Greedy Goblin

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Limiting AND empowering ganking: the social solution

For people living in high-sec, ganking is a constant problem and they demand more protection from the developers, especially during/after a serious ganking campaign. The other part of the community answers that there is already the stupidly overpowered CONCORD and sec status and certain weapons are unusable in highsec, so "carebears" already have too much protection and still they whine more.

Both sides are right. CONCORD is a joke as they are so strong that they could easily conquer the galaxy, but for some reason they are fine with doing nothing but killing gankers after the act. On the other hand, ganking is also very easy, a Tornado, which costs pocket change to an established player can oneshot the whole property of a new player (or a dumb miner).

The problem lies in how "crime" is handled in EVE. In real life, the jail isn't the only problem a criminal faces. Actually one faces it only after committing some serious crime, which most people never do. The smaller crimes are handled socially. I mean watching child porn pictures isn't a serious crime in the lawbook. You pay some fine and get into the list of sexual criminals. The real punishment for it is that you will lose your job when it's revealed, and there is a good chance that your friends and family (even your closest family) will sever connections with you. There are actions that don't even considered crime by law like talking neo-nazi ideas. Most people still don't do so (outside of anonymous forums), as the "lose your job and friends" is still there. The society handles those who violate the accepted norms, the Police only comes to the picture when the criminal is really bad.

In EVE the society is completely unable to do this. The coding prevents you from rejecting criminals in any way. The miners and traders cannot hold a "no minerals to gankers" event when they order their brokers to don't sell any minerals to those who were involved in Hulkageddon. I can't exclude gankers from public fleets, nor I can fight back until they fire first, no matter how much evidence I have that they are gankers. In EVE the consequences of ganking is completely paid to NPCs and the community is locked out of the loop: CONCORD will blow your ship and you must rat your sec status back. If you do these, the code decides that you are forgiven, no matter what other players think.

The solution would be not an even stronger anti-gank coding. CONCORD and magical weapon disabling could be removed, the faction police should be enough. Maybe they need some buffing on the escalation side, so over time they should be able to overcome any player intrusion, but in short term they shouldn't be stronger than random players and any prepared criminal should be able to resist them for a few minutes.

The consequences should be social. I suggest three self-defined player and corporation statuses: "lawful", "amoral" and "pirate". Lawful players refuse to trade or team with pirates or even with amorals. The market and contract system respects that. Amoral and pirate players can't bid on your auctions or contracts nor can you on theirs. You can't send or receive ISK or do direct trading with them either. Obviously a lawful player can't commit crimes in Empire space (he gets a "this action would be criminal" message whenever he tries to). Lawful corporations can accept only lawful members, can only form alliance with other lawful corporations and blue only other lawful corporations/alliances. The starter NPC corporations are all lawful. Lawful players can attack only war targets (including faction war) and pirates.

Amoral players and corporations can trade with fellow amorals and pirates too. Being amoral means not having problems with pirates, but staying within the letter of the law so they still cannot commit crimes. Amoral corporations can accept amorals and pirates, can form alliances and blue each other. There should be some default amoral NPC corporation for such players if they leave their player corporation.

Pirates can attack other players without wardecs. However as soon as someone declares himself to be a pirate, the high-sec wouldn't have him. Any player can attack him, he cannot dock in high-sec stations, his high-sec assets are confiscated and the faction police and sentry guns attack him on sight. He can join amoral player corporations or NPC pirate corporations (Gurista, Serpentis, Sansha and so on). What? Being forbidden from high sec? Isn't it too harsh? Well, it was explicitly told you during training that if you want to be a pirate, you must go low-sec:

Also, the low and null sec is not different from high from NPC standpoint. If everyone would "play nice", the difference between 0.5 and 0.0 would be the same as between 1.0 and 0.5: different minerals. Pirating players make low and null different from highsec. It's completely fair to expect them to eat what they cooked. You like ganking? Fine! Then go and live with fellow gankers!

This system would make security status useless and removed. The player is free to declare himself lower assuming he has 3M skill points to prevent players using disposable pirate alts. Changing status on the other hand takes time, both to prevent exploitation (flipping back and forth, smuggling items between communities), to emphasize the importance of the choice and to make one pay for his "crimes" the same way as in the real life: time. Change can only be initiated while docked, and doing so would log the pilot out, and place a "changing from X to Y until [date]" message on the character selection screen. Entering the game with that pilot before the change is complete cancels the change. No skills are learned during state change. I think the proper times would be:
  • Lawful-amoral: 1 day
  • Amoral-lawful: 1 week
  • Amoral-pirate: 1 day
  • Pirate-amoral: 4 weeks
The purpose of the coding is only to prevent fast switching, disallowing "being pirate for an hour", making it a meaningful choice. One is supposed to spend his life in one state, the one that fits his chosen ingame persona. For this reason 1 week would be added to the above times if you are doing the same change the second time. Make up your mind!

