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War Decs: An Incomplete Triangle

Content has become a word of exquisite flexibility. If one presses to the left, it is about programming in the game to entertain the players. If one presses to the right, it becomes a way to define player interaction. If one squeezes it a bit, it becomes a method to explain or excuse anything or define things that if defined by other usages might be horrific.

I read a comment elsewhere that said players should have the right to high end content. The thing is that the high end content is each other. Can interacting with others be a right?  If you come to my home and knock on my door to have lunch, I may answer the door. That is interaction. If I do not answer the door, you do not know if you have interacted with me or not. But, if I answer the door you know that you have. I do not have to then let you into my home. Nor do I have to have lunch with you. I might decide to do those things. We don't know till it happens. The interaction happened on several levels and at several times. Lunch is not a right for knocking on my door.

Players are the content of other players. However, both sides need some basic ability to decide not to open the door or share their lunch. We lack this in some places in Eve. That is why I have started to chew over the war declaration system.

"Sugar, War decs need to be fixed," is something I hear a lot. It is a regular topic in my chat channel which is an eclectic mix of PvPers and industry minded folk. As the corporation and alliance rework heads towards us, I find myself wanting to start climbing this mountain. It is a harsh broken mountain full of dead bodies and shattered dreams. But, with the January summit approaching I am hoping to get some time on the table for it. I do not believe that we can go into a corporation and alliance rework without also looking at war declarations and how they tie into those things.

The first problem is fixing war decs. There are thousands of ideas out there. I'm not going to hash over any one in particular. I am not even going to address the various systems. They all share some basics. One group attacks another group. Often the ideas are composed of complex rules for why the group attacks or how they attack or what measures they must reach to attack. Many of these are very structured and they don't quite fit into the game where one can jump into something and see what happens.

I think a lot of the problem is that war decs are an incomplete part of a whole. A triangle where war decs and the bounty system are missing their mercenary. I'll leave people who are mercenaries, such as Psianh of Noir. to discuss the details of what they do and how they do it. I feel that they need more support from the game itself. There needs to be more ways for people to connect with them and feel comfortable about hiring their mercenaries.

Sometimes people say, "Just go and fight them." Beyond the fact that it can encourage some people, there is the fact that people do not want to fight. I don't have a problem with that. The fighters don't seem to want to do the things that the non-combatants do. It is a two way street after all. Paying other's to fight for you is such a basic element of the game that I cannot fathom why it has not been implemented as a basic core piece of the game.

"Oh they will have fun." Some people will and some people will not.  Some people who fight enjoy fleets and some people who fight enjoy solo. These are to many layers to what combat is and why people engage in combat to just slap a blanket assumption over the top of it and to walk away.

  • You cannot make people fight who do not want to fight. 
  • Let them, sensibly, pay others to fight their battle.
  • Bored warriors will wreck devastation where they past for it is their nature.

It is another area where Eve lacks its proper symbioses. Some of these are caused by people being people. Other's are the unfortunate consequence of game mechanics. Human nature and preplanned outcomes often do not work out as planned. We have tried to change its structure and create the consequences that we wanted and they have not worked out time after time. That tells me we need to give people the tools that they need to build their own houses. And these are tools that will build incredibly attractive houses. Even as we look at the future of sov space, I believe that we need to look to our mercenaries and give them the elements they need to build themselves into what every thing in this game screams to me is their potential.

"But we have mercs!" I am told time and time again. I sigh. I have never discounted that. But we have these people due to pure talent and little to no game mechanic. I believe the mercenary market place once suggested is vital to balancing many parts of Eve's player vs player future.

We need to finish this feature which was only started when war decs were given allies and bounties where redone.

I bring this topic up because I want to start discussion about war decs. I also want that discussion to be broader then exact mechanical fixes for the war declaration system. I don't think that is the solution myself. I may be wrong. I do not accept that my thoughts are the ultimate solution. But the balance of it feels better to me.

This is an enormous topic. I don't know how much traction I will get at the moment but I feel that it is time to start pushing at it. As we discuss player retention, corporation changes, and the features of Eve I'd like to work this topic into the potential near future. That means I need to build a portfolio of ideas to take with me into battle.

Comments

  1. Yes. This topic needs to be part of that discussion. While I don't believe that there needs to be a total immunity option from war, if the existing system is based on bribing CONCORD then the reverse should be true. Corporations should be able to counter-bribe or otherwise pay so that CONCORD does not allow war to be declared. Could be implemented with escalating costs, bidding wars, or whatever balanced mechanic could be though of. The end result would be that a corporation with proper non-combat resources could fend off a combat corporation through the use of their strongest resource, ISK. Yes, it is possible that a corporation with seemingly unlimited funds like CODE could still overpower a smaller corporation with that cost but at least, for the casual wardec corp, it could be enough to reduce the instances and at the very least give non-combat corporations the feeling that they have a choice which they do not right now. CCP may appreciate that it is an ISK sink given how many of those have disappeared lately.

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  2. Wardeccing is really only a burdened mechanic in hisec, and usually involves pvp corps bashing non pvp corps for laughs. A wardec is really just concord looking the other way in this scenario. I would contend that a good solution or aid for these corps would be to allow the purchase of extra attention from concord in the way of purchaseable npc escorts at a scaled isk cost. These npc escorts would be balanced around protection and not destruction so that it could not be abused. Players would not be able to control them, but they would provide some increased escape or tanking ability to a corp being wardecced and only when being attacked by that wardeccing hostile corp. Hiring mercs would still be a better option, but some smaller miner corp may not have that option, I think that would be a great addition.

