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Too Many Ships Spoil the Sandpit?
We all like important internet spaceships right? The more spaceships the better right? Or are we getting too many to be easily to remember them all. A Mastodon on scan? That the hell is that and what does it do? Oh! Never mind!
Are we getting too many ships. Is it too complicated to remember them all and what their traits are? Do FC's these days need an encyclopaedic knowledge of ship types unless they want their fleet to DIAF. With more and more ships being released each year will we ever reach "too many" or do you think there can never be too many important internet spaceship types?
I'll take a short break from Physics to talk about Psychology.
As a numbers and EFT Warrior nerd, I'm generally in favour of getting more ships in space. The mere mention of a new destroyer or frigate is enough to get me excited, and blasting out into space. More usually it's just going to give me more glorious hours with the spread sheets, trying to calculate the most efficient fit.
But, I do know it's not always the best thing for a player.
I'm sure someone else will get on to power creep and redundancy of role, and even market saturation. What I'd like to look at is the idea of decision fatigue.
Consider the dressing habits of two men, who we'll call Alan and Bob.
Alan wears suits to work, and has a home clothes and weekend rotation of 5 jeans and 5 t-shirts. He has 3 jumpers for when it's cold, and 1 coat for when it's freezing. He has 2 pairs of shoes, one smart, one comfortable.
Bob has suits, blazers and smart style jackets for work, with a variety of tie styles for work. He has a walk in wardrobe full of clothing for home, and has generally worn each garment 3 or 4 times. His winter clothing is carefully selected to coordinate with each other, and his shoe rack extends the length of his bed room.
If you see these two gentlemen together, you will have no doubt that Bob is better dressed. Alan is rather plain in comparison. But over time you will notice Alan coming in to work, on average, 10 minutes earlier than Bob. Not only that, but Alan's productivity is 10% better than Bob's, even though they will be putting in the same effort.
It comes down to this idea of decision fatigue. Bob, before he even leaves the house, must decide which set of clothing he will wear that day. Which tie goes with this shirt. Can I wear a jacket, or should I switch to a suit. Do these shoes coordinate with the suit I've put on. This coat works well with these shoes, but now I need to change my shirt.
Alan throws on whatever is in his rotation and is out the door, having made no decisions that day.
The exaggerated example there shows the results of decision fatigue. The more decisions you make will lead to an eventual deterioration of the quality of your decisions.
Decision fatigue can lead to a few problems.
- Reduced ability to make trade offs: You tend to make poorer cost-benefit conclusions because you're tired of decision making.
- Decision avoidance: It's exhausting already, so you simply don't make the decision.
- Poor self-regulation: Your discipline is reduced, and you tend to take easier options.
- More impulsive behaviour: You take your first conclusion, rather than think about a problem.
Bringing this back to EVE, having a glut of ships and fitting options forces you to make a hundred decisions before even undocking. Before you've really started the game, you will already be making poorer decisions, and starting to feel the effect of fatigue.
I'm sure all of you will have noticed the above behaviour in your piloting at the end of a session.
Much worse, if it takes you too long to select and fit your ship, then you simply may not undock at all. You will have made yourself exhausted by the fitting window alone, and the thought of jumping around star systems for a fight is just... tiring.
The additional problem to this is timing; the more time you spend in the market browser picking the frigate you want to fly that day, the less you're spending in space.
And yes, this problem is doubled for FCs, who will not only need to consider individual ships, but also fleet composition, and role of each capsuleer.
It's a delicate balancing act. Good gameplay is all about making meaningful decisions. You feel good about choosing that rail gun over the blasters when you kite a Comet to death in your Atron. But you do need to make sure there's not too many decisions before an outcome is made.
My advice: Don't think too hard about it. Have a stack of a ship and fit you like, burn your way through it, then start again. Decision making is only fun when you find the result of it, be it good or bad.
All right, back to Physics, and building my new model for New Eden wormholes.