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, May 19, 2012

I missed a spot

Yep, I screwed up.  And I will repeat my ability to be an anomaly on the Internet by freely admitting it.  ;-)

In yesterday's post about the Target Breaker module, I missed the fact that the chance of the Target Breaker working is going to be dependent on the number of people that have you locked.  I then talked about a theoretical example of a 30v100 fleet fight using them.  In that example, I assumed equal chances of the two sides getting locks broken.  That's a total screw-up on my part.

That said, it doesn't matter all that much.

Let's stick with my example.  Only this time, we'll give the 100-ship fleet a 75% chance of getting their locks broken.  Meanwhile, we'll give the 30-ship fleet a 25% chance of getting their locks broken.  Again, we'll assume it takes five seconds to lock and destroy a target.  At the end of that time, again, 12 ships will have been locked.  The 100-ship fleet will destroy three ships and nine will get away.  The 30-ship fleet will destroy nine ships and three will get away.  The end result at the end of the first minute is the same: 18 ships will be on field facing 88 ships.  But there are nine ships from the 30-ship gang still out there, so let's extend this fight another minute.

During the second minute, the three escaped ships from the 100-ship gang return, increasing their gang size back to 91.  The nine escaped ships from the 30-ship gang return, increasing their gang size back to 27.  In the second minute, nine more ships from the large gang are destroyed and three are driven off.  Three more ships from the small gang are destroyed and nine are driven off.  At the end of the second minute, 15 ships remain on field from the 30-ship gang... facing 79 ships from the 100-ship gang.  The ratio of this fight at the end of the second minute is 5.27:1.  Even giving the smaller fleet a massive advantage to their Target Breaker chance, the larger gang is still shrinking much less quickly than the small gang.

In short, even though more ships from the smaller gang will be escaping, this proposed Target Breaker module is not going to change the dynamics of fighting a blob at all.  The only change will be that more ships from the smaller gang escape being destroyed by the blob.

But let's talk about something else I missed.  Let's say the percentage chance of the Target Breaker working was set to 1% per the number of ships that have you locked.  So the 30-ship gang's Target Breaker has a 100% chance of working when facing a 100-ship blob.  Weirdly, the larger blob still has the advantage.

They can break their 100-ship gang into three 30-ship wings.  And once they've done that, they can start attacking the other fleet's ships three ships at a time instead of one at a time.  There hasn't been that much motivation to do this sort of thing in EVE Online to date because it would add a lot of confusion.  But very occasionally, Rote Kapelle likes to split our fleets in two and then send the two smaller fleets in opposite directions through Syndicate.  The two fleets use separate comms and the two FCs check in with each other from time to time.  If either smaller fleet finds a target that they can't deal with, then the two fleets merge up and "form Voltron" to deal with the larger fleet.

Theoretically, there's nothing stopping the 100-ship fleet from splitting in the same way and assigning wing commanders and separate target callers... but staying together.  Again, there hasn't been any incentive to do this yet.  But this kind of Target Breaker module would create some incentive to do it.  A 100-ship fleet wastes a lot of DPS over-killing targets when attacking a smaller fleet.  This kind of split DPS would actually increase the DPS out of the 100-ship fleet.  Smaller fleets trying to take them on would actually be worse off than we are now.

So... yeah.  I missed a spot.  But I stick to my main point: anyone who sees the Target Breaker module as a way to attack blobs... nope.  It's a mod that -- if anything -- is going to make it easier for blobs to kill you.

Thanks for all of the comments on the previous post!


  1. There is a lot of truth in this, but look at it this way: the smaller gang in the first example still achieves 18 kill with only 6 losses.

    Sure, percent-wise their fleet still shrinks faster than the larger one, but it still looks good on the kill-board. And it is a lot better than the scenario without the target breaker.

    About larger fleets splitting into smaller ones to be more effective, well, I don't see this as a bad thing. It's not necessarily simple either. Splitting 800 man blob into 25 groups of 30ish will require that many (green) sub-FCs and a lot of coordination.

    Still, shaking the ant farm...

    1. This is more or less what I was going to say. I don't think it was CCP's intent to introduce a module that will allow small fleets to burninate big fleets with impunity. That's bad game design. However, in the above example, the K-D ratio looks like a win for the small fleet, AND they escape to fight another day. You could chew up a lot of goons that way.

      And maybe, if the small fleet is on their game and the big fleet messes up, having this module will be enough to tip the tide. It's another tool in the FC's toolbox to be brought out and used at the right moment ...

      And even if nothing else changes in the big fleet-small fleet dynamic, forcing the big fleet to consider splitting into sub-fleets is a worthy blow against blobbing all on its own. Because once you're split into multiple fleets with multiple FCs, you COULD use them as a blob and co-smash the smaller fleet, with all the added confusion in the command chain that you mention ... or you could send them separately to harass multiple enemy systems and gangs. :gasp: Is this a step toward the long-awaited boost to small-gang warfare in sov warfare?

  2. I appreciate the effot Jester, but this is way too much analysis on a module which simply wont affect the game that much.

    1) It will be relatively rare - You can't build a fleet doctrine around a module that might not even be available.

