Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Movers or U-Haul?

A few weeks ago Kaeda dragged me into a twitter discussion about my enjoyment of logistics and taking care of "my boys" as I label the inclusive circle of 7-2, THC2, and most of the pirate circle that I am social with in Molden Heath. 7-2 recently moved the entire house across the game and we managed to forget everything that we needed while we moved everything. There has been a lot of logistics activity from the membership getting ourselves up to 100% speed. However, we did it and got the machine that is our corporation up and running with very little true interruption in service. That was a very satisfying accomplishment to me.

For one person I do a lot of logistics. Or so it feels to me. I may not be doing much in the scale of those that do logistics. I know that there are people with massive fleets of haulers moving huge hoards of supplies around. They are more amazing than I am. But, I feel rather amazing most of the time. I do a lot of supply for people and I get a lot of satisfaction from doing so. 

While my scope of logistics may be small in the big picture it is big in the small picture. It also opens perspective about things. I love the fact that things are a bit of a pain to move in Eve. I absolutely adore it. I love that there are hauling corporations. I write space trucker stories because I have no shame. However, it has taught me a lot about Eve. Buying, organizing, sorting, delivering, moving, planning, and just doing the logistics can be an exhausting situation. And, when you arrive at station and hand everyone their packages and they go, "yay!" and rip them open like children at christmas, ship in and take off I feel pride about their enjoyment and my place in it. I then also go to bed because I used all of my time doing logistics.

I don't mind using that time to do logistics. I get plenty of satisfaction from it. Also, someone has to do it. One of the positive factors of having multiple people that handle logistics is that they split the load. My joining 7-2 helped to ease the life of other logistics pilots which increases the overall health of the corporation. The obvious impact is small but the actual impact is large. I'm not complaining about the time and effort that goes into logistics.

What I am thinking about is game balance and game improvement and where logistics is on that table. One of the comments in the twitter discussion was that with jump freighters logistics is now risk free. I'd say no to that but I also live next door to Ueberlisk most of the time. I understand how vulnerable jump freighters are to mistakes or laziness. As a PvPer the idea of caravans of freighters appeals to me. Looking at the game the idea of caravans and guards appeals to me. In actuality the idea horrifies me to the core.

"You don't understand if you don't do it." That is thrown at all sorts of people. Miners at PvPers. PvPers at miners. The same goes for logistics. Where I once might have agreed now I look at my current workload and shudder. "But Sugar, shouldn't you have less workload than or are not you doing to much and people should be willing to help?"

I am not suggesting that my boys are not willing to help. They have guarded gates for me numerous times, watched cynos, opened cynos, and in general they will help when I ask. If they were not willing to help I'd not be so interested in helping. But there is a difference in offering assistance and that becoming the focus of gameplay in general. Doing logistics is also about creating content. Do we want players to have what they need to get out into the game and make things happen? If the answer is yes, how hard do we want this to be? A game can be killed by balance because part of that balance is fun. Already I listen to people complain that they cannot just log into Eve and do things without committing time to set up and prepare. That small amount of prework burns people out and player retention is a very, very important thing.

I spend a lot of time in a cyno ship. I am cheap so I refuse to self destruct or kill my own cynos. That is ten minutes each time that I sit and watch the little green line go around the cyno. It is one of the many things that I have to deal with to move my ships around. I also spend a lot of time flying a freighter. One reason I cannot do full Jita trips on my work nights is that it is pretty much a three hour round trip. Plus, jump time and store stocking time. And that is just Bosena. And it is actively flying and managing myself. It takes three accounts acting together to stock Bosena in a time efficient manner.

Logistics is a lot of math. I manage to forget things constantly. I have to go back or get them later. I have to write people bills for what they are buying. I have to manage my own items as well. Jump fuel. Time to travel from one place to another. It all adds up. Time is our commodity in Eve. Skill training time. Movement time. preparation time. Timers. Pos fuel. Research time. We barter with time in anything we do. Each time sink that is created has to be looked at for its overall value and not just its immediate value.

I know what life without a jump freighter is like. I decided to start my booster corporation last year. I did not have a freighter, an Orca, or a jump freighter. I flew things down in Blockade Runners. I paid Red Frog and later Black Frog. I have made twenty jumps duel boxing Blockade Runners in a twenty jump round trip to fully fuel a tower. While my tales of woe are not living in a wormhole they are speaking of the inconvenience of travelling from high sec to low sec. This inconvenience multiplies like falcons and link ships.

I know that force projection is a hot topic. Being able to fuel and resupply oneself with the ease of a jump freighter seems unreasonable. Yet, I have to ask, if CCP looked at the handful of logistics people that each group has and told them that they were making their life harder by a tenfold, how productive would that be? Where is the actual good for the game in general as it pertains to player activity and interest? Sure, it puts more assets on the line for people to shoot and possibly steal. But, will those assets go out or will it create a problem that is large enough that the repercussions of the balance of risk vs reward creates another negative that has to be overcome?

Living on the edge of Solitude has brought this to the forefront of my thoughts. Moving things in there is rather miserable. Moving freighters will suck even more next month. Removing Jump Freighters would mean that I'd have to set up an industrial powerhouse in Solitude with reams of T2 reactions to supply my corporation.  In a way that sounds very cool. It would force the merging of industrial groups and PvP groups. Codependence would be the flavor of the game and any successful and productive corporation would have to have a more varied base of things that it did. And while it sounds lovely and magical and "as it should be" I cannot see the reality doing that. Instead I see people hovering close to the edges of high sec if they don't already live in an area of Sov Null sec.

It seems that it would hurt more than it would help but I may be absolutely biased by the horror story my logistics activities would become.

Of course, the optimal answer is to pay someone else to do it.

7 comments:

  1. Only a small number of stations are kickouts, the rest have what is generally an absurdly large docking radius. This is the main reasons jump freighter are so difficult to kill outside of hisec. This applies to rorquals as well, which are almost never seen outside of a pos or station where they are completely safe.

    Making more stations into kickouts or atleast easier to bump from while reducing docking radius dramatically would actually give people a way to disrupt logistics as currently there really isn't any way to do so outside of picking them off in hisec. Remember that while managing a cyno chain can be annoying, at no point is your jf in any actual danger unless you seriously, seriously (i daresay intentionally) screw up in such a way as to lose it.

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  2. You don't need to watch the cyno alt. Just set a destination to it and activate autopilot. It will try to warp about once in every 10 seconds. When the cyno time is up, it will succeed.

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    1. The auto pilot deactivates after the first failed attempt 0/10 for effort or research.

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  3. Brr. The thought of managing logistics in null / low would scare me. In my very short time in FW, I brought in my haulers via WH routes - it seemed safer than running the gauntlet of camped gates. But then, I have never used a Cyno in ~ 3 years of EVE either, so what do I know :)

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  4. I'd love to see a process whereby the stations would have cynos located off station about 10k that any one with standings to the corporation who owned the station could use. JF convenience and content!

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  5. Interesting thoughts. A really old player once told me about 20-bestower caravans his group would shepherd into fountain, before sov even existed. It made me mad that we now have JFs ruining the meaning of local production. The old way sounds so idyllic. But I guess it's not that simple - you've got some good points to think over.

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