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...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

It's how you play the game

I'm feeling kind of philosophical today, so I thought I would share.

There's a lot of games out there, both MMOs and non-MMOs, and they both reward success and how you gain that success in different ways. I want to concentrate on the latter part of that equation for this post: how games reward you based on how you succeed rather than if you succeed. It's kind of an overlooked area of game design, I find.

A lot of MMOs base your reward on the amount of force you use relative to the amount of force necessary to achieve an objective. Put another way, if you play a game like Skyrim and you kill a low-level creature or adversary at low level, you receive a large reward for doing so. However, if you kill the same low-level creature or adversary at high level, you receive a very low reward for doing so. Guild Wars 2 operates on a similar principle with a bit of variation: you can farm low level creatures at any level and you'll receive high rewards at low level and low rewards at high level. However, to encourage higher level players to assist lower level players to complete low levels, every once in a while the game will reward a high level player with a high level reward.

This model obviously encourages you to generally stick to objectives that are close to your own level.

RTS and turn-based strategy games like Civilization take a different approach: this game actively rewards you for using overwhelming force against an enemy and the rewards remain the same. If you attack a town with an overwhelming force, chances are you will take the town with few or no losses. Whether you attack that town with just enough force to do the job or overwhelming force, the reward is the same. However, attacking the town with just enough force to do the job will probably result in heavy losses. Therefore, the game actively encourages you to use overwhelming force: the upside is the same either way and the downside is much less. Starcraft uses the same model: you can use just enough force to attack an enemy base, but if you use overwhelming force to hit the same objective and achieve the same reward, your reward will be fewer losses for using this strategy.

This is the opposite approach to an MMO style of game, and it encourages you to concentrate your force on a smaller number of objectives and overpower them utterly before moving on to the next.

Other RTS games and other MMOs, however, take the opposite approach. In Homeworld 2, you are actively punished for using overwhelming force against an objective. The game cheats and builds its force based on the amount of force you bring to bear. If you bring greater forces, the game also brings greater forces. Instead of being rewarded for using the minimum amount of force, you are punished for NOT doing so. Skyrim's predecessor in the Elder Scrolls series, Oblivion, used a similar model: each creature or enemy had a level "range." Attacking a particular creature at a low level would result in a lower level version of that creature. Attacking the same creature at a high level would usually result in a much more challenging fight with a tougher adversary. In particular, there were a few timed missions in Oblivion that it was advantageous to complete at lower level where your adversaries would be easier and therefore quicker to destroy. Again, you were punished for bringing more force than was necessary to complete your objective.

What does all of this have to do with EVE? That's where the philosophy comes into play.

EVE obviously rewards you for bringing overwhelming force to bear on your objectives. This is a pillar of EVE game-play and even the devs buy into the philosophy and develop the game with that philosophy in mind. The game rewards you for bringing more friends, more logi, more special teams ships, more super-caps and basically just adding more and more bodies. Sure, add enough bodies and the servers will crash but right up until that moment, it's advantageous to bring every single person you can. And this applies to every single aspect of EVE.

What if the game didn't work that way, though? What if the game actively started punishing you for just throwing additional people at a problem?

Here's an amusing example just to give you something to think about. Suppose only the person that did top damage on a target got on kill-mails? The kill-mails could be changed such that it said "Ripard Teg and nine friends killed this ship" but the nine friends would be otherwise anonymous. Many players feel rewarded by getting on hundreds of kill-mails a week and they ensure it by making sure their fleets are enormous. But if you were one of the "nine friends" that never received any kill-mails in that fleet, you might wonder if there was another way of playing EVE.

Sure, EVE's n+1 problem would remain and I doubt it would change a whole lot about how a lot of people play the game. But today, not only are the biggest fleets rewarded with high value space worth billions of ISK, they also receive hundreds of kill-mails too. Should they get all the rewards for this game-play style? Or should they be actively punished in some way for playing the game the way they do?

What if they game were changed in some way to actively punish people who engage in n+1 game play? Like I said, a little philosophy for you.

