Posts Tagged ‘CONCORD’

Blog banter 32: The problem is in the middle

Jan
22

This month’s Blog Banter comes from Drackarn of Sand, Cider and Spaceships. He has foolishly chosen to poke the hornet’s nest that is the non-consensual PvP debate. Whilst you read his question, I’ll be finding a safe place to hide.

“A quick view of the Eve Online forums can always find someone complaining about being suicide ganked, whining about some scam they fell for or other such tears. With the Goons’ Ice Interdiction claiming a vast amount of mining ships, there were calls for an “opt out of PvP” option. 

Should this happen? Should people be able to opt-out of PvP in Eve Online. Should CONCORD prevent crime rather than just handing out justice after the event? Or do the hi-sec population already have too much protection from the scum and villainy that inhabits the game?”

No. NO. ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY NO opting out of PvP or buffing CONCORD. But neither do I feel that we should move strongly into the other direction and take things away from highsec. Instead, I feel what we really need is improvements to the middle ground of lowsec and NPC nullsec.

First, some numbers, with thanks to CCP Diagoras who’s Twitter is an excellent source of statistics porn. Have a look at this sexy pie chart. That’s a lot of people living in highsec. But see how nullsec is second in that? Well, that to me confirms that people like safe space. Highsec is safest by mechanics, and nullsec by what players can do to secure it. I’m assuming that most of nullsec here is sov space, as there is way more of that, and that from personal experience the population numbers I see in NPC nullsec are kind of like lowsec.

Ok, so why do people like safe space? I thought we had this thing of risk versus reward. Indeed, we do, but there is something else to factor in. It’s called effort versus reward. Ever hear people talking about how they pulled a billion in a day out of a C5 wormhole? That seems like something everyone should be doing then, right, because it pays so much that it justifies the risk. Except lots and lots of people prefer to cling to what is often dismissed as safer alternatives. I don’t believe they’re being chosen only because they are safer. I feel that ease of doing them plays a part too.

Ok, so what makes something easy to do and why do players prefer that? Well, a lot of MMO players are in fact quite casual, either because they do not have a lot of time, or because they’re not around that long yet. So they’re not going to want to deal with the logistics of a C5 wormhole when they can get something nearly as good by pugging through incursions, or running missions. Neither are players going to prefer living in other areas of space which simply do not offer the tools to secure them properly. Hence, sov space is a natural option for someone who’s been around a while. Nullsec is the highest reward versus risk versus ease. You can very well get away with logging in a few hours a week and be a productive asset to an industrial group out there. I do believe this can also happen in wormhole space, and I suspect the population there will creep up, but afaik there are in the end more good sov systems than there are higher end wormhole systems.

Now, I am directly opposed to opt-out of PVP, because one thing should always remain true in EVE: Safest does not equal 100% guaranteed safety. If someone really wants, they can screw you over. Even if you are a pure highsec dweller that almost never undocks. You will have to move sometime. Or you will be running market or industry stuff, and market pvp is a very viable option. I can’t think of a scenario where you can not get back to a player, unless they enjoy paying for spinning their ship all day. I believe this lack of total safety is needed, and would change the game entirely if it were removed, because it would break the pvp sandbox. Right now if someone is an asshat, you can always make them pay for being one. It also forces players to have a certain level of ‘smarts’, else they for example get scammed, which in my opinion breeds a better experience for all. It’s like a “you have to be this tall” sign on a rollercoaster ride so everyone can have the wild experience they want, except in EVE, the sign is missing and you find out first hand what happens if you are not tall enough yet!

Highsec fundamentally is fine in my book. A safest area of space. A starting point. A place to go and rest. Or somewhere to do what you enjoy doing when you like the safest option. It’s much needed for many things in its current form and will always be needed. I also believe nullsec and w-space are fine, and are given ample attention. Actually, instead of talking what is fine, let’s talk about what isn’t fine: lowsec, and NPC nullsec.

