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.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

QOTW: Lack of constraint

Frequent forum writer Marlona Sky has written a blog post! And it's a doozy.

I've said many a time that EVE's small- and medium-gang PvP'ers will only endure 15 to 20 jumps in order to find a fight. This is why I refer to 2009 and 2010 as the golden age of this kind of play in EVE. That was the time that you could cross 15 or 20 jumps and in this time cross the borders of six or eight small states who might form up to fight you. These days, the map might say you're crossing six or eight states, but all of them are allied and if they form up, they're going to form up together, 200 or more strong.

And they're not interested in giving you a fight.

Marlona converts this problem into an absolutely devastating re-imaging of the EVE Online map -- and yes, it's oversimplified it a bit. But looking at it, the words of Malcolm Reynolds echoed through my head: "Come a day there won't be room for naughty men like us to slip about at all."


And if the piece stopped there, it would be a fantastic blog post. But that's just where Marlona starts. It's barely the introduction. Instead of gate jumps, Marlona converts this equation to the amount of time a gang will endure before a fight. He then examines how long it takes -- in this re-imaging of the EVE map -- for one fleet to reach the fleet of an enemy. Hint: the fact that he uses 99 jumps as a baseline should tell people something. And that analysis is -- if anything -- even more devastating than the map itself. It also includes an amusing quote of the week:
Often times while stuck in an uncool version of Bullet Time from The Matrix, [sov blob players] long for the joys of smaller scale warfare.
Marlona then suggests a solution. While I'm not entirely sold on it yet -- it's quite complex, but is it good complexity or bad complexity? -- it is interesting and it's causing a lot of discussion this morning right across New Eden.

So go read the full piece. It's long but very much worth your time and it will get you into the discussion. And given that Marlona went to the trouble to put it on a blog site, may this be the first of many such blog posts!

46 comments:

  1. Why would CCP change anything to do with teleportation mechanics when huge battles bring headlines and a jackpot of new players? Of course these same players will soon leave after they figure out that A) They can't participate in those huge battles and B) The playerbase is full of griefing shit heads. Who really cares about new player experience though, there will be another huge battle right around the corner and the cycle can repeat.

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    1. It's really easy for new player to be involve into these battle, null sec mega corp/alliance are super noob friendly.

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  2. I really hate to break it to you but even in 2008 I had to do around 30 jumps to find the first hostile system. The memory is really short for many people.

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  3. Hey, an idea from Marlona Sky I don't totally hate. Nice that he's finally come around to the idea of nerfing the eff out of capitals and in particular capital mobility. A month ago you would not have seen this idea from him. I wonder what's changed?

    OK, trolling aside, an interesting question to ask is: why wasn't mobility a problem 4 years ago? Jump bridges were even better back then, with 2 per system. Clone and pod jumps haven't gotten *that* much better, despite the cooldown reduction and lower clone costs. What has changed most is the number of people with caps.

    Another interesting question: why has the CFC been successful. The answer is mostly numbers. But why has the CFC been able to form a rock-solid coalition with more members than any before? The CFC at it's heart is a reaction to how the old NC died. A large bloc was stomped by a smaller group with lots and lots of supers. The lesson was that the other guys have 500 supers, so we need to have a ton of dudes. And we need to keep them active, because inactivity was another thing that killed the old NC.

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    1. Marlona has been harping on about power projection for about 6 months (since before the Halloween war even started) on failheap, this blog post of his is merely the culmination of it all.

      As for the CFC being successful, it's a coalition run by space politicians at the top who sat on an isk faucet for a long time and allowed their content creators free reign to do pretty much what they want with lots of reimbursement. That may be an over simplification but the initial success of goons (which I know very little about) made them attractive to potential members of the CFC.

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    2. I think you answered your own question: mobility was less of an issue before (though people surely started getting nervous), because there were fewer people with caps.

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    3. Marlona is proposing this for years just for your information.

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    4. Another reason this has become a bigger problem is because of TiDi. If I recall correctly, the B-R brawl would have lasted less than 3 hours if Magic Hamsters, Fairy Dust, and a Leprechaun could have handled everything in realtime with so slowdown. Over within one "time zone."