    2) It has a massive scan res penalty - If all ships in your fleet have this module and the ships in the other fleet don't, they will be locking and killing you faster. The positive is chance based, but the negative is a flat factor.

    3) It breaks all locks equally - It could be a lot quicker for the enemy FC to recall you as primary than it is for the logistics wing to realize you still need repping.

    4) It breaks your locks - And you have a massive scan res nerf, while your enemies might not. If you fly logistics, having this module on your ship should get you commissarred.

    It's a gimmick module and in its current form will have no impact on 0.0

  3. When I heard about this module, I assumed it was to promote a distributed command structure and more complicated target calling, rather than a single FC telling the whole fleet to primary a single target. All else being equal, a larger fleet will always have the advantage. I'm sure that players will think of creative ways to use it that CCP didn't imagine.

    In the end, it's more sand in the sandbox.

  4. "Forming Voltron" sounds like a bitchin strategy -- as long as it's not the "Lions" Voltron. That Voltron was terribad, just cause :Pidge:.
    On the other hand, I could dig a pink paintjob if they ever do custom ship skins. I always wanted to be a Princess. :-D

  5. Your math looks good, but you are completely missing the opportunity that the large gang has to apply friendly locks to its own fleet mates. Theoretically, this gives the large gang a much larger chance to break locks. And even if you can not get all 100 friendly locks on target, simply having your fleet pre-lock vital targets such as recons and logi will give the large fleet a massive advantage in this situation.

  6. This module is going to be absolutely awesome in PvE, particularly in DedSpaces where you have a zillion rats attacking you and the only way to manage aggro is speed tanking.

  7. If nothing at all changes except that fleets now tend to use more target callers and operate more at a wing level than fleet level, I still call that a win.

    It gives new FCs the chance to gain experience, it introduces complexity and the chance of something going wrong.

    I don't overly care whether it means a 100 man gang will wipe a 30 man gang, that's really how it should work. What I want to see is a bit more diversity in the 100 v 100 battle or the 30 v 30 battle.

    That being said, with its random drop rate and usage penalty, I don't seen people using it enough to actually bring about those changes...

  8. As someone said, "it's a gimmick module".

    I can't believe that CCP is wasting limited dev resources on something so trivial and of limited/no practical value. Almost as bad as the T2 Warp Core Stabilizer, or the Liquid Cooled Electronics II rig.

    Did CCP accidentally fire all of the competent game designers, or what?

  9. Still missed one point but it is not directly challengingyour position but is interesting: Since the chance to break locks is based on # of locks, then there will be a rebalancing on the value of high-dps ships vs lower-dps ships. Off the top of my head would be the question of will ships like the drake become relatively less desirable in fleet composition because of that and will glass cannon fleets become more popular

    1. Nope, won't go this far, 'cause the modules will only be available via limited BPC drops - no BPOS - and most likely will only drop in low or null sec exploration sites. You are unlikely to see thousands of them on Jita market anytime soon.

      Figure that the modules will end up costing at least as much as faction mods, and more probably on the order of officer mods. You won't be seeing a lot of folks fitting them on a Drake, nor on a glass cannon.

  10. You fixed the smaller mistake of yesterdays post. The bigger is that you have a wrong baseline. If both ganks kill ships with equal speed, the bigger wins, no matter what.

    You must set a baseline where the two ganks have equal chance: elite PvP group blopped by rifters, T1 cruisers and such. Without module, every minute the big gank kill 3 ships, the small gang kills 10.

    If the module give 30% break chance for the large gang and 60 to the small, then every minute the module saves 3 rifters and 2 Rokhs

  11. Dear Jester,

    I challenge you to break your own law. Can you invent a module that would discourage blobbing?

    Khalia Nestune

  12. You are still missing the point in a variety of ways. Here are 3 off the top of my head.

    1) Larger fleets should beat smaller fleets of equal composition
    --> e.g. 15 rifters beat 5 rifters

    2) Small, elite fleets should have a chance against large, bad fleets
    --> e.g. 5 tengus beat 30 rifters by target breaking

    3) New modules should produce unique and interesting scenarios
    --> e.g. 100-man fleet has to split up into 3 33-man fleets to defeat a target-breaking 50-man fleet.

  13. Giving an incentive for the blob to split up is one of the best game design choices "against" the blob.

    A big army should possibly always win -- unless they are a horde or peasants. However, point to the big army winning is optimal communication !

    In order to even h a v e communication, you need "split" groups : groups that are "split by a communications gap" ( need not be physical split ). This may be what this module achieves when used by a smaller party. Before, there was no communication gap in the blob.

    The only other (further!) game design I can think of is tinkering with the damage output of bunched up ships. That would additionally require a physical split ontop of the communications split. But, as we learned from CCP, the servers cannot handle that kind of analysis.

    Trebor suggested to limit the overview to the nearest 100 pilots being shown. That sort of hard cut is tentatively efficient. But has not yet been considered.

  14. Then again, you have the scan res penalty on the module, so it won't apply to fleet fights to begin with.

    Just saying that a communications gap is a good thing against blobs.


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