Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Wardecs: Another half baked idea incoming

There is a bit of a player debate about Wardecs. That is not really news I suppose because when has there ever not been a debate about it? This debate does seem to be more constructive and looks further than the tourettic "HiSec should just HTFU" school of thought. Beating carebears until their morale improves is not the most convincing logic I've come across in Eve. Before I delve into the messy bits, I had better declare my stance on the topic du jour. I sort of care but don't care. Wardecs are easily avoided if your space game isn't dependent on HiSec. So from that point I don't care. But CCP insist you form or join a Corp to build a POS because of CCP's Hisec wardec reasons. Now I don't mind exploding. I world naturally prefer not to. But I dislike everything about the Corp and Alliance system and resent being forced to adopt it. I could go on but I would just be rehashing what I have said in the past about the organising entities in Eve. I must learn to let go. OK I will just say this. Actually, no. Let us do it this way... 

What are 'Wardecs'? There is no such thing. It is a complete misnomer. Wardecs are not wardecs. They are bribes. Bribes to Concord. Bribes to let Concord look the other way if you have the urge to bash a bear. No war is involved because there is no victory condition. You can continually bribe Concord and you can give bribes to cover multiple groups. The process up this point is entirely aggressor driven. The victim is passive and cannot influence the proceedings. Once they get the notification they have 24 hours to prepare. Which often means bunkering down or simply not playing. It is a horrible mechanic so why is it needed?

CCP has a problem. It has a the design view that every player owned asset must be destructible. And so it is outside Hisec and to a degree inside HiSec with ganking etc. Except that is, when it comes to player owned structures (POS). These can only be squished by a Wardec. This is why you have to be in a Corp to build a POS. A game wide solution for a Hisec problem. The additional problem CCP now face is that a healthy mercenary culture has built up around this mechanic . It would be a shame to lose that. So why "fix" it? It is a barrier to entry for new players who want to establish new Hisec corps with here friends. Have you seen the age demographic for Eve? A increasing amount of us are on the wrong side of the mortality bell curve. At least for those of us who can remember our age.

Can it be fixed? Well CCP haven't rushed into the fray and it has been raised every year I have been playing he game. So it is either not a priority, too hard, or both. Most of the suggestions I have seen tend to want additional functionality added to the game or are just variants on the current scenario that don't really address the key issues. So I am no holding my breath.

What would I do? Not sure. It has probably been thought of before but I would probably focus on the bribe aspect. Maybe invert the concept. Let us accept that Concord is inherently corrupt. We all have to pay a weekly bribe to ensure Concord protect us. If we choose not to pay then it leaves us open (or your Corp open) to attack from the Mercenaries who in effect become debt collectors working on behalf of Concord. Concord being the greedy souls that they are will demand more and more each week because you keep paying. A taper if you like. That would incentivise you to stop paying for at least one week if only so you can slide back down the taper an start paying a reduced bribe to the following week. If you own a POS (and you don't have to be in a Corp) then you have to pay an additional weekly bribe to keep that or any other asset safe in Hisec. There are other metrics you add too but, well its a mad idea. Puts me in good company though. Now what did I eat for breakfast?

23 comments:

  1. That is a GREAT idea. No joking around, just inverting the relationship is simple, easy, elegant and also eats more isk than the wardec system does at the moment.

    Far and away the best adjustment I've ever heard and I read a lot about this as keeping new guys in the game is a pet interest of mine which is seriously harmed by all the usual suspects camping the trade lanes.

    CCP have said players stay if they get killed by another player. I have not seen them break that down by circumstance, because I personally know in excess of 50 people who gave up (as in quit eve) after PIRAT had ganked them for the 27th time.

    This fixes that soooo easily. Lazy corps get punished, corps that don't care about being shot at can just proceed as normal, and corps that want to inhabit highsec without being camped by t3s and neutral logi can do so.

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    1. Thank you. I have been genuinely surprised by the responses I have had to this as I hadn't thought it through in great detail. I agree with you about CCP's analysis because it doesn't resonate with my experience of new players either.

