Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Don't stand so close to me

As promised, I want to talk about the one thing that Perpetuum Online really does well... much better than EVE, in fact.  It's a fantastic innovation to the EVE model which EVE needs to steal, immediately.  But I'm going to cheat a bit and come at it from a somewhat circuitous route.

In my post the other day about NeX store goods, S.W. said the following about my complaints regarding the top tier MT goods:
You manage to bold and italicize the USD conversion, but barely mention the actual in-game currency conversion. 4-5 billion ISK? Suddenly it's not so bad in that light if you have the ISK to burn.
There's an annoying perception among very long-term EVE players that "5 billion isn't a lot of ISK."  When we hear this, I and others invariably reply "If 5 billion isn't very much ISK, give me 3 billion.  That should be nothing, right?"  The EVE economy has a surprisingly low level of inflation, all things considered.  The price of a Hulk, for instance, has not varied significantly in at least three years, maybe four.  While initially they were hugely expensive -- 500-600 million, in fact -- as the manufacturing capability to produce them matured, the price dropped into the current realm of 150-175 million, and for the most part, it's stayed there.  Other "durable goods" (and good Lord, do I wish Dr EyjoG would develop a durable goods index for EVE) show similar market trends.  Industrialists in EVE are very strongly motivated not to let the prices of their durable goods come down a whole lot.

Which is bad, bad news for newer EVE players trying to catch up with longer-term EVE players.

One of the reasons I left my prior in-game alliance was because -- to my continuing annoyance -- there was a trend among the alliance's industrialists to gouge alliance-mates.  This affected virtually all goods.  About three months before I left, one of my alliance-mates advertised that he would build Nyxes for alliance members for a hull cost 18.5 billion ISK.  Fighters, fighter-bombers and fittings were extra.  When I pointed out to him that I could buy a travel-fit Nyx, often with fighters and fighter-bombers, from a total stranger on the EVE-O forums for 17 billion ISK, his response was "Well, don't buy one from me, then."

The problem is that the hull cost of a Nyx isn't 18.5 billion ISK.  It isn't even 17 billion ISK.  It's 9.26 billion ISK.

I don't begrudge someone a reasonable profit for their work.  But this means that if you're capable of building Nyxes in EVE Online, you're making a 80% to 100% profit margin on every single hull.  The profit margin on a Titan is well over 100%.  I don't know why people wonder how it is that the DRF became so rich.  And that price isn't going to come down because those that can build Nyxes are not motivated to bring them down.

Humans are risk-averse.  They over-value things that take hard work and a great deal of time to acquire.  They're not interested in losing these things, particularly if they felt they were over-charged for them.  Which is why, when you have a Nyx, or an Aeon, or an Erebus, or an Avatar, you don't want to fly it alone.  You want to fly it like this:

When you're visited by super-caps, this is what it looks like in EVE circa 2011

Super-capitals in EVE Online either die alone, or they die in large batches.  And they're not going to die in large batches any more, because there is only one force in the game capable of and willing to field them in large batches any more.  Mostly Harmless is gone, and they made it clear that they're gone because there was no way for them to counter the NCdot/Evoke/PL super-cap blob.  Goonswarm claims not to even have such a blob (yet), so it looks likely that they'll be next.

A super-cap nerf is supposedly coming, according to CCP Soundwave, but it's going to be at least a year too late.

What does all of this have to do with Perpetuum Online?  Glad you asked:

In Perpetuum Online, your targeting speed is directly influenced by the number of robots in close proximity to you.  The larger the number of robots close to you, the longer it takes you to target things.

Let me say that again, 'cause I really think it bears repeating: the larger the number of robots close to you, the longer it takes you to target things.

EVE needs to implement this.  Not tomorrow.  Not next Thursday.  Today.

These days, the best 0.0 anti-battleship platform in EVE isn't a carrier, or even a super-carrier.  It's a Titan.  And they don't need a doomsday to do it.  Titans eat battleships with their standard guns, as long as you fit them properly for fast tracking.  Can you imagine the glorious tears if it took a Titan in a super-cap blob two minutes to target a battleship, and three minutes to target a Guardian?

Why, people might actually fly sub-caps in this game again.  A super-carrier or Titan might be something that actually just anchored a fleet, instead of being the only type of ship in the fleet.  Hell, we might even see... and I know this is silly, but I'm being optimistic here... we might even see affordable small-gang PvP in EVE Online again!

Wouldn't that be something?

So, bravo, Avatar Creations.  That is the best thing about Perpetuum Online.  You did that so very, very right.


  1. This is indeed a great feature, as it's a built-in anti-blobbing mechanic. I do, however, have two issues with its implementation in Eve:

    1. While it may affect Titans, it also affects smaller ships. This encourages people to use bigger, more powerful ships to get the most damage per time spent targetting.

    2. With Eve's 3d, overview-driven positioning, maneuvering (in anything larger than a frigate) is exceedingly difficult. In Perpetuum, it is easy for one to say, "move your robot to the left." In Eve: "double click in that direction." "What directions?" "Right over there." "Where?"

  2. Let's not forget the issue of titan weapons being able to hit battleships in the first place. A battleship with fast tracking still has a hard time hitting a frigate (two size ranks down). For a titan, hitting a battleship should be has hard as it is for a battleship to hit a frigate. Sure, web it and paint it, now your 2-size-up weapons can hit the target.

