Step up the Lore, NPCs, and PvE

TL;DR - While getting expansions that provide us with new things to blow up are all fine and dandy, I’d love to see Expansions that specifically add to the Story and Lore of the game. I want to see NPC factions battle it out, go to war, and generally knock each other’s teeth in in HS with the option for Players to take a side and turn the tide of battle. Pirate Factions that actually battle it out with Empire forces in Low Sec systems and border systems. I’d love to see extensive, lore-heavy and story-driven missions or “quest lines” that take time and effort to complete and provide meaningful climaxes and rewards, rather than grinding the same, hollow missions over and over. And no more freaking c*ck teases. “Prophecy,” The Drifters, the Empires always supposedly “going to war…” Just take the time to actually deliver on these aspects of the story and lore, rather than being entirely focused on pumping out new items for us to destroy and inevitably want nerfed/rebalanced.

I like to split my playtime about 50/50 between PvP and PvE. The PvP is mostly hunky-dory (#MakeSoloGreatAgain), but the story/PvE side of Eve has always left me feeling…meh. That’s a serious shame for a game with SO MUCH material to draw from and room for growth. Idk, maybe I’m missing something significant. If so, please tell me. I love this kinda stuff.

When I first got into Eve, the things that drew me in the most were the AMAZING cinematic trailers that I kept seeing pop up that were so rich with story and lore while being backed up by a massive MMO sandbox where I could do almost anything I wanted. It was SO amazing to watch those trailers and imagine what the game had in store. “Day of Darkness,” “Revelation,” “Empyrean Age,” even the friggin “Prophecy” trailer! They all tantalized my nerdy senses by flaunting a deeply rich and developed lore and story - no, STORIES. I was so immensely excited when I created my first character almost 7 YEARS ago.

Since then, what has happened with the story? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. Doesn’t seem like much, if anything at all.

When I started out, I expected the missions to be more significant, more…well, just freaking MORE. Coming from playing games like Fallout and Skyrim, I guess I was expecting the missions to be more akin to the Quests I always enjoyed playing. Obviously Eve Online differs considerably from Fallout and Skyrim in that it’s not simply story-driven. However, I expected there to be different sects and factions that I could get in with, run missions or “quests” for to earn some significant reward and/or trophy/title/accolade/etc. Something that said “I put in hours of work and went through the ringer to earn this.” Granted, I got this to some degree in that each empire has sub-factions and agents working for them, but they’re almost all just copy-paste, for the most part. Mission after Mission, levels 1 through 4, and it’s the same sh*t over and over and over.

The Epic Arcs? They’re not bad, but they still don’t leave me feeling like I earned something, well, WORTH earning.

Maybe Lvl 5s have more substance to them. I haven’t had to opportunity to try them, yet, though I haven’t heard folks talk all too highly of them.

I’ve always longed for a good, quality mission or “quest line” that means something in the Lore of the game. Something that progresses toward an actual climax and gives a sense of accomplishing something. What that is? I have no idea. That’s half the fun.

And what about the NPCs? What do they do except get blown up for some isk hour after hour, day after day, week after week, mo - ok, you get it. Considering that the game is literally built around the Four Empires and all the sub-factions and pirates that lie within, they sure as sh*t don’t affect the game, all that much.

“Oooooh! The Empires are going to War!”
Oh, really? Where? When?
“TBD…”

or

“Oooooh! This group of Pirates has been the scourge of this region of space for some time, now!”
Is that so? What’d the do? To Who? When? Are they planning something big??
“They sometimes show up and shoot at Ventures…”

or

“OOOH BOY! Watch out for those Drifters, folks! They’re a MEAN bunch!”
Oh yeah? What have they done?
“They nuked the Amarrian Empress in her Titan!”
No sht?! Well, DAMN! What else did they do? What are they going to do, next?
"Well, they kinda disappeared and haven’t done sh
t since."

or the ever-present

“JOVIANS… OOOOOOOOHHHHH”

Seriously! C*ck teases, everyone of them.

Eve’s Lore and NPCs have been nothing but freaking Cck teases since I started playing! They’ve always been ABOUT to do something. They are always on the brink of war. The universe is always on the edge of chaos. But jack SQUAT ever friggin happens! How about that BADSS “Prophecy” trailer that we got 4 YEARS AGO that hinted something HUGE but never bloody delivered? Seriously, CCP, you have given me Epic Blue Balls for nearly a Decade!

