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BB47 – The Beauty of the Unintended Consequence

July 10, 2013

Is EVE too complex for one person to know everything? Is it, in fact, too complex for one person to know everything about one topic? How do you maintain any knowledge or skills related to EVE over time with breaks and expansions? Does CCP do a sufficient job documenting the features of the game, and if not, what could they do better? How does one determine where the gaps in their knowledge even are?

In order and being only slightly smartarse:

Yes. It’s huge and ever evolving.

No. But you’d need a fairly narrow focus imho.

The hard way. Grey matter usage prior to undocking recommended.

Yes. The rules in themselves are not that complicated.

The hard way. Or ask someone who knows. Nicely.

Expanding a little  EvE is complicated. The individual rule set governing each facet of EvE isn’t that bad (OK granted – POS and corporate permissions aside). Backwards, arcane and frustrating as all hell at times, yes. Complicated? Sometimes needlessly so, but overall not too bad. It’s the context or the lack of understanding it that’s going to get you killed. Most particularly at the point where multiple rule sets converge.

Case in point: ships – I love my ships. I can fit guns to my ships, and go kill stuff. What do you mean, fitting a mix of different sized guns on my battleship isn’t going to work? Surely shield, armor AND hull tanking all at the same time is superior to just armor tanking alone…? The rule set isn’t complicated. Ship + Guns + Skills. Or not as the above shows. And that’s only getting the very basics right. Fitting your ship well.

Now, actually deciding on a specific fit for a specific role and using it as intended takes on an entirely new level of complexities. Understanding optimal, fall off, tracking and transversal. How to fly so that you maximize both your chances to hit and your damage. While a rail fit Naga is a nasty beastie at 90km+, if someone has a warp scrambler on you, you’re likely in deep trouble for example. A blaster fit Vindicator isn’t going to hit you at 90km, but if your opponent is close enough for a scrammer, they’re also likely in optimal web and blaster range…. correct application in other words.

Again, the individual rule sets for each separate component are not that complicated. It’s the intersection of skills, ship, fittings and tactics which make for a far more successful pilot. That and understanding the ships your opponent is flying. Being able to triage that amount of data and, at the extreme end of the scale, to wield your fleet as one terrifying engine of destruction is a rare skill indeed. Good FCs are like gold.

EvE rewards those who take the time to get to understand the basics. But with 100+ individual ships, coupled with innumerable different fits and numerous different ways of using them, it is often the person who can take the right option the quickest that gains the upper hand. Sometimes it is literally best guess Mr Sulu. We’re taking purple laser fire from what appears to be megapulse cannon on that battleship! Should we close and get under the guns or make range to stop damage? Pulses have a very short falloff. Get to 60km! Whats that? It’s a Navy Apoc…? Uh-oh…. >boom!<

Realistically, you have to consider EvE an evolving beast. Nothing stays static forever. And then we have the emergent game play on top of that. Every release and patch brings something a little different. The sheer volume of patches could be seen as an indicator that not even CCP (even with some of the best minds in the game assisting – yes, you CSMers, I’m talking about you) can always pick exactly how the changes will pan out. All in EvE is interconnected. A tweak here, and a massive war ensues. A release there, and a significant portion of the playerbase emigrates to unknown space. We shan’t mention negative tracking modifiers here, now will we?  🙂

CCP defines the rule sets, and they should be documented to the point of stupidity. That they should “be working as intended” is also given as these are the boundaries and underpinnings of the sandbox. What we as players do with them from that point is entirely up to us. Be it nutting out a new supa sekret null sec battle barge fit or figuring out that sensor damping can be an effective counter to jam resistant and numerically superior logistics (a la Noir Mercenary Group) are perfect examples of such.

Again, like a good FC, those people who can figure out the ramifications from the patch notes or before prior to a release, are worth their weight in gold. Like George Soros’ chief financial guru betting on the pound going up, the Gallente ice interdiction and the analysis and creation of the technetium cartels speak of heavyweight economic understanding and power within the boundaries of the game. Fleet doctrines change as weapon systems and hulls fall into and out of favor, likewise with their counters. Those that can anticipate and tool up for change may end up wielding a massive advantage until their enemies can figure a response. Theorycrafting and anticipation are alive and very well indeed in New Eden.

Ultimately, it’s CCPs responsibility to ensure things work. And imho, thats where the responsibility ends. It is up to us, the capsuleers, to surf the uncertainties that occur at the intersections of multiple complex systems. To find the points of harmony amongst the chaos, where happenstance and good planning can work miracles.

We don’t need a simpler game. Because it is here, hidden in the details and complexities, that the magic of EvE resides.

 

FS

 

H

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From → Eve Online

3 Comments
  1. -K- permalink

    Nicely…. what means this word??? oh… is that the bit where you get someone to do something for you without threatening them with bodily violence or everlasting torture of their soul? There was a discussion a few days ago about which got you better service at the bar, niceness or cleavage…. yeah no prizes for guessing who won that one!

    What’s so complicated about the game? Kill the other guy before he kills you, preferably with as pretty pyrotechnics as possible 😀 Then kill him some more. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  2. I wouldn’t know…. 😛

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