By ‘easy’, I’m not meaning the over-abundance of tutorials in the New Player Experience, or some kind of realisation that the EVE UI is in fact genius. What I mean is loss.
Most modern MMOs shy away from the concept of loss as much as possible. In WoW for example, when your character dies, you are at worst landed with a ghost-walk back to the character’s dead body (in order to be resurrected on-the-spot) and some currency loss to pay for the durability damage on your armour later on. You don’t even take durability damage on your character’s armour in PvP, and while there are honour points for succeeding in ‘honourable’ PvP engagements, ‘dishonourable’ PvP engagements (such as going to <insert newb-ish town name here> and farming hapless newbies as they’re mid-quest) reaps no punishment at all. When you lose your ship in EVE, chances are you’re not going to see whatever survived the explosion again. Its not a simple ‘run back to your corpse’ affair. Your punishment for engaging in PvP – any PvP – and losing, is that you lose your shit as well.
Before EVE, I was playing Ultima Online (UO). Now, UO had the run-to-corpse dealy with the caveat that monsters as well as players could rummage through your character’s corpse and take your stuff. If somebody killed that monster before you could, your items were theirs without any repercussions. If you took too long to return to your corpse, it would decay and everything on the body would be a free-for-all for players and monsters.
But what about permanence? In UO – in the earlier days at least (disclaimer for the truly oldskool: 1999-2003) – there was the concept of perma-red and perma-grey. Characters with red names were murderers, and characters with grey names were criminals. My memory is a bit hazy since it was so long ago, but it was something along the lines of the following:
UO had the equivalent of the GCC: after a short amount of time your name would no longer be red/grey to everyone and would return to the normal blue. However, despite being safe from the town guards and the majority of other players, the person you committed the act against would still see you as grey and openly-killable without repercussion. As would all the previous people you had committed criminal acts against.
Being a ‘Red’ was somewhat of a status symbol, similar I suppose to the -10.0 of EVE. If you killed enough player characters, your name would become red to everyone, so all and sundry knew that you were (probably at least) going to try and kill them. Being ‘Grey’ however, was not such an easy task. The mechanics are similar, but while a pirate in EVE might go out of their way to become notorious – letting everyone know how badass they are – the corp-thief does not. Unfortunately, the path to five-finger-discount land is fraught with failure and disappointment; you couldn’t just rely on time, trust and stupidity to get away with your ill-gotten gains. You had to practice on real player characters, which meant that you ended up ‘grey’ to a lot of people.
But What About EVE?
Now, I’m sure its been covered before, but a tweet the other week from @EVE_Virt of the #tweetfleet linked back to an old Hellmar blog about a potential ‘perma-death’ option to run in parallel with the pod + clone technology we’ve all become accustomed to. Here’s the gist of it:
Anyone interested in a character creation option that allows you to train skills at double the time as normal character does. The flip side would be that such characters would suffer from perma-death (i.e. if podded, could never be played again).
The most common argument I’ve seen against this (on the forums at least) is that it would be open to abuse from those with the high-sec-dwelling carebear mentality of never entering any system with a security rating below 0.5.
But what if you were forced upon creating this character to choose a pirate faction after you’ve chosen race etc? You’d be an instant outlaw and confined to 0.4 and lower systems, and be politically aligned – officially politically aligned – to that pirate faction. The rats for that faction would not shoot you unless you shot first, and would carry no bounties. Rats from other factions would carry bounties, but because of your association with your chosen faction, no security status would ever be gained.
You’d be ‘doomed’ to wander the badlands of low and null sec for the rest of your days, getting into dog-fights and praying you come out as the victor.
Obviously there are certain restrictions to this. Because you’re not using pod + clone technology, you’d be restricted to frigate hulls, or specially adapted variations of smaller/industrial ships (just a tier 1 indy, nothing fancy).
Limiting the ships to within vague boundaries of the lore would put a heavy limit on the LP that could be earned from pirate faction missions as well. Unless you really trust a group of people not to kill you when you work together in a lesser level 3 mission in a fleet of fragile frigates. And that’s assuming you even survive the mission! So, its not open to LP farming abuse in the same way that FW has been.
I think as an optional path when creating a character, it has a lot of untapped potential which could make low sec more interesting if enough people make throw-away ‘splodey-alts. It would also make for some true piratey roleplay stuff, which I’m sure a lot of people would love, if only for the fact of them having a proper pirate alt to roleplay in-game or on the forums.
But what does everyone else think about this? Is it an interesting idea? Is EVE too easy? Or is it too hard?