I get that Eve is very player-driven, and that is just peachy. But not everybody is part of the Nullsec alliances or gives a hoot about their daily backstabbing. Some of us actually enjoy PvE and want more out of the lore and story of New Eden.

Send large, opposing NPC fleets into battle against one another where players can join in to help their chosen side and help determine the outcome of major battles. Award LP for aiding your faction in battles toward winning the greater War. Empires don’t want to directly go to war? You’ve got how many sub-factions? USE THEM. Friggin Proxy War this sh*t.

Even Combat Sites from Cosmic Signatures and their Escalations are getting incredibly repetitive.

Idc what you have to do, bring the NPCs and factions more into the forefront of the game. High Sec and (to an extent) low sec are where the lore and story of Eve Online can flourish. Nullsec is the player driven aspect of Eve, there’s no question about it. And while getting more and newer things to blow up is fine, I’d love to see more story-driven and Lore-heavy expansions that add something significant and worthwhile to the game. As opposed to the constant, repetitive grind of the same missions over and over and over.

Send the Empires of New Eden into Chaos. (There you go. You could call it the “Chaos” Expansion.)

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There is lore in this game?, hmmm… Well now that you mention it there has been a smattering here and there, and you are right there has been nothing consistant.
I am not even sure CCP has a lore team at all, i think it’s up to devs if they have a few minutes over to toss something together.

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I remember that in the EVE Pulse video for the December release (that they apparently already stopped…) they told us that there will be more The Scope videos in the future. That should be good for some lore.

Also, in the last The Scope video, at the end they told us that Amarr and Minmatar navies were sent around gates in lowsec, linking the two empires together, to watch for an enemy attack from those points. It did appear in game, under the form of those diamond rats that could instalock and pop capsuleers ship, like a Marshal ^^"

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Plenty of good ideas there, but the problem has always ( and even more glaringly obvious recently) been the lack of dev resources available for its implementation. The ship of EVE is too full of holes and damage to remain afloat for long in its current state; recent actions by both CCP and PA shows that damage control teams have become fully aware of many of the problems and are scrambling to right the ship. Fixing known flaws in gameplay,mechanics, and programing trumps introducing more depth and content at this time. Throw in the explosition of bots and edge uses of mega multiple accounts and you can see that CCP just doesn’t have the manpower to meet all the needed improvements in EVE. Remember, the current staffing levels at CCP are at 2007 levels, so priorities have to be made.

I agree that there is so much more that CCP could introduce or improve in the game, especially in the PvE side, but I think that the last 6 months have revealed a whole lot of data that stunned much of the developers and their understanding of the game. Right now they are scrambling trying to find reasonable solutions quickly before it becomes too late. Now if PA wants to explode in size the programming pool and team security to rid the game of bugs and bots, well, then maybe there is room for more content…

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I completely agree with “righting the ship,” as you put it, before adding anything (major) new to the game.

BTW, I have been away for a while, but what has come to light that has CCP and PA freaking out?

The game and the gameplay was built around several premises that were different than other computer games of the time. This is what made it a success, but over the years as certain game mechanics or lack of certain gameplay became apparent, CCP would always counter with “our data doesn’t show that” when customers would bring up issues that ran counter to their (CCP) narrative. Long standing issues like wardec abuse or lack of new missions/PvE were back- burnered or completely ignored in favor of strengthening null sec gameplay, CCP’s main PR engine. This continued for years.