With this system the players would have social means to handle ganking. If they are fine with ganking, they can choose to be amoral or even pirates themselves. If they reject it, they can choose to be lawful, punishing pirates and amorals by boycotting and shooting them. Pirates wouldn't be stopped by the godlike CONCORD but by other players - if they choose to stop them. Maybe only a few "carebears" would choose to be lawful and they would be ridiculed, wardecced if in player corps and hunted as abominations. Maybe the pirates+amorals would find that they are a 10% minority and they have to pay huge premium for purchases and can't find an open incursion fleet as the vast majority boycotts them. Either way, the community would decide. Obviously one could still chose the other way, playing the hunted pirate who refuse to behave or the noble hero who stands resolute in the sea of evil.

Please note that being lawful or amoral wouldn't lock one to "carebear" state. Player-null and wormhole space is not policed, anyone can shoot anyone there. They could also fight against declared war targets in policed space. They would only lose their option to gank random people in policed space.

The economies wouldn't be completely severed, pirates can obviously obtain items from lawful pilots by stealing their can or looting their wrecks. Items can also move between the communities as the assets of pilots changing states, but that would be limited by the long changing times.

PS: little fun story. My girlfriend said she don't really like EVE since she always played classes with pets in games and she can't do it here. I love how a gift of a simple skillbook solved this problem. Since then she happily runs the L1-2s with the Rokh. This game has much more choices and possibilities than any other I ever played. Try it out! The M&S has so much money, it's our sacred duty to separate them from it.

EVE Business report: Thursday morning 14.1B (2 PLEX behind for second account, 0.3B spent on Titan project)
Remember that you can participate in our EVE conversations on the "goblinworks" channel (60-80 people on peak time) and your UI suggestions are welcomed.


Anonymous said...

I think there's a simpler solution: let players, when making buy/sell orders, be able to select a minimum security rating. That way, gankers find themselves either not able to buy things or having to pay a hefty premium.

Gevlon said...

That alone doesn't work. He makes the purchases on an alt and then contract it to his main.

With the above system his lawful alt can't give ISK or items to his pirate main, unless it's on second account, flies to lowsec and let his main gank it (losing half of the loot and risking being caught by a third party pirate first).

Anonymous said...

Why couldn't the evil pirate's alt just go somewhere and eject the items into a jet can. Pirate just steals jet can.

Gevlon said...

Can do of course. But it has its risks: if the action takes place in highsec, the pirate has to enter highsec where anyone can shoot him. I assume there will even be lawful corps gatecamping highsec entrances for killmails, fun and loot. Remember the pirate then have to leave highsec.

If the alt goes lowsec to give the can, he can be shot by random pirates. (who might camp the lowsec side of the same entry).

Also keep in mind that not everything fits into a combat ship. To smuggle items with size, you have to do it in an industrial or even freighter.

serpentinelogic said...

I'm dubious about your exact scheme, but I really like the concept of making a conscious decision about what band your sec status should be, and having benefits and disadvantages for all four choices beyond the obvious number.

Kristopher said...

Heh. She should have rolled Gallente.

Utter drone freaks. A Vexor cruiser with T2 drones will chew through any level 2 mission.

Anonymous said...

Like POCO taxes make sell price affected by standings.
Are you red to me? Then you automatically pay 50% more. You are blue? You get a 5% discount.

Your security is -10? You get an additional 5% discount as a poor pirate, sec status +5? 10% more pay because you must be a rich carebear.

* stereotyping of pirates as poor/carebears as rich might not be applicable in a majority of cases *

energybomb said...

I think the changing time is a bit absurd, but generally the suggestion is good.

1 thing only. "degrading" your status (from lawful to amoral or pirate or from amoral to pirate) should be instant. Upgrading it should take time. After all, turning "evil" shouldn't take time nor does it make sense.

Gevlon said...

@Energybomb: the upgrade times are meant to be absurd. It's not easy to gain forgiveness. People don't forget your deeds overnight.

