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...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

PvP dichotomy, a poem

We tank our ships against damage, and think nothing of it.  We omni-tank and fit many types of tanking mods to mitigate this negative impact on our ships.  Anyone who whines about the need to tank ships against damage is mocked.

We tank our ships against specific types of damage, and think nothing of it.  If our opponents favor lasers, we fit specific tanking mods to mitigate against laser damage.  Anyone who whines about the need to tank ships against lasers when you're fighting laser-armed ships is mocked.

We tank our ships against neuts, and think nothing of it.  We contemplate the best ways to keep a ship operating under neut pressure, fitting cap boosters or cap power relays to mitigate this issue.  Anyone who whines about the need to keep a ship's capacitor up under neut pressure is mocked.

We tank our ships against target painters, and think little of it.  We look for ways to keep the sig radius of our ships down, and work up whole doctrines for whole fleets around the concept of small sig radius.  Anyone who whines about the need to keep sig radius down is mocked.

We tank our ships against damps, and think little of it.  Sensor boosters are often carried, but more often we come up with flying strategies for whole fleets to reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of damps.  Anyone who whines about the need to mitigate against damps is mocked.

We tank our ships against TDs, and think little of it.  We look for ways to mitigate the effect of TDs, and fit Tracking Computers and Tracking Enhancers, and often rigs, to mitigate the effect of any TDs used against us and make our ships track more effectively.  Anyone who whines about the need to carry these mods is mocked.

We refuse to tank our ships against jamming.  ECCM modules sit in our hangars unused -- or more often, are not purchased at all.  Smartbombs to counter jam drones are almost never used -- or more often, are not purchased at all.  Instead of tanking against jamming or coming up with anti-jamming doctrines or strategies, we whine about it or demand CCP nerf it.  Anyone who whines about the need to tank against jamming is celebrated.

I've never understood this dichotomy.


  1. Comparing tanking versus incoming damage to fitting ECCM--I'm not even going to respond to that. Just no.

    I will respond to the comparisons of TDs, damps, and TPs. Fitting tracking enhancers, sebos, and fitting for low sig radius have one thing in common that is not shared with ECCM so much--they have beneficial effects on your ship, even if TDs, damps, and/or TPs are not used by your opponent. Just like jamming is annoyingly all or nothing, fitting ECCM is pretty much all or nothing. People don't like all or nothing, they prefer the more graduated curves that apply to most other systems. (missile max range is another all or nothing curve, I'm sure there are others, and the missile range/damage curve also has some detractors but not as many) It's that simple, the reason people don't like ECCM mechanics is the same reason they don't like jamming. This means that the ironic situation you are attempting to set up is in fact not ironic at all, it's completely 100% expected and consistent. (yes, ECCM does provide some small subsidiary benefits, but not comparably important in most combat situations, right?)

    1. ECCM doesn't benefit your ship? Being able to target is pretty beneficial ...

      Being TD'd all to hell so no shots land due to no tracking or range is pretty all or nothing. Being damped so you can't target is all or nothing. They're not even chance based!

      Seriously when you don't fit ECCM to key ships like logi or nuets you are one incredibly special flower. Granted I fly in wspace so ECM is assumed and ECCM is standard on anything that needs to lock plus many carry projected ECCM. Generally there's a ship with smartbombs to deal with drones too.

    2. Basically this.

      The modules that "counter" TDs let you track better regardless of whether TDs are used against you or not.

      The modules that "counter" damps let you lock targets faster or from further away regardless of whether damps are used against you.

      ECCM on the other hand, is an essentially wasted module if ECM is NOT used against you.

      TP really have no module counter.

      Now they could kill two birds with one stone I suppose and add a sig radius reduction stat to all ECCM modules and then you'd see them getting considered quite a bit. This might have other knock off effects, like on scanning, but if they simply exclude the module effect for scanning then it may be ok.

    3. Nonsense.

      "Being TD'd all to hell so no shots land due to no tracking or range is pretty all or nothing."

      No it isn't. You can still tackle, web, neut, tracking disrupt, damp, remote rep, apply ecm(!), send your drones after a specific target etc. etc. Comparing that to being ecm'd out of a fight is beyond ridiculous.

