I regret to inform that we still don't die enough

I recall some old maps’ statistics in contrast to “scarcity” plus other neatly named initiatives for destruction and when I see the current ones, I feel something is missing.

It has been a recurrent echo, like some mantra: “… we need more destruction…” and perhaps those initiatives could be working on one end of the equation --I don’t know but don’t think so–, but it still leads to an aftertaste of something missing here.

I don’t know how to access old data but can recall most recurrent, perhaps constant destruction happening at Empire borders’ systems which used to be a never ending source of, well… fun.

What happened to PVP “hubs”?

It’s more of a topic reflect on, than asking for ideas to improve anything. We know where that rabbit hole leads to.
Point is, we have to die more often… and perhaps it shouldn’t incur in the never ending loop of gank scenarios as the almost sole path to destruction.

What had we then that is missing now? It could be a SOV issue. Maybe we think that destruction is all about “the other” that must die and “nah-haa, not me”… Perhaps nowdays everything we want is too much of a bling to risk… Maybe hulls and fittings became so diverse, so over powered to the point that we doubt any confrontation could be remotely survivable without prior knowledge of too many things to even mention… Or we resorted to the “lone ranger” gaming style so antagonistic to MMORPG’s definition to begin with… dunno

Sometimes I find it hard to name true initiatives for destruction --between players-- proposed by the game… I remember the “invite to duel” button but the other day had to look for it… --that’s how often it’s used–… I just feel that the landscape nowdays has less options of turning into a battlefield and I believe it is not even question of a button to access PVP but instead, the result of so many collaterals we all know and have an opinion about.

Why can’t we just die?

When sov. warfare gets too intense and losses start piling up, involved parties start playing more defensively to conserve resources, so it’s a somewhat self-correcting process.

PvP is a losing proposition as a whole, and that’s why you can’t get players to willingly engage in it most of the time. As such, either most PvP has to be non-consensual in nature, or in-game assets have to lose their value to the point where players aren’t afraid to risk them, which is how games with non-full-loot PvP function (i.e. no risk at all, like WoW PvP).

You’re not going to fix this issue with some kind of magical solution based on consent. Players need to fundamentally re-frame their understanding of EVE, and think of it as a survival title in which:

  1. Resources are necessary to survive.
  2. There aren’t enough resources for everyone.

Without supplementing your natural resource acquisition by taking some from other players by force, you simply can’t survive, and some players will absolutely have to die. That’s how survival games work. The solution here isn’t to create a bunch of abstract, bullsh!t reasons to fight, but to ensure that the only true reason to fight remains viable.

A lot of players here dislike this logic, and will try to rationalize it away by saying that EVE is a sandbox, and that entitles them to play “however they want to.” But sandboxes have rules too, and the main rule in EVE is that you have to compete to survival.

But they won’t accept that. So we’re left with two choices:

  1. Stop thinking about this and let the game continue as is (i.e. production exponentially outpacing destruction), accepting whatever consequences occur.
  2. Implement power creep where every six months, all existing items in the game become worthless because new ones have 10x the stats.

They won’t accept this either, because both will lead to their wealth being nullified.

This game can no longer exist in the year 2021. The types of people that make up the majority of today’s gaming demographic are incompatible with it.

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There was no “then” that was structurally better than now. Production has always significantly outweighed destruction. There are a number of reasons for that:

  • MMO gamers in general have a tendency to be more interested in production and growth than in destroying other people’s things just for the sake of destroying them. Those who simply want to destroy and steal other people’s things are a minority in the game, as they are in real life.
  • PvP in EVE is quite badly designed, it is mostly too slow, clumsy and unrewarding for many players to bother with. So you end up with the PvP in EVE being somewhat tilted towards the kind of “ambush and gank” style that so many of our forumites proudly pat themselves on the back for engaging in.
  • CCP, unable to conceive of ways to make PvP inherently more appealing, instead resorted to various PvE “gather more wealth faster” lures to get more people to sub and play. So wealth creation and capital proliferation kind of snowballed.
  • People will fight, even if the fighting isn’t inherently satisfying, in order to achieve larger goals. Once those goals are achieved, they shift into defense/protect/lock-in-security mode, which has pretty much happened across null sec except for the occasional disruption that leads to a war, which basically only burns off a portion of the excess assets the nullcorps have accumulated.

