Failing In So Many Ways

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Liang Nuren – Failing In So Many Ways

CSM Minutes: Misleading

Let me begin with a quote from the CSM minutes:

CCP Greyscale moves on to explain his work on sentry guns. Sentry guns will now shoot anyone with a criminal flag, suspect or otherwise. Sentry guns will also start with smaller amounts of damage, and ramp up with time. Ideal tuning will be to where triage carriers will die at around 4 1/2 minutes. This way, if you want to use triage carriers in lowsec on gates you can, but you must commit to the cycle for a length of time before starting your reps, if you want to deactivate triage before the sentry guns kill you and jump out. CCP Greyscale also points out that another goal is to make it so that the first couple of hits won’t kill an interceptor immediately, enabling a quick tackle, and then a warp out.

Aleks remarks that this would be great for enabling more frigate use in lowsec piracy.
Aleks asks when all of these changes will be released, and when there will be dev blogs released for this information.
CCP Masterplan explains that this is where everything is at in the design process, that they’re looking forward to working more on this as the Inferno stuff dies down.
CCP Soundwave: “It is looking like a December release.”
Aleks and CCP Greyscale briefly discuss community response to these changes, Greyscale acknowledges that the changes to “suspect” flagging would upset some players, particularly canflippers.

I want to be clear that presentation of this section of the CSM minutes is very different from this following section, which is clearly a brain storm:

On the subject of sniping, Greyscale tossed out a high-level idea for a fix to sniping. He asked for CSM input on one such idea, an interdiction probe that would be launched a certain range before the bubble would deploy. In essence it would work as a drag-bubble to protect the sniping fleet, or at least give it ample time to react and reposition.
Elise was receptive to the idea and added that the biggest hindrance to sniping is the speed of ongrid probing.
Seleene and UAxDEATH agreed strongly.
CCP Soundwave chimed in with an idea of putting probes on grid and making them destructible. He argued that it would give small support a more pronounced role.
UAxDEATH was very receptive to the idea of giving support a stronger role.
Two step spitballed some ideas where probing would become less accurate with more results, and another idea where there was a probe-killing-probe.

The rage was further fanned on by certain CSM members who seemed to be all but directly confirming that it was already in development and would be hitting TQ in a form very like it was presented in the CSM minutes.   The problem got worse when many other CSM members refused to clarify that section of the minutes or actively defended it.  There were many suggestions by both the CSM and CCP to post on the forums – because obviously this is a good place to hold a discussion.  The only official answer was “It isn’t final until it’s on TQ”, a phrase that’s preceded a great many things that have in fact made their way to TQ.  It truly surprises me that the CSM feels that the community “jumped the shark” and was unreasonably angry given the presentation we were given about what was said.

However, after much discussion with various CSM members via blog post comments, forum posts, twitter, and Skype… I have to say that I’m pretty sure that the CSM minutes probably did not reflect the spirit of what was said at the CSM summit.  Both Hans Jagerblitzen and Seleene specifically said they’d not support any changes with ramifications so broadly destructive to PVP in low sec.  Hans even went back and watched the video and says that the context surrounding the fact it was brain storming was simply not put in the CSM minutes.

And as a final recap, here is a sample of the enormous list of problems with what was represented in the CSM minutes:

  • Gate camping is a hallmark of PVP in Eve because travel chokepoints are where you are going to find people.  This is true in high sec, low sec, null sec, and WH space.  Why should low sec suddenly become very different without core game mechanics changes that support that change across all of Eve?
  • Any sentry fire that was heavy enough to kill triage carriers at 4.5 minutes would be dealing somewhere between 35k and 150k DPS – obviously much more than any subcap can work around.  This means that the overall implication is that most non-gank subcap fights would also end up with everyone just getting blapped by the sentries.  Gate camping and ganks would still be possible via ninja camping and sniping, but real PVP fights would simply become untenable to have on a low sec gate.
  • The suggestion allows for gate camping with triple sensor boosted stilettos.  While it won’t materially change my own travel through low sec, this would make travel for non-flashy people much more dangerous – ostensibly something that we’re trying to avoid.
  • The suggestion does nothing for the core reasons why low sec is an underutilized area of space.  Provably, gate camps were never the problem – after all, we can look to null sec with it’s perma bubble camps to know better.  It’s must be a risk vs reward thing.

