Greedy Goblin

Friday, June 1, 2012

Something MUST be done about non-wardeccable corps

Bloggers and armchair developers often argue over designs they want. They "know" what is the best of the game, which is surprisingly the best for their playstyle, ignoring everyone else. Telling that "CCP must allow players to make corporations that are immune to wardecs" would be such post. But it's not about that.

The problem is that non-deccable corporations already exist. They are the NPC corporations. Of course they are far from perfect: members can't own sov or erect structures and you have to pay 11% tax from mission rewards. However not everyone want (or reasonably can) own sov. Many players don't run missions, or consider 11% a fair price for the safety. For them being in an NPC corp is the optimal move. No, it does not force you to play alone. Mining or incursion fleets aren't restricted to corpmates. Also, you can have a friend list and can form fleets or chat with them.

"Can" is OK for someone who is good in opening conversations. "Can" is perfect for someone who prefers to be left alone. But most computer game players are socials but not the most sociable. While I reject the "sits in the mothers basement alone" picture, we have to accept that "geeks" are much less proficient in making friends and engaging in casual conversations than the average population from the same sex/age/country/income group. If you are an a-social or anti-social, this isn't a problem. My ability to engage in casual conversations is irrelevant when I don't want to. When a random "o/" in the chat annoys me. For me, the School of Applied Knowledge is the best corp out there.

For others, not so much. They are there because they know that it's the optimal way. Joining to a player corp is sub-optimal if you play in high-sec, where the new players start their EVE life. Where most of the players spend their whole EVE life. I repeat: If you join with other players, you are doing it wrong!

This is clearly and unquestionably bad design. I mean there isn't a single player group that is rewarded by this. "Carebears" are forced to play alone, not knowing anyone except random players they join for a single incursion or other op. "Griefers" still don't have war targets. To make it worst, the smartest players are those who are staying away from highsec player corps. The less smart fall for the corp invite spam and join a "friendly corp accepting new players" where he meets fellow not-so-smart players, learns nothing and gets ganked. Those who are smart enough to teach him something are smart enough to not be there.

There are two ways out of it. Both are "good design" in the sense of making a certain demographics happy. Which one to make happy is a choice of game philosophy. But to make none happy is simply bad:
  1. Allow wardecs on secondary NPC corps. The newbies are booted from the school-corp after a month into the secondary NPC corps. As NPC corps would be the easiest way to get farmable targets for gankers, they would be decced by everyone. Players would get into much better situation by joining a player corp. Fellow players could at least teach them how to avoid being caught. Smaller corps would not be wardecced by everyone, simply because they are too small for anyone to care. Players would meet fellow players. Could learn from each other. They could also socialize. It's important for them (don't ask me why, I can't fathom).
  2. Allow creation of safe corporations. These can't own sov or towers and must have tax rate over 11%, where the 11% is not paid to the corp wallet but to the CONCORD. In turn they wouldn't be deccable. They would be like NPC corps, but with people you can talk to. People who know your name.
I'm sure that fixing this either way would greatly increase the new player retention, and the overall enjoyment of the game for people who live in highsec.

Friday morning report: 33.8B. (0 PLEX behind for second account, 1.1B spent on Logi/Carrier/Titan alt)
Don't forget to join the goblinworks channel to discuss trading and industrial ideas and laugh on the morons of the day (50-80 people on peak hours).

PS: Commenters warned me that while a Rorqual is only a few weeks of training if you go for carrier (both are capitals), I would only get a big piece of useless debris. Rorqual needs Mining foreman link and Industrial reconfiguration module to be any useful and mercoxite (and other top ore) processing 4 to be able to compress ore which is its top quality. Also, it's shield tanked, while my other ships are armor, another bunch of skills. Learning all these to rank 4 only would take 8 months, which is clearly not acceptable delay in my carrier plans. So I have to say goodbye to the Rorqual.

No way! I started another account for the Rorqual. This ship is top priority for me, since it's the key for nullsec industry. I mean you can only trade where the people are (highsec), hauling profit is everywhere, I don't need to leave highsec for these. To seek profit in null/WH, I must do something that makes null/WH so special that overcompensate the risks of going there. And that's mercoxite and other top ores. I have a fear that many low/null dwellers are making their ISK in highsec (by alts) and only spend in low/null. This would explain why so many people ignore sov and just roam: no point controlling space if it doesn't give you much. I must find out if there is profit in controlling and protecting space. Also, jump freighters fit low/null much better than high, so my main will not learn jump freighters, saving months from his training plan. The Rorqual pilot will be JF pilot too, which is perfect support for null/WH industry.


