Thank you very much everyone for placing me on CSM 6 and now on CSM 7 where I am currently serving as the Chairman! If you would like to contact me directly, do not hesitate to just send me an eve mail in game. Keep your eyes here and watch for new posts.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

MY Captain's Quarters?

All by myself... :(

Yesterday CCP released a new dev blog announcing the completion and future addition of the three other racial Captain's Quarters for Incarna:

Racial CQ Dev Blog

I've had a surprisingly strong reaction to this blog and I'm going to explain why.  I'll try not to cover old ground much but some things bear repeating.

This looks better than the Minmatar craphole.

The Good

The damn things look great. I mean, seriously. The one thing you can never fault CCP at is their artwork. Releasing just one CQ initially was a mistake; releasing the Minmatar one and making it look like a cheap hotel in downtown Tokyo was even worse.  With these three new CQ's, we finally see something that says 'sci-fi'.

The best thing about this dev blog tho is that CCP finally took heed of something the CSM said back at the May summit which was, "If you are going to show off something really cool, please please please include a video of it!" Look what we got!


It's atmospheric, well-made and shows off the new shiny stuff in a way mere pictures and words never could.  So kudos to CCP for going the extra mile and doing this.

The Meh

Shortly after the blog was released I began tweeting about it and made a somewhat snarky post on the first page of the thread referencing the fact that a lot of people that just don't like this stuff would summarily disable it and go back to having 'the door' which was the crappy default background image if you didn't want your video card to melt.  So the question was asked, "Will those of us with CQ turned off be receiving updated door pictures?"  We got a rather surprising answer from Torfi himself:

"The door will be replaced by a ship spinning in a hangar, actually."
If this is true then it's great news.  The 'meh' of it is, why not include such an obvious piece of information in the actual blog? If you have forgotten about all the Ship Spinning info, here's the dev blog on that.

The other thing that got left out and had to be clarified is that, according to CCP Fallout,

"The CQ you get is based on the race of the station!!"
I suppose not tying the CQ to the race of your character makes it an interesting way to ensure that players get a chance to see all four styles, but it also leads to something that really worries me: the complete lack of choice and customization.

I am no longer in MY Captain's Quarters; I am just in a hotel room that I hang out in when I dock in a station.

Meh.

The Bad
The NeX store is missing some key items...
I understand it needs to be done in steps and I understand it can't all come out at once, but five years after the concept was first shown at FanFest 2006 we have:
  • No interaction with other players.
  • No defined game play.
  • No definitive information on when either of the above will happen or what shape they will take.
It's actually been longer than five years, but just so people don't think I'm pulling that number out of my ass, have a look at this post-2006 FanFest dev blog published by Torfi on November 17, 2006:

Walking in Stations Dev Blog

It's kind of mind blogging when you think about how much else has happened in EVE, yet how little has happened with regard to Walking In Stations / Ambulation / Incarna.

The latest blog did not contain one word about 'Establishments' or anything else related to actual character interaction and / or gameplay.  What has been said was said by Queen of Straight Talk CCP Fallout in one of the forum replies:
"For those of you inquiring or wondering about walking in stations via establishments: we will be releasing more information. I currently don't know the timeline for the info release. I do know that my answer will annoy some people, and I apologize. If I run into Guard later (he left for the day) I will see if he's familiar with when that info will be out (Guard is the new king of blog publishing :)).

Adding an update: we are currently expecting more information on this next week."
I'm curious to see what information is coming because this is where I start to get annoyed again. Seriously, what is the point of making my character all snazzy if there's no way for other people to see her / him strutting by?

Where is the personality?

If I am ever going to appreciate or use Incarna in any way, I have got to be able to make the content I see on my screen actually MINE.  I love Legos. I like to build things. My old alliance, Mercenary Coalition, was the first alliance in EVE to build all four racial outpost types. The Caldari one was shit, but we did it anyway because... FIRST! I've spent at least as much time in EVE building stuff as I have destroying it which is why Incarna is such a disappointment to me.

I've written several times about how I think CCP has completely missed the boat with their ridiculous vanity items pricing strategy for dresses and pants, etc... It seems the obvious next step of this would be allowing players to choose whatever CQ template they liked the most and then accessorize, more importantly personalize, it with all manner of crazy shit. I want carpets from endangered animals, a desk made out of wood sacred to some hippies, a couch shaped like a doughnut, mirrors all over the ceiling a disco ball and pet slaver hound.  

I also want to add onto my CQ, kind of like the old XCOM game where you could customize your base layout and make it your own. I want a frozen corpse trophy room so I can show off my old XirtamVOTF and KIAEddz trophies or a big walk in closet that stores my various shoes, trench coats and handcuffs.

Of course, so long as CCP is charging $20 for a shirt, they'd probably want $500 for a disco ball so maybe it's better that none of this ever sees the light of day.

Spaceships?

