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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Thursday, October 13, 2011

More tears formula

I wanted to talk hybrids a bit more today, but catching up after my vacation is turning up a lot of interesting activity this week, so I'll save that post for tomorrow.  Instead, let's talk high-sec war-decs.

As I've said a couple of times lately, I haven't spent any time in an all-high-sec-all-the-time corp.  I was in Sturmgrenadier's high-sec training corp for about a year, though, and in this capacity, I got quite a bit of experience with high-sec war-decs.  I showed my mutant colors pretty early, though: I really enjoyed the war-decs, and cut my teeth learning how to be a PvP FC in this arena.  In the process, I became more familiar than I wanted to be with all the ways high-sec merc corps and gank corps use to exploit the war-dec system.

And they are legion.  Most revolve around the use of neutral toons to provide services that should be performed by combatants.  Neutral scouts are the most obvious, of course, but much more egregious possibilities exist.  For instance, neutral logistics ships can rep combatant ships, then jump through nearby gates or dock up in nearby stations when aggressed.  Neutral Machariels can be used to bump people undocking far off station.  Until very recently, neutral Orcas could be used to swap ships mid-combat, turning an even fight into a one-sided stomp-fest.  Neutral command ships can provide 7-link boosting, and neutral cheap ships can provide Remote Sebos and Remote Tracking Links.  And neutral fast-locking ships with multiple Signal Amplifiers and/or Auto Targeting Systems can be used as FC platforms.  And all of this is before you add how ridiculously, ludicrously easy high-sec corps are to infiltrate.

So yeah, I've experienced all the tricks on that end of the spectrum.

What I hadn't experienced much of was the far other end of the spectrum, the mechanics that some high-sec corps use to avoid war-decs.  I was vaguely familiar with the ideas of creating new alliances or joining alliances to avoid war-decs.  I was also vaguely familiar with the idea of creating false war-decs to increase the cost to the aggressor.  But these tactics really didn't hit home for me until a couple of months ago.  I was in an incursion fleet, flying logi as usual, when I started repping an EVE University pilot.  The game informed me the E-UNI pilot was at war and did I want to risk being part of that war.  I certainly didn't care.  The high-sec war-dec'er that can catch me in a Scimitar deserves to kill me.  ;-)  I accepted the risk and got busy repping him.  But I asked about it, and was informed that the E-UNI war-decs were "fake war-decs"...

...all eight or nine of them.

The apparent idea being that yeah, you can war-dec EVE University, but it's going to cost you a half-billion ISK to do it, because each war-dec on an alliance increases the cost of the next one by 50 million ISK.  ;-)  I had a vague memory of this being an exploit, asked about it, and it was confirmed to me that it was, except for E-UNI, which apparently was given a special exemption by CCP due to the service they provide to new EVE players.

Well, this week, there was a very quiet "non-announcement" from the CCP GM team stating that this sort of thing will no longer be considered an exploit, nor will hopping alliances or creating alliances to avoid war-decs.  There's also a relevant public thread about it on the EVE University forums that you can peruse.

We will pause here for a moment to consider the delicious irony of CCP deciding not to bother fixing a flawed game mechanic and instead simply stating that using flawed game mechanics will themselves be considered a legal way to avoid other flawed game mechanics.  Go CCP.

Now let's skip that and move on.

Back in June on Failheap, Evil Synns wrote what may as well be the EVE Online Quote of the Game:
Remember this is EVE, where everyone counts their e-peen in level of tears.
And make no mistake: this change in policy -- while extremely lazy and dumb -- caused quite the little explosion of high-sec ganker tears.  The irony here is palpable.  Yeah, I understand that I'm supposed to take the side of high-sec mercs and PvPers here.  I'm a PvPer at heart, I like PvP in all forms, and I should be showing solidarity with my bear-ganking brethren.  And sure, I do.  Really!  I do!

To a certain extent.  ;-)

But given that the high-sec PvPer industry is basically an entire EVE culture revolving around collecting the item to the left, I also get to appreciate the irony of all the whining that I'm hearing about this from them.  When the Orca change was made, every pirate and high-sec PvPer blog I follow was pretty sheepish about it.  "Sure, I used that exploit," a lot of them said.  "Sure, it was probably unfair for me to do so," they continued.  "But it was a tool of the trade, and I used it because it provided an advantage," they concluded.  Apologize?  Apologizing for using an exploit is for the weak.

Had the Orca exploit been declared legal, the gankers would have fallen over themselves in glee over the high-sec tears that would have resulted.  Now that the shoe is quite literally on the other foot, the irony of the apocalpytic rage-bombs being dropped is not lost on me, oh no.

So yeah, sorry high-sec PvPers, gankers, and mercs, but... your tears are delicious.  ;-)

I'm going to conclude this post by stating the obvious: high-sec war-decs are hugely broken.  There's an absolute metric ton of exploits still remaining that high-sec PvP corps are using daily to press ganks on the high-sec bear corps that only want to mine or mission in peace.  Guys, to whine about the few tools that the bears have to avoid you being declared legal is unworthy of you.  Get over it, and wipe away your tears.  If this stuff is what you find fun, evolve.  You'll find new ways to kill bears.  I promise.

And hopefully, at some point, CCP will throw out the current war-dec mechanics and write something that makes sense for both sides.


  1. I am utterly skeptical about the last sentence.
    I don't think it is even possible to desing a exploit-free war-dec mechanic.

  2. How about throwing out the whole high-sec war-dec thing all together. Surely, Goons are proving that you don't need Concord sanctions to wreak havoc on a group of pilots in high-sec, if you are dedicated enough. And it has been said that war-decs in low and null have no point.

