One problem with having a problem is not having a solution. However, not having a solution does not invalidate having the problem. Often, when something is criticized, such a game mechanic within Eve, solutions are offered up or new courses of action are opened to be explored.
As much as I would like to feel that I have massive amounts of useful things to add to such decisions, I do not. Game mechanics are not my strong suit. I tend to deal well with people and communication and information flow. The technical stuff I may sometimes receive a glimmering spark of awareness but most often not. I’m not the one who finds the holes in the game mechanics because it never occurs to me to look for them.
Such is my fate.
I have a problem with War Declarations but I do not have a solution for it. The first few war decs that I was involved in had me all worked up and stressed. Now, Capital Punishment. is trapped in Dec Shield until the patch on December 4th. Someone decided to toss out a war dec on a high sec corp and said corp trotted off to Dec Shield.
That, however, bothers me not. Which is the first problem. The fact that I don't care and the notification spam of 'war war war' has no meaning. As a low sec resident without the sense to keep my sec status above -5 everyone that passes by can shoot me anyway. If I can’t be bothered enough to keep my sec status high enough to use gateguns to my aid in low sec as is I can’t be bothered to care about dec shield. Being trapped in Dec Shield is not a thing to people who are used to being shot wherever they go. They have achieved their goal of showing CCP how broken the war dec mechanics are (again) and received a fix for it.
What actually bothers me the most is the name and from that name the concept of the mechanic.
1 - a (1) : a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations (2) : a period of such armed conflict (3) : state of war
b : the art or science of warfare
c (1) obsolete : weapons and equipment for war (2) archaic : soldiers armed and equipped for war
2 - a : a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism
b : a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end
At first war seems like a perfectly good description of the conflict in Eve. Group A declares war on group B. It has all of the ingredients except the "good fights". Wars are not fought for good fights. We are in a videogame without permanent death but there is more sense to ‘war’ in faction warfare then it is for the average corporation that received a random war dec.
And so many war decs are random. While two corporations fighting, even for simple reasons such as smack in local or to chase each other out of a system falls well and comfortably into the defines of war, I don't feel that 'looking for a fight' does. It's just not a war.
War conjures up a lot of things. “The war targets” become an obsession. People spend countless amounts of time hunting down people who they did not know existed the day before. Suddenly a small icon has illuminated beside their names. It is a small red square with a white star inside of it. This lists that person as a war target and a person of interest. Suddenly I hear things like "war target in this system" and "I'm going to go hunt the war targets."
But why? A moment ago, no one cared.
I find that I want a reason to purse people. Before I settle into a ship and camp the undock of a station or spend hours (which will feel like decades) grinding my security status to reenter high security space I want a reason for it. A good reason. Without a reason, I have no desire to go after the war targets. With no desire to go after the war targets the war itself is senseless. For something labeled a war there should be some draw to participate in it.
It is not that I have a problem with those who wish to go after another group. The problem I have is in the name. I feel that the name holds so much weigh and so much value in and upon itself that it triggers behaviors, habits and reactions in people. This may bother me some because I am not overly good at being told what to do. I am a very good team member. I do not spend my time talking back to people in fleet. I do not question my Fleet Commander. But I have taken up a life in low security space as something of a pirate because I am a social loner. Being told to go forth and put all of my energy into some random group because we are now at ‘war’ with them has no appeal and less reason. Not that anyone has told me to go and do so. It is that something about that red square with the white star and the pulsing red line on the overview does something to people.
Now war does bring death and violence in Eve. So do plagues, bad governments, and the end of the world. Death and violence is not limited to war even if it is an outcome of it. So I find that the death and violence that happens may support the definition of war but it is clay feet to this god.
And then there is the part about what do we want out of a war. The concept of ‘let's war dec this group for a week for some fights’ rubs me the wrong way. If the goal were, in truth to go forth and destroy and conquer war seems a fitting term. The fighting in null sec is well labeled wars. Yet, the groups are not declaring ‘war’ to Concord on each other and then setting forth to take care of business. The game mechanics do not force it. But their fighting is more a true war then the bulk of what happens when someone pushes the war dec button.
I don't have any great fixes and deep concepts for change. It is not about the grief effect. Nonconsensual PvP is something that I support. It is what the concept of a war brings to the table that bothers me when it is used as so many war decs are. I think what I am wondering is if the broken aspect of the current war declaration system is further down the trunk then what happens when the button is pushed and nestled somewhere into what the concept of the actual action is. While the mechanics are not working as intended the fix may start at the very beginning of the concept of what war is in Eve and what war is supposed to bring to the various tables involved.