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...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Overwhelming force

It's time for another installment of "Jester Makes History Fun(tm)" but this time I have a little twist. World War II's Battle of Leyte Gulf was one of the largest naval engagements in the history of the world. I've been dying to invoke it for a blog post for quite some time and now I finally get an excuse. Of course, World War II analogies are legion in EVE and tend to be somewhat controversial. Some players love them. Others think that they're completely inapplicable to EVE Online.

And by the end of this blog post, the one thing I can guarantee you is that if you don't have an opinion on this now, you will before I'm done.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with the key part of the story. Stick with me, because it's kind of long but I have to tell it all before I can start drawing EVE parallels.

The overall framework of this naval battle is actually pretty simple: the objective of the Allied Navies was to put invasion landing forces on the major islands of the Philippines. The objective of the Japanese Navy was to prevent this, preferably by destroying the relatively fragile landing transports and their support ships. The islands in question stretch from north to south, in three sets of archipelagos. The landing beaches were on the east side of the islands. The Philippine Sea and points south had been decisively closed to Japanese shipping a few months earlier. Therefore, the Japanese fleet had to approach from the west and had three avenues of approach:
  1. from the north, around the tip of the northern island of Luzon;
  2. between Luzon and the middle archipelago (primarily the island of Samar) through the Sibuyan Sea; or,
  3. between the middle and southern archipelagos (south of the island of Leyte) through the Surigao Straight.
With me so far? The Japanese are coming from the west and have three approaches: north, center, or south. In typical Japanese doctrine of the time, they split their forces and planned to use all three approaches. The Allies, meanwhile, had a pretty good idea the Japanese would do this and also split their forces to guard all three approaches.

This resulted in four overall naval battles: one in the north, one in the south, and two in the center.

The Allied navies had overwhelming force on the battlefield, and far outstripped the Japanese forces in every conceivable way. As a matter of fact, it's arguable that each of the three Allied task forces set to guard the northern, central, and southern approaches were more powerful than the combined Japanese fleet.

And yet, a powerful Japanese fleet still managed to evade all three defensive fleets and steam right very nearly right onto the invasion beaches and the nearly-defenseless transports and support ships!

Now, the exact details of how that was done are not particularly germane to my story. Short version:
  • In the south, U.S. Rear Admiral Jesse Oldendorf won an absolutely crushing and historic victory against the Japanese southern force.
  • In the center, after several brief skirmishes, U.S. Admiral William Halsey was baited away from the position he was supposed to be guarding by Japanese Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa. And,
  • in the north, Halsey rather foolishly -- and to put it in EVE terms in a desperate rush for kill-mails -- steamed his center force hundreds of miles after Ozawa's fleet eventually destroying much of it.
But that left the center completely open, and Japanese Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita and his center force walked right through and into the U.S. invasion force. This was called the Battle Off Samar, and I've written about it before. Had Kurita pressed his attack there, the overall outcome of World War II wouldn't have gone much differently, but the U.S. would have taken a truly embarrassing defeat after an unbroken series of victories.

How did the Japanese bait Halsey out of position? They had learned a lot about the man over the prior two years, and knew that he could be goaded into chasing Japanese carriers. So that's all their northern force was made up of: the remaining Japanese carriers, dangled in front of "Bull" Halsey, who had a dream of getting Japanese carrier kill-mails. That tendency drew him hours out of position, nearly cost him the entire battle, and it was only luck and a desperate action by overwhelmed American forces off Samar that prevented it.

U.S. propaganda at the time -- which is actually really a lot like EVE propaganda -- stated that before the Battle of Midway two years earlier, the U.S. had known nothing but defeat. After Midway, the U.S. knew nothing but victory. Now that wasn't quite true -- that's another part that's a lot like EVE propaganda -- but it was true enough that a Japanese victory in the Battle Off Samar would now be a lot more remembered.

So, let's start comparing this to EVE but before we do, I just want to take one more minute to remind you: this battle took place between:
  • three Japanese forces, north, center, and south; and,
  • three Allied forces in the same locations, each of which was about the strength of the total Japanese force, plus the Allied invasion force.
Got it? Let's put it into an EVE perspective.

In a lot of ways, this was just like an EVE fight: the overall battle was like a final null-sec station timer because everyone knew where and when the battle was going to take place (there's no way the Allies could hide those troop transports). But in a seriously important way, this battle was absolutely nothing like an EVE fight. Had the Battle of Leyte Gulf been an EVE fight, all seven fleets on both sides would have fought off Samar where the invasion force was!

Instead of four disparate battles fought over four different objectives supporting an overall strategic plan where the admirals involved had to intelligently split their forces to move and counter-move against their opponents, every ship involved would have been in a big melee around the main objective. The Japanese force therefore wouldn't have stood a chance, overwhelmed as they were nearly four to one in striking power. It was only the tactics and counter-tactics used and involved that gave the Japanese any chance of any sort of victory at all... and those tactics very nearly worked!

In EVE, of course, no such tactics exist.

In EVE, everyone just piles into the same system and smashes into each other until the overwhelmed side acknowledges they've been overwhelmed... but they hope to get a few kill-mails out of it. Sure, there might be disparate battles that happen in that single system where the overwhelmed side gets local superiority for a few seconds (bombing run) or a couple of minutes of sniping and skirmishing. But these are minor anecdotes around the overall battle, rarely remembered.

Had World War II been like EVE, Bull Halsey could have instantly titan bridged his center force back into position once he realized he was being baited out of position. More likely, he could have first titan bridged his fleet on top of the Japanese carriers, destroyed them, and then bridged back.

Things like true logistics, supply lines, rear echelon forces, and the like don't exist in EVE either. Nor does the concept of using tactics to bait fleets out of position where they can have no impact on a battle. Even if these tactics were somehow successful, fleet mobility in EVE is far too good to allow it to be successful for more than a few minutes. Remember when a few of PL's capital ships missed a cyno headed toward a major battle a few weeks back and RAZOR pounced on them? PL simply jumped an overwhelming force back and wiped the floor with the RAZOR dreads.

