Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Should EVE Have Achievements?

I can already hear you muttering, "NO!"

Hear me out.

Rule #4 of this blog's Manifesto talks about having multiple ways to measure a player's progress.  Here, I'll go copypasta it and save you a click:
#4 - Sometimes, we need a different measure of progress than isk/hr.  And I don't mean adding things that convert to isk (like LP/hr or m3 ore/minute).  That's just isk in a different format.   
In PVP, we have killmail and killboards and that's a good way to measure things and keep a score.  Character skillpoints has always been a measure (if over-emphasized) of character progression.  The recently overhauled Ship Mastery is a fun way to generate some bragging rights, maybe.  But here's the point: nothing motivates nerds more than "leveling up."  As I continue to post, one theme you'll see is an attempt to allow progress to be captured.
 So, as CCP overhauls the lvl4 / burner experience, what tools do we want to capture the progress?

Do you want an in-game achievement for killing the Anomic agent?  For solo'ing the Angel burner?  For killing the Serpentis Burner in under 10 seconds?  ... for getting killed by a burner agent?  :)

For PVP, there are information feeds (API) that allow the player-community to establish killboards.  There are in-game killmails to link, and collect.  All of this drives all kinds of behavior, some of it good, some of it ... less savory.  But it's a type of motivation not (usually) rooted in isk/hr.

For PVE, we don't have that, have never had that, and don't even have a log showing what missions we've completed or declined recently.  This past week I went through the game trying to count, and ended up in my Wallet counting mission payouts.  This only worked because I had a screenshot with a datestamp telling me when I should stop counting.  It only told me I'd done a mission, not which mission or even which agent.

Now then, I'm NOT (not!) advocating a WoW-style achievement system with hundreds/thousands of meaningless tasks.  Let me digress a minute and say that the Achievement mentality is something that helped drive me from WoW.  I don't need that kind of instant gratification and constant reinforcement of how cool I am.  I don't want a checklist of to-do items that I must complete or not be considered uncool.  EVE doesn't need that kind of structure or handholding.

But I do think I want something in between the big nothing we have now and the absurd something that other games have.

So for me, I'd start with a killmail-style mission log, included on my character sheet.  Collect some metrics like: which ship I was in, how much damage taken/received, and which agent.  Make it part of the API, and see where the community takes it.  Then adjust accordingly.

Does that count as an Achievement system?  It could.  It could be the foundation of one.  The important part would be starting small and staying small.

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