Thursday, November 3, 2011

Incarna - It's Still Here and It's Still Coming

I've said before that whilst in-game I am a PvP oriented pirate/Militia fighter, I'd love to see Incarna deployed properly. As of now, all we have is a pretty, but rather inefficient, irritating, three-dimensional station menu.
WiS must be seperate to FiS. I want both, just not at the same time. If there is battle raging in our home system and I lose a ship, I want to dock up, get in another ship and get back out to the fight! However, I might have just been out on a solo roam and found it to be very quiet, there is an hour to the scheduled corp op, I might want to stretch my legs as nothing else is happening. I've said before on this blog many times "Don't force us to do something, give us a reason to do it".
CCP ARE listening. Some of the recent Dev Blogs of the changes coming soon (TM) say they will address the more pressing concerns over FiS and existing bugs and issues. We've got the new teir 3 BC's to look forward to, fixes in faction war (YAY!) and cap balancing. The new modules look intersting, T2 drone and warfare link mods, talk of new drones and hints at kamazazi dones (CCP Guard holding a grenade as he talks about new things coming out at the end of the recent art dept video).
Of course this is in response to player-rage and the fact now up to 99% of people posting on the forums say they never wanted Incarna in the first place. Well, to be fair most of us did. Remember the video of the capsuleer getting out of his pod at Fanfest 2008 (Was it 08 with the Ambulation video?) and the reception it recieved?

 Years ago we were looking forward to Incarna. Then CCP took too long, cocked up the implimentation and took their eyes of the FiS part of the game which angered the players and now has led to cries of:-
"I never wanted Incara!"
"I never wanted Incara either and neither did my wife!"
"I never wanted Incarna and that was before Eve was even created!"
"Well I didn't want Incarna and that was before I was even born!"
"My grandfather never wanted Incara, he wrote so in his diary during WW1!" - and so on.
Sorry guys, the majority of people who spoke about it WANTED Incarna before the botched release. This goes way back. I have heard 2006 mentioned in other places. And those calling for it to be abandoned, if you think that's going to happen... send me any amount of ISK in game over 100,000,000 and I'll send you back triple!

It would be great to have Eve as a fully immersive sci-fi sim. Walking in stations and flying in space, with a choice of what you want to do! By the end of the year we were supposed to see Incarna "establishments". However these are on the back burner for now. Rixx over at the excellent Eveogander predicts spring 2012 will give us establishments and I think he's right. I think with the new 180 on Incarna and focus on FiS we mustn't forget that Incarna is still just around the corner. A few things I would really like to see (but not at the neglect of FiS):- 
Bar's - When I first started thinking about the bar in the station I realised one won't be enough. It's not that we need four empire specific bars. It's the security status of the bar (both system and location on station) that will define the feel of the bar even before we start thinking race specifics. Now I'm not saying that we need 12 difference bars (I suggest three "security" types, plus we've got four stations), may be certain bars on certain stations....

Capsuleer Bars (High Sec) -
We all know that generally capsuleers don't generally mix with the unwashed masses. They have their own decks and facilities at the top of the stations alongside the corporate elite. I'd like to see upper-end bars. Posh wine-bar style. You can find agents (normal agents, nothing special) and corporate big-wigs in these. Ten Forward on the Enterprise is something similar along the lines that I'm thinking. Quiet, dignified and a bit stuffy, and to be perfectly honest, a bit boring! Then again there is always the chance to find an agent looking to give out a job "off the books" here. Slightly more dangerous and slightly more rewarding than a normal level 4, but much harder to get one.

Capsuleer Bars (Low and Null Sec) -
These bars are certainly not as boring as their high sec counterparts. With the lack of CONCORD and general reduced law enforcement, these bars have more options. There is still security in these higher-deck bars on the stations. But you can buy, and see, a lot more. The combat booster dealers are here, the gambling tables, the scantily-clad dancers, the loud music. A proper bar! Why would anyone want to visit one of those hi-sec boring ones? OK may be as a low-sec pirate I've got an ulterior motive for having the flesh flashed in these bars - to bring the noobs through that hi-sec gate into our domain :) Not quite Quark's in DS9, it's too shiny, but then again not the Cantina in Star Wars either. Somewhere in between?