And yet in real life, using tactics to bait the enemy into fighting where you want to fight instead of where he wants to fight have been a major component of large battles, naval and otherwise, for thousands of years. So has ambushing a moving force caught out of position.(1)

A lot of EVE players including myself have fond memories of the Homeworld series of games. This series of games was notorious for throwing Leyte-style split fleet engagements at you and forcing you to make tactical decisions about how to split up your forces and address multiple threats. In the final mission of the first game, you more or less literally play as the Japanese at Leyte! There are three fleets opposing you, each of which is the equal of your own fleet, all of them coming at you from three different directions. If you turtle up and wait for them to come to you, you'll be wiped out by this three to one overwhelming force. Only by striking out and attacking each of the three fleets in turn do you have a chance. Homeworld sequels threw this situation at you more and more often. There are three such missions in Homeworld: Cataclysm and no less than six in Homeworld 2. Homeworld also includes supply lines which can be broken and rear echelon forces which can be disrupted.

The net result of all of this? When people say you can't use World War II analogies to describe EVE Online combat? You know what? That's not a complimentary fact about EVE!

As the EVE meta is now, numbers will always win out over tactics because the very mechanics of the game are structured to make tactics irrelevant and numbers superior. Again, you might manage to achieve local and very brief superiority over a portion of an enemy force, but we're seeing more and more often that simply overwhelming force is brought to bear by one side and there's little or nothing that the other side can do about it.

CCP's devs working to make "guerrilla tactics" behind enemy lines a reality probably have these facts in mind as they work their magic. Hopefully we'll see at least part of this problem with EVE addressed over the next couple of years with the addition of supply lines that can be cut and rear echelon forces that can be disrupted. In the meantime though, when I'm asked why I'm less and less interested in the goings on in sov null-sec space? This is a big reason why. And until something is done about it, sov battles are only going to get bigger and bigger... with more of them decided by node crashes caused by overwhelming force instead of tactics.


(1) It's interesting to think about what would have happened to those RAZOR dreads had they had the Mobile Cyno Inhibitor available to them at that time.

60 comments:

  1. It's a lot easier to bring in supplies around interdicting forces when you can do so with Jump Freighters. These, and Titan bridges, allow you to ignore the geography of new Eden.

    A huge aspect of military strategy is to use the terrain to hide your forces and separate the ennemies'.

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  2. The big difference between EVE and real world war is - Terrain. With the current Jump/Bridging mechanics EVE has no terrain. No "Choke Points", No "High Ground", No "Defensible Positions". Bring Terrain back to EVE and things will change dramatically.

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    1. I'd offer that EVE does have terrain, there are choke points at the end of pipes, there are choke points in and out of wormholes.

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  3. Real Naval warfare involves weeks and month of travel for a day of battle. In world war 2, it is very common to have only two weeks of engagement per YEAR for a major combat warship. If you are the Germans things are considerably worst, with most ships sitting in port year on year end in both world wars.

    MMO isn't a strategy game and no one wants to play "rear echelon" and sit around being either bored or dead. Can you imagine playing destroyer escorts protecting the carriers for 4 years and only to see a blob of battleships one day and dying horribly in a delaying action?

    Of course, in Eve the thing that decides wars is not ships anyways. Killing ships don't win sov wars, killing player motivation to login does. Even if cute tactics for bypassing enemy fleet mass, the BEST tactics is one that gives line members a fleet to shoot at. Don't mistake cat herding warfare with warfare about expensive and irreplaceable ships.

    Not that Eve could survive warfare being determined by small numbers of hard to replace warships. The supercarrier era was the closest to that, and fights are hard to come by beside no one wants to fight while weaker. This is not unlike German naval strategy of not fighting and wasting useful assets. If the Japanese were not in a combined state of desperate and insane, there wouldn't have been a war anyways.

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    1. spot on. eve players dont die, and our ships are cheap and easily replaced. this is why you cannot compare ANY virtual world to a real one. consequences are the main drivers of action. with differing consequences, its foolish to attempt to compare the two separate worlds. eve players are driven by fun, not a desire to stay alive.

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  4. I agree. Until logistics (as in supply lines and such) are included in the game, the battles will be large and Tidi will be terrible. I hope that CCP will revamp sov system so that there'll be more than blobbing in the fleet battles.

    Now, in addition to that, they could then introduce the command facilities and tools to the WiS side of the game as per what was discussed lately in the "Team avatar and the future of the prototype" thread on EVE GD forum.

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  5. You are obviously a student of history. I myself am (was) a reasonable chess player. Positional play is a wonderful teacher.

    https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3964997#post3964997

    It was the post that got me thinking only the other day. My first thought was some chess analogy to explain why bridging titans are too many knight empowered queens on the board. But that only really means something to another player of game of kings. What occurred to me was this:

    Picture Eve as a analogue clock face. The hours are proportionate to the distance involved. The powers of Ten and Eleven o'clock are a Coalition. Previous defeating the strength of Nine and Twelve - organising these into tribute/rentals of the surviving/remaining parties. It provides a good buffer and income combined.

    Eight concerned that the growing industrial might of Seven is a prelude into invasion - covertly approaches Ten and Eleven to invade Seven. Eight offers non-aggression, boarder staging, safe conduct, advance intelligence and logistics.

    Invasion into Seven by the combined forces of Ten and Eleven.

    Meanwhile One emboldened by the token defence left behind stages a lightning raid into Eleven.

    Q. What is the window of opportunity for One to damage in the industrial complex of Eleven?

    A. It will take four hours for the Coalition to return sufficient forces back into Eleven's zone. Two hours for One to push into Eleven through Twelve - and good solid hour of salt the fields, slay peasants and loot CSAA. Then extract their forces by the fourth hour.

    A good setback of 12 months of capital building and ship replacement is lost.

    None of which is possible in the current climate of near insta-movement of Titans.

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  6. The old problem of force projection...
    we need a supply line for reships ... cyno up, 10 seconds later all reinforcements have arrived. Can we please get spool up or lock times for cynos? Carrier will need 1 minute to lock on cyno, Titan or bridge up to 5 min. Either you have a well protected cyno to get your support in or a system out of enemy surveillance.

