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...

Monday, May 26, 2014

How PvE should work in EVE Online

This is a little idea that I've been kicking around for a couple of months now.(1) It's not a full proposal. It is, in fact, just the skeleton of an idea that would need a lot of muscle, sinew, and flesh wrapped around it. Still, I think it's a pretty good skeleton. It would fit within the framework of EVE Online, would be much more balanced than what exists now, and would encourage EVE players toward group PvE instead of the solo PvE which dominates so much of this game.

And it starts with a pretty basic three-part premise surrounding real life pirates:
  1. Pirates, by their very definition, attack shipping.
  2. Pirates hang out where there is profit to be made.
  3. If a fight is going against them, pirates will leave.
And yet in EVE, none of the three of these things happen: pirates are just dispersed randomly in locations scattered far away from other ships... and they wait for players to attack them. They make no attempt to profit by their attacks, nor does the game even try to present an illusion that they do. And pirates will hang out on a grid even when up against completely overwhelming odds.(2)

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:
  1. 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.
  2. Any time there is a ship in space not in warp, that ship has a chance to spawn an attack by pirate ships.
  3. If that ship is an industrial or mining ship, that chance is very significantly increased.
  4. The longer the group of ships remain in the same place, the higher the chance of an attack; and,
  5. ...if the ships remain in the same grid for long enough, that will create a chance for an even stronger attack.
  6. There will be different types of pirate ship spawns for different groups of player ships on a grid.
  7. A given pirate attack will be "sufficient" to destroy the player ships that cause it to spawn; but,
  8. ...there will be an upper limit of the numbers and types of pirates that will appear in a spawn.
  9. If the first wave of pirates is destroyed, a second stronger wave will spawn, and then a third.
  10. 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.
  11. And finally and most importantly, if pirates feel they are being overwhelmed by numbers, they will all immediately warp off and the spawn ends.
That's it. And the same rules apply to the pirate strongholds. There will be a range limit of the number of ships that it is "expected" will warp into the strongholds, depending on level. If it is too low, every pirate ship on grid will immediately aggress, driving the invaders off. If it is too high, the "stronghold" will self-destruct and the pirates will warp off.

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.
In each case, assume that the pirate spawn is "sufficient" to destroy the player ships, so if one player cruiser warps to a belt and spawns an attack, the attack will come from a cruiser and a BC, say. This will encourage players to include logi and e-war in their PvE groups. And instead of null-sec upgrades just creating more and more warpable sites, the upgrades will instead increase the chances that a large group of player ships will spawn a large attack.

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.


  1. I think we need more civilian or factional NPCs as well. Nevermind the wayward damsel, I'd rather join an ongoing fight between NPC fleets.

  2. You are not encouraging group play - you are forcing it. You feel that will be successful because..?

    For those who do group play already they should like this mechanism. It sounds like something that can be easily gamed.

    1. Why? Why is solo gameplay seen as such an anathema in EVE?

      Why... ...encourage EVE players toward group PvE instead of the solo PvE which dominates so much of this game.?

      Why is it a PROBLEM that a LOT of people play this game, much less a helliuva a lotta other games, solo? Why is it you believe the best way to play EVE is in groups? Why do you want to force people to play the way YOU play? Why is groupplay considered so much better than solo… why, why, why… when the numbers SAY YOU ARE WRONG?

      Oh I’ve heard the 50/40/10% argument… but you know what, if I had a restaurant, and the majority of my customers were enjoying their meals alone rather than in groups... you know, I'd react to that little marketing FACT and plan accordingly... not change the menus so that ONLY groups get discounts and the best tables and anyone who wants to eat at MY restaurant but has the poor judgment to sit alone gets shoved into a corner, served cold food and crappy service?...

      In truth, if I did that, I'd expect my business to die off over time... my, PCE, Peak Concurrent Eaters count, to first level off then, unless I changed my strategy… I would expect it to start to decline.

      Ripard... have you forgotten the age old adage..."You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him play in a group unless HE WANTS to." FFS.. I find it interesting you can argue against forcing people to PvP but argue FOR forcing people to play in a certain ‘way’.

      Oh and so I can quote me to refute the avalanche of "OH Noes you want EVE to be a solo only Themepark!!!"

      I DO NOT believe solo game play is anymore the be all and end all of EVE than I believe small or large group game play is the be all and end all of EVE. I play in a group myself BTW… but that’s me, and you know what? I could care less if others play solo, in groups or in the nude… as long as they PLAY.

      EVE is a sandbox... ALL playstyles are here and playing the game and therefore ALL playstyles should be supported. ALL of them... not force any one type of gameplay over any other.

      All that said… I really really DO like your basic premise that PvE should based more on real life in tactical situations... Hell, in many situations… I have argued for this for some time now.

    2. To be fair, it is hard to argue against the first part of Jester's post. Rat behavior makes no sense in the rat's perspective and that IS a problem. I want a universe that is believable, but current PvE content is all about catering to the players, with no sense if that's what intelligent agents would do.

      I'm undecided if I agree with Jester's proposal, but I highly agree with the underlying principle of improving how the AI acts towards the players and even be more "daring". Thus I applaud the effort to put some ideas out in the wild... and stand the inevitable beating from fellow pilots.

      Just to add one more thing, my impression is that possibly the biggest obstacle to have any effort made in this subject is how the devs as a whole see the game. They do not want to meddle with the PvE aspect for fear it would be seen as a weakness. People (in and outside of the game) would think "wait a minute, is it not ALL about players in that game? Why are they buffing AI behavior then?". They are afraid to have PvE events affect player politics because it "detracts from the PvP". Hell no, it needs to be integrated to be a fully fledged virtual universe. The players, well... they will need to learn how to navigate whatever situation is presented to them; some will do better than others and take advantage of it.

  3. One major issue; it impacts PvP in significant ways.

    I need warpables to throw gangs of and to split them up.
    Do gatecampers get blobbed by larger blobs of NPC pirates, just because they sit somewhere?
    Does my Ninja base orca get attacked while I'm busy shooting something elsewhere in system on my other toon?
    Does my link boat suddenly get blobbed?
    Do my neutral eyes suddenly get blobbed?
    Why is my solo ship suddenly being victimized because Ripard wants to force me into a group?
    No more belt and anomaly rats means no more ratters there, which means reduced targets for me to shoot.
    No more belt and anomaly rats means I have to scan with probes to find PvE ships which forces me to multibox or fit probes on my PvP ship also the probes showing reduce my chances.

    1. Actually, I would expect MORE ships at belts and anomalies since that's where the rats would spawn. And your arrival would make it more likely that more would spawn.

      "Yes" to all your other questions. But as long as you're at the keyboard, if you don't want to deal with a spawn with that ship, warp off.

    2. If it's yes to all of them, then my major issue is that I object to be forced into group play.
      Playing a sandbox mmo to me means playing in a world with other people that can influence and affect me (sometimes against my will). But not necessarily *with* other people. I place a really high value on my solo gameplay, it is what I enjoy *by far* the most in EVE.
      I'd campaign quite actively against anything that attempts to force group play much like your proposal seems to.
      EVE is about and by people, not about NPC's, they at best the wallpaper, window dressing. The changes you seem you be advocating would fundamentally change EVE and I think for the worse as they reduce choice by making it (even) harder to play solo.