Anonymous said...

There is great profit in owning/controlling *people* not Sov; whether hi/lo/0.0/WH, many corp/alliance leaders do rather well.

If you look at EVE as like the old board game Diplomacy, then the politics here are the best of any game. But if you are among the 99% who are playing the game and not the metagame, then this does not apply.

If you want to group with other people; if you subscribe to the notion that "MMOs are for playing with other people not solo" then WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU PLAY EVE I.e., the risks of playing with someone else are so much higher in this game. Both from explicit rules and de facto behavior.

You can't change a culture of an MMO; most anything that would increase customers will be resisted by the current customers.

Janis Sprukts said...

You might want to try out 0.0 region of Providence. It is controlled by CVA and friends. Neutrals arn't shot dead at the spot there. They enforce (NRDS - not red don't shoot) policy. Probably the only such place in all of EVE and WH space.

Steel H. said...

I said enough times that EVE is not about spaceships but about people, so I won’t go there again. I will say that the main problem you will have in fitting into any PVP alliance, be it 0.0, WH or low sec is your lack of ability to fathom senseless, reasonless, pure, unadulterated, non sugar coated, wanton destruction-murder-death-killzone. The purity of the primordial caveman going out there, killing everything and displaying the bloody scalps of his victims on his killwall. That is what we do, even in the depths of 0.0 sov space metagame – and especially there, after shooting POS for 5 ours. You need to find a rationalization that works for your mind, or you’ll be running around in circles, around, and around…

Also ask more people about the Rorqual, especially people that handle alliance logistics in deep 0.0. I’m not sure the Rorqual lives such a ‘glamorous’ life. Although if you enjoy doing the dirty, non-glamorous, thankless, but absolutely vital work that-must-be-done, you’ll have a bright future in any 0.0 alliance.

About wardecs and hisec and empire and such – have you read Mittens’ last column at tentonhammer? What about the General Discussion section on the EVE-O Forums? (oh God)

Gevlon said...

@Steel: try to explain me how could a primitive caveman have a chance against even a small group of organized civilized people?

Anonymous said...

By scaring them away in their lovely little fortress called highsec?

Anonymous said...

"Also ask more people about the Rorqual, especially people that handle alliance logistics in deep 0.0. I’m not sure the Rorqual lives such a ‘glamorous’ life"

The Rorqual has three main uses
(1) sit inside POS shields and hand out mining bonuses.
(2) refuel jumpbridges
(3) mini jumpfreighter for the poor.

Two side uses
(4) provide jumpclones (usually unnecessary)
(5) scoop the loot from hauler spawns (effort)

(1) requires good leadership skills and can be done almost as well by an Orca
(2) has become jeopardized a bit since Rorquals can no longer use jumpbridges.
(3) why not use a real jumpfreighter?

"I will say that the main problem you will have in fitting into any PVP alliance, be it 0.0, WH or low sec is your lack of ability to fathom senseless, reasonless, pure, unadulterated, non sugar coated, wanton destruction-murder-death-killzone."

the main thing Gevlon has going for him is that he seems to be inexplicably drawn towards those senseless, reasonless, pure, unadulterated, non sugar coated, wanton activities of pure boredom that nobody else wants to do.
(ok, "reasonless" is not true.)

Of course he will never become a leader if he overly enjoys playing other people' support bitch but at least he will be an asset to his alliance.

(yes, logistics and industry are important if not crucial, that doesn't imply that doing these activities will get you recognition, it's more likely to mark you as beta forever)

Alrenous said...

Well, now I wish I had spare time to play EVE. I want to join you in trying to control nullsec space and squeezing a cashflow from it.

If the urge builds I may make time... Odds are it will go away, though.

But for now I just wish WoW had PLEX. There would be a reason for me to play the AH, and play it better, as the DK is my favourite class in any game, by a long shot. Not worth $15 a month for how much I play, though. Not by a long shot.

As it is now, I reached gold goal and just stopped, as there was nothing for me to spend it on. (Satisfyingly, the market I was in instantly spiked, and ran into shortages, due to the sudden absence of my supply.)

Inggroth said...

I'm surprised by this post, as i disagree strongly with most stuff you write here. But this is well thought out quality proposal. I suggest you put some effort into bringing it to the CSM attention.

Caramael said...

"EVE is about people playing together". Which is why the majority has multiple accounts, right?
Am I the only one who thinks it's rather silly to have a post about playing together conclude with stating you're opening up yet another account to do more stuff by yourself?
The more I read about EVE, the less I understand why people play the game.

tritaniumbackbone said...