      "Being damped so you can't target is all or nothing"

      That doesn't happen due to stacking penalties. You'll always be able to target a ship that's a few hundred meters away. i.e. you can use skill, knowledge and tactics whilst actually in a fight to potentially overcome being damped. Again, compare that to ECM where your skill, knowledge and in fight tactics are irrelevant because you can't do anything.

    4. ECCM isn't beneficial to your ship when you aren't being jammed, which is the point. You're still getting the tracking speed/range/scan res/lock speed bonuses when you aren't being afflicted by TDs/Sensor damps. When you aren't being target painted, you're still benefitting from a low sig radius.

    5. >Being damped so you can't target is all or nothing. They're not even chance based!

      If you get damped down to .. say 5km, you can still RR you fleet mates in an RR gang. Or you can go brawl down whoever is daming you.

      >ECCM doesn't benefit your ship? Being able to target is pretty beneficial ...

      He said, it's not beneficial if you don't entcounter ECM, where Sebo/TE/TC are eveb beneficial if you don't entcounter that ewar. There is a difference.

      with kind regards
      l0rd carlos

    6. Sensor comp skills aren't beneficial if you don't encounter ecm, but you trained those, right?

      The point stands, if your biggest concern for the ship you are flying is ECM, you should stop complaining about ECM and fit the counter. Any of the other forms of ewar are just as effective (sometimes more) when applied to the correct ships at severely limiting said ships effectiveness.

      I'm not saying the mechanics for ECM shouldn't be looked at, simply that most of the people moaning about it should simply be using the tools given them to counter it.

  2. Don't quit your dayjob to pursue a career in poetry.

    Point is very valid btw. ECM for the win :)

  3. ...

    A few months ago there was a falcon + 2-3 assault frigs camping a system next to a k-space exit from my home wormhole. We lost a ship to them and decided to fit up some eccm drakes and go punch the falcon (sitting at zero on the gate) in the face. 2 drakes both with 2 midslot eccm and a low slot eccm went in. He perma-jammed both of us.

    If it was damps, or neuts, or tracking disrupts it would have been different. I could have brought missiles to counter neuts/tracking. 2 Sebo's and a low slot would easily counter the effects of a damping ship, especially spread over 2 drakes.

    Maybe he got a lucky first/second cycle jam, we did manage to put some damage into him. The point is that once he landed jams we were completely fucked. No chance of winning.

    1. Except by using FOF missiles..

    2. Erm... ever heard of FoF missiles? Just saying... (And dont start "they are useless" because in this exact scenario you described, they are very useful)

    3. You're trolling correct? They are completely useless. In this situation all that would happen is the 2 drakes would apply MAYBE 500 dps combined to whatever AF happened to be closest to us at that moment. Of course since with max skills they'll have an explosion radius of 105 and an explosion velocity of 121.5 I could expect to do approximately 1/3 listed dps to a moving assault frig. So 500 dps out will apply at 166 dps, before the local reps and resistances.

      FoF missiles unrepentantly suck.

    4. You are the unluckiest person ever. The chance of a falcon managing to permajam 2 different drakes, both with 2 mid slot eccm and a lowslot eccm is approaching zero.

  4. This time Jester, you should revisit the argument you are trying to communicate, because the reaction of the community will give you a headache.

  5. The difference is this: the counters to other forms of EW (tracking enhancers/computers, sensor boosters, etc.) all have a positive effect on your ships whether or not EW is present. SeBo's increase your scan res/lock range, TCs increase your optimal/tracking. They buff those aspects of your ship before the EW applies a debuff. ECCM has absolutely no purpose UNLESS there is ECM present on the field. That is why it is used less than the other counters.

    P.S. Tanking doesn't really fit into the picture at all since of all the effects that can be applied to your ship, damage is the one that absolutely will be there every time.

