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Monday, June 11, 2012

D-day plus Four - War Rules Change!

It's been five days since GSF declared war agaianst MABMM. Today CCP announced changes to the new Inferno war declaration system. Normally I'd tell you to follow the link and read the details. However, I need to highlight something in these changes.

Superfriends
  • Ally contracts have fixed length of two weeks
  • Allies can not be part of mutual wars – defender cannot hire allies into mutual wars and existing ally contracts are cancelled (with a 24 hour grace period)
  • Cap on War Dec cost – it will never have a base price of more than 500 mill regardless of corp/alliance membership (still affected by the number of wars you have declared)
  • New UI control for War options in war lists
  • Added cost for hiring multiple allies for a war – hiring more than one ally now incur a cost that goes to CONCORD. The cost rises exponentially the more allies are hired into the same war.

So, for those of you who don't keep up on such things, it seems that Jade Constantine came up with a way to game the new war-dec system and even the odds against Goonswarm and other large alliances who declare inexpensive wars against smaller corporations (like my own.) She outlined this plan several days ago on Failheap Challenge. The "defender" (words in quotes provided by CCP) simply makes the war mutual and then get's every mother's son with an ax to grind to sign on as allies. By making the war mutual, it traps the "aggressor" in the war until they offer a surrender to the "defender."

Now, at face value this seems brilliant. It provides real consequences for declaring war against anyone. Isn't that what CCP has been harping about all year? They want more risk and more consequence for actions taken in New Eden. To be sure, many who dislike what's been going on (think The Mittani and Death Squads) jumped on this opportunity to give payback. It seems to have worked considering what's happened with The Honda Accord war.

Now CCP comes along and announces changes. Take a look at those highlighted ones again. Even to me they look like they are specifically designed to stop "defenders" from dog piling allies onto "aggressors" in the manner Jade outlines. In fact, this is precisely why they were included. CCP wants to stop "defenders" from dog piling "aggressors." The reaction to this "nerf" was predictable. The rage was so bad CCP Goliath had to lock the thread.

Now, before you get yourself all worked up because CCP is favoring Goonswarm again, think it through. They NEED to make these changes. That little mutual war-dec dog-pile loop-hole isn't just usable to exact revenge on Goonswarm (or Test.) It can be used against every mercenary corporation that ever wanted to make a living from being mercenaries. And though you may find it odd for a carebear to say, they deserve the right to earn a living too. Frankly, mercenaries are some of the hardest working people I know. Dog-piling them because you don't like their chosen profession is no better than The Mittani sending out Death Squads because he doesn't like bad press from a high-sec carebear.

So CCP has to draw a line and the system has to be the same for everyone. There cannot be two separate war declaration systems - one for Goon size "aggressors" and one for everyone else. As much as I'd like to see Goons and anyone else with visions of a PvP Utopia driven out of high-sec, I can't condone ruining legitimate game-play for someone else. That would be selfish of me and it would be of you too.

I hope cooler heads will prevail and people start getting behind these inevitable changes. Jade has already stated much of what I have and proposed other changes that will stop the abuse yet allow a 3 person corp to field 8997 allies against 9000 Goons. Perhaps some of you will think it through and make even better suggestions to CCP Goliath. They will listen. Not all of them were once Goons as someone else pointed out in that Failheap Thread.

So look, here's the deal my friends - carebear and otherwise. This is our game. No really, it belongs to us because, outside of CCP, we are the only ones interested in seeing it succeed. If it is to succeed, we frankly need to embrace all play styles. We have to support them and insure they have a place, and a properly balanced role, inside our universe. Will there be risk? Yes. Will there be reward? I hope so. But the most important thing is that, in the end, there will still be a New Eden for all of us - even Goons.

Fly careful.

21 comments:

  1. The main concern I see posted on this issue, over and over, is that it's unfair for a combat to be between a 9000 person alliance and a 3 person corp. I agree to a certain extent, I'm not suggesting that CCP alter the game to make belonging to a 9000 man alliance completely mandatory to play EVE. On the other hand, if certain individuals are going to harp, over and over, about how much the game system favors 9000 man alliances, one has to wonder--why aren't any of these individuals forming their own 9000 man alliances? E.g., if tons of people were saying that Minmatar ships were so overpowered, and yet CCP's statistics showed that Minmatar ships were the least flown of any race, wouldn't CCP do well to focus on people's actions and not their words? If I were CCP, I'd follow the same dictum here--and focus on the actual blobs they can see, not the imaginary blobs people complain about.

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    1. The problem is that joining a 9000-man alliance brings all sorts of baggage with it. You *can* be in the Goons and their coalition, but then you have to put up not only with their behavior, but being at the mercy of the Goons. (If, for example, they decide that you are corp non grata, you could find yourselves in a lot of trouble very fast.) There are disadvantages to being in huge alliances, and as such some choose not to be in them.

