Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The caravan of the heavens

Wait for a high-sec incursion to go into a Withdrawing state.  Once you see it, fly to that constellation in a ship of your choice.  If you reach the incursion before it disappears, just wait, un-docked and sitting on the gate closest to the next closest high incursion that isn't Withdrawing.  An hour or two after the incursion withdraws, the incursion will vanish as the mom is destroyed.  Then what?

After that, you'll see dozens of Orcas pass you, on their way to the next incursion.  It's like a migration, sort of like the return of the swallows to Capistrano, only this migration is a bit more Battlestar Galactica.  A rag-tag fleet, a caravan of the heavens, is not seeking Earth, but instead is seeking the next big pile of ISK.  ;-)  The Orcas carry T3s, logis, and Command Ships -- sometimes escorted by a battleship, often not -- from one incursion to the next, to the next, to the next.(1)  The pilots that don't have Orca alts or don't want to risk their expensive T3s in them will also fly by you in their ships.

A couple of times on this blog, I've advocated slightly reducing the frequency of high-sec incursions, in favor of increasing the frequency of low-sec incursions.  I catch heat for this when I say it, but I stand by the statement and I'd like to finally get around to explaining why.

First, let's make one thing clear.  Incursions are -- overall -- good for the EVE economy and good for the game.  That includes high-sec incursions.  I am not a high-sec incursion-hater: far from it.  I'm probably the most experienced blogger there is at running incursions, and in my way I've made it easy for dozens, if not hundreds of EVE players to get into them.  I use them myself from time to time if I need a quick injection of ISK for some project or to replace some exploded ship.  I'm in favor of more players trying them out, and more newer players being able to try them.

So, you incursion-runners can save your brick-bats: I'm not out to destroy your lives.

Still, the "caravan of the heavens" approach to incursions is -- overall -- not good for EVE as a game.  You can see this when the number of high-sec incursions in New Eden dwindle to one and the incursion gets impossibly crowded.  You'll see 120 or more people in each of the Vanguard fleets as eight or ten or more fleets fight over the five sites.  People will get frustrated by this, fleets will break up, and finally, people will dock up.  A few incursion-runners move on to other in-game activities.

But most of them just log off and play something else.

Sure, they'll be back in a day or two to see if the number of high-sec incursions has gone back up, but in the meantime, if they can't make 60 or 75 or 100 million ISK an hour, they're just not interested.  Someone can try to explain to me how this is good for the game, but I don't think you'll succeed.

What's even worse is watching the public incursion channels for a while in situations where there's only one or two incursions.  You'll see people that are clearly off playing Minecraft or Tanks or League of Legends or Skyrim... but still posting their incursion fit into the channel every three or four minutes, checking to see if an FC is going to invite them into a fleet.  That's not so great for the game, either.

It's an addiction, and it's probably past time for an intervention.  So yes, while I'm pro-incursion and even pro-high-sec incursion, their frequency needs to be dialed back a bit.  The kind of process that inspires dozens of players to load Orcas full of ships and head for some remote part of the galaxy should be a big deal -- almost an event -- not a routine (and for some, the only) part of playing EVE Online.

So, after my long experience with incursions myself, I have some suggestions for how CCP can adjust them.

1) As I said, reduce the frequency of high-sec incursion spawns.  I'd say reduce the frequency by about 40% or so for day-to-day incursions.  That will mean that most of the time there will be zero, one, or (rarely) two active high-sec incursions instead of between one and three.

2) More than this, though, I think incursions would work better if they were more "event-like".  Periodically, have the game kick off an "incursion event".  This wouldn't be a full GM-controlled live event.  Instead, have four or five or six high-sec incursions spawn, all at the same time, all with reduced life-spans... say four days or so, instead of the six to seven days that is currently average.  This should happen 20 or so times a year, but not on any kind of predictable schedule.  Counting the "events", the overall reduction in high-sec incursions should be about 25%.

3) Make high-sec incursions harder by making constellation control harder to change.  In all the months I've been running incursions, I've never even seen a high-sec incursion that hadn't had its Sansha control bar pushed to full blue, meaning there's no impact on player resistances or damage.  I simply have never reached a high-sec incursion soon enough to even see a red bar!  So many sites are run so quickly in high-sec now that it only takes hours to make this happen.  That's just silly.  A Sansha invasion should be a big thing, with lots of Sansha resources committed.  It should take days and days to drive down that bar, not hours.

4) As I said, make low-sec incursions spawn much more often.  Right now, it's typical to see two or three high-sec incursions and one low-sec incursion.  Other than the events above, this average number should be reversed.  Seriously, incursion-runners are making tons and tons of ISK.  I know it.  They know it.  Everyone knows it.  They can stand to lose ships, particularly with the increased money that's made in low-sec sites.  This will drive the low-sec incursion runners toward PvP behaviors and ships, which is also good for the game overall.  And it will serve as a buff for low-sec, both in terms of the PvP that happens there and for the people that already live there.

