FAPT: Pirate Logs

Been much too long since I’ve written one of these, which I’d like to blame on a lack of good ideas crossing my desk (so to speak) but is really just because I’ve been a bit lazy about searching them out.

So sue me. You’d get tired of searching after scrolling past the 3856934th “IDEA: NERF AFK CLOAKING” thread too.

Anyway, Pirate Logs. Who remembers these, raise your hand? If your hand’s up you’ve been playing for quite a long time, as these things have not dropped in ages. They used to be intended to lead people to the old static complexes, or something, which was rather pointless since everyone knew where those were anyway. After all, they were static. At some point – probably when CCP shifted the static complexes to scanning – they were removed from the game and forgotten.

Until now, apparently. A player by the name of Andrea Griffin wrote a post proposing they be brought back and repurposed. The idea, quite simply, would be to add to exploration, a different way to find content similar to what CCP is adding in Odyssey, but distinct in flavor and hopefully in mechanics, to keep it interesting.

Great idea. There is not a single bad thing I can say about this, and I hardly even have to say anything good about it, because the poster identified virtually everything already.

  • It can introduce players to the idea of exploration and expeditions.

  • It can encourage more high-sec players to explore lowsec. They can see that expedition right there in their journal, calling to them. They know exactly where to go.

  • A new market segment opens up for trading ship logs – people who won’t want to do the expeditions can sell the logs.

  • It helps tell stories in Eve. Some of the ship logs are funny, some are creepy, but all of them add important bits of flavor.

  • It’s easy to iterate on.

  • Most of the work has already been done.

Just about the only thing I can think of to add to this is that if they were to drop in nullsec (and I really don’t see any good reason why they shouldn’t), it’s a tool with which to tune ratting income. Want it higher? Leave things as is. Or maybe it’s high enough already, so they can nerf bounties again (thus reducing the faucet) and leave the sale of the logs or the loot gleaned from them to make up the difference. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Count on this being something I’ll be bringing to CCP’s attention as a future means of iterating on their new exploration features.

And before signing off on this post, I’d like to mention how great I think the new exploration feature is. They’re quick to find and complete, which is a boon to the more casual player. They require active engagement, both to break the lock and to grab the loot. If CCP hits their mark (and odd as it sounds to say, I have faith that they will, or will quickly revisit it if not) they’ll be rewarding to a solo player, and proportionally more rewarding to a small group of players, thanks to the “space pinata” mechanic for getting at the loot. More importantly, that small group of players has to be a small group of genuinely individual players. Unlike other notionally “group” content, multiboxing won’t gain you much. You might be able to get some increase in income if you’re really fast, but you’ll be better off still if the second pilot really is a second player. That’s a big deal, as encouraging players to bring actual groups instead of more alts, yet not punishing them by cutting into the per-player income, is one of the large obstacles to true “group” content in the game.

I expect we’ll start to see more of this style of thing over the coming expansions, and so long as new mechanics can be kept distinct and flavorful from the older ones (that is, I don’t think “space pinata all the time!” will be interesting), I definitely welcome it.