When looking at that chart, one would think that the safety of space actually goes highsec > nullsec > lowsec > w-space. While the intended idea seems to be highsec > lowsec > nullsec > w-space. And that is how the game is balanced for in terms of rewards. But in terms of ease, well, the former seems almost true, and it has largely to do with the fact that lowsec neither gives players the tools to keep themselves safe, nor does it help you with safekeeping. There, I said it. But Myrhial, there are gate guns and sec status! Surely they- No, stop right there. Nobody pirating in lowsec really gives a damn. There are plenty of ways around what little NPC protection there is, and there are no ways to go around policing yourself. At least in NPC nullsec, you can put up bubbles and camp someone in perfectly. Where as lowsec station camps will always be subject to locking times.

So what do I propose? Either more mechanical safety in lowsec, or give players more tools. And since this is a sandbox, I’m biased towards the latter. Or we could have a mix of both. You see, lowsec systems still have sovereignty. So I’ve always found it curious there is no faction police defending it. Sure, CONCORD not being there because they are way smaller than the four Empires combined, totally making sense. The CONCORD penalty is too hard for lowsec. But faction police intervening when a lawful citizen is under attack? Would make perfect sense to me. Make them tankable. Heck maybe even go as far as if you are -5.00 with a faction, you can still go to their lowsec space, but you lose out on faction police support. And maybe make it so that if you attack someone in lowsec, you take a standing hit with the faction that owns it. As for giving players power in lowsec, faction standings could come into play here as well, give players all kinds of perks like I proposed for NPC nullsec (see link in next paragraph). Or do something like sov lite. NPCs keep sov but share it with a group claiming the system. I’m sure there are other, possibly even better ways of going about this.

As for NPC nullsec, I’ve written about this during the 30th banter, so I’ll leave that article to do the explaining. Again you can see here that I’d like for standings to matter more. Lots of people say they hate grinding for standings, but honestly, if they gave more rewards, I’m sure they’d be more appreciated and better maintained too. Also, a big step was already taken into the right direction by lowering mission requirements. Now all we need is better newbie program education on pirate standings and how they matter, as well as perhaps more things like the SoE arc, where shooting pirates does not give you standings hits to them. Or just other ways for newbies that want to be pirate supporters one day to survive and thrive without needing to resort to missions for easy ISK.

Sansha invasion in Yulai

Jan
25

When Kuvakei announced on the IGS that he’d go for ‘the king rather than the four princes’, nobody doubted there would be another invasion somewhere. It’s almost become “normal” now. Suppose I gave it a bit too much thought, most concluded that the king of the four princes would be CONCORD and it would thus happen in Yulai, yet I figured Kuvakei would never give CONCORD that much credit. Alas, in retrospect, I seems it was not about giving credit, but rather speaking in a language that capsuleers would understand. He wanted everyone in Yulai. I was right on one point though, Yulai was not the main target. It was a decoy and a show of power. Promised Land, one system out of the EVE gate, was where they were really headed.

Having placed some ISK in a local betting pool and wishing to know firsthand if I had really lost — I had bet on the general ‘not CONCORD’ option as well as the ‘main location is a decoy’ option — I contacted Faber to go and take a look for me. Not a problem, she was in the area, and soon a fleet began to form as many other PRELI pilots and fellow Cartel loyalists were also in the vicinity. Reports that 21:00 was when it all would happen came through as those who had been at the previous invasion were told that would be when the Master would next return.

He kept his word, that’s for sure. After addressing the mass of pilots which had gathered by then (roughly 600+ present on local chat) two rogue wormholes appeared in system, one at the sun and one at planet II. Slave Heavenbound02 and her Revenant supercarrier was called out as a target and engaged. Hardly a dent was put into her shields and with the number of pilots entering the system rising — a peak of over 1600 pilots in one system was reached that day — communication systems began to suffer. The fluid routers simply did not have the capacity to process all commands given and several pilots reported a system blackout or shutdown on our external communication network. Well played, Kuvakei, abusing structural flaws and limits to lock everyone in one place while you go and strike your real target.

When Faber finally managed to regain control of her ship, the fleet decided to pull back out and return to daily operations for now. No casualties on our side took place that day, and word goes that three Sansha supercarriers (?) have been wrecked. By all accounts they were probably destined to be a sacrifice to keep everyone occupied long enough. We cannot claim victory here. What happened was just the beginning, as Sansha forces are now invading and locking down systems all over the cluster. Naraka is in the process of working on a plan to fight these incursions, yet we must not lose track of our original goals. One can fight them all day for months and yet get nowhere. And that would really be letting them win.