These changes would have a lot of advantages:
  • It would nudge incursion-runners into other game activities when the events weren't running.  Sure, the truly addicted will still be able to get their fix, but it'll be harder.  But the more casual incursion-runners will be pushed to other parts of the game, or into low-sec incursions.
  • When the incursion events spawned, it would cause players to have to be more social to decide who's going to tackle which event.  During the events, there would be plenty of sites for everyone... so many, in fact, that even more cooperation would be needed to tackle them than what's happening today.
  • Doing it this way just makes more sense from an in-game story stand-point.  The Sansha should be more active where CONCORD is not, and when they do come into high-sec, it should be a much bigger deal than it is now.
  • This approach would drive incursion-runners toward even more cooperation, and even more competition.  With only one high-sec incursion most of the time, competing for those few high-sec sites would become hard-core, similar to the current high-sec complexes.  This would foster the creation of incursion-running corps in low-sec.  Sure, you could war-dec them... but you'd have to come to low-sec yourself to really attack them.
  • Finally, the increase in low-sec sites would create more targets for low-sec PvP corps to attack... maybe even too many to attack to attack them effectively.  The low-sec incursion corps would naturally start creating intel channels and the like...

The main disadvantage that I can see?  Newer players would be hurt somewhat by this.  I know there are a lot of people with only a month or two of play time under their belts already trying to get into incursion fleets.  Call me elitist, though, but I don't think players this new should be jumping into incursions right away.  And if they insist, then fine: they should be competing with the longer-term EVE players, just like for everything else.  The large number of high-sec incursions currently makes it too easy for sub-par fittings to nevertheless find slots in fleets.

Please note one thing that I'm not suggesting: I'm not suggesting that the pay-offs be reduced or changed to something other than ISK.  As I said at the top of the piece, I think incursion ISK is healthy for the economy and good for EVE Online overall.  It's just the behaviors that ISK is driving that aren't.

OK, I know some of you are dying to scream at me.  Go ahead.  Discuss.

(1) BTW, you suicide gankers?  If you really cared about tears more than you care about ISK or kill-mails, these are the ships you'd be destroying.  A good third to half of them probably have five or ten billion ISK aboard each, and ten percent of them probably have 20.  But of course, you don't want tears... not really... do you?  You want loot.  Don't worry: I understand.


  1. I'm not yet an Incursion runner, but I've read everything you've written about them as well as stuff from other sources. I must say, I think your suggestions would be good for Eve as a whole (even if not 100% good for dedicated Incursion runners). Supported.

    But boy are you going to get a lot of hate for this one...

  2. As much as I appreciate your efforts for incursions, I have to disagree with your assessment. All you will do is cause people to play Eve less as you remove content from high sec. Nothing is going to push people into low sec until gate camps are no longer a threat. Seeing how low sec is meant to be a threat there is no amount of coaxing that will lead high sec people into low sec on a regular basis.

    Your suggestions would simply nerf incursions much like the sanctum nerf hit people in null sec.

  3. How about CCP adds something similar to the 2-10 plexs to Incursions. These could randomly spawn throughout the constellation, would only allow frigates to enter and require 3-5 people to complete them. Easily accessible to noobs/low SP pilots.

    Regarding lowsec Incursions: Incrusion pilots are actually fairly safe from roaming pirates (A recent Incursion near our home system actually made us stay away from the Incursion systems). The fact that Incursion gangs have logi and that the Sansha rats change targets makes it very difficult for a small crappy BC gang to crash a site.

  4. I agree with Ruar. I'm one of those caravaners...and I won't even tell you how much shit I haul from one incursion focus to the next. I'm in the incursion community every day. If it was a choice of Lowsec or leave the game, the incursion community would die in less than a day. And some of those people who CCP desperately need to keep sending them cold hard cash and buying stacks of PLEX to fund their multi-billion isk ships, would simply logoff again, or move back to missions. I like a lot of what you have to say Jester, but in this, I would suggest you are simply delusional in attempting to get people out of Hisec. The only way to get them out of Hisec is to get them out of the game.

  5. TBH, I rarely, if ever see people in the low sec incursions, with the exception of the bigger organized null-sec alliances. However, the isk is a LOT better and I think it would be well worth a re-balance between the number of active high and low sec incursions. CCP needs to start drawing the player base back into null and low sec and i think incursions could be a good mechanic to start that.

  6. The game is better off without these zombies, and I don't mean the Sansha.

  7. Two comments:
    - on 3), there could be a feedback system in place, there is, determine how hard it is to change constellation control based on how easy the players got it on the previous runs, by space security (HS/LS/NS)
    - on 4), allow LS fleets to be five to ten percent bigger without affecting the reward, so ppl could either have some PvP guards in fleet or use some sort of hybrid fits

  8. In your final note to gankers, you say if they were really after tears they'd go after an Orca. While that seems true, here's the thing:

    Contents of ship maintenance arrays don't appear on killmails, and they don't drop when the Orca is destroyed. This means that whoever was flying the Orca will just say "oh it was actually just empty" or "it just had two t2 fit guardians in it" ... and you'll probably never know. Maybe it's true. Those aren't very good tears.

    One of the most important parts of getting tears by ganking and 'griefing' is proof of their loss, that you can put them up against a wall and rub their face in indisputable evidence of their ruination. When you get a gank that shows the items destroyed and taken, it's far more gratifying not only from the sense of financial gain but also from the angle of hard proof.