The downgrade timer has a technical reason: to prevent traders respond to immediate peaks. One could have a stable of alts and whenever he sees an arbitrage peak (pirates bought out tornados and placed buy orders for 100M while on the lawful sphere they sell for 70M), he just stock one alt up, turn amoral and cashes in. If he had to wait a day, the peak will disappear by the time he comes out of the state change.

Anonymous said...

If I meet a random person on the street I do not automatically know his entire history or what crimes he has committed.

If I put up a 'want to sell' post on craigslist or whatever and someone contacts me and wants to buy it, i don't automatically know what crimes he has committed.

In eve however your corp history and your kills are easily viewed and verifiable. Background checks are the staple of any corporation that is doing recruitment. It's a part of eve.

Even when doing things that are not possible in real life, like starting a new character with a blank slate. Serious corps will scrutinize over it. If you've transfered isk to him they will see, if you gave him no isk but simply some assets in space, they will see that it doesn't add up.

I'd say that creating some codified system to do this for you in hi-sec is something for what you call slackers. People who want all the ease in the world without the trouble.

Don't want to hire criminals in your corp? Well do the research. Don't want to mingle with 'criminals'? Do the research. Don't want to sell to criminals? Well don't sell on the open market then. Sell your stuff privately and do the research.

Gevlon said...

Gankers don't have to do research either. They just lock some random guy and fire their alpha tornado.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon: "Gankers don't have to do research either. They just lock some random guy and fire their alpha tornado."

Well nobody ever said eve was going to be fair.

The biggest issue with hi-sec security is the fact that it's codified. The rules are known and as such a way is found around them.

Adding different codified rules isn't going to change that. Before the rules would even be implemented people will have worked out ways around it.

The only "real" way to make it so that hi-sec players can defend themselves is essentially by removing hi-sec completely and leaving it up to the players to sort out their own defense.

This obviously would end as well as one would expect. As in a giant ball of exploding fire.

But unless CCP decides that eve is no longer a full PvP game and hi-sec becomes some sort of no-pvp allowed part of the game there is essentially nothing that will work.

Anonymous said...

Quote: "I want to prove that if you are not an idiot or a lazy punk you can do fine in even totally ruthless capitalism."

As you stated correctly, EvE is a universe submitted to a ruthless capitalism.
Therefore no one cares, Who buys What. So in conclusion, no corporation minds that ruthless gankers buy ships, weapons or ammunition from them. Even if its used to destroy stuff or kill members of their own corporation.

Or do you object?

Gevlon said...

The "amoral" state is exactly that and it's open for everyone.

Aureon said...

Good idea, but impossible implementation.

As for: if your system can solve this, Security status can solve this.

Just need to make it "grindable back" with MUCH, MUCH effort, especially in crossing the line.
4 weeks OFFLINE isn't that much, you know perfectely how easy would be to get dummy alts, move their belongings to lowsec, train for a month and swap. Sure, a secondary market develops.. but smuggling is not harsh.

"Epic" arcs as-for changing alignment could do. "Epic" as istanced (long range bubbled?), dangerous and 'things.

Jetcanning, in both cases, is extremely easy. Still, ejecting for passing every single ship you want could be problematic enough to mean something

A way could be to "rig" any lawful ship into exploding upon boarded by a pirate.

Also, locking all the characters on the same account to the same morality seems a no-brainer.

Point isn't to make it IMPOSSIBLE, just to create noticeable hassle, so...
CONCORD customs upon entering/leaving hisec requiring a import/export tax could go a LONG way, especially to bolster the industry viability in low/null, aside of punishing alt-abusing.

Anonymous said...

And what will happend when 2,000 pirates (most null will choose pirate status) jumps into a hig system and 2,000 faction police pop up ?
Server crashes OR the pirates will have lag while the faction police will not.

If the Concord is removed and players can fight with faction police for few minutes...the null will conquer about everything OR get paid by high sec carebears to stop destroy them because faction police cannot do this.

Anonymous said...

It simply doesn't work due to alts. While the direct lawful <-> pirate interaction might be disabled, you just have to introduce a third alt and do lawful <-> amoral <-> pirate business.

What you discribe is a big loophole in EVE's mechanics: I claim that 90% of the high-sec gankers actually don't want to be true pirates. They want to grief other players whenever they know they can't lose and else hide behind the high-sec mechanics as all the other carebears.

I would love a mechanic that would force the griefer to commit himself to being a true pirate, but I fear anything but a strict "one rl person, one char" policy (however you could enforce it) will fail on it.

Kristopher said...