63 comments:

  1. I've seen one way that RTS games, mainly in multiplayer, punish sending your entire army into the enemy base: If you spend too many resources on the attack on your enemies base, you haven't spent enough resources to defend your own base from a simultaneous attack.

    Eve should do something similar. Change the mechanics to encourage the attacker to split up. Maybe reduce mobility so that the attacker needs to keep some forces at home in case an enemy attacks there, maybe change sov mechanics so that the attacker needs to win simultaneous battles. N+1 is still valuable but a bit less so as a defender with less numbers can still win some of the fights if they position their forces better than the attacker does.

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    1. Also, if the simultaneous battles are in separate systems, running on different nodes, that should reduce server load a bit.

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    2. I've had only dim notions of how to get this done, and Edward is making sense. Just as sending a battleship in to destroy something is only one means to an end, and just as a swarm of frigates can take out a battleship, n+1 should eventually become just one way to win, and it should take ingenious tactics, necessarily, to defeat n+1.

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  2. There are some disadvantages already built in: at some point, you need the leadership structure to coordinate, train, and effectively use that many people. Beyond 250, you need cross-fleet coordination, to even get that many you need someone with maxed fleet command skills. At some point you'll want a teamspeak server, a wiki, forums, an auth system to coordinate logins to those, etc.

    But these are all out-of-game things, and many groups have solved those problems, perfected their noob management/training systems, and can now bring enough people to crash a node.

    What if there were in-game systems that made bringing more people have diminishing returns? Currently, it's linear: one more person means one more person's worth of DPS, alpha, or logi. The communication scales at n^2, but you can work around that with varying tradeoffs. The game has systems like this already: adding a fourth magstab does less than the third. Stacking penalties give diminishing returns, why shouldn't throwing another person at the problem also give diminishing returns? Say, each person adds %90 dps/alpha/repaired amount compared to the last person.

    I don't think taking names off killmails would be enough: there needs to be an actual consequence in terms of in-game effectiveness for this to matter, not just in the rewards and trophies for victory but in the chance for victory itself. CCP has tried to nerf the n+1 people scaling before, with Target Spectrum Breakers. I'd say that those failed to be useful, but it shows that someone at CCP understands the problem.

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    1. The issue with "group nerfs" is that they are calculated per group, but there is no actual way to tell what a "group" is.

      Say, "if you bring more than 500 ships, you'll be nerfed". Mmkay, bring 2 x 250 fleets then. HOW can the game know WHO are those 2x250 fleets?

      Let's say a rule going like: "if they're mutually blue, then they belong to the same side". That would encourage them to be neutral and keep fleet control out of game, and the game code would see neutrals mutually beating each other. Should the game apply a "flat nerf"? "Nerf all neutrals"? Mmkay, then if the nerf-trigger are 1,000 ships on grid, one side can bring 800 ships and the other side 200, everyone is nerfed, and the guy with 4x advantage still wins.

      EVE is a game about big numbers. Nothing can change that. Big numbers win in RL, and so do in games unless those games are carefully engineered to prevent big numbers -FAI, through instancing and fleet capping.

      Would EVE be the same if sovereignty was decided in 500 vs 500 instanced fights? Totally not. And then of course, the big guys could afford to fight n+1 of those capped fights simultaneously, whereas the small guys would struggle to fill the quota for a single one. Small guys could be forced to fight an endless string of battles with the same limited resource (pilots) whereas a larger force could split better the load between its larger pool of pilots.

      Big numbers always win unless you carefully engineer the rules against them by essentially not accounting the amount of people. And EVE is no such game.

      As long as the goal is to conquer and fuck others, the more is always the better. And games NOT about conquering and fucking others are not EVE...

      (But then, smart game developers will ensure that small guys & even lone guys *still* can enjoy the game, although in different ways than big guys do...)

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    2. Not sure I would agree that big numbers always win in RL. While they have an advantage, history is replete with examples of smaller forces effectively defeating larger ones.
      I agree the "how" of any mechanism would be difficult to implement since affiliation can be fairly loose in game but that doesn't mean that it isn't an interesting game factor which would benefit from additional thought.