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    2. CCP Rise cited 1% of the existing player base had been illegally attacked. This formed his opinion that suicide ganking is therefore beneficial to the game. Proponents of suicide ganking have quietly dropped off the percentage when ever it is needed to lend weight to their discussion.

      Can flipping does not generate an illegal act, neither does a war-dec or an awox. With so many legal methods of spite - I doubt the statistic has a legitimate measure of why new players would quit.

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  2. I'll admit, this idea is one of the best I've heard in a while, and even fits into the game from a lore perspective. As has been shown in trailers, Angry Concord guy comes to mind, the empires and Concord are getting more desperate to get us (capsuleers) under control. And failing. The (relatively) recent increase to NPC corp taxes can be seen as an early form of your idea, one that will only get worse for those who choose to stay in corps that are still marginally run by the Empires. Those of us that live in Lowsec and Nullsec would naturally just choose not to be extorted in this way. This may be seen by some people #cough# as another way to punish hisec, but honestly? I'm alright with that if we have a better grasp of what wardecs really are, as you said, a bribe for Concord to look the other way.

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    1. Thank you. I did wonder about Lore compliance.

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  3. Unfortunately this won't work because it falls on the "too safe" side. As far as I understood what you propose, any player has guaranteed safety in hisec, apart from suicide ganks, as long as they pay CONCORD. Think about that: as long as you have ISK all your ships, POSs etc are totally safe. You're rich and want to troll poorer newbies? Put an inactive POS down on every moon in some poor guy's system and force them out. Want to kill some douche miner multiboxing 20 skiffs that's smacking in local? -- impossible.

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    1. POS issue will be temporary with citadels coming I think. So essentially the issue lies with trolling rich players. A problem that sort of exists anyway - they can hire mercs on noobs for example for example. The bribe I was proposing was progressive. You could add game time played as part of the equation to ramp up the cost for experienced players That might not be enough. I was also thinking that both the player and the corp would have to pay. So a guy mulitboxing 20 skips would pay 20 times plus the Corp bribe - which could be dependent on corp size, age and continuity of payment - bribe fatigue if you like. The devil is certainly in the details and maybe it is a bad idea. But I do think the Wardec problems can be addressed with some more lateral thinking

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    2. Yes, although I don't think your idea would work without some careful details twiddling, I do like that it is *simple*. Given that such a simple idea still needs careful fine tuning, there are too many way over complicated ideas floating around that aren't even worth considering.

      Tying the CONCORD protection fee to the size of the corp/alliance is a reasonable approach if a good balance point can be found. However, any determined hisec corp can just break itself down to an out-of game coalition of smaller corps yadda yadda -- it all ends up at the same realisation: any suitable organised "social group" can already achieve full wardec immunity even in the current system (corp rolling, POS reanchoring etc). So many wardec change proposals actually end up not being any more useful than what players can already achieve right now.

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  4. I really like your idea, mostly because it makes sense relative to the lore - and I like it when things make sense. I offered a few half-baked ideas of my own on my blog, but I think your idea offers a simple elegance that is better. Regardless, I hope CCP takes another look at wardecs soon and makes some serious changes, and not just fiddle with the fees like they did in the Inferno update, three years ago.

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    1. Yes getting CCP to look at the issue beyond tweaks is the main thing. We can all speculate to our hearts content but if CCP don't choose to do anything it will be a shame. Thanks for your comment

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  5. I like the idea for being simple and straight forward. I see the role of concord a little differently to your idea, but still some part of the lore needs buffed up. This post has been added to the WarDec Proposal gDoc with yourself added too Luobote.

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  6. Far too easy to game. All you need to do is periodically stop using the corp and let the price drop down. You can do this by swapping back and forth between two corps. Also it means that players who want to focus on PvP pay absolutely nothing. All it would do is guarantee people stay in NPC corps unless they absolutely had to own a corp.

    A better idea would be to simply restrict wardecs to groups who own in space assets. Anyone that doesn't have in-space assets can already avoid wardecs by using NPC alts anyway, so with the main purpose of wardecs being freedom to attack structures, why not just restrict it to those? This will allow people to group up fairly freely without causing problems of untouchable structures. It would also be really easy for CCP to put in.

