Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

You can barely find battles in EVE

"EVE is unique" and "EVE is not for all" they say. Many people (like Rohan just now) leave EVE without criticizing it. Just finding it "not for their taste". The pro-EVE players claim that EVE is PvP and PvP is not for everyone. They might even hint that the leavers are carebears who just can't stand competition.

It's not true. There are many-many successful PvP games like Counterstrike, League of Legends, World of Tanks and all the real life sports. People play that, despite they have only PvP content and the average player loses half of the time. Many of these games have consequences for losing, like dropping in ladder position, repair costs, or just being defeated front of thousands of spectators including their whole family. Still they keep playing.

Jester pointed me to the right direction. In his post he practically calls a player idiot for trying to fight back. In another post he ridicules another one for not staying docked for a month (which is funny since he criticized a CSM member for suggesting the same).

The solution is that in the mentioned PvP games there are battles between (approximately or on average) equal opponents. You can win by playing better. Obviously you'll lose several times, but you are rarely obliterated. In EVE it's the norm. I'd say that besides battles that take place at reinforced stations and the recent Nulli-PL battles there aren't any battles in EVE. There are only ganks: fights where one side has absolutely no chance to win. This is so obvious to veteran players that they openly call someone idiot who tries to fight. The proper action is watching intel channels, D-scan, watching local or simply staying docked: run and hide.

I'd say this is what makes players feel uneasy about EVE. Not the defeats, they have that in much larger quantities in other games. The hopelessness of their situation that gets to them. There was nothing they could do to win. They could only run.

To make it worse, there isn't even a power-ranking which would give them the hope that they can get out of the ganked situation if they play good enough or long enough. PL titan was killed by "FW noobs". Goonswarm was wardecced by "highsec bears" during Burn Jita. Garmon was ganked by a PL squad when he was exploiting with webs. Not even the largest, most experienced, rich or famed is safe.

If everyone is ganked, who ganks them? The answer is surprisingly: "everyone who cares to". In EVE the players take turns. When they farm ISK by mining, hauling, doing missions or ratting, they are victims. They can only run and hide. When they are out with a PvP ship, preferably in a large fleet, they are the gankers. Granted, they can bump into an even larger gankfleet but otherwise they are the top predators: all the farmers are their prey. Due to the large power difference of PvP and PvE ships, combined with the no limits on fleet size, even the dumbest "carebears" can massacre the best player when their roam catches him ratting.

This is the unique charm of EVE too. No matter how much you suck, if you go out on a roam, you'll get kills. The difference between the best and the worst PvP-er is merely in their ISK efficiency.

It's not a bug to be fixed, it is the unique EVE. Play it if you like it and don't if you don't. There are two kinds of personalities that can like EVE: one is the lolganker who just wants kills and tears at any cost (even if he is ganked more than he gank or if he can only sustain his play by PLEX). The other is the strategist who plays the big picture, considers being ganked merely and ISK loss and enjoys the growth. Of course I'm not saying that every player belong to these groups. There are many others, but they are like the competitive arena PvP-ers in WoW. Their money is welcomed by the developers, but they aren't the focus and won't get much support.

For the above reasons I have doubts now that The One Empire can be made. I'm afraid that CCP would somehow sabotate it, just like Blizzard did when I started winning Wintergrasp by kicking bad players. While neither one was impossible or against the current rules, they were against the will of the target audience. In WoW it's the "casual player" who want to "have fun" without doing any effort. Kicking him for sucking was telling him: "make effort or no fun for you". Most of them would go away from WoW PvP if my model would become widespread. In EVE, I'm afraid there aren't 400K strategists. Most of the players are lolgankers who just want to experience beating a helpless, chance-less human being. The One Empire would tell them "act as a disciplined soldier or go back to highsec", which would make them leave. CCP would do something about it to protect the bottom line.

Does it mean that you can't do anything to be safer? Of course not. To be relatively safe, all you have to do is playing better than the average target, and it's not hard. For haulers simply "don't autopilot" is enough, as my transport interceptors proved it. Not because it would be hard for a good pirate team to catch them, but because no one will bother to do so when they can gank two dozen autopiloting untanked T1 industrials with 500M+ on the Perimiter gate in the same time.

