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What if I told you many alliance leaders and fleet commanders are not very good at getting meaningful content? It’s not entirely their fault. The continued softening of Eve in an attempt to have a broader appeal is not helping. However they do still play a large role in poorly approaching the game. Not all content is equal. Chasing the elusive “gudfite” is not how you actually reach getting an actual good fight. Every fleet commander imagines a kind of ideal engagement where two sides meet on grid and exchange shots hopefully having their side win. They may be brilliant at it brandishing their best Muninn fleet and skillfully dispensing with their opponent. But if there is no strategic element to capitalize on its essentially meaningless beyond the short term satisfaction of kills on a killboard. If one wants the satisfaction of “kills” as a score, you can get that sense of satisfaction much easier playing games like PUBG or your favorite MOBA. The unique thing that sets Eve apart from those games is the long term consequence to such an engagement. I’ve never been a fan of “roams” or simply getting kills for the sake of making space explosions. Seeing different alliance leaders and fleet commanders clumsily trying to meet up for “gudfites” often leads to much time wasted. Leaders should seek to find strategic things to fight over. If something meaningful is fought over, the content generated is meaningful and your time commitment is more efficient. Hit the enemy where it hurts and you’re likely to see an actual good response. Otherwise you’re wasting your time and resources. A good analogy for this if you’ve ever tried to sword fight when you were a kid. Often kids try to hit each other’s swords in an attempt to create the fight. What often happens is they’ll clumsily miss and flail about. (Much like our eager but short sighted FCs.) However if you actually try to hit the other person, you soon naturally learn to parry and riposte into something that looks more like an actual fight.

Leaders might not be as good at finding this “content leverage points.” They might not have good advisors in their inner circle to help with that. However, part of the problem is also CCP’s design in wanting to keep things as safe as they are. For example, in the early days of Entosis mechanics you had a pretty cool feature where one could Entosis the station services of enemies turning off their clone bays or their fitting services. It wasn’t permanent and once the enemy left you could reverse it. But it worked well enough in drawing out your enemy for a fight. You could bubble an enemy station and simply push your opponent to fight. It wasn’t perfect as a mechanic but it was generally heading in a good direction. Anything that allows small groups of players to go out by themselves and do something without having to have a max numbers CTA, but still affecting the enemy in a meaningful way is good for the game. Now you cannot do that. Stations (citadels) are numerous. Fighting on grid with them will not end well for you unless you bring a sizable force. Even if you go through the multiple cycles to destroy even the cheapest variants, there are so many it’s essentially meaningless to destroy them. So you can’t really do anything meaningful to them as a small group, nor can a large group really get anything out of all the time and energy the put into things. Few suggestions to deal with this which all or some can be applied depending on how they are balanced:

1. Limit the number of citadels that can be anchored in a system. Perhaps only one per planet with industrial structures relegated to moons. Maybe there is a tier system (smalls on moons, mediums on planets, large only on sun.) This will make “system geography” actually matter again.

2. Do something with the timers. Every small structure takes way too long to do anything about.

3. Give people tools to harass defenders akin to the early days of Aegis sov. Perhaps citadel guns cannot be utilized unless the structure is reinforced thus allowing people to actually engage enemy ships on grid.

4. Give us more ways to hurt each other. Whatever happened to “farms and fields?” I want stuff to burn down and make people come after me. I want reasons and opportunities to be out in space. Players want this! Who wants to wait around for pings? Content should not be limited to meaningless roams or pings. There has to be some in between.