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  3. The elephant in the room isn't the actual ruleset. It's the DIFFERENCE between player corps and NPC corps. Currently the NPC corp is completely immune to wardecs (and awoxes, but that will go soon), so there is a huge incentive to stay in the NPC corp, which means solo play (NPC corp chat is worse than Jita local).

    Whatever the new system will be, it must remove the difference.

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    1. Actually in some NPC corps (SAK and RUN for example) the chat is extremely good, probably better than in most player corps.

      Delete
    2. This is true, An ex corp mate once lamented that on joining our corp she missed SAK corp chat. Later when I started a new alt I was impressed by the quality of SAK chat, it really is a good community.

      I think that were mechanics to change to remove some of the difference between player and NPC corps (such as allowing war decs) then most NPC corps would be unplayable and the few good ones like SAK would continue to thrive.
      However even though it should be done I do not see CCP going that far, it would be too damaging to the new player experience.

      A possible alternative is to have a two tiered approach to NPC corps: A university corp (immune to war decs, high tax) that you can only stay in for a limited time (3-6 months) after which you "graduate" to a normal NPC corp (can be war decced, medium tax), which provides incentive to join a player corp.

      Delete
  4. I like the idea that a war dec is nothing more then bribing CONCORD into looking the other way. Taking that piece and running with it, it would be possible (though I've no idea the amount of work to implement) to apply a scale factor to CONCORDS response time based on the bribes present from both sides of the war. The more ISK spent in bribing CONCORD the greate the time-to responce multiplier.

    As far as Mercs go, perhaps a solution would be the expand the contract mechanism to include tactical objectives. AKA: Remove POS X from System Y, or inflict X billion ISK of damage to corporation/aliance Y.

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  5. A view from the hi-sec mercenary perspective might prove helpful.

    Caveat:
    I’m no longer a member of The Marmite Collective but I was for quite some time and departed only recently on excellent terms. Accordingly, while I can’t speak for Marmites, I doubt they’ll dispute what I relate.

    1) Mercenaries are a blood thirsty group. (If they weren’t blood thirsty, they wouldn’t be mercenaries.)

    2) If you’re to run a successful Mercenary Operation you must find a way to feed your ravenous group an unending supply of tasty prey.

    3) Standup contracts where you’re hired to settle a dispute for a client aren’t uncommon but in isolation they rarely supply enough prey to satisfy your hungry pride of predators.

    4) Accordingly you end up declaring war on large entities like the Goons, RvB and/or Brave Collective to increase the prey count.

    5) This is expensive meaning that to keep the war coffers filled you must locate additional sources of revenue.

    6) Being wardeccers by trade, one easy source of revenue is wardeccing numerous, smaller parties neither you nor any anyone else has a dispute with but - of course - allowing them to no harm/no foul surrender for a reasonable fee. Not only does this fill the coffers, it increases the prey count. Win/Win all around from the Mercenary perspective.

    Conclusion:
    Unless a Mercenary revamp *vastly* increases the ‘legitimate’ prey count, mercenaries will end up running a robust protection racket just to keep the profession afloat. Current Mercenaries are, of course, already comfortable with ‘wardec for ISK’ or they wouldn’t be Mercenaries. That said, from outside the profession it certainly appears that Merceneries are a no e-honor bunch of griefers. While there’s certainly some truth to the accusation, it’s also an end result of the current game environment.

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  6. The whole wrong with wardecs is that no "peace decs" exist. I can not force PvE onto PvPrs... why?

    That's what's royally fucked about wardecs. Agression only travels in one direction.

    You come to my house to kill me and I must defend myself... but I can't call police to arrest you as soon as you leave your home.

    Why?

    As for mercenaries, that's a broken idea in itself. A mercenary can't keep a war target alive and can't find any war target if the wardec was just a troll.

    Players are expensive assets. They have limited time, limited attention and they are in it for the fun. NPCs, to the contrary, are cheap.

    They can span whe needed and not before, their spawn can be controlled, and they can be traded for a price tag.

    Wardec now: you come kill me and I must defend me or stop playing (that hasn't changed since the previous system)

    Better wardec: you come to kill me and are concordokken when I press a button. Make it expensive, make it limited... but make that button a real deterrent to fuck with PvE corps. Don't force me to depend on some guy who can't save my ass and even if he could he grow bored yesterday when nothing happened and today he's killing someone elsewhere.

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  7. I think the problem with wardecs is that they are incoherent. Why does Concord allow them?

    Right now, the explanation mentioned above in three different comments -- that you are bribing Concord -- is about as good as we have. But it makes no sense at all. The bribe is exactly the same in the same circumstances? The bribe is honored galaxy-wide? For a week and no more? Why do they take bribes for this and not individual head-hunting? Nobody notices these wars or complains? It just does not make sense.

    Anyway, in my opinion the way forward for wardecs is to try to figure out why Concord allows them, at all. When you can answer that, you have germ of a redesign that hopefully makes sense and is more fun.

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  8. The basic flaw in war decs is that it forces non-pvpers into pvp. This doesn't work. Non-pvpers simply won't fight. They will switch/drop corps, or not log in. There is no way to get the PVPer to go away, and get back to your chosen form of play. Worse yet is that the most effective way to make them go away is not to play the game.