Attachment A – Kuvakei and Slave Heavenbound02 on Yulai local chat channel

[ 2011.01.23 21:00:34 ] Master Kuvakei > Greetings.
[ 2011.01.23 21:01:12 ] Master Kuvakei > Do not think I do this without respect for capsuleers and their achievements.
[ 2011.01.23 21:01:29 ] Master Kuvakei > Today, I will show you the light, all of you.
[ 2011.01.23 21:02:13 ] Master Kuvakei > Tell me now, how numerous is my Nation among you? FOR NATION!
[ 2011.01.23 21:02:45 ] Master Kuvakei > You see, capsuleers, you are in the presence of true greatness.
[ 2011.01.23 21:03:35 ] Master Kuvakei > I will give you all a moment to reflect upon the weakness of your separate minds.
[ 2011.01.23 21:03:58 ] Master Kuvakei > Do you see how confused you are? How you squabble and bicker. How there is no unity to your voice?
[ 2011.01.23 21:04:12 ] Master Kuvakei > All shouting, none listening.
[ 2011.01.23 21:04:55 ] Master Kuvakei > I must admit, I am enjoying this.
[ 2011.01.23 21:05:32 ] Master Kuvakei > For your sake, I hope your fleet is better prepared than your voices.
[ 2011.01.23 21:05:58 ] Master Kuvakei > You’ll need it…
[ 2011.01.23 21:07:29 ] Master Kuvakei > Begin plasma core extraction.
[ 2011.01.23 21:10:56 ] Master Kuvakei > Begin core fragment harvest operation one.
[ 2011.01.23 21:11:44 ] Master Kuvakei > Begin core fragment harvest operation two.
[ 2011.01.23 21:17:09 ] Master Kuvakei > Preparing conduit alpha.
[ 2011.01.23 21:19:40 ] Master Kuvakei > There is no end to my Nation.
[ 2011.01.23 21:22:33 ] Master Kuvakei > Initiating anti-drone pulse wave.
[ 2011.01.23 21:26:28 ] Slave Heavenbound02 > Then The Master will lead us to the Promised Land.
[ 2011.01.23 21:30:45 ] Master Kuvakei > Slave 32152, enter the conduit.

Records cut off here due to system failure.

Attachment B – Camera drone captures

CONCORD criticism: Security penalties

Jan
7

Why is it that the destruction of a ship costs a pilot a lower security penalty than the destruction of a pod? The textbook answer is simple: The latter sends the pilot to the clone vats and destroys his implants. Very true, but aren’t we forgetting something important here? You know, something more valuable than clones and implants? Something that is on nearly all of your ships and that is taken for granted so much that CONCORD‘s security penalties are widely accepted? In case no bell has started to ring yet, I am talking about the crew on our ships.

This penalty appears awfully pro-capsuleer to me. If we take a closer look at what the present role of the CONCORD Assembly is we primarily know them from the CONCORD patrols in high security space, overseeing station trade through the SCC and some of us on the other side of the law might have met the DED. But they aren’t there just for us demi-gods. They are there for everyone in space. Yet the whole security penalty system seems to revolve around capsuleers only with penalties bigger the higher the security standings of the victim are.

So I am branded a criminal by an organisation that upholds standards like this. Is that not a little backwards and hypocrite? If you wish to police us, at least give us a fair punishment.

Transcendence

Nov
3

-10.0. Ghost Festival awards pilots who reach the ultimate low in security status a medal: Transcendence.

Transcendence

Transcendence

It took me a sweet while to get. Not only because I favor ransom opportunities when they present themselves, but also because CONCORD awards me — or is obliged to do so — security status and ISK for the destruction of outlaw faction ships. Doing exploration and agent mission work from time to time slowed down the decline significantly.

Did I mind? I must admit I did. Having your record show -9.949 is a tad frustrating. But that is where the destruction of the Nighthawk left me (see previous post for more details). Only one thing is more frustrating: Forgetting to swap your Small Armor Repair Bots for Warrior II’s and watch a lot of ships getting destroyed while all you can do is direct streams of nanobots at your fleet members. Don’t get me wrong, as I’ve written before I enjoy piloting Logistics immensely. But seeing seven chances where destruction was the verdict slip by does sting.