Normally, I might agree...

But have you seen the mattari front? Either of them? These are attracting more people than I would have imagined, and business near those industries have been great.

Exploiting the new factional warfare areas is definately an emerging market.

Kibbles said...

Regarding jump freighters - they take a long time to train (properly). Since they have no fittings the ONLY way to "buff" them is by skills and implants. That means spending a lot of time training high multiplier skills to 5. Because JFs don't really move around high-sec believe me, you want those skills. You want your boat to align as quickly as possible (agility), go as far as possible (JFC and JF skills), warp as quickly as possible (WDO), etc, etc. Plus you want max cargo so need the ratial industrial skills to 4 or 5 at least.

If you're going to do it, you need to do it right. These ships cost a fortune (7.2B average right now), can't be fit, are slow and operate almost exclusively in nullsec. You want as much defense as possible on them so spend the time, lay out your training plan and go for it.

Lochiel said...

"2) Allow creation of safe corporations. These can't own sov or towers and must have tax rate over 11%, where the 11% is not paid to the corp wallet but to the CONCORD. In turn they wouldn't be deccable. They would be like NPC corps, but with people you can talk to. People who know your name."

I agree with most of your post, except this. This appears to create a special case for missioning and ratting. Those two activities are taxed; trading, mining, and production are not.

Why have this caveat? What does this rule add to the suggestion that you have made?

Hivemind said...

You've said that your suggestions would help improve retention without explaining what it is about the current system that's harming retention, so I'm basically guessing at your thought process here. It seems like you're starting from the assumption "If you join with other players, you are doing it wrong!", running that through the idea "most computer game players are socials but not the most sociable" and coming out with something like 'therefore players are avoiding player corps for safety but not getting their social fix and dropping out'.

The problem with that line of thought is it starts from an incorrect assumption. I've previously commented that a lot of your posts seem to come from viewing all the non-trading aspects of EVE through the window of blogs, EN24 and the forums rather than through first-hand experience, and this definitely seems to be one of them; you'll see plenty of posts and comments saying "My player corp got wardecced and it ruined my life!" but you'll never see any saying "This week my corp wasn't wardecced and we pooled our efforts and skillsets and were 20% more productive than any of us could have been seperately". The first one describes a tiny minority of the experiences being in player corps, the second one describes the vast majority of them. You might argue that the reality once they've joined a corp doesn't matter if they never join one, but I've never actually met anyone put off from joining corps specifically by the risk of wardecs before I read this post. Deterred by an actual dec, sure, but not the mere possibility of them. As a corollary to that point, "Those who are smart [...] are smart enough not to be there" really doesn't apply, because [b]joining a corp is not a stupid choice[/b]. Despite whatever you've been reading, wardecs to any given corp are unusual, not the norm, and nothing prevents a smart risk-averse player from abandoning a corp that does get wardecced in favour of another and still paying less than the NPC 11% tax.

All that said, the real question is "Would your ideas help retention, and would they have any other side effects?" so let's look at them. The first suggestion... I really think it wouldn't. If a new player is still in their starting NPC corp after a month they might benefit from a prod towards a player corp, but this isn't that, it's hurling them into the line of fire. As you yourself pointed out, the non-30 day NPC corps will be under constant dec from lots of people, so the first notice that the new player gets that they've been moved is likely to be when they undock on day 31 and get blown up. A few of those players will find out what's going on and jump into player corps, but for most the extra obstacle you've thrown their way will make them leave the game.

The second suggestion is more interesting, because while I don't think the threat of wardecs affects retention, the occasions where a newbie is in a corp that gets decced does hurt retention. Faced with a wardec a new player pretty much has to dock up for the duration or lose ships, and they're at a point in the game where they can least afford losses and have the fewest ties to the game to actually bring them back after the war. On the other hand, would wardec-proof player corps solve that? It might be good for the likes of EVE-Uni, corps dedicated to training new players, but the vast majority of hisec corps exist primarily to make ISK, and wouldn't opt in to a system that's going to permanently cut that income by 11% (that applies to Incursion payoffs too, by the way) just for protection from the occasional wardec. So, it would make life better for new players in training corps like EVE-Uni and hisec recruitment/training branches of low/nullsec alliances, but wouldn't do much for new players in other player corps or cause a sudden influx of new players into player corps and a rise in retention.

Anonymous said...

Taking away wardec protection would have another great side effect, killing bot miners. Right now I can fly around EVE and find bot miners with no problem. There's a particular naming format they tend to follow. The problem - they're all in newb corps. That means that if I want to take them out, they MUST be suicide ganked with the accompanying loss of sec status. Far better to tag what belt they work in and drop a wardec.