  9. How about leaving Incursions alone and just deleting lvl 4/5 missions? Anything that gets players on comms and socially interacting which each other is healthy for a MMO, in my opinion. (Plus getting paid to fly a logi is pretty sweet)

  10. "Nothing is going to push people into low sec until gate camps are no longer a threat."

    "I like a lot of what you have to say Jester, but in this, I would suggest you are simply delusional in attempting to get people out of Hisec. The only way to get them out of Hisec is to get them out of the game."

    Sorry Jester, I respect you opinions and time in the game, but your solution to low sec is just too short sided. Sensor boosted insta locking ships on gates is a huge problem, and the risk / reward just isn't worth it in low sec -and this is coming from someone who use to live in low sec and couldn't make enough isk to stay there. If you have to use an alt to finance your main then the game is fundamentally broken...

  11. Well, congratulations, this post finally got me to stop lurking and posting anonymously and actually sign in =)

    Regarding the idea that when there are few, or zero, high-sec incursions people will just go play something else, I disagree. The majority (at least 70-75%) of the players I run high-sec incursions with on a regular basis are either alts of null-sec dwellers or null-sec dwellers who JC'd to high-sec to make some ISK. Insofar as why people who dwell in the "end-game" that is null-sec are going to high-sec to do their ISK-farming, that is wholly separate can of worms. When there are no high-sec incursions up, or if the sites are too often contested, these people will go back to whatever it is they are funding with incursions. They do not just log out for a few days.

    As to if my experience is typical, for the past several months I have been only joining fleets from one specific invite-only channel. To mitigate the potential for griefing and incompetent/undesirable players, the channel requires 1-2 months of "vetting" to gain access to. As such, I will concede that pub channels probably have a higher percentage of full-time high-sec dwellers. But, even I was joining pub fleets, in those instances where there were few available sites, most people begged off with the explanation of going to run L4's, do some low-sec small-gang PvP, etc., not "eff this, am taking my ball and going home!!"

    I wholly concur with all 4 of the changes you propose (although, tbh, I am rather ambivalent about #2).

    I am a huge fan of #3. About once per week, I am online and running incursions right after D/T and having a fully red Sansha control bar changes the experience entirely. In my opinion, the increased challenge/difficulty makes the experience much more fun, especially when I am flying logistics. As an aside, most of the time, the bar rolls back to fully blue within 60-90 minutes of the server coming back online. Which is just silly.

    One topic you did not touch on, but which is probably relevant is that there are 2 entirely different types of high-sec incursion runners. Type #1 being those who are doing it solely to farm the ISK-tree while it lasts. Type #2 being those who are doing it more for the social atmosphere, challenge, and/or change of pace.

    Type #1 is ONLY going to X-up for VG fleets, preferably blitz (obviously, I know). It is all about the ISK, so who cares about the mind-numbing and repetitive nature of speed-farming VG sites. I think you are primarily thinking about/referring to these people in this post.

    Were your proposed changes to be implemented, these types would start the witch hunt within minutes. I expect there would be a flaming-torch & pitchfork wielding mob would be at your door within the hour.

    Type #2 will almost never X-up for VG fleets, unless truly bored shitless. These folks are looking to run Assaults and, as available, HQs.
    I put myself in this category. But, despite these preferences, at least 85-90% of the time, I end up in VG fleets.

    The main cause being lack of an FC with enough experience in Assault & HQ sites to efficiently operate a fleet. Another deterrent to forming or joining an Assault or HQ fleet is the all-to-frequent "hey, I gotta go" without any warning from 1-2 fleet members after almost every site. Without a well-run wait list (and the players willing to sit on it) this makes running Assaults & HQs an exercise in frustration & tedium.

    I feel that these types of players would embrace your changes simply due to the fact that a large drop in the number high-sec incursion VG farmers could potentially make it easier for them to find FCs and fleets doing the types of sites they enjoy and want to run. Also, we tend to inherently support any changes that occur but do not touch the parts of the game we enjoy. Gotta love the status quo.

    Anyways, I will end my text wall here. Love the blog and read it regularly. Keep up the good work!!

  12. How about tilting the balance by adding Incursions to Lowsec? Or adjust them to the same frequency. Your ISK argument still holds, but increases the incentive to go into Lowsec as well as spreads the wealth.
    I like your increased size for Highsec comment.

  13. Don't worry about Jester, he doesn't "get" the Carebear mentality, and is probably one of those people who has to think hard about why moving level 4 missions to low sec will not achieve anything.

    Apparently he's also thinking with half a brain when it comes to Incursions too: on the one hand he points at the evidence that Incursion-runners are only half-playing the game, then suggests that "solving" that "problem" is a matter of having more down-time for incursion players.

    Jester doesn't understand the Raid Guild mentality either, apparently.

    Here's Raid Guild mentality for you in a nutshell, Jester: raiders log in to raid. Not to quest. Not to adventure. Not to socialise. They log in to raid: perform a scripted activity in the company of other people performing that same scripted activity with them, in the pursuit of prettier pixels and/or recognition from their peers.

