Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blog Banter #13: Missions with player adversaries

Welcome to the thirteenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

The first banter of this 2nd year of EVE Blog Banters comes to us fromZargyl from A Sebiestor Scholar, who asked the following: On the EVE Fanfest 2009 page are pictures of prizes for the Silent Auction that was held during the event. One of these photos was entitled “Design your own EVE mission”. My question now would be what kind of mission would you write if you got that prize? What would the mission be about? Would it be one using the new system of epic mission arks? What would be the story told by it? Feel free to expand upon his questions and put together your very own mission!

I know I always spin the banter a little off course, and I do it here again, but bare with me please, because I believe most post really hits the crux of problems with missions as they stand today. With that, please carry on....

Roc Weiler always has wonderful ideas, and I quite like his train of thought on his version of the blog banter. As such, I especially like the fact, that his line of thinking doesn't necessarily involve fire power, but choices and timing. What we have now is essentially a cookie cutter system, with variations of themes for sure, but cookie cutter never the less.

All missions are good for 1 week, if you complete them within a predescribed early interval, you get a bonus. If you start a mission, but fail to complete it before the next down time, you are forced to (or get to, depending on your perspective) do it all over again from the beginning as the mission parameters are are reset at down time. For people who mission and mine or have corps that do this, this is a source of income, in that mission runners scout out good missions to "hold open" for themselves or their corps, and run arround completing the missions but not reporting them, and then their mining compatriots and salvagers swoop in for some clean pickings and mining in relative peace and luxury from competing mining organizations, save for the rare ninja mission miners which usually look for looting missions not mining missions. So what we have a week long cycle of people running missions, and mining them of everything of value, failing to report the mission and doing it again.

In those cases where people do not take advantage of the resources provided in missions, they simply run missions for standings, and rapid fire missions as fast as possible. I did this myself when my goal was in increase standings for this or that corporation for tax reduction, increased refining efficiency or whatever reason. And people who do this, learn to play the missions like a chess game, a prescription of events and how to finish these missions in as fast as possible a manner.

When I was getting bored with missions, I learned to mix it up a bit, and I would try to do things differently. Many mission runners just run high end missions with battleships or battle cruisers and rarely do anything outside the prescription of that mission (usually found on eve-survival). I on the other hand tried something different. After being able to complete pretty much every mission that was thrown at me, I upped the ante a little bit. I started running missions in Frigates, and found I could complete almost every mission except a couple level three missions, and found I could even complete a few level 4 missions in a frigate. Don’t get me, wrong, I very often needed to warp away or try again tomorrow if I screwed the mission up somehow, and often got my ships blowed up, so I am not saying I am calling myself a perfect mission runner by any means, but the point is that I could complete these ubber tough missions with a frigate. After than I tried running missions with Assault Frigates, specifically the Ishkur, and found all those other missions I really couldn’t finish with a Frigate I could finish with my assault frigate. I mean really? Level 4 missions with Assault Ships, or even Frigates no less? Something is wrong with that, I mean I know there is some real person skill to missions, but seriously a single Frigate taking out a whole fleet of battleships, cruisers, drones and whositz? Obviously that’s brainless, it obviously has almost NOTHING to do with the size of the fleet or how the encounter is scripted that should ordain a mission “tough”.

With that said, I don’t have so much a mission or mission arc, but rather have a bunch of mechanics ideas that I think would add a lot of fun and force some player interaction on mission runners. Yes I mean taking Missions and making them singular PvP events that have a LASTING affect on the environment and dynamic backstory. There should be missions that ARE tough, but tough no matter which ship you bring in, Frigate or Super Carrier, and require planning, cunning and wile more than the prescribed method the complete mission xyz. This again requires more than an algorithm controlled npc fleet, it requires real people. The point shouldn’t necessarily be to “go to system XYZ, warp to coordinates, fight, fight some more, get item(s), come back with item(s)”. Missions should be a hunt, or otherwise more complicated process, or even better. How about PvP missions. There are always missioners looking for missions for almost every corp and faction out there. Perhaps we could have Mission Agents send you out to find “enemies of the state” or race to get or destroy an item before the enemy gets their hands on it, or get the item before the enemy destroys it. Or perhaps a race to get a vital commodity to some starving world first so our mission corp/faction gets public credit for the humanitarian aid.

There should be grand missions that really do require the coordination of a whole corporation or at least a part of it performing as an “agency” of the empire, to perform greater feats, such staking claim to some certain moon by anchoring a POS on it and you have to get there before the enemy does, or even before the moon is claimed by a random non-missioning player. Perhaps this might include a full battle wing contingent to defend the area from the competing missioning corps AND the other randoms that might show up so you can lay claim to this moon in the name of your mission faction. Or perhaps throwing mission runners into faction warfare, even if only as a singular event thus developing personal reputation with the faction warriors for both good and bad.

Faction Warrior might request backup through their faction commanders so that these requests filter down and through to NPC corp and faction mission runners.

The PvE and PvP aspects of the game are currently only loosely associated through the industrial chain and the random Salvaging Ninja, or Gate Camp getting in the way of “personal progress”, and they have little to no true interaction between them outside the industry chain. I believe these ideas, tying the PvE and the PvP aspects of the game together, would only make for a better immersion of the game, environment and backstory and really glue these aspects of the game together, and make for a much better game for PvPers and PvEers alike.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone, so deal with any mispelling, grammatical errors or strangly out of place words caused by mis-autocorrection.

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