  4. Well, there is one obvious hole in that players who fly to belts and stay there for long do so to mine, not to PvE, and so you essentially would be driving miners away from the game.

    Also, having to wait 30 minutes to get some PvE fun would be a waste of precious play time.

    1. Remember, the option still exists to just warp to a pirate stronghold... as long as you have enough buddies to take it on (for the big ones). Solo PvE'ers could warp from system to system and take out the smaller strongholds. Smaller groups could spread out into a bunch of belts, wait for one of them to spring a spawn, and have his buddies warp to him to escalate it.

    2. "Wait for one of them..." This is one of the actual problems with this idea. I think you did a poor job of explaining some of the concepts, which is certainly help driving the reaction in some of the comments, but "sit on my thumb and wait" doesn't really fly.

    3. @mynna 0538am -- Last time I checked, lots of PvP involves sitting around waiting for quite a bit of time.

  5. For me it doesn't scale very well and simply becomes a game of 'hold out'.

    If I bring a rifter into a belt and hang out then get jumped by pirates then I may be able to take them out but if they are bigger & stronger than me I wont.

    However if I bring a Loki / T3 / BS etc then those three NPC rats won't stand much of a chance.

    I would imagine that most players would simply try and get any many solo kills as possible before warping out due to overwhelming odds. Brining friends would allow you to hold out longer but it doesn't make it more fun or interesting just fighting off wave after wave of rats.

    Also it doesn't seem to address what happens if another player jumps in.. do the rats target them or stick with you? Most of the time the agro will stick on the player so another player wanting an easy kill will just warp in a pop you before the rats have changed targets

  6. What a load of shit.
    It is very obvious that you don't fly solo very often.

  7. As far as a skeleton goes, it's definitely an intriguing idea. I do not necessarily like some of the specifics, but I like that it is doing something different. It takes an idea I've been trying to build around --

    Regular rats in low and nullsec warp off when they are losing unless they are pointed

    --and takes it steps further. While you present an intriguing idea for a system, I would rather start with smaller changes and see how they affect things.

  8. And so the days of griefing miners by warping 20 trial-account noobships to belts begins. Enjoy putting your procurer up against 30 semi-worthless pirate frigs when you have a bunch of free noobships bumping you so you can't warp!

    If we want to get pedantic about it, why are pirates interested in capsuleers, anyway? They're supposed to be elite pilots. Pirates prefer people who cannot effectively shoot back.

    I'd prefer the mission system to be PVP training, where l1s have you fighting against real frigate/destroyer hulls piloted in a semi-realistic way. The number of NPCs would need to be dramatically reduced, which will help missioners learn the effectiveness of ewar. Say your mission agent tells you:

    A pair of Serpentis have been harassing our mining operations for weeks using a Tristan-class frigate and a Maulus-class electronic warfare frigate. Every time we think we've caught the Tristan, he calls in his Maulus buddy and we lose our locks due to his damps and they warp off! You can approach this by:
    Catching the Tristan with a scram and staying close.
    Jamming or damping the Maulus before he can affect you with his own damps.
    Using a sensor booster to maintain your lock on the Tristan despite the damps.
    Note: You will need some form of warp disruption to keep the Tristan from running.

    Another mission may request that you provide logistics to a small Gallente squadron in their fight against a Guristas convoy. Or that you tracking disrupt an enemy rohk so that your NPC buddies can get under their guns. That mission would probably also have you occasionally be tasked to kill a couple waves of light drones emitted by the Rohk so it's not 'activate module, collect bacon.' Have the mission agents set up a scenario and suggest a technique to win, but you can of course use whatever you like.

    Scale up l2s to fight against cruisers, l3s to fight against battleships, and l4s incorporate all of them to encourage small group play, soloable with good skills/setups but easier with logistics.

    Anyway, if I were writing the new PVE system, that's what I would do. Non-mission PVE shouldn't be static -- I'd love to see a beacon appear called 'distress signal!' with some indication of difficulty and give capsuleers a limited amount of time to warp in and fight NPCs flying realistic (if, perhaps, t1/level4 skill-fit) ships attacking an NPC convoy/structure/what have you.

    1. yeah, heh. "And so the days of griefing miners by warping 20 trial-account noobships to belts begins. Enjoy putting your procurer up against 30 semi-worthless pirate frigs when you have a bunch of free noobships bumping you so you can't warp!"

    2. I actually kinda like the idea of role specific missions. You'd want to structure it in such a way that each mission set or path stuck to a certain area of PvP though. With one agent handing out EWAR, Logistics and brawling missions you'd want to keep it at a low skill level and be handing out "civilian" modules to do these things in the missions. Requiring any significant skill trains down these paths kind of goes against the more preferable specialisation route.

      Branching the different combat roles into more specific disciplines as you move up the mission levels then allows for the missions to guide the player into selecting good skills for that role.

      I want to be clear here that I don't think EVE's PvE content should be looked at as just a way to push players towards PvP. Making it more like PvP is just one way to make it (a lot) more interesting than it is now, give missions a lot more dynamic range in difficulty and IF a player does want to make the jump from PvE to PvP, the skills, tactics and fitting meta should translate considerably better than they do now.

  9. Solo / micro gang low-sec PvPer here.

    You just broke my play style :-( Pretty much everyone will end up flying around in cloaky ships...

    Wait for someone to get a spawn (remember: "the pirate spawn is 'sufficient' to destroy the player ships"), decloak, point, web, kill with ease. Blop drop if you get into trouble, which you won't, because they have rat aggro and will die very quickly.

    I enjoy close fights way more than I do simple ganks. Sounds as though the former will be eradicated in favour of the latter's boring and simplistic game play.

    One upside is that those who get upset about cloaky campers atm will explode with fury if this ever happens. That's a small payoff though for losing my preferred play style.

  10. If you want to get really wild, change how sec status works. Make it dynamic. The more often PCs kill NPC pirates, the 'safer' it becomes, and eventually sec status goes up. If you see that 'distress beacon!' in space and nobody replies (because they don't care or everyone's asleep) the sec status will gradually lower. In .8-1.0 security systems, pirates don't even try for capsuleers. In .5-.7 systems they will (with stronger attacks the lower the sec status), but faction police will come to your rescue eventually. You just need to survive that long. In .4 systems and below NPCs will harass PCs without any NPC aid incoming.

    On the flip side, just because a system is a .5 today doesn't mean it will be a .5 tomorrow. And if you're constantly ratting in that safe little null pocket, wiping the pirates clean every day, eventually a faction will take notice and send some cops. The whole board becomes dynamic.

    1. Should this apply to hi-sec missions as well? Once a given number of missions have been run for an agent, he reduces in level, and maybe another, distant agent for the same corp gains a level?

      Or is it only nullsec PvErs that should be forced to constantly move around?

    2. This is a bloody brilliant idea

    3. Yeah, a good idea, and one that I suggested on the forums some time ago. But don't limit to just ratting. Any PvE traffic impacts the sec status. As you increase the infrastructure in a system, you are "civilizing" the system, and the sec status goes up. Yes, petty criminals like pickpockets are attracted to crowds, which sounds like the opposite of the concept. But thugs looking to mug someone usually prefer doing it on a dark isolated street, not in the mall on a busy Saturday afternoon.

