Incarna Revisited

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All the best bits of Eve take place in space. I dock when I refit/buy/sell/build/logoff, I don't want to walk around in a fucking station. If I wanted to play an MMO where my avatar was a person and I was forced to walk around and "do stuff" as a person, I would play a different MMO. I dont. I want to fly my ships, not change my fucking clothes! If I want to "interact" with "people" I do it over TS or whatever. WiS is the worst addition to this game ever and should be dropped. They're already catering to the pr0 twitch tweenies with Dust, leave Eve as it is please. Thanks.
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"Someday, perhaps someday soon, a game is going to come along that does what EVE does, but better. It might already be in development."And that game is Star Citizen.
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I always forget walking in stations is even there. I turn it off the first time i logged in and never used it. what a waste.
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Buffs for eating food inside of a station? That is the dumbest thing I've heard, outside of even bothering with WiS.
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I hope it's like PlayStation Home. In space.
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Let's just forget about that giant panda in the living room. The rage was all about WiS, nevermind 'Greed is Good'.
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Incarna will stay as a disaster until CCP add something useful on it. They need to do it for us to see it as a asset and not only ressources lost.
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LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID MITTANI. ERASE THIS POST BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!
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All WiS needs to be successful has been mentioned many times: a central room where you can walk around, and side rooms containing various entertainment- space poker, space laser tag, a space lottery- the theme here is gambling. Its been around for thousands of years for a reason. Gamble with isk, ships, perhaps even sovereignty? That will make people love it, and since its not a RL currency its all perfectly legal.
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Walking in stations could be a great addition to the game.+Rented corp offices become physical places, you can hire doorman, add items etc+Move certain items from the market 'underground' e.g. boosters, can only be sold 'person to person', 'witnessing' such an illegal crime is rewarded with isk or LPs or something.+Allow players to somehow set up a 'shop' in station that avoids market charges but is only visible to passing players not on the market.+Locater agents could be improved, moved to NPCs in station and changed to move around a bit. Only usable by interaction in station.+Stations could have a 'sec status' from the secure promenade with security guards etc through to back alleys, dodgy bars and final the bowls of the stations ducts and maintenance corridors.+Bars run by corps/players offering games, gambling, custom TV/video channels displaying things of players choice, player-chosen music streaming.What I'd really love to see is some of the customization that was used in APB appear in EVE. You buy a blank Tshirt for 250AUR, you build a logo, a graphic, colour it, produce real art, sell the limited edition Tshirt to another player on the market for a profit.
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It would be pretty cool if it had a purpose. I always get a kick out of reading the ideas for WIS, a lot of good ones come up that I would love to have as part of a WIS experience. I think it would be cool if you could actually do a little wrenching on your ship for some sort of small % boost in say 3 categories like speed, defense or offense. You could have it done from some sort of interface on the CQ balcony. The buff/bonus/boost is on a timer, X amount of isk and wrenching nets you a 4 hour boost, X amount more gets you 6 hours and so on...I dunno and this could be totally gay I just thought of it haha =P
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I feel like this is brushing very close to Mass Effect, in which space stations and planets were hybrid social and combat zones. As a matter of fact, straight-up copying the ME series approach to station interior design with shops, mission agents, armories, and other 'players' (your squadmates in ME3 multiplayer co-op) might be a great way to start.Stations need to have features that encourage the likes of Mittens and Montolio to log in -- it would be very cool if you had to physically have a director in an alliance executor corp office to implement changes or manage money.The game becomes that much more immersive separating the work of directors, industry/market managers, and executors from spaceships a little. These are desk jobs, and I, for one, would relish the idea of Mittens actually logged in to the game, afk sitting at his desk of polished jawbones overlooking the VFK V Mittanigrad undock.
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Uh, Mittens...you do realize that YOU were one of the people responsible for raging against WiS, right? Now you're supporting further development of WiS?Seems a little hypocritical, sir...but I appreciate the shift in position now that your key concerns about EVE have been addressed (ship balancing, better combat features, etc).
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fuck you
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This was written by Andupor, not Mittens
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Sometimes my client bugs out and turns it back on again. Incredibly annoying seeing that station loading screen, because it usually happens at the most inopportune times, such as when I'm trying to reship.