So obviously the suggestion itself is not fully thought out because of it’s ramifications for PVP in low sec, so let’s come up with something that sounds reasonable.  From everything I can gather, these are the primary motivations:

  • Get more people in to low sec
  • Allow different kinds of engagements on gates (eg, frigates)
  • Prevent perma camps
  • Prevent capital camps
  • Prevent orca camps?
  • Prevent blob camps?

For the sake of full disclosure, here’s what I personally think of each:

  • More people in low sec is great, but I don’t care so much about carebears coming to low sec.  They will never leave the relative safety of High and Null sec for the much more dangerous waters of Low sec – and that’s perfectly fine.  Give me your casual and small gang PVPers instead – all of them you can round up. 🙂
  • I’m kinda -1 to letting frigs engage under sentry fire.  On the one hand it’d be cool, but on the other it makes travel through low sec much more dangerous for carebears.
  • While I don’t tend to gate camp (it’s boring), I see absolutely no problem with perma camps.  I feel like places like Amamake and Rancer provide interesting geography and places of legend.  I see this as literally no different than the perpetual camps in PF- and M-O and other null sec entry systems.
  • I see absolutely no problem with capital camps.  I feel like low sec tends to small gang PVP and dropping a triage carrier or two is a pretty big signal there’s about to be an epic fight.  Well, it would be if you weren’t about to have PL drop a few hundred supercaps on you anyway.
  • Yeah, nerf the shit out of Orca/Carrier stowing under aggression.
  • I’m not a big fan of blob camping, but it’s allowed in every other area of space.  I see no reason why it shouldn’t be allowed in low sec too.

If the goal is to allow more types of PVP in low sec, I’d say that the first thing that should be done is just remove sentries entirely.  The key distinction between NPC null sec and Low sec would be the lack of bubbles, bombs, and certain supercapital features.  It’d mean that people no longer hesitated to pull the trigger on who would aggress because there would be no sentry fire to worry about.  There are a number of really good things about this approach – however it’d also kill the “heavier ship” fighting style that only blooms in low sec.

If the goal is to get more carebears into low sec, I think we’re looking entirely in the wrong direction.  The simple fact of the matter is that anyone that can stomach any risk at all is already in null sec – where the best rewards are.  There’s no reason for anyone to go to low sec for carebear rewards, ever.  So the first thing to do would be to provide that.  Then we should keep sentry guns or perhaps buff them a bit (with the added “benefit” of further encouraging the heavier ship doctrines I mentioned earlier).  Even if we neglected the fact that most established pirate corps have dozens of max skill scan prober alts, the instalocking frigs would simply be the doom of high sec carebears coming to low sec for PVE.

If the goal is to nerf Orca/Carrier stowing, then simply prevent stowing when you could not jump through a gate (eg, you are aggressed).  You could also transfer aggression to the Orca.

If the goal is to nerf capital camps and encourage frigate PVP under gate fire, I’d say the right answer is to turn sentry guns into missile batteries firing relatively slow missiles.  This means that you can scale damage by sig radius and speed, so capitals are getting hit by a dread while frigs and fast cruisers are getting tickled.  I hesitate to point it out, but it could also be used as a mechanism for ramping up the damage and would provide a visual indicator of how angry the sentry guns are becoming – warp out or die when this Ball O Rage hits you.

One thing I know for sure is that I am not a game designer and don’t really want to be one.  But, I will do everything in my power to help the game move in a direction that’s a bit more friendly to everyone without simply deleting my play style.

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Filed under: Eve, Gaming

One Response

  1. Cearain says:

    “The suggestion does nothing for the core reasons why low sec is an underutilized area of space. Provably, gate camps were never the problem – after all, we can look to null sec with it’s perma bubble camps to know better. It’s must be a risk vs reward thing.”

    IMO gate camps are terrible in eve. With the insta locking ships that have ogbs and can proint from over 30k you might as well have bubbles.

    This is indeed a big reason why I rarely fly around with ships more expensive than a frig or dessie.

    I’m not really sure much can or should be done but I am glad ccp recognizes gate camps as the lame form of pvp that it is.

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