      Also, I do not think it's correct that the majority of EVE players are in huge alliances. A substantial fraction are, but I strongly suspect that more are not.

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    2. "The problem is that joining a 9000-man alliance brings all sorts of baggage with it. "

      I agree that being a part of a 9000 man alliance has a lot of secondary effects. I don't agree that this is a problem, in fact I believe the opposite. If there were no secondary effects to joining a large alliance, than everyone would do it, and everyone in EVE would be in one of 2 or 3 different huge alliances. This would be horribly boring, and the current reality is much better. The largest alliances are the most powerful, which is balanced out by the other advantages of going it small. Ergo, the current system, where the huge alliances have some advantages but not others, is great.

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      Also, I do not think it's correct that the majority of EVE players are in huge alliances."

      ?? Did someone claim that they were? Yes, the majority of players are not in huge alliances, that is exactly my point. If huge alliances were actually so advantageous, then we would expect to find the majority of players in them. You have agreed multiple times that huge alliances have many disadvantages and that most players are not found in them, so apparently you agree with the main thrust of my argument?

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    3. I misread what you said slightly. I thought you were saying that the combat advantages that huge alliance have are justified because most people are in those alliances. Sorry about that.

      So, I agree with you that for most players, it's not worth being in huge alliances-- the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. However, just because it's not worth it to most people to be in one of those alliances, it does not follow that therefore the advantages those alliances have aren't a problem. I would argue that most people don't want to be in those alliances, and those alliances still have too much influence over the game for those people who've chosen not to be part of them.

      Look at a number of the anti-Goon bloggers who've been wardecced by the Goons. Some of them manage to deal with it, but others haven't. But what is the advice they're given? Revert back to an NPC corp, or join a huge alliance that could protect you. What do they choose instead? To unsubscribe. Clearly something's wrong here, and the fact that they don't choose to join the large alliance isn't evidence that the large alliances aren't causing problems with the current rules set.

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    4. "Clearly something's wrong here, and the fact that they don't choose to join the large alliance isn't evidence that the large alliances aren't causing problems with the current rules set."

      If you allow any kind of freedom, have any kind of sandbox environment, large alliances will always be problematic when interacting with individuals. Can you name another sandbox game that handles the interaction better? How about in real life, do you think that any real life nation handles the problem better? I don't think so, therefore when I see people complain about this "problem" in EVE without offering workable solutions, I don't take it seriously. if you limit official organizations, then people will organize unofficially. The problem is inherent and somewhat intractable.

      The dogpiling solutions proposed by JC are simply unworkable, if people really thought it through they'd see that it would have tons of bad side-effects, and that grief-deccers could get around the limitations proposed through workarounds. That's a total lose/lose situation, CCP will never take that seriously.

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    5. Read the message that, before I typed this, was RIGHT below the message you typed. I offer a solution there.

      Also, real life is not relevant. The goal of EVE isn't to simulate real life. Yeah, in real life, superpowers tend to dominate. Is that the most fun game for all to play in, however?

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    6. As has been mentioned many times, that solution doesn't solve anything, people will just gank in alt-corps. Like I said before, that's a lose/lose, you create a bunch of undesirable alt-corps, without dissuading griefers at all. Just like JC's ideas to prevent number mismatches in highsec wardecs will just result in even more alt corps. When I was talking about solutions, I was talking about real fundamental changes, of the sort that can't be evaded by moving names around.

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  2. Here's a thought. How about some sort of "corporation security status". If you're a member of a corp that has a low status (determined by the number of gankings in low and high sec that your corp has participated in -- things that would have given you a GCC flag -- in, say, the last couple of months), then CONCORD will not protect you. You can fly through high sec just fine if your own security status is high enough, but if somebody attacks you, CONCORD won't defend them, nor will they lose security status themselves.

    This doesn't provide a huge barrier to gankers. However, it does allows those who might want to proactively defend mining fleets to do so. Right now, you have the problem that if you're defending a mining fleet, and somebody that you know is a ganker jumps into your system, there's not much you can do about it without getting CONCORDed yourself. The gankers can then suicide gank a Hulk, confident that nobody will fire on them first. If, however, corps that wanted regularly to grief highsec (and you know who I'm thinking about here) had to accept that they are not under the same protection of CONCORD that others are, that might level the playing field a bit, making it at least conceivably possible for those who wanted to protect operations in highsec to do so. It doesn't make highsec safe for anybody, it still allows gankers to gank. Right now, however, the suicide ganker holds all the cards; having accepted that he's going to suicide, the action of CONCORD actually makes it easier for him to complete his mission, as it prevents anybody else from preemptively attacking him.

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    1. Hell, now that sounds like a good idea.