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Andupor != The Mittani.
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IHATEANDUPORIHATEANDUPORIHATEANDUPORIHATEANDUPORIHATEANDUPORIHATEANDUPORIHATEANDUPORIHATEANDUPOR
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It does need a purpose. Useful things in Eve are: ways to make isk, ways to interact with others, ways to kill other people. In a perfect Eve, all three would be possible. But even one would mean people might actually make use of that pile of code and graphics.
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The Incarna player models are technically very nice and all, but how are they going to throw more than a couple into a room without melting a GPU here and there?
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I'd rather mainline some X-instinct in my pod. *Tssssssst* yeah, that's the stuff.
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The problem with creating "immersion" in relation to EVE is that the metagame is impossible to ignore. I used to walk in station until I got an alt, and such GPU time just seemed extravagant and unnecessary.Players buy and sell characters regularly and very few attempt or want to "RP" their character. Expanding the Incarna systems would be a waste of time for most players, discarded after a couple weeks.
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EvE: Hot Coffee
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"Love it or hate it, Walking in Stations is EVE's best chance to draw in new players and stay competitive with upcoming games."Uh, no, it's not? EVE's best chance to grow is to continue to build on the space sandbox CCP has created while fixing EVE's primary problem: the most unengaging gameplay of any modern MMO.
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I'm not opposed to Eve adding some social hang-out features to stations, but Second Life already does the player social sandbox thing with practically unlimited customization. Furries aside.
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WIS is nothing but a bunch of dudes dressing up emoting each other with their goddamn avatars until I see a devblog with tangible gameplay concepts. If you define Immersion as "YAY! Do every existing thing but with avatars" then no thanks.
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They could do some cool things mixing WiS and explorationYou could 'explore' a dead or abandoned station on foot and find things
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The next iteration on Incarna will most likely not be in stations at all - rather exploring creepy abandoned sleeper structures in wormhole space and beyond. CCP previewed some alpha work expanding gameplay in this direction earlier this year at a Russian fan meet.Making use of the Incarna engine to farm space hulks for resources with teams or friends seems an interesting direction to go. Will they be able to avoid gameplay getting repetetive, and introduce elements of challenge / player co-operation / conflict into this minigame area? We could end up with all the fun of PI, but having to trudge your avatar between resource collection points :)
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I was thinking about a sort of feature where when you are in station, outside of your pod, you disapear from local. It would add to the ''undercover'' effect when we will be able to meet up with other player inside the station without having everyone knowing we are there. Also, an empty system wouldn't mean it's safe anymore.
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So... force Directors to have another alt if they want to fight with the corp management UI while they're doing useful things with their main? That's going to make people absolutely love an Incarna update.Stations need to allow meaningful and mechanically consequential interaction between players. Everything else is window dressing. And it has to be both. If stations allow meaningful but inconsequential interactions between players, the players will just keep using TS/Mumble/Jabber/EveVoice/Eve Chats.Mechanically consequential interaction means that you need to be able to affect other players. Whether they like it or not (just like the rest of EVE). Simplest form: You should be able to shiv someone.
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I cant wait until the internet tough guys hanging around trade hubs and talking smack in local can teabag you inside a station. Building on the link between Dust and Eve would be pretty interesting though. Forward air controller anyone?
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yes and it would be a way for a station holder to "Evict" neutrals alts on the station put up a contract kill on them and let the dust player assassinate the target.also it would mean a new way of stomping on your enemyfor exampleYou jump to there station, they blue ball you, you request a merc assault on the station to flush em out.the mercs fight a bitter combat over the station taking it inch by inch once they are in 70% controll of the station the capsuleer on the station gets a warning that there is danger lingering around the station.and after awhile your fellow players logged in will start to die.this can be used for force players off the station game. And it gives the players another option to flip a station by the use of dust mercs.
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All CCP need to do is make WiS actualy do something - somethign that is conencted to the game and not just a vanity project. We were promised seedy bars to meet peopel in, buy drugs and do deals and instead got a travel lodge where we could play dressing up. If they spend a development cycle doing somethign useful and interesting then it's worth persuing.
