And it starts with a pretty basic three-part premise surrounding real life pirates:
- Pirates, by their very definition, attack shipping.
- Pirates hang out where there is profit to be made.
- If a fight is going against them, pirates will leave.
Think about this for even five seconds and I think you'll agree that none of this makes a lick of sense.
What we have in EVE are stupidly reactive pirates: they hang out in random locations and wait for players to show up. Then they line up to die. Further, the way pirate locations are structured, it not only encourages players to attack the sites solo, PvE in EVE actively discourages them from partnering up with other players. Since the bounties are fixed and split between players involved, players will (if at all possible) bring whatever ship type is necessary to defeat them either completely solo, or with only themselves and their alts involved. It is pretty rare PvE in EVE that actually encourages or rewards group play.
What needs to be done with PvE in EVE is to turn the dynamic completely around. Instead of pirates waiting patiently for the player to come in and kill them, pirates in EVE need to react to and be spawned by what players do.
So here's the skeleton of the idea:
- Cut the existing null- and low-sec warpable sites by something like 75%. For those that remain, keep a variety. These are pirate strongholds and such.
- Any time there is a ship in space not in warp, that ship has a chance to spawn an attack by pirate ships.
- If that ship is an industrial or mining ship, that chance is very significantly increased.
- The longer the group of ships remain in the same place, the higher the chance of an attack; and,
- ...if the ships remain in the same grid for long enough, that will create a chance for an even stronger attack.
- There will be different types of pirate ship spawns for different groups of player ships on a grid.
- A given pirate attack will be "sufficient" to destroy the player ships that cause it to spawn; but,
- ...there will be an upper limit of the numbers and types of pirates that will appear in a spawn.
- If the first wave of pirates is destroyed, a second stronger wave will spawn, and then a third.
- Spawns will rarely or never attack grids with capital ships on them because what pirate wants that trouble? But if they do spawn on such ships, the spawn will be impressively large.
- And finally and most importantly, if pirates feel they are being overwhelmed by numbers, they will all immediately warp off and the spawn ends.
This skeleton comes with a corollary: there will be some number of ships -- probably something like 50 or so -- that, if on grid all at once, will never cause a pirate spawn and will immediately cause any group of spawned pirates to warp off. Because what pirate in his right mind wants to deal with so many heavily armed ships?
So let's put this in context:
- One player ship warps to an asteroid belt. This randomly kicks off a pirate spawn. So two rats warp in, then two more warp in, then three more warp in, and then rats stop coming and the spawn ends.
- One player ship warps to an asteroid belt. This randomly kicks off a pirate spawn. So two rats warp in. The player tanks them for a bit and calls in the three buddies who were scouting other asteroid belts in the same system. These three additional player ships warp in which causes the spawn to escalate and six more pirate ships to warp in. Then after the first eight rats are destroyed, 12 more warp in, then 16 more warp in, and then rats stop coming and the spawn ends.
- Fifteen player ships warp to a mining site, including mining ships and haulers. A half-hour later, this kicks off a pirate spawn. So 20 rats warp in, then after these are destroyed 35 more warp in, then 50 more warp in, and then rats stop coming and the spawn ends.
- Somewhere else, fifteen player ships warp to a mining site, including mining ships and haulers. A half-hour later, this kicks off a pirate spawn. So 20 rats warp in. The players panic and call for help and 30 more player ships warp in. So 40 more pirate ships warp in on top of the 20 already on grid. Then 70 more warp in, then 80 more warp in, and then rats stop coming and the spawn ends.
- Somewhere else, fifteen player ships warp to a mining site, including mining ships and haulers. A half-hour later, this kicks off a pirate spawn. So 20 rats warp in. The players panic and call for help and 40 more player ships warp in. So all the rats warp off and the spawn ends.
And again, that's it. That's the skeleton of the proposal. It would require a lot of work to develop into a working PvE system. But it would make a hell of a lot more sense than what EVE has now... and it would turn PvE in EVE into a group activity instead of an exercise in solo AFKtars.
Anyone see any obvious holes in the idea?
(1) Yes, this idea was partially catalyzed by looking at the problems with Elder Scrolls group PvE.
(2) Except in very specific circumstances that -- ironically -- EVE players control.