Thursday, May 20, 2010

Typing senseless stuff

Unfortunately for Don Quixote, real life is happening again for his master.
His communications with the world outside his station are usually limited to idling on a chat channel, typing senseless stuff.

When his alliance tried to take the station from Mostly Harmless in FIO, he joined up for the ops a few times though.

During the first op, both the infrastructure hub and station were put into reinforced mode. No defenders showed up.

2 days later, when the station was coming out of reinforced, our sovereignty blockade unit was destroyed. If you take a look at this killmail, it is rather obvious we couldnt take that system. 12 motherships and 9 titans, and a ton of capitals and conventionals on the bottom of that list. That must be like the biggest fleet I have seen so far on a single killmail.

Disregarding that, we went for another try. During these days, their infrastructure hub was destroyed and the station was put into reinforced again. When the station was coming out of reinforced, we assembled a fleet to give it another try. The enemy gathered in FIO long before that time and gridloaded, which put us on a severe disadvantage lagwise, not even regarding their by far superior numbers.

We decided not to use caps and Cry Havoc titan bridged us in, but we just jumped out again and held on gate on the other side, hoping they would follow us so we would get at least a fair fight out of our alarmclocking. The enemy didnt have a fight in mind though, only the defense of the system. By that time I had to get ready to go to work. An hour later, when i was on my way to work, our fleet commander jumped the fleet into system, well knowing he was going suicidal again. Anyway, the system could not be taken, and it was pretty clear it would take more of the Southern Coalition to combat such Northern Coalition numbers.

As for me. My grace period is over and I suppose I have to leave the corporation. I am pretty sure no one is going to kick me, but when – again - I dont have the time to play, I probably shouldnt stay and take the decision to leave myself.

Vote Hale!

This article is not going to be about my eve life with my dead brothers in space though.

When I was shooting the above Mostly Harmless station, I was reading the programs of the different CSM candidates with half an eye.

And as a true Don Quixote, illusional and fancy-struck, my character started imagining to be on that council himself. It was my job to come up with a program. Sigh.

General consensus

One thing that struck me was the general consensus among the present candidates.

Eliminating lag seems to be on top of the general wishlist, while boosting small gang pvp/discouraging blob tactics, incentivizing low security space and building a better UI are all important seconds.

Some ideas about incentivizing low security space are as old as the conflict between the Amarr and Minmatar people. For example, since mining in low security is usually not as lucrative as it is in high security, while being a lot more dangerous, it has been obvious for ages that ccp should boost the mining there, like adding some 0.0 ores to them. Some ideas are newer but yet remain simple which is always a good thing. Like adding some pirate faction agents to low sec space, as ParityBit seems to want.

UI-wise, the best idea in my opinion, is the one Trebor Daehdoow has: to add addons to the Eve interface. As I understand it, it comes down to players being able to highly customize their UI for the job at hand in game, by decorating the existing interface.

I read about more interesting, less high scale, ideas too.
Like make it possible to sell kill rights. Another one I found at ParityBit. Love that one!
Or for pve, the idea of Ankhesentapemkah to make dynamic missions, I guess a bit like the random dungeons/bosses/subquests/drops the blizzard diablo games have. I am a fan, like most people, of making pve more like pvp too, for all the obvious reasons.
And another point on which there is a lot of general consensus: do something about the exagerated insurance payouts of battleships. The cost right now to gank freighters and expensive mission ships in high security is ridiculously low.

My campaign headline: discouraging blob tactics as they are now

For my campaign headlines, I started thinking about why I play Eve.

I see it less as a game to prove myself than some others do. I like just flying around in space, wandering from one side of the universe to the other, having just met a white-collar criminal, having flown through another solar system struck by anarchy, knowing some of my mining friends in nullsec just docked because their enemies came looking for them, some others are happily hunting pirates and another is somewhere moving his trade cargo between the hubs of the four empires. It is easy for me to get under Hale's skin and feel a bit like I am actually there. I guess that makes me a roleplayer in disguise, but with Eve, you at least roleplay your own unique character. It is not like you are doing the same quest thousands of others do on a daily basis. For Thrall, or whatever his name may be.

Having said that, I would like the pvp to be a bit more engaging though. Right now, you need 2 scouts and 1 good fc, and you are set for a 50ppl rr bs gang. I am simplifying things here, but only to make a point. There are too many grunts in fleets. And the impact of numbers negates the need for individual skill and game knowledge too much. I do not dislike huge fights. I dislike the way the fcs call primary after primary, flushing tons of game detail, individual skill and variety in shiptypes through the drain.

Some CSM candidates propose ideas or entire solutions for this.

One of the points in Mynxee's program is discouraging blob tactics by removing some of their advantages, perhaps by subjecting fleets over a certain size to "stacking penalties" tied to the ship types in each wing/squad. I like this idea because it is simple, although it does not deal with the problem as nearly as efficient as more complicated ideas would do.

Another idea, from Trebor Daehdoow again, changes game mechanics to deal with lag in such a way, namely by only showing the N closest ships to your ship on grid, that fights might become more interesting, since every little region of the fight needs to have decisionmaking. One fc cant see everything anymore. The importance of range and speed(eg changing your position to see the ships you want to see) would skyrocket with this approach though. It is a brilliant idea, but the impact on combat would probably be too big for ccp to give it a try.

Another creative idea is the idea of noise described in To Blob or not to Blob. This means delaying/limiting the number of ships that can lock a single ship, so it is difficult/not possible for 100 ships to focus fire on one. If the obvious exploits can be circumvented, this is one of the best things that could happen to fleet warfare in my eyes. In theory, it would mean squads would need individual targets, which means they would need individual decisionmaking, hence the need for more fcs(or heavily multitasking fcs) as the number in your gang rises.

CCP should be able to at least get something out of these ideas, and implement it to make pvp more challenging.

The brilliance of wormhole space

My second campaign headline would have been asking ccp to add truly uncharted space.

The important features for this new space would have been:
- A place where it is impossible to hotdrop people or bridge fleets in. In short, a place where Capitals Online did not start yet. Every man and every dog in Eve seems to own a capital at present. Even yours truly, Don Quixote here, who is a total noob, has a Thanatos carrier. The number of supercaps ingame is ridiculous too. I know some smaller alliances quite well, and two of them even have a Titan. I even dont want to know how many the large alliances have. I wanted space in which capitals are at least rare.
- A place without local. Its just a lot more exciting to fly around, knowing a (even probably unfair) fight might be lurking around the corner.
- Distant from normal space. Have the feeling I am actually flying away from home.
- A place where large powerblocks are less important. A place where, if you bring 10 people, chances are low you will be outnumbered 3 to 1.

The longer I thought about it, the more I realized that my uncharted space was already in the game. Wormhole space. I just never realized it. Ofcourse, it is not so uncharted anymore. But the things that were realistic to wish for, are in it. Maybe going to/coming from normal space is too easy and there should be much deeper wormhole spaces that never link to normal space or something, but still, I think CCP did an amazing job on this one. I thought it was just a nice feature, but it is more than that. It is designed for particular wishes among the players and corporations. Really, a job well done.

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