Gevlon: Yea, CONCORD could refuse to allow ISK to move for a contract to a pirate alt ... but there is still the direct trade interface. Both characters just need to be in the same station for that.

There is also the wardec surrender interface. Pirate wardecs your main's personal corp. Main meets with pirate, and surrenders, and adds ISK or other stuff to the surrender terms window.

Wardeccing legit corps is also something pirates do, and the interface for surrender needs to remain in place.

Antivyris said...

You also have to take into account that many gankers are throw away characters as well. This makes security status useless.

mrmeh said...

Hi, long time glancing reader, first time poster and a veteran of EVE.

"Since then she happily runs the L1-2s with the Rokh"

I'm sorry. Did I just read you have her in LVL 2s and 1s with a Battleship?

If she likes "pets" as you call them. I suggest maybe you aim her training into the "Ishtar". It's the king of Mission Runners.

Pretty much capable of running whatever it wants. I've seen videos of it doing Lvl 5 solo as well. I never had a problem in any of my past days of doing LVL 4s.

It's still me ship for Faction Warfare.

Mentat said...

The idea of being able to gatecamp highsec sides of gates to low/null is seriously awesome. The bounty system theoretically would have incented something like this but that and merc corps doing wardecs aren't sufficient systems. Letting people who want to do law enforcement do so would be more fun for everyone I think.

Gevlon said...

@Kristopher: direct trade can also be blocked the same way as crime. On the lawful character a popup comes "your moral standards disallow to trade with this pirate scum"

Surrender can be handled the same way, a lawful cannot surrender to an amoral/pirate with the message "you'd never give in to such low creatures"

Antivyris: 3M skill points are there for this purpose

Gevlon said...

@Mrmeh: I don't have her at anything. She plays as she wants. I keep telling her theorycraft, she sometimes listens, sometimes not.

Unless she is doing something really stupid, I let her learn from her own mistake. Using a Rokh as drone ship isn't optimal, but doesn't lead to failed missions or lost Rokh.

Wolf said...

Here's a quick bit of reading regarding the current Burn Jita event, it might give you a bit of insight as to why CCP hasn't already implemented something like this.

To pull out a quote from Jon Lander, the current Senior Producer of EVE Online, in regards to Burn Jita. "The worst thing we could do is to stop it happening. It would be appalling for the game. It would be against everything we stand for.". I'm not even a fan of the goons and I agree 100% with that statement.

CCP on the whole, however, has heard many ideas similar to this in the past and they will surely hear many more in the future. Despite that, they still have yet to implement anything like it in game. Even then the game is still growing in subscribers after 8+ years. The reason being, CCP simply don't want it is because they realize this sort of thing helps set the game apart from other MMO's. Are they happy with the way things currently are? Not entirely, but they've said countless times at fanfest, in dev blogs, on the forums, and other types of media that the main focus of eve is blowing up ships regardless of who they belong to. Sometimes CCP loses focus on that and when they do, they admit it and do things to fix it.

An idea I'm a proponent of, which would also be much less work for CCP, is turn all high and low-sec systems into null-sec. It would have essentially the same effect as your proposed changes. People would join alliances for protection and to kill those that are evil-doers to their blues. They can still sell to pirates/amorals on the market at ridiculous rates, while they can just setup in-corp/in-alliance contracts to sell stuff to blues. The pirates would truely be allowed to pirate. Your amorals would have to join alliances as well, but it would still be business as usual for them for the most part.

It would kind of be like past/present day CVA (Curatores Veritatis Alliance) null-sec space. Once you get onto their red list, it can be quite difficult to get back to being blue to them. If you're neutral or blue to them though, you get to enjoy all the benefits of being in null-sec space with a large alliance on your side. For those unfamiliar with CVA they operate in the providence/catch regions under a Not Red, Don't Shoot (NRDS) policy. If you do engage in piracy elsewhere though and someone requests it (with proof), you can be set to red to CVA even though you had no direct interaction with them.

As a bit of an aside though, good luck to you and your future corp/alliance with your future titan purchase. Hopefully by the time you get into one CCP will have rebalanced them and their role will have changed to dedicated fleet support/logistics/boosting. If that hasn't taken place yet, I would highly recommend looking into T3's/Command ships instead of a titan if you truly want to be a fleet booster. I say this because there's a reason why Titan's aren't fielded for the sole purpose of fleet boosting at the moment. I may have come off as a bit of a dick last time, but I'm honestly trying to save you some of the headaches that come with titan ownership.