    What needs to happen is there needs to be a way to avoid war decs entirely with a cost. It would be best if the cost of avoidance of wars resulted in a pot of isk to fight over in the new war decer system.

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    1. "What needs to happen is there needs to be a way to avoid war decs entirely with a cost. It would be best if the cost of avoidance of wars resulted in a pot of isk to fight over in the new war decer system."

      Now that's clever!

      Presuming a corp has no player built items like POCOs to dispute, long corrupted Concord (being bribable and all) gets *into* the protection racket. Pay the protection fee, Concord’s got your back. Don’t pay the fee, “Don’t come crying to us if some ne'er do well Mercenary group comes knocking on your door.”

      What Concord does with the ill-gotten gains is only icing on the cake for further clever iteration (and your idea ain’t at all bad) but Good God, this is a simple approach that feels appropriately dark and sinister.

      Delete
    2. So, if your corp pays for Concord, you're always safe... but if you don't, anyone who also isn't paying Concord can come after you? Legal/illegal corps?

      That would take quite a bit of thinking to discern all the interplay...

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    3. This would backfire as a solution imho.

      The larger entities such as the CFC would be able to counter any war dec by a smaller group easily using their piled isk. However in the same way smaller outfits with 5-10 miners could be effectively outbid by an organization the size of Marmite.

      A Merc

      Delete
    4. Only if you bribe Concord. What if when a corp war decs you must fight or pay taxes. Once you are paying taxes another corp needs to wardec the corp taxing you, and blow up their tax structure. If CFC wants to be immune to HS wardecs they need to maintain a HS PVP arm to defend their tax structure....

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  9. Following up on that, here's what I think CCP should do with wardecs.

    Some time ago (on Poetic Stan's blog, if you remember that), I proposed changing wardecs to be a system of privatized tax collection. Unfortunately, Poe seems to have deleted his blog. Loser. (I promise I will never ever delete my blog.) So I cannot link it; even via the wayback it seems to not exist any more. Waah. I do have some existing words to read at minerbumping, where I propounded the idea in some detail/

    Anyway, the gist of the idea is that Concord is getting lazy and greedy, but instead of collecting taxes itself it is outsourcing this function to capsuleer corps. Wardecs are a sort of legalized tax collection; the strongest corps are used to extract taxes from others. Those willing to fight don't have to pay so long as they stay unbeaten. Those unwilling to fight become vassals of others. Vassals pay their tax half to their suzereign, half to Concord.

    So, set a capitation tax on all capsuleers in NPC corps. Perhaps 20m per char per month. (Newbs don't pay for the first six months. Characters in NPC corps with no money don't pay either. It does not really have to make total sense.)

    Corps that are vassals pay 10m to their suzereign per non-newb member, and 10m to Concord. Per month.

    Non-vassal corps that wish to use highsec have to pay the capitation tax. However, any non-vassal corp has the option to not pay taxes. (CEO controls this.) In this case, all members are considered outlaws in highsec and will be chased by the faction police.

    A corp is defeated in a war if and only if its CEO pushes a "I lose this war" button. A corp defeated in a war becomes the vassal of the winner. That is what wars are for: to determine strength. To declare war, the aggressor puts into an amount into escrow equal to the monthly taxes of the victim. The victim does also. The total sum escrowed is the immediate prize for winning the war. Then the war starts, and goes indefinitely. This escrowed amount is in addition to any normal taxation.

    Vassals must be protected by their suzereign. If you DOW a vassal then the suzereign must choose whether to join the war or not. If it chooses not to, then it loses the vassal.

    Concord does not like fake wars. If a war has produced no casualties (== killmails) in a week, it is simply terminated as a draw. Escrowed money is returned to both aggressor and victim.

    Concord does not like pile-ons. If a vassal is at war, nobody else can wardec it. Non-vassals can always be wardecced by everyone.

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    1. Um...no.

      Sorry, but just....no.

      This sounds a lot like making a ruleset by the strong for the strong. It will kill any small corps and only further serve as an incentive to stay in NPC corps.

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    2. Oh dear gods Von... really? Vassals? Suzerain? You would do nothing but drive noobs and the poorest players out of EVE. Whatever War Decs becomes it has to take into account several things...

      (1) EVE is a GAME, people play it for FUN, do anything to make it really not fun, IE forced gameplay against their will, for anyone, and they will just leave and CCP will lose that income and we will suffer for it…

      (2) There are players who will NEVER ever "want" to engage in any form of ‘fighting’ PvP. Period.

      (3) There are players who will ALWAYS engage in griefPvP against non-PvP players every chance they get. Period.

      (4) EVE is a Single Shard Open World Sandbox and PvP is not limited or restricted only scaled.

      Non-consensual PvP does however, have high costs, currently including War Dec costs but also CONCORD's response times and severity to Non-consensual PvP. This scales down as the Security of space scales down. And there are also some limitations on the PvP mechanics that are available, warp bubbles, etc., limitations which also decrease as the Security of space scales down.

      All of this must be taken into account and whatever CCP does it absolutely must;

      (a) provide good engaging and FUN gameplay for as many players as possible... soloists, casuals, small gang, large gang, immense gang, PvP and PvE players alike...

      (b) keep from driving non PvPers out of the game...

