OOC complexity

Dinsdale Pirannha says:

So CCP believes that making an already complex game even harder will attract MORE players, as opposed to drive them away????

This one I read and thought before answering, rather than answering in comments (which some folks avoid) I thought it better to drag out and answer in a single post.

Complexity of game is a key building point going way wayyy back before computers were made.  Trick is to find the right complexity for your market.  Snakes and Ladders?  Great for kids.  Checkers is less complex than chess but has less depth as a result.

Wargames, Axis and Allies . . . . warhammer, ye gods I have played some games that bloody needed a doctorate in linguistics with a side of barristry.  Complex but fun?  Yes, to the people who play them (grognards all of you)

I make no bones about being a gaming tourist.  I like to play though I keep coming back to Eve.  So why does Eve keep me?  Or Skyrim?  But not other games?

First you have to remove the concepts of difficulty and complexity.  Chess is complex but not difficult.  Checkers is neither.  Tic Tac toe . . . well.  I have seen combat games so convoluted in minutiae that it took half an hour to say “I hit him with my sword”  On the other end of the stick I have seen crafting systems that were ‘Push button, build city’

But we started with talking about industry.  Or at least I think we did.  In Eve.  I do not want push button->city.  I also do not want midless clicking for farmville in space.  I want depth and choices, rational ones that make sense and need to be balanced spefically to my needs and play style.  I want the decision to mean something to me and not just Google the ‘right way to do it’ one size fits all solution.

Eve is (I hope) about complexity and depth.  Decisions that mean something.  Solutions that depend on what you are trying to do and where you are trying to do it.

Attract More players or drive the ones here away?  Who am I to say they hit the perfect level of complexity on the first try?  That it cannot stand to be tinkered with, tweaked.  I seriously doubt any number is perfect when it comes to game design but any time the devs make a change it is critiqued.  Jump Range, tax rate, perfect refine, whatever.  Change is the ONLY way to try to achieve the right answer, not settle for what IS.

But with change there is a 50/50 chance you will change for the worse, I get that.  But I refuse to starve between two bails of hay.  We make the change and see what happens.  That is how development is done.

fly it like you won it



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17 Responses to OOC complexity

  1. Refuse to starve between two bails of hay? Are you using a horse analogy or is there a burger sitting on one of those bails?

    I’m not a big fan of making things more complex just for complexity’s sake. What I do like about what CCP is doing with the industry changes is adding in some layers of complexity that will allow for choices. Choices are good, especially in a game with the depth and breadth of EVE. Players don’t have to take the more complex route, but those that do should expect to receive something more for the time, effort or skill applied. Sadly, some just always want to maintain the status quo. Worse, some want to maintain the status quo effort while somehow expecting additional benefits to fall into their laps.

    • mikeazariah says:

      Way I always heard it, it was an ass starving between two bales of hay. I don’t slam other people (often) but self depricating humour is ok.


    • Dinsdale Pirannha says:

      You really don’t get it. The demographic of gamers out there that want a complicated, nuanced game construct, namely Eve industry, are already doing it. Eve industry is one of the most spreadsheet intensive things out there in the gaming universe. I have lost track of how many people in my old corp I had to spend hours with explaining it to.

      So CCP has already nailed that demographic. So CCP cannot increase the amount of people willing to partake in Eve industry, because they are already here. But now, CCP has added who knows how many layers of nuance (NPC teams, shifting slots costs based on system usage to name two). Yes, the improved UI is supposed to simplify things. But it will NOT overcome the huge increase in knowledge of game mechanics , and now human nature, to be successful in industry. Further , now high sec has tremendous built-in disadvantages to null sec, which create even more barriers to high sec manufacturing.

      So the casual industrial player, the ones who are less likely to enjoy having their entire gaming experience turned upside down, are getting hammered in 4 weeks. And clearly, if the CSM voter turnout is any indication, they don’t even know it is coming, because they don’t follow the forums, let alone dev blogs.