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    2. That is a very interesting thought ezrvinh. Here's something I've mulled around a bit. What if null-sec corps were treated like the four empires? I mean, isn't that what they are de facto? As such, they should have to be part of the CONCORD treaty to enjoy CONCORD protection. Each null-sec alliance would have to pay a very high fee to join that agreement and have safe travel through CONCORD patrolled space. Otherwise, they are fair game and CONCORD won't do a thing about it. From a developer standpoint that may be hard to do. However, I believe that would make Eve even MORE real.

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  3. Goonswarm has been planning the unlimited forever wars since before Inferno came out. Unfortunately CCP has broken it for us. Our goal was to have everyone in empire wardecced to us in some form or fashion. Jade just broke it for us :(. Now we can't be at war with everyone. I said in her thread there would be no way to demoralize us or win. Jade actually won. The goons committed to highsec warfare were about the size of a medium (player count) highsec merc corps. This is a shame really. Jade once again has ruined everyone's fun. Small gang was once again within our grasp, and she had to shit all over it.

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    1. Er, couldn't you just... I don't know, split off a Goon highsec corp? I mean the moment you declared "We are goons, we live in hisec, we're small enough that you can wardec us without costing half a bil" you'd be up to your eyeballs in wars, and if you wanted more you could just declare them.

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    3. OOC: I don't think Goonswarm should give up on this idea. The game player in me finds this fascinating. It's one of the reasons I still play Eve after 4+ years. CCP will get it sorted out. I think they want this too. Just don't keep us all under the gun all the time. That will lead to resentment. I don't resent the war-dec MABMM got. I would if it went on forever. If I wanted that right now, I'd move to null or WH. That's where forever wars belong.

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    4. The question is begged: if what you're interested in is small gang warfare, why are you a member of the Goons?

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    5. Splitting off into splinter corps is always dumb and drama-laden. We have little groups in every meaningful part of this game: Incursions, Wormholes, Lowsec, Faction Warfare (mainly organized alts in fweddit and autocannons anonymous), and we were going to try highsec bounty hunting. We developed a system and other goons would put bounties on highsec people of interest. Any goon could throw down the cost of the wardec for a specific corp, or a bounty for an individual and the other goons in our little highsec group would pick it up. We would evaluate the risk and rebuttal if we felt they weren't paying enough. It was a really fun merc/bounty experiment since CCP's merc and bounty systems are exploitable. If they make it so we can't shoot everyone under the sun, we may have to resort to suicide ganks, and everyone, I mean *EVERYONE* dislikes those on both sides. They are 1.) Expensive 2.) time consuming (grinding sec status back) and 3.) a lot more work than they are worth.

      I would really like to see a good merc system come out of all of this turmoil. Guys like Noir. Mercs are really a shining example of how mercenaries should be.

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    6. I have to admit that does sound very EVE-esque. On the other hand, as posters have said above this discussion in an unrelated comment, there should be baggage from being part of a 9,000 man alliance. If the price of the manpower to dominate a huge chunk of nullsec is the inability to participate in highsec wars, that actually sounds like (unintentional?) game balance.

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  4. If that was the case why not wardec some merc/small gang corps. So instead of Star Fraction, Honda Accord and Black Thorne Alliance, wardec Noir, RvB and The Orphanage.

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    1. Because goons aren't giving us isk to engage those groups. The goons putting up bounties have specifically requested these groups. Don't pretend you know what is going on behind the scenes. We have our own narratives for these little wars that is not public knowledge. Its easy to call us space hitler gestapo death corps. We have our own bounty/merc system that we are experimenting with in GSF.

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  5. I re-posted part of your comments here: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=1468291#post1468291

    Because frankly I think you're seeing this for what it is and not being a massive sperglord about it, which is a good thing.

    Also Jester doesn't approve my comments where I make him look like an idiot and you do, so well played ;)

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    1. *LOL* I SOOOOOOO avoid the forums but sure, thanks. I'm glad I surprised you. My playstyle is carebear, not my outlook on the game as a whole. Playstyles change from time to time but my outlook remains the same. Eve is awesome because of everyone in it, including The Mittani (and you too.) I give The Mittani a bad time because he's a big, juicy target and capsuleers love the conflict (as do my hit statistics I might add) not because I dislike him personally. I have a good deal of respect for him in fact. He has done some pretty incredible things... for a game. But he is the Eve public figure du jour and I just can't let that pass me by - really, it's what blogging's about. Now, as for being an idiot, that's all a matter of opinion, but if I'm wrong, I'll admit it. That's called honesty (not that I think Jester is dishonest - he isn't) and I'm all for that. Fly careful.

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Be civil, be responsible and most of all be kind. I will not tolerate poor form. There will be no James Hooks here. We are all better than that.