    4. I think that there's already a weak version of this in the game: L4 agents reduce their rewards as more people run missions for them, theoretically encouraging players to spreadout in hisec. Myself, I move around because I want to gain rep with more corps, or because busy mission hubs attract gankers., and the reward changes between agents are hard to discern... if that's even still in, since they flattened agent quality.

    5. It's such a nice idea.

      To answer to Malcanis: absolutely yes! That should apply to high sec too.
      This idea makes so much sense on may levels and goes well with the risk vs reward philosophy of the game.

      Large nullsec blocks can be such a safety heaven, with literally no risk to run a dual box of carriers in juicy anomalies, except the odd wh connection or afk cyno alt. Low risk, high reward. If then the npcs move to the border of an empire, the risk factor is increasing, so is the reward.

      Same goes for high sec. Very populated areas with a high npc kill count would lead to limited pirate activity due to player pressure. Pirates move to lower sec with better rewards.

      The least frequented regions of New Eden would become pirate heavens and nice pve targets for those in need of a npc challenge, incursion-like and beyond, where it would be foolish to drop a pos in a massive sansha-controlled constellation with pushing the faction away first.

      And hell, lore-wise, why would pirates npc factions stick to their "base" in the middle of a 3000 player alliance or coalition? Also, there shouldn't be any serious pirate threat at least 15 jumps from Jita!

      With this said, it's difficult to predict the dynamics behind such a change or core concept. And I'm probably missing a lot of implications with all the different kind of gameplays. The effect on pvp rules of engagement would be obviously hit by something like that is not decorrelated.

      But I just find it extremely interesting to explore.

    6. Malcanis: I absolutely support the idea of mission agents getting tired and "moving on". I pitched the idea of dynamic agent quality, dynamic system security status and agents that move to "greener pastures" when their system gets too crowded with capsuleers or getting promoted/demoted as their system becomes more or less infested with NPCs.

      CCP didn't want a bar of it.

  11. in the advent of situation 10 could the "spawn will be impressively large." possibly include some never before seen Pirate Capital ships, say Dreadnoughts? And no there will be no BPC of these ships dropping, the Pirate Groups saw the mess Sansha made and said and I quote "No frigging egger is ever getting a hold of one of these ships!!!"

  12. Fucking stupid, hope you never spouted drivel this poorly thought out on the CSM.

    We have decent group PVE, incursions, high end WH's. PVE in general is never going to be particularly fun in eve as the mechanism of physically flying your spaceship sucks balls. PVP is great despite this because of the feeling of consequence and meaning, "I can hurl my shopping cart submarine around better than you!"

    PVE can only be as engaging as the game engine allows it to be.

  13. Ug this would be hard to balance right. It might mean a complete update off all ships just to make it possible.
    I mean freighters an industrials don't have any means of shooting back.
    Also it would increase serverload. Try that in jita lots of people so lots of spawns ... .
    Or imagine the lag in b-r size battles when yhe pirates join in... .
    This would also counter the spread people around plan set in motion because of the industry revamp... .

    1. Problems with Jita won't happen. Over the years CCP has removed or purposely not added things to Jita which are in every other system in the game. This is just another thing CCP would special case Jita out of if they implemented it.

  14. Actually this makes the problem worse, and completely removes any reason to go outside your own system.

    - You will know ships enter grid as soon as you get there.
    - You know the composition of rats will get you profit.
    - If you randomize the respawn rate/composition, you have the same situation as now, expect rats warp in rather than wait for you.

    You unfairly cripple solo players, meaning that people such as me in awkward time zones cannot earn cash. You completely eliminate the possibility of a ballsy solo miner.

    Your idea lacks the critical insight: the act of going to an asteroid belt to hunt pirates is boring. It's de-contextualized busy work, and the only reward is monetary gain. What should be done is making the events themselves more varied and interesting.

    1) NPC rescues: You warp to belt and see an NPC hauler under attack. Fight off the rats and save the indy for extra LP (we have NPC comms menus already). Alternative: attack the ship yourself for hard cash/drops.
    2) Short range fetch: You warp in, and a faction police ship has been hit by an asteroid. Scoop the wreckage around the belt, and deliver it to the wounded ship. Rats randomly spawn in. Alternative: finish off the copper, and takes his modules.
    3) Pirate cyno!: Simple assassin job. Warp into belt, kill the cyno ship before it spools up and the ship and it's escort rats escape.
    4) Pirate miners: I think there may in fact be a Sansha's Procurer skin.
    5) Chase the general: A pirate general has accidentally got himself locked in system, and is bouncing around the belts. After a minute or two, he warps off to a different belt. Fit warp jammers or just alpha him before he leaves. Have the NPC curse up a storm in local to get people looking for him.

    Those are just a few ways to change the process of "Go to belt, get rats" and it'll make the whole universe seem more alive.

    Rather than designing static systems, you should be looking at ways to make what the player needs to do in PvE more interesting. The less static and dynamic you make it, the more you'll retain players sense of exploration, and the more they'll WANT to go the the belts.

  15. Ok .. Actually I like the more dynamic idea .. my biggest problem with PvE are the red crosses in space ..
    My proposel would be like this:
    1) Implement your proposal .. but don't make the pirates to hard let them scale with the sec status -1 true sec = the pirates WILL KILL you and the more secure the system the lesser the pirates (pirate stronghold etc should make them stronger . .so if you kil ltheir base they get weaker)

    2) Make new UI Symbold depending on the ship type (like this one prototype a while ago) .. in the military you also use different symbols for different stuff .. so no more red crosses but symbols for frigs etc .. and then color them depending on their status to you .. blue = fried red = enemy
    3) Make the standing count.
    a) You run pirate missions and have no sec status ?? Pirates = friends faction police = enemy
    b) You run empire missions and kill pirates ?? Police = friend pirates = enemy

    This would make more sense . .so low sec pirates would get some help on their side from pirates etc
    5) Make an similar system to fw .. so pirates and the forces of good battle over systems
    6) Use an dynamic sec status system and sov system for the space, so that the winner of the fw stuff takes sov ..
    7) Every alliance could decide to be an "good" or an "bad" alliance by shooting the cops or pirates .. so they must choose to get nice ratting money or nice bpcs from pirate missions and lps
    8) Every player could join the pirates like fw and every constelation would have at least one "secret asteroid" pirate station from wich these players could plaque the sov holding carebears

    Step 9 ) ?????
    Step 10 ) Conflict and Forum Tears ;)

  16. I lkie the idea, but would love ro laso see weak npc ships replaced with "player like" ships that have specific roles and behaviours, with logi npc's and tacklers and heavy dps and ewar etc...

  17. i'm sure someone else has said this but: tanky procurer NPC bait ftw

  18. Ripard, you are operating from the flawed notion that people always want to fly in a group, and have 20 or 30 friends available in a split second to drop what they are doing and come help.