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    3. The whole art of guerrilla warfare relies in achieving local and temporary superiority, so you have a point here.

      Anyway, guerrilla is ineffective when enemy reinforcements can be dropped on the attacker by literally pressing a button.

      Also, guerrila warfare easily turns against the smaller guy -if you can do harm to the enemy in 20 minutes, he can do the same in ten places at a time.

      Any bonus to small size can be exploited by a large force splitting itself into smaller units, and the same goes for any nerf based on size.

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    4. Yes, if you instanced fights, large alliances could just fight in n+1 instances ... but they would *lose* some of those matches where thee other team could show up. This would allow many small alliances to hold small chunks of desirable territory against large, less skilled, alliances. It would help kill the donut and make a more interesting game where more individuals can make an impact.

      *That's* the game i want to play.

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    5. > Angry Onions

      How do you know what a group is? Well, this is where the Target Spectrum Breakers become relevant again. As an anti-group module, it defines the 'group' as 'all the players locking you'. Which is a reasonable first attempt, but immediately runs into problems - like it breaking the locks of your own logi, or being countered by doing something like per-wing DPS targets.

      That %90 effectiveness could be applied to each extra player shooting/ewar'ing you beyond the first. I don't see many problems with that - besides it being overkill, %98 is probably more reasonable - but it probably isn't perfect either.

      I think spies and thiefs already counter the "accept everyone into corp" tactic (which is a major way to create the numbers to abuse n+1 strategies), so buffing them and giving them more opportunities would screw big groups more often and more easily than small ones. Another possible n+1 nerf would be to make logistics more difficult and scale less well, with more opportunities for it to be disrupted - and I'm not talking about space priests. Nerfing spaceship teleportation (see Marlona Sky's article on the subject for the diagonsis of the problem) would go a long way towards making supply routes difficult.


      Regardless of the method, I hope everyone can agree that game mechanics where the biggest group always wins mean the game gets boring fast (as a biggest faction emerges and then it's a win more feedback loop), and that at some point it should be optimal to *not* bring an extra pilot. It'd be nice if small groups (fielding fleets of 30-50 pilots) could actually achieve anything in nullsec.

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  3. Hmmm... I'm not 100% your analysis is spot on, although I see what you are getting at. I think the issue is one of "scale" or "degree".

    In an older style RPG, you defeated a goblin at low level and you got 50 xp and 5 gp. This was a pretty big deal because you only needed 1000 xp to go up a level, and that 5 gp would buy you a nifty spear. At high level when you need one million xp to go up a level and own fortunes, killing the goblin is just a waste of time. And besides, from a role-playing point of view this makes sense. You are a champion of the realm now, you have bigger fish to fry (dragons, evil warlocks etc).

    In more strategic and "militaristic" games (and EVE *is* militaristic), you aren't doing this for gold and XP. Victory is the goal. So that ensures using maximal effort to defeat the enemy... or does it?

    When the goons decide to gank a retriever, they don't send in a 250 megathron fleet. A few catalysts are sufficient. When the USA invaded Grenada in 1983, they didn't send a million men and their entire navy. Instead they sent 7600 soldiers and assorted equipment. Why? Because again, that was enough.

    There comes a point there excessive force is ridiculous and inefficient. What you want is enough force to ensure victory, and no more. If you are facing a goblin, just level up a bit and buy a shield and some leather armor to go with that spear - you'll win every time, even though you aren't an uber-paladin wielding Excalibur.

    I feel that in EVE, like fighting the goblin, you don't need that much more than the other guy to insure victory - this "more" could be numbers, bigger or better ships, better fits, better modules, better skill-points, better tactics etc etc.

    Denying kill-mail would not stop this problem, and would penalize newbies.

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    1. And as I've spoken to elsewhere, there's currently zero BENEFIT to bringing fewer people (or holding less space) in addition to a lack of any penalty, so of course people wind up bringing as much as they can. Suggesting it's "for the killmails" is probably the most laughable thing I've ever read in one of your posts.