    And the problem with all in one system is bound to the sov mechanic. 1 timer for a system... no need to fight in another system. We have constellations, why not extend fights to those. you don't claim a single system but a whole constellation. shooting just one system at a time will result in not winning that system as the "connectors" are too strong.

    looking forward to see what CCP will come up with for guerrilla tactics.
    And a nice lesson of history, thanks Jester.

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    1. that is a solid idea. move to the constellation level and thats instantly better for lag and tactics. well done.

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  7. Halsey looking for "Carrier Kill mails", split my sides laughing at this, much to the bewilderment of my office collegues. Interesting to see if €€P can implements gameplay that negates the current model of 'bring more peeps' for major fights.

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  8. Excellent points Jester. Agree entirely.

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  9. Zzzzz.... call me in a couple of years.

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    1. ... in the best case scenario.

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  10. The overwhelming force in WWII prevailed too, did they not? The tactics were sly, and the foolish FC whelped much of his fleet, but in the end numbers won.

    There's more tactics on a large EVE battlefield than you're letting on to - most of it warping around, probing, bombing runs and bubbling, but that maneuvering occurs in seconds (even in 10% tidi) - much faster than naval warships around an island chain. And the "terrain" involved is almost universally player-created with bubbles, but that's space for you.

    The specific tactic of drawing a kill-mail hungry FC into putting his force right where you want him to put it happens quite a lot in EVE.

    Your point is well-taken, but the lack of tactics isn't as bad as you paint it.

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    1. No, not the numbers won in the end. The attackers could have easily won the stratetic target but decided to retreat instead (they'd successfully baited Halsey away, but didn't realize it)

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  11. Exactly what i've been missing in eve for a long time......tactical positioning and movement.

    Not even in regions could you move a fleet to "split" up the enemy....cause most runs in systems are one way....

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  12. I've always thought EVE supers should work more like the WWII carrier groups. You should have to scout out enemy carrier groups and organise your own group(s) to intercept.
    Titan bridging massive blobs admittedly requires a lot of work to set up, but the end result is null space effectively getting smaller, as the supers can travel vast distances.

    Ignoring the tears of change, how would null work without bridging, where all ships had to use jump gates (or worm holes)? It would obviously be massively different, but better or worse as a game?

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  13. Agreed. "Professionals study logistics." ( http://www.military-quotes.com/forum/logistics-quotes-t511.html )

    Having supply lines and no (or more limited) insta-jumps would make for more interesting battles. On the other hand... if the meta-game was vicious until now, I absolutely dread to think what it's going to become.

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  14. Jester great post. I'm retired US Navy and my wife is from Leyte Gulf so this blog post was really special for me. Here's an interesting tidbit, General Macarthur made his return to the Philippines by wading a shore on the island of Leyte. The Filipinos erected a statue of him in Leyte. As a matter of fact, the statue was one of the only things left standing after the recent typhoon. Great post and yes CCP needs to make tactics matter as much as blobs...

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  15. IMHO, the existing blobbing occurs because there is never a risk of friendly fire. Any ship can shoot through a wall of friendlies and hit their target. CCP could force players to use tactics by making a weapon NOT FIRE if there was a friendly between the attacker and target (or just implement friendly fire). If the game required a clear field of fire it would be ineffective to warp or jump large blobs of ships to a combat zone because half of them wouldn't have a clear shot. What this would do is force fleets to actually use their Wings/Squads separately and come in from different directions so that it required less maneuvering to get a clear fire path.
    In large engagements, fleets would be required to flatten out into a "plane-of-battle" ("line of battle" in 3D) parallel to each other. This would:
    A) Change the dynamics of the fleet because the ranges would now be substantially different between the various ships in the fleets.
    B) Make it possible to actually flank by warping a a Wing to a point off the edge of the enemies wall-of-battle" - most of the ships in the plane would have a friendly between them and the flanker and thus not be able to shoot. The flanked fleet would have to maneuver out of the plane to get a firing line on the flankers - ruining their ability to fire on the original target. If the flanked fleet had a wing of snipers behind the main wall-of-battle.
    In short, this basic change would naturally nerf blobs and push combat back down to smaller units.
    -Mark

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    1. This, this and THIS.

      In any halfway realistic situation, gunnery crews and AI/computer tracking/guidance would not allow friendly fire, holding fire until clear... and co-incidentally considerably cutting the DPS of any given fleet with the current random fleet flight mechanics in EvE (fleet formation flight mechanics? wonder how much CPU that would cost...) but as things stand now, avoiding friendly fire this would ONLY affect 'direct' fire weapons.

      Missiles and drones (minus sentries) however can fly 'around' all the 'things'... Lazors, Blasters, Rails and Guns will disappear from fleet comps in favor of the only weapons that cannot cause friendly fire and consistently deliver their full DPS... waves and waves and waves of missiles and drones...

      Interestingly enough, this paradigm shift will also possibly help to reduce blobbing once everyone works the reduced number of ships (+drones +missiles) it takes to crash an un-reinforced node and how many will crash a reinforced node.

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    2. CCP can reduce missile damage, based on target signature and how many ships lock the target, explanation - missiles will be destroyed in flight by friendly explosions.

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  16. I don't know if you would call this a problem, but IMO a major factor that affects this analogy is the presence of alts. In real life, you as a soldier are physically in one place at any given time. In eve, that's not always the case. I can be 2 soldiers in that one place, or 2 soldiers in 2 different places. I don't use them (I'm broke :/) but alts are a convenient way to have all your bases covered. Send the capital alt on a tower bash, bring the sub cap alt in for support or keep him in a different strategic location

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  17. So off the top of my head, lowering ehp of sov structures, and increasing the ability to bridge fleets without titans, but lower their range or increase their cost might be a step in that direction.