    EVE Online doesn't support instanced raids, which means all raiding must be done in what are essentially pick-up groups. There are channels where like-minded individuals can find others that they trust to be as competent as themselves, so the groups aren't random pickup groups, but they're not formally organised and they are all competing for the same resources. Once you have more groups than resources, everyone else has to sit on the bench.

    These folks aren't interested in lowsec. If you have 400 people on BTL Pub, you'll find 5 who are interested in trying a low sec incursion, and some of those will chicken out before you actually get the fleet together.

    The way to address the "lean times" is to ensure that there are fewer incursions, but make them more persistently available. This is, of course, making the assumption that the "lean times" are a problem that needs to be solved.

  14. o/
    I'm an incursion addict. I love it. Seriously, its the only reason why I'm actually playing the game at the moment. Hell, I got 2 more accounts live just to support my fix (offgrid booster, and extra dps if I need to help duobox for the fleet).

    The thing is, I believe the incursions may have been too successful. They're so far superior to mission running, that if they removed incursions today, I'd probably just quit eve instead of going back to mission running.

    Maybe if they made incursioning more dangerous somehow? Reducing Concord's response time or slightly lowering sec status hits?

    I don't know. Something that I wish they would allow is for folks with high sansha standings to randomly warp into an active site in an extra ship to spice things up.

    Heres what I know:
    I like making oodles of isk. I like the shiny ships that I can buy because of the isk. I like the friends that I'm making from incursions. I like being able to fly said shiny ships with those friends. I like not having to deal with politics (generally) and dealing with some space tyrant's ego (I deal with douchebags at work all day long, let me relax).

  15. Won't work. Because no matter what, the Highsec Carebear will never engage in PvP situations or risk being "PvPed". Never ever.
    So noone will run those lowsec incursion. They just won't.

  16. Some of my issues with EVE was that it always seemed that it would give you the option to PvE but it was always made out to say that it wasn't the 'right' thing to do - as its seen at the moment PvE is a 'carebear' activity where as the 'real' EVE players PvP and thats where the manly men are and where all the good stuff is.

    Its just not a play style that everyone enjoys and most of the content is reliant on you having good friends or a good active corp to participate in those activities - if you don't have either then your just pray for someone else to kick your ass.

    Also a problem I had with Incursions is that you're at the catch 22 situation; you can't get a group because you don't know what you're doing and you can't learn what your supposed to do without getting into a group - and by the sounds of things incursions are getting farmed all the hell anyway.

    Personally I would have liked to have seen a reduced form of Incursions be added as high sec PvE content that is similar to missions where you are created on request but still tough enough to require a group. If people are going to farm it then let them. If PvE is a valid play style then let them do it. Move the current incursions to low sec and give these new incursions a lower pay out to encourage people to move to the 'proper' incursions.

    This would provide the much needed 'on demand' group PvE content that the game is missing and also reduce the caravaners because they can now farm wherever they like. The 'real' incursions then become 'hard mode' versions where the risk and rewards are much higher.

  17. For now both people that are against the changes are obviously didn't even try neither incursions nor just living in lowsec. It's not that scary guys. Really. And 24/7 gatecamps on entry systems is another popular myth. Even EUNI now holds a base of operations in lowsec.

  18. CCP seem to have created something that makes hisec very interesting for ppl. They have buy design, or by accident created a hi sec experiences that has people creating corps and communities around it. That's a good thing. I think simply trying move that community into lo-sec to make lo-sec more interesting for the ppl who live there would be misguided. If lo-sec PVP corps want good fights they can jump into 0.0 and find them.

    More ppl will move into lo-sec when it has something to offer, not because CCP try to force hi-sec communities into there.

  19. Well said Jester.
    You have pretty good ideas for possible changes and expansions. To "force" people into low sec will become a pretty hard task, still I support it. The reward in low sec is better and the poor population there has no one who protects them expect us capsuleers.
    The Incursion fleets are not too far from PvP fleets. If those fleets hit a gate camp they have pretty good chances to break it up with superior logistics.

    As there is a lot more population in High Sec (civilians) to capture for the sansha there effort should be a lot higher to get there. I'm not running incursions actively just poked into them once they were released. But as far as I know they are pretty much static. Yes the NPCs switching targets and are not so easy to kill but most of the time you won't encounter anything unexpected. (a fact that I miss in missions too)
    So my suggestion would be to add some escalation chances to those High sec sites. The Sansha are keen on getting those civilians off the planet. If they are fought of there should be chances to unpredictable reinforces for any site in high sec. For example a 5 to 10 site would escalate to an 10 to 20 site and if the FC is not quick enough there might be some losses in the fleet. They need to regroup with other fleets in System or boost up the fleet temporarily.

    Concerning elitist:
    I also support this. There is already pretty much that has changed in favor of new pilots. Providing them with that much money at low risk is like paying your children too much pocket money. They get used to it too soon and don't value it. Either they get scammed cause of there unwariness or they leave the game once they realize that it is part of eve loosing your ship from time to time and that it is a harsh universe.

    In order to get low sec populated this would be a nice step but I fear it alone would not work. But in combination with other (new) stuff this could work out.