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    2. I feel as though there is an hidden message somewhere in there.....?

      However wouldn't you feel bad if you didn't bring an overwhelming force and then got stomped on by the goblin

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    3. @mynnna:
      I't's "for the PAP links", right?

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    4. so mynnna, does that mean you all for huge stacking penalties when some group brings in a blob with overwhelming numbers. The only other video game I currently play is called Hearts of Iron by Paradox. It is designed much like the old board games with counters representing divisions. You can happily stack as many units as you want in a zone, but if you attack with too many, you suffer huge huge penalties (-75% efficiency on each unit). It is abstracting the lines of communication being garbled when there are too many people involved in a fight.

      Something like that would end the era of the blob overnight. But we all know that there is zero chance of you and the other cartel leaders EVER allowing that kind of mechanic to come to pass. It would weaken the cfc, goons hugely. And that means you would have a harder time making your house payments from what you get from your serfs.

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    5. The blob is what null is made for. We have no reason to end their playstyle. Just because we dont like being mindless F1 pushers doesn't mean we should eliminate their playstyle. Hopefully the new space being added will be more of something for mid game alliances without huge reserves of supers but that would mean ccp would have to do something right

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    6. Dinsdale, HoI haves a simpel taks: determine whether the player puts a lot of units in a place.

      But how do you tell wether there is 1x 2000 ships fleet or 20 x100 ships fleets?

      I mean, without seriously changing the way EVE allows players to "do anything, anywhere, to anyone"

      Maybe we should ask pilots to sign in to a team (Team Defender and Team attacker?) when entering grid and prevent them from changing sides, firing at their own team and do harm to anyone not in the other team?

      Maybe...?

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    7. Angry Onions, You are correct in that the HoI Ai has it easy compared to Eve. But given that these blob fights are already moving at glacial speeds, it should be a relatively simple task to have the AI check how many ships are firing at a single target, and as the amount of shooters ramps up, their efficiency ramps down. Now, if the blob's get good and have 10 FC's and fleets attacking 10 separate targets at once, guess that kind of breaks up the blob anyway. And even at that point, some law of diminishing returns can be applied. First 50 ships have zero efficiency loss. Next 50, 25% loss to all 100. Next 50, 50% loss to all 150. 200 and above, 75% loss to all ships. Or something like that. Of course, this makes supercaps near invulnerable. That part is the kicker. But I am sure something can be done to make them more squishy.

      The point is moot though. There is zero chance the cartels would let through any game change which weakens their position within the Eve food chain, and certainly no change would be tolerated that affected their RMT flows.

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    8. Dinsdale, diminishing returns for targetting a ship would mean that noobships firing their civilian weapons at your primaried ships would be a good way to remove incoming DPS from them.

      Anyway the difficulty to kill supercapitals is one of the driving forces behind the blob, but making them more squishy just would harm the smaller guys' chances to save their supercaps if engaged by an enemy blob.

      In a way, the blob really doesn't haves a solution as it's deeply entangled in EVE's design. Big battles are what EVE was made for. Now they are here and 90% of the server population is busy doing other things while nullsec drama explodes around and makes headlines...

      The real fix is to ensure that there are other things to do rather than blob and be blobbed, as that content only matters to a small fraction of the players. EVE and CCP can't thrive on the blob alone.

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    9. When I play EVE I feel like I am that goblin....

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  4. What if killboards give every of the 10 pilots only 1/10 part of the killvalue? e.g. Ripard Tag and his 9 friends kill an orca that is worth 1 billion. For the statistic every pilot gets 100m added to his "Killed" column instead of 1 billion.
    That would be a start, but I guess there would be much outrage from the community...

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    1. Of course that is the way it should be. A 51% killboard efficiency means you are an above average pilot.

      But not a chance it will happen, because apparently Eve is PvP only, and killboards and territory are the only things that matter, if you read most of the forum warriors.

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    2. That's completely up to e.g. zKillboard tho and not really a CCP matter.

