Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ESS in Wspace Disabled

I tried out an ESS and they've already disabled them:
"Amarr"?  It was Caldari.  Bug.
Good for CCP.


  1. On the one hand, I'm pleased that CCP fixed this bug in good time. On the other hand, the fact that the ESS could be deployed like this in w-space in the first place is an indication of poor design and test.

    This bug and fix is suggestive that CCP designed the ESS for use in null-sec and then only tested it in null-sec, to see if it worked where it was intended to be deployed. Even the most basic of testing outside of its intended scope would have shown the ESS to be exploitable in w-space.

    Such a bug lends credence to the idea that other features CCP have added to the game have not been tested in all environments, and thus the full implication of the change has not been considered.

    This is an unfortunately short-sighted view, and one that can lead to some terrible design decisions that perhaps CCP would be embarrassed to roll back, because it would be admitting an error.

  2. Hmm, do I sense the phrase "discovery scanner" floating in your mind?

    I dunno. On the one hand, I agree with you in that it would be nice if this sort of thing never happened. On the other hand, testing is expensive, and not worthwhile to head off minor harm. They did fix it quite fast; the effect was minor. By itself, this particular bug was not worth testing for.

    So the question is: is this part of a pattern? I don't think it is really the same thing as the discovery scanner, because in that case it was CCP's intent to make scanning easy-mode. So I am skeptical. I think most of the things you hate about CCP's recent effects on wspace boil down to the same thing: they meant to do it.

    I do wonder if any CSM reps thought to ask whether ESSes would work in wspace. This is really the sort of thing I would have thought someone there would catch more than anyone in CCP.

  3. Well, if the discovery scanner was fully intended to completely change the environment of w-space, then without any explanation as to CCP's reasoning behind the change I will never understand it. And if such a drastic change specifically to w-space wasn't intended, why don't they roll back the change for w-space only?

    As for the ESS, CCP clearly understood the implications of having an anchorable object with a warp bubble that announces anyone close to it in local, because it was explicitly designed not to be anchorable anywhere near a stargate or station. CCP didn't want a way for players to have an easy-mode remote warning system of someone undocking or jumping in to a system. And yet they apparently completely forgot about wormholes. And I wouldn't call this bug 'minor', not when it effectively added local to w-space, in specific circumstances.

    Yes, testing is expensive, and you can't test for everything, but I find it incredulous to believe that stations and stargates were remembered but wormholes didn't cross anyone's mind. Like I say, it is suggestive, but clearly not proof, of CCP failing to consider the implications of new and changed features in anything but their intended space, or not even having a moderate understanding of their own extended galaxy.

  4. I agree that it is hard to believe that CCP thought of stations and stargates as undesirable places to allow ESSes, but not wormholes. Still, oversights like this happen. (And it is an oversight, not a bug, even though I did call it "bug" and that is a convenient nomenclature.) Where I disagree with you is in the manner of catching problems like this, and how serious a problem it really is. I don't think CCP does have a very strong understanding of wspace, but this is not an easily corrected problem. I think CSM does, and should have caught it. But evidently that failed too. And for that matter did they not test this on Sisi? Either no wspace player reported it or else they ignored the report; in the latter case there may be something worth looking into for CCP.

    If EVE were a non-networked game, and something like this went out on a physical disk that was being sold, it would be a bigger deal than it is. But EVE can revise in a day if they make a mistake like this. It was called to their attention and fixed in just a few days. That is the sense in which I am calling it minor. A day or two of people exploiting this in wspace does not hurt the game in any substantial way.

    As for the discovery scanner, I disagree with you in two ways. First, I don't consider it a "drastic" change, at least not in its modern form. (Recently my corp has noticed that it does not seem to auto-update very fast, possibly not ever; to be safe you have to keep updating it by hand.) The same functionality used to be available via combat probes. Now, it is certainly a change, and a substantial one. But "drastic" and "completely change" overstate it. "Drastic" would be that all sigs are immediately pushed to clients, and a special noise played to alert players even if they don't have the probe scanner up. (Don't give 'em ideas, VK.) I realise that I am mostly splitting hairs over semantics here, but what the heck -- blog.

    Second, CCP has explained why they did quite completely I think. They wanted to make exploration easier and more noticeable to the average player and especially newbies:
    What is this overall vision? The overall vision for exploration is to make it a more noticeable part of the game and lower the barrier of entry. Exploration is something that appeals to a lot of players, but because it is so obscure it was rarely something that newer players entered early. Instead, newer players tend to go for easily accessible systems like missioning or mining as their first careers. The goal was to try to make exploration as easily accessible in the early stages as those two, as exploration allows players to experience better the unique flair of EVE than mining or missioning does.
    I don't think they completely succeeded -- exploration is still not as obvious as mining or missioning. But it is a lot more obvious that it was when we started. And the discovery scanner with its on-the-main-screen system sweep is a part of that.

    Now, it does surprise me that the devblog where I got that quote does not mention the discovery scanner as such, while hitting all sorts of nitty gritty. Still, the function is obvious: make people notice exploration sites by putting them literally in front of their noses.

  5. Right. I understand the reasoning behind the discovery scanner, and I actually agree with it. What I don't agree with is applying it to the whole of New Eden and beyond. To introduce new players to exploration, the discovery scanner and its functionality is only needed in high-sec, where all new players start and must travel a significant number of systems through before encountering anything else. By that point, the discovery scanner is no longer needed as an introduction. And even if it were considered still important, in case players somehow missed it, it is certainly unnecessary in w-space, where you need to have understood exploration just to get there. I have already argued that keeping the discovery scanner out of w-space would even add to the mystery of entering a wormhole, as there would truly be nothing shown to you, enhancing the experience instead.

    Anyway, I don't want to hijack your post any more than I already have, and the topic really should be the ESS. Yes, it's good that the problem—indeed, the oversight—has been fixed, and quickly. There are certainly positives to be taken from this situation.

  6. The particular post, being two lines, is eminently hijackable, and in any case the discovery scanner is relevant to the more general question of: What's up with CCP and wspace? And further, blog. So, please don't worry about hijacking this or any of my posts. I appreciate your opinions.

    As for the discovery scanner, my opinion on it is that CCP was simply being consistent. If you have a "scanner" on your imaginary spaceship that runs each time you enter some systems, should it not run in every system? I think so, or at least, that's the most parsimonious behavior. In general, I like consistency in my science fiction. So, I find it excusable here.

    As I think you know, I agree with you about the discovery scanner not running automatically in wspace. Consistency-wise, though, I find I need this explained by something other than meta-game considerations such as "it ruins hunting in wspace", even though that is true.

    Lorewise, what is the difference between wspace and highsec/lowsec? Empire. So I find myself asserting: the discovery scanner is (should be) a service that is provided by empires. No empire, no data on sigs. This drives me towards asserting that it should not function in nullsec, either. And I think there should be a way for system owners to provide this service if they want to, both in nullsec and wspace. (Now I am really off topic.)

  7. Basing the discovery scanner on empire space and its services is a neat and tidy idea. It's also consistent with other elements of the game that differ between the different security levels of New Eden, and I agree that consistency is good.

    Maybe we can convince CCP yet, directly or via the CSM.