  20. Although I have some reservation about the planned reductions, I can't fault the underlying logic behind this..... Like you I may be a bit of an oddity in that I am a bit of a Hybrid, having lived in deep Null, a WH and run incursions.
    What gets me is that Hi-sec incursion runners won't go into low-sec, and that low-sec is the end of your ship and your life as you know it...
    This suggests to me both a misunderstanding from the average bear and risk reward benefit issue.
    Firstly... If you are a fleet of 10 or more, most pirates will just wave you on by they are looking for easy kills, only if you come up against a well organised fleet, say in a hot spot like Rancer or Amamake will you have issues.
    Second… if you are a HQ fleet, you are only going to be engaged on gates and...... Seriously your FC should treat an engaging fleet as an incursion and make mincemeat of the pirates, bag a few kills, you will have gate guns on your side plus all your DPS and logi’s... it will only happen once or twice, pirates don’t like their butts kicked anymore than anyone else, they won’t engage you.
    Third… don't take your all shiny out if you can't afford to lose it, take the Tempest out rather than the TFI in Jester's previous post!
    Which leads me to one undeniable fact, if you want people in low-sec running incursions, you need to give them a reason to go, a site that can only be run in low-sec that is worth the risk of going there.

  21. Trying to pull the risk-averse into low sec is futile. Give the people who already live there some exclusive Incursion content instead, complete with rival Pirate faction LP. It stands to reason that all the Sansha staging grounds and large facilities would be on their own turf.

  22. Make corporate hangers show their contents even if they don't drop and I will show you a thousand orca killmails.

  23. While I agree with your sentiment Jester there are as I see it a few problems with you suggestion.

    1) Goonswarm: Goon's have laid unofficial claim to all lowsec incursions. Try running an incursion there and you'll quickly find a 60 - 100 strong goon-gang on your ass. Not to mention all the other normal joys of lowsec.

    and 2) the profitability of vanguards.

    The "problems" you mentioned in this piece seem consistent with the average VG incursion runner. That is to say, you show up to a new incursion, sit around waiting for a good fleet and then run vanguards till your arse bleeds.
    While I agree with most of your points the method you propose for moving people to lowsec just wont work. Indeed, I think if anything what you've proposed here would only compound the issue and make it worse. Either driving many incursioners back to missions or worse, away from EVE all together.

    If you asked me Id say a better solution would be to increase the spawn-rate of lowsec incursions, hopefully to the point where goons can no-longer claim them all while also making Vanguards less desirable to run. To do the latter all I would do is double the spawn rate for Nation Mining Colony's. This should encourage more people to look towards assault and HQ class sites for isk and towards the more profitable, but much riskier lowsec sites.

    I myself am a space-gypsy and personally? if CCP made the changes you just suggested I would plex my accounts up for as long as my space-riches would allow and then go play TOR. Somehow I doubt this is what you want but Im reasonably confident that I wouldn't be alone in that thinking or action.

  24. In all the discussions that I see about rebalancing low/hi/null risk reward frameworks, there is always a focus on sticks rather than carrots.

    While all the changes above can contribute to a more "balanced" risk reward system, I think what's missing is the structural solutions to help people make the transition to low/null. I'm not sure what they are, but they could be things like CCP monitored training corps - i.e. CCP guarantees this corp won't scam you, and will train you in low/null, in exchange the corp gets a nice CCP approved logo, and presumably fresh meat and a ready source of recruits.

    I'm sure people will argue that it's easy to make the transition, and they did it the hard way etc, but if you want more people out of high sec, you need to make their journey out easier.

  25. Not sure the assumption that everyone running incursions are high sec carebears scared to go into null is correct. Most of the people I know running them are doing it with high sec alts and use the isk to fund their null pvp stuff.

  26. Incursion-geddon? I like this idea! Time to shoot a message off to Mittens and Helicity!

  27. @Jester: *I don't run incursions so my depth of reference might be lacking* That being said I think anything that keeps Eve players logging in is good for the game.

    Nerfing something so players are encouraged to go do other Eve activities is an argument as old as Eve itself I would imagine. It never works. You just lose players.

    Wormholes and incursions are the current lifeblood of Eve in my opinion. Encourage people to participate in them, be happy people are participating in them. These two aspects of Eve are what keeps the game alive.

    If you see a problem with people only running incursions the solution to the "problem" (is there really one?)is to make other aspects of Eve just as fun so that players have a reason to spend their time on that instead.

    In my anecdotal experience players are tired of player null sec. Reasons being broken sov and broken players.

    When you have to log in every day and hope that there are enough players to form a defense fleet. When you have to worry that your CEO hasn't run off with the alliance account or that someone has pressed the disband button the game ceases to be fun and becomes a stressor.

    I think incursions and wormholes encourage social aspects of the game and as such are important.

    Again, I don't have an idea of the isk that is being generated so I can't comment on economic aspects of the "problem". If there aren't any then I just don't see the reason to mess with a happy portion of the player-base.

  28. "Seriously, incursion-runners are making tons and tons of ISK. I know it. They know it. Everyone knows it. They can stand to lose ships, particularly with the increased money that's made in low-sec sites. This will drive the low-sec incursion runners toward PvP behaviors and ships, which is also good for the game overall."

    Jester, I like you. I really do. However this ^^ ... I haz to wonder what you're smoking, man.

