Friday, February 4, 2011

Character Progression

The new CCP character creator is a pretty remarkable piece of software. Its pretty easy to get lost in it for a while, and fully suggest that allow yourself plenty of time to finish the character. A rush job will get you exactly what you wanted. Rushed characters.

I've mentioned this in the Eve Blog Banter a post ago, but between it and the Lost in Conversation where I sounded like a bitter vet with no reason to sound like one, I have some additional thoughts.

First of all, the detail is pretty amazing. I have a high end computer I built myself, so any setting that could be turned up to 11 is there. You can really see the difference when scars and aging is selected on the slider. I don't know if on a lower end machine its as evident as it was to me, but I found the effect striking. The part I liked the best was the ability to just grab a part of the character and move it how I wished. Further, the body shifted and allowed for less or more depending on the slider settings for muscle tone and fat. I liked grabbing the face with the cursor and adjusting it just so, giving me more control of the end result. It just felt intuitive over traditional Tiger Woods like character creators that use sliders for all aspects of proportion.

Its not all sun and roses though. There were some things CCP could have done better. Like Jager Da on the Lost in Conversation podcast, I disliked the limited option in clothing. This seemed like a popular bitch with everyone though. If you really looked at the options, you had basically two or three different options, each in different colors. It really makes me worry that they didn't want too much here otherwise their introduction of micro-transactions wouldn't go over so well. I don't think its going to go over so well anyway. After all, we PAY a monthly fee for the damn game. Asking us for more money is really quite insulting. Unless they intend to move Eve to a free-to-play model, I find the thought of micro-transactions to be a bitter taste.

Everyone needs to step away from the edge on that micro-transactions bring the end of the world bull. Like wishes, be careful what you ask for. Oftentimes free-to-play games skimp features in hopes of inducing more money from people. Oh you want to train battleships? That'll be 2.99 please. Capitals? 9.99. Oh yes, they could. I'm not saying they would, as trying to predict what CCP is going to do is kind of like predicting the weather in Michigan.

What about height? Unless there was some slider or thing I was supposed to grab to edit height, I apparently missed it. Cause I spend some time trying to figure out how to make people shorter or taller. Height is a pretty basic alteration in any game that allows you to create an avatar and CCP's omission of it is kind of insulting. I guess in the future we can only all be the same height. Seems sad really. I like girls that are shorter then me.

Speaking of body alterations, what about weight? Apparently there aren't many overly obese people in the future either. What, they don't fit in the pod? What about a beer gut? Thunder thighs? I guess I would have liked a few more options here. Not every pod pilot needs to be fit and trim like a track and field star.

You do need to spend some time with the creator, like I said before. This is an example of my first attempt at the character creator. As you can see, it didn't really go well. I'm not really sure what I was doing here, but I guess I was trying to make her look Asian, when apparently that is control by race selection. As you can guess, when they offered me an attempt to recreated, I leaped at the opportunity.

My second attempt ended up much better then the first, but I still wasn't satisfied. I'm not really sure what it was. Either the look or the face or the hair or some combination. This attempt was me not trying to make her look like something she wasn't, and instead tried to focus on the natural beauty of the Gallente female characters. I would have been fine to end here, but when they offered me a third attempt, I figured I'd try once more.

Now this is more like it. Apparently its a pretty popular hair style, as I see that one on many other characters. I finally hit the smirk on this one, and the hair is better controlled. Perfect for pissing off other players.

My final thoughts about the character creator haven't really changed from the Lost in Conversation episode. What does it add to the game? Oh sure, its pretty to look at when you create the character for the first time, but after that? It adds nothing. Hell, I don't even have an option to go back and look at my full body model to admire the one of two outfits I picked out. So while my portrait has never looked better, my overall enjoyment of the game is still based on (shocker) internet spaceships.

I can't help but think this thing is just a big beta test for World of Darkness. And why not? Clearly they hope to strike gold with vampires cause everyone else is. They have the perfect feedback system in the massive Eve Online player base. This lets them launch and test the code so its perfect when it comes time to make your very own emo vamp.

Incarna is CCP's endgame, the final Beta test before they launch the real game they seem to care about. Meanwhile, we are all stuck with a shitty UI, terrible bugs, and a lag monster that a 4000 man drake fleet couldn't slay. And CCP couldn't really give a shit less.

After all, everyone loves vampires.


  1. The efforts on Lag have continued apace since the disaster that was dominion. Lag is actually getting pretty good in big battles again.

    I don't see Incarna as a "big beta test" for WoD, but rather an attempt to expand Eve's universe and playerbase in another direction. The fact of the matter is that there is only so many people willing to play eve for internet spaceships and I think that limit was reached last year. IN order for Eve to grow, we need something out of space and Incarna is the right direction IMHO.

    I so wish I was in that panel, I was raging at the radio the whose section :) A dissenting opinion was needed.

  2. I think I need to go back and listen to that part of the episode again (apart from certain short podcasts, I do my listening at work, and subsequently can't fully concentrate on what is being said).

    However Kirith has a point: the audience for Eve in its current form has necessarily a limited audience, and if CCP wants to survive, they have to expand into new directions.

    And speaking of Vampires: if CCP's idea of vampires is the same we were given back when we were playing in the WoD universe, people expecting tragic-romantic Twilight'ish vampires will be in for a rude awakening. Back in my days (tm), WoD vampires were usually ruthless, scheming, machiavellian bastards. ...we can only hope.

  3. Welcome to the EVE Blog Pack. If you could write a little something about it, I'd appreciate! Cheers!