|What if prospecting for new, special ores was interesting?|
On last weekend's 'Lost in EVE' debate, toward the end of the show, Two Step came out of nowhere to ask me directly what my thoughts about mining and industry are. It may have been meant and, admittedly answered with a bit of humor, but my mind shifted gears and I started to ~talk~, which can sometimes be pretty dangerous. Following up on that, on Monday I published a blog detailing some of my thoughts about this issue and making a commitment to Fight for Industry in the future of EVE. While there are a couple people running for CSM 7 that have decided to talk a little about this subject, or just focus on mining to the exclusion of all else, no one else with my varied background has stepped forward.
Combined with several forum posts on the subject, it seems the message has gotten out that I'm actually serious about following up on this and the reaction has been rabid. At first it was just a few eve mails, but it's snowballed past that now. Over the past few days I have been invited to talk on three different Teamspeak servers to players that previously had little interest or faith in anything CSM-related at all. One of these was a Czech mining / production corp of about 80 players that had never once given a shit about the CSM and had all but given up on ever seeing anything come their way. I think I managed to change some minds about the CSM and, at the end of that particular discussion, walked away from it with about two pages of hastily scribbled notes that represent a small part of the laundry list of issues plaguing the builders of EVE.
One of the most common themes I have heard over and over is how completely lifeless industry in EVE is / feels. For example, when you are working in PI or installing a job in a factory, there's very little or no visual feedback that helps a player feel like they are actually accomplishing anything. One of the best analogies I've heard is that when you are flying your ship and shooting your guns, you have an instant sense of gratification - you can see what is happening, what your ship is doing and the results of that. What do you have with any U.I. facet of industry in EVE? Countdown timers? A few spreadsheets? I would love to see what would happen if CCP Punkturis and her friends would be turned loose on helping create a more immersive and enjoyable experience for all aspects of industry.
Planetary Interaction is another example of a feature that obviously had much more potential but remains far behind where it should or could be. You have no way to 'pee in another player's pond' or do anything that even resembles conflict. Don't bring up DUST 514 about this; both I myself and EVE Players I talk to think there should be some form of conflict activity (however minimal) directly related to PI for us in EVE.
Less Button Clicking!
In terms of making things simpler for production, the less button clicking the better! I've always wanted to be able to do 'batch installs' of similar, multiple factory jobs. Like, I have seven blueprints that all need to go into ME research for ME 60... BAM! I have 5 invention jobs that all use this decrypter and this kind of BPC... BAM!
Another big want of mine is being able to 'chain' blueprints together for more complicated manufacturing processes. The way it works now is nothing but a time vampire that requires you to log in to essentially repeat the same actions. As an example, you want to build a Carrier - you grab the Carrier BPO and all of the requisite component BPO's, the new and improved and amazing looking factory U.I. tells you the total mineral requirements, then you 'batch' install them as a single group job. How epic would that be??
What if you could create a 'shopping list' that took into account your BPOs and BPCs properties? You could group together multiple blueprints, everything from frigates to capital ships and their component blueprints; the system would then analyze those blueprints and you would get a mineral requirement: "You need to go buy this." Then, as you buy the minerals off the market, those amounts are reduced on your list.
I've already touched on some of the things I'd like to see happen with the mining profession in my previous blog but I want to clarify one other point: at its core EVE is a social game. I understand that there are some people that just want to log into a game and play with themselves (pun intended) but I believe the game should encourage and reward more social activities. Achieving a goal with other people in EVE has always felt more rewarding than anything I've done on my own.
I strongly support the development of dynamically generated content that throws a few curve balls into established patterns of play. We're people, not robots, and as such should be required to think our way through even PVE situations from time to time. This also has the side effect of helping eliminate bots / macros, etc... which I loathe with a passion I can barely put into words.
Large Scale Cooperation
I want to see an emphasis placed upon people working together to achieve common, large scale goals. Let me step back in time a bit to frame my thoughts on this and I'll use a common 'large scale' example: building outposts.
In some respects, the financial aspects of this are something that aren't really appreciated today. When outposts were first released, 20-25 billion ISK was an IMMENSE sum of money that had to be pooled by dozens, if not hundreds of players. More importantly, in terms of actual construction, you could not load the outpost construction eggs with a freighter - you had to use a small fleet of normal Industrial haulers. From finances to the physical effort of construction, it required a level of teamwork that's been missing from EVE at all levels of play for years. Once it became essentially a 'one man job' to actually deploy and finance an entire dock-able space station, null sec outposts became as common as trees in a forest and we lost a vital part of what made null-sec feel like 'frontier space'. I believe it is possible to establish this feeling again and not just for people living in null-sec.
Work for the Unemployed
One more thing: industry contracts. I've spoken many times about the 'Treaty' system that I worked on right before I left CCP. One aspect of this was to be a new contract system which had the potential to be expanded upon to touch many areas of EVE. One thing that I was most disappointed to see not happen was the advent of possibly creating an actual 'job market' for industrialists in EVE. It is probably easiest to explain like this:
You are a corp facility manager. You can set up 'job contracts' that need doing and they go into a queue. The prerequisites for these jobs are auto-calculated so no one without the skills to perform them can accept them. You can then set a job payment for acceptance and completion of the contract and, once completed, the finished products pop out into whatever hangar you wish.
This job contract can be set to be available at the corp, alliance or public level. Obviously the person that accepts the job cannot cancel it because it is locked. As a factory or blueprint owner, this allows you to farm out work in a much more efficient manner and, at the public level, this system gives more possibilities for the "small guy" who doesn't run four extra accounts with production alts on each character to do major industry and make some space bucks!
"It will be more then a year before CCP will devote an entire expansion to industrial improvements... you are not promising anything that can be accomplished in the CSM7 term."This is where you are wrong, Anonymous. CSM 7 is going to be just as crucial to the future development of EVE as CSM 6 was. The Crucible and Inferno expansions are a direct result of quite a lot of effort put in by the past couple CSM's. Even though Inferno is not going to happen during CSM 6's term, that does not mean CSM 6 was not consulted or did not push for it. If you want to see something happen in the development of EVE these days, you need to make sure that your CSM representatives are engaged and they understand how the processes inside CCP work to achieve results.
In order for something like this to happen, it is going to take more than just a team or two working a few sprints - it's going to require a concentrated effort of manpower and resources; IMO, a full named expansion. That means as this year goes forward, the people in favor of seeing a proper overhaul of Industry are going to have to be as vocal and driven on this issue as possible.
There are a lot of things that CCP has on the drawing board which would help re-vitalize interest in what I believe to be one of the most neglected and unappreciated areas of the game. This is something that I've wanted to see happen for YEARS. I grew tired a long time ago of hearing CCP talk about an 'industry expansion' and then nothing ever came of that talk. Now CCP finally has the resources to finish and expand upon the null sec and FW stuff and still tackle a full fledged make-over of industry. The potential is there, they are willing to listen and, with your help and your vote, I plan to be one of the leading voices on this.