    I will say I love how the "24/7 gatecamp" myth has become urban legend and thus reality for all the hiseccers out there ... and of course were I to tell them that I think I've seen a camp at Ostingele ONCE EVER... and Harroule/MHC-R3 same deal, well, I'd just be lying to get them to come to my trap. *rolling eyes*
    Also never mind that a good Incursion fleet, packing omnitanked ships with assloads of DPS and logis, would scare off the average lolsex "piwate" camp NO problem...and if they didn't, an FC with basic small gang PvP experience should be able, with those kind of resources, to hand a camp their asses, complete with reamed assholes, no problem... BUT. No. Pirates are all-powerful and will always win over carebears. lol.

    So, BETTER solution for lowsec incursions that will get bears involved... when there's an incursion and the bear enters it, instead of being a BIG FLASHY RED SKULL icon that scares the lil bear, those with -5 or lower sec status appear as appropriate sized red crosses on overview. Now THAT bears can do.

    It's more a psychological thing for them, Jester. Well, more psycho, less logical, but you get my drift.

    Think you should read my latest blog about how hi/low/null compares to real life.
    Then revisit your "moving hiseccers to low/null" conceptualization vis a vis the RL fact that if you told most Americans that they could move to some South American Banana Republic, or Somalia, be masters of their own destinies, creators of their own fortunes, etc... most wouldn't even think about it. No fucking way. They like their safe office-drone 9-5 jobs, their Subway for lunch and their Starfucks triple skinny mocha no-whip three Splenda please, every morning... the only way they'll give those things up is if you TAKE them away. And, as pointed out previously, in that case lots of them will just leave in favor of someplace that DOES offer those things.

    You're my muse, jester. I gotta go write my own post now following up on this theory...

  29. @Jester: Just a follow up to my previous post. I think that blogs like yours along with some of the other ones out there that high-light fits and battle reports go much further toward encouraging the player base to try out new things than an institutional change by CCP would.

    Battle reports that show the fun of pvp and that give out tips and hints get players motivated to dust off the old warp disruptor are the answer. Motivation of the players by the players for the players is the key.

    Keep up the good work!

  30. Reading the comments, a lot of people are already hooked on the inflated ISK addiction. I don't think most people read the whole article, just the "nerf hisec incursions" and missed the details. Reducing HiSec incursions by 25% and making the control bar harder to move in HiSec seem like good moves to reduce the silly amounts of HiSec Incursion ISK currently around. You might also need to reduce the ISK (and LP) rewards for HiSec, but I'd reduce the spawn and increase the difficulty first, and monitor it.

    You won't ever get the risk-averse HiSec Incursion runner into losec. You just won't. Even if they have enough ISK to replace their billion-isk faction fit Legion 10 times, they are risk averse and won't take that chance, even if it's a small one.

    In addition, LoSec Incursions would need to more than double in number to create enough volume to offset the number of nullsec incursion running groups who farm losec incursions. Goons (and others) have queues waiting to get into fleets now. If you doubled the number of sites, they would still be full of nullsec alliances who farm incursions. If you tripled them, you might have some that aren't being farmed by the nullsec alliances, but now you've tripled the probable ISK output of LoSec incursions.

  31. I think the biggest thing you've missed (and everyone else who wants to "fix" incursions) is the unlimited supply of respawning ships. That is the reason incursions aren't finished; because the isk from the respawns are more rewarding than actually killing the incursion.

    Id say just stop the respawn of npc ships in incursions and it would solve 90% of the issues with them; those being isk faucet, "elite" fleets/fits required, ect. Well, maybe not the elite stuff, but still.

    Stopping the respawn of incursion npc's will force people to finish the incursion and move to the next one, be it high, low or null sec space.

  32. I think incursions are fine where they are at- it's the rest of PVE (and some PVP) that needs help. Myself, I am kinda past the money aspect of incursions but still do them because I think they are really really fun....and somehow or another most of the other things I can do instead just aren't as compelling.

    I'm not one of the people that ALT/TABs back and forth while advertising for fleets- but if they nerf incursions they way you are suggesting I'd probably have a difficult time staying engaged with the rest of the game.

    If they do anything to change incursions, they should re-evaluate the payouts for the various sites, and re-balance the payouts so that people have more incentive to do the assault and HQ sites instead of only farming vanguards. (or maybe make vanguard spawns dependent on the assault and HQ sites being ran)

  33. Some really great comments! I'm still reading through them -- they're coming in faster than I can read them and I'm trying to just get them published. Still, four things immediately jump out at me.

    1) Some of you are not reading the whole post. All you're seeing is "reduce the frequency of high-sec incursions" and heading straight to the flame button. Read the whole post, please. If you want to flame me AFTER you've read the whole post, fine. But read it.

    2) People who say "if high-sec incursions were reduced at all, whatsoever, I would quit EVE." I have two answers for you people: a) I don't believe you, or if you're serious, b) the game would be better off without you. If all you're doing is running incursions to make money to run more incursions, go play WoW or TOR. Seriously. This one deserves and will get its own post.

