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Monday, March 17, 2014

Incursions Have the Same Old Problem

So far I've bought and fit two ships for Incursion running. I bought a Raven to start with, and yesterday I re-fit my newly skinned Rokh to run Incursions. And that's about all I've been able to accomplish. It's not that I've not been trying either. Unfortunately Incursions suffer from the same problem they've always suffered from. There are more capsuleers wanting to run them than there is available content.

Yesterday I spent two hours in and around Bereye. That was where the U0R channel said they had a fleet active. I didn't even bother to 'x' up. A quick count of the number of pilots in local and the number of Vanguard sites available showed more pilots than fleet slots. If you've never done this type of estimate with an Incursion site, here's how it works. Assume all fleets are filled to maximum for the site you are aiming to run. That would be 10 ships per Vanguard site. Count the number of Vanguard beacons. If there are five beacons, you can assume they need 50 pilots to clear them. If there are over 100 pilots in local, as was the case in Bereye when I was there, you have more than twice the number as needed to run the sites. It's a quick and easy way to determine how long your wait will likely be. In most instances, numbers like the ones I just listed mean you'll get into a fleet in no time soon. That was bore out yesterday as I watched the U0R channel. Periodically the lead FC would list the waiting list. It never shrank the entire time I watched it except when people said they had RL stuff to which to attend.

I didn't watch it the full 2 hours though. For a time I went over to Aice, the Staging System, and messed around with the Scout sites there. Even with four mag-stabs, a tracking computer with tracking script, and a Federation web I couldn't always hit those damn frigates. However, with 20 kilometers range, an Optimal Range script and Null ammo they were toast! But within 15 minutes all the Scout sites were done, and there were over a dozen ships hanging around waiting for the next spawn. In a battleship, I'd be Johnny come lately at every new site that spawned. It just wasn't worth my time.

That's the same problem Incursions have always had. There is far more demand than supply. The Incursion channel itself had nearly 700 capsuleers in it. That's just too many. It makes getting into a fleet a hit or miss proposition unless you can sit there for hours waiting on a list, doing nothing. I don't know about you, but I'm not inclined to sit around and do nothing for hours. Mining is more stimulating than that. Incursion game play just isn't compelling enough to make me sit around. I can make ISK in other ways. I can't say this definitively, because I've not really made a lot of ISK waiting for Incursions, but I bet if you factored that wait into the ISK per hour calculation everyone is so fond of, you could do better running L4 Security missions. So unless you have an "in" with an Incursion fleet, you need to consider that wait.

To be certain, this is a high-sec issue. From what I can tell, no one ever really bothers with null-sec Incursions. I believe the same can be said of low-sec Incursions. Taking them on in that space is just too much risk. I don't think anyone reading this will disagree when I say PvE fleets are no match for PvP fleets. It'd be like lambs in the slaughterhouse to try and run Incursions in insecure space. When a pilot can run a dead space complex and make as much ISK with less risk, and do it by themselves, who'd want to bother with an Incursion? I know I wouldn't.

And aren't Incursions in non-secure space a sort of lore breaker anyway? Sansha Kuvakei's real beef is with the Empires and their invention the capsuleers. Why is he wasting his resources on non-empire space anyway? That seems like a really poor strategy. I'm certain there are those who know better than I. Can anyone explain why we even see Incursions in null-sec? Wouldn't it make more sense if Sansha concentrated his forces against his hated enemy's main bastions?

Here's a thought. Since there is more demand for Incursions in highsec than supply, and no (or very little) demand for them in null-sec, why not just swing all those null-sec Incursions into high-sec? In the end, EVE Online is a game, for people who want to play the game. It is obvious to me more people want to play Incursion EVE in high-sec than anywhere else. Why doesn't CCP give them what they want?

I suppose that's the nuts and bolts of it, isn't it? CCP will say EVE Online is their game and they know what's best for it. They'll say too many high-sec incursions will <insert negative consequence here, like breaking the economy> and they won't ruin their game in that way. That's wrong headed. It's not their game. It's our game. We pay for it every month. CCP may have created EVE Online, but like selling stock, they gave up absolute control of it the day they accepted their first subscription.

That makes CCP a service provider. Service providers cater to demand. Its obvious where the demand is. Big null-sec battles may give CCP their marketing spikes and make them quiver all over with new found popularity, but they need to see high-sec for what it is - the place where most of us play; the place that has the most demand. It's incumbent on CCP to understand where the demand really is (that's where the player numbers are if you haven't figured that one out,) provide the service desired (as indicated by those numbers,) and make it work in a manner that doesn't break the game - in that order. That's their real world charter. Failing to fulfil demand will harm the game more than breaking the economy will. There are plenty of games out there with broken economies that still earn money. There are none that have survived a lack of participation due to unfulfilled expectations.