So the big moves/fights have mostly been achieved, PvP has been reduced to basically people who get off on attacking weak targets and/or ganking-for-profit, CCP has pandered to wealth-building types and is now trying to take that back, and the pool of interested new players actually moving through the ranks of the game has shrunk to all-time lows.

It’s not that we’re missing something that used to be here. It’s that the game has matured to the point where all the cracks in it’s original design are starting to leak badly.

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My theory is there are only two kinds of people;

Those who find PvP ridiculously easy and those who find it ridiculously hard.

The second type go out of our way not to be found easily.

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This is correct, and is the primary reason most players do a simple risk/reward analysis in their heads and don’t bother to engage in PvP in EVE. Unlike Destiny’s usual “PvE players are weak and crap, PvP players are the true master race” agenda, PvE players are simply doing the most logical behavior the game presents to “grow and get ahead”. Production beats destruction, it’s built into the game.

Another issue with the “PvP ftw!” crowd is that they keep trying to blame the issues on the player base, when it’s clearly CCP design issues at the core of all EVE’s problems. Case in point:

Players will play what feels rewarding to them, they won’t “re-frame their understanding” of the game in order to play in an inherently non-rewarding fashion.

Except for a small minority of players who need the smash-and-grab style of play as an outlet for their urges, the majority of EVE’s player base isn’t here to play a survival game. Players who want a survival game will go play one of the actually well-designed ones.

Destiny, like CCP, doesn’t really have the imagination to come up with more alternatives than “you must fight to survive, even if it makes no sense to do so”. The agenda here is always to force fighting upon players who don’t want to fight. The choice of “you must supplement your resource acquisition with force and theft” is artificial and tilted simply towards the “PvP is best for everyone” viewpoint.

Let’s flip it around. Let’s say instead that what’s really needed, is to force all PvP’ers to engage in solo resource acquisition at least 50% of their play time. That without spending at least equal time in solo resource acquisition in space, it becomes impossible to PvP. There you go, problem solved, targets enough for everyone and lots of potential loot and destruction!

Or of course you could go with an actually sensible approach, and explore ways to make PvP between actual PvPers (not gankers and miner-ambushers) rewarding enough to engage in.

That’s true, you just got the reasoning wrong. The types of people who enjoy EVE as it is designed were never numerous to begin with, and as soon as the cracks in EVE’s base design began to show through, and other, better designed games became available, the decline was inevitable.

Not a big deal, all older games suffer a gradual decline in player base. That’s because very few game developers can keep their game fresh and interesting once it’s primary challenges have been explored and mapped and the flaws start to stand out.

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I don’t think it’s so much an ease/difficulty consideration as it is the ability/willingness to physically tolerate symptoms of risk-taking (e.g. anxiety, elevated heart rate, getting “the shakes”). Some people are simply more adjusted to risk-taking behavior, or adapt to it better. It’s not black and white either, but more like a scale, and individuals can even move on the scale depending on their dispositions, personalities, and acquired experience.

For example, if I don’t play EVE (or a survival game) for a while, and then I start playing again, I have to spend some time desensitizing myself to the physical symptoms of risk-taking before hitting my cadence again. It takes a few encounters and some time being exposed to non-secure environments before I adapt and my heart rate remains stable and I can process information at my normal rate without misclicking any buttons.

But some (most?) people either physically can’t get over this barrier, or mentally block themselves from even trying. This results in a heavy emphasis on risk avoidance, and not just in terms of engaging in PvP combat, but exposure to any sort of risk beyond the bare minimum that is required. Players will avoid performing activities that are much more lucrative than what they’re already doing, even after adjusting for losses, because avoiding the physical symptoms of risk-taking is simply more important to them.

Most people can be trained out of this behavior, but this is a game, and you can’t forcefully train people unless they’re receptive to it. Most aren’t, even though they have the potential. Then of course you have a very small proportion of Tony Montana types at the exact opposite end of the spectrum, who don’t even bother ducking while being shot with machine guns.