Some are quick to use the “Malcanis Law” which states “Whenever a mechanics change is proposed on behalf of ‘new players’ that change is always to the overwhelming advantage of richer, older players.” The term “law” is a bit presumptuous considering this is nonsense. I can give you plenty of examples where this is not the case. If you delete supercaps from the game, this will not hurt newer players one bit. If we delete Forts and Keepstars, this hurts newer players how? I’m not suggesting that we do any of those things but it’s very easy to see how easily the “law” is broken. It should probably be known as a “consideration” instead of a “law.” As in, “We should consider the possibility that this new change intended for helping newer players may instead benefit older richer players.” Fair enough. The reason I’m even knit picking over this is because a modified version of this rule is used by the usual propagandists over at INN. This version goes like this: “Whatever change is suggested in order to ‘nerf Goons’ actually benefits them instead.” The specific quote itself is, “Aryth loves to be right and to be seen as right. Time and again he has said, “Yeah, nerf Rorquals as it only helps The Imperium further.” In this he’s not wrong. For alliances with less industrial might, such a change to Rorquals would only serve to further the gap between those who have and those who have not.”

Either Aryth is trying to play some kind of reverse psychology game or he’s ignorant of Price’s Law which seems to be related to the Pareto principle. Price’s Law states that the square-root of the number of people in a domain do 50% of the work. If your corp has 10 people in it, half of the work is done by 3 of them. 100 members? 10 of them do 50% of the work. 10,000? 100 of them do 50% of the work. What this essentially means is that you get diminishing returns depending on how many people you have. Incompetence grows exponentially while competence grows linearly. The idea that “whatever hurts Goons hurts you guys more” or better said “whatever hurts big alliances hurts smaller alliances too” is nonsense. Larger groups are simply not going to have the same per capita efficiency as smaller groups. If anything one could argue that strong Rorquals make even your double digit IQ members artificially more useful and actually acts as a buffer against Price’s Law. In any case I’m not calling for a further Rorq nerf. The previous suggestions would be beneficial however. The point is simply to dispel this myth of “what hurts big groups hurts smaller groups more.”

Lastly to finish up I cannot help myself but to address these terrible suggestions made in the same INN article.

Suggestion 1: “Halve all space. This would increase player density within the remaining systems. The more dense the population then the greater opportunities for interaction: namely, conflict.”

Nothing strengthens customer confidence than halving the size of the player arena. Absolutely terrible idea and really shows the perspective of someone who has been limited to play in one style for most of their history. Maybe halve resources per system so people instead are forced to spread out because of resource scarcity.

Suggestion 2: “Nerf diplomacy and nerf it really hard. If Alliance A keeps turning up to shoot the same thing as Alliance B, then penalize them in-game. If a group has too many allies, then take something from them. Reduce bounty payouts or deplete resources, for example.”

Can you imagine an FC saying “sorry guys we can’t go to the fight today because if we do we’ll get penalized for helping our allies.” This is even a worse idea. Unnecessarily complicated, frustrating, and just plain unimaginative. You can’t nerf diplomacy. You should nerf resources and other mechanics so that people do not cluster together so much making them so safe.

Suggestion 3: “Loss of skill points from not logging in. Not wanting to hurt those who have real life commitments, I would also propose a mechanic for evading this. Perhaps a micro-transaction to prevent such loss of valuable skill points.”

Somehow the writer managed to top himself and came up with an even worse idea. Why would you punish your player base for not logging in. Eve is already a pretty effort requiring game. This only further makes the game feel “like a job.” I mean these are great ideas if you literally want to kill Eve. Personally I think I’d like to continue playing it.

7 Comments

  1. lunchreader

    the new upwell stations killed many aspect of geography in game and geography means geopolitics. So by doing that they killed a good part of what was 0.0. I know POS were old system but the replacement is not that good. All the risk of being in 0.0 is gone. Yeah you still risk your ship on a gate and that huge station is at risk in wars but that’s it. Its up to the point that I feel more safe in 0.0 than in high sec (at least near capitals)

    December 10, 2018 at 11:59 Reply
    1. The14th

      Here’s the problem, without some measure of safety in null people don’t go. Even at the height of server log-ins there were vast swathes of null that were completely uninhabited. The new structures lower the barrier of entry for colonizing systems, which CCP hopes will lure more players out of the hive cities in highsec.