I think this is the reason nullsec is so deserted. The optimal gameplay for getting and keeping sov is simply incompatible with the will of the target audience. They don't want fleet battles against a prepared enemy, they want gank-roams. Maybe CCP should change the sov mechanics to something like this:
  • All mining towers and stations are NPC operated and indestructible.
  • The system starts with no sov holder, the system is NPC null and the moon goo belongs to no one, no cyno jammer is present.
  • In "NPC null" state, the sov-number is calculated as the ratio of ISK destroyed (not looted) in kills by your alliance. If your alliance destroyed 32% of ISK in the system in the last 30 days, you have 32% sov points.
  • (after 30 days of data available) if your alliance is over 30% and has 10% more than the second highest you become the sov holder. You get the moon goo, you control the station and can erect a cyno jammer. The sov number resets.
  • If the sov is held by an alliance, the sov number is calculated as "ISK destroyed by owners vs ISK destroyed by everyone else against the owners (not on randoms) in the system in the last 30 days".
  • (after the 30 days grace period) if the sov number goes below 50%, you lose sov and NPC null state returns.

EVE Business report: Wednesday morning 32.5B. (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).


Foo said...

One empire is always a significant challenge; In most instances, by the time become the significant majority then factions appear with the group; splitting it into minorities. There are exceptions but in most instances these have ruthless enforcers.

As a different goal (which has the same starting point); 'liberate' the T2 material monopoly that the goons have.

Take systems away from them when they are burning Jita or Hulks.

Burn them when they are offline.

Asymmetric warfare is fine.

From my understanding the goon leadership has significant sway on the player's council; and this council appears to be listened to by CCP.

Make it in their interests to provide some system stability while they are AFK.

Larofeticus said...

The difference between PvP in Eve and those other games is context.

There is no context in CounterStrike. Everyone gets thrown in an arena, they blap at each other for a while, then it's over and nothing of consequence has occurred.

Eve has context. Preparation is needed before an encounter. The outcome of the encounter has potential loss or gain. In fact, the majority of the challenge in Eve pvp is manipulating context to your advantage. All those extra things one can do to push context in their favor and make victory in the battle more likely. Intel, fittings, preparing multiple ships for different situations, spying, learning local terrain and residents, and making friends to fly with are some examples.

Those people who are "stupid to fight back" are stupid because they've already put themselves in bad context and continuing to fight only compounds their loss.

Anonymous said...

Eve is not fair.

It is for a reason, that there is the following saying: "If there is a fair fight in Eve, one side messed up."

Gevlon said...

@Larofeticus: most PvP games have context, a ladder, or a progressing account with skills and talents.

Avensys said...

"Take systems away from them when they are burning Jita or Hulks."

many goons never take part in these events and those who do mostly do so on alts. even those few who use their mains always keep a jumpclone back in VFK.
To flip a system you have to anchor and online SBUs at over half of the gates (3h), kill the IHUB (2 reinforcement timers, at least 48h), kill the TCU and online your own TCU (8h). If it is a station system you have another two reinforcement timers for the outpost to look forward to.

You can't just take sov without giving the enemy time to set up for a fight.

"From my understanding the goon leadership has significant sway on the player's council; and this council appears to be listened to by CCP."

if you mean "they had their only delegate forcibly removed" then that's true.

Anonymous said...

Eve PvP just isn't about the combat. That is just a flashy light show. The PvP aspect is the cat-and-mouse aspect. It is Deer Vs. Lion. Deer wins if it avoids conflict, runs away or escapes the tackle. The "fight" is just the lions win scenario.

Anonymous said...

"Jester pointed me to the right direction. In his post he practically calls a player idiot for trying to fight back. In another post he ridicules another one for not staying docked for a month (which is funny since he criticized a CSM member for suggesting the same)."

Context is everything, the player in question was an idiot for fighting back in the circumstances he found himself in.

The guy who got ganked in his hulk was an idiot for flying his hulk without basic precautions during Hulkageddon and then whining about it.

It wasn't about staying docked for a month.

EVE is PVP in virtually every aspect. Other games are basically about glorified sparring, EVE is about total war.

"I think this is the reason nullsec is so deserted. The optimal gameplay for getting and keeping sov is simply incompatible with the will of the target audience. They don't want fleet battles against a prepared enemy, they want gank-roams. "

Is also largely not true, null sec is empty because it's huge compared to the player base living there, and not everyone wants to go there.

"For the above reasons I have doubts now that The One Empire can be made. I'm afraid that CCP would somehow sabotate it, just like Blizzard did when I started winning Wintergrasp by kicking bad players. "

No. It would fail because the mechanisms needed to sustain total war are difficult to scale without entities becoming so large that they fall apart under their own gravitational pulls

Unknown said...

dobablo has it right.

This is a pitch-perfect explanation of the two types of PvP gamestyles that people often conflate:

Anonymous said...