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I would like Incarna to become more relevant, just because the character creator engine is amazing.The real reason I hate incarna is that it spoiled all other MMO's char creators, wich fall far from what CCP delivered. Incarna is probably the only engine that really let you have an unique avatar. If SWTOR had something like it I would probably still be playing it.
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I cant wait for the day we can jump around in a space bar shooting fire extinguishers at pubbies like on Star Trek online
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Summer of rage was not just because of the 100sqm loft, but because of greed is good and the macro-micro transactions, Also the idea of taxing third parties was not welcomed either! On top of that we only got hold of only ONE room with a view. That added up an sucked. Hard!And the idiotic style CCP handled these request was just fuel on fire.I too sincerely hope that they are going to re-iterate on this feature. But I highly doubt it. It took them 7 freaking years till they tailored this together! :(
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Having started my life as a capsuleer after the Incarna Incident I grew up with WiS. Although I had problems - as many did - running the avatar on my netbook and did not get much game experience from it I have never looked at the feature with bad feelings. Actually this door is like a promise which rests dormant in my Quarters. I patiently wait for the day it will open, as I hope it will.I agree that it will be crucial to the success of that story what lies behind that door, especially that there has to be a purpose to go there. However, the station as a meeting place, even if I could meet Dust Bunnies there would not do. Meetings are done on comms. Period. Meeting NPCs might be a nice addition to the PvE part of the game, alas that part is not why we play EVE and actually this could draw out mission grinding significantly.WiS has to be about player interaction and it has to be more than just meeting people. Basically it has to have a sort of PvP element to it. Assassinations sound cool, however in a caste of clones it is a bit pointless, isn't it? What we care about are not our bodies but our ships and the shiny modules we like to install. So what is on stations that concerns these? There would be manufacturing facilities, repair shops, hangars. While industry certainly could do with some new gameplay I just can't imagine what my biological self would do in a highly automated factory.If I walk into a station I want to sneak into other people's hangars and fiddle with their stuff. Stealing or destroying things might be beyond what is reasonable. Sabotage, however, might be a different thing.Maybe it is just a crazy idea. Anyhow. If there would be saboteurs in stations you would like to protect your hangars, right? Why not a kind of dungeon-keeper style mini-game. The defenders could purchase all kinds of traps to reinforce the hangar perimeter... the possibilities.... It has to hurt if you get caught, though. Skill point loss comes to mind. Ever wanted to slowly roast the cerebral circuits of a saboteur caught in the act?Now this obviously only works well in low-sec stations. High sec stations will be much to heavily regulated (well but if you get through the NPC-perimeter.....). Null sec stations are full of blues (but the spies!!!).Having said all this let me add that, while I like toying with such crazy ideas, I believe what really makes much more sense is going from "Walking in Stations" to "Walking in Structures". All kinds of sabotage or espionage/exploration simply make more sense if done in POSes, Stargates or the structures found at exploration sites. Incidentally from the prototypes we have seen this also seems to be the line of thinking of CCP. If that is true the door in my CQ can stay closed for some time. I'd rather leave my pot in more dangerous environments.
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How about something completely revolutionary...like being able to tell from inside a station what is going on immediately outside that station. EVE Windows Edition?
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Nah man, that would be more akin to "pay to win" kinda thing, and would create a shitstorm even worse than the first riots/mass unsubs caused when Incarna was brought in. Don't think CCP wants to risk THAT.
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Time programming WiS should have been spent on ship crews & interiors.Instead of a fitting screen, you actually have to fit things in your hull, where placement matters as damage comes in. You have crews to operate the ship, who's skills matter, and who's survival matter. That's how you endear people to their spaceship.It's pretty clear that the average FiS EVE player doesn't care much about walking in a station. Not that something can't be made of the feature, but if there's a lesson to be learned here, it's the importance of focusing on what you do, and not overextending. It's fact. Companies that focus on what they do, and do it well, outperform companies that end up trying to do it all.CCP would do well to follow Google's 10 things they know to be true. Have a look at numbers 1, 2 & 6... those smack of where CCP failed in Incarna.http://www.google.com/about/co...
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Mittens does have his article on this archived here http://themittani.com/content/... . Might be helpful, if you actually read it.
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Yes, there's all sorts of STUFF that needs iteration, including what you mentioned. BUT, whether you like it or not, "meaningful and useful" Walking in Stations, is important to the long term viability of Eve. For fuck sake, we're gonna have Dust duders walking around and interacting in stations, while us Eve dudes are still stuck in a goddamn closet.