    If you have to bring a dozen dreads to every timer in order to save the countless hours it would take otherwise, people would be more inclined to take split fleets into different systems, creating multiple timers. you could then theoretically split your fleet into both of them, whichever one is engaged by a spear tactic is to delay and safe jump. the others do their deed. rotate as they bridge from area to area. with the new mobile jammers, would make this cost time, which gives advantages to attackers.

    But yeah, asking people to either bring proper dps, and have to commit resources that even many alliances only have a single fleet of, or bombers for hours on end isn't going to encourage that.

    a sieged dreadnaught should almost be enough with proper subcap support. definately not 12 of them unsieged because everyones afraid of losing them.

    Since I assume this is referencing some CSM knowledge you have without NDAing it, I sincerely hope it happens. The day you can see an organized smaller force beat out a blob of F1 monkeys will be a good day, might even bring me back to the side of championing 0.0 PVP

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  18. thats what iam talking about at least a year now.

    remove every movement type from game that doesnt use gates and almost all eve problems are solved.

    how would someone protect multiple regions of space? you still can pile up 500 carrier 200 titans and 300 supers in one system and make sure nothing happens to your core systems.
    but if you have to go 25 jumps through stargates with such a force, you will loose some of your ships, it will take forever and maybe you will even encounter situations where you cant pass. and once you are 25 jumps away from your home you cant just go back or protect the other side of your empire.

    on the other side you cant import millions m3 of equipment and ships from jita every day without jumpfreighter instant travel. would require some local industry to keep your troops armed.

    and so on. of course lots of people will not like that . personaly i make most of my isk from jumpfreighter stuff, i have capital alts, super cap alt and soon(tm) i will be able to buy a titan.
    but at the end i think removing all kinds of jumpdrives and bridges would improve the game a lot and solve most problems with player rage as the only bad side.

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  19. Your history of Leyte Gulf is flawed in a number of respects, Jester, but your encapsulation of the basic premise is correct; and I agree with your analogy. Having also played Homeworld, I also agree with your incorporation of the lessons learned that.

    Now, this said, I don't think such strategic maneuvering is entirely missing from the game - you can find elements of it low sec combat (such activity is par for the course in most FW fleet warfare, for instance), or at least it has been. And it can also be seen occasionally in the vanishingly rare high sec wars.

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  20. 1) Battles on the ocean on the whole, do not happen in open water
    2) Battles on the seas tend to happen at pinch points, where issues related to being able to get your fleet 'on grid' are quite real
    3) Think of the battle of Salamis - Where would the Greeks have been without how the land affected the sea ?
    4) When Napoleon surged into Russia, the Russians slowly gave way, pulling the French away from their supplies. The French could not sustain their efforts, stalled, and the Russians pushed them back.

    I believe we need to find a way to bring the cost of movement into EVE. Not an ISK cost, but an effort cost. To me, jump bridges (bridging, networks, all of it) make movement too easy. Tiny fleet, much less effort that moving a major fleet. Capital ships? moving them should be far, far worse than moving an equivalent DPS of cruisers.

    One downside of all our discussions, is that EVE players know Napoleon. And Sun Tzu. Many have read the Five Rings, studied the US Civil War, the War of the Roses, and know about the War of Jenkin's Ear. They've talked about Salamis, and the Nile, and Trafalgar. They've argued over Cornwallis (both brothers), the Battle of the Bulge, Ypres, El Sid, Iwo Jima, the Desert Fox. They've read Machiavelli and Ender's Game. They can quote Caesar and The Princess Bride.

    In my mind, no player group on the planet has a wider range of knowledge on all things related to conflict that EVE players, both theoretical and practical. CCP Devs have to deal with insanely intelligent players, who can find loopholes in DNA strands.

    I will not subscribe to the notion that the solution to what ails Null sec is in anyway simple. It will take a lot of hard work, very careful planning, a substantial amount of feedback, and a lot of time to make EVE truly what it has the potential to be.

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  21. And what you missed is that the wicker basket BS's of the landing forces along with some jeep carriers convinced the japanese that a "real" force existed and could not be defeated. But Bah enough history is and should be written by the victor. Few if any in eve use combined arms effectively. Sure you bring logi and dps (fleet A) bombers and sub caps (Fleets B and C). No imagin inovation istead of 3 or four different fleets what if they were all one fleet? not likely and sure to die but I degress. Why not launch your bombs in the middled of fleet fight? warp in on member and "doom" cat the engaged fleet? There are many tactics on the battle field that are lacking. The truth is EVE combat is far more like the civil war when it comes to communication than it is to space combat. A fleet leader should be able to see all relevent forces in the system. A fleet commander should be able to pin down the enemy's logi with sub caps and then carpet bomb them from end to end. A fleet commander should be to instantly vector ships onto an enemy's weakness. Little to none of that happen what you end up with is three, four, twelve different admirals all trying for the same objective in their own manner with only a nodding glance at what others are doing. The furballs in 9uy were/are classic eve. Allies at the start ended the day on opposite sides, interested third parties made shambles of any attempted cordernation, I watched as at the same time BL was hammering n3 forces in support of provi they had a small black ops dropping on provi miners and ratters. less than 5 jumps away.

    My point is that blobing is the rule and allies are for only specific systems in most cases. There is an opportunity for those that might want to explore it to make tactics work. Take your PL example what if rzr had waited for the vast majority of pl to be engaged then tackled those caps? Would have been hard for PL to 'rescue them". Now while not exactly a planned tactic the sov drop durring the fountain war was an excellent opportunity that was missed. For 36 hours CFC had a wide open shot at TEST while N3 and PL were busy elswhere in a manner which precluded them from assisting TESt if the CFC would have brought its weight to bare. The problem is that in 36 hours you should be able to take huge chunks of sov but the mechanics dictate that days are spent grinding "one" system at a time. I hub timer, TCU timer, Station Timer. There should be one timer for a system and it should be between 12 and 24 hours no longer (if you can't get your people together in under 24 hours you don't deserve the system) and more than 12 that way it makes it hard for the invaders to remain in system in fleet waiting for the kill blow.

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  22. Great point. I tried EVE briefly and found it insanely boring to play and very hard to get into (which sucks because the concept is great), but I absolutely LOVE reading about it and have for years.