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    3. That's how BattleClinic does it, which is why BC is a much better gauge for micro gang and solo PVPers. Hate on BC all you want, but at least it doesn't let players masturbate to their high ranks like eve-kill and zkillboard do.

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    4. Now try convincing people to fly EWAR.

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  5. With all the philisophical posts recently, I'm guessing the other bank of the Rubicon is exactly the same as the one we just left, eh Ripard?

    The problem with any attempt to discuss the n+1 problem, force/resource projection, out of date Dominion sov mechanics and so on is that it will be shot down by the thought police that are pinged to defend vested interests so as to maintain the status quo.

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    1. On the contrary, I and many other members of your so-called "vested interests" would be thrilled with change. What we (well, I at least) are not so thrilled about is the ongoing groupthink that nothing but nerfs is the only way to get there.

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    2. And yet, you (if you are actually Mynna and I will presume, probably incorrectly, that you are) acknowledge that their is a problem with the current mechanics of Null Sec.

      Means of Income encourages sprawl, and Bridging and Cyno Mechanics allow singular entities to defend massive sprawls of space quite easily.

      You say your in favor of change but I don't think I have ever seen you overtly approve power projection nerfs, although admittedly I am not an avid follower of all the forums on the internet that you might frequent.

      You have presented plentiful Ideas to buff Null Sec income, many of which I agree with, but I have never seen you present a valid Idea for nerfing power projection ability.

      A buff to Null Sec income to PASSIVELY discourage the blob must also come with a Nerf to Power Projection to ACTIVELY discourage the blob, otherwise the blob that had the ability to sprawl before and did so to make as much money as possible, will STILL be to bloated and to big but will be just be a hell of a lot richer then they were before.

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  6. Punishment rarely accomplishes anything but offence.
    If CCP want's to encourage a game play style it has all the tools to do so.
    I think the point has been repeatedly proven that they do not want to seem to favour anything and that the limits to what have been achieved are down to lack of imagination or hard tech issues. Although I have to admit that I'm looking forward to playing with some prospective industrial sized developments.
    People are stupid, individuals are clever, unity is amazing, independence is important. Somewhere in the middling grey CCP is trying to find a balance for extremists to revolve around. It's a trick of the mind that keeps us civil, allegedly. Personally, it just makes me dizzy.

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  7. In RL, the N+1 problem is solved by resource limitations; in order to bring overwhelming force, you have to have access to enough resources to make that overwhelming force possible. If you don't have access to those resources N+1 isn't going to work for you and you need figure out alternative strategies (diplomacy, embargos, alliances etc.)

    Supposing you have access to resources that makes an N+1 strategy achievable. A leader still has to consider how those resources are allocated. Rapid development of military infrastructure is going to increase the cost of basic materials for commercial products. Before too long, you'll have shortages that either interfere with the N+1 objective or you'll have a civilian population that starts to question the value of the ultimate goal. The N+1 strategy is limited by market forces.

    EVE doesn't have the same market forces. Resources are essentially unlimited and unchecked by 'civilian' demand. Yes, belts can be depleted, but they reliably respawn and the supply of tritanium has never (to my knowledge) affected the outcome of a campaign. Also, the entire economy of EVE is based on military production. There is no civilian demand because there are no civilian products. During world war II, there were food shortages because resources were being diverted to military objectives. But the immortal pod pilots of EVE don't have to eat. There are no trade-offs to check military production.

    N+1 strategy will always be the preferred strategy in EVE as long as resources are essentially unlimited and there are no competing demands for those resources.

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    1. Limited resources only make it easier to stomp the side with less acces to those resources.

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  8. Good post. I saw a post somewhere that likened certain games to "press button get bacon". Of course eve was seen a not like this and eve's players individuals who needed a more complex system of reward.

    Kill Mails are the ultimate form of "press button get bacon" and the easy reward of assign drones - get bacon is contributing to the stagnation of the current PVP meta.

    Perhaps something like this would shake things up but it is unlikely that CCP will do anything to upset the apple cart at this time.