  1. I would suggest being logi instead. As a logi pilot, I burn out a lot faster. I have heard this from other logo pilots. Because of this there is better turn over. A fleet can still run under-DPS; but will be dead in the water without 2 logi. I have met the occasional pilot that will not fly unless there are three.

  2. Cough cough high sec incursions. There shouldn't be more incursions or of they do raise the number make them low and null. The low risk high sec ones should be full imo that means incursions are working. If u want more reward get with a group that runs low sec incursion

  3. Nothing personal, but your response is akin to telling a woman to wear an ankle length skirt if she doesn't want to be raped. The problem is not the woman or how she dresses. I don't need nor want more "reward." I have made far more ISK and lived in far more risky areas of New Eden. The point here isn't about me, but about what is really popular in EVE Online. I know this may come as a shock to you, but you do not represent the majority play style of this game. You live a myth, a self perpetuating fiction. Go read if you want to know why. Cheers!

  4. Actually... I don't know if there are enough people to fit increased incursion capacity. Right now the make or break point isn't players in general, it's certain roles. Specifically, logistics. I've never seen a fleet unable to find enough DPS to do a site, I've seen many many times when logistics pilots just weren't there.

    At current number of incursion sites it isn't a problem for the most part, there's enough logistics pilots to keep things rolling along. I think if you double the capacity though you're going to hit problems. Numbers will catch up for logis off expanding capacity for them probably, but it's a 2 month lag time of getting pilots capable of doing it consistantly between SP and practice.

    It's the same old problem that's always been with MMOs. Noone likes to play healer, everyone wants to see damage numbers. Healing numbers aren't exciting. You don't hear healers talking about their HPS, even though HPS is way more important than DPS in incursions. DPS just allows you to finish faster, HPS is the difference in being able to do it or not at all.

    Personally, I've never understood it. Logi is more engaging than following target callers, to be good at it you have to actively watch the entire field. You always get people who can't follow directions that turns logi into a reactive gameplay style. Not just orbiting an anchor and hitting F1.

  5. Yeah, it sometimes is like that. Fortunately, overcrowded areas aren't that common; it all depends how many have been popped earlier. U0R sometimes switches to assaults when there's too much people around. But still, you're on point - there should be more incursions available at any given time. Maybe not by moving null ones to hisec, but just adding 1-2 regions. If they used to be a niche activity at one time, they certainly aren't now.

  6. The next things on your agenda should be:
    - players should not be able to end the incursion because of the high risk of "no high sec incursion for anybody"
    - every high sec system should have is own incursion (like a belt) because of the high demand

    Why didn't you form your own fleet and just fly some vanguard sites?

  7. You're completely right and PvE content in low / null is most often only 'consumed' by those groups who occupy that area (in complete safety) or acts as a lure to bring in PvE fitted ships into a PvP environment to make for easy targets.

    Your link to is another interesting one as within Incursion fleets you can already see many of the points discussed in his articles: elitist culture, unwillingness to accept strangers / newbies, strict expectations on fits & fleet roles etc

    While I can see that these elements also help to improve the bond between the players already a part of the 'clique' it makes it very difficult and time consuming for other players to join in if they aren't well known enough or simply have the time to wait for 2 hours to join a group and spend 15 mins on actual game content.

    I still find it funny how a game such as EVE which has an inbuilt culture of 'trust no one' has a game mode which puts you completely at the mercy of the other players in your group making it even more difficult for players without vast sums of disposable wealth to take the risk.

    Personally I think there should still be some PvE content that bridges the gap between 'missions' and 'incursions' as players do and will want to play solo (due to personal preference or time constraints) but still want to have a good game experience.

  8. I thought that the reason why they would not increase high sec incursions is becuase it would destabilse the economy – too much of an ISK faucet. That was why a few expansions ago they revised the incursion income downward (ie reduced the rewards). I agree that CCP is a service provider and they should add the content that the player base wants – and perhaps increasing highsec incursion numbers could be achieved with additional ISK faucet rebalance elsewhere too. But CCP also have to look at the larger picture of the game/economy as a whole and not make changes to one part that will/probably will negatively effect other parts… its a tough line to walk at times, but you can see the potential issues… increase ISK facuet and damage economy, might make incursion runners happy for a while but may knock out small players as inflation runs rampant etc.
    Anyhow – as I said, I’m sure it could be done and maybe even should be done, but it could not be done in a vacume.