    What has always bothered me from an outsider-looking-in perspective is that most of the focus of the devs seems to favor a minority of player devoted to sov null. To this point it seems the majority of this minority are drawn to this area, and the huge power blocks, because they feel they have to to participate in the major focus of the game.

    ...but when I read most players writings on it they seem to be reluctant participants who would rather be writing their own stories.

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  23. You and I have been diverging on our views of the game a lot, but in this area, I agree completely.

    CCP could introduce tactical battles so easily to the game. But they won't, in fear of the huge null sec cartels, and with this bizarre idea that 4000 ship battles running at 10% real-time is somehow a good marketing angle.

    How about these concepts:

    1. Introduce some variable where a small percent of any fleet has the potential of:
    a. Not jumping at all.
    b. Ending up 1-3 systems from where they had planned.
    c. Ships actually being destroyed in the jump process.

    Make the risk factor scale based on some algorithm of quantity and mass of ships being jumped.
    So say, at one end of the scale, for 50 BS's, risk is zero.
    On the other end if the scale, where 200 supercaps are jumped, say 3% chance any individual ship won't jump, 2% chance it ends up in the wrong system, and 1% chance it ends up being destroyed in the jump process, with the clone essentially podded.

    2. Jump costs go up huge, like 100 fold. Yes, this messes with ice product costs, but Eve has had no issue in the past radically changing certain supply/demand dynamics before.

    3. Power projection is dramatically curtailed, by
    a. Really hammering the range of any given jump.
    b. Implementing a max mass jump capability from any Titan.No more 250 supercaps jumping through a single portal.
    c. Make a Titan capable of creating a jump portal of once an hour.
    d. Make no ship capable of actually jumping more than once an hour, maybe longer.
    e. Hammering the range of jump bridges, so sub-caps can't whiz around space in minutes all by themselves.

    But like I said, nothing like this will ever be implemented, not while the CSM and the CCP dev team and management team are dominated by the null sec cartels. There is no way mittens, the russians, and the rest of the RMT lords will let their income streams be affected in any way, but to increase them.

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    1. The reason none of this will get implemented is because these ideas aren't good.

      Ideas that are good are ones that enhance the current game and/or change it in a way that's more fun for the overall number of people playing.

      Your ideas aren't aimed at changing null for the better your ideas are entirely fuelled by a will to hurt null sec people.

      How would any of these ideas raise the level of fun for those involved?

      Delete
    2. Dimsdale, the last few posts I have read from you have begun to swing slightly towards reasonable... I find this weird considering your zealous history...

      Ships actually being destroyed in the jump process.

      1% chance it ends up being destroyed in the jump process, with the clone essentially podded.

      This attitude is why you will not ever be taken seriously. These are not 'reasonable' suggestions when one considers players experience.
      Look, let's please leave the whole "Ebil RMTing Null Sec Alliance Leadership" thing off for a minute ok?

      The VAST majority of the players in nullsec are NOT 'leadership' and are there just to play the game as a part of the Big Story of EvE. If you want to be taken seriously and not ignored out of hand as nothing more than a troll, please consider the regular player in nullsec not the RMT'd up Leadership...

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  24. "CCP's devs working to make "guerrilla tactics" behind enemy lines a reality probably have these facts in mind as they work their magic."

    Guerrilla tactics behind enemy lines won't do a damn thing. There are no reasons to the favor deploying a smaller fleet instead of a large fleet other than tidi and titans make that point manageable. There are no mechanics or requirements in place that make larger organized fleets harder to field or utilize. The current mechanics with sentry drones are a particularly egregious example of how the basic game in eve suffers from the designers being blind to certain deeply ingrained design decisions when these systems are scaled to the sizes at which Sov warfare takes place.

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  25. Jezuz Rip.... how about nerfing the shit out of wayy OP cyno's??? How effing hard it that? The ONLY thing standing in the way of effecively reducing the OP of Cyno's is CCPs fear of the Nullm Alliances getting pissed... They can't kow tow to one playergroup and call it a sandbox.

    Your appraisal of the comparison between RL and EVE is spot on, especially here...
    I shall paraphrase for clarity:

    In EVE no-one should be able to instantly titan bridge any large force back into position upon realizing he was being baited out of position. And should never be able to titan bridge any fleet on top of anyone, destroying them, and then bridging the fleet back...

    Instant force projection of this magnitude, being restricted to those able to own and operate Titans, is a sandbox breaking mechanic.

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  26. Introducing realistic strategy to accomplish what you say above would kill 80% of the player base off immediately. It would make for a vastly superior game but it wouldn't fit the "push button-get bacon" mentality that is the mindset of 95% of the current EvE player base.

    Case in point, according to the live event a few months ago, the Titan above Caldari prime I read somewhere in the lore was so large it could affect tides etc. and that it crashing into the planet caused massive devastation.

    Now, lets look at your average blob fight...what kind of mass do you get when you put 2000 Slowcats and Titans on field?...Shouldn't that cause HUGE gravitational pulls?

    Or The ship design. Lets make all ships be able to field a particular type of gun specifically for a particular damage type. In WW2 Battleships began the war as the primary combat system, by the end?...Shore bombardment and Aint-Aircraft duty. If this was Eve, the USS New jersey would have 16" guns and that's it.

    Split weapons systems for ships?....congrats, it's there in real life, and in EvE its there as well...on KM's of month-old pilots who don't know any better. Or that in WW2 the troops and fleets took weeks to reach destinations and in EvE its a matter of seconds. I don;t recall the stories of supplies being jumped to Hawaii, then to Wake, then to Iwo...no, it was loaded in Frisco then on to Australia for a 3 month cruise 1-way.

    Much as I respect you jester and Agree that this game desperately needs what you are mentioning, it won't happen without the loss of the majority of the player base because, at least from what I've seen, the evolution of EVE since inception has been to make things Easier...not more realistic...make the realistic game tho, and Im totally there.