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  9. Why not change kill mails so you only get credit for kill isk value based on how many people helped you? 40 mil kill with 9 friends gives you a kill value of 4mil each.

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  10. But in EVE PvE you are punished for bringing overwhelming forces, e.g. Incursions or the splitting of rat bountys.

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    1. Yep. There are upper limits in both incursions and missions for the number of ships you should bring.

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    2. That is equally a problem. I remember in 2010 we would go mission together as a corp. It was fun but very inefficient. It's a shame that the game penalizes this type of game play.

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    3. "EVE obviously rewards you for bringing overwhelming force to bear on your objectives."

      And you're presenting other games PvE content to show examples of a different approach but in EVE PvE that's also not the case, it's just in PvP.

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  11. I would like to see some sort of mechanic that could be exploited by a small force against a larger one, with an eye toward breaking up the sov monopolies a bit, or slowing their advances. Guerilla warfare ought to be a valid survival philosophy in EVE--just because it's its own kind of cool--and just maybe a valid tool for conquest as well.

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  12. Trying to address blobbing by limiting the more specious rewards obtained from it will have no effect. Being on the winning side of a large-scale fight is still a strong motivator, and kill mails are already deprecated in favor of participation trackers. EVE has developed a cultural bias against “elite PvP” identifications and “green kill boards,” and terms like “kill mail whoring” are firmly entrenched. What you’re suggesting as a limited answer to the n+1 problem is rather meager, and already has a cultural counter.

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  13. You rarely write an article that goes nowhere, but this one did. All that reading for a "what if"? And kind of a lame what if at that.

    To address your what-if specifically, in the large fleet format, most scouts and scanners never get on a kill mail, but they keep showing up. Sometimes it's enough just to be on a team at all. The roam itself is part of the reward. Something to think about, Mr. Philosopher.

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    1. Also the logistics ships, though in their case I can see how the constant cries to add logistics to killmails could be misleading.

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  14. How about something like this:

    Alliance A owns one constellation, their TCUs have 150% HP

    Alliance B owns one regions, their TCUs, have 75% HP (presumably they have the manpower strength to hold that much territory and the firepower to defend it)

    Alliance C owns multiple regions and their TCUs have 25% HP making it very easy for someone to come by and take their territory if no one is actively there to defend it.

    Obviously these numbers are just pulled out of thin air, but I think it shows the concept. The more of something you own, the easier it is to lose one. This could work for POS or POCOs as well potentially. Obviously this can't take into account coalitions who will just split up their holdings among alliances (perhaps formalize the coalition sized groups into game mechanics). I'm certainly not a game developer, but the idea of making it easier to lose something if you own more of them intrigues me.

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    1. Goons001 owns 1 constellation at 150% HP
      Goons002 owns 1 constellation at 150% HP
      Goons003 owns 1 constellation at 150% HP
      (...)
      Goons150 owns 1 constellation at 150% HP...

      What could go wrong? vºv

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  15. What would be interesting was if the loot and perhaps the salvage was diminished by an excess number of pilots on each kill mail.
    This could reflect the overwhelming firepower that was received by said victim & would imitate the fact that everything was vaporised...
    Don't know if that would be possible though?!

    Jai Kedrick

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  16. I've seen the idea of line of sight mentioned before as the blob is strengthened when it can fire through itself I guess it's a case of whether the additional calculations required are balanced by the smaller numbers able to engage. Probably not as if it was they would have probably have implemented it.

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    1. In a theoretical perspective, calculating line of sight as complex as calculating collisions, which the game already does every tick for every ship (and not all of them shoot all the time).

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  17. You know I already provided a potential solution to this problem weeks ago in my campaign thread...

    https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=4248750#post4248750

    Not saying this is the perfect solution by any stretch by the way just that I have been considering the same problem explicitly as a part of my campaign.

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  18. I have a small recommendation. It won't 'change everything', but it'll have an impact on combat sizes and it shouldn't require significant programming resources.

    Add a mass cap to cynos. Just as with wormholes, the cyno collapses when time is up OR when x mass through the it. I think the wormhole collapse program can be used as a programming baseline - tweak, not create from scratch.