  9. “provide the service desired (as indicated by those numbers,) and make it work in a manner that doesn’t break the game – in that order.”
    I’m sorry, but I have to disagree. If a gaming company focuses their priority in game development primarily on what the players want, then you end up getting WoW circa 2014.
    Ultimately, this is why I feel product vision trumps customer desire. If you stuck a gun to CCPs collective head and forced them to pick between their vision for EvE and their customer base’s vision, I would hope they would choose their vision.
    In the end, however, it has to be something of a balance. You need a vision of what your product is going to be, and you also need to be able to provide features that your customers want. But let’s face it: video game players tend to be *bad* video game designers, mostly because they know far more about playing a game than they do making one. Their knowledge/experience in game design ranges widely, but it wouldn’t surprise me if most gamers have actually spent very little time involved in video game creation process, and all the issues surrounding it. To say nothing of the fact of profession bias or, “I do activity X, therefore the game should change to promote X activity.” Okay that’s great for you, and people like you, but what about the thousands of others out there?

  10. Per CCP, 67% of the ISK introduced into the game comes from null sec anomaly farming. That leaves Incursions as, at worst, a distant second as a faucet.
    Remember, incursions also pay richly in LP, and to cash in LP you have to sink ISK. Ditto for missions. Nullsec sites don’t have that counterbalance.

  11. I know people who do this. They form their own vanguard fleet and go. For an individual, it can be difficult.

    Also, there are usually multiple systems surrounding the Main System that will have vanguard and scout sites.

    I also know people who do this individually, and they always fly a logi and NEVER have a problem getting into a fleet and making isk from it. Haven't tried it myself - still training a toon for logi.

    For scout sites, I've run those in a Domi and in a Golem, never had an issue at all - could likely do it in a Myrmidon or something else that tanks and has drones or smaller guns. Drake, Harbinger might work. I'd bet an Ishtar would work, too, and be really agile. Take lost of small drones, make sure the rats don't shoot them.

    Also, virtually every asteroid belt in a Scout system is another "site", although you might not get multiple waves. The payout is exactly the same - so just go belt ratting!

    I do not know if Vanguard systems will spawn sites in the asteroid belts like the scout sites. I'd form a proper fleet before trying it or go in a cloaky to see if anything is there, first.

  12. "From what I can tell, no one ever really bothers with null-sec Incursions."

    Except of course:

  13. Yeah good point about the LP - maybe increase LP rewards, decrease ISK rewards and increase number of highsec incursions?

  14. That was LS and one of the very few battles in incursion sites. However, I also thought about linking that vid yesterday. :-)

  15. A long time ago I was doing scout sites in a Retribution assault frigate... But the payout was so abysmal, even L3 missions were more profitable.

  16. Incursions are a victim of their own success. They are currently the second best isk per an hour source, behind running sleeper sites. It shouldn't come as a surprise that people are running them as much as possible. Do we need more hi-sec ones? Hell no.

    Currently i make some 45 million isk in null sec per an hour of running hubs. I can make double that in Hi-sec running incursions, it would be stupid not to have a hi-sec incursion alt. So i am training one. I don't want to do incursions but when it pretty much takes 2 1/2 hours to make 100 mil liquid isk with the interruptions of providence it makes sense. I know i am not alone in abandoning 0.0 for running incursions, my last corp had a number of people who ditched 70 mil an hour pirate missions to run incursions. Incursions have a negative effect on Null sec, they suck people out, remove content for PvPers and make Sov a pointless affair except for the few who control towers. Adding more high isk, farmable content in Hi-sec is going to fuel the migration of isk making to hi-sec moreso than at present.

    There is currently little demand for null sec incursions because everyone has their shiny incursion ships in HS and making more isk than in 0.0. Shipping an incursion ship down to 0.0 is counter productive when you have fleets up 23/7 in HS and don't have to form your own fleet in Null sec and deal with people with only T2 fits who want to try out incursions. But incursions also provide another element in Null and Low, they add a tonne of danger with instalocking warp scramming rats on gates ,and shut down JBs, which can provide a pretty big effect in wars. 0.0/ Low sec incursions are what incursions should be like in HS with these effects.

    The issue with everyone using shiny pirate BS in fleets that cost more than a super carrier is that people don't want to put them in danger, as you noted, which of course impacts on the number of people running Low sec incursions. It's a shame more people are not running Low sec incursions and opt for the safe option of high-sec incursions, putting more high sec incursions isn't really gonna help that. Is the carrot of an extra 50 mil an hour for running the risk of having to run away from a group of pvpers worth it when you already have the 2nd best isk per an hour in EVE? Apparently not for 98% of the incursion community.

    So yes, it's not about the economy, it's about the negative effects that incursions have on the other areas of the game, particularly 0.0. We want a 0.0 that's lived in and worth it for line members. Buffing Hi-sec whilst handing out nerfs to null sec isn't gonna go down well, both in terms of player resentment for hi-sec and for the state of the game.

    Sorry you couldn't get into an incursion group anyways.


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