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    1. Actually, the vast majority of the player base does not participate in null sec sov. You may indeed be right in that a large part of the ADD F1 sov players would leave. It would not be the majority of the players and accounts. It would indeed mess with the large sov empires and the flow of ISK. And as we all know, the ISK must flow.

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  27. Cynos should be like wormholes. Give them allowed "mass in" limits and number of ship limits based on module size: small can bring in up to five cruisers, medium up to five battleships, large up to five capitals, capital cynos have no limits. Load the fuel as ammo; ammo that requires Liquid Ozone to make. Material requirements go up with module size. Specialized ships can fit up a size. When the cyno collapses from use, the cynoing ship is released from lock down.

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  28. "It's interesting to think about what would have happened to those RAZOR dreads had they had the Mobile Cyno Inhibitor available to them at that time."

    Bear in mind, the decision to drop dreads was made late, once we saw what was on the field. Had we planned it, things might have gone currently, too.

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  29. I agree that the high level of tactical and (especially) strategic mobility for even heavy fleets in Eve is a serious issue; it affects everything from the fact that battles tend to boil down to giant fights in a single location to the "ease" with which alliances can claim huge swaths of largely-empty space...but how do you suggest changing the battlespace to change this?

    At least part of the problem is that there's no "terrain" in Eve's space, aside from gate web structure (which is largely irrelevant in an era where most movement is via titan bridges); TiDi also compounds the problem by making it easy for out-of-system reinforcements to arrive before battles can fall decisively in one side's favor. Obviously, not having TiDi was much worse, but it while it makes the game less painful for those involved, it makes it harder to defeat someone in detail.

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  30. It was an interesting read, but there are a number of reasons why the analogy of the Pacific Theatre of Operations and EVE doesn't work.

    First and the biggest reason is that all the naval engagements in the Pacific from December 7/8 1941 to Okinawa were Mahanian engagements. From Pearl Harbor to the destruction of Force Z to the Slot/Ironbottom Sound to Truk to Leyte Gulf to Okinawa every battle was about having that massive engagement that would allow the winner complete strategic control of the region's seas and sea lanes.

    That just can't happen in EVE because of the ability to build spare ships, rapidly reship and either get back into the fight in minutes or the next day.

    Secondly, there really isn't any strategic control in EVE, sure gates can be camped and cynos can be targeted, but with enough ISK and enough ships anything can be overcome. Unless a ship is carrying physical assets worth ISK, there is no real way to target an economy. In WW2 when you sank all the enemy's cargo ships the enemy loses. In EVE even if you could blow up all the enemy's freighters, they can still move ISK around to alts, alt accounts, alt corps and move assets around covertly.

    Now, in wormholes, we can actually apply the Mahanian theory of sealane control and targeting cargo ships. Wormholes can be almost completely secured (as long as you have people watching for new incoming connections 23/7), towers can be sieged and destroyed, cargo ships are vital, etc.

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  31. To be fair, if Leyte were Eve, the Battle off samar would've been a massacre, since Kurita would've just looked at his overview and seen he was facing a handful of frigates, destroyers, and jeep carriers.

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    1. Jester's point is: if it were Eve, Halsey would have jumped back, before the massacre could even start. That is, in Eve Kurita's bait tactic doesn't work.

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  32. One hour cool down timer on a ship before it can bridge again

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  33. Perhaps Null should just be left alone for those who like to play that style of game. It sucks, but apparently a lot of people enjoy that type of gameplay.

    The new space they plan to open up though, that might be a great way to introduce new and better mechanics to a section of EVE space for those who enjoy the type of tactical gameplay that you enjoy. There is absolutely no reason that CCP just just copy/paste systems and mechanics that already exist into the new space they are opening up. They could literally change all the rules when it comes to it, and invent lore to support it.

    Its a golden opportunity for them to shake things up and open the game up to new and different playstyles, require all players to relearn how things work, ect. Think of it almost as EVE 2.0, without actually making a brand new game.

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  34. After reading all the comments here, I think maybe the best solution is to remove all jump capabilities from the game, allow supercaps and caps to move through gates just like subcaps. Give the carrier and dread a 1 minute align time, and a max AU speed of 1.5. Give supercaps a 3 minute align time, and a max AU of 0.5.

    On the flip side of that, allow players to dock up supercaps in stations.

    Now power projection is a much bigger deal, and oh so much harder.
    You won't be moving vast armada's 50 jumps in 5 minutes.
    You will have to station your supercaps in strategic locations, and have your pilots clone jump to the location of their supercaps. Now, a supercap pilot will need 2 or 3 or 4 supercaps parked all over the place to properly protect a large area.

    The ultra rich cartels will be able to afford all these ships lying around, and the poorer groups won't. But they also have a lot less area to cover than the super-rich.

    I know what would likely happen is that people would just train up more supercap clones, and park them all over the map. But at least they won't be flitting about massive ships like hummingbirds.

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  35. Ahh Ripard... Most of the time I love your blog, but sometimes you just make me want to tear my hair out. I offer a different point of view, a point of view of someone living and fighting in 0.0 for the better part of three years.

    Imagine that you are facing another 0.0 entity, and you want to take a couple of strategic moons from them. You can throw your entire force at one tower, reinforce it, and come back in a day with full force again. You might win. Or you might get stomped by the enemy.

    Alternatively, you can run around and reinforce a bunch of towers at once - let's say three for the sake of an example. Then you split your fleet in two and wait for the enemy to respond. Most likely, they will drop carriers or logistics to repair one of the towers, protected by a fleet. So you attack them with half of your fleet. Let's say they use the Overwhelming Force strategy and just pile everyone in that system. Even though you probably can't engage directly, you can still menace the reppers and force the hostile fleet to stay and defend them. You just need to avoid a direct engagement. Meanwhile, the other half of your fleet goes and takes the remaining two towers. The hostiles can't have their Overwhelming Force in three places at once, no matter what you win some.

    Now, I know that the effectiveness of this can be mitigated in some ways (e.g. staggering reinforcement timers), but this is a very real and effective strategy, and I've been on either side of it many times.