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    1. Actually no. Corp membership is irrelevant as the bribe is paid by the individual. The Corp also pays a bribe. So your example would be more expensive but offer no additional value. PvP players might chose to pay nothing. But then everyone can shoot them. The PVP player cannot initiate the fight other than normal ganking procedures. So yes PVP player could be cheaper but pays he price by being more vulnerable. Is that not a good thing? Possibly my proposal can be gamed. But not in the way you suggest

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    2. So then you're saying that everyone has to at some point turn vulnerability on? What stops people just doing that and staying docked or playing alt characters? To be honest, it just seems like a convoluted way of doing it which seems to have the aim of making wardecs free for those who want them and inevitably unavoidable for those who don't.

      What is it with you people having to force playstyles on other people? Some people play EVE for reasons other than hiding in docking rings shooting each other. Persoanlly, I think wardecs should only affect structure holders and outside of that should be impossible.

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    3. Erm.. not forcing anyone to do anything. Just offering a concept that might provide a choice consisent with the constraints of Hisec that people currently don't have. Sure it is unrefined and perhaps it could be better explained. It was just one paragraph after all. But it doesn't propose the hell on earth you are suggesting. If you feel threatened by people having their own choice, then perhaps it is you that is looking to impose a style of play?

      I do respect that you don't like the idea. But to justify that view by inventing some hidden agenda I am supposedly following is unnecessary. As I said at the outset of the post, I sort of care but don't care. If I have an agenda, it is that I want Eve to be a healthy and vibrant place for ALL play-styles and to be attractive to new players.

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    4. But you're not offering choice. You're saying that all players will have to pay concord for the protection they get now, so to just continue as they always have they will have an ever increasing bill which will eventually become unaffordable forcing every player to get rid of concord protection while the amount falls back to a reasonable level. How is that a choice? It's a punishment for those who don't want to PvP and free targets for those who do, that's all it is.

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    5. "eventually become unaffordable forcing every player to get rid of concord protection..."

      You are obsessing about the amount without it ever being defined at all. Like I said. I appreciate you just don't like the idea and that has been noted. Thank you for your comments

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    6. I'm not obsessing, I'm simply pointing out the reality that if the price increases over time the price will eventually become unaffordable. In addition, all the way up to that point newer players are penalised. Those of us who have been there for 10 years could easily pay hundreds of millions a week, a new player would very much struggle and it would cut into their much needed income streams.

      It's just a silly idea from all angles to effectively force players into payments to play in highsec an not focus on PvP. It's a punishment for a playstyle.

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  7. I'm a fan,

    I don't use alts and I can see myself deciding not to pay the concord fee then running into hi-sec to pick up some stuff and getting shot because of my decision.

    You're right though, cost balancing would be a big deal, it'd have to be viable for a group of (say) month old players starting a corp to be able to reasonably afford the protection money for a few weeks, (about as long as it'd take for a merc group to spot them and wardec them anyway)
    If we're opening the door on Concord running a racket, you could play around with kill rights a bit, maybe send a kill right request and a big wedge of isk to concord and then a few days / week later that pilot (not corp) gets a kill right available for activation with notifications for both pilots.
    That way you'd be able to pick on individual pilots. you'd need to build more into it obviously increasing costs and/or sec status hits etc to avoid it being used into oblivion.

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    1. I think paying concord for a kill right would lead to abuse and player harassment. I can think of more than a few players that would have permanent targets.

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  8. I like the idea. Its already somewhat in place.

    Characters that belong to an NPC corp currently pay a tax presumably to avoid war decs. I don't think it would be difficult to apply that tax to non-NPC corps. The tax rate depends on the total cumulative skill points of the entire corp (more SP = higher tax). Larger, older corps would pay a higher tax than smaller, younger corps. The tax rate may also take the value of deployed structures into account.

    If a corp stops paying the tax, the corp becomes vulnerable to war decs with a 24h notice at which point corp members can not leave the corp.

    It does mean that players would have to buy into the war dec system and Hi Sec wars would still be purely consensual since you can avoid war simply by paying the tax.

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