Lower Deck Bars/0.0 Pirate station bars -
When a capsuleer goes down there, they make sure thier implant sockets are hidden. These are more low down and dirty. Like the bar seen in Serenity or even the cantina in the original Star Wars. The one in the station in the movie Star Runners (horrible B-Movie with fail CGI that's on a lot over here atm) is another one that feel's "Eve-ey". Then again I might be just saying that as it has dancers in stockings! We want them dark, poorly lit, sleazy and dangerous. The player sat at the table in the corner, dealing illegal combat boosters. The pirate or secretive agent giving out missions sat next to the Gallente poledancer who is grinding away for tips. A fight is going to break out any minute between that Amarrian and that Minmatar bruiser at the gambling table, he's just looking for an excuse to punch him in the face. HANG ON A SEC!!!! Isn't that Tarquin Smith sat in the corner???? I heard he only spawns twice a month and only gives out one epic mission before vanishing!

Medical Centre -
I don't want to have to walk down to the medical centre to update my clone, that should be left on the main menu. But what about when you get podded? How about you "respawn" in the medical centre. Visually I think a lot could be made of that. All the different clone bays lining the walls, a medical drone/AI hologram to greet you back to life, the "Machine that goes Ping!". Yes, it will slow down the process of being podded/reship/get back to the fight... but if we looked at this realistically (well as realistic as a game about pretend internet spaceships set 20,000 years into the future gets) this is more like what would happen. If you got podded you'd not be back out in space in 30 seconds would you? Would make fights on a fleets home station more interesting!

Ship Storage Hanger -
Now I'll admit I don't know how this would exactly work, but wouldn't it be fantastic to be able to see all your ships together. Some sort of massive wall like honeycomb with each of your ships hovering in it's bay. For someone like Drackarn who usually has about 20-30 ships in his hanger from carrier down to interceptors it could look amazing. However scale would be a problem. An interceptor next to a carrier? Either you'd only see a portion of the carrier or the 'ceptor would be the size of a pixel on screen. May be they are not along a wall but on the floor. Frigate and destroyer hulls in the foreground followed by Cruisers, Battlecrusiers, Battleships then Capitals at the back. An elevated platform lets you look down on your fleet in station.

Corporation Offices -
Two room corp offices. One "reception room" where anyone can walk in. This can be decorated with furniture and art as you see fit. The reception room is your corporations advertisement. Are you going to fill it with Amarrian works of art or bland but functional Caldari furniture? A seperate back room for Corp members. Screens showing important corp bullitens. Access to Corp management functions and the like.

Undock Viewpoint/Promenade - Wouldn't it be cool to be able to look out from the station into space. Is the station camped? Lets look at the window! May be this could be the location to access all the establishments ala Deep Space 9's promanade? I know having an internal environment looking out into the "live" external environment is not going to be easy. But it would be awesome wouldn't it!
Agent Offices -
For those who want to do their mission running, let them visit the agent at their office. You should also be able to collect missions as now without undocking to CQ but lets have the option of face-to-face. Again this element in more about immersion than function.
Militia Office -
As for function, I cannot think of much that would make these worthwhile. What I am thinking of is visuals and game immersion. A lot could be made of a race specific recruitment/command and control centre for each militia. NPC officers standing over holotables showing tactical maps of the warzone etc. Could the NPC's manning the stations be tied into how the war is going for their side. Do the Gallente officers look happy? Then SoTF are doing something right! Something along the lines of the bridge of Battlestar Gallactica?

NEX Store Boutique -
Actually forget this idea, it's a ******* terrible idea! ;)
So I took that idea and started to write bit of "in-game" fiction giving a view of how a short break between me solo roaming and joining up with a scheduled corp fleet might go in Incarna if they did it right... in my opinion of course! The short piece is told from my characters perspective but gives hints and clues to where it could be expanded in the future. Level 4 and a half agents with a unique LP store? I'll have some of that, where are they? The lower station decks? And I can only meet them face-to-face in a very shady deal styleeeee? Sounds risky! Sounds rewarding.......
Coming Soon(TM)......
P.S. Flying from the Middle East tonight back to the UK for a two week holiday. Eve and blogging activity are likely to be slightly reduced.

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