Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Consequences of 'Balance'

Over the last...well...long time, CCP has been 'rebalancing' many things in-game. Up until now we've seen this rebalancing most heavily done amongst the various ships. And starting with Oceanus, they will be starting to rebalance modules as well.

I have mixed feelings about the work that has been done so far, as well as the module announcement that was made recently. There are things that I absolutely love about what they're doing, and things that make me cringe and feel a little sad.

While I love the fact that more kinds of ships are used more regularly now, I'll be honest and say that I really hate the entire concept of 'roles' that CCP has been pushing on us. I hate that everything feels so defined, and predictable. While I have choices, I feel like certain elements of creativity have been eliminated completely. A lot of ships have a 'standard fit' where it feels like the ship was rebalanced specifically with that specific kind of fit in mind.

While I see more types of ships in combat, it is much more predictable to know what I'm facing based on the ship the enemy is using.

Some people seem to try to break out of this and find 'creative' or unexpected fits for things, but I think they are fighting an uphill, losing battle. And, they (and I) eventually give up when they realize that another ship would simply be better suited to what they're trying to do.

Personally, I think that things need to be more generic, and that 'roles' and what a thing is used for should be left more up to the players. It kind of feels like they've taken away our garden, and thrown out our tools and seeds, and now expect us to pick from a pre-determined bushel of vegetables that they have grown themselves, and determined we need.

Not to compare spaceships with vegetables, or anything.

Regarding the module balancing they are doing, it doesn't feel like we are getting more choices. Just, that we are getting the type and kind of choices that CCP wants us to be making choices over. Certain aspects of 'choice' seem to be getting removed entirely --such as choices based on the cost of an item, due to it's rarity.


  1. IMHO, the rarity-induced cost of an item shouldn't really be a factor, as this turns EVE into a Pay-To-Win game: sure the item is available through normal gameplay, but by the same token you can complete most levels of Candy Crush Saga to three stars without buying anything from the in game store (you just have to be willing to dedicate every waking hour to the game).

    With rarity-induced-cost being a decision altering your fitting style, the player with the most money to throw into the game will end up with the most powerful ships. This also applies to the alliances with the most money to throw into fleets end up with the most powerful ships, which further entrenches the hold of the super-rich alliances over null sec space (hey, we're throwing hundreds of billions into our super capital fleets, may as well officer-fit them while we're at it).

    Having said that, there is still scope for rarity since, for example, an "abundant" module might be rarer than a "compact" module.

    1. By that logic everything should be the same price. Because, would using a more expensive 'better' version --for example, a guardian instead of an augoror --be then pay to win?

    2. I'm not saying that rarity and price should be the ONLY difference between modules. I'm just saying that it used to be a factor by which people made choices, and that type of a choice is now being removed.

    3. It depends on what really is CCP's rebalancing goal.

      If CCP wants players to use more metas, then they have to be better than T2 modules in some way. If CCP wants to avoid everyone just switching to metas, then metas also need to be a lot more expensive than T2 - which is only achieved by rarity.

      Note: Giving metas lower fitting reqs is not good enough. The ship rebalancing ended up boosting CPU/PG to the point where most players can fit most ships with all T2 modules. There are much fewer cases these days where you need to compromise with a meta.

      T1 modules are in a worse position. If T2 and metas are always better than T1, and plentiful, then why use T1? So, both T2 and metas need to be scarce, in order to encourage T1 module use - or T1 modules need to be better in some way, than both metas and T2 (and, again, not just because of fitting).

      Alternatively, CCP can make T2 much more scarce and expensive, forcing players to use metas and T1s simply due to demand far exceeding supply. Currently, almost everyone can afford to fit T2 modules - and that is a big part of the problem. To fix this, removing 95% of the tech moons completely from the game would be a good place to start - it would shake things up in null sec a bit, too... lol.

  2. I liked the ship rebalancing for the same reasons you disliked it. I'll take predictable ships over useless ships any day. And I would like to see that for modules just as well. There are so many useless modules cluttering up bays and markets. It'd be nice to see them able to be put to good use. It would also improve the variety of fittings.

  3. I could not agree more with this article; I have long felt that the "balancing" of EVE has removed so many choices and options. It used to be that any given ship could be put together a number of different ways, but now each one practically has a standard "best fit", and doing it any other way is pointless. This is what I see as the true "dumbing down" of EVE. In the old design philosophy of EVE, T1 ships were supposed to be general hulls that could be used as platforms for a variety of roles based on fit, while T2 ships were supposed to fill the specialized roles. Now so much of the T2 roles have bled into the T1 ships, and as a result T1 has lost it's flexibility.

    In the upcoming module changes, we lose even more options. Some claim that "no one ever uses anything besides T2/M4 modules," but this is patently untrue. If I'm outfitting a large fleet of throwaway PvP ships (which I do frequently), I'll go for inexpensive fits, and often that means using M3 or even M2 mods in order to minimize risk and loss on ships almost certain to die. Yes, price is an important factor in ship fittings, and in order to have price variation, there have to be variations in quality and supply.

    Removing options and choice is never a good thing!

    By the logic of these latest module balances, we should revisit the ships. Why do we even need four races any more? Everything should be collapsed into a single ship line. We can have "Missile and Shield Frigate 1," "Cloaking Exploration Cruiser 1" and "Long Range Turret and Armor Battleship 1". Isn't it better to have names that tell everyone exactly what they do, and to reduce the number of items that fill a similar role so that the game isn't too complex?

    And regarding the new module naming convention, are we going to get "Heaving" MWDs to go along with our "Ample" missile launchers? Really CCP, I know that English isn't the first language over there, but someone who saw this had to pick up on the connotations!