      If everything could happen without TiDi - there is a chance that the fight could be over before you get your caps in system if the fight started...I dunno... an hour ago? (just pulling a number out of the air).

      -Amari

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  4. Ripard, I think Marlona knocked it out of the park on this one. I don't play the game any more for this reason. You can't find a fight in your backyard any more unless you are defining backyard by cyno range because of the political situation. You can't field a decent capital fleet unless you play the sov game because of the economics.

    Some of my best memories of Eve come from tooling around lower Syndicate in QOTSA and getting into fights with corps living in nearby constellations. It's been a long time since that kind of gameplay was to be found anywhere in New Eden.

    Sincerely,
    Dwindlehop

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    1. Syndicate is still like that, so is lowsec and any other NPC null with a decent population. . .

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    2. Actually, this gameplay is still available daily in Syndicate. Fights every single night.

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    3. Don't agree with the above responses. Everywhere you go it hot-drop o'clock. Even small losec alliances have titans now and will hot-drop AHACs with Triage support on T1 BC gangs shooting POCOs. Titans are bad for Eve.

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  5. Love it!

    Lore-wise, do a chronicle on 'jump psychosis' and have players take random SP loss if they start to exceed their limit-- so that you've got a soft limit, and a hard limit, with risk between the two. Sure, if it's important, you can make the jump-- but it will cost you, and may cost you badly.

    Perhaps also add ridiculously expensive C3-FTM-based boosters that either: a) marginally decrease the PPP hit from jumps, b) increase recharge rate marginally. By ridiculously expensive, I mean on the order of 250m+ a pop-- so that for particularly important ops like, say, B-R, you can have a 100-man capital group go through, say, 25b of boosters in the course of following the cyno chain.

    Then you'll start seeing things like strategic reserves of C3-FTM booster, and provisioning of it before important ops which can then strike beyond the red line.

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    1. Damn, both of these are amazing ideas. I love the concept of trade-offs (sure, go ahead and jump if you're ok with the risk and/or the cost).

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  6. The issue isn't players, they can make it anywhere, an office with Jump clones can do that.

    Its getting ships and guns to where you want to fight. You can either fly them there, or build them/transport them there. As is stands now, JF just don't have the distance or cargo size to move enough minerals to build them at a staging area, and it's easier to bring caps there...

    I'd bet (and it is a complex issue, tied in with your yamamoto post) if you made a ship that could titan bridge, but make it affordable for a small alliance, and switched out a JF cargo hold for a mineral hold, which would haul the equivalent of a full group of 425 rails, recycled back into minerals, multiplied by a few, and you'd see staging systems, and travel change drastically.

    People would haul minerals to the staging area, build ships on site (assuming you could make outposts crank them out better than they do now) and unleash. Granted, still just makes a different way to blob, so making a tradeoff between the amount of ships you bring to a battle, and some other important metric (perhaps more simultaneous targets requiring attention) you'd see it balance out better. If you really wanted to push the local vs global direction, nerf capital jump range, and increase JF jump range, also goes a long way for easier and better logistics, but harder to force projection

    eveplex.blogspot.ca

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  7. One of the balancing effects of capital mobility, is that while it is easy to defend, it is also easy to attack.

    Marlona's concept doesn't remove cap mobility, it becomes a resource to be utilized for maximum benefit.

    On a somewhat unrelated thought, for any volume of space, the surface increase with by the square, while the volume increases by the cube. Larger holdings will always be more efficient to hold than smaller ones. Only by being able to strike any where within a volume will the benefit of greater volumes be negated. However, if there exists a mechanism that increases the costs of defending the surface by the cube or a higher power, the benefit of ever increasing volumes is lost.

    In my mind, that is where we should be focusing our re-imagining of SOV. Just like the shape of the cap regen function, there should be an optimum point where increasing the volume of control decreases the efficiency of holding that volume - dramatically.

    I don't know how this can be done, or if any mechanism would survive the incredible skill of EvE players to work around any obstacle to their desires.