      (c) keep from driving PvP only players out of the game...

      Though I will say, IMHO, that any true noob griefers and real outright asshole scammers etc., (and yea, I mean Erotica1 and similar trash) that might leave would be fine by me... EVEs gene pool has gotten a bit scummy at the edges... could use a cleaning.

      (d) and lastly, again IMHO, it must maintain the unique Single Shard Sandpit Open World Unrestricted PvP game focus and style that CCP created in 2003. IE No gods damned "Trammel" in EVE... (google it).

      Oh and if CCP or ANYONE can do ‘a’ thru ‘d’ above... I'll raise a toast to ya... ‘cause that's one damned tall order to fill.

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    3. As to why the Empires and CONCORD are so ready to look away when capsuleers kill capsuleers: I think it's simplest to just say because they generally hate capsuleers. For them any capsuleer conflict is a win-win for them: they get paid some bribes, capsuleers lose resources fighting each other, they don't have spend effort policing it, etc. They couldn't care less about a bigger group of capsuleers bashing in a small one. The empires would prefer as many weak isolated capsuleers as possible to stay in NPC corps paying taxes to them. The game is to break away from that and forge your own way as a capsuleer in New Eden.

      Better risk/reward incentives for "full" player corps against hiding under the shelter of the empires/CONCORD are the right direction.

      Delete
    4. Tur, really!

      If it's the nomenclature you don't like, then it can be scifi-ed. I.e. in the modern world a "vassal" is called an "ally". You know, like Germany and Japan became "allies" of USG after the unpleasantness of 1945. (it's true that tribute tends to go in the wrong direction, but the fit need not be perfect.) So call the vassals "allies", and the suzereigns "alliance leaders". Problem solved.

      10m a month (that you don't even pay if you don't have it) is not going to drive anyone out of the game. Spend an hour mining or missioning. Or buy a bunch of frigates just before taxes are due. The point of it is (a) a sum large enough to be worth a little fighting, and (b) pride. Never underestimate the ability of people to resent the smallest injury. I learned this from James 315's mining permits.

      As for your points (1)-(4), I think I agree with you. I believe my idea does address them. People who don't want to fight become vassals... er... "allies". They pay their taxes and are largely immune to conflict. Indeed we might change my asserted rules so that allies are immune to wardec; only alliance leaders can be DOWed. The alliance leader should have the option to call allies to the war, and they should have the option to join or not without repercussion. This gives the maximum chance of getting people to try PVP, but does not force anyone into it except for those that (presumably) already like it.

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    5. This is an interesting idea, but what it needs is:
      A) POCO structure to fight over.
      B) A limited and reasonable tax rate for non-PVP. (Like current corp taxes with additional reasonable taxes on market orders, R&D, and Mfg.)
      C) Immunity for the taxed. If you are being taxed people can wardec your taxer, but not you.

      This means that non-taxed corps have edge in all aspects of the game, and PVP can fund massive wars over their carebear tax base.

      Delete
  10. 'Most' wardecs seem to be about paying CONCORD to look the other way, as a sort of hunting license in high-sec space. I don't think this is a problem and I'd hate for it to go away.

    The attacker has already paid ISK to initiate the wardec but the defender can simply drop from the corporation until it's over. It doesn't stop them from playing and it doesn't force them to PVP. I don't think this is a problem either.

    I don't want CCP to throw out the part of the wardec system that actually works.

    Rather, I think that the real problem with the current system is that there are too few mechanically legitimate reasons to wage a war. You can fight for a moon (but there are plenty of those in high-sec) or you can fight to control a POCO. I think that there should be more things in high-sec for corporations to control and exploit, which would organically create conflict between corporations wishing to profit from these things.

    This would also encourage players to join corps (something CCP wants).

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  11. Thank you so far. The varied opinions are great. I've also gotten a few e-mails about this to. It is fascinating that two simple words contain such an enormous amount of potentual.

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  12. The issue with wardecs is tier2 behind tier 1; player vs player. At the core of player vs player there is normally a reason or goal of the conflict. Eve lacks this element. Time again there has been suggestion that wardecs have implicit goal. (csm 5 tabled a paper this, now long forgotten). And many players have raised/proposed this on the Eve-O forums periodically.

    Currently game mechanics provide immunity to war-decs. Simple - you have three slots and the ability to simil-train slots 2 and 3. The alternative slots are in different regions and different races and character name conventions. Slot 1 gets wardec'd, play slot 2. If there is no rational reason for attack, there is no rational reason to defend. Thus peace is what I want, and peace I will impose. Welcome to different non-consent.

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  13. Mercs work fine.
    Bounties will never work in hisec unless hisec changes beyond all recognition.
    Wardecs are easily shed by small corps by a temp drop to NPC corps, costing the aggressor 50m. Larger ones should join alliances with a few fighty corps. There are plenty of ex/also null pvpers in hisec. Then they are at the mercy of Marmite and hub camper corps but so are the largest null blocks and their hisec hauling corps.
    Hisec wardecs actually got me into PvP even tho we lost the isk war. I don't see any problems.

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  14. The question to ask is, we've heard lots about CCPs vision for null, what is CCPs vision for hisec?

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  15. Overcomplicating the system or looking to justify a particular mechanic by appealing to real life analogies isn't helpful.

