Thursday, February 17, 2011

Incarna... All this work when we just want to play Poker

CCP just released the first devblog discussing what is coming with Incarna gameplay. I am almost impressed. Like the character creation process it involves fantastic technology. Unfortunately, like the character creator, it is more a demonstrator of the technology rather then part of the game. The problem is that no matter how good looking the graphics are, it is totally irrelevant if it does not add to any game play.

In the first iteration coming to tranquility this summer (read fall), we will be able to walk around the 'Captains Quarters', whatever that is. The 'Captains Quarters' will provide much of the functionality we currently see from menus and the like. For example we will be able to do things like clicking on a wall to call up the Planetary Interaction interface.

Is this a good thing? I don't really know, but I never felt like the current interface to start doing planetary interaction was a problem. Rather it was the whole planetary interaction interface that caused carpal tundral syndrome and destroyed mice.

The other problem, the the reason I call this a technical demo, is that it is basically a single-player environment. You will not be able to interact with other avatars like you can do in other MMOs. I understand that this is just for the beginning, and in the future (don't hold your breath so it may be a while) you will, but it is pretty sad that CCP is finally giving us Avatars without actually letting us interact with other Avatars. 1990 called and CCP seemed to answer the phone.

Assuming EVE continues to be the massive cash cow for CCP driving tens of millions of dollars of development, and computer graphics technology continues to improve, I can see Incarna being interesting ... eventually. However I can't say that the current devblog is all that encouraging. CCP seems overly fascinated with fancy graphics technology and does not seem to care about gameplay issues and what makes EVE a success. Go and play minecraft for a bit. That game has a graphics engine that looks anything but realistic, but gives exceptional gameplay. CCPs Incarna is trending in the opposite direction.

Lets face it, if we can't shoot each other in station, at least let us play poker.

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