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  19. Eve is also a simulation though, and in the real world numbers matter a great deal. Overwhelming force usually wins the battle. So much so that the few instances they don't are remembered centuries afterward.

    The real word deals with this through travel time and logistics. Smaller forces attack where the enemy isn't, and retreat before the larger force can get to the fight. This makes the larger force have to establish local garrisons, which take strength from the main force.

    But such restrictions on travel will never be accepted by the Eve playerbase.

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    1. This already exists in Eve. Check out the goons' siegefleet tactic.

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  20. I think the answer lies not in punishing or limiting the ability of players to fight large fleets but rather in finding a way to reward or support small scale warfare.

    The idea I've liked best over the years was to adjust the abilities of the systems themselves to allow small groups to prosper without the threat of being steamrolled by larger groups.

    Example would be System XYZ has a yet-to-be-invented module which limits the size of ships inside the system to subcaps. The owning corp/alliance can set the module to have a maximum number of friendly ships allowed in the system at one time. This internally derived number can only be changed once a week. Any invading force will be limited to 75% of the owning groups numbers.

    This means a VERY good group could kick out the occupants if the occupants actively defend. Alternately a group who isn't interested in their system would be kicked out rather easily.

    A system setup like this would allow smaller groups to own territory. These systems would be nullsec space but when you limit your system you are also limiting the resources available. So the reward scales with the risk. As your group grows then you can expand your vulnerability while at the same time expanding your infrastructure base.

    These systems would not stop large fleets from conducting operations in non-limited areas. Instead these systems would promote more people to get out into nullsec, put more targets into travel lanes and other high resource areas, and provide a measure of scalability which the game desperately needs.

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  21. The real world limitation to bringing overwhelming force is maintenance and logistics. It's really expensive to pay the salaries of millions of soldiers, buy the fuel to fly them to the ass end of nowhere, air condition the desert for them, and so on. We do it anyway because we're wealthy retards; but we're depleting our reserves doing it which can't last forever.

    The Eve equivalent is cost associated with force projection: fuel for jump bridges and to a lesser extent jump drives. If the fuel consumption of these things were increased by an order of magnitude, that would be a cost of operation that would asymmetrically impact large empires which routinely project power over large distances. Suddenly, it might not be worth the expense to send every single pilot 5 regions away to shoot at a station. Additionally, you wouldn't need to solve the 'which pilots are members of the same group?' problem; any organization regardless of it's nature that spans enough space to use jump bridges is affected.

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  22. In most RTS games you have some super weapons to discourage big armies to form. Either you place them in a protected area or you have to move very fast and the latter is mostly not the case for large tanks.

    A few super weapons into your large army and all is vanished. But that super weapon is expensive so you don't waste it on nuking one wave of enemies...

    For Eve: New Bombs for (maybe even new) Bombers. Very expensive, like multi million or even billion per shot but a blast like the old doomsday with AoE.
    If the enemy fleet is far too big to fight but has more value than throwing some of this bombs ...
    Of course there would be some super rich alliances throwing this things on everything thats moving. But even that would increase money circulation which is good for the economy.

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  23. I think the way EVE is designed, and with the limitations of the servers, the RL factors that discourage n+1 tactics can't exist: Line of sight firing, collateral damage, splash damage, etc - would bring the servers to it's knees in a short order. The game has virtually unlimited resources, so you don' really have to choose between having a handful of T3 ships, or a T1 cruisers, etc.

    Guerilla tactics that work very well in RL, because irregular armies just sorta disappear after they attack, can't really happen in Eve - there is no civilian population to melt away into, and with the ease of making alts, it'd be far too easy to infiltrate corps, too. I mean, Eve tells you everything about an attacker (name, corp, alliance, numbers, weapon used) except the exact fit used!

    So what can CCP do? Dunno.

    -Amari

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  24. Have a bomb/weapon that works like Earthshaker Ultimate (Form DOTA) where it hits AOE then bounces around off the other ships in area chaining from one to another. Want to bring 2K ship go ahead but a good number of these bombs going off in your fleet going rip you apart.