    Simply: the intent of EVE is that once you're undocked, you're never 100% safe. In low/null/wh this is the obvious default situation. The key point which we have to accept (or else it's not EVE anymore) is this should also hold in hisec. The current two levels in hisec are (1) NPC corp, where you can only be suicide ganked (or scam duelled or whatever); and (2) player corps, where (unlike other space) by default you start as safe as NPC corps, but then your corp can additionally be wardecced -- at a cost to the agressors.

    Hisec wardecs basically implement a "safety gradient" between NPC corp status (if you have 0 wardecs) and low/null/wh status (if you were at war with every other corp in the game).

    Instead of the more radical or "real-life motivated" systems people are coming up with, the best way to view wardecs is following the main philosophies of EVE. Risk vs effort vs reward. Players prepared for the "risk" of wardecs in a hisec corp, and the effort required to avoid/overcome them, should have proper incentive to do so (e.g. tax freedom, POS anchoring, etc etc). For those who aren't, ideas like an intermediate level of undeccable but limited corp-lites mentioned by FunkyBacon (and others?) seem very promising (provide basic mechanics for players to form social groups, but without the richer rewards of full player corps).

    If your full corp cannot operate properly or even survive under wardec conditions, then unfortunately you have been "beaten". No corp has the right to exist. But you're in hisec: most of your stuff is probably safe in easily accessible NPC stations; once outside of the wardec you're perfectly good to go again with minimal inconvenience -- rebuild the corp better, learn from the experience and so on. At the end of the day, being beaten in a hisec war is suitably less punishing than in, say, WHs or sov null.

    Removing internal "awoxing" from corps will only devalue the experience of being in a good corp: we'd lose the gameplay value behind good corp recruitment and having corp mates you have to trust. Awox-freedom should be only apply to NPC corps and corp-lites.

    KN

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  16. Not showing up to claim what's yours should be at least as expensive as losing some ships.

    Nullsec's problem is a lack of minor objectives for smaller squads.

    Hisec's problem is a lack of recognition of significance of corporations and the need to give them economic dominance. There are too many npc corps operating freighters, and too little in the way of corporate risk for traders or the servants of npc agents.

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  17. If war decs would simply be restricted to regions you could ease the burden for non-pvpers alot. sure the forge would have a lot of wars and the regions of uedama and niarja will most likely be close to it. But the PvE players have other regions to retreat to.

    That would also open the doors for more "this is my part of space" approaches like "I shoot all pocos in this region" Maybe even limiting war decs to constellations would be good. "I don't care what you do outside of my constellation but within that you don't place a tower."

    That would encourage people to "make there home" as they can start wars over regions/constellations without ending up in a forever war in case the got the shorter end. They just have to resettle and avoid that part of space.

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  18. Suggestions of the few fellow commenters that you could avoid wardec by dropping to NPC corps temporarily - is not solution. FunkyBAcon described what happened to his noob character and his corp. If dropping to NPCCorp _is_ slolution, why bother with player corp at all? Well, yes, some players "actively" like to be in player corps, but for others - i guess majority - constantly dropping out of your corp will bore them to unsubscribe.

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    1. Sorry, but I struggle to believe that corp hopping to avoid a wardec, then continuing to do the exact same in-game activity as before, is so 'boring' that it causes players to unsubscribe (let alone a majority!).

      The solution isn't to drop to an NPC corp but the option exists as a safety net to prevent players from being griefed out of the game. In theory, the proper solution would be to fight to defend yourself; a corp that cannot survive a wardec didn't deserve to exist in the first place.

      The problem is that in practice, there is nothing to defend unless you own POCOs. Meaningful wardecs can't exist because there is nothing to wage war on and nothing to defend except people and pride.

      Delete
  19. Main problem with wardec is that everything is in the hand of the attacker (in High Sec).

    He decide the target (before the formal declaration)
    He choose the time (formal declaration)
    He choose when and where to engage (neutral alt in order to scout, will dock if blobbed ...)
    He choose the condition in order to end the war (Surrender of the target for a fee, or dropping the target if the war is not interesting).

    Defender control on the war is minimalist in HS. They can :
    - pay and surrender
    - drop corp
    - stay dock
    - try to fight back (and provide war content ... leading to the continuation of the war).

    At the moment, a mercenary model on HS wardec doesn't work. And a basic HS corp (mostly PVE) can't hope to fight back (except is the core of the corp is / has access to veterans able to PVP properly).

    All cards are in the hand of the attacker, which transform the wardec in a griefing system. They don't have a lot of risk, so no or too little penalty for something which must be the culmination of a conflict between corp. Take the risk for each corps :

    Attackers :
    - wardec fees
    - PVP ships

    Defenders :
    - loss of fixed assets (POS / POCO if not secured during the 24h window)
    - Ships, PVP if they try an active defense, PVE if they try to pursue normal activities.
    - Play time : if they try a 'stay docked' defense, they can't do anything if even one attacker stay logged on.

    Currently, a standard HS corp can't do little to protect or fight back. Recruiting mercenary is just relinquishing control to another corp, with the SOP being : stay docked during our intervention.

    (next in a following post)

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    1. So, how can we fix the wardec system ?

      My source of inspiration is the wormhole eviction. War on wormhole is total. When an eviction attempt start, the first "formal" signal is the apparition of an enemy POS in system. (not a good defender corp in this case, but allow me to continue)
      Then, the eviction is on, with several competing goals :
      - wormhole control (stop the reinforcements)
      - assets attack (invader POV, try to destroy POCO / POS in order to evict the defender and loot the POS).
      - assets defense / counterattack (defender POV, stop the attack by defeating the enemy and by destroying the beach head, ie their POS).

