Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Look at CCP's Suggested Gategun Changes

My clothing is still drying out from the flood of pirate tears that has poured forth with the release of the CSM meeting minutes for the summer of 2012. This 167 page document contianed a short comment that inflamed a very small section of the player base.

That group was the residents of low sec space.

From the Minutes:

CCP Greyscale moves on to explain his work on sentry guns. Sentry guns will now shoot anyone with a criminal flag, suspect or otherwise. Sentry guns will also start with smaller amounts of damage, and ramp up with time. Ideal tuning will be to where triage carriers will die at around 4 1/2 minutes. This way, if you want to use triage carriers in lowsec on gates you can, but you must commit to the cycle for a length of time before starting your reps, if you want to deactivate triage before the sentry guns kill you and jump out. CCP Greyscale also points out that another goal is to make it so that the first couple of hits won't kill an interceptor immediately, enabling a quick tackle, and then a warp out.

This bit of information was latched onto and it created tears here. Some over there. A bit of gloating right here. Some more there. And a general, WTF Pirates Beware! here.

I also felt twitches. Four and a half minutes to take down a carrier with GCC on a gate? How is this sensible? Four minutes is nothing in a decent fight. If the point is to remove gatecamps the implementation is to destroy an entire aspect of PvP in low sec.

I was irked enough to be pissed. Pirates do not automatically equal gatecampers. Some pirates may be gatecampers. Low sec residents do not equal gatecampers. Some low security space residents may be gatecampers. Much more goes on in low sec besides gatecamps and faction warfare. As a small gang person who got most kills from sudden oppertunity and fleet roaming, I'm tired of being lumped into this mold of 'gate camper noob killer miner griefer'. Eve is much, much more textured and complex then that.

If they want to get rid of gate camps get rid of gate camps. If they want to ramp up gate gun damage then do it. There has to be a better way then a buff bat so powerful that a hit with it destroys capital ships. I sat and chewed on it. I had a great conversation with Kaeda and Sard on twitter about it. I also skimmed the forums and found the crime and punishment thread.

Damage Control Unit II was activated. CCP Greyscale said in all of the treadnoughts growing in General Discussion:

Sure, I'll make a note to have another look at this and get some more player feedback when we start finalizing the designs.

He then added:

Quoting myself. This is a spitball idea that we shared with the CSM, not a final design.

Still, the river of tears was flowing and it was flowing strong. The small focus on low sec was a nerf bat. Why?

However, as the echo of, "What the Fuck CCP?" rippled across the interwbes, in a surprising location, the Eve Online Crime and Punishment Subforum, a real conversation emerged.

CCP Greyscale poked his head in and said:

Just to clarify a few points, given that this thread seems to be the only one that's not gone off the deep end already:

First and foremost, this is an idea we were spitballing at the time and ran past the CSM just to see what their reaction was. It's still "in the design" right now, but that part of the design isn't going to get implemented for a while, and there will be further discussion with the CSM and the community before that happens. The CSM minutes are *NOT* a devblog, please don't treat them as such

"Suspect" is an aggression flag, and has nothing to do with sec status The general thinking behind this potential change (and again, it's just general thinking, we've not seriously reviewed it yet) is to try and break up "static" gatecamps a little and generally *discourage* hanging around on a gate all day. Yes, we know people are just going to yo-yo back in, and if they're dedicated enough to do that for a couple of hours then more power to them, they get to camp the gate for a few hours.

The thinking specifically with carriers was that it'd be an interesting dynamic that you had to essentially "pre-commit" with a triage carrier, by dropping into triage, waiting 30-40s (times obviously subject to some actual balancing work) and then starting to rep, so you've still got the window to get out again before the damage becomes high enough to kill you. This lets you use carriers on lowsec gates but gives the other side a bit of time to go "oh crap, that carrier's gone into triage, we'd better either double down or start running".

Damage ramping as currently envisioned would be strictly per-ship, per-engagement - as soon as you warp off, it resets back to base. This could of course be redesigned in many ways to get it to do other interesting things - or as should hopefully be clear by now, dropped entirely if we decide it's a rubbish idea after all.

This was followed up by a response to another poster here by CCP Greyscale saying:

Ok, so here's the process behind what happened here:

We knew there was a hole in the design currently regarding sentry guns, ie we hadn't figured out how they'd interact with the new system
We came up with some basic rules (which as far as I can tell nobody's having a violent reaction to?) regarding *when* they shoot people
We also tossed in a few "this might be interesting" ideas, because whenever we're doing major programming work on a system, we often have the opportunity to make design changes "for free", and as designers we're always looking for adjustments we can make to our designs to make them *more interesting* for players
We pitched some of them to the CSM to get some *early* feedback on those ideas, to see if they flagged anything up as "this is never going to work"
This then got written into the CSM minutes
Several months pass
CSM minutes get released, lots of people apparently are under the misapprehension that something being mentioned in the minutes is equivalent to a "this is what we are going to do" devblog
Another month or two passes, this takes us into "the future"
We start approaching the point where this design has to be locked down and we do forum posts etc to get community feedback on ideas prior to deciding whether or not we want to do them

As to the broader picture, we will absolutely continue to consider these sorts of "crazy" changes, because we don't just want to keep making adjustments inside the current design frameworks if we have the chance to make bits of the game *significantly* better by moving outside the current box. A consequence of this is that sometimes we come up with things that, on closer analysis, are just plain dumb. We try to identify these and drop them as early as possible. Sometimes we miss some of them. We try to reduce the incidence of this happening, but the only way to prevent them completely is to be incredibly conservative with our designs, and we feel that there are enough areas of EVE design that could be *significantly* improved with more radical design changes that that's not a tradeoff we want to make.

I felt a lot better and a little calmer. Not relaxed but better. While some may claim that all pirates and all of low sec is a gate camp fest where the sweet flesh of spaceships is fed into the blap machine, that is not so.

There are people that live in low Sec. We compose 7.64% of the Eve population as of January, 2012.

CCP Diagoras tweeted some stats in pie graph form earlier in the year. I have stolen them to repost. The stats are about PvP.

Yet 26.74% of the kills happened in low sec. Despite the crying and moaning of gatecamps I can assure anyone that not all of those kills are Velators and Ibis on the Rancer and Amamake gates.

People live and kill in low sec. We are a small group. The wormhole residents are just behind us at 5.51%. Low sec is between high and null yet we are such a small fragment of the game. But we are a viable and active fragment of the game.

We commit spaceship violance in low security space. This is not bad.

I will tack on this gem by Hans Jagerblitzen, a CSM representitive.

Frankly, I'd love to see low sec be the ONLY place you can regain security status, it makes no sense to have to go patrol 0.0 space (with no empire citizens to protect and no concord to care) to pay off your blood debt, cleaning up low sec should be the premier place to pay your dues. This has the added effect of putting more pilots in low sec belts instead of sending them on long 0.0 treks - giving more opportunities for the type of off-gate low sec PvP the gate-camp haters want to encourage instead.

So much yes. I am okay with sec status gains in high sec empire (they are terrible). I would love a buff to low sec empire.

I wrote a lot of words that I titled: Pirate Tears and Reasonings on the Negatives of Gate Gun Mechanics Changes at the Current Time and Damage Proposals to the Denizens of Low Sec: An Essay.

Due to CCP Greyscales responses in the Crime and Punishment Thread, I didn't need to post it. That is a good thing. It is ten or so pages long in Office. Rather ridiculous but as always, the words just keep pouring out. I made a google document out of it and opened it up to anyone that hasn't had enough tilde soaked words for the day.

No comments:

Post a Comment