Exploration: Lack Of Content
Diary entry of the monstrously bad-looking developer pt. I
The world we created still feels a little bit dull for players that are not much into PvP, alliance operations & politics and other activities that don’t involve other players. The group of players that come in mind that feel this lack are mostly the new comers and solo players. How do we fix that? We create the content of course, but the bigger question is:
How do we do that?
Our development team faces a battle about whether we should create instanced content vs. static content. Creating instanced or random generated content would be the easiest solution, especially with so many players playing the game, but we want to be true to the world. Creating static content on the other hand would mean that in couple of days everyone would know about them and they would simply be camped/farmed to death, where a simple time zone difference can mean that you won’t ever be able to enjoy specific content if it’s known by the Sir Farm Alot corporation.
How do we fix that?
That’s what hides under codename Exploration, it will be the start and the biggest step so far into the direction of adding content into the world that will neither be instanced nor static. Why we call it Exploration is because it requires players to explore, something we have feel is missing from the game, other than to see the Monolith or other land(space)marks. Exploration will require scanning, which is getting dramatically overhauled, so dramatically that some might cry in joy.
But how does it work?
That’s a secret, but since you asked so kindly I’ll give you a short version;
We are creating a distribution mechanic that will deploy hidden locations throughout space, pockets which will move to new locations when they feel like it, but dependent on what the pilots are doing in the world. With this Exploration system, players of all types will be able to strike gold, hit the jack pot, find the golden pot under the rainbow or what ever someone might call it.
Locations might become a gold rush that could even be “sold” to a big group of players if found, but the gold might be to heavy for a solo player to carry on his own. We would like to create a supported mechanic for selling locations where people wouldn’t get an empty scenario but so far the only thing that came in mind was creating something with bookmarks which is not such a good idea (If you think bookmarks are a hot topic on the forums, you should see the discussions here in the CCP Offices! :) ).
What will we get?
At first we will use this system to deploy “normal” scenarios such as; complexes, ice/asteroid fields, agents and other things into the world. As the system matures, we will be able to make some locations or encounters rarer and harder to find. We might also use exploration as a new way to distribute resources and there are some other areas where the Exploration system looks promising for future ultra hot stuff, really ultra hot, did I mention something really really ultra hot?
Will this be the cure?
It’s brand new, so we know there will be adjustments, revisions and changes made to it, but it’s still a very promising system and we hope to use it to distribute a lot of new content into the world.
But we will still continue developing & creating existing content; we won't remove any existing content or move it to the new system unless we feel this will meet the expectations of the players, and also continue in our journey to find the T5 perfection of making the EVE world more alive and real.