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    1. Re-imagining sov that way would just see a Russian doll of puppet holding alliances, eg goon #1, goon#2, goon#86 all evading the penalty for holding a large space empire.

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    2. Ban Goons.

      Problem solved.

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  8. I have only scanned Marlona's blog, because it IS huge. Need a break at work to read the whole thing carefully.

    But one thing comes to mind.

    Assume that capitals, and power projection in general, are nerfed. Many, many people, including me, would be thrilled. But that nerfing is a double-edged sword.

    Once power projection is nerfed, massive, expansive empires such as the goons will not be able to defend all it's borders from those that nibble away at the edge. But, conversely, NO ONE will EVER be able to seriously challenge goons again. Even today, under the existing sov system, goons are virtually impregnable, just because of the sheer effort to conquer each and every system. Any power will be exhausted before they can conquer even a small portion of their empire. Now imagine the scenario when an attacking force cannot move quickly to strike at weakly defended portions of that huge empire. In that scenario, goons hegemony becomes a game staple.

    The only way Eve gets back to being fun again for the majority of the player base is if power projection is crushed, but only in parallel with a massive overhaul in sov mechanics which force the destruction of the mega-coalitions.

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    1. How do you propose you introduce mechanics to force the destruction of coalitions given that coalitions are a metagame construct? Zero mechanics support them and thus they are immune to any mechanics changes that might impact them.

      Also it would seem like a slap in the face, no matter what you think of one group or another, to have them spend years building something only for it to be snatched away from them because they are too successful.

      No, any solution needs to be a player solution. Give the players some tools but the destruction of, or maintaining of for that matter any mega coalition should be down to players.

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  9. If you want a fight in15 jumps go live in provi, everywhere else it's caps.

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  10. Here we go again with the meme of capital ships ruining the game.
    Some kind of limit on power projection is actually a nice idea.... in hindsight. If the game had grown up with such a constraint to begin with, we could all be playing in an EVE that looks much more like city-states than superpowers.... maybe. However, this problem has been left much too long on the vine, just like technicium and a host of other obvious problems that have been allowed to far surpass the point of ripe for change, and linger well into the rotten stage.
    If the power projection of capital ships is to be essentially removed from the game, how are we to have any form of check and balance to the blob? Doing something like this is akin to CCP getting up during dinner and shitting on the table, as far as veteran pilots are concerned. You know, the guys with 100M+ skillpoints that have been playing the game for years, if not a decade?Implementing it would see a mass exodus of such players (and their subscriptions) from the game, followed closely by fleets of 500 goons in stealth bombers steamrolling nullsec, one constellation at a time. Not because it makes sense, but just because they could.
    There are far more subtle checks and balances on the power and ambition of in-game groups than just the capability of capital ships. This Rome wasn't built in a day, but it's the Rome we have. If we tear it down, can it exist again in a different form?

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    1. Hilarious! The veterans are what is wrong with this game. The vast majority of them are crybabies and/or have personality disorders. Good riddance, losers.

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    2. "if you don't keep letting me win, I'll take my ball and go home."

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  11. Marlona Sky's proposal for nerfing capitals only works as long as people don't have several of them to park all over space. Jump clone to a system with capitals, jump to the hot zone. Basically, power projection for the rich and sweet fuck all for the poor. Again. This "solution" pushes the problem down another few years to come back up to haunt everyone again.

    Capitals desperately need a nerf, but this isn't the way to go about it.

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  12. It was this spectre which when raised by CSM5 had the Goons rattling chains to be in CSM6. Then we had the bait and switch to Incarna pseudo rage and it was no longer on the table.

    Prediction: another "player event" of shiny proportions to divert the attention of gullible. Expect several articles on pravda.gsf in short order to justify the status quo. ALT sockpuppet posts daily on eve-o on why a curb to damage projection is harmful to the game and the skilled player base.