      War is fluid and fun, if opposing parties are similar in force (lot of skirmishes) OR war is short and brutal (the eviction will be bloody and one party will be destroyed)

      In case of wardec, allow the defender to fight back, by forcing the attacker to put something on the table for each wardec.

      Let's say that a new mobile structure (CONCORD resort facility) must be deploy (as control point) for each wardec.

      Allow wardec cost to scale based on the number of control point (number * 50m).

      The attacker must deploy all control points before declaring the wardec.
      Wardec fee is paid as loot in each control point (tag / NPC commodities ...), loot is consumed hourly (like POS fuel).

      Control point :
      - Mobile depot copy (same hit point, same reinforcement timer)
      - Difficult to probe
      - Drop loot when destroyed
      - Can be fueled, but loot can't be remove (CONCORD officers doesn't refund bribes).
      - Fuel level is checked every hour
      - Listed in the proper window (corp asset) / API, with the location (spying is fun)

      Wardec :
      - End when fuel level is 0 for ALL declared control points
      - End when all declared control point have been destroyed or unanchored (an attacker can't add another control point to a wardec)
      - Can be ended by the attacker anytime (allowing for negociated surrender).

      This offer a possibility to the defender to actively defend (he must find and destroy the control points), and also force the attacker on the field (he lose the wardec or he defend his control point).

      Delete
    2. There are 1000 needlessly overcomplicated suggestions, most of which have no core principles to justify why that particular option is better than any of the others. Most of them are broken from the start because regardless of how many fancy new mechanics are being introduced, they won't help the bad players who simply can't be helped in this way.

      What's "wrong" with wardecs is not that mechanics need to be massively changed (not to say some fine tuning wouldn't be good), but when things are going to wrong for bad players, they don't understand what''s happening or what they could have done and can do to avoid and overcome it. It's the misunderstanding or ignorance of mechanics which leads to the self delusion and frustration that there was/is absolutely nothing they could do about their situation.

      If they would only try to learn from other hisec players that are getting along perfectly well (depsite how outrageously unfair and terrible hisec is), instead of fuelling their mutual anguish by feeding off each other's tears. And not that hisec mercs or pirates would ever get a voice, but any one would be able to tell you just how easy it is to live in hisec while bypassing all danger -- particularly so for the smaller groups that complain how powerless because they are small.

      In EVE, hisec corps get wardecced. If you want to build a successful hisec corp, you better well have a good plan for dealing with it. It's a huge part of the gameplay and fun behind running a corp -- it's what it means to run a corp. You're not just in it for a corp ticker, chat channel and collecting 5% tax from fellow mission grinders. Coasting along choosing to blissfully ignore this central aspect of hisec gameplay, only reacting in all the wrong ways at the last moment when a dec eventually drops -- of course such a corp will deservedly suffer.

      Delete
    3. Can you provide a plan to deal with a wardec ?

      When you are on the receiving end of the wardec, the available options are limited :
      - solo / small corp (typically alt corp) : pack your asset, dock, play on your other character
      - typical HS corp (PVE / training corp) : stay docked, don't engage. Come back in a week. More than a week ? Drop corp, we have a new corp there, come in.
      - large corp / alliance : bunkered up, don't stay away from the blob. Follow the 15 pages rules (eve uni).

      Aggression / conflict between corp, even for small or no reason is a good mechanism. But don't tip the odds too much. At this moment, a 2 men corp (obvious alt is obvious) can block the gameplay of a 20 men corp without much difficulty (kill one or two, enjoy the panic).

      Compare this with WH eviction, IMHO the most proper wardec mechanism in eve. Both party can influence the war, choices are made (and paid in ship for). Allow the defender to fight back, and then, wardec are ok.

      Else, I will gladly sign up for the Peace Dec plan.

      Delete
    4. It's not (and should not be) possible to state a single plan that is the master counter to every war situation nor comprehensively describe how to run a hisec corp effectively in a blog comment. A specific course of action will depend greatly on the exact details of the situation (such as the size, strength, experience and general tactics of the opponent). Perhaps you are criticizing the mechanics you listed, but as part of a larger operational procedure they can be very effective.

      One thing I will say is that EVE obviously rewards well run corps and punishes bad ones. A week of cautious operation, not feeding the aggressors any kills, is highly likely to end a lot of wars, especially if the target is small anyway; a few consecutive wars against (well known) mercenaries without any losses will do wonders to reduce the number of future decs (I am saying this from first hand knowledge). Generally, taking care of your killlboard (e.g. no juicy losses, getting a few kills yourself, some lowsec actions, whatever etc) will also help the intel aspect of reducing incoming wardecs. By contrast, one bad egg in a corp feeding marauder losses can haunt the whole corp for a long time; or even just trash talking in local ("losers why don't you learn to PvP against real fighters" etc etc). EVE is a game of consequences.

      Small corps have the natural advantage of hiding under the radar of most large dedicated wardec alliances. The main reason a large wardec group would persist a fruitless war against small targets is because they have been contracted to: then the war is again a consequence of something the target corp has done previously. (Following the money trail of most contracts will often lead back to that other industrial corp in your system that is fed up of you repeatedly mining the same rocks they are in your hulks, or the guy you kicked from your corp for some reason.)

