Monday, March 25, 2013

Silver bullet: how could CCP bring back solo and small-gang PvP without a single change in EVE

EVE players keep longing for the "good old days" before blobs took control. They sometimes post daydreams that CCP should artificially limit player organizations so their small and weak corp become competitive. Well, here you go, a simple solution that brings back solo and small-gang PvP, that will dissolve the blobs and make brave and skilled pirates roam the vast seas of pixel space once again!

Kill reports (both in-game and what the API query provides) should list only N pilots on the killer side. I mean if there are 10 people killing one ship, and N is 3, the kill report looks like:
- Victim: Joe Nobody
- Killers: Frank Awesome 18%, Jane Pirate 11%, Hank daKillah 8% and 7 more pilots.
There would be no possible way to know who are these "7 more pilots".

Why would this, despite having no effect in the game mechanics, change the gameplay fundamentally? Because killers go for kill reports to show off. Why bother to kill anyone if you don't get an API verified proof that you are awesome? You! Special snowflake who don't care about kills, just play for fun, please delete your API key from every killboard before commenting!

Currently the best way of getting a good killboard is flying in a blob. The larger, the more targets it can crush and the less likely that you get killed. You get a "kill" for everything you can put 0.01% damage on. An average blob fighter can easily get 2-3000 "kills" a month without taking any risk, having any skills or even making much effort. Been there, done that, wasted 60B on figuring out its secrets and find that what looks a big heap of trolling crap is actually a ... big heap of trolling crap.

By limiting the amount of killers on the API verified reports, every extra member in the blob would decrease your chances of getting on the report, so if you can get kills with smaller groups, you would do so due to higher chances of getting the report. The blobs, fed by undeserved kills would dissolve and change into N-man roams. N would decide the gang size, if CCP want to boost solo then N = 1, if they want small group of friends, then N is 3-5, if they want mid-sized corps to roam, then N is 20-30.


Jeb said...

"please delete your API key from every killboard before commenting"

I did years ago. Mainly to reduce possible intel on me and how I operate, but there are also other benefits. I have a private KB for my use and the few people I fly with.

"Kill reports (both in-game and what the API query provides) should list only N pilots on the killer side"

I'm a solo / small gang pilot and I think this is ridiculous.

"Because killers go for kill reports to show off"

The majority of people that blob do so because they are risk adverse, not because they are bothered about their KB. They may also lack the confidence / skills to fly solo / small gang.

On top of all this, a quick scan of someones KB will tell you if they are blobbers, mainly solo or small gang, who they often fly with etc. Removing this info is stupid and is dumbing down EvE even more.

Greedy dear chap, you've got this all wrong. Maybe it's time to stop with your "must have a metric to see if I've won EvE" idea. It's a sandbox game. You can't "win EvE" because everyone has their own definition (if any) of what that means. The day that CCP and/or the community have something like "you win EvE by having X Y & Z" is the day EvE dies. May it never ever happen.

Gevlon said...

Sandbox only means you define the goal. You still need to define a goal and need a metric to measure it. It is true that I can set the goal to have a POS in every region. It's a stupid goal to must, but it's a goal. However if I fail to run the POSes, I am not winning EVE due to my own definition.

Anonymous said...

Now that would be a really dumb change. Right now logi pilots get no love from KMs. If your idea came through, all tacklers and ewar pilots would be left out. A really, REALLY bad idea.

Gevlon said...

Not, if the whole gang (including tacklers and ewar) is within N.

Anonymous said...

"Not, if the whole gang (including tacklers and ewar) is within N."

Therefore increasing the problem:

- we need ewar in this gang!
- how many are you?
- N
- sorry, not interested


- we need to switch DD for ewar; do I have any volunteers?
- how many do we have?
- N
- (silence)

The idea is bad because you got the base problem backwards. It's not the limit on KMs that is needed. A quick look into the KM already shows who was fighting and who was whoring (hint: guys with 0.0-0.1% dmg). The problem lies within killboards. Eve-kill should include the % in ISK calculation and the problem will solve itself out. Of course this will only work on people who care about ISK on KMs, but I assume your posts is about them.

Gevlon said...

EVE-kill is out of CCP control, so what they should or shouldn't do is irrelevant. EVE-kill doesn't want to commit suicide by hurting the killmail whores.

You also seem to forget that the only way to dissolve blobs is to ... dissolve blobs. So someone HAS TO say "not interested" or [silence] in order to prevent the gang grow into a blob.

Anonymous said...

"So someone HAS TO say "not interested" or [silence] in order to prevent the gang grow into a blob."

On this we all agree. But now there's no reason for someone to not participate in blobs. With your system, if someone has a chance of getting a KM (assuming that that's what he's after), he'll enter a blob anyway with a dps ship in hope to get the kill. If someone is not interested in KMs, he will join as he always did. Your idea just hurts people flying in support and gangs of equally distributed damage, like wolfpacks or hydras (if all do about the same %, then why some should be left out?). It could also weaken discipline, when members would rush to reach the max dmg, instead of focusing on tactics. In my opinion, KMs in themselves aren't the problem - a simple glance separates whores from fighters. Your approach is just wrong on this. Blobs are blobs, because they increase the chances of winning the fight.

Gevlon said...

Oh, I got your point now. But I've never said that the N top damage dealer should get the mail. It can easily be N randomly selected ones, or the top damage + N-1 random or top+final+N-2 random or whatever.

My point is that if your gang is larger than N, your chance to get on the killmail should decrease.

Anonymous said...

