Blog Banter #13 – The Cave of Time

Welcome to the thirteenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

The first banter of this 2nd year of EVE Blog Banters comes to us from Zargyl from A Sebiestor Scholar, who asked the following: On the EVE Fanfest 2009 page are pictures of prizes for the Silent Auction that was held during the event. One of these photos was entitled “Design your own EVE mission”. My question now would be what kind of mission would you write if you got that prize? What would the mission be about? Would it be one using the new system of epic mission arcs? What would be the story told by it? Feel free to expand upon his questions and put together your very own mission!

Things never got easier.

I had been dealing with Demetrius Clay for what felt like weeks now, though in truth it had only been days. He hadn’t been particularly sociable, but then again, that’s not what he was paying such good ISK for. He had a job that needed done, and I was doing my best to accommodate his wish.

We had taken a most interesting route to get to this juncture.

The mission had started like any other; go here, do this, return.

It wasn’t until he sent me to Hrokkur, in Molden Heath, that things became interesting.

clayI need you to meet up with an old acquaintance of mine, Roc Wieler. I’ve known him for a very long time, and trusted him even longer.

You’ll be picking up a parcel from him, and simply returning it to me. Stay sharp though; reports have indicated a spike in local pirate activities. While it might not pose much of a threat to an egger, not everyone flying in space is immortal.

You screw this up, I’ll be plenty disappointed. You don’t want to disappoint me.

I’d received many threats throughout my career; some carried out, most not, so I shook this one off and headed to Hrokkur in the Renegade, my Republic Fleet Firetail. My chief mechanic had made some changes to her lately, and while she wasn’t quite as fast as she used to be, she boasted far greater DPS than she ever had. To me, it was more than a fair tradeoff.

I arrived inHrokkur, and immediately looked for a warp to point. There was none.

I had Aura retrieve the mission journal, quickly trying to isolate where the error existed, where the miscommunication had been.

You are to meet up with Aalum Tasten’s Rifter inHrokkur.

Ok, so I had the right system, where the hell was my contact? I looked for the warp to point once again. Nothing. For gits and shiggles, I opened my scanner and did a quick ship scan… lo and behold, there was a hit for one “Aalum Tasten’s Rifter”.

Aura was already laying in the course as I triggered the jump to warp.

Seconds later, I landed into the middle of a Blood Raider firefight, Tasten’s Rifter the intended victim. Three Blood Raider Corpatis Battlecruisers and several Corpii frigates attacked the smoking Rifter.

I had seconds to act.

While the Firetail wasn’t the ideal candidate for this type of encounter, I had a job to do, and immediately locked the nearest frigate and opened fire.

By the two minute mark I had eliminated all the hostile frigates, but was unable to make much of a scratch against the battlecruisers.

To make matters worse, the Rifter was in bad shape, having slowed to a stop, fire pouring of its severely damaged armour and hull. The Corpatis didn’t stop.

I decided I needed something bigger, so warped to Hrober VI, which I new had a Republic Fleet Assembly Plant. I could quickly requisition a ship with a sufficient fit, then get back out there and kill those Blood Raiders.

Forty minutes later, I returned to the scene of the ambush, only to find it was empty. There was much debris littering the scene, Tasten’s Rifter amongst the dust.

My heart sank for a moment. I hadn’t expected this. It was typical of us Capsuleers to think the rest of the universe would wait for us, that they were as immortal and invulnerable as we were.

Aura confirmed that Tasten’s Rifter was indeed wreckage, but also indicated other troubling signs. There were traces of an escape pod being launched, energy emissions consistent with the use of a tractor beam, and very faint but distinguishable warp signatures akin to Corpatis Battlecruisers.

I asked Aura to set in a course for me based on the warp telemetry, but she was unable to comply. Apparently I didn’t have the right equipment onboard to achieve such a task. I would need to fit an analyzer before we could continue.

I docked at the station I had left only minutes before, got a quote from the docking manager, and settled in for the night. It was going to take eleven hours for them to get the part to this system and have it installed, and honestly, I could use the sleep.

THE FOLLOWING MORNING…

I had arrived at my bookmark where the ambush had occured the previous day. The debris seemed to have thinned, the scavengers already having picked their fill.

I fired up the analyzer and asked Aura for a recommended course of action.

It was the second time in as many days that I was too late. Aura informed me the warp trail had gone cold, and she could not distinguish a direction of travel.

Shit. What the hell was I going to do now?

It might not be the best example, but what I’m trying to get across is the concept of CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE, or intelligent environments.

