Kirith Kodachi (Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah) sent a tweet today asking for blog posts on how to conduct an "arena" fight in EVE. Though I don't PvP much, the idea of testing myself against another opponent on even terms intrigues me. I've read a couple of things about it recently.
It was quickly pointed out by Rixx Javix that he'd already done it. He "borrowed" the concept from the 3rd Mad Max film, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, (BTW, the worst of the 3 IMHO,) but his application of that idea to EVE Online was well done if not a tad regulatory.
There was also a mention made by Seismic Stan over on Freebooted about having a virtual combat simulator in the upcoming expansions to Incarna. This too is a worthy solution. I am just not certain if it will allow for spectators which I believe is a must. Otherwise, what's the point?
I envision a system with no physical boundaries. If a contestant cuts and runs, well, that will follow him/her all the days of his/her capsuleer life as outlined below. It would be a stain no amount of blood or loyalty could wash clean. No feat of heroics could disprove it; there'd be no feather to return.
Matches should also be evenly... well, matched. Sure, I could fly out in a T1 frigate and fight another similarly armed T1 frigate but my skills are maxed. If the other pilot is a rookie, where's the honor? Not only do ships have to be matched, capsuleers must also be evenly matched.
That would be the hardest part. Perhaps it would be the impossible part. That is where the idea of virtual combat would excel. All avatars could have equal training. The only skill that would affect the outcome of the battle is the cunning of the pilot. But with no one there as witness, the deed dies with the simulation's electrical feed.
No, this should not be a "game." Like Bushido, it must be a way of life. Like chivalry, there should be a code. Only those who follow the code can enforce it. I envision a guild: something like militia but cutting across the racial boundaries. Capsuleers would declare themselves as members and would be wholly judged by the other members.
After each combat, those who witnessed it could award favor or disfavor to the combatants. Rankings would exist and the most favored might not even be those who always win. Even a loser, who fights well and with honor, could earn favor from his/her peers. Both could win! And, just as easily, both could lose. Those who acted despicably would receive disfavor. Only those present could decide.
This favor/disfavor voting could be used for many things. If your favor standing was high, more ship types would be available to you to fight in. If your disfavor rating got too low, you would be turned red to all the other members of the arena guild. You would be cast out (guild membership revoked,) and the guild would hunt you down forever for being the degenerate and dishonorable naive you'd proven yourself to be. Yes, that's high stakes but necessary. There must be consequences for betrayal of the code.
For sure, this might be gamed. However, capsuleers have a long memory, and those who game the system would ultimately reap disfavor. Like a people tired of a tyrant, they would cast him down in ashes when they'd had enough.
This is not a road map as some would want. If you want a road map visit the local gas station. It is at best a vision and perhaps a hazy one. But we live in a world full of rules and regulations. Even those outside Empire space must abide by some form of them. What I dream of is a system where our character is considered more important than our skills. Where our equals in character sit in judgment of our deeds. Where those who make the stars their own, and ensure the wealth of Empires through their toil, are given their just due by the only ones suitable to judge them - those who have also risen to the challenge of the code.