    3) You people who are saying "most incursion runners are null-sec alts" make me smile. What do you think I am? I'd be happy to FC in low-sec if I thought people would join me. PvE'ing in low or null just takes some basic scouting skills to keep the fleet safe. The level of organization among incursion-runners makes it clear that this would be a trivial addition to the processes they already have in place. This also deserves its own post.

    4) Part of the reason for doubling or tripling the number of low-sec incursions is to make it difficult or impossible for Goons or any other alliance to control all of them.

  34. The problem with low-sec is that it has the reputation of being "unsafe". Heck, when I first started playing my corpies told me that null was safer than low-sec (high-sec too in fact).

    What would go a long way to making low-sec more livable is giving the appearance of safety, because the appearance of safety is paramount.

    I don't think the proposed changes to incursions will change this. It's a bigger issue with low-sec.

  35. I'd like it if they offered an event style agent that are all over new eden that members could goto to get a mission like bookmark for an incursion. This would help spread out the incursions instead of blob fests in certain areas of space giving new incursion runners a chance to try them without being called "noob" or "get a faction fit ship" every time and also allow freeroam of a site for people to run. I want to see the isk to be reduced from them like vanguards but have the high level ones paying out 2x if not 3x as much to make it worth doing over vanguards.

  36. People get frantic because when CCP gets the urge to nerf something, they use a freaking sledgehammer and destroy the feature. I'm worried that CCP won't read your post in its entirety and completely bollocks it all up.

    If CCP *completely* fucks up incursions, I will quit. I'm a carebear. I've played eve for 5 years and I've only lost a handful of ships. And while I used to enjoy missions (ran at least 10,000), I don't think I'd ever consider going back to them.

    That being said, you do raise up some good points. If CCP does feel the urge to transition people I think they should lower hi-sec payouts a bit as a first step.

    -20% payout to vanguards in hisec only.

    +15% assault payouts, and +30% for HQ's.

    There should also be a +10% payout to person who has boss of fleet in assaults, and a +20% payout for HQ fleet bosses. This would encourage people to want to fc more often.

    I want CCP to buff Ass/HQ fleets in hi-sec because those are the more newbie inclusive sites. They want people to snipe(ravens etc welcome), need people in t3's and typically recruit more often. These fleets also have so much more turnover that there should be some accounting for wait times.

  37. I run incursions, and live in a wh. As another poster stated, both are great for eve.

    I don't support any type of change for hi-sec incursions. However, if one of the goals of CCP is to move more players to low/null, and they want to use incursions to help push that objective, then some fundamental changes will have to be made with low-sec.

    Gate camping will have to be eliminated. I am a pvp fan but it's no fun being insta-locked and popped by 10 ships when you jump into a system; no matter how much isk you have. We all know that there is the universe map and other tools to look for gate camps, but the work/payout is not worth it.

    Increasing the frequency and payout of lo-sec incursions would possibly keep alliances like Goonswarm from attempting to lay claim, but problem number 1 needs to be resolved first.

    There is the very real issue of people not logging in or leaving eve all together if hi-sec gets nerfed, and that is not good for the game. We all love eve, but we have different views on how to make it better. For some people it's PvE, for others it's forced PvP. Players need a choice, and should not be punished for choosing a particular style of play. One thing is for certain. Nerfing hi-sec will likely spell the beginning of the end of eve, for numerous reasons. Which is really sad, because there is so much more to offer in low and null-sec.

    Game mechanics (i.e. gate camps), pirates, and the overall perception of low and null that we have been conditioned with since day one have kept a majority of the player base in hi-sec.

    my 2 cents.

  38. Disclaimer: I am a carebear who has never run an incursion, and rarely venture to low-sec.

    Idea: What if when an Incursion was "defeated" it would instead retreat to a nearby low-sec system to "regroup". Until this low-sec site(s) was taken out, no new incursion site would spawn. Assuming incursions have a max# active at a time, having this low-sec site still alive would decrease the max hi-sec incursions by 1 until dealt with.

    Further, what if a regrouping incursion, if left alone for long enough, would begin making sorties into hi-sec, making raids on players in the vicinity of gates and stations in surrounding systems.

    What if taking out an incursion (or leaving it to fester) ACTUALLY MATTERED instead of just being loot pinatas. Actual disruption of player activities could be a good incentive to mobilize them to action.

    What if they kept spreading, like a cancer, until nowhere was safe. What if their very presence degraded system security in adjacent systems to the point high-sec would eventually become low-sec. CONCORD response times would increase, until they simply wouldn't show up at all. Gates or stations sieged too long could become unusable until cleared of hostiles and repaired.
    Pirates would have a vested interest in "defending" incursion sites against players, as failing to clear them could eventually lead to new hunting grounds and more prey.

    Carebears would have incentive to go to low-sec to complete the incursions, or eventually be left with no safe refuge at all.

    Some of my favoutrite gaming moments come from when I played Tabula Rasa, the short lived MMORPG from NCSoft. Despite its many flaws, it did one thing right, and that was base assaults. Waves of enemy NPCs would periodically spawn and siege one of the many outposts in the game world, eventually escalating to the point they would overcome the local NPC troops and take over the base for their own use if enough players didn't arrive to defend it. When this happened, it could become quite difficult to remove the entrenched enemy NPCs without sufficient numbers of PCs. Friendly troops would also sometimes spawn to aid you in your efforts to retake the base.