  6. The simple reason is that for ever other situation you described, the appropriate counter mod serves a purpose.
    - omni tanking prevents your ship from being easily destroyed by swapping damage types.
    - capacitor is vital to the oper a tion of a ship, having more cap means more mwd time, and better ability to dictate range.
    - sig tanking normally decreases all damage taken
    - sebos allow you to lock faster/farther, making it haarder for the enemy to react to your actions
    - traxking mods allow you to hit your enemies farther and more consistently

    all these mods serve a useful purpose outside of countering a specific type of ewar. If you have another tracking enhancer, eve if the enemy does not bring td's, you are getting use out of it.

    if your bring eccm to a fight where no ecm is used (and ecm is used a lot less now), you wasted a slot and reduced the performance of your ship.

    eccm is passive and pure counterplay, which makes it unintresting compare to the options opened up by the other mods you listed.

  7. All of the other tanks you mention benefit, at the very least, the survivability of the ship. Usually they also benefit multiple areas of the ship; tracking increases damage, a SeBo can help whore killmails. But an ECCM never provides any benefit at all unless someone is using one (of a set of) specific module against you. And when they do use it successfully, your ship isn't directly in danger, you just get to have a Time Out for a bit. Unless you're a logi who should be saving other ships, and, oddly enough, they rarely don't fit an ECCM.

  8. I lol'd I didn't see where you were going with this at first but when I got to the end I couldn't hellp but crack up laughing.

    You are absolutely right for the most part. Anybody who knows that they are going to get jammed and doesn't counter it by fitting ECCM are fools. The Gallente came up with counters a few years back even before they came out with the Sensor Compensation Skills. Us Caldari couldn't match the numbers of Logi they would bring out so we would routinely bring out a lot of ECM ships. All they did was dedicate a few ships to using Projected ECCM on the Logi and BAM problem solved. Falcons and Rooks can only jam effectively out to about 40-50 Kilometers with max skills. Blackbirds can go out to about 100 I think but are so fragile that it is relatively easy for even an Inteceptor to chase them off and kill them. Scorpions are a little more difficult to deal with but they are also relatively easy to catch for a fleet.

    You can fit ECCM or Projected ECCM to your ships, you can smartbomb any ECCM drones, or if your solo just shoot them when they come out. Or maybe you could actually primary the ECM ships like most other FC's I've met. 50 kilometers is within engagement range for most ships.

    The reason people complain is because they have probably been in a situation where they've been jammed the whole fight, they got no ECCM or anything and got punished for it. Then they complain about how 'ECM is to strong and needs to be nerfed' but they forget the times where they've been sensor damped to hell and can only lock things within 10km. Or TD'd so that they can only hit a stationary battleship with any damage. They forget that if ECM misses a cycle it does nothing at all. While Damps and TD's have no chance of missing. This is one of the situations where I would say just HTFU.

  9. Really? I tank against ECM all the time, because I can't remember the last time I met a significant fleet on a wormhole that didn't have Falcon support.

  10. I see your point, and it is viable.


    Balancing tank and dps for the intended use is as important a skill as any other in EVE. Perhaps the most important. Making a ship more cap stable, keeping signature radius low, adding sensor boosters to decrease lock time and increase targeting range, and adding tracking computers or enhancers to increase tracking and optimal range are all things that are primarily done to increase tank and/or dps. The fact that these fittings also mitigate against different types of ewar is bonus but not the primary reason the ship is fit that way.

    ECCM modules on the other hand don't really offer anything except sensor strength and occupy valuable slots. Perhaps if increasing sensor strength gave an additional benefit, we'd see the modules used more. Until then they will be used as they are now, on logi fits and in small gang warfare against opponents who are known to use jamming or are known to have a jamming ship with them.

  11. Obligatory "because of Falcon!"

    The thing we dislike about ECM is that it completely removes a ship's effectiveness, whereas projectiles and missiles fire when neuted, missiles track when tracking disrupted, ships can still lock when damped, allbeit very slowly or at very low ranges, and target painters don't remove a ship from combat.

    ECM is different from the other nails, and for that reason it must be hammered down.
    After all, there is a reason the only EWar drones used are ECM.

  12. The dichotomy revolves around ECM removing you from a fight. You are 100% useless. Your tackle is rendered useless. Your neuts are rendered useless. Your ability to rep your mates has gone. Your sig radius is irrelevant as is your targeting range. Your DPS is 0, unless you have drones that manage to do something. Essentially, you are not even playing the game whilst your are jammed. You are merely providing a bunch of dumb pixels that other people shoot at. Last I heard computers can do that.

    Now compare that with all of the other things you mention. How is it possible NOT to see the dichotomy?

