EVE Online – The game where hundreds of pilots clash in one battle. The game, where every pilot could make a difference, where a well organized group of individuals can curve the Sov map of New Eden. Long story short: Eve Online is a Game of Blobs. This type of game play is encouraged by game designers; this is basically how they see the game. But eve is not only about 4000 pilots smashing each other in a face on one, heavy lagged grid. This game is not only about one guy broadcasting a target and 3999 others pressing F1.
EVE Online had much more to offer in past.
While sov warfare is really one of the key points of this game and generates some amazing fights where nearly every single ship class is used, there’s also a very nice little thing called small scale PVP.
In the past 0.0 was flooded with roaming gangs. 5-6 man gangs roaming all over the nullsec, searching for some unlucky pilot in his shiny PVE ship, small gatecamps or other roaming gangs. It was a very fun time. You could roam around and engage another gang trying to do same as you. You could travel to a staging system, engage the home defense fleet and run away after killing couple ships. There were 3-4 way fights between roaming gangs. If somebody asked me what “L33T PVP” was, I would definitely say “Small Scale PVP”. That is the type of gang where pilot’s skills and ability to fly his own ship matters. That’s where individual can really make difference.
In modern EVE roaming gangs are something rare. While there are some individuals who dare to roam in small gangs, they mostly get no kills or end up getting slaughtered. Such groups are scarce and some of the nice footage they post on eve-o takes months of flying to produce. In most cases if you find roaming gang, it’ll be more than just 5 guys for sure. It will be something between 20 to 50 men fleet. Now let’s dig to the cause of this.
Jump bridge networks and Cyno gens – This is something that every sov holding alliance/coalition is striving to build. While the introduction of jump bridges and cyno gens helped a lot in terms of logistics, it also made things too easy and risk averse. First of all, this solution helped to secure such thing as “retards in PVE ships” traveling by gates. It did not eliminate threat completely but since then they’ve become much harder to catch. This already de-motivates somebody from roaming deep into 0.0. Jump bridge also gave a huge advantage to a defender. It became easy to intercept roaming gang using a JB. First thing defender will do after forming a superior fleet is to chase you out of the system and camp you in a pipe, just by bridging ahead. So having no chance of getting out, most of the roaming fleets are slaughtered before the chance to engage in a good fight.
Cyno gens and JBs also helped to secure traveling in jump freighters/capitals. Most of JB/Cynogen POSes are heavily armed so trying to kill a capital ship on JB with a cruiser gang is a tough thing to do. Even tackling it requires some preparations like putting a dedicated person cloaked off POS, when target comes in you have to tackle and keep it away from getting into the safety of inside the forcefield, while your ship is receiving heavy punishment from POS guns. You have to note that there is a chance of a superior defense fleet coming via same jump bridge to save their tackled buddy.
Before then, people were using a cyno alts and it was much easier to find and tackle an inexperienced pilot who was trying to move his shiny.
While I admit that jump bridges helped to develop nullsec from logistics point of view, they also helped to de-populate nullsec. People these days tend to live in one system as a group and if somebody has to do ratting or something else in another system they will jump bridge to it and come back after they are done. This kind of approach ends up with most station systems being empty.
I do not blame the player base for blobbing. It is not the player base that actually did kill small scale PVP. Sticking as a group is a human nature and no matter how you spin it people will find a way to get under one large umbrella. The player base is just using tools provided by game designers. CCP is the one who should be blamed for denying a small group of people certain content. During development of a certain feature, CCP Devs never take in consideration tools created by player base itself. I doubt CCP ever thought of the intel channels that every coalition has. They never thought of scout alts permanently sitting in entry systems and reporting information via IGB tools. Some of the current ship re-balance features really scream “Made for blobbing! Do not use in any other way!”.
- The Red Orchestra
P.S.:And if small scale PVP is pushed out, think how the poor solo PVPer feels… Devs trying to eliminate off grid boosting while forgetting that this is the only advantage that solo PVPers have. I would quote Logan Durandal from Matari Exodis “links help push the number to a more equal engagement in a game where most people won´t engage without a couple times our numbers with some added ecm thrown in just to be sure.”