Well, it’s been a few weeks now since the release of Incarna, and I’ve had some time to cool down and try to look at things objectively, not that I wasn’t before. Let’s begin.
Every MMO I have played has thrived on two things: grinding, and being unique. While ultimately there are never enough player options in any game to be 100% different from any other player in appearance and possession, many MMOs go to great lengths to create a truly unique player experience. In the end, it’s those unique memories that keep us playing a game, and look back at it fondly when our time there is done, or resent the game, rage quit, and trash it across the interwebs.
EVE Online has always been different amongst its peers, presenting a very homogenous environment where all ships of a given type look the same, all items of a certain type behave the same, all stations of a certain type look the same, all solar systems of a given type behave the same. They spiced up a little with wormholes and faction warfare, but both of these have been woefully glossed over since their inception. More on that later.
- composed of parts or elements that are all of the same kind; not heterogeneous: a homogeneous population.
- of the same kind or nature; essentially alike.
I don’t believe CCP really gets the concept I’m trying to get across today, but again, I’m trying to be objective. Incarna is our first glimpse at the unique avatar experience as presented by CCP.
Hey, bald guy with shades
Every race looks essentially the same with very limited clothing options, very limited hair colours and styles, very limited facial markings, everyone is the exact same height, etc. Before Incarna, it was easy to create a unique looking avatar. I guess my hope was that once we went full body we would be able to enhance that experience, not cut if off completely.
The NEX Store introduces us to a limited introductory line of overpriced indestructible clothing. The Noble Exchange bothers me on so many levels:
- all clothing is generic across all races – “Hey, Amarr priest, I see you sporting the latest in Minmatar Slave shirt. Noble Exchange?” “Why yes, it’s all the rage!”
- The prices … It’s been common knowledge for a long while that a very small ISK tip to a waitress can set them up for life! according to the chronicle “Prosopagnosia”, the main character has never had ISK until he signs up for a whole year of service on a capsuleer vessel. That year of service allowed his entire family to live wealthy for the rest of their lives. 100m3 of Quafe powder costs 50 isk. I could go on and on, but the point is this: A fucking shirt should not cost more than a faction fit battleship! If you had introduced about 100 interesting items on launch, all around the $3 mark, I guarantee you that your players would’ve spent well over $60 without batting an eyelash. It worked for Apple and the app store; it worked for every other RTM MMO, why wouldn’t it work for you? In one thoughtless move lacking any research into your own rich backstory, you’ve completed obliterated continuity between all that was before, and the cash grab you’ve shoved down our throats now. But CCP has already heard the outcry about the cash grab, so let’s move on.
- Military style clothing – WTW? Here’s one NEX item description:
Men’s Sterling Dress Shirt – Modelled after the Class B military blouses found in several modern navies, the Sterling dress shirt is designed to cope with the realities of daily service while maintaining the image of an orderly fighting force. Blah blah blah.
Seriously? I have an idea, why not make some military clothing for the actual military! That’s right! Check if someone is currently serving in, or has previously served in their Factional Warfare Navy, and allow them some clothing options all their own, as a badge of pride and honour of their blood, sweat and tears! Oh wait, CCP forgot about the Empyrean Age expansion. My bad. Still, would be cool to show the ladies my Matar Colonel uniform mounted on a wall in my CQ.
- And incredulously, indestructible clothing? On the one hand, it makes sense, given the price it better be indestructible and give me blowjobs, but on the other hand, there are five fingers. EVE is such an incredibly harsh, unforgiving game: you lose your ship, too bad; you got scammed, too bad; oh, you bought a shirt? Yeah, we’ll make sure that stays with you forever. Again, every other MMO has destructible items, that’s why they’re either A: cheap, B: player created, C: A + B. The same can be said for Captain’s Quarters. I mean seriously, when I decorate, via RTM more than likely, it will probably mean every single CQ of mine in every single station in the galaxy will be furnished the same? Homogeneous and boring. Where is my opportunity for individual expression? Where is my chance to impress the Rens ladies with my “sexy man cave”, but let the Gallente ladies see my “Disco love nest”?
CCP does homogeneous too well. Homogeneous is easy really. It’s all they’ve ever done. Homogeneous isn’t going to cut it for the future of Incarna, or EVE Online.
