted Ship Hauler

    Each of these could be teased out. The logistics role could be moved to logistics battleships (in an effort to fleshout the battleship lines, perhaps) or a new dedicated logistics capital. Hauling fitted ships should definitely be the realm of industrials, not combat ships. That leaves carriers as capital droneboats, which is what you expect from such a name.

    However, T1 hulls are meant to be generalists, so maybe we just need to nerf them a little and have T2 carriers?

    • Rob Wiebkin says:

      At first I was not sure if I would want to de-link the Drone/Logistics side of things. However you do make a very good point about the T1 vs. T2 roles. Perhaps there is an argument in there for T2 capitals instead…

  2. wartzilla says:

    I don’t think this is a problem. Ships being capable of doing multiple things thanks to player innovation (such as sentry carriers) is a good thing.

    I also don’t think this suggestion takes into account Malcanis’ law. http://themittani.com/features/5-years-lex-malcanis

    This change would only serve to mildly inconvenience those alliances whose pilots consist pretty much solely of carrier pilots or people with carrier alts, let alone supercarrier alts. Meanwhile, it would be a major pain in the ass to alliances that are less rich or have a larger amount of newer members that are only just getting into their first capital ship.

    Another subject which you seem to relate to this is the suggested jump range nerf. This is something that ‘small gang pvp’ honorfags have been crying and moaning about for years. I don’t see any evidence that CCP is paying any more heed to them than they already do (very little).

    • Rob Wiebkin says:

      First up I should make it clear that I don’t think this invokes Malcanis’s law as that states:

      “Whenever a mechanics change is proposed on behalf of new players. That change is always to the overwhelming advantage of richer, older players”

      What I present here is not to the benefit of New Players, but to the benefit of all Nullsec residents, new old bitter or sweet. I think what your point is really: “this is a pain in the arse for a poor new bro in Nullsec”.

      And your right, it is, let’s make no bones about that. If you are currently struggling to afford/skill into a carrier, these changes would potentially stretch out that process. And further more for older players such as myself, it would make very little difference. That is a fair point, very well made, and something I had not really considered.

      However: I believe that the Transporter version of the carrier would be significantly cheaper that a carrier (I would estimate between 500-800M ISK). It is also possible that a Transport ship might be deemed an industrial ship and require a skills somewhere between that of the freighter and the jump freighter. This would mean a roughly 1 month longer training time on top of the carrier training.

      But isn’t 700m and 1 month training worth it to unlink your personal logistics from your combat carrier? Perhaps as an older player I have lost some perspective on what it was like back at your stage of the game, but I still think that the overwhelming answer is “yes”.

    • wartzilla says:

      Now that I think about it it’s actually the *inverse* of Malcanis’ Law – rather than being proposed directly to benefit newer players, it is a proposal that is supposed to appease the people calling for nerfed jump ranges, and thus is supposed to inconvenience older players. But it inconveniences newer capital pilots far more than older ones, and alliances that recruit more new players far more than alliances such as your own, where everyone is a capital pilot already.

      So in addition to making people pay for a second capital ship purely for logistics, not to mention having to travel back and forth when deploying to get both their subcaps, the transport carrier, *and* the combat carrier to their deployment system, you would make them train industrial skills for a month for no reason?

      A change such as this would just make people get more alts. Personally I am ‘happy’ to pay two subscriptions and not more. The people with 16 alts don’t seem to understand that some of us would rather not deal with that bullshit..

    • Rob Wiebkin says:

      For the record I to also only have 2 active accounts (although I have had more in the past). Further more I have not always been a member of an alliance where every pilot was a capital Pilot. (I am also, I suspect, not as rich as you think I am 😉

      The opinion I put forwards in this post is not designed to convenience nor inconvenience anyone, however I admit that my attempt to provide a solution is as you say, a minor inconvenience to newer players. What I am trying to point out is that currently there appears to be a senseless connection between personal logistics and Capital combat ships. I believe that this is a bad thing for the game.

      Now I am not game designer, and so really any suggestions I make this are going to be flawed, and I accept that. However the key point that I want to make is that I feel that we should not have this link.

      Perhaps there are better ways to fix this, maybe the “Retrofitting” module has more legs that the Transport carrier, or as Dan Lo Bianco put above, some T2 carriers specialising in the areas the current carrier generalists in. I still think that the concept of the Transport, but clearly you do not, and that is fine, we are all entitled to our opinion.

      Would you at least agree that the link between Combat and personal logistics is a silly one? If CCP could find a way to split them without causing any hassle of extra expense to any player, would you say it was a good thing? If so, at what point would you say the cost was two high?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *