Friday, February 21, 2014

Loot Spew to be Abolished

Via Sugar, good news: CCP Affinity has stated that the loot spew mechanic in exploration sites will be removed, perhaps as early as the summer release.  Hurrah!

I explored a whole bunch when Odyssey came out.  But at some point, I stopped.  I concentrated on the new ghost sites for a while.  Then I got busy moving my corp deeper into wspace, and I have not gone back to exploration.  Part of the reason is the spew mechanic; just the thought of it reminds me why I don't want to explore.

Why do I dislike it so?  A big part of it is aesthetic: it simply makes no sense within the asserted setting.  We are supposedly hacking a computer or analyzing a relic; either way, we are in search of valuable information.  Files don't magically erase themselves when you crack a computer.  And they most certainly don't launch themselves into space after setting themselves on fire.  And yet, that is what the loot-spew mechanic depicts.  It's immersion-breaking.

The other side of my dislike of the feature relates to how it works in game.  That is, that you have to be on your toes to actually collect loot.  Whenever I am about to crack a can, I pause, and I consult my cargo scan one last time.  I mentally picture the items I am looking to get, and I tell myself which loot can type(s) I am concentrating on.  I adjust my zoom to be just-so: not too far out, not too far in.  And then I pop the core and start gathering.  Click click click click...  All of that is a lot of mental work for the average payoff.  Compare it to the mental work involved in other resource gathering or farming activities.  I.e.: mining, or ratting.

And finally, I dislike loot spew because it tries (but fails) to make exploring into a non-solo activity.  Now, I got pretty good at collecting loot spew.  Given a cargo scanner, I can gather everything of value in almost every data site by myself.  But that's not true in relic sites.  Using an alt, I can get most of even that -- but I really dislike using an alt to explore.  I love setting out solo and just flying where I will; the scutwork of having to pilot two different accounts through nullsec for a modest increase in income is not to my taste.

CCP thought that loot spew would mean people would explore with another person, but I am certain this did not happen.  (They probably can tell, and that may be one reason they are giving up on it.)  The problem with bringing a second person is that you have to have such a person; and most explorers don't.  Explorers are solo guys.  Exploring is (or was) my goto activity for those times when I did not have a second person.  If you do have another person to play with, you probably don't want to be exploring; and even if you do, he probably doesn't.  And even if he does, then the two of you can still make better ISK by simply exploring separately.

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