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Counterpoint to Capri’s Critique

August 22, 2016

By Seraph IX Basarab

This is a response to Capri Sun KraftFoods, a fellow alliance mate in Psychotic Tendencies. He made a post that’s generating quite a bit of a discussion on reddit.

The over all greater discussion is well exemplified in some of the comments as well as the piece itself of course. Here’s a counter perspective to his.

I don’t disagree with everything in his article, but most of its substance comes from an extremely narrow perspective of gameplay. I understand our backgrounds are very different and that’s important for the reader to know too. Capri’s spent most of his Eve time in entities like Black Legion and has a huge amount of experience flying capitals. I’ve spent most of my time in Eve with smaller groups and I mostly wrote off capitals as something I would never bother with until the recent fighter changes actually made them interesting for me to try. I already know what the first reaction will be even before Capri reads this. I can hear his voice in my head right now, “But Seraph…You don’t even own a Super so how can you even talk?” Well I don’t own a fortune 500 company either but I can still probably make an argument regarding corporate tax. And like a fortune 500 company and corporate taxes affect the “little guy,” so too do capital changes.

There are a group of people in Eve who thrived under the old mechanics, and when those mechanics changed there was a sense that they were somehow cheated. I was in Black Legion for a few months last year during their Fountain campaign. After they left that region they moved to Cloud Ring, brought Machariels to try to take a sov system, and when SpaceMonkey’s Alliance won the objective by using frigates, leadership threw their hands up and said “to hell with this.” The game changed from static single grid battles to multi-grid engagements but leaders in BL did not want to recognize that truth. Further remarks were made along the lines that “huge wars will never happen again and this game is dead.” One year later, a World War Bee under our belt along with a less talked about southern war, it seems that is not the case. The rest of the article will address some key arguments/aspects of Capri’s article.

1. The recent SH1- fight “could not and would not have escalated in this way under the future mechanics CCP are currently working hard to introduce.”

This is a poor argument from a debate perspective even if the overall sentiment is factually correct. Just because something worked under one system and does not work under another the same way doesn’t necessarily mean it should. If jump fatigue did not exist perhaps Co2 wouldn’t have bothered to defend their pos at all and only did so because they thought their enemies could not escalate to the level that they did.

The “future mechanics of CCP” that Capri is talking about is the ability to do your industry within Citadels. I have to admit, I’m a bit wary of this too. Fortizars can rain down some heavy fire power upon would-be attackers and that is something to watch closely. However, to claim that such a fight wouldn’t happen is untrue. Perhaps because Fortizars are so strong, PL would have brought even more supercap assets instead. We don’t really know. What we know for sure is that the Eve players are extremely adaptive. Where there is a will there is a way.

2. Phoebe Jump Mechanics Causing an “Incredible Exodus of Players”

I’ve addressed this elsewhere but we can account for overall player subscription going down to the huge wave of RMT/botter bans as well as CCP’s stance on ISboxer which (rightfully) killed automated input in Eve. People like to say this was caused by jump mechanic changes but that’s complete nonsense. “No no no Seraph but you see my buddies from my old alliance quit the game therefore…” Nope let me stop you right there. The argument against jump fatigue essentially boils down to “jumping across the universe is now harder than it was before and I was used to how easy it once was.” This isn’t a good argument either. I like to fly Black Ops Battleships and man would it be awesome if I could jump my blops anywhere in one jump, but is that a good idea? No, of course not. And showing me a map of how easy it was for him to get from the literal ass end of space into lowsec by himself essentially risk-free doesn’t really help the argument. Just because something was easy once doesn’t mean it should be, even if the people who benefited from that gameplay are an extremely loud minority.

Objectively speaking the jump range reduction/fatigue has actually led to MORE capital ship usage because regional powers can make use of their caps without worrying about groups like PL, the CFC, or the late Black Legion jumping on them anytime they undocked their ship. Objectively speaking, jump changes have limited the impact the apex forces could previously apply in capital warfare. Sure, if you came from Black Legion and look back with rose-tinted glasses to a bygone era where you could move willynilly across the universe and crush groups by puking rivers of dreads at them you might be a little bitter. But if you look at it from a wider lens encompassing the entirety of Eve, you’ll see the changes did exactly what they were supposed to do and for the greater good of Eve as a whole.

