Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Continuing Discussion About the Introduction of Alpha's

CCP have another wodge of information and reply in response to their post of yesterday, ish, about the introduction of the Alpha account characters.

I'll post it in full below as that's a wonderful way to bulk up an otherwise content lacking blog post.

However I'm not sure they are ever going to silence the critics on this one, certainly not the foaming at the mouth vocal minority who are always up in arms about something.

The introduction of the Alpha accounts seems to be the only real option now that brings new players into the game.

Of course time will tell.

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Original Post

Wow, what a day! After our Clone States announcement, we watched as EVE players, future EVE players and media engaged in a massive discussion about what this feature would mean for New Eden. Needless to say, it feels great to see our community embrace the concept in such force. In less than 24 hours you have started developing 3rd party support for Alpha skill and fit planning, suggested marketing strategy for us, and of course looked for ways to improve the design. This has all been fantastic to see and now we are just eager to get the details right as we move towards that November release.

The internet is a big place and while we did answer some questions yesterday, there was no way to respond everywhere so we want to use this opportunity to highlight some of the biggest points of feedback so far. We aren’t ready to lock in any changes or solutions just yet, but know that these will be huge focus areas for us over the coming weeks.

Probably the clearest point to emerge so far has been a request to limit simultaneous log on for Alphas. The concern here is obviously justified as swarms of free alts could potentially have any number of negative effects on the game. That said, there’s significant complexity here, especially on the technical side. We are exploring options to address this and also consulting our security and customer support team, as most of the negative behavior would depend on multi-plexing or automation, both of which are big no-no's. But, when you guys say you will find ways to break it we believe you, so, we’re looking at our options and will update you when we settle on an approach.

Coming in a close second is suicide ganking and other forms of high-sec harassment. As we mentioned in the Q and A, we know we can use the safety system to ensure there won’t be a problem if we need to, but we still aren’t sure if that will be necessary. This write up does a good job showing why Alpha Clones may not make ganking more prevalent. It’s a tricky topic and we look forward to talking it through with the CSM as well as watching more of your feedback over the coming weeks.

After those two stand-outs there are a number of areas that have been mentioned consistently but without quite the same urgency.

We know there’s some sensitive gameplay areas like faction warfare, combat alts, wormhole scouts and a few others that need a look over. 

We know there’s plenty of ‘what if’ questions that still need answers such as how to handle characters with fancy implants or corporation ownership who fall into Alpha state.

We know we need a good plan for what information to expose in the API about your clone state and what kind of access Alphas have to the API.

We’ll be working towards answers on all these topics, with your help, and will do our best to keep you up to date through our progress.

Another common area of discussion has to do with the New Player Experience (NPE), other supporting features for clone states and the November release in general. What I can tell you is that this will be a full blown expansion release and we have some of its content already described on EVE Updates, with more to come soon. We are also working to include the first phase of Team Genesis’ new player experience improvements alongside clone states, keep your eyes out for updates from them on that work.

Finally, we want to emphasize that a lot of the impact from Clone States will be impossible to predict. We’ve seen questions like ‘what will happen to the market when returning players suddenly reclaim enormous amounts of assets’. Well, we don’t know exactly! For now, we want to work towards a position where we can comfortably react to emerging needs after launch.

Let us extend a giant thank you for all your ideas and enthusiasm. This is the best gaming community in the world and it’s awesome to see how excited you are to help us make it bigger.

Look for updated plans from us over the next few weeks.

Until then,

Fly safe,
Team Size Matters

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning?

I've been thinking for a while about how to attract new players to Eve Online.  Eventually it all boils down towards the high barrier of entry being an obstacle against new players obtaining a foot hold in the game.

For quite some time we have had the thirty day trial period but with many other MMO's going the way of free to play (F2P) then it was almost inevitable that Eve Online would follow that model.

Yesterday, a date that may live in infamy when we look back in the years to come, CCP announced Eve Online was going F2P.

Outrage!

Well...maybe, but probably not.

Eve Online has seen a decline in players numbers for a while.  This has been due to many factors and it would be difficult to pin the decline on the one thing, but the increased options for space based MMO type games would be a good place to start.

The potentially going to be completed one day Star Citizen, the promising but still under cooked Elite Dangerous, and to a lesser extent No Man's Sky amongst others have diluted the potential player pool that Eve Online draws from.

So what to do?

Eve Online goes F2P (sort of )

Yes we will now have two classes of pilots in Eve Online, the Omega's, who are exactly the same as the paid subscribers (Cash, Card, ISK, PLEX, etc) we have now.  In addition we will also have the Alpha's, who are F2P and have reasonably harsh restrictions on what they can and cannot do.

Read the above link for the details, however at least one thing bothers me.

Suicide ganking.

The barrier for entry to suicide gank someone is already quite low, and will be easily reached by an Alpha pilot.  So what stops clouds of Alpha pilots suicide ganking some expensive shiny ship of an Omega, that Omega becomes rather pissed off at the loss of their stuff to nobodies and leaves the game forever?

It also gives us the potential convoluted case of being Alpha'd by Alpha's using alpha damage to destroy an Alpha, or Omega.  That'll give some online commentator a headache while they try and wrap their head around that one.

November is the expected release date for this change, I expect many words and much hand wringing will happen between now and then.