There is literally nothing wrong with this.
All of the above is my attempt to write down some of my frustrations with where things stand in Incarna. In the end, I still subscribe to the idea that EVE is, first and foremost, a game about spaceships. It's where my passions lie and where I put most of my energy into as a player and a member of the CSM. However it doesn't mean that from time to time that I don't think about the missed opportunities of Incarna or how it might be improved or better sold.

15 comments:

  1. You forgot the one vital piece of furniture ... the gold plated closet we keep the corpses in of those who killed after making them cry.

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  2. Ah, the old Incarna questions and concerns that just won't go away. Eventually, maybe certain people at CCP will actually realize this and...you know...address them. Not holding my breath, though.

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  3. "I am no longer in MY Captain's Quarters; I am just in a hotel room that I hang out in when I dock in a station."

    But... What did you expect? Do you visualise carrying your CQ around in your pod or something? They have to basically represent temporary accommodation supplied to a pilot, don't they?

    MOAR QUESTIONS MARKS :p

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  4. King size rotating bed (Think Austin Powers 747)
    Stripper pole, as my poor exotic dancers must be cold in the hanger next to all my ammo...

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  5. @ Slight - At FanFest, it was said that the ~plan~ was for you to be able to package up your CQ and take it with you in your Cargo Bay. I'm sure there are a few things they still need to work out tho. :)

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  6. Hah! Well CCP have never been that hot on physical dimensions have they? Maybe stations have some kind of Tardis effect which explains hanger sizes and foldable rooms that fit in a pod. :p

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  7. i am still waiting for my personal stripper and beer serving midget ....

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  8. Doesn't really fit with the ingame technology, but thinking of your CQ as a personal "holosuite" would allow alot more freedom to take it with you.

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  9. @ Ana - there's nothing really been discussed about just how big a personal CQ would be. Maybe you'd need a hauler or even a freighter to move it around? Kinda like a campaign tent of old. :)

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  10. I want my CQ to look like something Glen Quagmire would approve of. Giggity! No going to get it though :(

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  11. @Slighit

    Gee, if only we flew around in some kind of man-made structure the size of a small apartment building that we could set aside a single room in and take with us into the depths of space.

    Seriously, when I first heard about Captain's Quarters I thought it was going to be a room ON YOUR SHIP because that MADE SO MUCH MORE SENSE.

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  12. To be honest I think that the whole 'holosuite' makes much more sence for a number of reasons:

    Its not even too far beyond the scope of the technology available in the game; I mean look at how the ship flying interface works.. your pod doesn't have any windows for you to see out of and there needs to be some sort of virtualised environment for the ships system to tell you targeting & other ship information in the HUD.

    1) The whole physically 'unpodding' experiance is supposed to be unplensant experiance so something you wouldn't want to do on a regular basis.

    2) Players would be able to select the CQ that they prefer instead of being forced into one. Hell I can be minimatar and fly a caldari ship but I can't have a caldari CQ for myself? Maybe I dislike red and rusty and want something a little more modern and Sci-fi?

    3) Personalisation; as you've rightly said Seleen part of the point of having the CQ (we believed) was to be able to personalise it, hang the frozen corpses of our foes around the room and make it homely. Even a virtualised environment will be able to do that and more (ie, do things that are not physically possible) to personalise it even further.

    4) Station Facilities: I think its quite unrealistic to think that every station has hundreds of thousands of little cubicals available for pilots to use a little hotel room. They don't even charge a docking fee, or a storeage fee for my equipment so where is the income coming from to pay for several hundred thousand maids to come around and clean all of these CQs?

    In the future all the talk of establishments etc where I can meet other pilots, have a quick drink and deal drugs under the table etc; how am I physically supposed to get from one place to another? Walk? Not at the current pace! These stations are supposed to be the size of a small city so they would require some sort of mass transit system that allows quick access between all these facilities.

    Put everything together including storage for ships, thousands of CQ pods and a large transport network and you start to think of how much space is physically left for establishments!

    A virtualised environment will mean zero travel time and endless customisation of establishments including size without feeling like its breaking any physical laws or RP value.

    5) Station PvP

    Its already come up that station PvP is a hot topic and that if you physically 'unpod' you expose you expensive implants and soft spongy flesh for someone to come along and gank you with a rusty spoon.

    If stations DON'T allow PvP people will cry and moan that its not realistic that you can physcially stand next to your arch enemy and yet can't lay a finger on him.

    Open PvP in stations will just mean that NO ONE will undock as you don't have any physical protection that you normally would have in space and its too large a risk to lose those valuable implants.

    Saying that station enviroments are virtualised allows for a rule that says "No station PvP" in a game and RP state because its all computer generated and you can't kill pixels.

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  13. Lee that is possibly the best rationalisation for a simulated environment. Completely agree.

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  14. I think an alternative is that you can have a different CQ for each station you dock at. You don't have to store anything there, but you can.

    I guess this would fall in line with clothes that don't travel with you.

    However, I could see CCP wanting to charge a "rental fee" if you wanted a persistent CQ at a station.

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