Friday, 14 October 2011

Crews in our EvE Vessels?

I came across an advert from an EON edition that noted crews for our ships. I have not signed up to EON (something I may well change very soon, I'll add) so I don't know the in's-and-out's of this idea. But I thought it would be fun to throw in my own spin.

First of all is the morale implication. It is a solid fact (stand-fast station-spinners) that we will lose our ships at some point through PvP, NPC or Concord. If EvE was real, I for one would not sign up to be an engineer to a Capsuleer's ship. Not unless I had a death wish. Although this is really nonsense, would it not be a nice touch to have miniature escape pods blasting away from the ship as it explodes and have your crew awaiting your arrival at whichever station you dock at? To combat lag, perhaps this visual mechanic could be included in the graphics sequence of a ship popping. Titans may be an issue with the amount of escape capsules accelerating away, granted. Or maybe an un-lockable (or not - yarr!) escape shuttle will remain following the explosion, which will then warp your crew away to safety. Perhaps the easiest away around this is to use expendable droids as a crew, which could be recovered through salvage if you really wanted them back.

The reason I am imposing some sort of 'crew recovery' system is because some depth could be implemented in the development of a crew. Crewman could have their own skills (AI controlled) that increase through time and/or experience as we progress through missions/PvP/etc. much like our standings with agents. So as we 'develop' our crews through game-play, they increase their effectiveness on our ships. Perhaps even crew specialised to certain player styles, such as pirate crews and explorer crews. But with every ship lost, a certain percentage of crew will not survive and/or have their bonuses reduced - much like our fitted modules.

Crewman could be bought/hired through a special recruitment hub through the market. The more you spend, the higher their rank and, therefore, the better their ability. Skills for our characters could be bought to increase our crews standing effectiveness as well as ones to accelerate their training time. I simple promotional system could exist with billeted slots, so that your ship isn't run completely by experienced Commanders. But such mechanics could lead to a complicated system that people quickly get fed up with.

However, a system like this is very much in use at the moment - Hard-wire implants. Bonuses to weapons, defences, navigation, etc, are already available, so to introduce a system that I have just described would only mean duplicating something that already exists in the game (apart from the increased bonuses through time). Plus, do people want to have something extra to manage with their ships when all they want to do is fly and fight? Probably not.

I'll say that a lot of thought would have to go into something like this, as it will need to be well-balanced. I'm sure players don't want to go through the potential painful motions of training and losing crew to make it a fair fight against their opponents. So maybe limit ships crews to Empire or even just High-Sec?

Who know's. It is definitely something that will make us more attached to our ships, but it will need to be simple enough not to effect game play as it currently stands.

I very much welcome your thoughts on this!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Blog Banter 29: Immersing Oneself in EvE

I have to start by admitting that the storyline behind EvE is something that I am not completely familiar with. So that level of immersion is somewhat alien to me. For a long time I've been playing the game as a game, and not paying attention to the backstory. I have annoyed myself by doing this, really, as it does bottom out the whole experience at a shallow depth. After getting involved in the EvE community over these last couple of years, playing and talking in-character, as many pilots do, has become very appealing to me. One reason is to sculpt a model of, if we're honest, an aspect of our personality that we perhaps could not exploit in real-life. EvE gives us the opportunity to focus this aspect on our character and develop him/her into a fantasy portrait of ourselves in a place with very little consequence. To some, this may seem a bit geeky or even strange. But to others, myself included now, it can be a lot of fun.

Although I was aware that some pilots played in-character in and out of game, I was reluctant to try it myself. Mainly because I had been flying with my Corp members for a couple of years, and to suddenly switch from being me into someone I thought Akinesis should be seems a bit ridiculous. However, the clincher for me trying to 'act' was following a War-Dec on our Corp a while ago. The WT's we were fighting were tough, and many times we would engage in conversation with our enemy characters (be it smack talk, etc). But at the end of the war we discovered that these characters were all played by one individual, who turned out to be a rather top bloke. This showed me a side of EvE that I hadn't come across before, and it seemed a lot of fun. So, shortly after, I started a new account so I could trial this experience. So far I have, and continue, to trick a lot of people. And it proves to be a lot of fun to see the reactions and behaviors of others in response to this false identity I have created. Whether this is shallow, pointless, or whatever people might think, it is a break from the norm (albeit innocent deception at the moment). Although not a back-story character, I have created a personality that I believe suits the character, which I continue to develop.

RocWeiler has delved deep into his character and kept the backstory of his Minmatar origins very close. He has designed an upbringing with which Roc's personality responds from and I enjoy reading his stories. This has very much inspired me to do something similiar to Akinesis and Chrieghten. Although I am too far gone with these characters to employ this into the Corp (therefore, the game), I frequently mull over the thought of starting a series of mini-stories in my Blog to explore them. I would enjoy such a venture, but if I do it I want to get it right. This involves learning the history of Caldari and the other races to a good depth to ensure my characters slot in accuratly. I am looking forward to designing a history for them and how they met, etc, but it will involve time which I need to spend playing the game at the moment due to some drastic changes happening in the Corp. However, it won't be long before I begin putting some life into these guys.

So immersion in EvE can come on many levels, and all seem very interesting. It allows you to play the same game in many different ways, and can even make you challenge yourself without even realising it. A couple of times I've had to be careful not to 'break out of character' by saying something that I don't believe my in-character Alt would say. Adopting phrases and tones that are fitting are tricky as these are often things I would say normally. Placing a limit on sharing information is also something I have found hard to do, as a lot of the members of the Corp my Alt is in are quite junior to me. Several times I have watched them make mistakes that I could have perhaps prevented, or listened to them spit-ball ideas that I myself know would or wouldn't have worked. In a way I feel cruel to sit back and let them waste ISK or ships on things I could have helped them on, but to do so would break my cover and ruin the very experience I am very much enjoying. At the end of the day, they don't know any different and I am having a good time putting myself through the challenge of ensuring that it stays that way.

Although I'm only just getting into the deeper immersion side of EvE, I'm enjoying what I'm experiencing.