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.