  13. I agree, one phase sums this up - "Human Nature" ;)

  14. In most cases in Eve, electronic warfare reduces capability. Damps either slow ur targeting or cut your range. Tracking disruption reduces your chance to hit and target painters make your signature larger.

    ECM on the other hand, is absolute. You drop lock and are impotent against the target until you can relock. This is the frustrating feature of ECM that players don't like.

    Except there's really nothing frustrating about it. You can mitigate ECM effects by carrying ECCM. You can't mitigate Target Painters unless the other ship goes away. IRL, ECM not only prevents you from using your weapons but also reduces your ability to see [think ECM and Damps combined]. So if the ECM haters think they got it bad then they're wrong.

    It's a simple concept. If you are afraid of ECM then you pack an ECCM mod and STFU. Amarr and Minmatar ships have the lowest sensor strengths so that's gonna be more or less required.

    Again, IRL, there's a multitude of counter measures in addition to ECCM. Decoys, hacking of radar systems, and offboard targeting [which Eve already does].

    Decoys and sensor hacking should be considered for Eve IMHO. I've done some thinking on this and can provide some details if nobody will get too bored.


  15. You're drawing a false analogy by relying too much on nominal labels, rather than looking to the substance.

    First, players do not specifically tank against other types of e-war. Sensor boosters and signal amplifiers are used to increase lock range and decrease lock time; they are usually required for whatever function the ship must perform. That they happen to reduce the effectiveness of sensor dampeners is not the primary consideration behind their use. Small signature radius helps in almost all situations; players don't minimize it solely on the chance that they might get target painted. Tracking computers and enhancers are meant to benefit the ship in virtually all situations; their benefit isn't limited to countering tracking disruptors. You might as well argue that players fit microwarp drives solely to counter stasis webifiers.

    Second, ECM is fundamentally a different creature from other forms of e-war. Its effectiveness is binary, not analog. Other forms of e-war have varying levels of effectiveness, and can be mitigated through player action. ECM either works, or does not work; its effectiveness cannot be mitigated through any player action. Modules that counter ECM also grant no benefit to the ship except when under ECM pressure, unlike modules that counter other forms of e-war. Unlike fitting a tracking enhancer, sensor booster, or propulsion mod, which benefit the ship in most situations, a player fitting an ECCM module gambles that he will actually encounter ECM. If he does not, then the slot occupied by the ECM module is wholly wasted. This is similar to the issue with tracking disruptors -- the pilot must gamble that he will not encounter a missile boat.

    ECM as currently implemented suffers from three problems. It is wholly binary: either it works, or it does not. Its success depends solely on a random number generator. And the modules countering ECM are a waste of space until one encounters ECM. The seemingly-random nature of ECM effectiveness, and the severity of its effects, result in a loss of agency by both the user of the ECM and by the target. The outcome of an engagement involving ECM comes down to whoever gets lucky with the server.

    Contrast with other ewar, and all the other things you've listed, where success is not binary, does not depend on a roll of the dice, and whose countering modules provide ongoing benefits.

    1. When you put it like that the solution seems quite easy - since ECM is based on sensor strength, let the Sensor Booster be the counter to it and remove the ECCM from the game alltogether.

  16. "We tank our ships against target painters." I reached that line, and something felt off.

    The reasoning is wrong. At least in how you present it.

    Although having a small signature can mitigate the effects of a target painter, I'd rate it at number 4 on the list of reasons to do so. It goes behind messing with messing with enemy tracking, taking reduced missile damage, and increasing the time it takes an enemy to gain a lock. You don't counteract a TP. You live with it. Or sometimes you just plain ignore it and keep fighting. It's effect is often noticeable, but it's only a single, small element of the overall fight.

    In that same vein, we increase lock range and scan resolution on our ships first for the stand-alone benefit they provide, and then for the secondary benefit of making us more resistant to damps. If damps come into play, again, you deal with it and adjust tactics accordingly. Sometimes it can turn the tide. Generally it's barely noticeable. And often it has no effect at all.