    Why is it not used as frequently then? Well, look at it from the point of view of a rank soldier. One fleet plays cat and mouse for an hour, deliberately avoids engagement, and in the worst case gets wiped. Another fleet spends an hour bashing POSes. Neither is a very attractive prospect for the average Joe who came to play spaceship pew pew simulator game and hoard killmails.

    But there is one coalition in the game that values strategic victories more than masturbating over killmails. That coalition is right now leading an offensive in no less than three distinct fronts in an effort to separate enemy fleets and lure their forces away from strategically important objectives by chasing killmails of some marginally relevant alliances. (Reminds you of something from the post?) How well this will work we will see in the following days and weeks.

    That same coalition in not so distant past captured two regions by using nothing but fast stealth bombers, running in circles around enemy fleets and never putting our significant assets under the danger of enemy supercapital Overwhelming Force. This is pretty much the definition of guerrilla warfare taken to the extreme.

    You mentioned logistics and supply lines. Some time ago, in the middle of a typical back-and-forth sovereignty struggle (I'm sorry, I'm bad at remembering details, I couldn't tell you which battle or which system this was in) a sudden call went out for one particular outpost timer. A broadcast storm so massive one would think VFK was under attack. Why was this timer so much more important than anything else in that war until then? Our spies found out that the enemy alliance was keeping all of their SRP replacement ships in one station. Dozens of billions of ships, now inaccessible due to our station capture and lockout. This was a turning point in that war, unable to replace lost ships the enemy quickly fell.

    In another war the hostiles were using carriers to great advantage. Our answer was to throw battleship fleets at them. Judging by the killboards, we were losing badly. Our battleships were trading horribly with capital-heavy forces, with our ISK loss being several times that of the enemy. Why? Simple. You can go to Jita and buy 100 new Maelstroms immediately. You can't really do that with Archons. Supply lines analogy?

    (I apologize for boasting about my coalition somewhat. All my 0.0 life I've been in one alliance only, and I only wanted to talk about things I know from personal experience.)

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  36. (continued from previous post)

    To come to some conclusions:

    There is much more depth to EVE strategic combat than just Overwhelming Force everything. Don't get your info about 0.0 warfare from reading General Discussion. Talk to FCs, talk to alliance war marshals, at least talk to people fighting in these wars to get a much better picture.

    Overwhelming Force is not the best strategy to achieve strategic objectives. It is, however, the best strategy to whore on the most killmails. To get people to use other tactics, you must first make strategic objectives (which includes holding sov) more desirable than killmails. And not just for alliances as an entity, but also for individual players.

    Strategy is important, and strategists win sov wars. But to really understand and use it, you must start playing (and thinking about) EVE as a game of grand strategy, not as Gratuitous Space Battles Online.

    All the tactics outlined in your post and many other RL warfare paradigms already exist in EVE. Yes, the EVE battlefield is very different from any real theater due to all the things already mentioned here (bridges, gates, jump drives, grids, sov mechanics...), but that absolutely doesn't mean there is no strategy involved. The stratagems don't come from scripted mechanics you can read about in a wiki and follow a flowchart to execute. They emerge from the all-encompassing metagame and interconnections between all the different game mechanics.

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  37. Agreed! love to see some actual TACTICS possible.

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  38. Fun post. The the pros and cons of EvE-WWII analogies are well described.

    The fundamental difference is that WWII had hundreds of thousands of "players" doing menial jobs who wouldn't have been there but for being drafted.

    EvE battles have hundreds of players who are paying to play the game. Giving each of them the decision making power of a conscripted deck swabber wouldn't make for a fun game.

    Adding multiple cross-dependent objectives in different locations would be a big plus for EvE sov wars, but you'll never get WWII complexity with orders of magnitudes fewer participants who have to want to be there.

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  39. You guys are so wrong, there is a place in new eden where a fight like that is possible.
    It is called w-space... .

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  40. This can be solved with a modified jump cool down timer. What you do is you invent a second restriction on jumps called "jump navigation computation range". This is simply any system in space and everything within normal jump range if that system. This enter system can only be changed every hour or so. When you make a jump, the destination system must be in jump range, just like today. Additionally, the destination system must also be in the sphere of "jump navigation computation range" systems. This restriction also applies to any ships that are bridged.

    This system will effectively lock capitals and any bridged ships in a sphere of space for some period of time, without being able to jump or be bridged outside of that sphere. They can respond to threats inside of the sphere, but not outside.

    You can now try and bait the enemy force to set their sphere outside of your true target, then quickly hit that target while they can not get there except by using star gates.

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  41. I do have one problem with this post, in that you are compared an SP game to a PvP oriented game. You can handicraft the experience to make even protecting a line of civilian ships an interesting activities (I remember had had to try that mission a few times; if you let even a single get infected you are done), but the same cannot be said about the latter.

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  42. If the Razor dreads had had mobile cyno inhibitors, the cyno would have been lit beyond its range. The dreads would have been hosed anyway due to siege timers. The mobile cyno jammer is only useful for subcaps, and only if the fleet commander can warp the fleet away faster than the new ludicrous-speed dictors can land on top of it. In short, it's kind of useless.

    Strategic positioning in EVE doesn't matter because in EVE movement is free and near-instant. Due to the proliferation of titan bridges, jump bridges, and capitals, it's possible for any coalition in the game to move its entire effective force across the map in under an hour. So a fleet blob can threaten everything within several regions from a single system. Changing this situation would require massive nerfs to titans, jump bridges, capitals, and jump clones. Which will never happen due to vested interests going full-retard on the forums.

    Thinking on the matter, maybe the following would work:

    For regular cynos, the transit mass limit should be proportional to the mass of the cyno ship. Higher cyno ship mass should provide diminishing returns. So a disposable frigate can light a cyno for a handful of ships, but it would take a capital or even a supercapital to move a full fleet. Cyno timers should increase based on the transit mass. Maybe triple the cyno time for max transit mass. This would not affect small movers, who use disposable frigates and alts anyway.

    For jump bridges, use the Honorverse mass limit formula. One or two ships moving through a bridge would just consume fuel. A lot of ships moving through the bridge in a small timeframe would lock that bridge down for hours or days, during which that bridge cannot be taken down or re-routed.