(off topic)

Gevlon I'm having trouble explaining the problem with "I mine for free" to my fellow corporation mates who build for profit.

Would it be possible for you to point me in the right direction of a article that could make them see why It's just not correct to think of your minerals as free?

Unknown said...

I think the big difference in EVE PVP is loss. Not many games have you lose items when you are killed. Loss in EVE, whether PVE or PVP, has consequences. What is Rule 1? Do not fly what you cannot afford to lose. What is Rule 2? The undock button turns the PVP flag to on.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: no, they are beyond help. Leave them!

John said...

There is some truth in what you say. Someone recently posted a link (sorry, can't remember which blog) to a really good discussion on combat as sport vs combat as war. Eve tends towards the war end of that spectrum. Because there are consequences and because preparation and stacking the deck counts.

A result of this is that people will (quite reasonably) avoid fights if they think they are at a disadvantage.

Gevlon said...

@John: in war there is a goal. They want to capture some resource or defend it.

In EVE only the sov wars can be considered such. The rest have no "rational point". They fight because killing feels good. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

There is always a point to a fight.

The ground troops might think they are fighting just for fun, but if you think the organisers believe it is just for fun, then you are very mistaken.

Fighting is about morale (both yours and your opponents), isk destruction, intimidation (you are not safe in your system whilst we are next door), and making sure your setups work for when you have the sov wars, among other things.

Eaten by a Grue said...

Gevlon, if it is true that there is no rational point to most PvP in Eve beyond just the joy of killing, which I am ready to concede is true, this makes your activity pointless. Why do you play this economy game? All your work does is facilitate pointless killing.

Lochiel said...

90% of the fight happens before target lock. Figuring out how to fit your ship. Figuring out what the opponents has. Positioning that maximizes your advantages and minimizes your opponents. Evaluating the risks, understanding your goals, and deciding if the situation can be exploited to meet your goals.

All of that happens before target lock. And most of the time one side doesn't realize it; so yes, you are right, it is often one sided.

This is combat in EVE. And it is the same regardless of if you are using drones, missiles, blasters, or buy and sell orders.

I would suggest you learn more about ship combat and social combat before talking about it. It isn't a strong area for you, and it doesn't come across well when you talk about it.

But I would love to see you post about direct market warfare! It is something I'm certain you excel at, and it is something I want to learn from you.

Hoarr said...


First of all, the things that separates pvp in EVE vs. Counterstrike or lolWOWsobad is that losses mean something. In other games if you lose, you get fewer points than the other guys. You still get to play with all of your favorite toys and nothing REALLY happens to punish you for losing. If you die in WOW, you still have your +4 hammer of rabbit squishing.

In EVE, there are REAL, MEANINGFUL consequences for losing. If you die, you don't get all of your nice toys back. You lose the time that you spent getting the isk to buy the ship. Oftentimes, people will form attachments to their ships because they know they can lose it.

To your point about gank vs. Ganked being a numbers game, please explain to me how I killed more than a carrier's worth of isk this week roaming solo in my 30 mil isk ruppy?

It is unfortunate that not only do you not understand EVE pvp, you willfully chose to misinderstand it. PvP in eve, real pvp, is not about the F1 jockeys. It's about situational awareness. It's about exploiting others desire to kill you and make them over commit. It's about understanding your ship at a fundamental level. I am by no means an expert at pvp in eve, but I know enough to realize how much better it is than pvp in any other game on the planet.

Btw, the lack of actual repercussions for losing was what killed the first planetside (along with SOEs incompetence)

hg said...

Jester suggested that the pilot stopped mining during hulkageddon. He didn't suggest the miner should dock up and spin his hulk in the station for a month. When I can't do one thing for whatever reason, I do another. The CSM member literally said "go and play another game".

The fact of the matter is that EVE is an extremely dynamic game. If you stick to doing one thing you will ultimately fail. Jester ridicules the person for not accepting this. The CSM member was rightly criticized in my opinion.

Also don't get into the idea that the side with more numbers or the side with the biggest gank squad will win, and that there is no battles. Rooks and Kings have shown time and time again that by the use of superior fitting they have turned fights where they shouldn't be able to win into fights where they have killed a superior force with no losses. Garmon shows that gank squads like the time found at gatecamps are just targets, look at the garmonation video.

Also its clear you haven't seen wormhole space PvP. It is extremely different to known space PvP and it has some of the best "battles" in the game. The only reason people think eve is gank squads is because all they see is ganks, the battles are elsewhere for those who want to look for them.

Monkeytroubles said...