    You want group PvE? There are these things called Incursions that cater to 5, 10, 20, or 40 pilot groups, which require lots of logi and non-idiot FC's to prosper, plus they are competitive.

    If ideas like this are being seriously floated around the CSM, then Eve is truly doomed.

    I note you do not suggest something like this for high sec, and provide no love for the solo explorer ( I am in low sec looking for interesting stuff as I type this).

    Rest assured, if you implemented this concept in null / low, those groups would be demanding that high sec share their pain, and that would end high sec completely (though that is already clearly on the table anyway)

    1. you realize he's not on the CSM anymore, right? he also made clear he's just kicking around an idea. you SERIOUSLY need to relax more. your schtick is getting very, very old.

    2. I hate to say it, but for once i agree with Dins on something. this kind of suggested change, while logically makes some sense (I have often thought what has to be going through the minds of the npc pilots when they warp into the last wave of blockade and see a single rattlesnake surrounded by the wreckage of people who in theory would have been their friends... I mean wave one sure... "I will avenge my breathren and make you pay!" ....Wave 6... "You monster, I will Avenge My!!... wait, how many ships are out there .... you know i left the stove on and have to wash my hair") but the suggestion is so full of holes that either jester thought of them and had decided he wanted the rage to fuel his blogging blood, or he is incredibly out of touch. This kind of idea is so rife for abuse, see a belt miner who is already fighting, spawn another few waves at the guy in stabbed frigs, and for good measure drop a deployable bubble on his ass (in null), then escape. It is like screwing with sleeper runners by warping in a couple carriers at 100 then warping them off, site esclates and they all die. And for the annon above, I doubt that jester comes up with these ideas the day before he writes, this kind of thing would probably be banging around his head for a while and could have come up while he was still csm.

  19. Why not just do away with mining and manufacturing and just have a multiplayer arcade game? I find the utter disregard for anything other then large player groups to be appalling. When will CCP, CSM members and former CSM members get it through their thick skulls that many people do not play this game the way they do? You may force me to leave the game, but you will not force me to change how I play.

  20. I don't have a specific problem with it, other than it doesn't have an opt in. Only an opt out(warp away). I also don't think you understand group PVE.

    Eve needs better group play. But I don't think you've played enough MMO's to understand what good group PVE is. Let me be clear about that btw, that isn't an attack on you, only a personal observation based on what you've written about MMOs outside of Eve. You've never seemed to stay with one long enough to get past the basic group quests and starter dungeons setup to introduce the mechanics of group PVE in those games. I could be wrong, but that's the impression I get from what I've read.

    Truly vibrant PVE works on the same basic principle as group PVP. Absolute mastery of your character and learning how to exploit it to best the possible effect. Incursions are a good start of group PVE. For the most part, with few exceptions, it's PVE on it's most absolute basic. These guys do damage, those guys heal. Where it falls down is everywhere else.

    If you want to give me good PVE in Eve, I want Incursions 2.0. I want a reason to bring every flavor of Ewar into a site. I want reasons for each person on grid to be personally responsible for where there ship is flying because orbiting the anchor will immediately get everyone killed. I want a reason for there to be frigates and battleships in the fight.

    I want everything that makes PVE fun and engaging in other games to be fun and engaging in Eve. Not just escalating spawns. Escalating spawns are boring.

  21. "Anyone see any obvious holes in the idea?"

    Forced group content, lack of any steady & reliable way to farm income, no mention of the value of these rats at all, the list goes on. Awful, just awful. You said during your campaign for CSM8 that you didn't feel the job of the CSM was to be junior game developers and it shows.

  22. My first impression was: "what a bright idea" but after i have read comments i think its interesting but dangerouse. There is already good multiplayer pve - wormholes and incursions, also level V missions are designed for multiplayer (and people still do them solo). I dont like sole pve but (being in 200 ppl corp) i cannot find anyone to do some pve with me (other then new players sometimes) so in fact i need better SOLO pve content for myself. as a social interaction pvp is and always be better.

  23. I can see this becoming a rather nasty new-player trap. Getting the balance right between challanging solo players and exterminating new players is going to be royal pain in the proverbial.

    A spawn that I could plow through without a second thought in my lvl5 skilled Wolf is going to butcher a new player who only just finished caldari frigate 3 a few minutes ago and is still trying to work out what guns his merlin uses anyway. And that is precisely the sort of player who is least likely to have a batphone he can use to call in support. There will be exceptions. Groups like the goons who recruit out of game and could make contact with their new player within minutes of joining could get some milage out of this. Introverts and shy people coming straight in won't.

    But lets assume we have a newbie who's outgoing and sociable. Lets also assume he hasn't been scared off by having his ship blown out from under him the first time by an unwinnable fight and has managed to arrange some help. Let's assume he's now as capable at fighting NPCs as a 1-day old character can be and has called my Wolf in to help him in a belt spawn. One of two things happen:

    A) The spawn is relatively easy. I breeze through the sort of spawn that massacred the newbie a few minutes ago. Unless I now handle things very carefully the newbie now feels useless and weak. Whoever is the veteran has to sell the game without pointing out the newbie will NEED help to do anything that a veteran could do solo. This could drive them away.

    B) The spawn scales to my ship. My wolf just about holds up to it but the moment aggro switches to the much weaker and nearly unskilled merlin it pops in seconds. Unless the veteran brings at least one logi the newbie is at risk of being outclassed and destroyed, even with friends. The newbie feels the game is 'unwinnable' and stops playing.

    The only solution I can think of is to scale the NPCs to the ships they are attacking, not just in size, but in skills, fit and experience. A good solution might be adjustable NPC damage output, not just in terms of the gun tracking formula but in actually lowering NPC base weapon damage against players the game judges as 'new'. It would be odd but preferable to a friend showing up, the NPC spawn system bringing in more ships to compensate and promptly alpha-ing the newbie straight off the field. It could also be used for mining barges so a spawn that cand tangle with the defence fleet doesn't shatter the mining barges the moment aggro slips to one.

    The system would have to be carefully balanced to get the difficulty right without it being too easy to game the system.

    And that said I still think outright forcing solo PvE players to join groups is going to cause more grief that its worth. Particularly in high-sec.

  24. A swing and a miss on this one. While PvE in EVE leaves a lot to be desired, these ideas seem even worse.

  25. So how will we make ISK? How does this fit into missions? One often overlooked fact of EVE design is that ISK has to come from a faucet or there can be no player market. How will this affect that? Will the pirate bounties be worth more?

    Not quite a skeleton. Just some disconnected bones.

    1. Missions unaffected. This is for non-mission-based PvE.

    2. If anything shouldn't missions be the first thing to be looked at? They are the backbone of PvE and have much potential with renewed EWAR and aggro mechanics.
      Maybe even an overhaul of how mission levels function.
      D3 RoS is a game that I didn't play a lot because the item mechanics is too much of a grind for me, but in terms of peronalizing difficulty at will is really well done and potentially could work for EVE in a similar fashion. You will be able to choose a much more nuanced difficulty (no more level 1-4) and also choose from 3-5 new levels of agents, with some being archetypes in difficulty for solo missions, while others always hand out missions for multiple players.
      For example I can fly my assault frigate perfectly and I want rewarding content that is challenging for myself and I choose the most difficult subcategory of missions and choose a sub-category of 7 out of 10. The mission will have rats with various capabilities, in general stronger but less numerous than now and culminate in a fight against what would be 2-3 medium skilled player frigates in the end.

