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Nov 2007 05

Games should be fun

Games, Rants!

So I have been playing Eve Online again a bit and have been thinking about it and what it does "wrong". I'm trying to focus on what should have been done so that new games like Infinity Earth don't fall into the same trap. I just hope the new games will listen and take note.

First let me start by saying that I think Eve Online is a beautiful game and can be fun once you get DEEP into the game, and it's certainly challenging. However a new players experience is terrible and doesn't give any clues as to what is to come later, more over the PVE aspect of the game is down right bad which means new players are forced to deal with experienced players in a PVP realm often resulting in repeated trouncings with no end in sight.

Is it any wonder that many new players leave pretty quick? Think of what kind of power house this game would be if it's new player experience was just a bit better..

The biggest problem with Eve online is it's learning curve, it's steep to the point of making Mt. Everest look small. Combine the learning curve with the complete lack of "newbie" game and the fact that it's PVE content is nearly non-existent and you have the core issues.

A new player to Eve is immediately overwhelmed with the UI and all the possible features and functions in the game. CCP has done a pretty good job creating a tutorial for the new players to follow, but even so once the tutorial is over you're very much thrown to the wolves. And trust me when I say, the players in Eve aren't forgiving or kind in their treatment of others. If you cross the wrong line you'll find yourself on the wrong end of some pretty big guns..

As I said above, the PVE aspect of Eve is nearly non-existent and this is a damn shame. They could have done so much with this. Look at the major (read: successful/profitable) MMO games out there and see that all of them have vast loads of PVE content. Some of that very simple content could benefit the game as a whole greatly. I think Eve and CCP could do a lot of justice to the game by taking a realistic look at what the other MMO games are doing and maybe implementing some of it. I'm not suggesting changing any of the end game PVP stuff.. (So calm down guys..)

Our goal as gamers is to have fun, their goal as a game producer is to make money. Chasing away players due to complexity and other issues is bad and ultimately doesn't meet either goal, thus implementing some of the stuff that makes WoW or EQ2 popular might help the game.

Now I just crossed a line. I am sure the rabid pack of Eve players that do actually read this are now frothing at the mouth because of what I just suggested.. It seems at every turn the hard core gamers out there bash games like WoW and EQ2 for being too easy or being too "care bear." Its very easy for these extremists to badmouth WoW without looking at all the things they are doing right. Personally I don't care for WoW either, but I atleast can recognize some of the things that the game has done right and what other games can take from it.

Giving the players something easy to do will help the people become in tune with their character. It will help them build a sense of ownership and pride in there online persona, as well as foster a desire to achieve greater and greater goals. In other words, it makes them want to keep playing the game.

Realistically, in Eve the PVE content should give the players something to do while waiting for their skills to train up. There only other option really is to mine rocks in high security space, which is tough with all the farmers -- Not to mention down right boring.

The real "fun" of Eve doesn't come until Much MUCH later in the game. And new players don't get to experience any of that for months. But just like a new player to EQ2 doesn't get to raid gods their first day, neither should Eve players. The difference is EQ2 players CAN raid smaller boss mobs, or at least get some idea of what a raid would be like at lower levels. Eve players have no clue what its like to play with the big boys until its too late and they are "egging" their way back to a home base. Trust me, this isn't fun -- it's frustrating as hell.

You don't want to piss off your players -- it hurts your bottom line.

I fear that so many new games that are being created by small developers, like Infinity Earth, are so against creating what they call a "WoW clone" that they aren't willing to even look at some of the stuff that WoW did right.

I'm all for thinking outside the box, and implementing things others haven't tried, but to dismiss everything that WoW did simply because "its been done" or because they don't want to be identified with something that the big boys did, is folly.

Games should be fun. More over to be successful they should be fun for the majority, not just a niche market. An example was Omega. Omega was a programmers game in that to truly play it and know how to play it, you had to know how to program. Talk about niche! I thought it was HUGELY fun, and thought it would take off like a rocket. Of course it didn't do that well because most people didn't know how to write the code required to program the tanks.. Sure it was fun to me, but not to the majority -- the majority rule, don't lose sight of that.

People want to play games because they are fun.. I think its the responsibility of developers to give them fun games to play. And in Eve's case it would be easy! You could add low level content, without altering the rest of the game at all.

I wonder why they wont..

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