CCP, I hope you’re reading this. The current release of Incarna is just for testing WoD, I mean, testing the waters of what is possible and how players will react. I get that. You’ve seen the response of your player base. If you read the comments below, as well as your EVE Online threads, you’ll see many wonderful suggestions and ideas on how to make things better.
- each CQ should be its own unique instance. If you want my money, let me sink every penny I have into something epic.
- clothing should be cheap, destructible, with special items available only to race or military service (ie: Brutor Matar Colonel should have a bitchin’ military jacket that only his people that have served and earned that rank can wear), and should be at least colour customizable to a degree (not uniforms). You gave us a limited palette for hair, skin, etc, why not let us have that for clothing too? Not everyone wants to see the same grey skirt.
- Add more than clothing to the Noble Exchange – CQ decoration items, medals, etc, and reduce the damn prices.
- Oh, and one more thing, where’s my tattoo that I was promised? Two devs from your art department swore to me in front of witnesses at Fanfest that it would be in Incarna. It’s not, and while they were so very confident enough to give me their email addresses, I haven’t received a single reply to my inquiries. Seriously, I want my tattoo back. Stop ignoring me.
In the end, I guess what I’m saying is get with the game, and make EVE a more unique experience for the players. That’s a concept older than CCP, so I’m not sure how you missed this obvious truth throughout all your “planning”.
I still believe in the future of this game. For now, at least.
What are your ideas? Post them in the comments below please.
The real tradeoff here is scale: you can have perfect/homogenous or good/heterogenous. The price of more variety is a drop in visual fidelity. CCP always goes for visually perfect, so we’re always stuck with homogenous. They have to have the highest possible graphics realism; the best rendering engine; the most realistic character models. The high price of that ethic of perfection is that they can only make about 4 of anything, all exactly the same. For a look at the other end of the spectrum, look at WoW: It looks like ass, but there are about a billion items and you can customize them.
What you’re saying is CCP continues to swing that pendulum too far toward the perfect and sterile end of the spectrum. You want to see more variety, and perhaps the player base is willing to give up some of the graphical perfection to get it.
Many of CCP’s woes with Incarna have been a direct result of this passion for visual perfection: Graphics cards overheating; inability to show more than one toon at a time; 4 frames per second; cookie-cutter toons; limited outfits; etc.
*ahem Star Wars Galaxies
Thousands of high quality items, literally. There was no tradeoff. The items all looked great AND there was quantity.
The main difference is that SWG was planned properly in the beginning. There was actual forethought given to direction initially.
I keep qualifying myself, because as we all know, Julio Torres destroyed that game.
Hey, did Torres get hired by CCP? It’s actually all coming together now.
Alright, here’s my take. Personally,I think the whole Incarna (Walking in Stations) portion came out too soon. A lot of bugs, and the station environments not yet cleaned up, or completely finished. Oh, and then there was the whole T3 flying backward, and inability to stop your ship fiasco.
Polish on a product only does one thing, make it shiny. Shiny doesn’t always mean good. With this said, the whole Noble Exchange, while a good idea for increased customization, on the other hand is a ridiculous concept. There is no way in Hell I’m going to pay out what it would cost me to Faction fit a bunch of ships, or Hell, buy a new Faction ship, to get a pair of pants, a jacket, or a stupid monocle. You want to make money of NEX? Fine, then offer things that people would truly want to spend that much on. Custom ship color schemes, customized CQ environments, et cetera.
And I fully agree that the uniforms should be limited to those who served (mind you Jack was only a Federation Minuteman, he still served). But I have a suggestion as well. Medals received? There should be a medal display case in the CQ automatically, and that should be free, as you figure a Corp foots the bill to make a medal, and then award it. So people being able to show off their decorations with pride should be allowable.
But honestly, there are so many issues that could be fixed, that NEED to be fixed, but are merely getting swept under the rug. Mind you, they’re issues that don’t really affect me directly, but others, and should still be addressed.
But yeah, melting down PLEX to buy pants. I’ll get right on that… …right after I swallow a bowl of live scorpions, and stick my hand into a garbage disposal to unclog it.
Hmm, TLF uniform? I would actually buy that……