Then Into the Abyss introduced a far better retention and analysis of the data generated by the game. In the past, the majority of the data was actually thrown out, since CCP didn’t have the resources to retain it, let alone thoroughly analyse it. The interest and later acquisition by PA drove a much harder look at the analyticals from a business direction, not a game concept point of view, and certain long held beliefs by CCP were shown to be no longer increasing the games population, but were in fact causing people to leave EVE. This new data, which was actually old data now retained and analyzed, frequently went against some of CCP’s fundamental gameplay mechanics. Any changes needed to reverse the population decrease would not only have to rewrite areas of the game code and mechanics, but would also have to force the devs themselves to think outside their long entrenched concept boxes of what EVE was supposed to be.
So EVE currently appears to have three camps.
The first is the Old Guard players, mainly in null and into PvP, combining with the any reticent EVE developers who are resisting changing existing gameplay and mechanics. This group is quite strong, holding the majority of in game money as well as power. While some are cautiously willing to see some changes, there exists a vocal faction who advocate for not only no change, but for a rollback to days past, even preferring the game to be shutdown rather than change.
The second group is comprised of mainly newer players with a sprinkling of miners and mission runners who advocate for a much safer HS. Many advocate for all non consensual PvP to be outlawed in HS or at least greatly curtailed. They want to have the same opportunities as those in LS or Null sec, but not be faced with all the obstacles that are inherent in those areas. I do not know of any CCP devs in this group.
The final group are probably the majority of players who think EVE is currently pretty fair in gameplay, but realize it fails in certain game mechanics and content. While the list of items needing to be looked at varies from person to person, many people would have many of the following on their list:
bots,bounty system, war Dec balance,reduction in bugs (chat,etc), revitalization of LS, increased PvE opportunities, and several more. Most of this group understands that there needs to be a give and take when it comes to the overall gameplay verses their own style of playing.
With CCP staffing at 2007 levels and a whole list of problems, but no solutions yet finalized, a priority list of the issues must be formed. However, what may be important to you and your friends, may not be important to many others. This problem is what CCP will be wrestling with over the next year.

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Generally more negativism about the game, for good and not so good reasons. There are some technical issues with the chat system and connectivity has been a problem for a while. Layoffs at CCP created doubt amongst the playerbase about the future of the game. A number of changes to gameplay lead to a situation where “win conditions” have changed towards massive industrial grinding and this repulsed a number of players while also dramatically changing the power dynamics. This lead to some people leaving on bad terms. Then some more changes that were partly seen as CCP siding with Nullsec Blobs. Wardecs were nerfed heavily and like other changes there is a strong notion that promised re-visiting of changes will not happen in the next 5 years. Generally things not being followed up upon. I’d say it’s a bit of a larger divide into players who are super happy with how things are now and players who just can’t find their thrills in game anymore.

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I think this doesn’t reflect the whole story.

Around the time that player numbers stopped growing and started falling they had just nerfed a lot of high secs pvp.

http://eve-offline.net/?server=tranquility

Wardecs were nerfed around 2012 and then again in 2014.

Crime watch nerfed a lot of high sec pvp (can flipping and ninja salvaging) and suicide ganking. Think that was 2012/2013.

So even though ccp looked at data and found wardecs to be mostly fine, they nerfed them and other forms of hi-sec pvp anyway. This was probably due to frequent requests by a few loud players. And shortly after the nerfs player activity started to go down. A lot of people lost their core gameplay and new players seeking eves famous sandbox pvp and ‘be the villain gameplay’ found it much harder to get into when they were in hisec.

CCP focused on null a lot the past half decade because it was often seen as an end game and also if pvp players are supposed to goto null (as was often recommended by players advocating for wardec and suicide ganking nerfs) CCP wanted it to be ‘healthier’. Healthier i believe meant less stagnant, less blobby and with less focus on capitals and super caps bashing structures and more opportunities for sub caps, more rewards for activity and discouraging one group from holding huge amounts of territory. So fozzie made fozzie sov, where small ships became important in sov-warfare, systems had an activity index and introduced jump fatigue. (later jump fatigue would be nerfed and citadels would reintroduce bashing by popular demand)

Because of this null entities even made noob friendly groups, namely pandemic horde and karma fleet, so new players could get into null easier. Though the vast majority of players, some 70%, still play in hi-sec to mission, mine, trade, conduct war and gank.

Can i get sources for this?

I think inside CCP there are different opinions like here, and the management doesnt have to think as majority there, and can do what is their wish. Only when management sees that it was a bad decision, afer many many months and when basically everyone else in the company doesnt hide it and talks about it openly, the management feels they are abandoned and wrong. But that are mine impressions only, from the fact it takes so long to change obviously broken things (obvious for us).

