CCP’s Latest Expansion :: An Incursion Into Good Game Design

With the current state of the game, and given the widespread outcry from players, it seems to me that the Eve Online player-base would prefer optimizations and changes to the current game-play experience over additional features.To my great delight, Incursion seems to offer a little of both.

What is noteworthy in this expansion is that there are significant changes that are wholly unrelated to the new feature (Sansha raids). If CCP can continue to blend optimizations (and not just for server performance) alongside new features, my satisfaction rating will continue to rise.

In a previous blog post, I mentioned some UI fixes I wanted to see implemented. Incursion includes at least one of these (naming ships in hangar without boarding them) along with many other useful changes I have desired for years.

I am not particularly excited about the rocket buff, but it was certainly long over-due. The Hawk is getting some needed special attention, but I feel the ships that will skyrocket in popularity as a result will be the Vengence, Worm and CN Hookbill.

The heretic and malediction also should see a major improvement in their 1v1 capability against small ships. Rocket Maledictions have always been a fairly threatening opponent for certain combat intys, and with this change the plated varieties should be even more dangerous.

The removal of learning skills coming on the 14th is also a long-awaited and highly popular change. I am personally very happy about the early x-mas gift of several million skill points to spend as I please, and the removal of learning skills will reduce the misery of being a new pilot in this game.

In all honesty, it’s fine for the game to be as complex and harsh as it is for new players, that was part of what kept me interested, but creating pointless hurdles for new players that increase the time before they can start obtaining useful and fun new skills is just a bad game design decision. In conclusion, skill reimbursement = epic win!

Arguably the biggest change is the sweeping revision of T2 close ranged ammo types. Long considered worthless by the majority of pilots (especially the close ranged ammo for long-ranged weapons) the removal of some major penalties makes them a viable alternative to faction ammo. The movement penalties, in particular, and lack of significantly higher damage than faction variants were usually deal-breakers for savvy ammo users.

In many cases, I will now be carrying T2 CR ammo in large quantities. I’ve bought-out some large sell orders that still reflected the low (pre-buff) prices. I expect prices rise soon in remote 0.0 regions as demand rises steadily.

As for the actual incursions? Well, I don’t play Eve for PvE. I play other MMOs for that kind of experience. I think PvE in EvE is always going to be lacking a bit because there is so little actual player control over your movement, not to mention a limited extent of module management. It just doesn’t compare to the interaction required by games like Everquest, WoW or Aion.

As a short aside, is there anyone out there playing Vindictus currently? I’m greatly enjoying it in small portions, though the game certainly lacks some depth. Still, you can’t argue with a free MMO where the micro-transactions don’t dominate the game (unlike gPotato games for example where potentially amazing games like Allods are sunk due to excessive “pay to win” cash shop items).

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4 Responses to “CCP’s Latest Expansion :: An Incursion Into Good Game Design”

  1. […] CCP's Latest Expansion :: An Incursion Into Good Game Design … […]

  2. […] CCP’s Latest Expansion – An Incursion into good game design – Easley Thames […]

  3. […] After last night’s victory, IT members camped the C3N system around the clock. We had half a dozen bubbles on every gate, and there were even bubbles anchored with cloaked tacklers at planets and at the POS where the battle had taken place. […]

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