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  13. It's an interesting idea but the devil is in the details and Marlona Sky is a bit short on details. He asks us to assume sov mechanics would be somehow "different". How fast will your PPP regen? 2 days vs a week would make a huge difference. How much draw on the PPP would each method (jumpgate vs Titan bridge vs Jump bridge etc) be? He throws some numbers out and says they're only "for the sake of having some numbers". This is all fine and good and many preliminary plans in every walk of life do that just to arrive at some ballpark estimates to start. But like I said at the top, the devil is in the details and he just handwaves too much away by saying, "CCP can hammer out the little details later". To my way of thinking, CCP isn't capable of doing that in a timely fashion. So while the idea has merit, as a broad-brush approach to curbing force projection, it is just that: the genesis of an idea on how to change things. It will be impossible to get the players to come to some consensus on how all the little details shake out, never mind convince CCP to do anything so drastic.

    So I'm not too hopeful that this idea will go anywhere. In my opinion CCP has already put EVE into long term "maintenance mode" and is not interested in shaking things up too much for the forseeable future.

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  14. Question: why measure power projection in LY rather than jumps? I know it's a common measure for cap-capable guys, but everyone in a sub-cap thinks in terms of jumps.

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    1. Because Marlona's proposal specifically addresses the ways of moving that AREN'T gate jumps.

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    2. That doesn't actually answer the question. Why is LY a superior metric of distance than jumps, regardless of whether you're actually using gates or not?

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    3. If you're talking about capital projection (and Marlona is), then you have to look at lightyears, because that's the limiting factor, and it couldn't be translated to gate jumps even if you wanted to.

      Because of how systems are laid out, they're not easily comparable. I've seen 3LY jumps that skip over a dozen gates, and individual jumps (some of the big inter-regionals) that are far, far further than a capital can jump.

      While both apply to sub-caps (because bridges), LY applies to the vast majority of nullsec sovwar fleets: all cap/supercap fleets, and most bridge supported sub-caps. It just makes more sense, given that you can't easily compare the two measures, to use the 'most common' option taken in this use-case.

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    4. I keep seeing words like "can't" and "must". Yet there is no particular reason why this "must" be so except for an implementation choice. As it stands, there are two somewhat disjoint views of stellar geometry: a graph for subcaps, and points in 3D space for caps. Subcap pilots navigate in jumps (graph nodes); cap pilots navigate in LY, and there's no particularly pressing gameplay reason why this "must" be so.

      Note that this adds to the teleportation problem. Depending on the mapping between nodes and their 3-space location, a 4 LY jump might be capable of short-cutting 5 nodes or 20. The only coherent correlation is that two systems "a long way apart" will be a long way apart in both geometries.

      If we're reviewing jump mechanics, we might as well include this.

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  15. Something ought to be done to make holding sov progressively harder the bigger the sov., to keep null up for grabs and to make warfare more necessary more often. I've never known what the fix is, but Marlona may have outlined a piece of it.

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    1. CCP flat vetoed that idea back in Dominion. The current SOV System was originally proposed with checks and balances to make holding more space harder. After deliberating it was decided its "Not sandbox-y".

      There were a couple reasons for that.

      One was around Dominion was when Coalitions really started to be a thing, instead of a couple alliances joining for a singular goal... say destroy BoB... alliances were starting to band together as an alliance of alliances. The system CCP proposed back then only worked on the Alliance level, not the Coalition level.

      Two, the Senior Producer back then was... an idiot. Jester likes to joke about Grayscale. Grayscale is a titan of game design compared to some of the stuff Zulu was responsible for. To give you an idea of how bad he was, look no further than the current Super Capital problem. After years of nerfs the things are still overpowered after he did a sweeping rewrite of them from the ground up to fix... wait for it.... how overpowered they were.

      And three, the player base went into near open revolt over any mention of limits on Sov. Which all and all isn't that big of a deal. CCP has done unpopular things in the past, especially back then(incarna).

      But combined with 1 and 2.. it was a DOA idea. At this point it's gone so far I don't see it changing. We just have to hope the "New Space" opened by player built stargates has better fundamental Sov Mechanics.