    Ditto for cyno beacons.

    For titan bridges, use a similar formula as for jump bridges, but make the titan unable to warp or do anything for a protracted period, and make it unable to remove the portal generator or make new bridges for at least a day or two.

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  43. I would even go so far to say this is the reason why many people have no active subscriptions right now.

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  44. I have just one thing to say:
    FF= frigate
    DD= Destroyer
    CL= Cruiser (CA can be heavy assault cruiser)
    BC= Battlecruiser (because it make more sense than CB or CC)
    BB= Battleship
    Every tech 2 and faction varient can go off that.

    BS is not battleship. BS is what people sling around in arguments about this stuff.

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  45. EVE players like fighting and not travelling. As much as I would like to see objectives spread over several systems simultaneously, I don't want to see it at the expense of bridging or jumping. Spending 25 minutes jumping gates to get to a fight is not good gameplay, period.

    The heart of the nullsec issues is the superiority of numbers over tactics, skills and resources. Numbers win every time, which has resulted in the formation of huge coalitions, 2500 man fights for every station and hundreds of jumps separating pilots from other pilots to shoot at.

    As long as numbers win fights the incentive will always be to form a bigger coalition.

    There are a few strategies that allow you to fight outnumbered. Tracking titans, sentry carriers, blap dreads. Unfortunately these get nerfed as soon as they are discovered, which is only accelerating the current trend. As far as I'm concerned, fighting the blob with your wallet should be "A Thing". Tracking titans should be brought back and new tactics/ships should be introduced to let the smaller group fight against the odds.

    To do otherwise will give us a single megacoalition within 12 months.

    Also a slight factual correction. PL did not jump back from the main fight to save people tackled in the midpoint (as the main fight was bubbled completely). The stranded midpoint capitals were saved by a rear guard group who were waiting further down the cyno chain incase this sort of thing happened. If Razor had committed more than a handful of dreads the PL rear guard group would not have engaged and the midpoint capitals would have died.

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  46. Lock all ships to the same rules and timer of the Cyno they're jumping to. So if it has a minute of time left, everyone who jumps is stuck there unable to move etc till the minute passes. It'd slow down reinforcements and force groups to tactically Cyno in fleets instead of just dropping them in the middle of the fight.
    You want to Cyno in your 200 man super fleet, fine, build a proper beachhead with your other ships to cover the Cyno and use something besides a newb ship, or risk them getting cut up while they wait down the timer.

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  47. Jump clones also reduce the size of eve and the thinking of tactics and strategy in attack and defence. Jump to region at other side of map to defend it, rinse and repeat.

    Nerfing jump clones so you can only use them in the same station and at the same time drastically reduce their usage time to maybe a minute. Cyno inhibitors I feel are too nerfed at the moment. Im not sure how long bubbles last but I think its longer than cyno inhibitors. Hell mobile depots last for 30! Their range is abysmal I feel as well, it should be measured in au not km.

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  48. I believe you missed the most important thing that makes Leyte different from the current mechanics in EVE Online: What was the "strategic objective" of that battle?

    It was about putting people in space, to let those people continue holding operations in said space. It was not about about planting flags or sieging unmanned castles.

    The best way to put "strategic objectives" back in the hands of individual players and separate fronts into a fluent stream over the entire EVE-map is the same as it has always been: put value back into space itself and objectives back onto valuable ships in said space.

    The issue with this rather simple logic is that CCP have gone in the COMPLETE OPPOSITE DIRECTION for years - and in large part still steam on, windmilling after the proverbial Carrier - instead of putting a strategic value back in the killmail of the actual Carrier.

    What is that issue? They have made ships cheap. They have made cheap ships better than more expensive ships and with that they have murdered their own multi-dimensional progression (tech, tier and class) in favour of a single vertical progression where bigger is always better (class > tech > tier) and the cheapest option within a class best suited for a large standstill of trading blows (tank and reach) becomming the most popular.

    It's in the economy (cheap ships = bigger numbers, bigger ships being the only option to counter a bigger fleet) just as much as it is in the strategic objective, where static objectives endorse marching and standstill tactics that benefit bigger numbers and bigger ships.

    Solving the issue is as easy as identifying it: Go back to the game's roots! Let ships bring in resources from space and make ships more expensive (make more expensive ships better balanced to the numerics of several cheaper ships) to take on the role of a strategic objective (an objective that will earn the victor valuable resources and strip the beaten of valuable resources).

    The problem is not that moons make too much income - the problem is that ships do not generate enough income in space or when lost to be any form of a strategic objective unless it's a Supercapital, which still does represent tangible loss and generate potential income when lost. Look at any interesting fight at any scale recently and you can see that they have involved a narrative of Supercapital loss. It can be recent small scale stuff like the Groon Titan, it can be something big like Asakai or something inbetween that never escalated like the Revenant or the Lowsec DD - all of it has been spontaneous, intuitive and interactive gameplay.

    That's the sort of gameplay this game needs. It does not need new areas of space to divide the playerbase further, new tedious mechanics to be exploited or yet another structure to shoot. It's all about ships in space, that's how you make strategic objectives spread across the map and become vivid, part of a living narrative - where you explore, find, capture and fight. That was what the old EVE was all about - when catching that ship, hoisting your flags and hauling home that loot was core gameplay. Take a stroll through space today and you might find the odd Frigate that you decide not to shoot because it won't drop any resources, land no personel and claim no islands through it's mere presence on them - without building castles or leaving flags behind.

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  49. eve has two issues
    1. fleet movement, anchoring and assign drones
    nobody has to fly his ship on its own in a fight
    it's just anchor up on FC, asign drones, go afk
    there is no room for indivudial piloting and resulting mistakes by players

    2. logis are overpowered
    for smaller fleets, especially in small gangs / roamings
    its impossible to fight something bigger because usually every shit fleet has more logis than anything else

    just think about how would fights be if no logis would exists
    it would be awesome and not the usual "we cant undock cuz we cant kill anything"

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