Wednesday, February 6, 2013

POS - Help! Help! I'm Being Repressed!

"Consider yourself fuelling POS towers for the next six months. It's people like you who let the Caldari get ANYWHERE in the first place!" - Jared Mason, Clear Skies II

So the CSM minutes cause a lot of disappointment and tears throughout the community. CCP had said at Fanfest they were hoping to look at modular POS'. The previous CSM minutes spit-balled some ideas, even mounting defences on them and fitting a jump drive to them! We we're excited. Then in the last minutes CCP said no!

Why? Well they gave two reasons. Firstly was a real Homer Simpson one, the second I'd like to postulate on!

1. Its too much work (If something is hard to do then it's not worth doing - Homer J Simpson)

2. Our metrics show there is only a tiny amount of the player-base using POS'

OK, I'm not going to comment on point one, but I have some things to say about point two. 

Firstly I would ask the question, how many players do we have in Eve Online? Before anyone says 400,000, you are wrong. There are 400,000 active accounts, not 400,000 people. I have four accounts myself. I know some people with 20+. I've heard of some with 96! So how many individual players are there? Not as many as you might think, and if they have a "POS toon" within one of their accounts, that small percentage of the "player-base" becomes much larger. What if the average number of accounts is 4? Then we have 100,000 people playing. Now how many PEOPLE (not characters) in Eve use POS's?

Statistics are part of my job and when I am training new Engineers I always tell them...

"There are lies, damn lies and statistics."

There are computer programs these days that do most of the data analysis for you in an instant in my field. When I have new Engineers training I force them to start doing the analysis manually by hand for the first few months. Why? Because 1, I'm a miserable bastard and if I had to do it 20 years ago so can they! But more importantly, 2, because computers do not think.

One of the examples I use demonstrates this exactly. They come to me with the answer and I go through the data with them and my answer is the direct opposite of theirs.

"So I did something wrong?"
"No. You were right."
"So you're wrong?"
"No my answer is right!"
"How can you have two answers, from the same data, which completely disagree with each other?"
"Well, there are lies, damn lies and statistics."

Metrics can be useful, but you need to be careful using them. Now I assume the clever people at CCP know this. So moving on I am now going onto the second part of 'metrics'....

Repressed Demand

This is a term we use in traffic engineering and it is common in other fields. What is repressed demand?

Take a busy main street with lots of fast, weaving traffic and high portion of heavy trucks. You count the cyclists in a day and find there are 20 using the road.

You suggest an adjacent cycle-path be installed.
There is a lot of opposition as "nobody uses this route for cycling, its a waste of money for 20 people a day!"
You build it.
A few weeks later the cyclist count is undertaken again and now there are 300 cyclists now per day.
Where did they come from?????

Basically it was repressed demand. People wanted to cycle that route but were put off because of by the existing conditions. By providing them with their own facility and removing the barrier, you unleashed the demand. So is there an additional demand of POS in Eve? A repressed one?

According to CCP a small section of the player base use POS' in Eve. I don't much. I've never erected or owned a POS. I've fuelled a corp POS a couple of times when it was screaming. I've lived out of a POS for a few days in a system I couldn't dock in. But I have used POS's hundreds of times for various combat operations.

Why have I never had a POS myself?

Because everyone says that they are a bloody PITA for little benefit! The mechanics are antiquated, the fuelling it a hassle, the hanger mechanics are annoying and various other reasons along the PITA line.

Now if the mechanics were overhauled to make it user friendly, they were given more uses and became a persons "home in space", as has been previously discussed, what will the demand be then?

I think it would be through the POS' roof! I know I would likely have one!

So yes CCP, I am sure you are right that there is only a small percentage of the "character base" owning and running POS' currently. But please, ask yourself why?


  1. Personally I'd like to see an end of the distinction between player-owned stations and NPC-owned stations. It seems a natural evolution of the sandbox.

    With that in mind it makes more sense to change POSes gradually on a themed basis the way Unifex outlined. So instead of next summer they do poses next summer they do pirates with pirates perhaps becoming playable factions with their own noobships and independent player-run stations. Just an example.

  2. My take on POSs is that we keep the current POS structure AS IT IS. But, we add to the game, a modular ship (think t3) with various sub-systems for each POS activity (moon mining, cargo storage, manufacturing, research, refining, refitting, ship storage, defense, offense) then fit it with XL modules - including cloaking. The "ship" can be anchored (like a carrier, dread, or rorqual) and then abandoned, with a password protecting boarding. At least one other password would be in place for using the ship. When a ship decloaks the POS, the POS will recloak 2 mins after last ship within its radius leaves, unless the tower is targeted.

    There is no POS force field.

    Once these mobile, gate-using, (maybe jump drive is a module ??) ships are in the game, able to completely replace POSs, then warnings are given and the old POSs, structures, guns, etc. are simply dropped from the game.

    Oh, and if the ship loses power (due to its fuel blocks running out) then a player, using a hacking module, would be able to hack control of the POS (assume sufficient skills) and potentially fly away with the asset.

    To me, running new POSs side by side with the old is the way to go. Once the new POSs can do everything the old one does, just drop the old ones from the code, with sufficient notice and time for POS owners to Xfer their stuff.

  3. I used to think like you: Make them good and lots of people will use it.

    But than I realized that all the proposals for a new POS model don't do much to increase any kind of game play. You do with them what you do now, but easier or cooler.

    They will still be a PITA to move, anchor and maintain. No matter what model adopted, and apart from industry and Null people that actually need them, there is no other use to them.

    Do this people deserve a better POS? Sure they do, but that would cost an entire expansion to make, and no new game play to everyone else would be added to the game, just more of the same.

    EVE really need some fresh ideas, new things for all the people to do, something that will shake everyone life's like WH did. We have had enough of fixes only now.

    1. @ Felipe:

      I used to think like you: Make new systems to expand the game and people won't notice that the fundamental underpinnings of the game are antiquated and broken.

      But than I realized that all of the proposals for new gameplay mechanics don't do much to increase player satisfaction or enrollment. You do the new stuff, but still have to live with the old broken stuff to enable the new stuff.

      While doing the new stuff, keeping up the old stuff will still be a PITA. No matter what new expansions you adopt, industry and Null people will still be dependent on these old broken POS's.

      Do other people deserve new content? Sure they do, but it would cost an entire expansion to make, and no relief from the years of suffering that we've already lived through would be offered to everyone else, just more of the same.

      EVE really needs the obvious fixes to be made, or people won't be willing to live with them any longer, after years and years enough is just enough. We've had enough new content only expansions, for now.