7 May 2014

API NPC Changes

I rarely venture into the eve-o forums. I find them to be a wasteland of bitterness which sucks the soul and removes my desire to play EVE. The only time I go there is when some other, tougher soul tells me there is something worth reading. Right now the 'something worth reading' is a threadnaught initiated by CCP SoxFoxFour on an intended change to the data available to pull from the EVE API.
"as a heads up as soon as I can find the time I will be removing WH systems map/kills endpoint. This is data that exists in the API but not the client and is incredibly powerful. As with everything I am open to discussing this, but I will admit that you will have a damn hard time convincing me of not doing it."
 The resulting thread which followed this was at 23 pages when I last looked with a fairly even split of people who welcome the change and people who absolutely hate the idea of this information going away. Those in favour cite the reason that wormholes exist is to be mysterious with no way of knowing what is out there, particularly not from external tools pulling from the API. Those against raise the point that it is already hard to find people in wormholes and this information is the only way they can find people to kill in a long, pre-scanned chain.

I see there being two problems here which are not entirely unrelated. Problem one is the existence of this information in the API which shouldn't be there. The people pointing out that wormholes are meant to be mysterious areas with no intel not gathered with your own eyes are 100% correct. We already had wormhole system jumps removed many moons ago for this very reason. The NPC kill data should also have been removed at that point. We should not know anything about wormholes which wasn't learnt from d-scan or other in-game intel gathering means. If my corp scans out a long chain then it is up to us to station scouts in each link to wait for activity, or actually patrol the chain to find someone to shoot. The key concept here is we need to be active to find things.

The mildly related second problem was introduced with the Odyssey expansion. In Odyssey we were lumped with the wonderful new scanner. No more did we have to actively probe systems to see what was out there. No more did we have to proactively scan our own systems during operations to see if any new signatures were present in our home system or where ever we happened to be operating. No more did we have to be surprised when ships appeared from nowhere to gank us when we thought we have all our exits covered. See where I'm going with this? Ostensibly the reason for this change was to bring more people into exploration. While a laudably intention we rarely find anyone else in our chains at all. When we do we have to be really quick to catch them if they are running sites, or they have to be really dumb and not notice the new signature auto-populate in their signature scanner. The balance of risk has shifted too far and the new proposal shifts this even further in favour of carebears. I'm sure this in unintended by CCP...

I agree with both sides but the fix is not to do nothing. I fully support removing this information from the API. Wormholes are big spaces where intel comes at a premium. You should have to work hard to get your kills. The first part is scanning, the second part is keeping the intel current, the final part is the kill. The real problem here happened with Odyssey and should be removed. Get rid of the signature scanner autopopulating. Force people running sites to have probes in the air actively scanning for new sigs. Take us back to pre-Odyssey scanning. If passive intel for the hunter is removed then so too should passive intel for the prey.

No comments:

Post a Comment