    It took skill and coordination to defend or retake a base, and even when you failed you came away feeling like a hero for facing the seemingly insurmountable odds and making even a dent in the enemy forces. Retaking a base of equal level enemies while solo was an arduous process, but success was something you could brag about, placing you just that step above the rest.

    When Incursions were announced, I thought I would see those experiences again. I had visions of Sansha ships blockading gates and sieging stations, wreaking havoc across entire regions and forcing the residents to band together and fight back or to run and cower. I was actually nervous to travel through incursion systems at first, for fear of exactly that. Instead we get multiplayer plexes. We get WoWs "Open world Raid boss" encounters. WARs "public quests". More loot for the sake of loot alone. Even RIFT does it better. I feel CCP dropped the ball with incursions. They could have been something unique and great, to bind the community together to push back the encroaching darkness. We could have been heros, instead we're moneycounters.

    In short, Goonswarm and their associates have done a better job of being Sansha incursion forces than the Sansha have. Disappointing.

  39. I do lowsec Incursions almost exclusively and while I would like to see the spawn rate dialed up a bit I don't think you need to decrease the number of highsec ones to compensate. Lowsec ones are different from highsec ones and you can't replace one with the other. If there's a competing fleet in our constellation we try to kill them, and one of us will either die or run away.

    Lowsec Incursions can't support as many players and asking the highsec bears to go into lowsec is pointless, it's not an option for them. If you take away the highsec Incursions then they stop doing Incursions. If they start filling up lowsec then they will be killed off until there's few enough people doing it that they can keep doing it in peace.

  40. anon1222: If they ever did the "Delenn's New Gray Council" sorta thing with the CSM, I'd vote for this guy to represent the Carebear Caste.

  41. Thoeretically... does this really need CCP to change the rules for this to happen?

    Incursion public channels, blacklists, specialised fitting sites, and incursion guides, all are player initiatives. Keeping the highsec incursions up to farm them by not killing the mothership was a player organised initiative.

    If people really wanted lowsec to be the predominant type of incursion to be available, wouldn't it be theoretically possible for players to organise this? All they'd need is 40 or so people to travel around the place, kill the highsec motherships when they are available, and then when there are no highsec incursions left, go and start farming the lowsec ones.

    In theory, anyway.

  42. @ AjentSmith... Seriously?

    I agree that the problem is not necessarily hisec incursions as maybe making lowsec more appealing, but I don't get where you or anyone else get's this illusion of gate camps from?

    You run an incursion fleet, you base in hisec, you have a COVOPS scout get you to the incursion... If he dies, he/she is fail, as a cloaky is pretty much invulnerable in lowsec.

    Apart from that, who do you imagine is going to alpha you off the field? There will be no instalocking inty's as they will just be popped by the guns. there may be remote sebo gang, but Your being scouted so chances of being engaged when you don't want it are remote, but hell it's not hard, the fleet jumps together, you will be at least 10 in number with logistics, unlike hisec gankers they will be fit for tanking the gate guns, therefore there will be less alpha, you will also be in battleships and cruisers, you will have omni resists, a near pvp fit, hopefully a good FC, logistics, it's not risk free, but it's not far from it.

    I have a base in lowsec I can tell you with exception of the gate that connects hisec to lowsec I rarely see another sole, let alone an organised gang, and although other systems are not the same, it's only dangerous if you are stupid. The don't go into lowsec or you will die rhetoric you hear as an infant player is because you don't wouldn’t know how to survive in lowsec, once you do it's no more, or less dangerous than any other place in eve, certainly not with friends anyway.

  43. @Jester

    Perhaps CCP should get off the butt and create additional Incursion Content...different sites, or change the end game on existing ones...like yeah you are going to drop the ore in the can but how are you and your 255 going to deal with the 2 agua and 1 Deltoe that just warped in?

  44. I dont think incursions need a nerf at all. they are used, populated, and people are doing the job well enough to make incursions harder, by trying to form blitz fleets and contest incursions, there is a challenge brought to the game by the players themselves.
    if you reduce the number of incursions specially in highsec say buh bye to players. Some poeple play the game just for incursions, thats all i do right now is incursions, my playtime is limited and if they make incursions less available then what, they just took one aspect of the game i enjoy at the moment and took it away from me.
    Maybe make incursions less easier to farm, cause right now there are corporations and alliances out there making it so these incursions stay up longer than intended. make its so they force despawn or something happens if you dont mom it within a certain time frame. Like if you dont mom it so many hours after mom spawn no players receive LP or something stupid i know but just an example.

    Dont Nerf Incursions, leave a the good parts of the game alone and fix the bad parts.

  45. Wait? Are the goons not supposed to fight wars and not to farm low sec incursions and claim "sov" on all low sec incursions?

    Still, with the goon fleets in low sec incursions getting high sec bears into low sec seems not that likely anymore.

    Still, if FCs call, I am still sure that some will follow. I was anyway surprised that goons and other null bears did not used those low sec incursions ... seems like times have changed and risk increased.

    When we will see Jester calling in btl_pub?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.