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We play a funny game sometimes. And nowhere is it funnier than the tendency of EVE players to want to push every in-game and out-of-game border to see where the breaking points are. EVE developers don’t like to make concrete statements about what is legal and what isn’t when it comes to these borders. The reason is that if a dev makes a concrete statement that “doing X 17 times is legal, but doing X 20 times is illegal”:

  1. there will invariably be someone who insists on doing X both 18 and 19 times to see how CCP reacts; and,
  2. any concrete statement a dev does make will be picked apart and picked apart to look for loopholes.

With that in mind, let’s look at the Erebus kill that Shadow Cartel managed the other day. Normally I wouldn’t write about this until my KOTW post, but there’s so much going on with this titan that it deserves a deeper look. I’d rather not clutter the KOTW post with all the details.

When a ship is logged off or disconnected in space, the ship will execute an “e-warp” or an emergency warp to a random location one million kilometers away from where the log off/disconnect happened. When the player logs back in, their ship is then return warped back to its previous position in space. While this return warp looks like any other warp, the player cannot abort the warp by stopping their ship, nor can they jump the ship to another system (if it’s a capital ship). The return warp is really part of the process of logging back in.

However, as the art of probing has advanced over the last couple of years and become quicker and more precise for the practitioners of it, it’s become more and more common for players to probe down these e-warp locations. As player risk aversion and patience have increased also over the last few years, it’s become more common for players to wait hours or even days for a ship logged off to return. In a way, it’s not much different from sitting on a POS or a titan for several hours, but with one difference: sufficient patience in this situation will guarantee a kill, often an expensive kill. The CEO of my own corp has been heard to remark “you don’t leave beer to go find beer” and while my alliance doesn’t bother with this kind of log-off camping, there are a number of corps that do.

This situation was becoming common enough that as part of the deployment of the Inferno patch more than a year ago, CCP was asked to make a ruling about this situation: was tackling ships in their e-warp positions considered legal? CCP Masterplan said yes:

…you’ll be warping back from a random 1M km point. If someone manages to find this spot and bubble it before you align, they will now prevent your warp. They could always do this with targetted tackle, this change just makes bubbles consistent.

But what about low-sec, where you can’t use bubbles? You can only tackle a super with a directed heavy interdictor point. In actual practice, players trying to do this to return warping supers in low-sec found they were unable to do so… probably a side effect of the log-in return warp process.

So EVE player W0wbagger and his buddies at Shadow Cartel decided to innovate. If they couldn’t “infini-point” a super coming out of a return warp, they decided to prevent it warping by bumping it. In normal EVE play, this is a perfectly valid technique and has been used to prevent many players from getting into warp. But in a e-warp return warp scenario, it’s really all the tackle you need against a super. Since the super is trapped in the return warp process, they can’t even use an emergency cyno to jump their ship out of harm’s way!

And that’s how this titan kill went down. Shadow Cartel bumped the Erebus repeatedly until they could arrange a proper dread fleet with which to kill it.

Needless to say, those involved quickly split between those crying “exploit!” and those crying “oh clever!” W0wbagger wrote a post on Failheap Challenge justifying SC’s use of the tactic and wrapped it up with:

TLDR – don’t feel it’s an exploit due to masterplans post/previous patch changes, Rubicon just made it easier to do. Has always been legal in null. Only issue is inability to cancel ewarp. Hopefully CCP clarify.

And it’s taken CCP all of 24 hours to “clarify”, with an EVE Online news post written by CCP Dolan:

Bumping a ship in order to get it stuck in emergency warp alignment limbo when its pilot logs in is now considered an exploit.

So that means the issue is completely settled now, right? Well, there are a few people disputing it (and the argument is raging back and forth on FHC) but for the most part players are OK with the announcement.

But if you are currently saying “Jester, this is a concrete statement by a CCP dev. Are there players out there picking it apart looking for loopholes?”, well done! Award yourself +1 Internet. No less a personality than Helicity Boson did:

Bumping a ship in order to get it stuck in emergency warp alignment limbo when its pilot logs in is now considered an exploit.

Obviously it was going to be ruled exploitative imho, but as the statement shows it was not consistently ruled an exploit until now, this has now been resolved.

Hee! It just never stops, does it? EVE players can’t help but camp the spawn point, wherever they find one. And people wonder why EVE devs drink…

– Ripard Teg

  • Csm8 is shit

    Still no csm minutes. You suck along with the rest of csm 8

  • Soulxlight

    So it is legal to pop a bubble on them in null but not legal to bump them to keep them from warping ?

    • Anhenka

      It’s perfectly legal to drop a bubble on them in null. It just wont do anything. A ship in E-warp upon log-in cannot be webbed, scrammed, bubble, or infinipointed to stop the warp. You can point it, but it wont have an effect. A ship logging in is intended to be immune to interactions until it has finished the warp, including warping through bubbles on the login point.

      Edit: From the article, I’m not sure if bubble on the login point work to stop the warp, but if it does, then it is not an exploit since the pilot now has control over their ship once warp is canceled.

      Since the pilot of the ship has absolutely no control over their own ship, including mods, steering, warp canceling, jumping, etc, bumping them during the login ewarp has the effect of stranding them without any form of counter play with that ship. That is why it is an exploit.

      To be clear, bumping during normal play, and bumping a target that did a non safe logoff is still a perfectly legal tactic. This only applies to bumping a ship starting entry E-warp upon login.

      • Andrew Metzger

        A bubble at a login point will cancel warp.

        “f you logged out in a FF at a bubbled POS, you’ll still warp back through bubbles surrounding the forcefield – it is only bubbles at the 1M km spot that have been changed to be able to disrupt a return e-warp.” -CCP Masterplan

  • best_burek

    Why does a ship have to warp off grid 1M km and not just disappear in the spot and reappear on login with all capabilities instantly enabled. Its not fair that the person logging in can’t do shit until his ship fully loads on grid but he can be trapped.

    • -_-

      It gives people a chance to prevent a logged off ship from getting away IE bubbles targeted scram bumping. Also making ships align and warp off gives more a sense of realness in that ships just don’t magically disappear. OT (Its bad to say realness in a sci fi mmo where cans can be put into cans to obtain more space, explosions make sound and small ships are FASTER than large ones) but baby steps ^_^ and the sounds are ok.

      • best_burek

        If you are talking about realness, ships don’t log off in space and don’t fly off in some random direction and return from a random direction to the same spot. If you want realness then why not warp them to a random location after log off and warp them in a random location after log in. So this way if you are a capable scanner you find them you kill them.

        • -_-

          The realness was a negligible secondary benefit and not a point I would base anything on. just added that as a note it was better than them simply disappearing. I also followed through showing holes in CCP physics as a point in that they can do whatever they want. I was attempting to answer your question in a helpful manner, please only pay attention to the first sentence of the post. All of the rest of it was fluff and unnecessary. Hope it helps!

  • Stu Pendisdick

    The easy fix here is to have the logging on ship materialize at 100% speed and instawarp.

    Deeper fixes are needed in the bumping mech, though.

    Yes, EvE is a game, and real world mechs don’t mesh properly, but looking at the mass differences it is laughable that anything sub-battleship size would so much as cause a ripple in the tea cup of a Titan captain’s Earl Grey.

    Fix *THAT* and we can start really having some fun.

  • Ash Golding

    There is an easy fix for this.
    Any ship that does not complete its e warp within ‘x time frame’ gets auto relogged.

  • Eve is the most fucked up game I have ever encountered. Oh apart from DUST514 but dust has very little in the way of redeeming qualities 😛