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There has to be a reason for someone to be walking in a station to shiv them.Requiring a player to be in a certain place (corp office) to manage the corp, dole out reimbursement money, or set standings becomes more complex and fun if, at the same time, mercrenaries, spies, and marauding enemies can storm the station, killing everyone in a corp office and camping the entrance.Forcing a player to be in a corp office, corp hangar, etc to do work in them makes the game more immersive than just sitting in a pos or cloaked in a safe managing your PoS. Some interaction with players would indeed be meaningless window dressing (I love your term), but there is opportunity for untraceable person-to-person drug, PLEX, or stolen corp money trades, spying involving tailing people, subterfuge involving stabbing said person at the moment before s/he is about to reset some alliance, DUST 514 bodyguards.....There is so much opportunity for an immersive cloak & dagger world with DUST being integrated into the system. Watching interviews with CCP on Dust and player immersion, I get the feeling many of them understand this and may already have a vision of WiS PvP/PvE.All that needs to be implemented is a DUST map for each station type and a DUST skillqueue for capsuleers. The rest -- physical spying, flushing out neutrals docked in a station, secretly opening a hatch for the Prowler cloaked off the station to let mercrenaries pour in ...... is emergent. It will happen without an ounce of CCP's effort.
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I agree that putting things to do in stations is necessary to draw people in to get shived.But making the godawful corp management process worse by making it inconvenient on top of poorly implemented is not the way. It doesn't even make sense given the number of other things you can effortlessly manage remotely.Reducing convenience is not the same thing as increasing immersion. We can manage our personal hangars through contracts from anywhere in the universe, same with our wallets. We can manage industrial jobs and market orders from anywhere in the region. Why should doing the same things be vastly less convenient just because we put our stuff/ISK into a corporate framework? How does it makes sense that all of a sudden the computers/dockworkers/bankers can't figure out how to work in a Corp hangar without the physical presence of a capsuleer? (Not to mention the fact that that would break POS manufacturing further)The hints from team avatar that have me excited are the stuff about space dungeons. That provides a hook (profit) to get people to go in, and an opportunity for consequential gameplay (competing for the prize).Figuring out a hook for stations that doesn't make existing mechanics less usable (or break them entirely) is going to be tough. Because there already are untraceable (to other players) ways to launder stolen money, trade drugs, etc.
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Have you seen the 2012 FF trailer "Future Vision" ? Thats where the journey goes. "Walking in Deserted Space Ruins" ... for getting implant components. Torfi Frans actually showed in Berlin in May an ultra early stage prototype of what they plan for this. So the "future vision" trailers are some roadmap of what to expect in next 12-24 month. If the playerbase had not stopped them, the "Future Vision" trailer of 2011 would be completely reality by now !Futhermore, the 2012 trailer shows EVE players being on ground ..... go and ask Devs if EVE players could join DUST514 one day ... All you get is a big grin and if you are very lucky like me the statement "our exclusivity agreement with sony lastst till 2014" ......
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Not too likely. WiS wasn't much more than a tech demo for the WoD character modeling system, visible only to people who paid money for a totally unrelated game. CCP had shifted almost all resources on this bad gamble when they were flush with cash, and had to show something to their investors at a time when Iceland's economy had tanked. The result was a feature nobody really wanted, that didn't work anyway (I wonder if the WoD avatars were supposed to run?), a giant pig that melted older GPUs that used to be just fine for Eve, modules offlining for no reason among other hideous bugs, a laughable microtransaction store, and zero improvement. The sub fees from Eve players had gone into a shitty demo for a different game, and that game is now effectively dead.CCP's terrible responses to the problem didn't help much. To apologists who argued at the time that the "Greed" letter was just a discussion platform blah blah, no. A proclamation from your CEO that is not a question is an order, not an invitation to debate.
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WiS still holds promise, Team Avatar are still beavering away in the background as far as I know. From what I've read it looks like they're currently focussed on avatar based exploration, with all the endless possibilities that should create to shoot each other in the face. WiS will be a good addition as long as it brings actual content, be it player made or CCP seeded.
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I've been waiting for YEARS for WiS ... I got tired of the game but always said the moment WiS is delivered I'd be back .. and I came back with the incarna update ... for a week... because it wasnt' actually there... Once it going .. truly going ahead ... I would be back .. alongside many others who LOVE EVE but wanted something more from it ... ohhh .. and also Occulus Rift compatibility ... because seriously ... just .. yes.