      More should and will be done to adjust null risk-reward, but it is by far superior to POSs and Outposts.

      December 11, 2018 at 09:13 Reply
  2. Blackdog Rackh'am

    As a player who originally quit in 2006 when the game became too capital ship heavy and null wars were POS bashing trench warfare actions with massive blobs and lag, i was really interested to see the concept of shutting down station services.

    I rolled an alpha alt last year and i casually play for a few months now and then to see what has changed. I didn’t even know they scrapped that mechanic, which to be honest was brilliant (maybe not as an execution, but as a concept). I guess the big nullbear groups complained too much.

    The problem of EvE in the really early days when i played (2003 to 2006) was timezone-based station ping-pong. Someone captured your station while you were sleeping, you captured it back the next day. No fights, just people shooting at a station for an hour or so with a few battleships. That was why they initially itroduced POS and sov, but POS were hard to take down, so they introduced capital ships, which needed more capitals for support, etc etc…Hence, power creep.

    So, that was not an ideal situation either, but there was an aspect of that time that is sorely missing. You could force people to capitulate by hitting their miners, producers and haulers. Stations were few and far between, there were no anomalies (only belt ratting) and it was not unheard of for people to rat or mine a few jumps away from the station, both to reduce competition for resources with alliance mates and also to get more isk for their time, especially if a system had better rats or more belts. Immediately, you can see that we have a situation where people’s isk making processes are on the line, they can’t instantly dock and they can’t ping for capital support.

    In short, what the game needs is proper, robust interdiction mechanics (i don’t mean bubbles), what you refer to as farms and fields. This is what will enable smaller groups to have an impact in null, it will break big fights into many smaller ones and it will force big groups to coalesce around areas they can actually defend by constant presence.

    It should not be possible to influence infrastructure with roaming fleets that use small and medium ships. What it should be entirely possible to do with such a fleet though, is make it really unpleasant for someone to live in a certain place. I see people invading and the first thing they do is drop structures. This is not even WWI style trench combat, it’s medieval tactics plain and simple. But we’re playing a futuristic sci-fi game and there should be other ways to influence the situation.

    What CCP needs to do is hire a military historian, similar to what they did about the games economy with financial scientists. They need to make a list of the kind of strategies, operations and tactics that are applicable to the game and introduce mechanics to facilitate those that are missing.

    It’s insane for a space sandbox sci-fi game not to have meaningful and somewhat realistic ways to infiltrate and interdict supply lines. Parking structures and caps is not interdiction and infiltration, it’s advancing through fortifications, aka medieval warfare. We should be able to take pages out the playbook of Guderian and Zhukov, striking at multiple places with small mobile fleets, disorganize and disrupt the enemy, then concentrate forces for the main push. Right now, all there is is the main push (which causes blobs and TiDi) and a bunch of logistics necessary to support it. Give us mobile warfare for crying out loud.

    December 12, 2018 at 17:16 Reply
    1. I SeeU

      You sir… are on point. I really hope, for the love of EVE, and the dream that is behind your idea, that something like this will be possible.

      December 13, 2018 at 17:28 Reply
    2. Captain Luwpie

      I quit in 2015/2016 and I feel you bro.
      Played from 2008 to 2015.

      I always envied the “older” players seing battleship skirmished instead of “lol XD lets drop 200 Dreadnaughts”.

      I wish so much for a real reason to return. But as it is with many games. The more people you try to please. To more people you actualy loose. CCP made the mistake of betraying their loyal playerbase.

      December 20, 2018 at 11:38 Reply
  3. asd

    ever since WWB the big blocks have been lobying hard and CCP is catering only to their needs. i dont know why you even bother. we have seen the screenshots of fozzie’s personal Goonswarm character years ago.

    December 14, 2018 at 17:47 Reply
  4. Great post, thanks.

    January 14, 2019 at 16:55 Reply

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