Having missed the first opportunity to rummage around Captain’s Quarters, I was compelled to visit the headline feature to EVE”s summer season when it returned to the Duality test server over the weekend. I spent literally minutes walking around the cramped compartment, clicking on things that didn’t really do much and testing the springs on the sofa and I have to say that being in that drab room was just a little bit depressing.
I’m not being as negative as you think. It’s worth pointing out that only the Minmatar quarters have been implemented thus far, and like the tribal station interiors we currently spin our ships around in, they are about as warm and welcoming as a Klingon brothel.
Consider also that these quarters are effectively half-built motel rooms, where the doors don’t open, the TV is rigged to transmit local news and none of the appliances work. It even has a balcony view looking out over the parking lot. It’s almost as if our quarters are being designed to ensure that pilots spend more time in their ships. This is a good thing. They’re not really places you want to hang around in unless you’ve a mind to tie the bed sheets together.
Rather than stew indoors over the entire weekend, I spent some time on Tranquility attempting the tutorial and career missions, after having found an unused EVE code from a Steam sale. I’ve never actually completed EVE’s tutorial before, since I’ve had to make my way through the game using dogged persistence, but in the context of a set of experiences that took almost eight hours to get through, Captain’s Quarters could and should be a real godsend.
Although the missions themselves are pretty decent and very helpful, the tutorial framework is rather a mess. Having to switch between agent conversations, journal entries and those pop-up tutorial windows just to get the same information seems to be wholly unnecessary. If instructions can one day be delivered in-game via a combination of AURA and the various CQ access terminals, the so-called New Player Experience should be a welcoming and pleasant one, with just enough face-slapping to remind people that they’re not in a theme park fantasy world any more.
Perhaps those Captain’s Quarters don’t seem quite so drab after all. As they become less like cheap rented rooms and more a home away from home, quarters are bound to develop into something veterans would happily use to manage their in-game lives. I would go one further and suggest that as a pre-cursor to Incarna proper, the Captain’s Quarters release could be as significant an evolutionary step for EVE as Windows was for PC gaming. …Don’t laugh. I’m serious.
As much as Windows v1.0 was enough to keep veteran gamers tweaking their boot disk files, on account of the distinct lack of fun it offered, over the long-term Windows did more to attract people to the platform than any arcane DOS command ever could. Incarna might (and CCP are no doubt hoping it will) do the same for EVE’s popularity and perceived levels of inaccessibility.
It could be a while before we reach the Win 95 moment of convergence; when DOS became largely obsolete and Windows almost likable, but for the hardcore veteran there will come a time when our quarters will be more than places to contemplate where it all went wrong. They will become a literal foyer leading to new kinds of journeys into the station spaces beyond. Meanwhile, Captain’s Quarters will be as meaningful a part of the EVE experience for newcomers as the station hanger view has been for many veterans.
If that’s not a reason to be cheerful I don’t know what is.