      You know what happens with a sizable portion of that causal industrial player base, who just want to log on, make some stuff, make a profit, and then do something else in the game? They quickly realize that a lot of the products they made and sold for profit cannot be made for profit in high sec. They will then realize that they will have to spend a lot more time and effort planning and hauling to even scrape together small profits that the remaining high sec industrialists are also chasing. They will realize that they will have to pull up stakes and move regularly to avoid slot costs out of their control.

      And then, they say screw it, this is not worth it, and drop their indy sub accounts.

      Are there a small group of highly motivated, very sophisticated Eve industrialists thrilled with these changes? Yes, but they are already in Eve.

      Is there some vast untapped market of potential Eve industrialists who will jump on this whole new industrial paradigm that requires even more effort and sophistication that today? Uh, no.

      Is there a big group of existing industrial players who are going to pack in it when they find out just how difficult the new industry is, and don’t even know it is coming? You watch.

      We are already seeing a drop in subs this past year (CCP does not have the guts give the same CSM breakdowns past years). There are more coming.

      And Mike, the self-proclaimed CSM rep for the high sec casual player, should have told CCP this, instead of giving this blog about Eve is about complexity and “wait and see”.

      Total bullshit.

      • Kethry Avenger says:

        Well as a player who has spent most of his time in Highsec and Lowsec. I think the changes are good. And likely to get me to look at industry again. They actually simplify causal industrial use quite a bit.

        I don’t know who this magical player who is not playing eve but wants to come into eve and have simple easy have a perfect way to do it industry is? Because Dinsdale that’s basically what your saying.

        From my own crystal ball I think the hardcore industrialists will mostly adapt or wait it out till other people publish tools and spreadsheets that adapt for them and then have more interesting gameplay in the future that changes not on any special dev action but player actions moving forward.

        For the person who uses industry just to make their own stuff and can move easily. This revamp is awesome. Just look up the best system to build what you want in, move it or have yours stuff shipped there and get the best deal.

        I just don’t know that there is some mythical casual industrialist that would want something less complex or less interesting. Even reading about other games crafting systems a lot of times people just get bored of it after they are able to do something perfect. This revamp seems to do a lot to keep the game in a semi state of flux based on player behavior, which is really great design. And CCP has been pretty good to tweak obvious broken things, within a point release or two or the next year depending on when the data supported the change, since Incarna.

        To Mike. Good job keep it up. Now make low level PVE more rewarding for players who group up, so there is an inherent incentive in group play in the most basic of eve game play. And work on ways to promote solo’s and casuals to group up with better tools against war-decs, And new ways to mine, and um push CCP to give mining and industrial ships the ability to fight back. Just thought I’d ask.

      • Jon Illat says:

        I don’t see the profits of a lot of manufactured goods dropping tremendously if you continue to build in highsec after Kronos.

        A lot of items won’t be worth the ISK/m3 to produce in nullsec, especially considering that jump freighters are going to require more ice to make the same amount of jumps, therefore increasing the cost of logistics. I doubt that nullsec producers are going to start pumping out tonnes of hulls and modules, because the cost to get a lot of the goods to the nearest highsec trade-hub is going to eliminate the reduced production costs in the majority of cases.

        I may be wrong, no-one knows exactly how things are going to turn out, but I don’t believe that your ‘gloom and doom’ outlook on how things are going turn out is correct.

  2. Dinsdale Pirannha says:

    @Jon Illat: You go read the comments by the chief architect of the industrial overhaul. He explicitly states that goons WILL build a ton of stuff locally. If they are not war, or are fighting a battle on their own turf (which, frankly, does not happen anymore), they will build their own.

    The only scenario that he sees them buying outsourced products is if they are fighting a long way from their industrial hub.

    But naturally, goons and the other cartels are not going to be building Dominixes to be shipped to high sec for resale.

