"Access content with The Agency" - huh?

When I first saw this in my email inbox, my immediate reaction was… well, let’s just say it was unprintable, but went along the lines of “are you […] kidding me?” But then I reminded myself that it does in fact (attempt to) consolidate content from several disparate sources/interfaces into one unified contact point or “portal”. This in itself is a laudable goal, in principle. However, the execution leaves a fair amount to be desired:

  • When trying to rearrange resources to be easier to find, more organised, this cannot happen at the expense of any of those resources. ALL of the functionality needs to be accommodated by the new format/procedure/facility.
  • It can be argued that this is a good time to trim some fat, get rid of superfluous non-used non-features. Fair enough - but the determination of what’s wheat and what’s chaff depends on a proper understanding of the workflow and the manner in which the current tools/systems are used.
  • User feedback CANNOT be ignored! If you are ostensibly doing this FOR the users, then their needs must be taken into consideration - to assume that “you know what’s best” for your users is at best naive, but likely closer to stupid and arrogant.
  • NEVER introduce an unfinished, improperly tested system “into the wild”. Whenever possible, run the new system side-by-side with the legacy one, to give time for users to get acquainted with it while retaining the full and already-known/tested functionality of the predecessor as a fall-back to missing functionality. (Real-life example: a few months ago the company where my sister works foisted a “new! improved!” ordering-handling and logistics system onto its staff - it was much like The Agency has been handled: an improperly tested and unfamiliar system missing vital functionality and introduced abruptly. It resulted in serious inefficiencies in workflow, mishandlings of jobs leading to customer dissatisfaction, and major dissatisfaction and morale damage to the staff - in the months since, this has cost that company to the tune of possibly as much as millions in lost revenue! CCP, you have been warned!) There was no reason to summarily retire Agent Finder rather than let it be used side-by-side with The Agency (in much the same way that the two universe maps have coexisted for so long) - unless it was your (CCP’s) intention to prevent players from making direct comparisons and thus expose The Agency’s shortcomings - well, if that was the intention, it failed, as you can see how many people remember Agent Finder’s functionality well enough and miss so many specific features/filters as to be able to point out the failings from memory alone.
  • Not a good idea to try make life easier for beginners at the expense of amputating the capabilities of your experienced users. That’s close to the very definition of the opposite of progress!

[EDIT: added omitted words]


Some good points raised here…

What would happen if you took the old journal and:

Took the three sub-tabs of the “agents” tab and put it in the top row of tabs
Took the “agents” tab and either duplicated it from “people and place” or moved it to the journal. This used to be how you launched the agent finder.
Left “expeditions” where it was. Replace the pop-up window you get from an escalation with a system message (beep + pop-up notification which will open the expeditions tab of the journal)

And… used color or greyscale shading to hint at the different categories in the journal. The sub-tabbed design is less necessary these days because widescreen displays bigger than 800x600.

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Heh heh.
In CCP, “unfinished and improperly tested” is the name of the game.

To see it myself, I’ve just logged into the game. I’m only interested in locator agents, really, so I haven’t looked at anything else.

What I like:

  • Integration of the agent finder with the map. It’s nice to see such kind of spatial visualization, and it’s an improvement over the old agent finder, which only showed the distances to agents.

What I don’t like:

  • No “Show only available” filter. There is a “Highest available” filter, but it won’t be usable if I want to, say, find avaiable L3 locators (which work almost as fine as L4 agents). CCP, bring back the “Show only available” filter!
  • No sec status filter. Most mission runners won’t go to lowsec to do missions. Thus, the lack of this filter will give the user a load of useless information that clutters the UI and makes it longer for you to find the info you need. Not being able to get rid of it is just bad design.
  • The agent finder always shows a whopping total of 12 agents at a time - half of which are useless lowsec agents thanks to the issue mentioned above. Are you ■■■■■■■ kidding me?

Verdict: the idea was solid, but the iplementation sucks as usual. The Agency is missing several key features that were present in its predecessor, which makes it a piece of trash.

Good job, CCP.


The extent to which they neutered the agent finder seems almost malicious in its completeness.

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Indeed - it’s not comprehensive, yet those aspects they left out are crucial filters. However, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon’s_razor :smiley:


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