      This would also have to see an overhaul in solo vs group rewards, something that admittedly is not very good for both RoS and EVE.
      Between the reward dilemma (thanks to multiboxing mainly), aggro mechanics and the overall comparable weakness of rats is the crux of EVE PvE.

      However, with everything that you'd consider there still has to be the option for newbros to earn meaningful ISK ... another dilemma brought onto us by the skill system.

  26. the idea has merit. i was thinking along these lines for a 'new territory' where you explore and find content while exploring that is completely designed for solo players. there would be no pvp. players cooperating together for strategic goals if they so choose or they wander solo if they want to. you are on the right track jester.

  27. nice so group a is the pirate bait, group B in a pos is the reaction force and group C is to mop up the escelation

  28. I think there's an easier way to encourage group PvE. Have group missions that are ship size specific. Use the entrance gate to block out the over sized ships but have the mission be too much for a single ship.

    But to force this idea on the entirety of the galaxy really will kill a lot of play styles.

  29. I just went back to your seven percent solution post - the one where you first mentioned the 50/40/10 problem, and finally noticed the questionable assumption. Yes, 40% of the players who do not quit in the first month continue as solo players.

    But why the assumption that all of the 50% were solo as well? I know for an absolute fact that some, at least, were members of corporations they joined within their first couple of weeks.

    The reason this is important in the context of this post is: if as few as 10% of the players who leave did so after joining corporations or otherwise nominally trying to be group players, then the assumption of the need to encourage or force group play is flawed.

    As to the idea itself, on surface it's good in that it makes piracy closer to 'making sense' but I'm going to agree with most of the naysayers.

    Besides, you're making what I think is the flawed assumption that only the players exist in the lore. Those 'random pirates' already in existence are preying on the rest of the ships - the non-capsuleer piloted vessels and the non-player capsuleers who allegedly exist in this universe. (Just like the dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of lives who do not resurrect in a clone when your ship gets blown up. Yet we never get hate mail or indirect action from their family members. I don't want it, but if you're going to start pushing for 'reality' you need to be aware it can bite.)

    The idea is fun in principle, but in execution would only be fun for experienced groups.

  30. Would love to be more invested in eve or anything related, but currently enjoying the shit out of Guild Wars 2.
    That last update most players waited a year or so for is a great feature pack full of fixes and quality of gaming life stuff.

    Regards, a Freelancer

  31. I see several issues.

    One big one is for smaller corps. Solo content must be both doable and fun in an MMO. On the outset that statement doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's a scheduling thing. If I pop on and no one is on to do anything with and solo content stinks, I'm not going to stick around until someone does pop on. Bigger corps and alliances who always have people on don't face this problem, but all those under 10 people corps will face this in a bad way.

    Secondly, this hits fleet forming pretty hard. A lot of fleets, better or worse, form up in a single location in space and if they're constantly trying to fend off pirates while they form up you will have a continuous process of people leaving to refit/repair while waiting for everyone to show up. I'm remembering planning lunches for big groups.

    Additionally this also kills exploration pretty hard. Without the need to look around for content, you can just sit in your one system and farm away. One of EVE’s better features is the need to explore to find stuff. Personally this is one of my major issues with exploration. Missions don’t require finding anything and based on the NPE presentation I’m guessing this is CCPs major problem with it as well.

    Perhaps the solution to your problem and mine is to change how harvestable resources are spawned. Miners and haulers would bring rats and PvE seekers would want to find where those rats were. High amounts of industry going on would make a place a good target for pirates, but also a good place for PvE. But depletion would eventually happen and that system would no longer be as good for mining as, say, the system next door or several jumps away.

    Give systems a pirate activity level that is affected by doing industry and by blowing up rats, the former being positive correlation and the latter being negative. I would also recommend that pirates go after pirating players as well to drive them off due to the competition. This gives content to gankers as well. Perhaps this could be attached to the corporation or alliance instead of just the pilot. If the pursuit was nasty enough you could probably remove CONCORD as well, leaving it to the pirates.

    I believe it would be also nice if pirates were more PvP built. More warp scramblers, but also warping off when there’s too much danger. Less DPS and hit points, but better tactics – though the latter may be beyond CCP’s abilities at the moment. Driving off pirates would come with a lesser bounty than killing them. Miners could even put up bounties on pirates to manage the system’s pirate levels.

    And… that’s enough for now. I see some problems with your idea, but nothing insurmountable given some tweaks. Farming, frustration and forced group content are problems for the outlined above reasons, but those can all be addressed. I’ve laid out some ideas, but they’re all unrefined and probably have problems of their own. It’s good that this is being discussed because the state of a lot of PvE play in EVE is bad, but I think we have to remember that while EVE can’t be all things to all people it must still serve those people who form the foundation that keeps industry running. Perhaps group industry play is an important aspect that needs to be addressed as well.

  32. I dunno. Group missioning PVE tends to not provide enough of a reward for everyone involved. But you can't up the rewards too much or multiboxers will simply min--max it. Personally I think running more than 1 client in any way should be declared an exploit. Yeah, I know.... not gonna happen. Still, when I run one or two clients (max for me without a significant expenditure of RL money for computing kit) and I hear about guys multiboxing incursions I think to myself, "Why am I doing this? I'll never be able to compete with the multiboxers." and my desire to play EVE is diminished. The sentiment holds whether it's PVE or PVP activity.

    1. That's any game. Multiboxing is alive and well in every MMO I can think of. At least until you hit the complicated bits. The problem with multiboxing in Eve is that there are very few complicated bits.

      By complicated bits I mean commands have to be issued rapidly and it's hard to keep a mental picture of what is going on for every character. Or to put it more simply, twitch. Eve has almost no twitch gameplay.

      Which is sad, because small gang PVP, the closest thing Eve has to twitch, is also the most pure fun part of the game. If I had my way that's what the new PVE of Eve would look like. A big semi chaotic mess with each type of ship trying to achieve separate goals to complete a whole. I'd make it flatly impossible to tank it and DPS it down. Heck, I'd put "stolen" concord ships on the field with insta kill weapons on the grid so if it they responded to fast enough by ewar to lock it down everything starts going pop. I'd be evil, then find ways to combine evil, and dare a multiboxer to try to do it.

      Because honestly that like sounds a lot more fun, and much more HTFU, than PVE is in Eve right now.

    2. and halycon wins the wants to kill eve through sub numbers award.... You dont like PVE... well HTFU and bear it. It isn't there for you to like it, its there as your paticular cross to bear. Just like ganking and the wardec systems are the bane of the people who actually like PVE, this is yours. so HTFU and grind a little.

  33. You've proposed a PvE mechanic that makes PvE simultaneously mandatory and inaccessible for players that can't call on a fleet to save them. That goes for solo miners, small corps, anyone that plays the game in the off-hours, and anyone whose corp mates are off doing their own thing.

    On top of that, your system just enforces a different form of NPC grinding. The novelty will wear off quickly.