My chance presented itself on Sunday though. Milo has recently revived the “Mentors” Neocom channel again, a place where aspiring combat pilots can go to learn all those things they don’t teach you in school and aren’t included in skillbooks. As combat training doesn’t work without practice I offered my assistance on a roam to Amamake. Targets were plenty once we arrived there and with around 16 frigates we could take on ships far our size. After some hit and run skirmishes which ended in a draw with either their or our side opting for retreat we finally caught ourselves something good: A Rapier that warped right into the middle of us. Wonder if he missed the memo on cloaking fields not working when there are obstacles nearby or simply realized his mistake in warp distance too late. A nice addition to the salvaging Reaper we originally went from and placed us on scene and ready.

And now it sits pinned on the jacket of my uniform, together with the others obtained thus far. I will wear it with pride. Jude mentioned in passing how he feels that medals for destruction are counter-productive to our aims, but I don’t agree. They give the Ghosts something to work towards, and remind targets that we will not hesitate to open fire should negotiations be refused or simply not appear to be an option. Though I will create an award as well for those who are successful in their ransom demands. You know, to motivate them to pad their wallets even more.

Out with the old

May
5

First off, to cut the rumor mill short before it spins out of control: Yes, we are working with Veto. This previously unthinkable cooperation provides us with an enormous area of operations and broad list of targets, not to mention a myriad of new business opportunities. The relation is symbiotic as Bold Harvest has given us a unique expertise in the field of small vessels and preying upon the militias. Not to mention that this too, to Veto, opens new avenues of doing business. Something from which eventually both the Cartel and the Guristas will be able to reap the rewards. Ghost Festival may not be plenty in numbers because of the strict recruitment process we run and the fact we are still building a name for ourselves, but it would be a mistake to assume a hand is now being held over our heads. We’ve made the locals in Devoid quite aware that it doesn’t take many pilots to inflict a deep blow. It’s all about exploiting the weak spots and acting at the opportune moment. And we can be bargained with, for the right price.

Having relocated and settled in, I went on a little reconnaissance trip. Randomly selecting a route I went through a number of systems. Some of them were very crowded and at a certain point I slipped through a gate camp that would have the Amarr and Minmatar militias hang their heads in shame in terms of numbers and organization. Too bad for the gate campers I have learned a thing or two about survival in my time and their interceptors were simply not fast enough to pin me down. Other systems had few pilots in it and it was in one of these I spotted a lone Hulk harvesting ore at one of the asteroid belts. My heart rate increased slightly as I warped to his location, the fight already playing out in my imagination and calculating what ransom amount I might demand from him. Unfortunately for me this pilot knew what he was doing and left before I could reach him. For his good sportsmanship however he deserves an anonymous mention.

// Attachment: System communication log – Filtered copy.

Hulk pilot > LOL Myr!
Hulk pilot > you ALMOST
Hulk pilot > ALMOST
Hulk pilot > got me
Hulk pilot > hahaha
Myrhial Arkenath > You’re on your toes. Good. A quality you need around here I dare say.
Hulk pilot > Yeah
Hulk pilot > I saw you in local and packed right up
Hulk pilot > Right when i was starting to warp i saw your red flashing name 170km or something :P
Myrhial Arkenath > Was hoping you’d not be as smart. Alas, no luck this time.
Hulk pilot > im fitted with a ecm and some drones but i know i cant take up to you :P
Myrhial Arkenath > /emote nods > Stay sharp pilot, I’ll go look for easy pickings elsewhere.

// End of attachment

No easy pickings were to be had that night but the excitement of new and unknown territory makes it so enjoyable I don’t really mind the outcome. More targets will present themselves soon enough and then I may be in luck.

***

[OOC addition] Kimochi wrote a nice piece of fiction explaining just how a CONCORD station became to be our new base of operations. We’re such bullies! *grins* Fitting payback for collaborationg with the 24th AC and planning to take Vincent in custody while he was in a coma at the Tzvi station’s infirmary, which invoked a rescue operation they weren’t quite expecting.