"But I've never said that the N top damage dealer should get the mail. It can easily be N randomly selected ones"

That still doesn't solve the issue - in fact it increases it. If the KM appearance was based on dmg, everyone would try deal the top damage. If it was random - nobody would care. On the other hand it would make the same chance for ewar/tackle. BUT, it will then move their problem onto everyone - each person would have no reason to join the same gang with N members. Would it force fights to be at most N, then? Nope, it would only spawn M competing groups of N members. Will that eliminate blobs? Nope, it would only create unnecessary complexity for fleet compositions. Support would need to be group agnostic or group aware. Fleet management would be a pain. Tactical non-blob fleets would be KM-hurt. In the end - blob problem unsolved, more problems added.
I tell you this: pvp is much more complex than you think.

Anonymous said...

N=0 would solve all problems.

Gevlon said...

N=0 would probably remove PvP from EVE and turn everyone into a farming titan-spinner. The purpose is to limit blobs, not PvP

Anonymous said...

You cannot limit blobs that way. In real world, excluding external factors and skill, the army with better combined quality and number wins. You have the same situation in Eve. What you want to be asking is why in the real world whole armies are not pushed into the battlefield? The simplified reason is costs (I assume no need for "protecting back"). Moving a whole armada must be more costly in terms of $ and management than moving a small group. Eve doesn't have that - you can project arbitrary force anywhere in short time (titans). And there is no such thing as an overkill.

Druur Monakh said...

Didn't we have this discussion before?

No, your suggestion won't solve the blob problem. People fly in blobs because blobs win fights.

KM whoring may make blobbing worse, but I can tell you from the fleet fights I was in: the KB is the last thing on our minds. It is nice to show up on the KMs because it demonstrates that we pulled our weight, but even that is more of an afterthought.

At the same time, if you reduce the information present on a KM, you actually take away a tool for people to improve themselves. If for example I lose a fight, and only see the top three damage dealers on my KM, but not the Interdictor which held me in place, nor the Curse which neuted me - how am I supposed to improve my target selection for future encounters?

"EVE-kill is out of CCP control, so what they should or shouldn't do is irrelevant."

On the contrary it is very much relevant, because the whole issue of KM whoring wouldn't exist without those 3rd party killboards. There is no CCP-run killboard, and the killmails themselves already are sent out on an N=1 basis.

No. Your suggestion would only mean that the show-offs would find other ways to stroke their e-peen, whereas true team-players would get even less recognition.

Anonymous said...

The equilibrium group size would not be N, it would be N + x, to account for increased probability of victory as group size increases. For example, say 2N ships wins 90% of time against N ships. Then 90% of the time, 50% of the members get in the kill mail. This is better than 10% of the time, 100% of members get in the kill mail. Completely neglecting ship reimbursement cost, for argument sake lets assume there is no cost (alliance covers all losses) as it makes it a simpler problem.

The question is, what is optimal value of x?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure people never did any PvP back when there were no killboard. I'm sure they did no PvP when killboards were easy to cheat with falsfied reports. I'm sure they didnt neither when anyone could self destruct to deny a killmail.

tangurena said...

Ewar and tackling ships do little to no damage. Under your scheme, score-oriented players would never fly tackling and jamming ships because they'd never get on the public side of the kill mails.

As it currently is, logistics players have to be content with zero appearance on kill mails. And it is hard to get folks flying logi. Which makes it very hard to show that "I was there" as that video went on about.

But I prefer the parody:

Von Keigai said...

why in the real world whole armies are not pushed into the battlefield? The simplified reason is costs

It is not costs. Winning in war is (or can be) existential; the state will spend whatever it has to.

The real answer here is that armies do try to mass to win battles, and that mass does win battles, at least when it stays massive. But massing is risky in the real world due to artillery and airpower -- that is, weapons with area effect.

Eve has no area effect weapons at all, except for bombs. But these are short ranged (same grid only, and not far at that), and cannot be fired from any platform except a very-short-range glass cannon. Imagine a system with more real world flavor: off-grid ships can fire bombs which can warp to a designated target. The maximum range would vary with the ship type -- perhaps on-grid only for frigates (like light mortars), then ranged to 1000 for cruisers, 20000 for battleships. A new high-slot item is introduced, the artillery link module, which allows a pilot to target bombs to any locked and target-painted target.

Von Keigai said...

People fly in blobs because blobs win fights.

Absolutely right.

gallego said...

How is having more data bad? Isn't it obvious to anyone that cares that that kill mail whore only landed a single volley on that kill mail?

Adding these artificial restrictions will in the end only encourage anti-social behavior in fleets. Creating hurdles and drama which stand in the way of just going out and having fun with friends. Which if I'm not mistaken your past blog posts highly emphasized that eve should encourage group and social play as much as possible.

Artificial restrictions nearly always create more problems while never solving the problem they were trying to solve.

Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

I actually do totally agree with that.

One extra thing i'd implement on top of this, though, is to allow API to register the leaders of the blob in some way. So the kill report reads:

- Victim: Joe Nobody
- Killers: Frank Awesome 18%, Jane Pirate 11%, Hank daKillah 8% and 7 more pilots under captain Justy Tylor.

OskaRus said...

I think goblins opinion on blob "problem" is a bit of upside down.

Blob warfare is kind of gameplay. By limiting this gameplay people just wont magickaly shift to small gang warfare.

Small gang warfare is fun and it can be found in areas like npc null or lowsec. It can be surely somehow encouraged even in sov null but surely not by limiting other kind of gameplay.

IMHO it could be possible by introducing some goals in sov mechanics which can be achieved by small gangs better than by blobs.

Subscribe to the goblinish wisdom