Wednesday, February 26, 2014

EVE and Colonization

I will probably revisit EVE: Origins with a part 2. But before I do that, I want to talk to you a little about industry. In particular, why it’s going to be the stone in the shoe of any sort of ‘colonization’ model in EVE Online.

The thought of ‘roughing it’ in EVE is very cool sounding. I love the idea of leaving ‘civilization’ behind and starting a colony in some remote and harsh part of space.

But we’re presented with kind of a strange problem if we’re to do this in EVE.

You see, our characters in EVE are kind of dumb when it comes to building things. No matter how many times they build even the most basic and smallest of items, they will never learn how to do it without a blueprint.

And these blueprints are supplied by NPCs in highsec and low-sec. If you drill back, going through every cart and every horse, this is the end of the line. Given an ibis, and access to resources, you still have to rely upon NPCs to give you a few basics.

For this reason, unfortunately, there’s no such thing as crossing the Rubicon in EVE. Unless you carry every BPO of every item you may ever want to have, there’s no such thing as not going back. We will always be tied to Empire space.

And for the idea of colonization, this simply doesn’t work. Imagine in real world colonization if the smiths could not build hammers or basic nails without a piece of paper that told them how to do so. And imagine if they lost that piece of paper? So what now? What happens when the colonists use the last nail, and break their last hammer? Should they just sit around, unable to build any more shelters  or fix anything until a boat arrives providing them with another piece of paper from the motherland to tell them how to build nails once more?

Of course, this would never happen because in that situation a smithy doesn’t need a piece of paper to tell him how to make a nail.

The second issue is another one relating to self-sufficiency in industry. And by self-sufficiency, I do not mean the ability to survive without anyone else’s roles and abilities. EVE is a social game, and we should always be forced, more or less, to rely upon a variety of roles and professions.

I mean self sufficiency in a way where you cannot get to 10, coming from 0 in EVE. There are no links to get there –no tools. You cannot start with the clothes on your back and build an empire. It’s impossible.

Take Minecraft as an example. In Minecraft, you literally start with a hunk of wood. With this piece of wood you can perform basic actions and gather basic resources. From the ‘basics’ you can build better tools, which in turn allow you to more efficiently gather resources, and allow you to gather even better resources which in turn allows you to build better tools…and on it goes until you’re building palaces out of blocks of diamonds.

This does not exist in EVE. You cannot start with an Ibis in nullsec, and ever get to the point where you’re building ships and outposts and etc. There so no way to get from 0 to 10, even if you have access to all resources and all skills.

Outside of the obvious issue I’ve already mentioned of BPO reliance, how would you build things even if you didn’t need a blueprint? In order to build something you need some sort of facility, and in order to have that you need to build it, which in turn requires some way to build it…

Furthermore, even if you were able to get your hands on the most basic of facilities, there’s no way to ‘move up.’ There’s no way to build better facilities from lesser facilities so that you can build better items..etc.

People often complain about how those who live in nullsec tend to ship in a lot of stuff rather then being encourage to build on-site. This is far greater than an economic problem. It's  foundational to how the entire industrial system was designed in EVE.

Our hands are tied. EVE Online is not a ‘survival’ type of world. We have a certain amount of reliance upon things out of our control. And, with such reliance there is no survivability on our own as players.

And without survivability, there is no colonization.


  1. Bear in mind that colonials were rarely cut off in absolute terms from their parent culture. Most had an expectation of periodic re-supply to bring them critical tools and provisions (and luxury goods) that could not be obtained locally.

    Even the Ionian colonies that set out between 1200 and 800 BCE assumed ongoing contact and commerce between the colony and its city-state of origin.

    In colonizing the Americas early expeditions planned with the assumption of surviving the Winter and resupply ships arriving in the Spring. Jamestown colony was within a whisker of failing for want of realistic planning when the resupply ships arrived. Popham colony, Jamestown's sister expedition, did collapse, the survivors returning to England on the resupply ships.

  2. We already have the rorqual as a major industrial ship platform. Which takes care of the processing side. A version II or another industrial ship could take that output and convert it into hardware. Alternatively, some sort of deployable I guess. Construction drones to go with your mining ones?

    Here's an idea though, a "library" implant and the ability to shift BPOs to it as you would any container. There are ways around the problem, but nothing easy with the current mechanics (or lack of them).