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  16. While I do agree that Titan Bridging and Cynos are overpowered, I find myself chuckling, as a member of Faction Warfare it is very rare for us to roam 20 jumps to find a fight. `

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  17. A less extreme option might accomplish the same thing:

    1. Make it so that you can not jump or jump portal out of a force field.

    2. Make jump bridges an outside the pos mod that is easily incapacitated and requires most of the resources of a large pos leaving little left for defenses.

    These two changes would effectively handicap mobility by increasing the risk associated with the activity. There would also be significantly more options for small/medium gangs to make that mobility less reliable and in such ways require you to actually defend your infrastructure if you want to rely on it.

    Add in a faction war like system where you lose systems if other factions utilize them and we would have a great start on enabling more small and medium sized pvp.

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  18. Well my corp mate lost an eagle due to a titan bridge & the 20+ ships that appeared & then a few hours later lost a drake to a cyno in of 6 black ops bs.
    The alliance involved isnt even from the region.
    Hot droppin everything with lotsa peeps seems to be the future for some players it seems.

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  19. Small gang pvp? In null? Ur doing it wrong

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  20. Marlona's acticle is well done and the point is certainly valid, though I'm not sure about the suggested mechanic.
    I would be inclined to take it further (and simpler):

    - remove jump bridges from the game entirely or limit them to 1 per constellation with max range to an adjacent constellation.
    - remove cynos entirely. Capitals can only jump to the sun in an adjacent system (adjacent being defined as within 2 LY or linked by a stargate or wormhole).

    This nerfs the excessive projection and makes interception of capital movement as straightforward as camping a gate.

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  21. If you were to couple something like this with say having to put SBUs on the gate OUTSIDE the system this would help with the blob a great deal

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  22. My personal favourite 'fix' for Titan projection is to remove the bridge, and instead have titans be able to take any and all ships within 30km with it when it jumps.


    If nothing else, I want to see some crazy bastard kidnap a hostile fleet.

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  23. I'm not a sov guy but I like interesting ideas. This definitely qualifies as that. While I'm not sure I like the cap to fast travel at the individual level, I definitely like the spirit of the concept. I immediately started thinking of ways to limit how fuels might be amassed, distributed and/or employed to make the movement of larger fleets more logistically taxing, expensive or risky. Something like increasing costs in fuel required to land in a destination system as more ships land there, or putting some limit on the number of ships an individual cyno can act as a beacon for. I think the power projection of larger political entities is what needs to be addressed, rather than the projection of the individual.

    Note: I understand my ideas are likely not viable. They're illustrations, not suggestions.

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  24. How about this: rather than teleporting you directly to your target, cyno-capable ships open a wormhole into a random system of wormhole space. The capital then has to jump into the wormhole, warp across wormhole space to the exit, and jump out to their destination. Other ships can follow for a period of, say 30 seconds and the wormholes can be restricted on mass based on the size of the ship that created it. You could make the opening to and exit from wormhole space visible on the overview, but perhaps force the jump drive ship to go first.

    Want to jump a hundred carriers across the universe? Each is going to need it's own escorts and you may very well lose some to the wormhole natives. Got your cyno ship destroyed before you arrived? You're wormholes close - I hope you brought escorts, and they have probes.

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    1. I had a similar thought ...

      - remove bridges
      - change jump mechanics as follows:
      Jump capable capital must use an existing wormhole .. cyno is lit on the hole to fortify it and allow jump ship and escorts passage through (ignores mass limits)

      brings sov null and wh space inhabitants into conflict and or partnership
      ensures scouts and explorers are charting w-space and reporting back
      allows for vulnerability of transiting war fleet
      ends instant teleportation advantage

      just a thought

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  25. This map clearly show what is wrong with eve and why it is stagnating for years.

    This is just like an endgame for capitalism.

    There really is no incentive to against forces of THAT magnitude! Why bother grinding when the best of systems are already had and if you even DARE to oppose you will be baited 23/7 or just steamrolled over.

    My best bet would be to crush both sides. Never allow an alliance or a fleet of alliances to control more than 33% of the map. Map resources dynamically so that they are depleted after 2-3 month of use.

    The static nature of nullsec is one of the sources of all evil in this regard. Do away with constant values and let the system become a flux!


    That is the only way this game will survive in the long run!

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