As I've said a couple of times lately, I haven't spent any time in an all-high-sec-all-the-time corp. I was in Sturmgrenadier's high-sec training corp for about a year, though, and in this capacity, I got quite a bit of experience with high-sec war-decs. I showed my mutant colors pretty early, though: I really enjoyed the war-decs, and cut my teeth learning how to be a PvP FC in this arena. In the process, I became more familiar than I wanted to be with all the ways high-sec merc corps and gank corps use to exploit the war-dec system.
And they are legion. Most revolve around the use of neutral toons to provide services that should be performed by combatants. Neutral scouts are the most obvious, of course, but much more egregious possibilities exist. For instance, neutral logistics ships can rep combatant ships, then jump through nearby gates or dock up in nearby stations when aggressed. Neutral Machariels can be used to bump people undocking far off station. Until very recently, neutral Orcas could be used to swap ships mid-combat, turning an even fight into a one-sided stomp-fest. Neutral command ships can provide 7-link boosting, and neutral cheap ships can provide Remote Sebos and Remote Tracking Links. And neutral fast-locking ships with multiple Signal Amplifiers and/or Auto Targeting Systems can be used as FC platforms. And all of this is before you add how ridiculously, ludicrously easy high-sec corps are to infiltrate.
So yeah, I've experienced all the tricks on that end of the spectrum.
What I hadn't experienced much of was the far other end of the spectrum, the mechanics that some high-sec corps use to avoid war-decs. I was vaguely familiar with the ideas of creating new alliances or joining alliances to avoid war-decs. I was also vaguely familiar with the idea of creating false war-decs to increase the cost to the aggressor. But these tactics really didn't hit home for me until a couple of months ago. I was in an incursion fleet, flying logi as usual, when I started repping an EVE University pilot. The game informed me the E-UNI pilot was at war and did I want to risk being part of that war. I certainly didn't care. The high-sec war-dec'er that can catch me in a Scimitar deserves to kill me. ;-) I accepted the risk and got busy repping him. But I asked about it, and was informed that the E-UNI war-decs were "fake war-decs"...
...all eight or nine of them.
The apparent idea being that yeah, you can war-dec EVE University, but it's going to cost you a half-billion ISK to do it, because each war-dec on an alliance increases the cost of the next one by 50 million ISK. ;-) I had a vague memory of this being an exploit, asked about it, and it was confirmed to me that it was, except for E-UNI, which apparently was given a special exemption by CCP due to the service they provide to new EVE players.
Well, this week, there was a very quiet "non-announcement" from the CCP GM team stating that this sort of thing will no longer be considered an exploit, nor will hopping alliances or creating alliances to avoid war-decs. There's also a relevant public thread about it on the EVE University forums that you can peruse.
We will pause here for a moment to consider the delicious irony of CCP deciding not to bother fixing a flawed game mechanic and instead simply stating that using flawed game mechanics will themselves be considered a legal way to avoid other flawed game mechanics. Go CCP.
Now let's skip that and move on.
Back in June on Failheap, Evil Synns wrote what may as well be the EVE Online Quote of the Game:
Remember this is EVE, where everyone counts their e-peen in level of tears.And make no mistake: this change in policy -- while extremely lazy and dumb -- caused quite the little explosion of high-sec ganker tears. The irony here is palpable. Yeah, I understand that I'm supposed to take the side of high-sec mercs and PvPers here. I'm a PvPer at heart, I like PvP in all forms, and I should be showing solidarity with my bear-ganking brethren. And sure, I do. Really! I do!
To a certain extent. ;-)
Had the Orca exploit been declared legal, the gankers would have fallen over themselves in glee over the high-sec tears that would have resulted. Now that the shoe is quite literally on the other foot, the irony of the apocalpytic rage-bombs being dropped is not lost on me, oh no.
So yeah, sorry high-sec PvPers, gankers, and mercs, but... your tears are delicious. ;-)
I'm going to conclude this post by stating the obvious: high-sec war-decs are hugely broken. There's an absolute metric ton of exploits still remaining that high-sec PvP corps are using daily to press ganks on the high-sec bear corps that only want to mine or mission in peace. Guys, to whine about the few tools that the bears have to avoid you being declared legal is unworthy of you. Get over it, and wipe away your tears. If this stuff is what you find fun, evolve. You'll find new ways to kill bears. I promise.
And hopefully, at some point, CCP will throw out the current war-dec mechanics and write something that makes sense for both sides.