Tuesday, October 27, 2009

EVE Blog Banter #13 - Epic Battles

Welcome to the thirteenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

The first banter of this 2nd year of EVE Blog Banters comes to us from Zargyl from A Sebiestor Scholar, who asked the following: On the EVE Fanfest 2009 page are pictures of prizes for the Silent Auction that was held during the event. One of these photos was entitled “Design your own EVE mission”. My question now would be what kind of mission would you write if you got that prize? What would the mission be about? Would it be one using the new system of epic mission arks? What would be the story told by it? Feel free to expand upon his questions and put together your very own mission!

Let's face it - PVE in Eve sucks, at least when compared to other MMO PVE content. The missions are extremely repetitive, I rarely feel immersed in the story line, the environments are boring, and the objectives are incredibly simple and uninteresting. But how could we change this?

This is something I have been thinking about for a while, and in fact I wrote a tutorial mission in a previous blog that started to scratch the surface of what I want to write about here. So without further ado, lets begin designing a mission.

Now, I'm not the biggest fan of story writing so I will keep the story simple and just assume that if this mission were to be created, one of the talented CCP writers would create something far more involved.

Mission name: Operation Kill The Bad Guys (OKBG - let CCP come up with a better name)
Agent Level: 2
Agent Type: Gallente

First thing's first. Accepting the mission would work very much in the same fashion, except that a talking head would appear in a com window. This talking head would represent the commander of OKBG. The commander would deliver a couple of inspirational sentences and then inform the player that he/she would be guiding them throughout the mission. The head would be animated and have actual voice acting rather than just text.

The purpose of this is to facilitate immersion. How often do mercenaries fly off into giant battles after reading a little pamphlet about who to kill? I would imagine, not often. Having a commander's face pop up throughout the mission to give updates on oders (ala Starfox) would be a great way to change mission parameters, remind the player of what they are supposed to do, enhance the sense of realism, and do it all without having to open up another window to read over mission text while you're in combat.

After accepting the mission the player will undock in their usual fashion - hopefully with a cruiser class ship or something adequate to run level 2 missions. The player would also be notified that they need a weber and a scrambler for the mission. The commander window would pop up upon leaving the station saying, head to "these" coordinates. The player would literally be able to click on the word "these" and warp to that location. It is the future after all and one would expect us to have a more refined interface...

Instead of warping into the mission area and being greeted by the usual mass of space with the couple of red targets off in the distance, the player will find themselves right in the middle of a massive Gallente fleet. Carriers, Dreadnoughts, Battleships, and many many supporting ships. What's this you say? We aren't going to take on the whole fleet by ourselves?! That's right, you will be a ship among many NPC ships.

As the mission details are explained with some more briefing from the commander, you will be issued a fleet warp button. Upon clicking "ready", the entire fleet will warp to a new coordinate. When you emerge from warp, you will be greeted by a Caladri fleet of even greater size than your own.

Fighting between the NPCs will break out immediately. Ships will start to explode and that's when your commander shall appear. "I need you to engage and destroy enemy cruiser squadron six". At this point, five Caldari cruisers will be highlighted. They will be flying formation while they snake through the fleet.

Two supporting frigates will join your wings and follow you in pursuit of the enemy cruisers. Upon engaging the cruisers, they will break from their current targets and return fire on you. Your supporting frigates will provide you with armor and shield repairing to a small extent, but for the most part you will be on your own.

After destroying cruiser squadron six your commander will pop in again. "Battleship squadron two is becoming a major problem, we need you to neutralized their engine and warp capabilities while our Moros takes them out". The battleship squadron becomes highlighted and you make your way toward them. As you target and neutralize one, the Dreadnought opens fire and the ship is destroyed. After destroying two of the battleships you are warned that there is an incoming frigate squadron. The cruisers will web you making it difficult to get to the next battleship. You will then be forced to destroy the frigates in between locking down each battleship.

After the battleship squadron is destroyed, the decimated Caldari fleet warp away and your commander will joyously inform you that the mission was a success and that you played a key roll in turning the tide of the battle. You are then credited for completing the mission without having to return to your agent.

I realize this sounds so drastically different from current mission running in Eve but my god it would make them a hell of a lot more entertaining. I hate watching those cinematic trailers of Eve knowing that the game I play will never provide me with visuals like that. Let's take the immersion up a notch and create some truly epic battles for even the low level players to enjoy.


  1. This mission indeed sounds awesome, it reminds me of Freelancer and Darkstar One, only difference is this time there's a fleet. It could even be taken further by allowing multiple players that accepted this mission into the same fleet.

  2. I also thought about Freelancer while reading this. Many current missions do not have an epic feel. Not every mission should have this feel, but the kind of battle you describe would be a refreshing change from the usual "kill three waves" mission.

  3. You are the third banter poster to suggest fleet action, so there must be some interest in it in general populace as well.

    My own suggestion for fleet action would be a mission where a player is required to join a militia fleet temporarily (probably much easier once the Dominion fleet finder is deployed). They would then be required to engage the opposing faction in a battle with the fleet they joined before they completed the minimal reqs for mission. Bonuses would be given for actual enemy ships destroyed.

    I agree with you that the PvE in Eve is perhaps even more tedious than other MMOs. Don't understand this emphasis on PvE in the MMO development land - since I think PvP is where it's at and should be.