  34. I have never ever read a EVE gameplay proposal that was thought through less than this.

    Lets start at the top - and the true basics why group PvE in EVE is a no-no:
    Aggro mechanics! Rats don't have aggression tables each, but an entire site focuses on one target more often than not. Something that your article ignored and something that will break each and every single part of your proposal. Break as in "making the game completely unplayable".

    The next big thing that went wrong here is the fact that your proposal has very severe implications for PvP, since rats can spawn mid battle or even right from the start and screw things up for everyone.

    Third point that made me wonder if you really play the game was the "rat sizes spawn in correlation to your own ship size" - which means everything but battleships will be 100% fucked for PvE. Considering some of the AF, HAC and SC are the most fun PvE ships around this is gamebreaking for me - and I believe for others as well.

    But in the end at least the sentiment of this rather dubious proposal is right: PvE in EVE needs some work.
    My own list of ideas could go like this:
    1. Aggro mechanics based per ship, this will take a lot of resources to do right, but it will be worth it.

    2. Overhaul of EWAR by rats and how rats are effected by it. Eg. Neuts vs rats or Guristas ECM - both which are not at a place where they could be called a fun or engaging mechanic.

    3. Complete rat overhaul - single (especially non-elite) rats should be less noumerous, but stronger per ship. This also helps with aggro management (both by players and server/client).

    4. In general, there should be less anomalies and more DED sites. Also more varied DED sites - 3/10 once in a while even in null mixes things up, just because your Golem can't get in. The deadspace mods are still blue and valuable, so someone will do them anyway. I would.
    For scanning combat sites, there could be a special probe type, which is a considerably improved for scanning combat sites, while being almost unable to scan any other type. This would help players not waste time scanning stuff that they are not interested and leads to conetent faster.

    5. The only fix to the main problem about any type of small group content might be aggro mechanics, with the main issue being multi-boxing. CCP dug a really deep pit for themselves, since any meaningful small group content might be multi-boxed by one player who exponentially gains more wealth by plexing multiple accounts. A dilemma when you want to create content that should reward multiplayer interaction.

  35. Jester, althought your review of current NPC behavior is well addressed, PvE in eve needs an "holistic" redesign.

    Anomalies/Signatures/sites .....all potential locations for PvE...(not the hacking or archeology ones since the latest update though)

    Belt rats


    FW missions



    .....all that is PvE content....yet the only two that "promote" group play but can still be run solo are the last two.

    You see, PvE in a MMO such as eve should portray a mock-up fight...yes less dumb rats, more leveled engagements toward the ship you are flying....but its still a source of ISK to do other activities......some people just farm rats in other to do other things....

    Why don't address the whole thing from its foundations?

    Campaigns, multiple NPC agents providing a constellation to fight off a pirate cartel...
    Precision Missions, go kill this one guy (tought warp-scrambling webbing guy, that could warp away)
    Sign up for "patrol", move around and confirm no hostiles, or kill any that show up

    Belt rats that spawn on deadspace or even a player mining op? concord issues a system wide warning and requests combatants....

    Make PvE both believable and aimed to "mimic" PvP. ....either in solo or in groups...thats it.

  36. I see from the comments that any new idea will ramp up a lot of opposition.
    Turns out PVErs too are entrenched in their old habits.

    I simply LOVE the idea of giving some meaning to the pointless pirates.
    Having them sit idle on belts always struck me as the most un-immersive aspect of the game.
    No matter how deep in the game you get, as soon as you see the red cross lying around doing nothing, you snap back out with 'what the hell are they doing there?'.

    You know what would be cool: That NPC rats have to deal with Concord just the same as normal pirates.
    Here's how:
    -Noob miner goes to the belt, mine up for an hour then the rats come.
    -Noob miner has to activate some sort of alarm system.
    -Concord eventually sweeps in with the appropriate response for the reported rats.
    -Noob miner gets a symbolic bounty for signalling the rats.

    Thing is: the rats have a decent chance of taking down the noob miner while Concord is on its way.
    A well-tanked ship can sit it out.
    A noob ship have to scramble away from the pirate, hoping against hope that he can stall them until help arrives.

    The number of available Concord units would depend on the sec level.
    The number of rats would depend on the number of juicy targets available.
    Hence, the sectors with an over abundance of miners would eventually attract too much rats for Concord to hold off.

    How about having rats spawn in pre-define groups sizes that would then roam until they find a target they can take down with profit?
    The first sign of trouble you'd get would be to see a rats frigate closing in with a cargo scanner to see if you're worth the trouble.
    Empty cargo? They won't bother unless you have priceless mods.

    I dunno. I just love the idea of rats with a profit-oriented strategic AI.
    Gives them a purpose other than splashing on the players' windshields as cheap ratting money.




  38. Ripard, I know you've been in most parts of EvE by this time. Even in nullsec, doing things in groups, like wars and defense fleets, aren't something we want to do all the time. When you are in constant CTAs, as I have been at times, it gets to be very tiring and very difficult to make enough ISK to buy and fit that next Apocalypse Navy Issue without some ratting time to burn basically alone. If you always have to put together a crew to go ratting or mining, it would kill most of the small operations and further concentrate the activity in space to fewer and fewer systems, which is getting pretty empty in places as I'm sure you well know. Even in well-motivated large alliances, getting groups of people together across various time zones is a very challenging endevor, even when they are fighting a war and have everything to lose. What you are proposing would force that sort of coordination as an everyday approach to EvE, as in 'Ok, we need to make some money, so Monday-Thursday everyone needs to be online at 20:00 CDT to get some ratting in'. Miners face the same problem, plus they need to find players to protect the mining fleets, and you've talked about how this is problematic in the past. I'm sure Rote would just love sitting around and guarding Hulks a few nights a week, right?

    The only positive I can see in this particular approach is that bot programming gets a little more hairy, and it would make play around the gates a little more interesting for certain groups. For me, if I don't have something else planned, I can just log in anytime, find an anomaly and go. Your approach would be for me to log in and warp to a belt and wait . . . eventually some rats would show up, and if I can kill those, successive waves would arrive until I was outgunned solo and have to run for the next belt to wait . . . rinse repeat. Income goes down for everyone who makes money doing things in space outside a POS, because even if you can put a crew together, there is not enough ISK in PvE or mining for everyone to make as much as we make solo now. Even solo PvP would become more problematic as close fights could turn on a random rat spawn that strips that last bit of hull from your ship and you blow up in a fight you had won. And who gets the kill if both pilots get killed? Does the Gist War General get a killboard? Yeah, that is just being stupid now, but you get the point.

    If you want to make PvE a bit more interesting, improve the AI and work on more creative Incursion sites for the gang PvE bunch. Killing solo play kills EvE for everyone but Station Trading alts.

  39. Your analysis of the incomprehensibility of rat behavior is interesting. Unfortunately, the rest of the idea seems less well thought through.

    In short, it is not entirely clear to me what problem you think this solves, nor how you expect the problem to be solved. Other people have laid out specific issues with this suggestion, but I'm wondering which parts of people not grouping up you think this will solve. In the end, I think the real killer for the idea is this, though: Unless someone over-replies to a rat spawn, which kills it off immediately, how does this encourage people to group up instead of seeing how much they can take on solo before they need to find a way to disengage themselves?