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  25. Lock time resistance module. Attempted locks on the target take 2% longer for every current and lock in progress already on the target. Would mess with the alpha doctrine some. Could still do it, but would have to wait a while before the entire (or enough of the) fleet had a lock.

    Buff target spectrum breakers some, and change weapons/drones so that they actually fire at the end of a weapon cycle rather than the start, to give someone being redboxed a few seconds to react.

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  26. N+1 doesn't work when +1 and +1 start to get in each other's way, and A) inhibit each other's effectiveness and B) endanger each other. One of the ways that can happen is via the landscape. Take a large navy into a narrow straight and they can't manoeuvre as well and also can't effectively use all their firepower on all enemy targets (without also endangering each other). Of course that mostly doesn't exist in EVE. This sort of stuff has to some extent been covered here previously.

    The narrow straight example also brings up the issue of chokepoints. What's the limit on number of ships that can jump through a gate simultaneously? ??? Gates should have maximum mass allowances that require that if a gate jumps a certain amount of mass within a short window of time, then the gate must recharge before sending through more ships. The recharge time might only be 10 seconds for some gates or longer for others. Gate size, and types of systems being linked, should dictate the mass and timeframes. A tiny gate between 2 remote systems should not be able to handle the same amount of traffic as a major gate between two well traveled hi security systems. Raises other interesting questions as well. Should a region gate have a longer recharge time, or allow greater or lesser mass within a certain period of time, in comparison to a constellation gate? Or a gate between 2 systems that aren't that far apart? There should be identifiable variation across different categories of gates throughout New Eden.

    This would certainly make travelling in a fleet through systems, constellations, and regions more tactically interesting, while also acting as a more natural deterrent to massive fleets. However, the deterrent shouldn't be in that players are being forced to wait for long periods of time. The deterrent should be having to break up large fleets into staged jumps into systems, which potentially gives those on the other side a brief tactical advantage.

    Oh and get rid of the current cyno jumping mechanic.

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    1. "Oh and get rid of the current cyno jumping mechanic.", the most important thing in the last sentence ;)

      And I think that the basic idea of jump drives is fine, but I would limited them to jump points increase fuel cost. IIRC the original lore even mentioned that the gate network was build on special places that allow those jumps, and yet all those capital ships can jump from and to every point in a system.

      Jump points could include more points in a system than just the gate locations, could offer shortcuts, etc

      But they will still prevent those ridiculous fast travel via bridge networks and slow down fleet moment significant, if you add mass limitations / per minute it would slow as well big fleets down. Oh and a jump point system would make jump freighters a whole less broken too ;-)

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  28. What about a mass per second flow limit on stargates. That would slow some fleets down. Makes big fleets very unwieldy, more likely to break down to a aeries of smaller fights and skirmishes.

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  29. Just a side note, Civ V does not reward you with bringing overwhelming forces, it actually punished you quite heavy for this in most cases.

    It is true that bringing only weak troops the slowly wear down a city is very costly. At the same time having a big army has very high upkeep cost and will make diplomacy harder, may limited trading and is overall just expensive, furthermore you significant hinder your expansion with building it in the first place because you pay opportunity costs as well.

    It is commonly accept that building large armies without need is a bad taktik in higher difficulty levels. Having just the right units to siege cities down is the far better option, having the right infrastructure to move your army and increase your army quick is considered as well superior to large overwhelming forces. Positioning, field advantages, unit mix and technology, sociological and production advantages are far more worth than just overwhelming numbers.

    To get back to eve, we have non of those disadvantages, ships have more or less no upkeep costs, travel infrastructure is expensive to build, but cheap in upkeep, and we lack as well impact of fast vs slow units on the strategic level because of jump bridge networks, which is even worse thanks to reinforcement timers. As well there are little to none opportunity cost of building for example large capital ship fleets.

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  31. What about limiting the number of person targeting something to N because of sensor interference.

    When N+1 try to target, the oldest lock drop. Or the weakest lock drop (sensor strength).

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