    No, they are going to target 2 areas: All low size/high margin items (DCII’s, Nano II’s, for example) that can be transported in covops transports black ops cyno’ed in (2000 DCII’s in a Viator worth 1.6 billion at current rates), and capital ships (carriers and dread mfg in low sec is finished).

    One of the goon economic warefare guys flatly stated on the forums that they will control the jump frighter market, which has big margins.

    High sec will be left with the scraps, the stuff that already has tiny margins.

    • Jon Illat says:

      Null-sec is supposed to be better than high-sec, the whole risk vs reward thing.

      Yes, I know that null-sec is actually safer than high-sec the majority of the time, I have lived in null-sec for a period of time, but the design of the game has always been that if you want larger riches, you go out of high-sec and head out to low/null/WH space. This industry change, to me, is encouraging people to head to more profitable grounds for production. I don’t think that CCP should change what their plans are for the game just because the Goons currently have the ability to make trillions of ISK from the changes. Kudos to them for having stuck in the time and effort to build such a large empire, that has the ability to wield immense power wherever they want (except maybe WHs).

      If these changes do make null-sec the ‘Holy ground’ for industry, then it may just get people interacting with others, building connections and increasing the retention of players, due to them heading out to null-sec to make their own riches.

      Only time will tell, and the Goons will likely take over the larger markets, because they can (and wouldn’t you if you were in their position?), but high-sec manufacturing will still exist, adapt and thrive.

      Low-sec capital building is probably going to die, but we may yet be surprised.

      I’ll leave you with this blog-post if you’re interested.

      • mikeazariah says:

        Thanks for the link, some of the numbers there are good AND useful, even if you do not agree with all the conclusions.


  3. Tnankie says:

    Your post (and perhaps thinking) might benefit from separating complexity and complication. While there isn’t much difference in standard English there is a big difference using the terms scientifically. Basically a weather system is complex, whereas a grandfather clock is complicated. Warhammer and many war games are complicated not complex. The Eve economy is complex, the industry systems are just complicated.

    Generally speaking complication in a game is bad and complexity is good. Unless it is a puzzle game.

    • mikeazariah says:

      I agree and if I was not clear in the differentiation I blame the complexity of the fact that complicated things confuse me.


  4. Chanina says:

    Nice one, mike. I admit I am an industrialist maybe even one of the few hardcores and as it stands now the new feature will bring great changes. I do a lot of production in high sec and once the real numbers are available on SiSi I will check out production cost differences between high and 0.0.

    Until then, all complains about “too difficult” or “it’s destroying empire industry” is just complaining for the complains sake.

    To the point of difficulty Ars Technica had a great article with the great title “When it comes to video games, difficulty is the point—not the problem”. (url added below)
    And thats exactly how I see that development in eve. I don’t want a “click here make profit” solution for industries. We already have that easy push button income. It’s called Ratting. With a complex and ever shifting industry landscape it is more challenging. And if the UI is done right you don’t need that many spreadsheets to tell you which item is worth producing. And with 6 weeks additional time till delivery we should have enough time to tell CCP what information is needed in it. (like storing prices for materials)


  5. There is 2 things Dinsdale misrepresents.
    1) The labor cost scaling doesn’t scale by system security. It scales by busyness. That means there is oing to be plenty of low cost systems in high sec.
    2) Blueprint stat changes are actually removing a lot of complexity that doesn’t contribute that much in terms of depth.

    BTW. depth and complexity seem to be industry standard terms in stead of complexity and complication.
    Related extra credits episode:

  6. Art Hornbie says:

    “Generally speaking complication in a game is bad and complexity is good.”
    Ooo, nice.

    Disenfranchisement in a game is bad.

    • mikeazariah says:

      Depends on who gets disenfranchised. There are people who Eve would be far far better without . . . no I will not name names or point fingers but if you believe this to be untrue then we disagree.


  7. Manny theMiner says:

    I enjoyed this blog… A little nervous about the changes as everyone knows EvE hit perfection with RMR.

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