    The idea of locking time being affected by number of ships nearby/on grid has been discussed on the forums aplenty.

    ... hrm... I take that back. I've just taken a casual stroll through Features & Ideas and I have failed to trip over any threads dealing with this issue.

  3. @Stevie: For big targets, you'd have to approach the target strategically. Instead of one big massive 250 ship blob all coming at the target from the same direction, you'd have each wing or each squad come at the target from different directions, each orbiting an anchor or warping in from a different direction.

    Ditto for larger fleet battles.

    In short, you'd actually have to THINK about how to approach a target, instead of "everyone warp to 0, primary is JoeBob."

  4. It is an interesting suggestion, but implementation would require completely reworking the way scan resolution and signature radius affect lock time, or else factoring in ship mass as well as number of ships in proximity. Even then, the very idea of "proximity" would have to be carefully considered -- whether only ships within a set distance count, or only friendly ships, or all ships on grid, or all ships in fleet regardless of location, or a combination of the above.

    I'm not terribly in favor of simply forcing fleets to break up into sub-blobs of 50 ships or so. That makes fleet fights a bigger pain to organize for the fleet commanders, gives even more advantage to experienced fleet commanders and the fleets they lead (which I recall you dislike since it hurts newer players), and doesn't really prevent blobbing.

  5. Great post Jester and I wholeheartedly agree. This would help curb the blobbing that is the bane of PVP in null sec.

    I would however add one thing: factor in the number of ships of the same hull size when calculating penalties to lock time. In other words, each additional frigate added to a frigate blob would only increase lock times by a small amount, but adding an additional super-cap to a super-cap blob would increase lock times by a much larger amount. This way you're not overly penalizing fleets of smaller ship sizes, when the real intent is to curb super-cap blobs.

    It would require some awfully careful balancing, but I think it could be a viable change.

  6. While I generally support any changes that will boost small scale pvp I'd like to point out that in a game such as Eve Online no change can be considered without taking into account other elements in the system.
    If the change that you're talking about would be introduced then the lack of formations would be much more painful than it currently is, because coordinating fleet/wing movements would be as difficult as they currently are while at the same time it would be much more relevant to take advantage of this new feature in combat.

  7. @random: The whole point to implementing this kind of change would be to break huge blobs into more manageable chunks where the pilots would actually have to think about what they're doing instead of just orbiting the anchor and all shooting at the same primary the same distance away.

    Wouldn't formations just create the exact same issue? With formations, you wouldn't even have to be sitting at your keyboard, except maybe to press F1 occasionally. That isn't a game, IMO.

  8. It really depends on how formations would be implemented.
    Too much automatization and we get the result that you've described, too little and the FC ends up telling people what distances they should keep instead of actually commanding his forces.
    The middle ground would mean that wing commanders would command their units' pilots at micro scale and the FC would command at a macro scale.
    This enables battles within battles in big fleet engagements while at the same time giving small scale pvp a reason to exist as small, close knit units would be more efficient.

    On a somewhat related note - as you know, I've been playing Black Prophecy, and I love the fact that you can fly wherever you point your mouse without double clicking bs, I really love this system, and I think that flying smaller ships in Eve would be much more engaging and fun if I could just hold/toggle a hotkey and fly wherever I point my mouse. Of course this won't work very well for bigger ships, but that's not a bad thing really.

  9. I love this idea, but mostly because it's basically the second half of my CSM5 election platform. My sample solution was visibility vs. locking time, but both can work.

    The meta issue is that fleet power in EVE scales linearly (or perhaps even as a slight power function) to fleet size. Until something is done so that fleet power approaches a asymptotic limit as fleet sizes increase, then fleet sizes will increase to fill the lag available.

    -- Trebor

  10. @Trebor: And yet, most of the CSM is hugely gung ho about time dilation. What happens when you combine "fleet sizes increase to fill the lag available" with time dilation?

    'cause all I can see in that combination is 2500 people in Local all trying to fight each other as two big masses instead of 1500.

  11. You missed the bigger anti-blob feature. On death in Perpetuum's PvP islands, you explode dealing damage in an AoE around you. This can prompt instant and fatal chain reactions. How would you feel about bringing that fleet if killing only one of those titans nuked the rest of the fleet? Because 1 titan would kill all the battleships and carriers, and those would be enough to kill another titan. And so forth.

  12. LOL! You're kidding, right? If this is true, this is awesome. :-)

  13. A death AoE would be interesting for fights with explosion radius determined by mass or sig radius. I would hate to think that blowing up a frig could chain up to any ship size. It would encourage more big ships that are harder to kill in order to avoid an deaths. It would also favor fighting at a distance over close up weapons.

    Of course, the consequences for hisec group mining would be a disaster. One destroyer could kill a single Mack with ease and chain react an entire group, maybe enough to kill their support Orca. Hulkageddon everyday! And then there's the possibilities of parking a few dozen Ibises at the Jita 4-4 exit and getting the equivalent of a free pre-nerf Titan AoE doomsday. I like it...

  14. Loog at this:


    NeX find it out the Hard way.

  15. http://failheap-challenge.com/showthread.php?2589-MEGATHREAD-Dumb-questions-good-answers&p=153180&viewfull=1#post153180


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