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BB29 – Slippery When Wet

October 6, 2011

Hi All,

Seismic Stan has popped up with another Blog Banter, and it’s another good one from him:

“EVE Online is renowned for it’s depth. Its backstory, gameplay and social aspects are all qualities that draw players in. What does immersion in EVE Online mean to you?”

I’d like to talk about immersion in general before getting onto specifics regarding EvE. Immersion is, IMHO, one of those things that will make or break a persons enjoyment in a game. It’s lightning in a bottle kind of stuff, extraordinarily difficult to capture, and to maintain.

It encompasses everything, the visual style, background music, NPC interactions (if there are any), dialogue, storyline, how the avatar grows and changes within the game, how your decisions as a player affect the game and are reflected therein.

Immersion can be broken all to easily, and dependent on the level of engagement a player already has with it and the severity of the WTF moment, it can bring a range of responses from meh – I can live with that through to throwing your toys right out of the cot.

The difficulty for any game company is that those two factors will be different for each individual, and how to get the all important levels of engagement up before the toy throwing begins.

Some do this by making the game relatively easy, some do this by having decision making in game affecting the storyline to a great degree (single player games mostly,) and some do it by making death or penalty in game a fairly trivial thing.

So… to EvE… which has few of those advantages…

Incarna was meant to bring the levels of immersion up, most especially for the newer player, but hasn’t been the best of expansions (holding my breath to see what the future on this groundwork will bring – turning blue is a distinct possibility).

What it did do was break the immersion levels for a large number of people already used to the current interface. So much so that a majority will have it turned off. I suspect you’d be lucky to find more than one in four people are actually using it and probably fewer than that if we’re being honest. I certainly have.

EvE is complicated, there is no argument there, but it does do some things very well, and for me these things make quite a bit of difference (sticking to the positive today).

Lets start with the big one – Spaceships. Big stonking hunks of warp engine, plastered in armor and military grade shielding, covered in death throwing weaponry. And not just big stonking hunks, a huge variety of hulls ranging from small and deadly interceptors through to the near gravity affecting size of titans (thats no moon!).

Now throw in the very well done and differing ship styles of the four major races, beautifully rendered planets and moons, a sprinkle of nebulae and the general background and you have something quite unique and special to look at. Partially occluded sun? Lens flare…. ooh, lens flare 🙂

The complexity of EvE also has its benefits. Along with the huge variety of ships is the huge variety of how to fit them. Anything is possible given grid and CPU constraints, and I take a degree of pleasure in being counter-intuitive with the fittings on occasion (usually followed by a huh that worked but wasn’t anything like effective…). I don’t know how many hours I’ve whiled away playing with EvEmon and EFT, but it would be considerable over the years.

So, visually EvE works really well. Sound wise too, the music tracks are pretty good, so are the various warp, turret and mid slot effects. The only issue I have with the music is it’s the same darned 24 (or however many) tracks over and over again.

I’m going to be critical of EvE for a moment, it’s variety thats lacking. There is a huge variety in the things you can do within EvE. But once you’ve done the same 24 missions a hundred times, or listened to the same track a hundred times, it gets old fairly quickly – in other words, more content please (OK trying to stick to the positive).

 

STOP PRESS

This is way more important than anything I’ll be writing:

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=2428

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=2672

 

Wow. If this doesn’t restore a little faith, then I don’t know what will. Go CCP, GO!

 

H

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From → Eve Online

4 Comments
  1. John permalink

    H said “Wow. If this doesn’t restore a little faith, then I don’t know what will”.

    What will? Simple. Following through. Backing up those words with actions and not immediately backsliding into schizophrenia or ADD.

    P.S. See H, I do actually read your blog. In fact comments show you actually have more than 2 readers 😉

    • With all my personalities I count as more than 2 all by myself 🙂

      -K-

  2. Three if you count me… 🙂

  3. Personalties..? Hmmm. I suppose if we’re including alts… (looks at fingers, takes off shoes)… erm…

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