It’s been a dramatic week for the DCS World community with highs and lows across the board but none have taken up more oxygen in the room than the talk about the forthcoming high-fidelity carrier module. There’s one additional message I want to share from the Eagle Dynamics team and then let’s talk about solutions.
Feedback heard loud and clear?
In a thread on the DCS World forums there’s been considerable discussion about the news that the new ATC communications for carriers are coming with, and only with, the new high-fidelity carrier module. That and the revelation that this would only work in multiplayer for people who all owned that carrier module sent the community into an uproar.
Community manager NineLine posted an update recently that I wanted to share:
Ok guys, I have passed on all concerns about the module to the team, as you can see Wags is also in the mix and has seen the input as well, we appreciate all feedback, positive and negative, and will consider it to see if we can’t find a more accommodating mode for network play.NineLine on the DCS World forums
Again, thanks to everyone for your passion for flight simming and DCS World, no matter your feelings on this currently, we appreciate all of you. When we have more news, you all will be the first to hear it. And as always, my PMs are always open.
Crucially, the end of that first paragraph suggests a more accommodating mode for network play is something they will look into. This is far better messaging.
I would go a step further and suggest that it’s vital in this and other instances in the future for Eagle Dynamics and their third party contributors do everything they can to make sure that compatibility in multiplayer, regardless of module ownership, is given high priority.
To pay for or not pay for
First, I want to reiterate that Eagle Dynamics is a business and they are interested in remaining in existence. To do that they need to create compelling content that entice people to buy and keep buying that content. This new high fidelity recreation of a carrier is no different and Matt Wagner in his most recent statement teased some of the features of this carrier including:
- detailed and animated carrier
- animated deck crew
- crash barriers
- control of the carrier
- the ability to man positions such as LSO or the air boss station
All of those features above are worth paying for. They take time and effort and it creates a new and better experience for carrier operations in DCS WOrld. Eagle Dynamics should rightly be compensated.
I still implore Eagle Dynamics to separate the ATC comms work from the above as I consider that core to DCS World. Eagle Dynamics is being compensated to bring an adequate system here for owners for the DCS: F/A-18C Hornet module and, in my honest opinion, what is present right now is not fully adequate (or even working in some cases).
In my opinion we’ve already paid for these core features, which can and should be far better than they are, through purchases of any other modules. Through DCS World is free to play its likely that most of us have spent quite a lot.
Solutions and comments
Let’s talk about some possible solutions because I think its important to use creativity and positive thinking to find a happy medium with this situation.
Option 1: Carrier remains incompatible (i.e. do nothing)
I don’t think this is much of a solution but I want to weigh it against the other options. In this situation, only people who own the high fidelity carrier module can fly on a server using it. Seeing as most servers cater to a wide variety of players this will ensure that the module hardly see’s any public multiplayer use and will remain restricted to just a few squadrons that focus on carrier ops and require their members to all own both Hornet and the carrier as an example.
Option 2: Full multiplayer compatibility
In this situation, Eagle Dynamics ensures that their high fidelity carrier has a certain degree of multiplayer compatibility. That means that all players can interact with and use the carrier, that animated deck crew are present and crash barriers work with players. The air boss and LSO positions would still be absent along with carrier control and any other features.
Option 3: Partial multiplayer compatibility
A half-way measure, players could interact with the carrier in multiplayer (spawn, launch and recovery) but things like animated deck crew would be absent. As with the other situation, the air boss, LSO, and control stations would not be available to non-owners.
Option 4: Limited multiplayer compatibility
In an extremely limited way players would see the high fidelity carrier but wouldn’t be able to spawn, launch or recover on the deck of this carrier. They could still ‘physically’ interact but that would be it.
Rock and a hard place
Examining just the four options above leads me to believe that this is a difficult balancing act. In option 2 there may be too much given away and only a single member of a squadron would need to own the high fidelity carrier for everyone to benefit. That would potentially de-incentivize additional purchases which isn’t ideal.
In option 3 it would become a tight balancing act between what needed to be interactive with all and what didn’t. Aircraft clipping through deck crew could be less than ideal though certainly understandable versus some of the alternatives.
In options 3 and 4 things become more confusing for new players or even players who just aren’t sure which carrier is ahead of them. Trying to recover on a carrier that just won’t accept your landing would be frustrating.
Though none of these solutions are groundbreaking I still feel like all of them are better than option 1 which is what had been proposed. In all of the other cases people who own the module benefit from the added fidelity and everyone else has an adequate experience.
Eagle Dynamics should be able to find a technical and business-friendly solution that serves both types of players. People who love carrier ops will make the purchase and enjoy the module in multiplayer and everyone else will be able to carry on. Generating as wide an appeal as possible for this module makes good business sense too. Not everyone belongs to a virtual carrier group organization and it’d be wise to be able to sell to a wider audience.
More ideas out there?
There are probably other solutions and options out there. Feel free to leave your comments!
I really want to express my appreciation for your comments over the last few days on my previous post on this. Everyone has expressed their thoughts, ideas and opinions and done it in a respectable way. I appreciate the discussion!