His next example regards logistics of moving supplies while invading regions like Fountain, and how difficult it would be move things from Aridia to Fountain because you’d have to gate it. Where does it say in the rules that it should be easy? Why should it be? It takes 16 hours to jump from Cobalt Edge to Placid? So what? How long should it take? 8 hours? 4? Where does one draw the line? Essentially, even if Capri’s argument is correct it’s weak because it still just boils down to “I think doing this should be easier and me and my friends who had an easier time doing this are now grumpy about it.”

3. Aegis Sov and the Nullsec Focus Group

Here, Capri claims that he and everyone in the group agreed that entosis mechanics are horrible, that the node mechanics disincentivizes conflict and that fleets designed for fights are not the best at taking sov.

I’m going to take a stab in the dark and just guess that the majority of the people in this focus group are older players who grew up and had their successes in the Dominion sov system, or at the very least have leaders who push that narrative on them from on high. I could be wrong but I doubt it.

Capri claims that the Aegis system is actually more grindy and details the amount of man hours needed to take an ADM 2 system with 3 people over just bringing 25 people in Blaster Taloses to grind in the old system. But here’s the thing he’s missing. Getting to the critical mass point of bringing 25 people is much harder than 3. So while it may take around half the total man hours total, the bar is much lower for smaller groups that can’t bring in 25 people to grind sov. If it’s just a DPS race as it was under Dominion sov, you see people gravitate toward the apex force entities in the game. There was a time when the entirety of nullsec was essentially either CFC or N3/PL. That’s what DPS/apex force focused gameplay leads to. Aegis sov allows a smaller entity to win by outplaying their opponent.

Small note about renting since Capri brought it up: I have zero problem with renting. Renters takes accounts out of highsec and into nullsec populating space for pvpers/hunters.

He ends his argument with questioning the notion that Aegis sov actually helps the little guy or if it’s even moral to do that. Capri claims that those entities are usually serfs to stronger regional powers. Sure this may be true but not all the time. Of course these sort of deals exist in nullsec, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The important aspect is that they are unique entities and politics are never static. We saw this when DroneWalkers rebelled against xDeathx.

Finally, his suggestion is to scrap the whole Aegis system, revert back to Dominion sov, but halve the HP structure. Again, that only brings us back to the polarization of Dominion sov where you can just hold sov by flying the biggest ship. Boring, linear gameplay.

Here’s the big misconception people have about Aegis sov. They think that Aegis sov begins and ends with the entosis mechanic. It doesn’t. When you go roaming through someone’s space, regardless of your interest in actually taking their sov, you’re playing in the Aegis sov system. The Black Ops campaign TISHU did against SMA in Fade, although we never in our wildest dreams wanted to take sov, had us affecting Aegis sov. I don’t particularly care if the mechanic of taking the sov is an entosis beam or a laser beam. These aspects are graphical differences. The important aspect is that ADMs tie player activity to sov, and that’s perhaps the best aspect of the Aegis mechanics. Dominion sov had none of that. You just planted your flag and you only ever had to be there if the opposing force brought their big toys to hit it. Anyone else was afraid, and if they were dumb enough to try you could zip across the map and beat them back to whatever npc/lowsec hole they crawled out of.

The major problem is people refuse to adapt. They figured out something and how it works and even though Eve was in a pretty boring place with the CFC vs N3/PL polarization, it was comfortable because people knew what they had to do to win. People could just log on as ping warriors, they’d be in one fleet with one main FC pressing F1 on one target on one grid for one objective. There was never any strategic purpose of roaming or harassing residents of space. You just did it to pass the time. I suppose that appeals to some. I’m not saying that Aegis is perfect. There are still modifications and adaptations that will be needed. Capri’s concerns regarding citadels certainly have merit. One of the most fun things I ever did was getting someone into an enemy alliance and getting the password to their pos. They had left their ships out and I flew out with several faction fit Bhaalgorns. You can’t do anything of the sort with a citadel. Overall I would say the vast majority of the mechanics are working rather well. People complained about sov during Dominion and they’ll do it for Aegis and they’ll probably do it for whatever comes afterward. Eve is an ever changing and adapting game and always will be.