Monday, December 21, 2009

Scanning - Repetitive Nonsense

With the release of Eve's new solar-sail spaceship the "Zephyr", CCP decided it was time to release its first scanning tutorial video on youtube. It just so happened that I recently bought my first scanning ship and was relieved to find a video tutorial explaining how this system probing would work.

Although the video is able to elegantly explain the process of scanning, I find myself perplexed as to why the process of scanning is so repetitive and inefficiently designed. So here we are, a race of immortal space travelers, flying ships that we control with our minds, able to operate space weaponry so advanced that we can hit moving targets hundreds of kilometers away with bullets.. But when it comes to arranging the layout of our scanning probes we are force to engage in a painful drag and drop interface that can take quite a while to produce any results.

But here's the thing.. I lied, I do get it. I get why CCP designed scanning this way. Eve is a game of elitists. Nothing is easy, and if you want to partake in activities that the big boys are doing you're going to have to climb that learning curve no matter what.

This mentality works great with some things. PvP for example, has a fairly brutal learning curve thats provides great rewards once skill is achieved. However, the learning curve and difficulty exists within a world that makes technological and tactical sense. You have to learn how to think like your opponents, study ship modules, and setup ships to perforce specific tasks extremely well.

Scanning on the other hand takes a long time, often produces no rewards, and gives you no good reason as to why its interface is built upon ancient technology.

If there is a single best formation for probes when scanning down targets then make them assume this formation automatically, or give me a button to put them into formation. Why the EFF do I have to put them into formation manually every time.. Also if we know that the formation must shrink every time we reduce the scanning range why can we just scale the formation down instead of dragging it into the same formation all over again?..

This isn't fun CCP, it's busy work. As if there aren't enough things in this game that take a ridiculous amount of time. Now you have given us scanning that isn't fun and takes forever to produce any results. If you're going to make something difficult, then make it difficult because of thought required to master it, rather than giving it a sluggish interface.. Gawd!


  1. I spent 5 months in a WH! Talk about getting tired of dragging little bubbles around...

  2. Formation would be nice but if you use the shift key trick effectively there is no way scanning should take long to begin with. Make sure you have the skills up to IV and have a rigged cov-ops as well to make your life a lot easier.

  3. An experienced scanner with good skills and the right equipment can pinpoint any sig within minutes. You made the point yourself that it is difficult to become 'elite' and so it should be. The person who spends the time and effort getting good at it should be rewarded. CCP have allready lowered the entry point skill wise for exploration. The only counter argument you came up with was a winge that it takes too long and often produces no rewards. Of course that will be the case if your not very good at it. I do however admit the interface does need refining (those dam probe shadows are pointless and just get in the way) but i think dumbing down probing would be a step backwards. That video shows you the basics, good scanners dont do it like that.

  4. personally i think only change that should be made is to cov ops, i think a 15% bonus over a 10% bonus would be more worthwhile, its sad to have a cov ops skill at 3 (ya i know im going for 4 in a day or 2 as im busy with other skills now) ... but its sad to have cov ops at 3 and yet, a t1 frigate will almost scan exactly the same (25% bonus since to get cov ops 1 you need frig V

  5. Another point: the same scanning mechanic is used in pvp to locate enemy ships. Make it too easy and safe spots are no longer safe. :/

    I realize there could be workarounds for that, but I personally like the manual feel of the current system.

  6. I like the manual feel as well. This is a profession in EVE. It is used to find people to kill, or to locate anomalies/sites worth hundreds of millions of isk...why should it be easy?

  7. Alright I don't think that I made my point well enough in the article. I'm not against scanning being hard.. I just want something to be hard for an intelligent reason.

    Like I would prefer it if there was a different factor making it hard to hunt down sites, such as a lowered scan strength and perhaps learning proximity rules that would clue the operator into likely areas to find anomalies.. Something like gas giants more commonly have anomalies near them or certain asteroid belts. Scanners would have to learn tricks of the trade.

    Analogy: Digging a hold is hard work but as long as you do the same thing over and over again you will achieve your goal without much thought. However, planting and growing a plant requires much more thought and knowledge. You must find the correct type of soil, make sure it's in the appropriate climate and tend to it in a manner that is specific to that plant alone. It's still hard work but it requires some thought to achieve your goal.

    I hope this better illustrates my point.

  8. The flip side of scanning down anomolies is combat scanning. Right now I consider combat scanning very easy (even with split signals). A battleship for example you can track down in 30-40 seconds at a safe spot (in a smaller system) or if you have a rough idea of there where abouts, usually within 2-3 scans. I think if they make scanning a general more accessible and quicker (lets just for the sake of it say 'easier') then combat scanning will become ridiculously easy.

  9. Im clearly a moron. I watched the video, took advice, practiced for nearly an hour and I still cant get the damn things to work. Its far too awkward.