Basically, it’s missions that vary based on every choice you make, whether that choice is path A over path B, taking too long to achieve a certain objective, or you fail to kill, capture or save a key character.

Would they be epic? I think they would be beyond epic. I think if they were made challenging enough, and engaging enough, not every player would be able to finish the mission, but not simply because of the number of enemy ships that are thrown at you. Rather, it would be because your lateral thinking has been challenged to the nth degree.

I think it would bring PvE one step closer to co-existing with PvP as a meaningful way to create rich and unique experiences, which is ultimately what all players crave.

And for those that didn’t pickup on the reference in the title, or look at the Wiki link, The Cave of Time was the first Choose Your Own Adventure book from Steve Jackson so many years ago, and yes, I owned a copy.

So tell me your thoughts. I’m always interested in feedback on ideas.

List of Participants:

  1. CrazyKinux’s Musing – Your Mission, should you decide to accept it…
  2. Zen and the Art of Internet Spaceship Maintenance – First Blood
  3. The Elitist – Guristas Invasion
  4. The Wandering Druid of Tranquility – …It’s another episode of Design Star: EVE Style…
  5. Level Cap –Epic Battles
  6. Roc’s Ramblings – The Cave of Time (You’re here now)
  7. Aether – Teach a man to fish…
  8. Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah – Mission: Tangled Webs
  9. Adventures in Mission Running – I can haz spaceship?
  10. Nuke Thoughts – EVE Blog Banter 13
  11. Diary of a Pod Pilot – Distressing The Damsel
  12. Guns Ablaze – Dynamic Missions
  13. Achernar – Confidential Report
  14. More to come…
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10 responses to “Blog Banter #13 – The Cave of Time

  1. Awesome concept. More recent examples of such a mission concept can be found in Knights of the Old Republic. Your choices decide the future of your character, much like how things in EVE are now with your in game character. Taking that model to the next step, this I would like to see…

  2. A dynamic reactive environment would be fantastic. Balance would be a difficulty for the writing of them but if they were well done they would make you want to run them again and again just to see the other endings.

    mike

  3. Awesome idea. Epic awesome idea. Three thumbs up man.

    I don’t think we’ll see reactive environments such as this for a very long time, as the AI and data storage for the server to keep track of this type of epic mission line would be.. Well, epic in itself. But theoretically, this is true End-Game.

  4. I agree with the rest of the comments here, Dynamic missions, hell even a completely dynamic NPC system would be awesome. Now all we need to do is hope that CCP actually reads these blog banters. With the coming of WiS (It had a rename but dunno what it was) it could even add more dynamics.

  5. Make missions less static would make them less predictable and also less boring… About Choose Your Own Adventure books: some of them had very interesting mechanics that could be transformed for use in Eve. For example, in Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! line (and in others), the player, apparently faced with a dead end, was sometimes able to add a number to the current paragraph to reach a hidden paragraph and keep adventuring. The choice to activate an item does not need to have always beneficial consequences. But it would force the player to think outside the box… as long as the whole mission is dynamic enough that a simple reading of Kill Mission Survival Guides is not enough to ensure success.

  6. I would venture, there is not a majority of players that find the current PvE missioning design in Eve appealing. Given the number of negative banter posts I have read so far just on mission running in general – it looks as if missions are in need of iterating. And the common thread I am reading is as you mention – lack of dynamics, monotony to the missions – and perhaps the worst is “predictability” – usually not a good idea in game design IMO.

    I and others have suggested adding more PvP elements to Eve missioning. A few banters also have suggested missions where you end up in fleet action.

    There is definitely a dearth of variability to the current mission sets – and once you’ve run through the types a few times, boredom sets in. Adding more story branches would help – more randomness – more not knowing what will end up happening – like any good story.

  7. Greetings Colonel!

    Hmm I guess that concept of yours does fit quite well with your interest about a new kind of AI hinted at in other blog-posts. Well I guess what you do propose is actually the way I imagined epic mission arcs would be when I saw the video the fanfest 2008 talk about them. I have to admit that I therefore was a bit disappointed when I saw the first epic arc. But still I think it is the right way to go. I also would really like to see missions that draw you a bit more into the rich background-story of EVE. I guess there will always be those who only look for bounties, salvage and loot, but for those interested in playing a part in an ongoing and perhaps dynamic story that perhaps also lets the player interact with (in-)famous signature characters, or that gives you hints about future events (Sleepers, Jovians and stuff), or that does a bit “explaining” of the history of EVE would be the way than using missions to do that.

    Kind regards,
    Zargyl

    PS Good luck with that proposal of yours!

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