Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Pirate's Thoughts on Industry (Part 1)

Industry has become a pretty hot topic lately, now that it has been made evident that it will be the main focus for the summer expansion. Several dev blogs about potential changes have made it out, and some of the changes have caused quite a stir.

I’ve done a fair bit of manufacturing over the years out of necessity of running an alliance shop, but for the most part I’ve avoided jumping too deep into industry during my time playing EVE. Not because I’m some sort of pirate elitist who snubs my nose at the ‘carebears’ but because it sounds boring to me.

Maybe that’s just my limited and flawed perspective. But it seems like the ‘gameplay’ of industry is more or less moving items between containers, sitting around waiting for something to happen every X minutes, or dumping a bunch of stuff into a black box, waiting, and getting whatever it was you were wanting on the other end after some amount of time. –An amount of time that you can reduce by some factor based on shoving something else into a different black box and waiting for a different amount of time.

My biggest fear for the summer expansion, based on what I’ve read so far of the dev blogs, is that we are simply getting a different shade of what we already have.--That the numbers and interfaces will change, but the spreadsheets in space feeling that is so prevalent in industry will remain.

I’m also disappointed. I’ve always had this idea that CCP was moving toward making things less NPC based. More players interactions. More player control.

These changes seem to indicate the exact opposite. Instead of interesting player interactions, it seems like they’re focusing more on players’ interactions with screens and interfaces. Instead of more player-run things, and player involvement, they’re introducing even more NPC run systems. And ultimately, it all feels like even more spreadsheets in space.

Maybe my opinion doesn’t mean a whole lot. I’m not an epic industrialist. But I do like to ask myself what it would take for me to become more interested in industry. Is it really just a matter of a difference in liking to blow things up vs not liking to blow things up? What is it that pvp has for me that industry doesn?

The answer is simple. I like:

1. Interesting player interactions. I like playing with and against people. Adjusting numbers on a screen, and doing things purely interacting with a game mechanic or NPC doesn’t cut it for me. This is why many aspects of industry has always seemed boring. You don’t even have the choice to interact –there are no such tools.

2. Interesting stories. I like being a part of an interesting story, in a totally non role-play or creepy way. The ‘story’ of how you killed someone is interesting. How you hunted someone. How you made decisions about your ship to achieve some goal. How you flew with your bros, and etc.

Where’s the stories in industry? Besides number analysis, charts and discussions about various spreadsheets?

3. Interesting choices. PVP is all about choices, and these choices help you create a sort of identity for yourself. We squabble all the time about what it means to be a pirate, or how to fly a ship effectively.

Industry seems more one dimensional. Because you’re interacting mostly with NPCs, or the game mechanics there are very specific rules for everything you want done. You can’t make choices about a new or interesting way to make something. There aren’t different ways to conduct research. 

Manufacturer's don't argue about the best way to build a Megathron.

It kind of feels like CCP is trying to sort of change that with the idea of ‘teams’ though I’m not particularly enthusiastic that this will work or be enough.

In the end, all of this sounds good on paper, but how do you apply it practically? How do you make manufacturing ‘fun’?  How do you make extracting stuff from rocks ‘fun’? How do you make it less spreadsheets and more ‘stuff happening’?

An excellent bunch of things for me to explore in part 2. =) 


  1. I respectfully disagree. I think the changes will be subtle yet profound. With a game as long lived as Eve that is the best possible course of action to take.

    Industry will have to spread out some. Null may get a huge buff from this. More activity there can mean less farmers for us. We may also even see some light industry in low sec. I know I'm considering it.


  2. The changes encourage industrialists to use POS. POS are corp assets. The hard counter to corp theft is the solo corp. Industrialists with significant assets will continue to be mostly soloists.

  3. I think requiring the industry minigame to match the attributes of the pvp and political game is a strange way to look at it. The industry subgame is a fun inventive puzzle game like a crossword. And like a crossword it doesn't generate the same feedback from other people in terms of interesting stories etc.

    What's amazing about Eve is a lot of different playstyles hook up. There's people who literally have no clue about the Eve community except when they lost a freighter each year at Burn Jita but enjoy making stuff and hauling it to market and get the satisfaction of progression from skill queue, inventory and wallet. That's not irrational or worse, it's just different.

    Then again look at the impact of some carebears. Goons is now directed by its finance team. They switched the entire CFC to Domis not long after Mynnna bought up all the cheap ones. Gevlon is the only player actually defeating the Goons in any sphere (admittedly they don't care that much about high sec pocos but it's still pretty magnificent). Moxnix has been doubling his money every few months - he's miles ahead of most 2 year old players, in fact ahead of most 10 year old players. And titan builders like Baki Yuku and Aerallo are big wheels whichever null alliance they join.

    1. This. They just swing a different way from us PvPers. It takes all kinds.

  4. Keep an eye on the Teams component of the industry changes. It requires some coordination at the solar system level. I think it'll be a neat trick to see if and how it pulls industrial together.

    On the other hand, forcing industrial players to put at least blue print copies in the POS will add a little to the loot piñata when the are blown out of the sky.

  5. Not to harp, but I think this is part of what is wrong with how many people want to take industry/mining/missioning. "Area X of the game isn't interesting to me, how do i make area X more like area Y, that i love so that it is interesting to me?" Intentional or not the pull of this post looks like: "I enjoy PVP, industry should be more like PVP" which really starts to make the game more and more one sided.

    The things that make industry, economic trade, and even mining fun and interesting to those people who do them are completely valid. Spreadsheets in space is actually enjoyable (for many) and nuanced if you want to get into it. The myriad of decisions, optomizations and improvements ment to carve meaningful profit from small margins is a way to relax and play for this group. In the end the seeming mission of people to make everything in eve more PVP is going to hurt the game. the PVP'ers are going to find that while they not enjoy more aspects of the game, the people who used to provide them with goods and services (ships etc) have gone away and they are now stuck being the ones that do it. This could also be bad for CCP; fewer subscribers, fewer subscriptions, less revinue to make their game the best it can be.

    In the end be careful what you wish for. That cake you were lusting at might not be a lie, but it could be choclate sardine, with a creamed pickeled herring filling...