  40. Another idea.....after affiliating pirate players to NPC pirates form Concord Voluntary Reserve Force for players with high security status. They would recive CONCORD LP for terminating any -5 player in any security space, but lose standings for shoting anything not red. When this new formation wil grow in strenght - limit CONCORD rapid response force, so players could play even more significant role in enforcing law and order in New Eden.

  41. Pirates should logically be far more numerous & rampant in null-sec. They should attack player POSes, jump bridges, etc. with great impunity. Null sec players should be required to establish 24/7 defense in order to prevent their structures from being destroyed.

    Pirates should swarm any player ships in null, and also camp gates. Pirates should also be able to deploy bubbles.

    Null sec is far too safe - this needs to be fixed, in keeping with the whole risk vs reward concept.

  42. Incentivicing to fit for PVE in a way usefull for PVP as well (i.e. warp scramblers to prevent the juicy rats to escape) ... Check
    Making pirate factions standings a useful thing by allowing to traverse their space unmolested (plus making the pirate 0.0 better themed and ptentially a real hellhole) ... Check
    Paving the way for potential changes to belt counts in system and other changes to stellar objects by making "staying still" something to be avoided in dangerousspace ... Check
    Well its definetly an interesting idea to think about, heck, one could even make the faction polices useful by making them respond to those spawns depending on secstatus, or dozen other things that come to mind when one ponders about the implications.

    Well now that you dropped ESO, tiime to use your clout and press this wouldnt it?^^

  43. Jester, what is the problem you are trying to solve? It's not that NPCs are passive: they will attack players on sight (or at least "in aggro range"). If I sit in a belt today and mine away, NPCs will spawn and attack my ships. They spawn randomly too.

    Please define "sufficient to kill". The NPCs in 0.5 will challenge the tank on my Venture but not even drop the shields on the Skiff by a percentage.

    The bounties from belt rats are trivial compared to the value of the ore I'm mining. There's no reason for someone flying a Skiff in a fleet being boosted by an Orca to care about NPCs in belts. If the value of the bounties went up to the point where I'd actually bother to blow the NPCs up when they appeared (as opposed to when I got tired of the noise they make), there would be people actively hunting those NPCs: thus the threat to my Skiff would be reduced due to rat hunters, but raised due to the number and power of NPCs softening up my skiff for the suicide gankers. I still wouldn't be caring too much about NPCs since my primary purpose is to harvest ore or ice.

    The only thing that doesn't happen with belt NPCs is leaving when they decide that they're in an unwinnable fight. Sometimes they'll just warp off because they've been there too long.

    So in short, everything that you have described apart from NPCs escalating a fight they think they can win, is already present. At present, belt ratting is monotonous and boring, and the interest in ratting is primarily driven by the ISK income offered by this activity.

    I can imagine that if you attempt to force a fight by having all NPCs warp scramble or warp disrupt their targets, you'll end up blowing up any number of industrials hauling goods back and forth and not actually making the game any more interesting or exciting. Most industrials have very little in the way of combat ability (cue links to Marlona Sky killing dramiel with a badger). Industrial ships (especially T1 hauler EHP and T2 hauler DPS) would have to be significantly adjusted to have a chance of fighting off an NPC that is tuned to be capable of blowing up their target.

    Frankly, when I'm hauling goods back and forth with my freighter I'm not going to be particularly excited about being scrammed by a rat who can simply kill my ship by keeping it in place for the next 23 hours. As a freighter pilot, I might look for routes that take me through more populated space to improve the chances of passing combat pilots being able to kill the NPCs (and hope that they don't then shoot me). But then the spectre of entering Uedama and spawning a bunch of NPCs who warp scramble my frigate while the regular suicide gankers give my ship a thorough scan … yeah, that just doesn't appeal to me at all.

    Will scramming NPCs camping gates in hi sec force people to fly in groups? I don't think so, as long as the freighter pilot has some assurance that *someone* will come to save them in a reasonable amount of time.

    And then there are Incursions. Why do they finish after a week? Why not simply spread to the next constellation and keep spreading until all the motherships in each constellation have been defeated? Then add incursion rats on gates, ensuring that there are risks involved. The arguments against this have been had. The outcome was no NPCs camping gates in hi sec because it hurts industrial pilots. But now freighters have low slots. They can fit warp core stabs. Perhaps the rules have changed and people will be able to accept NPCs camping gates in hi sec, under the noses of CONCORD and the gate guns?

    What is the problem you are trying to solve, Jester?

  44. I like the idea, but I would add just a few more details. Add a command ship that triggers the reward payout. If the battle is going poorly for the pirates, the command ship may flee and deny a fraction of the player's payout. Also, rats may try to flee to repair their ship if their ship is sufficiently threatened.

    These two small changes would simulate PVP, allow 'mission runners' to fit ships that are more like PVP fits, and would ease new players' transition from PVE to PVP.

  45. Mining-my-own-businessMay 28, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    I like the idea of making rat fights more dynamic and making defense fleets (for mining ops like in your examples) bring scrams and disruptors to kill the rats and defend the miners. Like it has been said above forcing all pve into group would probably detrimental to part of the player base. The fact is the AI needs to make more sense and be a bit more dynamic even for solo missions.
    For example missions where the rats keep on launching themselves against a clearly overtanked tengu or marauder don't make sense they should warp away. Unless the aim of the mission is to kill the commander. If you point this ship all the other ones stay and fight trying to get it free. Maybe ?
    And making mining fleets require military support is a good idea (more than drones) as it would make sense that it would attract the attention of more factions than just the CODE. :)

  46. You make some good general points about NPC AI and reactions and that they should be improved.

    I am a solo player, this does not mean I don’t interact but means I mostly fly solo, mission ran for a long time and enjoyed it and now roam in faction warfare.

    For me what makes good PVE.

    Immersion through a story, events and dialogue
    Some collaborative or competitive interaction.
    Rewards - preferably unique
    Timeframe - how long does it take, can it be completed in a session and how long before you can access this content?

    If we look at the content, IS EVE PVE bad?

    Wormholes - not a lot of story, but in a PVP environment the story builds itself. Lots of player interaction, action with tough enemies and unique rewards to build high value ships. This is good PVE but has high access requirements

    Incursions - Some background story but again the story is in the community and it’s drama, high level of interaction and access to unique rewards. This is good PVE but has high access requirements.

    COSMOS - This has good story, but a little tricky to keep track of, interaction between players is not huge but these sites are public, some of the content a little tricky/different. Lots of more unique rewards. This is good PVE, bad interface.

    Missions - Bit of story, arc mission are better, no real interaction required, rewards really just LP and ISK. Epic arcs are better but overall not great but easy access.

    Anomalies - Little story, some interaction depending on where it is but not really required. Rewards again really just bounties perhaps a few unique items now and then. Not great either.

    My point is that when people talk about PVE they think missions and missions are not the best and yet from an access point of view it is the easiest for casual/new players to do within any given play session.

    I do not feel your idea either would tick all the boxes for good PVE.