Hate to be the one to break it to the OP
But rich lore and stories is something Eve USED TO HAVE.
But no more. Those days are gone. There were actual Eve novels: Empyrean Age, Burning Life, Templar One.
People made moves like Clear Skies.
People cared enough back then. CCP even cared enough back then.
Nobody cares now.
I’m feeling a bit emo right now. I’ll go write some bad poetry…

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Well, the road is long and combines numerous sources. The easiest are these 2:
https://massivelyop.com/2018/04/17/eve-fanfest-2018-ccp-games-has-big-plans-for-data-collection-and-machine-learning/
https://massivelyop.com/2018/12/27/eve-evolved-mass-surveillance/

The key quotes from here are both CCP Seagulls quote that data shouldn’t drive development and Hilmars quote that with the addition of Into the abyss data mining, facts are creeping into evaluation and development of game mechanics. Combined with numerous posts by Falcon, Guard, and others, there was evident that there was an ingrained bias to discount complaints or concerns that ran counter to CCP’s narrative. Resource wars was one recent failed attempt that was pushed out, despite few if any in the community wanted something like it. Wardec problems have been long standing and a source of much concern. CCP made some changes in the watch list and crime watch, but left the core of the wardeccing mechanics untouched for year after year, even when the CSM made it a yearly priority. CCP just felt it wasn’t important enough in player retention to change. Introduction of new data mining abilities and, BAM, wardeccing changed in under 6 months of bulk data crunching because the player loss and stats were deemed “appalling” and “shocking”. The thing is, this loss of players has been going on for years right under CCP dev’s noses and they were unaware of both the player and revenue loss.

CCP got comfortable in accepting that their original premise was both without major fault and that those players voicing concerns on a whole list of concerns were not in the majority (or at least a large number) of their player base. They relied way too much on feedback from the hardest core of their fans who fully (or at least usually) embraced their vision and needs. Whether if it was from meets,discord,mumble, reddit, or fleet chat, the echo chamber was so strong that reasonable doubt about any other planned direction for EVE was greatly muted or ignored. Even in these forums, people were told by Devs or members of the CSM over the years that what changes many of us were advocating for weren’t really needed or wanted because the numbers didn’t back it up. I was even told by CCP Guard that new missions weren’t needed because their data showed people were still doing mission even after 8 years of little change; therefore, he argued, no one wanted new missions. This type of interpreting data to support their preconceived opinions has always been a problem with CCP; as CCP Seagull stated that data should never drive game development, but that data should be used to test the results of the development. It appears that CCP has routinely used their feedback and communications with their most ardent fans and decided that it represented hard facts to support their vision. Hilmar’s latest quote seems to imply that REAL cold,hard facts are creeping into the equation.

I’ll let you find your own info on Pearl Abyss and their financial and game development history. Ditto the interviews with CEO Robin Jung. They have made an active move away from PC games and going for cross platform development. Who knows what direction CCP will decide to go, but hopefully they can finally see the true numbers of what people are interested in EVE and plan development around SOME of it.

Hope this helps!

The TLDR is too long I think

You keep implying that the ‘old guard’ or ‘hardest core’ players have been the source problematic feed back. Somehow keeping eve from being a better game. But you haven’t presented anything showing ccp saying that. You’re also very vague.

What are you considering as CCP’s narrative? Because they way you put it can apply to anyone with anything.

For example, wardeccers have wanted watch lists to come back so they can hunt players, and this goes against CCP’s narrative which has been to make high-sec ever safer (continuous nerfs to high-sec pvp as evidence). But on the other hand, players have asked for further nerfs to wardecs to make high-sec safer, and this goes against CCP’s narrative that EVE is a fulltime PvP sandbox…so which is it?

The problem is you are not using CCP’s words. I suspect you are not even coming close to their words.

Again, What is the original premise? That eve is a PvP sandbox? or that high-sec should be safer?

Who are you referring to as the hardest core? The ‘Old Guard’? As in null sec groups? Wardeccers? Carebears?

The most obvious assumption is that the ‘Old Guard’ refers to null groups or maybe wardeccers, yet the former makes up the CSM which pushed hard for wardec changes and the latter also pushed hard for wardec changes. So these were the players being ignored yes? So that means the hardest core players you’re referring to that had CCP’s ears were carebears? After all they got the wardec nerfs and ganking nerfs they wanted, and look what happened to player activity after that.

Again, i feel the wording has been twisted.

No he essentially said 'If it’s not broken, don’t fix it’. I was in that thread and he didn’t say players don’t want new missions.

CCP are learning how players react to different forms of PvE. They’ve been testing the kinds of things players have been asking for (yes resource wars were an amalgamation of player requests but had some overwhelming flaws). As PvE gets better and better they may find a replacement for missions. But until then, missions are doing just fine.

Hard facts about what?