      One approach to wartime operational procedure could simply be described as: play for this week or two in hisec as if it's lowsec. Done well it can even be a lot of fun, breaking up the usual hisec monotony. Everything depends on how well the corp is run. But respecting basic PvP mechanics, even if you're not directly engaging in combat, will go a long way. Gather as much intel as possible; relocate to quieter systems where local can be used more effectively; use locators; use scouts before leroying gates; look for combat probes whilst in mission pockets; etc

      Delete
    5. I agree, corps can take a lot of precaution to mitigate the wardec risk before the war, and put in place flying rules during the war in order to minimize the losses.

      But, at no moment can a defender corp fight back. They can't force the attacker corp to the field, and are at the mercy of the aggressor.

      With the current ruleset, an attacker can't be defeated. IE nothing allow a defenser to end the war by decisively defeating the enemy.

      Allow the defender to smash the aggressor with an inspace objective. If this objective is done, the wardec end. Don't make it easy, but make it possible.


      Delete
    6. You're talking about a mechanic that allows the war to be closed by the defender -- I can understand that.

      The point that I feel is more prevalent -- given the most common complaints (or should I say, the type of players most vocal in their complaints) about the current wardec system -- is that whatever fancy mechanics get introduced will not address their dissatisfaction.

      As you said, a war-closing mechanic shouldn't be easy, and that's why the usual suspects won't take advantage of it even if it existed. Rather, the wardec countermeasures that "weaker" sides should adopt are already fully supported in the game, they just do not avail themselves of them.

      Your mechanic would be needed if the situation was that the defender had already smashed the aggressor in kills, or at least blue balled them for a month or two, and the only thing missing was the ability to force the war to formally end. What actually happens is bad hisec corps invite wars onto themselves and prolong them by their ineptitude.

      EVE is a PvP game. Stronger players and bigger corps have the advantage (that's why they're considered stronger). The point is: weaker players and smaller corps surviving in this dangerous world, simply by not feeding any kills to their hunters, are already winning their game. There's no need for artificial "positive discrimination" mechanisms in hisec to allow weaker guys to kill or otherwise "beat" stronger ones.

      Delete
    7. Stronger / bigger must have the advantage, but the field must decide which is the stronger / bigger.

      It's a paper cut death at the moment. Your language reflect it : prey / hunter. The aggressor stalk, then kill isolated members. They ignore the blob, but will fall upon the weak to kill them. it's a textbook tactics, and perfectly valid.

      This tactic also force the emergence of a counter : stay docked. This is the point to correct. Not the wardec, but the response. We don't want players to stay dock, but we want player to take actions and stay in space (and die gloriously for this).

      By forcing the defender to find, then destroy some objectives in order to win, we can force the conclusion of the wardec one way or the other earlier.

      Defender wins and destroy the control point => they win, wardec end
      Aggressor sap the moral of the defender before they find the control point => they win, wardec end (current case of negociated surrender)
      Aggressor butcher the defender during the attack on the control point => chance are high that the defender will quit, and surrender at this point.
      Defender call a friend / merc, and destroy the control point => they win, wardec end, another party had fun.

      If the design succeed, the wardec will be shorter, resulting in less "stay docked - I quit, this game is not enjoyable".


      Delete
  20. I do not think there is an issue with the war mechanics but with the incentives for war. Defenders currently have no reason to defend anything. POCOs, towers, etc. can be easily taken down or dickstarred during the 24 hour notice for war. Assets which aren't locked into space can just be left docked.

    To fix war decs, you need to provide incentives for the attackers and defenders beyond "gud fites". Putting a penalty on anchoring/unanchoring assets in high-sec once war has been declared could provide incentives for defenders to fight.

    Another possiblity would be allowing the attacker to define an objective (like blow up 1 bil worth of isk) at the start of the war dec. The war dec fee would scale with the amount of damage the attacker wants to inflict. If the attacker meets their objective, they get a war win. If the defender prevents them from reaching their objective and meets an objective of their own (like destroy 50% of the isk goal of the attacker) they receive a war win and a portion of the war dec cost as compensation. Should neither party reach their goal, the war cost minus a percentage is returned to the attacker and the war is void (no win or loss applied to stats). The defender still has the option to offer surrender terms to the attacker, which if accepted put a win in the attacker stats regardless of whether the objective was reached.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What the wardec system needs to make it work is an objective - there needs to be a clearly defined, measureable, and meaningful goal for the aggressor to accomplish. Completing this goal during the time of the wardec results in victory, with some appropriate reward. Failing to achieve the goal in the required time is a defeat, with attached loss or penalties. Having an objective allows for the possibility of success or failure, with motivation to succeed and incentive not to fail. This encourages actual engagement and participation in the war, rather than just wardeccing "for the lulz".

    Additional goals could be included that would allow the extension of the war beyond the first week. If these goals are not met, the war is ended when the first week is up. If the aggressor fails to achieve their victory goal, but still wants to press the war, then these extension goals must be met.

    Likewise, there needs to be a counter-objective - something which the defenders can achieve to declare victory and end the war on their terms. This gives them a reason not to just dock up or corp-hop. If there is something they can actively do to end the war (and gain some reward for doing so), then there is incentive to fight (or to hire others to fight for them).