Becoming Unplugged

Well over a year has passed since we first stepped out of our capsules and set foot on solid ground in EVE. In June 2011, CCP released the Incarna expansion, unveiling a series of graphical updates and an entirely new aspect of the game known as 'Walking in Stations' (or WiS). Being able to walk around in these massive space stations was a feature that players and CCP had wanted for years, if not from day one of release. Gone was the limitation of a player to a single impersonal avatar, the spaceship. A full-bodied character, the player's alter ego, was controllable and able to interact with the environment. Previously all players were represented by a portrait only. Now, nearly everything was customizable: the body type, complexion, clothes, tattoos, hair, even eyewear. The avatar could walk around, sit down, look around, change clothes, and watch TV. Incarna was a radical step in a new direction for CCP.

By the way I'm describing it, one would think that it was a smashing success for CCP, a well-received update for a game that needs to stay competitive in the fickle MMO industry.

This was not the case.

A Summer of Rage

Incarna was controversial at best. Because of the much higher system requirements to run EVE smoothly with this expansion it alienated those who were running older machines. Suddenly, in a single update, a game which worked perfectly well for some subscribers ceased to function. Players logged in only to be frozen out by resource-hogging, poorly optimized code. For those who could still play the game, walking in stations took all of ten minutes to lose its novelty. It looked good, yes, but you couldn't do anything. There was no player to player interaction. The room you were trapped in contained a couch, some soda cans, and a TV limited to one "channel". The entire update seemed rushed to meet CCP's artifical deadline, with only one of the four Captain's Quarters available on launch. Furthermore, the longstanding issues left by previous patches and expansions were unresolved. Some aspects of the game that were terribly broken or unbalanced were neglected further, or even made worse by performance issues. Incarna provided players with everything they thought they wanted and none of what they actually needed. In retrospect, most players see Incarna as a waste of a full development cycle's time and resources. 

In response to this backlash, CCP made efforts to refocus on game quality and rebalancing, going back to the roots of Flying in Space (or FiS) and iterating on what makes EVE unique. Crucible was released in November of 2011, advertising itself as the expansion where “CCP listened”. The patch notes listed over a hundred changes, fixes, or improvements to already existing elements of the game. The content added, such as the new battlecruisers, was very well received. CCP and Eve Online needed this expansion to be successful, and thankfully, the players approved. If they hadn't, we could have seen a cascade of failure similar to Star Wars Galaxies after the release of Trials of Obi-Wan.

No other expansion has been as ambitious or backfired so strongly against CCP. Iceland has been angel-footed ever since. This is understandable. Having been so close to the brink, there are strong incentives against risking it all once again. Unfortunately, it still leaves one with the question: what to do with Walking in Stations?

The Orphaned Feature

Someday, perhaps someday soon, a game is going to come along that does what EVE does, but better. It might already be in development. Getting rid of WiS is out of the question. Doing nothing with it, however 'safe' the idea is in the short term, wastes a viable opportunity to grow the gameplay. Expanding and improving Incarna is the only realistic option for CCP. Iceland has done an admirable job keeping EVE competitive graphically while iterating over the past year, and much has been accomplished.  Incarna is ripe for the same sort of attention.

Love it or hate it, Walking in Stations is EVE's best chance to draw in new players and stay competitive with upcoming games. What CCP needs to keep in mind is that there needs to be both form and function. Simply being able to walk around in a station means nothing if you can't accomplish something while doing it. This is why Incarna failed: everything you could do outside of your capsule in your Captain's Quarters could be accomplished by a previously-existing feature. EVE's efficiency-obsessed playerbase saw an entire expansion lost to superfluous aesthetics. Thus, the "Summer of Rage".

Interactivity could avert this rage in the future. People play MMOs not for the aesthetics, but because they're, well, massively multiplayer. Games competitive with EVE, such as Star Trek Online, have thrived based on player avatar interaction. We may laugh at the idea of Jita 4-4 turning into Drozana Station, but it's the little things, the interpersonal experience, that players hunger for. In Lord of the Rings Online players can buy guild houses, decorating it with spoils of war, holding meetings and managing assets inside. Immersion is the key. Those who act vicariously through video games and the characters they create need that immersion and interactivity. 

Of course, there should be practical applications as well. Not all players will be content to just “hang out” in a station. The novelty will only last so long - though it would be a major improvement to the lonely, cabin-fever-inducing Captain's Quarters. Essential gameplay elements unique to stations will have to exist. An avatar could perform missions, do research and development, perhaps negotiate with DUST 514 mercenaries.. there's a lot of potential here. Ultimately, there must be a good reason to spend time walking in stations.

Home is Where the Game Is

CCP seems to have learned from its overreach with Incarna, but I hope that they haven't lost their ambition altogether. I do not believe the playerbase will protest against iterating on Walking in Stations so long as it's managed properly. The EVE developers must continue improving the existing game, certainly, but I still dream of watching a great battle from the window of a station after completing a very crucial secret mission from an undercover agent I met face-to-face. I am reminded of the scene in Return of the Jedi, when the Emperor taunts Luke Skywalker with the operational status of the Death Star shortly before blowing up a Rebel starship.

A giant station laser. Now, that's a feature with potential.

Goon. Serial MMO player. Writer. Pro skill-queuer. Lover of Caracals. Proponent of Jump Drive Calibration V.