No, I’m not talking about what became Valkyrie – a different sort of VR. What if there was a training simulation available in EVE? This actually spawned out of the question “Wouldn’t it be great if newbies could fit and try out ships in a max skill environment?”
Well, wouldn’t it? Combine with some way of imbuing at least basic fitting expertise ingame (more on that another time, perhaps) and it becomes a potential learning tool, a way to touch on some of the issues Namamai put forward about a week ago in a blog banter (by the way, if you’re not already following his blog, do so.) For more experienced players, it could be a proving ground, a live fire version of EFT, if you will. Regardless of skill level, spawn in flying what you prefer, fit as you wish, with skills set however you like. Engage static targets, take triggered fire of known quantity and type to test out tanks, whatever. If you want to go a step further with that, maybe even the on-demand option to spawn PvE encounters (simulated ones without bounties or loot of course, this is all VR!) that are perhaps close but not quite identical to the real thing. Or not – there are obvious downsides to letting someone learn how a given piece of PvE ‘content’ works without risk.
Like so many ideas, this one experienced a bit of feature creep. How else could we use this? What if other players could be involved? There are players whose existence in EVE, the sole reason they play at this point, is to fight on SiSi, to duel others, to romp around in the PvP zones and treating them like the arenas that, to be fair, they really are. Most of them take it entirely too seriously and are very proud of their killboards and stats which are completely disconnected from any actual loss, and almost no one who isn’t part of this little sub-culture actually gets it.
But that’s okay, this really isn’t aimed at them anyway. What the existence of those folks suggests, though, is that there may just be some latent appeal to having some “get in and go” PvP. And for a slightly different twist, I certainly know I’ve heard requests for better tools for players to run their own tournaments too. But as so many people this is EVE, where loss is supposed to matter. That’s why the idea of the Alliance Tournament being held on SiSi is met with so much derision, right? We’ll leave aside for now the discussion as to whether it’d actually improve the tournament scene.
So let’s split this VR training thing into two scenarios. The first is above – a completely virtual simulation where you can fight static targets and simulated rats and so on and so forth. The lore chronicle would say something about how this is all well and good and the simulations were close enough when being played out in such a scenario, but attempts to simulate a real engagement between two or more capsuleers, not really so much. Something, some vital aspect was missing that meant such simulated encounters were never quite up to the exacting standards demanded by the eggers testing the system out. Whoever put the system together (a few possibilities there but this isn’t really meant as a lore post, so I’ll gloss over it) never did figure out what was missing, but they did figure out how to capture the full experience – use a real ship. Take the right kind of radical new booster, use the right kind of cybernetic interface, and stay within an area ringed by transmitters and all manner of specialized equipment and even a rookie pilot can board and interface with a ship as though he’s the most experienced pilot in the universe.
Yada yada. A bunch of lore words to basically say “In this area you could fly a ship at any skill level you like, but you do have to provide the ship, fittings, ammo, etc.” It’d be great for unstructured arenas and so forth, and it’d provide the first thing needed for player-run events – a place to do them. Turning it into a true tool for players to run events like that would need more work, more new features, but it’d be a start.
Good idea, bad idea, I dunno. The VR practice area would certainly have its uses, the rest of it well… I can already hear the shrieks of “go back to WoW” and “arena has no place in EVE it’s a sandbox”. And to them I say, what is a sandbox but a pile of sand and tools to shape them? Consider this to be a tool to shape player driven events and maybe you’ll look at it a little differently.