    Loosen up, or better, refocus, the penalties for aggressing in high-sec and let the bullets land where they may. Maybe let 1.0 be a gank-free, safe, wasteland for newbies to learn some of the ropes in.

  3. "Guys, to whine about the few tools that the bears have to avoid you being declared legal is unworthy of you."

    Perhaps you should look at how it was used before:

    That's not a "few tools" - that is theoretical immunity, for almost no cost to the person exploiting.

    To be clear: they are NOT PAYING the cost that it should cost to wardec themselves, as CCP have made that exploit LEGAL.

    I'm disappointed that you have gone for the "tears" argument here, to be honest. Lets forget about "carebear tears" here, Jester, that is completely besides the point. Whether you are a carebear, weekend pirate, nullsec alliance protecting their logistics or a PVP corp looking to shield themselves to go make ISK, you can now exploit game mechanics to enable an area of space (highsec) to be safe.


    Opt-in PVP.

    It is a terrible indictment of the current playerbase that more people are not up in arms that CCP has chosen to allow corps to set themselved "opt in" for PVP.

    I fucking hate highsec wardecs - but I STILL think it is game breaking to remove them.

  4. Whilst actually in nullsec I agree there is no advantage to Wardec's at all however how many 0.0 corps/alliances have highsec/empire assetts?, logistic chains/manufacturing etc, freighters, missioners, etc.

    And in Lowsec there is distinct advanatage to being able to engage anywhere with no gate guns/station guns ruining your day.

  5. @Khanh: I'll have something to say about this argument later today.

  6. @Anabaric

    That's why I said re-work the penalties for aggression in high and low. Slower Concord response times, or maybe just local police responses to aggression, along with monetary penalties or permanent sec-status loss (fines to remove sec status hits/repay cost of victim losses). It seems silly to me that 'war' should be 'legal' in high-sec between citizens (FW not included), but you also don't want to make it a completely safe haven either.

    There would still be a place or sanctioned pvp in high-sec (FW), and the merc corps could still make a living without having to chase corps through alliance swaps, griefers can do what they do, and null-sec alliances can still have their fights over supply lines. Most importantly, you take out the exploits and chances for exploits.

  7. I don't think the wardec system needs that much tweaking- and I think the new announcement is hilarious.

    High sec griefers can cry foul all they want, the truth is they have milked noobs for "tears" so hard that there are hardly any noobs left in EVE to even grief anymore. And at the same time, there are many of these griefer types that only pick on the weak in high sec and never go out to lower security space to find a real challenge- which makes them no better than the "carebears" or noobs they think they are superior to.

    @Khanh- I get your point on the matter, but high sec wars these days are quite possibly nothing but older players who are bored and looking for "low hanging fruit" to amuse themselves with, and are just making newer players want to log off and go do something else because they know they will just lose if they stand and fight. Lately, the time of day I log in there are around 20,000...half of the number I remember from several months back- CCP can maybe revisit this issue later when the environment is better- but right now there are seriously more career "tear collector" players out there than there are new players for them to pick on.

  8. I did my best to start thinking about a new mechanic: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=20782&find=unread

    I'd like to hear an old vets critique. And any other ideas people have. The concept of wardecs is just silly on some level.

  9. @Khanh'rhh:

    The mechanic doesn't stop you from declaring war on an alliance. It merely increases the costs of doing so beyond the trivial baseline. Why should you have a right to wardec anyone you please for a trivial sum? Why shouldn't an alliance be able to pay ISK to raise the cost of wardecs against it?

    All CCP has done is allowed wealthy alliances to pay a lot of ISK to make wardecs against them more expensive. They are far from immune to wardecs. It simply now costs real money to declare war on a wealthy alliance as compared to a poor one. Just because you can no longer afford to wardec anyone you please does not make CCP's decision bad.

  10. OMG I just read the attached thread, and LOL. These "exploits" aren't new and CCP wasn't busting anybody for using the "exploits" either...

    ....so nothing has actually changed here, which makes the people QQ'ing about it look sooooo bad. I could only be more tickled by this if I was getting a blowjob right now too.

    War decs work just like can flipping in high sec does...it only works on people who aren't smart enough to defend themselves some way or another- which sounds fine to me.

  11. @katsuko (and others)

    To be clear (again) this change is NOT allowing corps and alliances to self-dec themselves to increase the costs. That was already part of the game, and I am happy with it.

    The changes have allowed the exploitative gameplay to happen. That is, fiddling the system so the defensive party pays a small fee (2mil per wardec ONLY) and get this gets counted as an alliance-on-cor[/alliance fee each time.

    They are also free to hop alliances with the sole purpose of avoiding wars or saving POS towers that are reinforced.

    Effectively, if you combine them, it would cost the aggressor upwards of 1billion ISK PER DAY to wardec a corp if all that corp spent on shielding themselves was 10mil a week. That, is obscenely unbalanced.

    Corps are now also free to simply hop between alliances setup in this way, meaning it is impossible to make a wardec stick, even if you do pay it.

  12. People are using knowledge and resources to benefit themselves.....so what? Deal with it.

    Okay Eve Uni is an extreme case, but, they are a very well established corp and they have serious administrative manpower. This doesn't mean that all corps/ alliances are going to be immune to wardecs.

    Besides this is not avoiding PvP, this is just another level of PvP and in this case the griefer type high-sec wardec corps are on the losing side, the tears are the killmails.

    If it's that important to grief E-uni then make nooby alts, join the corp and start ganking. :P Make a spy and wreck their alliance from the inside.

  13. Asuri Kinnes here.

    Thanks for linking The Hootches thread. I was in Uni at the time, really enjoyed reading that thread as things unfolded.

    All I can say to anyone upset with the changes:
    a) Go to worm-space - no war decs to worry about,
    b) Still love re-reading Hootches outrage!

    Good times, Good times!


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