Cause it could be the hard fact that alphas hasnt improved player activity. Neither has abyss space. Neither has the latest wardec nerf…

You’ve been vague enough to not actually say anything, but spun enough to imply ‘Old Guard’ (which i think means pvp players) are killing the game. But NO ONE is saying that.

Simply wow; you took what I said and shifted it the direction you wanted to or decided I was too vague in my concerns. I am not advocating for a safer High sec, arguing that the Old Guard (in any form you want to interpret) “are killing the game”, or any other of your attempts to paraphrase what I posted. Sorry you cannot follow the breadcrumbs; some fault probably lies with my presentation, but some also lies with your own personal bias toward your own play style.
For over a decade, I have had several communications with CCP devs and the CSM asking for explanations of design choices and voicing concerns on ways certain dev resources were being used. I know from years worth of conversations with other people that many of them had tried to establish lines of communications like I had, but were routinely dismissed by either being ignored, ridiculed, or bluntly told that ,in effect, “the numbers don’t support your point of view” on any specific issue. Most of them are no longer playing the game because game resources were used to support other aspects of EVE, some for the good and some for the bad of it’s overall health. It was CCP’s choice and right to do so, but it is frustrating to see that issues such as wardeccing mechanics we were reporting were driving a large number of a portion of EVE players away wasn’t acted on. Ditto the issues with missions. Now cold, stark player data will be added to the dev equation, hopefully showing where they need to improve even if they won’t use it to originate development.
Not here to get in an argument with anyone; but please don’t try to shoehorn me into pro alpha, pro abyss space, pro HS wardec nerf completely customer. Neither am I implying that PvP players are killing the game.
Your bias falls into the same camp as CCP’s; you’re right and everyone else is wrong and any opinion that might differ in some perceived major way is either some sort of attack or the failed reasoning of an inferior mind.
My arguments has simply been that CCP has not fully realized when a problem occurred in the past because their feedback processes at the time were not always accurate or was biased. I think that the evidence shows that this was an accepted practice; if we perceive things aren’t broken, don’t need to fix it. They didn’t feel that wardec practices were broken enough over the last 4+ years; didn’t need to fix it. All of the sudden, it’s OMG, we had no idea,jury rig a fix ASAP. How many other issues fit into this category? I have a sense that there are plenty more based on feedback from other customers I have talked with lately.

Anyway, we have derailed this thread enough, I feel. Want to move on with me?
We already have too much conflict in the forums, when it should be reserved for out in EVE space.

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You know what happens when you get the empires really at war and players allowed to pick the winner…
You get a winner. You get one Empire left standing and three destroyed.

Sure it’s an epic tale while it happens but then what. two years down the line the war is over, the Minmatar won, The pirate factions are shattered Amarr is glassed worlds and the Cal and Gal destroyed each other…

The story is then over. There are no rats, there are no missions. Because it’s all done and finished.

That’s why i wanted to know what old guard meant. It’s your own term yes? Not CCP’s. And i have an idea of what camp you’re trying to apply this to but am not sure. You may think I’ve got the wrong end of the stick yet you won’t make it clear.

You have implied that the old guard have been holding back eve by lobbying devs in the wrong direction, and you refer to wardecs as an example.

The problem is the ‘old guard’, if they are who i think they are, have never got what they wanted for wardecs since before the 2012 nerf. CCP have not been listening to the old guard. So to suggest that wardecs became a massive problem because the ‘hardest core’/‘old guard’ (same thing yes?) have been telling ccp what they want to hear seems misleading.

You have taken lots of sources and speculated on what has been found behind the scenes of the game. Then you’ve posted as though your guesses are what has actually been found or said by ccp. Like blaming the influence/feedback of a certain camp of players for poor design decisions by ccp. Even though, when it comes to wardecs, ccp completely ignored said camp and has always done the opposite of what they wanted.

I’m simply pointing that this doesn’t make sense.

You’re talking about my bias and my playstyle but i haven’t told you what i do in the game. You’re interpreting my preferences based on my posts here, shifting them in a direction you wanted. You realise I’ve just been doing the same for you. Maybe you didn’t mean to leave those breadcrumbs, but they’re there.

Hopefully watching player actions rather than reading player words will result in some revelations on what actually engages players and gets them stuck into the game and, as you mention, problem areas are identified sooner and more clearly.

Just don’t think it’s going to be what everyone expects.

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