    This argument also will not go away until CCP introduces/refreshes some PVE, there is a section the player base that does it and wants to continue doing it and that should not detract from any other playstyles either. Good PVE is win win for the whole playerbase supporting additional subscriptions and ideally easing players into more complex parts of the game.


    A Bear

  47. Posting again.

    For me I would take aspects of the other content that is good and bundle them into smaller more widespread packets.

    Larger numbers of systems should have unique sites for public access like the COMSOS sites, these give systems geography and recognisable areas to go.
    Introduce small incursion type arcs taking place within single system lasting only a couple of hours max preferably shorter.

    Example: -
    Serpentis are assaulting a system disrupting shipping.

    More NPC’s on gates, stations, belts with increased rewards.

    This escalates into a number of small complexes where pirate NPC’s are attacking NPC freighters.

    This escalates to fewer but more difficult sites.

    Eventually concludes at an existing deadspace site where players fight though the existing site pockets to find and attack NPC pirate base.

    The stories could be fixed to a system and occur at random times or bounce around space. They should have a short enough timeframe to be able to be completed by people locally without encouraging a mass move or requiring a lot of preparation.

    Now this is really just a light form of incursion. But ideally what would start as a random group of people just killing low level NPC’s would develop into a small fleet of people collaborating to complete the finale especially if rewards are shared in the right way among everyone taking part.


    A Bear

  48. I can see it now.

    Me: Hey, I have 45 minutes. Why don't I get some EVE time in?

    *log in*
    *Moe and Larry are online*
    00:00 Me: Hey Moe, hey Larry, wanna run some belts?
    Moe: Sure. Sounds fun. I've got my Raven.
    Larry: Yeah, sounds good, but I need to restock on ammo.
    Moe: OK we'll wait

    00:09: Me: Hey Larry, are you just about ready?
    Larry: Soon, I'm docking up in Jita now.
    Me: But we're in Gallente space
    Larry: I had to sell some PI. Don't worry, I'll be there soon.

    00:17 Larry: Okay guys, I'm on my way.
    *Shemp logs in*
    Shemp: Hey what's up guys?
    Moe: We're running belts. Wanna come?
    Shemp: Sure. Just let me fit up my Domi.

    00:24: Me: Are you guys ready?
    Moe: Yeah
    Larry: Yeah
    Shemp: *crickets*
    Me: Shemp?

    00:26 Me: Shemp?

    00:30 Me: Okay he's afk, let's just go without him.
    *Curly logs in*
    Curly: Hey Moe, hey Larry!
    Moe: We're belt ratting in [system]. Want to come?
    Curly: Sure, let me get my Proteus.

    00:34 Curly: Okay I'm ready.
    Larry: *with angry voices in the background of his voice comms* Just a minute, I have to go AFK

    00:37 Shemp: Sorry, was afk. Where are you guys?
    Me: Still in station.
    Shemp: Okay I'm ready.
    Moe: Larry's still afk.
    Me: He can catch up later. Let's just undock; I've got like eight minutes left.
    Moe: Okay, sure. Everyone undock and warp to top belt.
    *Moe, Curly, Shemp, and me undock and warp to the top belt. It is empty*

    00:42 *first rat wave spawns*
    00:43 *Laurel and Hardy, two neutrals, warp to the belt in T3s, triggering a new rat wave. They warp off*
    Me: Uh-oh
    Moe: We'd better bail. Shoot the scramming frigs.

    00:44 *the last scramming frig dies and we warp out, several of us in deep armor or structure*
    Larry: Sorry about that guys, I'm warping to belt now.
    *Larry lands at the belt at 0 and is instantly aggroed by every rat there. He tries to warp out but gets stuck on an asteroid and dies*

    00:45 Moe: Sorry about that. How long would it take you to re-ship?
    Larry: I gotta take another load of PI to Jita. Maybe an hour?
    Me: *sighing* I gotta go guys, later. *logs. Checks Neocom on his phone later that evening, sees he earned less than 1m isk from 45 minutes of playing*

    The next night:

    Me: Hey, I have 45 minutes. Why don't I play World of Tanks?

  49. I like the sound of this. Definitely gives more of a sense of immersion and that PVE isn't just pre-scripted. It could revamp the way mission agents work, allowing dynamic missions based on real events.

    Here's my stream of consciousness on this subject, but I think it compliments this new direction:

    As people try to game the system amassing loads of alts in a certain area in certain types of ships as bait, the pirates can start changing tactics so someone with a bunch of alts has a more difficult time keeping up, or they just don't show and have moved on. Sort of like, if the pirates keep getting defeated, why would they continue to aggress in that area?

    This might lead to pirates changing operating bases, and mission agents will sent people out to find and destroy the bases. These bases also can be scanned down via exploration, allowing two routes to that base, either through a mission agent or through exploration.

    Finally I think that the missions and bounties received should be tied to the PVP system somehow. As if the pirates are actual capsuleers (explains Kruul's DNA being so abundant).

    This then might allow for a system of destroying said pirate captain's clone bays or a home base, that causes him to not respawn for a while, or in a weakened state.

    This way, the various regions will fluctuate in PVE income, so that Minmatar might be the most lucrative for 2 or 3 months, but the rats in the area are cleaned out and it takes them a little while to rebuild and they don't attack as often, and their bases are not rebuilt. Or the base can be scanned down as it's being rebuilt, that would be cool too, perhaps with a Concord bounty on it before it is completed. Capsuleers can also put bounties on pirates, because the pirates might start attacking or targeting specific industrial capsuleers. For instance, if you fly an industry ship and it's clear you're operating out of a hub, the pirates should be able to get stats on player behavior just like we can, so the pirates will start predicting where they can capture you at a gate. Just because you live in secure null-sec or low sec space and control all of the routes in and out of your pocket doesn't mean you should be out of danger from NPC pirates.

    Just some thoughts. I'd love to see more dynamic PVE that blends a bit better into the other systems of EVE, instead of just being "destroy rats, return mission, rinse, repeat". At least with exploration there's an element of unknown still, which is why I think all missions should be able to be completed with or without the initiation of a mission agent. The only ones that might not be are specific storyline missions where there's some plot or something going on. Idunno. Interesting topic.

  50. I can agree that there should be some incentive to group in pve like there is in incursions however it needs to be restricted to higher level pve a player should be able to solo if they want with the difficulty and rewards that cone as a solo player. With esvkations and stuff u have to realize eve players are going to game the system just like with eh cap esclations. Lastly what incentives does ccp have to actually improve pve? Any new accounts they get will be offset by ppl that refused to pve b4 actually grinding isk instead of buying plex. Tbh I thought that was the reason for the horrid pve.

  51. It may have already been pointed out, but your idea is, in it's current form, a bit too farmable. Pirates need to rout way earlier, no second or third spawn should the first one be wiped off grid too conclusively. Else people will just sit their alts in hauulers on a grid, and when pirates show up, log their mains and go kill the juicy NPCs.

    Other than that, it looks really good. Throw in balanced NPCs that don't have gaping resist holes and I'll be all over the idea.

  52. God this is so true... Nice piece Ripard!

  53. As someone who does a lot alone in EVE, this sounds great. Would just adjust to the new reality.


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