[Misc] EVE advertising, Flexi raids in WoW, E3 and the rush of FPS MMOs

Apologies for this being a bit of a mashup. I should probably post more often rather than waiting till I have a few items together.


This banner was part of a banner ad for EVE Online on rpg.net. This is their advertising slogan. “Be the villain”. And they wonder why their community has a terrible reputation, and only 4% of the player base is female.

Just saying.

I’m still playing through my first month in EVE quietly, deliberately not getting involved in corps or PvP because I just wanted to get a feel for the flow of the game. By far the most compelling part so far is the Facebook-like skill training system. I don’t mean that as a knock to the awesome economic game, beautiful graphics or fairly dull PvE. But the skill training is surprisingly compelling (or perhaps not if you’re used to Farmville). So perhaps it is not surprising that the devs have introduced a new mini game in the recent update – I can’t personally comment on it since I haven’t really figured out probes in any case.

The immensely clever thing about this game is the gamification of boredom. PvE activities like mining are made deliberately dull to encourage player-ships to hang around while players are reading something in another window, making them easy prey for wannabee pirates. ie. the pirates are pretty much guaranteed easy player prey, whilst the miners/ distributers can still make enough credits to shrug off losing the odd ship every now and then.

And as long as everyone roughly gets what they want most of the time, no one will get pissed off enough to leave. It’s actually pretty clever, but still boring. Before anyone comments, I realise that the PvP game is where most of the fun is, just joining a corps is a massive hassle and my goal here was just to get a feel for the game.

One of the  main issues with EVE is always going to be how the devs can balance making the game accessible to newbies while allowing the longer term players to enjoy the advantages of lengthy playing time. For all I’m told that newbies can easily fly with PvP fleets (if in the right role), I still see a  lot of fleets in chat that have far more rigorous requirements.

Are you flexible?

One of the features coming to WoW in the next patch has been dubbed flexible raiding by the devs. In addition to LFR (25 man) and  normal mode (10 or 25 man) for raids, there is now going to be an inbetween version that lets you bring any number of players between 10 and 25 and scales based on how many you bring. The flexi raids also are on a separate lockout from either LFR or normal mode, and drop loot that is also between LFR and normal mode loot.

I’m cautiously hopeful about this new raid mechanic. At the beginning of Cataclysm, like many other people, I commented on how forcing 10 and 25 man raiding to the same lockout would impact on casual raid guilds. Back in the day, we used to run fairly chilled out 25 man raids and the more hardcore raiders could still go off and run their own 10 mans at weekends. After the lockout changed, we compacted into a casual 10 man guild where the more hardcore raiders could still raid with the main group and everyone else could come to alt runs or LFR.

The new flexi raids mean that if people want, we could return to the old Wrath raid pattern. I expect to see a lot more public flexi raids being run also, where raiders and their alts can chill with other raiders from their realm in a non guild exclusive environment. Given that more choice is good, I’m going to welcome the new raid type.

What it means to 10 man normal raid groups, I’m not sure. If like us they raid successfully but at a cost of rarely being able to include less hardcore raiders (I realise I am using hardcore in a different way to heroic groups Smile ) and often having a couple of people on the bench, it will be tempting to just shift to flexi raids and throw in the odd normal mode as an extra if players want.

Blizzard are also releasing more information about the next patch, which looks as though it will be rather more interesting than the current one. The Godmother has a quick summary of some of the new upcoming  features.  I actually applaud them for releasing the current quieter patch over the summer period, because players don’t really want to feel stressed to play MMOs when the weather is nice (I live in hope).

What E3 brought

I’m not really sold yet on either XBone or the PS4 as a next gen console, my PS3 is still looking pretty good and PC gaming has rarely been better*. However, I’m going to bow to Sony’s PR guys this week because their video on how the PS4 lets you share games is a winner; at least it makes them look as though they understand gamers rather better than Microsoft. I wouldn’t write the XBone off though, MSoft have a very clear vision of their customer – someone who loves watching sport, playing ‘core’ video games online with friends, and isn’t that price sensitive. We should just call the console the XBROne and have done with it. Imagine my surprise that the Microsoft E3 presentation a) showed no games with female protagonists and b) involved a scripted rapey joke at the expense of a female presenter. Like I say, they know exactly who their target audience are. And yes I do enjoy watching them get mocked for it in the national press.

* I will probably eventually pick up a PS4 to play whichever version of Final Fantasy we are up to now (15 I think) because old habits are hard to break.

I am also seeing (finally) a rush of FPS MMOs lined up for the next gen consoles. Between Destiny and The Division, along with Planetside 2 and whatever MMOlike features are planned for CoD et al, it will be interesting to see how both the monetisation strategies and gameplay catch on with console players.

And the game that most intrigued me was the Plants vs Zombies shooter. Like Liore, I think this is an interesting way of opening up the genre to a different audience. I kind of want to play a Sunflower that spits sunbeams, even though I’m not big on shooters.

17 thoughts on “[Misc] EVE advertising, Flexi raids in WoW, E3 and the rush of FPS MMOs

  1. The thing about Eve is that nothing in it will really be all that fun if you let other people decide for you. You need to decide what you want to do then figure out how you are going to do it. The problem is, when you first start out, you don’t really know what you CAN do, and tackling anything seems very daunting. I’ve been through several corps, lived in high sec, low sec, Wormhole space, and NPC Null sec. I’ve learned something from each of those stops, and moved on once I decided what I liked or didn’t like about each. I plan to start my own corp now and play at being a space frontiersman, I doubt it will ever have more than a few people in it, but that’s not my goal. My goal is to search for treasure and adventure, and help out anyone else who is interested in doing the same.