    Again, the primary purpose of TEs and TCs isn't to simply counter TDs. Although it can mitigate the effects a bit, when a TD comes down on you, you adjust your piloting and ammunition choices accordingly - two options that are always available. I've flown a rail thorax against a daredevil with a scimitar repping him and applying a TD to me...and come out on top. A TD affects the fight, but it doesn't determine it.

    Damage types? The same thing. Should you put that EM resist rig on your caracal? Probably. But if you come up against a coercer, you'll still likely come out on top.

    Damage? Also true. A snipe cormorant with no tank (or point) defies convention, but can be quite effective. The enemy tries to apply damage, but by your piloting and smart decisions, you can stay out of their effective range.

    But now we come to ECM. The black sheep of the family. Or more like the distant cousing. Or really, more like the imposter, posing as just another small aspect of combat to either work around or work through. It's not. There is little work around it. And there is generally no way to work through it. That's why ECM is different.

    The fatal flaw of ECM is its absolute effect. Can you continue fighting (although at a reduced efficiency) while jammed? Let's just throw out drones or FoF missiles as a solution. They're not. And outranging ECM? Good luck with that. ECM outranges just about every other form of *anything* in the game. So yes, you can fly away from a blackbird, but you're taking yourself out of the fight just as effectively as if you were jammed.

    ECCM, as well, is rarely a viable solution. All it does it reduce a blackbird (with 5 ECM modules) from being able to jam out 4 ships consistently to being able to *only* jam out 2 or 3. Ever fly a celestis? You often need 2 damps on a target just to have an effect. 3 to be crippling. And sometimes, if your target is already in close and has acquired a lock, there's nothing at all you can do. An ECM ship is a ridiculous force multiplier. And drones. Why should an ECM drone have the *exact same effect* as a bonused scorpion? There is no other overriding general reason to fit ECCM like there is for fitting a TE or prop mod or just smart piloting. All it does is reduce the effectiveness of your own ships, taking up a slot for a web, or cap booster, or target painter, or shield extender. So even if your opponent doesn't bring an ECM boat, they still have the advantage.

    Why is ewar not treated and viewed in the same light as other offensive tactics? Grover teaches us:


    One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong.

    There's a reason stun effects are so despised and frustrating in any game.

    I've got a few ideas to bring ECM into the fold and level it with other ewar. But that's for another day.

  17. The reason for it is the random nature of jamming and how ECCM really doesn't reduce the severity of the jamming effect when it occurs.

    Jamming is a roll of the dice, and it takes skilled piloting out of the equation.

    Against damps you close distance or wait, against neuts you use cap boosters or get out of range, against damage you get reps or get a lot of EHP.

    Even with lots of ECCM, when you get jammed, you're jammed for just as long as someone who didn't.

    Roll of the dice, no one likes it.

  18. I blame all this whining on the all-or-nothing effect of jammers. It makes it hard even for the devs to determine where is the exact point of balance, never mind players' opinions on that.

    In fact, one could argue that they are already balanced and find some examples to support that, while another could still find evidence that they are op in a scenario where CCP nerfed it to oblivion , where even the thought of running a jamming gang would be reason for mockery. This is a consequence of the all-or-nothing effect of jammers.

    Can't we really have something more of a gradient here? for instance:

    - bad jamming attempts do nothing, as they do now.
    - slightly better attempts make you drop some percentage of your locks, but you can still re-lock them immediately. The gradient in this stage is how many of them you drop.
    - better attempts still, you drop all locks and the gradient is for how long you are jammed.
    - heck, you could even make the stronger effects worst than they are, for instance, the 'wrecking-shot' of jamming attempts affects the overview, making it omit information. Let's put to test the gangs' ability to switch target callers.

    I'm sure there are more ways to include more nuance to the process. At any rate, once you get rid of the all-or-nothing aspect of jamming it becomes far easier to evaluate where the balance is, and adjust how often the weaker and stronger effects come up.

  19. Forget it, Jake--it's the Internet. The sheer weight of players pretending to be Harder Than Thou, multiplied by the abstruse nature of EVE mechanics and everyone striving to be Right, and you have a recipe for mock, mock, mock, 24/7

    All those things you list are but a subset of Internet mockery.


    --but yes.

