[Someone recommended I could pass feedback along in this forum; thank you to the CSM for both reading this and making it available to CCP folks.]
There is a very good chance the wonderful folks on the Events team know a lot of the following. Or all of it. And are doing most or all of it.
But just in case, I wanted to share thoughts I’ve been forming for the past several months.
Events overall have been an awesome and welcome addition to Eve. I’m not sure if CCP expected their tremendous popularity and success. With the exception of some hiccups along the way, I think the community loves them and wants to see more of them.
There is a problem that has arisen, and it’s a great problem to have: The bar for Events has been set very, very high.
I would like to offer some thoughts and mental frameworks for consideration that could hopefully be passed on to the CCP Event team (Devs, Designers, QA, community outread, etc.).
Some points for consideration.
TL;DR: Ensure CCP management understands how important Events are
I worry that the Event team doesn’t have as many people as they’d like, or that the current team members might not have the time they want to commit to Event dev / design / QA. It feels like the team needs more resources.
Events are very time-limited. They are not like more permanent fixtures of Eve (e.g. Abyssal space) where the creators have many months to iterate and improve. Hence, I would argue that Events are one of several key areas of Eve that deserve rapid response and effective escalation channels to report, identify, reproduce, and fix bugs.
Some random ideas for consideration:
Announce upcoming event testing on singularity. If you don’t want to prematurely announce to the whole community, perhaps have an opt-in “I’d like to help test Events” mailing list.
Consider creating a category in the Support Ticket UI (if it doesn’t already exist?) dedicated to Events. Do what you can to ensure these are seen quickly and handled in a time-sensitive manner.
Ask CCP management for more resources in terms of people and time if you need them. If it helps, gather data on the tremendous success and popularity of past events.
TL;DR: Tell players what you’re trying to achieve with specific aspects or mechanics in Events, and let them help you gauge if you were successful
There was something that startled me in the middle of the Gala 2019 thread; I think it was Sledge(hammer) that stated that mineral / ore rates were extremely low intentionally by design. (To reduce stockpiles.)
Players didn’t know this during the Event, and hence they were really upset about the low mineral rates. They were expecting the status quo; that with enough effort, they’d be able to produce enough accelerators for themselves and possibly excess to sell on market.
This kind of communication (“we’re trying something different in order to effect X”) in advance could have helped set expectations, since it was so vastly different than previous events.
Although it might be awkward, if you can find a way to communicate in advance with the Event-lovers out there, we would LOVE to keep an eye on specific aspects of the unfolding Event for you and let you know how it’s going from our end.
Even if a decision to try something new goes against my personal taste, I’ll always gladly say “Yes - if you were trying to accomplish X, you did awesome.” (even if personally X drives me crazy.) I think some of the die-hard Event enthusiasts feel the same way.
This segues a bit to the next point …
TL;DR: Be deliberate and explicit (with each other) in stating the new things you are trying, and find quantitative ways to measure success on each new thing tried.
Iteration is awesome. Trying new things is what you (the design and dev team) rock at.
Events feel kind of like (from the outside) what Hack-a-thons were for us at Facebook. (I was a senior engineer there for about 5 years.) A chance to go crazy - try something fun, try something new - see what sticks. Take a small seed of an idea, sprinkle liberally with time and effort, and see if you can come up with a big idea that can be moved to the next level.
The day you guys stop trying new things in Events is a day I become very sad.
I think you should just be more deliberate in describing what you’re trying to achieve with each new change, how you’re going to achieve it, and if you were successful.
With each “miss”, decide if you were trying to achieve the wrong thing, OR, were you trying to achieve the right thing but in the wrong way?
Player feedback can be tremendously valuable here, but we need to know what you were going for.
You’ll probably want to come up with metrics that are more quantitative and less fuzzy than player feedback. Perhaps look at things like:
- number of players who participated in an Event
- number of players who surpassed X points
- number of sites completed
Event KPIs basically, if you don’t have them already.
TL;DR: Players love participating in Events, but players hate SEARCHING for event sites.
I apologize if the following comes across as a complaint - it’s not. It’s just a data point that I hope is illustrative of a deeper issue:
During Guardian’s Gala 2019, there were at least 3 occasions where I spent over an hour just trying to find a single site to run. At one point I believe I was up to 1h 40m with no sites to run. I was roaming across a good portion of high-sec. I easily spent far more time looking for sites to run during Gala 2019 than I did actually running sites.
I’m going to be bold and speak on behalf of many players when I say that of the many fun aspects of Events… searching for Event sites to partake of is not one of them.
I feel strongly that there is a high degree of correlation between site availability / quick re-spawn times with player enjoyment and participation in Events. Rogue Swarm, The Easter Hunt (forget what is was called), Crimson Harvest - each of these had ample sites with quick re-spawn times.
Think low-friction. Think ease-of-locating. Think abundant opportunity. I can undock and go mining in about 1 minute. Same with missions. Same with trading stuff on the market. In 10 minutes I can be from high sec into null sec exploring. 5 minutes to hop into a WH and explore there.
I think players want Events to be the same way; especially because they are only available for such a short time period.
TL;DR: Most Event runners want to be left alone and not have “their” loot swiped from them
I bring this up simply because I believe that whenever you try to engineer or design an Event that tries to steer players toward competition or forced interaction, it will be received poorly by the vast majority of Event participants.
TL;DR: Events should probably be kept completely independent from one another
I truly believe that most players will accept responsibility for the expiration of items found and/or produced during an Event. If I didn’t take my Event-specific ore and make my modules or accelerators on time, that’s on me, not the designers.
I think if you try to use the same materials / ores / items from one event to the next, you’re going to create unnecessary complexity for yourselves to deal with later.
TL;DR: If at all possible, have CCP folks play through a full Event
When it comes to software, I think it’s all about empathy. I don’t know what restrictions CCP places on employees partaking in the game. But, if at all possible, it would be amazing if someone from the Event design team was able to play through an Event on TQ from start to the 1,000 point mark.
This would allow you to get a feel for things like:
“Did this take too long?”
“Was it a grind?”
“What emotion did I feel when I finished?”
“Was it too difficult or constraining to have to switch from combat to mining to hacking to X and back?”
“Was the reward worth the effort?”
I want to conclude by again saying how awesome the Events team is and the work that they do is appreciated by a huge number of players. Please keep up the efforts and I will keep participating.
I know that it’s both difficult and dangerous to open up 1:1 lines of communication with individual players, but I will GLADLY spend as much time answering questions and offering opinions of anyone who is interested enough to reach out to me, either in-game or out.
THANK YOU for reading. I’m sorry it was so long.
@CCP_Sledgehammer - if you’re reading this, good luck at the retrospective, and welcome aboard to the Events team.
- The Larold