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Once again Destiny wants to take things in the direction of “people are weak, PvPers are strong”. You can see the element of “PvP makes me better than you” all through the forums from Gix, Aiko, Destiny, Solstice and many of the other PvP cheerleaders. It seems the whole reason they’re emotionally invested in EVE is specifically because it gives them a hook to hang their “I’m better than you” needs on.

Here’s some actual facts to counter the obvious foolishness of the above quotes: by far the largest part of the gaming market is composed of action/adventure, shooter, MOBA type games. By far the largest portion of the movie market is made of action/thriller/suspense/horror type movies. People go out of their way to experience exactly those kinds of vicarious adrenaline bursts.

But one thing that’s wired harder into people, biologically, evolutionarily, right down into your genes and emotional hindbrain, is to avoid risk and increase your ‘value’. Whether it’s your physical resources, or respect among your peer group, or your feeling of self-worth, people are inherently wired to increase their value across a broad spectrum of metrics and not to decrease it.

That’s why production outweighs destruction in EVE. That’s why people do the math and choose not to PvP. It’s because, unless you feel a need to prove your self-worth by ganking/ambushing/ trapping another person, EVE PvP isn’t a ‘growth’ activity. (Barring some gank-for-profit situations)

People in general aren’t wired to be dog-eat-dog bandits. They’re wired to be social producers and climbers. EVE has a number of design issues that directly fly against most peoples natural inclinations, and all the exhortations of “players just need to play differently for different reasons” won’t fix that.

It’s CCPs’ main problem: that they keep flailing about trying to change the game mechanics to force people to play according to CCP’s plan. It would be wiser to adapt the game mechanics to benefit from the motivations that are already natural to the players.

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Take a look at this:

image

And remember this from EVE Online’s July Status Update:

-"… Scarcity firmly ends in Q4 2021 with additional resources as well as player choice for what resources to distribute in your sovereign space…"

This imposed rhythm has created IMO a double dip reaction against the so called “need for destruction”.
This is exactly what I’m trying to get feedback about.
Is it just me, or the script doesn’t fit the scene?

I can’t see a clear action to enforce the directive towards both mentioned interventions from the “need for destruction” motto or POV. They seem as a double discourse, as demagogy, perhaps.

Where is EVE making things more “destroyable”? when it seems to act on provoking exactly the opposite?

Was it --or will it be-- a quake, a revolution in SOV rearrangement? 'cause I see little effort in any direction other than making “dress up Barbie” space dot game with a new skin every other Wednesday…

Is it supposed to be a restructuring of resources that would finally percolate to the ranks and dominance of territory distribution?

If that is the case, where is the other side of the equation? When the hell will we die as much as we should? It can’t be a waiting strategy until we-the-pewple decide to throw the house through the window without a hint of reconstruction in sight, I guess.

Or could it be… that there was no such “need for destruction” anyway?

Nah not in my case, I just really hate doing something I always lose at.

If I undock a ship its already written off

There absolutely is a need for destruction.

However, CCP have learned their lesson with scarcity. They tried being honest and transparent about the state of the game and what needed to be done to save it, and it backfired terribly as players refused to make some personal sacrifices for the good of the game by accepting the changes.

CCP won’t make that mistake again, and from now on, similar efforts to modify the game’s ecosystem/economy are going to be covert, unannounced, and rarely explained. CCP will push buttons and pull levers in the background, and the only possible perceptible change will be an increase in “Trigs griefed me in high-sec” threads, which no one will bother to quantify anyway. Maybe they’ll make filaments just a tiny bit more accurate, or maybe they’ll make ships arrive on gates one or two hundred meters further out on average. All such changes would be done on the back end, and players wouldn’t be any wiser, but the net result would be minor increases to destruction/consumption across all aspects of the game.

CCP will also present to the public the appearance of handing out buffs, just like they’re doing with the currently-announced changes. But in reality, the changes will be small nerfs that gradually make the economy more sustainable. Instead of taking the carrot away, CCP will poison it instead.

The players kind of asked for it.

Are you bad at it because you genuinely can’t grasp the mechanics involved, or because of the perception that you can’t, and/or because of how it makes you feel? Would you not hate it if you didn’t lose at it?