  21. It's poetry in motion, and it's blinding!

    It's just too perfect a setup. Mr. Dolby? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SHv9wLhV3I

  22. CSM missing the issue? Couldn't be.

  23. When we "tank" a ship against neuts we gain better cap life and more cap to spend on more things when not tanking neuts. Capacitor tanking improves our ships.

    When we "tank" a ship againt painters our ship is smaller and harder to hit, tanking a ship for painters improves our ship.

    When we "tank" for damps we get better targeting, our ship locks faster, further, tanking a ship for damps improves our ship.

    When we "tank" for TD's we track targets better, our damage and projection is improved, tanking for TD's improves our ships.

    When we "tank" for jams we get more sensor strength, this is a meaningless stat on our ships info page if we're not being jammed, tanking for jams does not improve our ship.

  24. One other thing that everyone is missing with all of this, of all the ewar ships that are out there ECM ships are some of the worst in regards to survivability, to be good at your role as an ewar ship usually means armor tanking, yet ECM is caldari which is hard to armor tank effectively, in other words, if ECM is giving you a problem focus on them even with reps most ECM platforms can't hold up to concentrated fire and can't perma jam everyone forever. ECM is like all other ewar, it gives you the edge you need but the longer the fight goes on the less that edge is (opposite is true of nuets though) ECM will eventually miss a jam and if you have the tactics to capitalize on that it doesn't take alot to wipe them off the field or make them leave.

  25. +1 for this post. I never understood it either. Perhaps it because ECM is obviously hurting you.. your locks drop. You have to relock. TDs and SDs not quite so much.

    the other thing which I don't get is ECM is change based. TDs, painters and SDs work every single time - yet people call ECM overpowered? what?

  26. In regards to tracks and damps, I'll throw the following statement out there:

    People do not fit to counter tracks and damps.

    If you fit a tracking module to your ship, it is because you need it for normal operation, not because you want to counter tracks. Also, if you need tracking modules for normal operation, it is as good as impossible to fit more of them for the purpose of protecting against tracks. Stacking penalty is not your friend here. Much the same can be said about damps and sebos.

    But since ECCM modules don't have any use other than countering ECM, they are in fact more useful than tracking and sensor modules (for countering ewar). They give 100% utility from the first module fit.

    The thing that make people hate ECM most is the fact they can't lock. They will cry if a Falcon jams them, but if a Pilgrim tracks them to hell they will happily fight on, even if they have just as little chance of doing anything.

  27. Is it true that there are elite internet superheroes who don't ever use ECM or ECM drones? I think this must be some kind of urban legend, no?

    ~Mercutio Z.

  28. My response, like many above, are the standard responses we pull out when we have an ECM apologist posting.

    Make ECM modify targetting, like TP modifies your sig, like Damping, tracking disruption, neuting, and webbing modify attributes of your ship.

    ECM turns your ship's offense off. In one go. Yes, it is chance based, but it still does not change the discussion.

    I prefer ECM to reduce your number of available locks, without chance calculations. That way it takes several ECM modules to effectively remove all locking. Just like it takes several webs to cut you to zero, several tracking disruptors to completely screw your weapons.

    You may argue that this would make ECM useless in very small squad fights or solo fights. This is true. And what is wrong with that ? Can a single damp completely make all your weapons and all offensive modules useless? Why should a single ECM make your entire ship useless offensively?

    With all due respect, ECM is a completely different beast.

    1. With stacking penalties, nothing is ever reduced to zero. Or would are you implying that ECM should not be stacking penalized and that targets should have their lockable targets reduced to zero with enough ecm modules applied?

      In the first case, only battleships, capitals, and logistics would be in anyway hampered. With frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and battlecruisers still 100% combat effective. Hardly what I'd call "electronic warfare".

      In the second case, frigates would and cruisers would still be permajamed (only without the chance based mechanic).

  29. How effective would ECM be if FOF missiles were changed from "shoot at everything" to Eve's version of a HARM( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGM-88_HARM )?

  30. Dammit, Ripard, look what you've done stirring this pot.

    Let vOv be the official, ultimate response to any discussion on jamming, because this subject is the holy grail of unachievable consensus.

  31. Judging by the answers - you've hit the nail on the head Jester! I seriously hate people who refuse to adapt to circumstances.

    Asuri Kinnes
    Anti-Whine Boss


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