    Extension goals can be given to the defender as well - in this case though, it would be an opportunity to turn the tables. If the defenders achieve their extension goal, then when the war extends into its next week, the defenders would then take the role of the aggressors (with all associated costs, goals, and potential rewards). This would give any particularly ambitious defenders a chance at a bit of payback - to not only defeat the aggressors, but then to come back for revenge.

    There can also be a penalty applied to the defenders if they lose the war (although I don't know whether this would be necessary). A character-level penalty could also be applied to any pilot who drops membership from a corporation while it was under wardec, and penalties could be applied to either corp leadership or all members if the corp is dissolved during a war. This would mean that leaving a corp to escape a war would still be an option, but it would come with a cost, meaning it may not be the best choice and would no longer be the automatic response to a wardec. Such penalties could come in the form of a straight up ISK cost, or perhaps a temporary tax to be paid on earnings/transactions either for a specified time or until a certain amount was reached. Or it may not be ISK related at all, but could be a temporary reduction in SP gain, or a reduction in character efficiency affecting mining yields, weapon fire rates, warp or sublight speed, etc.

    The existence of these objectives would also help facilitate the use of mercenaries. If there are clear goals, then it becomes easy to create mercenary contracts with conditions to be met, such as "end war by accomplishing defense goal X in 5 days or less," or "prevent aggressor corp Z from achieving victory goal Y during first week of war." When goals are defined in the system, the can be codified into contracts, which can then be used to measure the success and effectiveness of hired mercs. Such contracts could include a base price to be automatically paid, as well as bonuses dependent on objectives, and even conditions which would cause the forfeiture of the initial base price (e.g., attacking friendlies, failing to kill at least X enemy ships, etc.).

    (Continued below)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (Continued from above)

      I personally don't know exactly what these objectives would be, and I leave that for those smarter than I to consider. I would suggest though that multiple objectives should be available. Perhaps a few options could be selected when the war is first declared, giving each war its own purpose and direction. Maybe there are just a set of standard objectives that are always options for every war. Whichever way it is done, there needs to be different ways that wars can be won or lost, whether through combat, economic means, or something else.

      The objectives, rewards, and penalties also need to scale appropriately. These could be based on some consideration of the size of the aggressor, the size of the defender, and the ratio between the two. The average age of characters or accounts could also be a factor. Whatever the formula, it is important that this scaling provide some balancing influence to the conflict. If a larger corp wardecs a smaller corp, then the aggressor's objective needs to be significant enough to make the war a challenge, while the defender's objective needs to actually be attainable.

      Anyway, I've probably rambled on long enough. These are just the ideas of one capsuleer, take them for what they're worth. The main point is that in order for wardecs to have any meaning, and for mercenaries to have a purpose and utility, there needs to be some form of objective that can be used to determine the outcome of the war.

      Delete
  22. First, let me get this out there: I live in highsec, I play 95% or more of my game in highsec. I'm not afraid of low/null/wh and do venture there (and generally leave in my pod/rookie ship). I do enjoy pvp in eve. But war-decs as they stand are broken as all hell. Right now they're just a why for a "pvp" corp to try to get cheap/easy kills from an industrial corp. We've been decced more than once because we have "Industries" in our corp name.

    Here's how the combat usually plays out in these wars. First we undock in T1 dessies looking for a fun fight. We travel 4365848 jumps to where the deccers are.

    Then one of two things happens. They'll either dock up and not fight at all (then why dec us?) or they'll dock, then undock in T3 cruisers. We'll go home, and reship into T1 BCs as they're better suited to give a fight to T3s than dessies are. We fly all the way back, they dock, then undock in marauders.

    Basically the mechanic as I see it is a thorn in my side. These guys don't want a fight, they want to gank without losing their ships. They're the lowest form of carebear there is, one who thinks he's not a carebear because he's an "elite pvper lol"

    At one time I would have fought to keep war decs in the game, now I'd rather just see them go away. If you want to gank people just gank people. If you want fights go to lowsec/nullsec/wh space and get fights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Won't engage in combat unless it plays out the way he wants, while
      complaining that others won't engage unless it plays out the way they
      want.

      War is declared on you and you're surprised it's not a "fun fight"?

      Players work hard to hunt/trap/bait/scam/etc for their kills, and the
      best you can do is just roll up to someone's front door and sit there
      for 10 mins talking BS in local, and then complain about it on the webs? Want to try examine your own methodology first before asking for a complete game change?

      Delete
  23. Suggesting wardecs need fixing is putting the cart before the horse - in essence, despite a few objectivey issues they're theoretically fairly solid.

    The problem is that corps in and of themselves are worthless for most tasks.

    Imagine yourself in the place of your an average, casual highsec player that does a bit of everything as the mood takes them. Today they're looking for a new corp.

    They want a corp that might work together, mine for huge corp projects, setup a market in their home system, mission and loot together, invest in BPOs and suchlike so everyone gets rich, research and build expensive products, and use the isk made from these activities to have group fun paid for by group toil.

    How many of these activities can be done in a way where player can invest properly into group activities and have a reasonable expectation the CEO won't get bored one day, liquidate the corp and take all the assets? It's not even corp theft that's the issue, its the expectation going in that any assets you share to benefit the corp and in essence gone instantly unless you get lucky and find cool people.

    Wars don't work because corps as they stand have no value. There's no reason to stay and fight if you don't feel like it, so why bother?

    ReplyDelete

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