    1. I kind of like the idea of certain 'basic' BPOs as skills, TBH. But I'm not really an industry expert so I was kind of afraid to suggest this. =p

      Obviously, you'd need to research a BPO to get all the bonuses for ME and PE...but it seems like basic tech 1 ammo...should be renewable on the fly somehow.

  3. Hmmm, some very interesting points but here are one or two things to consider:

    Does the smithy know how to smelt iron, does the smelter know how to produce charcoal? Does to the charcoal producer know how to mine limestone and iron ore? IRL, the more complex an article is, the greater number of skilled individuals (in various vocations) are required. Now let's consider how many vocations might be involved in the construction of a warp capable interstellar ship!

    In some respects most production facilities (manufacturing slots) in EVE represent Universal Construction Devices - they can make anything so long as they are fed both the required raw materials and the plan (our BPC) for the desired output - no knowledge of the actual internal construction process is required from the operator. The analogy breaks down a little because in EVE we are required to have learned some basic skills. Who knows, with a potential Industry shake up just around the corner, maybe those skills might go the way of the infamous learning skillset?

    1. As I say, I'm not implying we shouldn't have to rely on each other. And I think you're reading into the analogy a little too

  4. I don't really think there's anything wrong with the way production works, in the context of colonization. We're not talking about sewing basic clothing, were talking about building ships and ammunition and all the other things that go with modern society :) Let's take modern shipbuilding, for example. Navies have been building the same ship classes for quite some time, but they still need to pull out the blueprints when it comes time to build the next ship, even if it's ship 20 in class.

    If we ever see this new world order of Seagull's - and remember, this is CCP, the company that likes to promise the moon and either never delivers or takes literally years to deliver something underwhelming (Incarna) - I don't think there's anything wrong with players being required to bring everything with them, kitchen sink included.

    One thing we might do with having is the ability to reverse engineer bits of kit, granting BPOs. Like any such feature designed to allow for the first steps going anywhere in this game, it'll work (devil's in the details, of course) in the beginning, but will rapidly get exploited/worked around like almost every other limiter we have in the game; capital ship costs being self-limiting for capital ship numbers, same for super-caps, the long distances to travel in null being nullified by jump bridges, the absence of stations being made moot by outposts, etc.

    1. That is definitely the other side of it. I love the idea of carefully planned out expeditions where you have to think through what you will need to survive, and what skillsets you need to take along with you.

      Some sort of reverse engineering for tech 1 items would also be interesting. If you have access to NPCs, those NPCs could drop certain basic items that you could then engineer some sort of makeshift blueprint to make more..etc.

    2. Exactly. That way, as log as the correct facilities were brought along, it would potentially make any new space - or even existing non-Empire space - somewhat less dependent on Empire.

      The trick would be to create a system that's a balance between the all or nothing we have now. I absolutely hate the fact that there is little incentive to set up real industry in null, for example - it's much easier to ship the raw materials to Empire and return with finished products and that shouldn't be the case. On the flip side, CCP would need to be careful not to create a situation where the various bits of EvE no longer need interact with one another.

  5. When humans colonized a new continent they did not do so barehanded, they brought as much as they could to give them a head start. In eve when you colonize a new region you can bring a capital ship with some basic ships, a POS, blueprints and you are set to go

    1. i don't think you can bring a capital into wormhole space. you have to build it there.

    2. Actually, with the higher class wormholes, you can bring a cap in to w-space. But having capitals or not is irrelevant to being able to colonize w-space. You need haulers and pos mods and that's about it. Even BPOs aren't really required, though they do make life a whole lot easier in the higher-end holes, because highsec isn't that hard to get to.

      But for right now, yeah, w-space is the closest data we have to what moving into this potential new space will be like.

      What I'd really like to see is some sort of structure in-between a pos and an outpost. Outposts are pseudo-stations and are far too easy to build and maintain, which is why nullsec is polluted with them. It should be harder much harder to get an outpost up and running, but if there was some other type of structure we could build that was more robust than a pos and yet not as good as an outpost, that might make colonization a bit more balanced (even, dare I say it, realistic).

    3. the outposts are a product of a broken sov system. and apparently ccp would rather create more new space than fix the massive amount of empty space there is in sov 0.0 now.

  6. That was a laugh - players wouldn't live in WH space ???