Friday, October 03, 2014

Jump Drives and Flying Mounts

The latest controversy in Eve Online is CCP's proposed changes to jump drives.

In Eve Online, star systems are connected to each other by stargates. Normal ships travel through the stargate network to get from one system to another. For example, to get from system A to system E, a ship might have to go through the gates connecting A to B to C to D to E. Using stargates is slow and can be dangerous, as gates are an obvious choke point where bad guys can intercept you.

Currently, larger capital ships cannot use stargates. Instead they have jump drives, which allows them to jump directly from point-to-point within a certain range. For example, a capital ship might be able to jump directly from A to E.

CCP is proposing to drastically reduce range of the jump drive, and add a "fatigue" mechanic limiting the number of consecutive jumps a ship can make. In exchange, capital ships can now use the stargates. This greatly reduces the effective range of capital ships, and makes it more likely that they can be intercepted if they are travelling long distances by stargate.

It occurs to me that the situation around jump drives is very similar to the situation in World of Warcraft around flying mounts. Both are getting nerfed for very similar reasons.

Flying mounts allow you to go directly from point A to point E. It allows you to skip over the dangers on the ground below.  The ground in WoW is roughly equivalent to the stargates in Eve. Forcing people to the ground slows them down, makes their travel path more predictable, and allows PvP opponents to force battles at specific choke points.

In both games, a form of travel ended up being too fast and too safe, leading the developers to nerf that mechanism.

It's not a completely analogous situation of course. For one thing, Eve still allows limited jumps. So a canny capital fleet might be able to evade some ambushes with good use of scouts.

Still though, it's a reminder of how games often face the same issues and problems, and come to similar solutions, even when they are as wildly divergent as WoW and Eve Online.

1 comment:

  1. The one place I can think of offhand where a flying mount (or a type of "flying mount") was of no help was in Vashj'ir.

    It wasn't technically a flying mount, since it was underwater, but it behaved just like one. The only problem was that since Vashj was underwater, all of the mobs were scattered throughout the "air" instead of sticking only to the sea floor.

    And, to nobody's surprise, it was one of the least favorite areas in Cataclysm. (I felt like an outlier for actually liking it.)