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Probably

Possibly

No one likes to feel like they are the worst at something or the last to be picked, but I would say that if I actually enjoyed the gameplay, losing wouldnt bother me as much. Like playing any Churchill in WoT; I dont give a crap if I lose, Im driving a fing Churchill

I know when I wake up the first two things I do are -
1 open my wallet to pay for a game
2. Question what sacrifices I’m going to have to make to make the game good.

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That’s kind of a “the chicken or the egg” situation you’ve got there. You can’t get good without practice, but you’re not willing to practice because you’re not good.

I think you should just try eating the frog and learning the basics. PvP isn’t usually some kind of intricate game of chess. In actual fights, one of the primary determining factors of victory is aggression, and not skill.

I doubt you question what sacrifices you’ll make for anything or anyone, and not just the game. Some people simply aren’t civic-minded enough, and only care about what they have, and what the world owes them.

How I feel about the situation doesn’t matter and this is nonsense…both.

Well I do fly about in frigates or an Arby sometimes looking for a fight, see what happens, but I guess I get bored easily. Ill give it a better go next time.

Understood…

I can’t help but compare this exact definition with the initial proposal of “chaos” and believe me… I know how it turned out.

I hate when the game falls into “telegraphy mode” --a term we use in soccer when a Head Coach has no element of surprise or innovative resources-- and let us know in advance “everything” to come.

But I give it the benefit of doubt for the case, for I see scarce options on the table.

Also, keep in mind such modifications of the ecosystem/economy are fundamental for EVE’s advertisement out there. Indeed it’s been proven impossible to handle what’s promised as a unit… imagine how hard would it be to have two games in the pipeline: One that is, as promoted on Adv… One that hits, as a covert set of modifications.

Still, you’ve got a point there.

Don’t look for fights, look for kills. And as you keep doing that, you’ll develop a grasp of the mentality that other people who look for kills share, which will increase your survival capabilities without you even noticing. Fighting experience will come naturally as a result of this. Merely looking for fights for the sake of fighting will stunt your progress, as you’ll keep taking engagements that don’t teach you anything because they lack logic—you’ll get better at pressing buttons but won’t develop much technical knowledge that way.

CCP can easily say that they’re doubling ore quantities (like they did in the recent announcement), and then only increase them by 45%, and literally no one would notice.

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Holup!

It’s exactly my point on this equation analogy: How can it be that resources and production can be manipulated but the “destruction” is undoubtedly discarded as a product of similar manipulation?

My answer is: because destruction is left to and under the sole effect of free will. --in most cases–

For example, ships get dirty but never get old --except for the Drake, of course-- they rust in your hangar but they don’t “expire” --per se-- there is no maintenance effect on the idea of cleaning the ship, no cost, no nothing but simple cosmetics. The other day I gave an example also on killmarks. – Oh the humanatee!
Both could have implemented true effects on destruction, PVP, etc… but they seem like timid efforts, abandoned half baked initiatives with arguable potential.

Just examples on how destruction can also be “imposed” the same way as scarcity or prosperity are coded… out of any reach from we-the-pewple’s range.

Take the “no worries, your stuff is safe” approach. I mean, I love that my things remained somewhere when I could not play for a while and was kicked miserably from my Corp because of “piling fees”, yes.
But come on!!! why? I know some peeps have quadrillions stored somewhere in null --for ever rusting-- but why giving that option in the first place?

I’m a peasant with a gun. I have little, travel light and know my place. Who cares if I lose anything? I can, therefore assume it’s “just a game” but the protective approach of “invaluable riches” is inherently wrong --if-- destruction was a must!

Just examples of how scarcity and prosperity can be “hardwired” but destruction? Hmm.

One of my pet peeves about PVP in EVE is that smaller PVP is too fast. Hit and run can’t be the only approach available for solo and smaller ship players. There’s little strategy, little tactics.

I suppose it does mirror the RW in which combat is to take 'em by surprise and overwhelm them, then get away before reinforcements arrive.

But IMO it takes away from the role play aspect of things too.

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Indeed. This is what I call the gank scenario, which sadly has become the almost sole approach for PVP and therefore, destruction.
In essence, PVP has evolved to a point in which all confrontations fall on or are similar to, a gank deployment. Keep in mind this is not a complain, just a note. On the other hand, it was not always this exact way.

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