Thursday, June 4, 2015

Yes, the New Icons Stink

I'm generally not a hater, and generally not one to fear change, so I tried to keep an open mind on the things I was hearing about the new ship icons.  Every patch brings out a wave of forum angst directed at CCP. It's usually a case of the 3 bears conundrum: The patch is too big, too small, and rarely does CCP get credit for doing something "just right." I heard the angst on icons brewing and shrugged it off as "business as usual."

So I was caught off guard when I actually didn't like the new icons.  "OK," I thought. "You'll get used to them." So over the course of the past couple days I did some explore sites in the Zealot and then ran some lvl4's in the Golem and ... The icons still suck. 

I find myself picking my primary targets not from the icon, but on the target's name. I'm effectively ignoring the new feature. I catch myself and try to force my eyes to the icon column, but they just won't stay there.

Now, a few of them aren't bad. The sentry gun, MTU, and accel gate are fine.  The beacon icon is OK, but needs to be a different color or something.

But the differences between ship icons are too subtle.  It is too easy to miss an important ship that might have a web or scram equipped, or a lurking little bastard that will shoot up my drones. On my screen, I have trouble telling between battleship, BC, and cruiser icons.The wreck icon is also particularly hard to use ... Filled or unfilled was so much easier to see.

And krikey, drone icons are supposed to be X's. What they've done to my little mechanical friends is just unnatural.

I agree with those that point out that making the UI easier to read by adding a huge variety of icons is a move in the wrong direction.  It's called an overview (as opposed to a detailed view) for a reason.  Making the overview more complicated while striving for simplicity is like saying I'm going to fix your flat tire by letting the rest of the air out.  CCP continues to talk about new player retention and getting folks up the learning curve ... How will this possibly help?

I am almost never on the bandwagon of rolling back features, but in this case I'd be in favor of a classic mode.


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