  2. There must be a villain to have a hero. When a villain is just a virmen, the “hero” is just a daily quest grinding farmer. Yes, there are true villains in EVE. Real people whose evil is outright stunning. Yes, the “i rape ur ass u nigger faggot” kind of people.

    And defeating them is so much more heroic than slaying 10 virmen for Farmer Fung.

    About flexi-raid: this is the dumbest thing Blizzard could come up, as kicking the lowest performer is encouraged. If you kick 10% of the players, the boss will be 10% weaker but your raid doesn’t lose 10% power as the lowest player is below average by definition.

      • Depends on your definition of ‘sandbox’ – you seem to have a similar definition that I use – however anytime the term is used by an MMO and you see the list of features it seems that the two biggest are:

        * No rules
        * Full contact item loss PvP
        * No consequences that *matter* (outside the loss of your items if you loose)

        This leads me to believe that ‘sandbox’ *so far* really just means someone who longs for the days of Ultima Online and gank parties.

        As people who like to explore and build tend to become the victim pool in these types of games you find the community devolves into a cesspit and the people who don’t want to put up with it leave, making it worse and worse as time goes on.

        But that’s just my opinion on the matter – EQ of all things seems to be getting a good sandbox theme going with the dungeon creator and housing system – in game item creation – bringing all the ‘you make the content’ stuff forward without opening the doors to unrestricted pvp – and as such I have very high hopes for EQNext.

        Pathfinder Online (for example) is going the other way – as a big feature they like to tout is … you guessed it ‘full pvp with item loss’.


      • Yup, EQNext is easily the next gen MMO I am most interested in at this point. So I guess we stay tuned until August when SOE will have more to say about it!

      • A ‘real’ sandbox gotta be about the least appealing game mode to gankers / griefers / achievers; there’s no winning a sandbox. there’s no linear progression, no optimal way of playing and no zero sum game-like competition for that one type of gameplay. if we’re truly in for a sandbox with EQNext, I am all game – but I believe it when I see it.

  3. The Flexi-raids are an interesting response to the “we can’t raid with friends” complaints that have been circling for quite some time, especially when considered alongside virtual realms. I wonder how this is going to actually work for Pandaland given the number of raid options. For the next expansion I would be very surprised if the raids aren’t set to LFR, Flexi, and Hardcore (25 or maybe the break to 15) as the only options with the current Normal gear awarded to Flexi. More interesting, from a generally solo or small group player’s perspective, are the virtual realms and proving grounds.

    Eve is interesting. CCP is fairly clear in their intention to create a dystopian, often anarchic, space. The more I play the more I realize that it really has two target markets: ruthless capitalists and would-be brigands. The way the game mechanics work I don’t see much space to exist in a less antagonistic role. That really isn’t much of a problem as they are very open about it, but if it isn’t your style…

  4. I like PvE in EVE! The trick is joining a nice corp. I find it extremely relaxing to come home at the end of a long workday and spend an hour or two carting stuff around between trade hubs (in my case), watch a movie, and chat with friends in-game. As you noticed EVE PvE in particularly is not the most.. gamey of games, but it’s pretty good for the “chilling in a virtual world with friends” that I missed from retro raids or whatever in WoW.

  5. My reaction to a PvZ shooter was rather different; after seeing so many shooters and also FPS MMOs announced, I could only roll my eyes at this announcement. how many more shooters do we need? do all the genres need guns added to them in order to be more appealing?
    not to deny that it might also serve as an ‘opener’ to the FPS genre for a few – I guess my main concern is the dominance of shooters as a whole, especially on a mainstream level. that’s just me not being a particular shooter fan. and FF15 oh yes – at some point most definitely 🙂

  6. What I find interesting is how long is the PC gaming ‘boom’ going to last now? Consider how much the PC benefited, both in a plethora of available games and having it’s own excesses curtailed by have a console cycle that’s lasted nearly 10 years.

    At the very least, you’re looking a good chunk of the most interesting games being exclusive to one console or the other for the next 3 or 4 years.

    • I actually think that the PC will benefit from the newer consoles more than the old – Xbox360 was a Power PC chip – Playstation 3 was a Cell. The new systems (including the Wii U) use a x86 AMD chip for the core, and a ATI video card – because 90% (guess on this based on other sites that have discussed this) of the 3d work on an engine these days is shader programing – it should be trivial to port a game to a PC where as currently it is not so.

  7. Your entries on EO inspired me to go back for a bit.

    But I’ve mostly just hung around the station relearning the UI, picking out my skills to be trained and reshaped my character.

    From what I’ve seen it is still about the same…quiet with the majority of folks hanging around the space station and gossiping in chat.

    Eve Online 20% Villains, 80% Gossip hounds.

  8. Pingback: Off the Chest: E3 console wars, more GW2 events and Rift going F2P | MMO Gypsy – Wandering online Worlds

  9. My concern with flexi-raids is the pressure it will put on the bottom of your player pool. If a raid with N players is tuned to be as difficult as one with N+1, and gives the same reward for those N, then if the group is having any trouble there will be a temptation to kick the bottom performer and shrink down by one. This does not happen in fixed size raids, where even a poor performer is better than an empty slot (except for “wipe the raid” mechanics.)

  10. I still don’t understand what Eve is all about. This current war between Goons and Test (if I got that right), is it motivated by boredom, or are people having to fight for resources in an overcrowded galaxy?

    What happens if one side loses? Do they simply join another faction? What if one side took over the whole galaxy? Would that side break into two just so the pvp could continue?

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