Not all roams are pointless. My current corporation (and our current allies) "own" a chunk of low-sec space. We roam around the nearby area, shooting down any non-ally in an effort to discourage others from using that space (we killed a missioning carrier just yesterday, sadly I didnt make it to the killzone in time. Guy should have won an idiot of the week award if I kept screenshots, he did not even speak english while solo-missioning in a non-russian hostile zone).

After the area is sufficiently clear, we go back to exploiting the resources of 'our' space. There is more than one way to keep "sovereignty" in this game.

Of course, occasionally a 50-man rampaging fleet warps into our zone and we are forced to mass dock and pod jump to a nearby highsec haven (fully stocked with backup mining ships). But not even goon null is likely to be completely safe from that kind of operational disruption.

Anonymous said...

Fighting for fighting's sake has a purpose when one is learning to be better at it. RVB is a far better starting place for a newbie, despite blowing up frigs in Forge serves no grander purpose, than doing fleet ops with PL, where a newbie will have a hard time understanding even the first thing about it, namely, that op stands for operation, and not for overpowered.

Hivemind said...

As per usual, you read things that other people have written and assume that what is written is the sum total of the game. Surprisingly enough, it isn't. The bits that get written about are the exceptions to the norm, and that's pretty much it. Every day small skirmishes, minor hotdrops and a few capital and even supercapital losses happen, but they happen in ordinary and predictable circumstances, so they don't make Jester's KOTW posts, or EN24 articles, or forum threadnaughts. These ordinary events make up 100 losses for every 1 that does make the news, but they're not interesting enough to raise.

Suffice to say that there's no "taking turns" for PvE/PvP in nullsec; it's more accurate to say "There's always a bigger fish". PvE players are the minnows, running and hiding whenever a predator appears, whether it's a lone Pike, a school of Piranha or a Great White Shark. Every so often one of the minnows gets caught by the predators and killed. At the same time, the predators who prey on the PvE players making ISK are subject to predation themselves - It might be another predator who's brought more friends than the first, or it might be an organised defence force who want them out of their waters, or it might even be the PvE players re-shipping to PvP boats, but they're definitely not waiting until the aggressors are doing PvE themselves to strike back. Those roams you talk about getting guaranteed kills? They're just as likely to fall victim to a heavy gatecamp or a hostile hotdrop as they are to actually shoot anyone.

I'm both amused and saddened to note that you've bought into the same thing that I and other EVE veterans have been telling you about the One Empire idea; that it will never work because it goes contrary to the interests of most of EVE's players. Amused because it seems like this is as close as we'll get to an admission that you were wrong, saddened because it would have been an interesting endeavour - even though I fully expected failure I would have loved to have watched and even been part of the attempt. CCP wouldn't have stepped in to prevent it though - EVE thrives on the free play sandbox concept, having the devs step in and say "You can build your castle this high but no higher" would ruin that and may just be the most destructive thing they could do to the game. If you got enough players on board to make it a reality, I suspect it would be the next thing described by CCP as "F***ing brilliant!", as Burn Jita was.

Your Sov suggestions frankly seem to owe a lot to WoW's capture-the-point mechanics, albeit using kill value rather than proximity of members of one faction, but they don't fix anything that's currently broken, because you're working from the flawed assumption that a roam is always a success. The most obvious problem I can see is that there's nothing that stops an alliance throwing ISK at ships for their alts and using them to ramp up their Sov points; by cherrypicking the most profitable systems they can afford the ship cost and their opponents cannot, making it effectively impossible to assail them.

Anonymous said...

In reply to "If there is a fair fight in Eve, one side messed up" -

No, no.. if there's a fight involving even numbers, it means *both* FCs messed up their intel.

Mal said...

Just one thing I wanted to point out to you Gevlon. Often you describe people who fly around low or null killing others are doing it just for for fun, for no reason at all or because "killing feels good". I'm curious, has it never occurred to you that maybe some of them are practicing pvp?

There are many, many bits of knowledge that contribute to successful pvp. Subtle things like looking at an opponents speed to gauge what kind of tank they have, looking at their ships to see what weapons they're using, which often times tells you other things about how they're fit, etc. You need to learn how to react, how to assess situations in short order, which fights to pick and which to pass on, how to adjust to a changing combat environment, etc.

For myself, I do a lot of solo pvp because it allows me to learn the pvp mechanics on my time without corp/alliance commitments (I have limited play time currently) so that I can eventually join a larger pvp corp or alliance with actual goals to accomplish. I'd be one of those people "randomly killing people in low-sec", but it's not random at all; when I do it, I'm focused on learning a skill.