Title is a bit misleading. I was over at Gamasutra.com last week and a headline just drew me and I read the article up and down:
For those of you that can’t be bothered to read the article, here is the jist:
It is an interview with Craig Morrison, who is the Creative Director in charge for Funcom. This is basically his thinking out loud of what went wrong with The Secret World and what direction they think they want to head. Throughout the article you will notice that Craig Morrison is obsessed with EVE Online. He’s quoting what’s right with EVE Online and how that needs to translate to TSW. From a broad stand point, this type of news should be amazing. Players should see ‘Big Title Developer wants to Bring EVE Elements to Game’. But no, you actually get to read the thought process of this man, and you get to find out, that while he keeps name dropping EVE Online, he doesn’t seem to grasp what the fuck the games about.
Apparently he read a couple of articles on EVE and went “Oh sure, I get it, we need to be like them. Because they are growing, and we are not. Now, what elements of EVE can I guess about, without actually having to be bothered to actually play the game.”
And this, this sets me off.
“And that’s exactly the key. You need to build an ecosystem. You need to build a collaborative set of systems which give the players the ability to tell their own stories alongside yours.”
First part is right. EVE is structurally sound because of an ecosystem. But that ecosystem is stable because of a negative style penalty system from ‘dying’. Players always need to buy their ability to play. And since all stuff is basically player made, you have a sound ecosystem. A Hack and Slash (as we EVE players refer to your games) can only have an economy in the beginning. Eventually you can’t lose you best set of gear, and it’s definitely not purchasable, so you can at best make your economy potion based. Unless of course you make your crafting system so easy a caveman could do it, then you have no chance of an ecosystem after one month.
The second part doesn’t even refer to EVE. You think EVE has a story and as a sandbox the player is making theirs happen within that. There is no story. There is a broad overview of major political ideals that are neat. But as for you user name <Jambalya Renyolds>, you have no story. What so freaking ever, you have none. And there is no interface story ever. Unless you think an overplayed mission agents description you have seen 1,000 times before is story, it’s not story based in the least. EVE’s PVE side is the most criticized completely repetitive un-immersive hunk of junk ever produced. But because the game isn’t focused on PVE, no one cares.
“And then the question is how do you do that? How do you bring it in so that your story can sit alongside the player’s? And then build the systems up that allow the players to express themselves and be part of the system. That’s the beauty of a game like EVE, is that the players are kind of this organic wheel in the middle of all the systems that the designers have made.”
There’s no fucking story in EVE! Stop using EVE as your basis for story or PVE. Yes, EVE works. But no one has a story.
“And that’s really where I’d love to see the genre go, is taking all the best bits. So you can have a quest-driven game, but it doesn’t have to be linear progression. I think games like The Secret World and Guild Wars 2, to an extent, were kind of pulling at the edges of that, to see if we can bring it back to being more virtual world-y rather than a single player game where there happens to be other people doing the same thing as you at the same time.”
You lost me when you brought GW2 in. GW2 did exactly the opposite of what you are saying. They took a step back from trying to give players a personal story and said “you all have the same exact single player story. Sure we have given some sight-seeing routes depending, but that changes nothing about the end story what so ever. But we eliminated side questing and bonus questing all together.”
You refer to a single player game where everyone is doing the same exact thing. This is in fact what GW2 is doing. You all are doing the same exact thing as a single player, but here, since you will be stumbling over each other, we won’t give negative results from hitting the same mob.
“And that’s the problem that a lot of these games face now. You build up progression and you get to the endgame and it’s only raiding, or it’s only PVP, which is completely different to what they’ve done to get there.”
You realize that is EVE’s model right. Just basically PVP. If you don’t think the PVE generated Incursions or Mining OPS aren’t raiding, you are crazy. The difference is, it was never end game. It is the game. But yes, its only PVP truly only PVP. Maybe the answer is PVP is a viable end game, if only we developers planned to make it more than something other than an afterthought.
“And EVE is really the only one that’s constantly done updates, but even then they’re like one or two a year. It’s like a big push — this is Inferno, and it comes out and then that’s it for the year, or nine months. Personally I much prefer to kind of maybe do something every month. I think every game goes through it right at the beginning — you’re kind of pushing out updates all the time when you launch. But I think actually having — you know, it’s not a new thing.”
This is how I know you don’t jack about EVE. EVE doesn’t release one or two expansions a year. They release 2 major expansions a year. TWO always. Other than the first year of release in 2003. These aren’t updates. These are expansions. In between these Expansions, which are free by the way, they do normal updates for balancing and some times features that just can’t wait. Neat idea right? Look what’s ready. Let’s release now. Trivial to EVE players. Extremely frustrating the rest of the MMO industry.
Linked just because the interviewed doesn’t seem to know shit about EVE. Stop guessing! When Wikipedia is a reference you are out of the know.
So it’s not just about updates, it’s about constant features and expansions that aren’t boxed. It’s about being plugged into your community and focusing on your project. You lose sight of that though, and your community will make you suffer. As CCP found out in Summer 2011 when an expansion wasn’t in line for new content and a leaked letter internally about greed is king went public. So while CCP and EVE are great examples. It also is an example of needy players that are king and are vocal about it.
I want to respect TSW. I really do. And I think saying ‘we wanted to start out small and grow’ is exactly what players really do want to hear. And from a broad stance, you looking at EVE and admiring it would normally earn you a thumbs up. The problem here is that you are referencing EVE, but don’t seem to understand the beast. You can’t say we are starting out small like EVE and we will grow, because in the end EVE has a plan to its players for the next few years. We know we have an expansion this December the 4th with 2 updates in between with major changes and additions. And then we know we have another round of that in 6 months after that. Oh … and then guess what in the next 6 months? That’s right some more.
Hell, CCP is releasing DUST 514 on the PS3 F2P with 5 years planned content updates at launch with 20 years of ideas to sustain.
And saying that they plan to be able to sustain the game for 2 decades. A decade on a platform that may not eve exist in 2 years. Let alone 10.
Admire all you want, but your player base doesn’t even know what you have planned for November, let alone 2 years. If you truly want to admire EVE and CCP and want to start making it right, you need to feel the pulse of your community and commit to the content. Saying I want to be like that is not very hard.
Food for thought from the player’s point of view.