I expect what the real effect would be, though, is that a lot of people would be in one member corps. It avoids other people, is relatively cheap and provides good protection. After all, why Wardec little old me when there's a corp full of hundreds of clueless newbs over there.

Gevlon said...

@Hivemind: what you miss here is that most new players are risk averse. You agree that a 1-2 months old newb can do nothing but stay docked (or lose two dozen rifters and lol) during wardec and it can make them leave.

I agree that wardecs are not the norm. However consider the 3-4 months old newbie who has 80% of his fortune in a Caldari Raven Navy (with missing support skills and railguns of course). It's stupid, but they still do it. He get decced. He loses ship. He uninstalls game in that second. He would happily pay 11% instead.

Also, you can haul and mine which are not taxed and both are common highsec activity (unlike trading which is a niche unfortunately)

evemonkey said...

small note: as per recent fanfest economic presentation they're looking at increasing the tax. I'm not sure if it was that presentation or I've read somewhere else, but 15% is a number I've heard being thrown about.

Unless you're just playing the market there's no reason to sit in the npc corporations.

It's easier and more profitable just to create your own for your own alts.

Steel H. said...

@gevlon - solution for your newbies: join a nullsec alliance (within your first week). Nullsec is awesome, carebear in piece under the blob, abundant PI, slick ores, salvage, all sorts of sites, learn about the game from experienced veterans, participate in epic(fail) PvP battles, laugh at losses thanks to reimbursement (unless you joined poor people). You know, EVE…

@gevlon – they are all primitive cavemen! Do not confuse/associate skill with motivation. The most skilled, disciplined, organized and knowledged PvP are the small gang/solo roamers that live in NPC 0.0 or lowsec, and they will go out just to kill random shit / prove their skills / flex e-peens / any other reason. Such PvPers will often defeat small or equivalent groups of SoV alliance F1 monkeys (until they get 200 drakes dropped on them) Even the SoV alliance F1 monkeys will go on funball roams to kill random shit (or IRC), especially after waiting on a Titan / shooting POS for 5 hours. You have outfits like PL, that have the most experienced and well equipped PvPers, yet are not interested in any SOV, live in NPC space and fight either as mercenaries, or just to fight. Kill everything, because you can, and it looks good on your killwall - 2 bil ratting botengus, lost Ibises, empty T1 haulers, other gangs, other gatecamps, dumb supercaps, shuttles (with smartbombing titans), everything.

Gentleman Johnny said...

@Steel - that's an interesting point as relates to Gev's One Empire. Individuals who want to make trouble with the One Empire can probably be hunted easily enough to make it economically painful for them to continue. Merc/raider corps, on the other hand, can't be beaten just by shooting them. They'd have to be resource starved which, considering the amount of resources moving through the game, could be tough. Highsec is always there as a source that can't be starved out.

Hivemind said...

@ Gevlon: Yeah, I already agreed on that one, but I don't think too many corps that aren't dedicated new player training corps would trade that permanent 11% tax hike for protection from the occasional wardec. The thing is, the kind of new player you're talking about who doesn't yet 'get' that EVE can turn nasty at the drop of a hat (which would be the type who sinks all their ISK into a faction boat without the backup skills to fit it and then undocks it in war) is also going to be the one who looks at a recruiting corp that offers 11% tax and safety vs one that offers 5% tax and fast access to L4 missions and will choose the latter, so the *existence* of decproof corps makes no difference to him.

Since you brought up haulers, which I hadn't considered, wouldn't this be an awful lot like the IMMORTAL module for them? Not quite immune to ganks, but the difficulty of staging a freighter gank means a lone guy in a Tier3 with a warp scram and a wardec is a greater threat than gankers - hence why the-hauling-corp-that-must-not-be-named clearly advertises that all hauling is done via out-of-corp characters rather than it being done by characters guarded by alt-logis.

"How would this be different from the current situation if they just use undeccable NPC corp alts to haul?" I hear you ask. Aside from the removal of the minor logistical difficulty of getting an in-corp character to both the start and end stations to trade off with the hauling alt, there's one big change: It's not really feasible to have a webber escorting an NPC freighter to speed up its warpouts, as doing so would get the webber concorded and a freighter can't loot cans dropped by the webber to get aggression. Player corp members can use aggressive modules like webs (and guns) on each other without getting concorded. That means that haulers in dec-proof player corps actually get a buff to their profession, as bringing a webbing alt along can greatly reduce journey time.