Monday, January 21, 2013

The fundamental highsec corp problem

I wrote that I think the greatest design problem is making highsec PvE players having to choose between the safety of the NPC or 1-man corp and the social interactions of a real player corp. Several CSM members seem to already agree, considering Empire wardecs nothing but tools for griefing. James considers limiting highsec wars is just WoW-ifying EVE (more). While I formulated an answer for it, I realized that I only addressed a symptom and not the problem.

My main character is in the starter NPC corp and will forever be there. Most of my pilots detto. I never even considered joining a player corp. Only a few alts participated in TEST. Now my botganker alt is the New Order Logistics corp, but that's rather an identification badge, as the New Order activity is organized on a channel and fleets ignore corps.

I barely played together with my own girlfriend since we quickly realized that it's not effective. Which is the fundamental problem: in EVE PvE you don't benefit from playing with other people. Even if you benefit from having another pilot around, it's easier to make him your own alt. Incursions are the only PvE content in EVE where you actually have to be with players. PvP is different as a fleet of individually acting players is more effective than multiboxing clone-ships. For this reason PvP usually involves multiple players playing together.

Since you don't need other players for PvE, it's pointless to participate in PvE corps. Since the PvE corps have no point, they only exist as a form of socialization. This is why a highsec PvE player hates wardecs more than suicide ganking. A suicide ganker attacked him because of his (lack of) tank. He can avoid it by fitting a tank. The wardeccer or awoxer attacked him because he has friends in the game. He can avoid it by not socializing with other players. Telling someone to fit tank is an in-game thing. Telling someone to sever connection with his "friends" is a personal thing, obviously making him more mad. For this reason highsec war declaration is a griefing tool, since its only counter is anti-social which griefs social people by definition.

CCP thinks about wardecs because they see that there is barely any combat in most, one side just docks up. The primitive solution is to remove this griefing tool. However the correct solution is to give players a reason to have something together worth fighting for. If being in a PvE player corp would have a point, good players would join these corps and would defend them. Just look at nullsec/WH! Those players need each other to defend their land from invaders. Alone none of them would have a chance to hold it.

Without such need, good highsec PvE players are currently alone in the NPC corp or in an altcorp leaving only newbies and morons in player corps. The solution for the highsec wardec problems is making cooperative PvE play profitable. So my 11 CSM votes goes to the guy who has any idea how to make cooperative PvE play profitable (read: more profitable than solo or alt-play).

I have an idea for that: sovereignty light. Accepting L4 missions or activating strip miner/ice harvester/gas harvester in a system needs a permit. System permits can be purchased by corporations, individual players can't buy permits. L4 or mining without permit makes one a suspect. So players would have to gather into corps to have permit. Of course then they could be wardecced for their land. This would be a middle ground between the current "farm top PvE in safety" and the "move L4 and medium level ore to lowsec". They could be attacked by war targets only and not by everyone like in lowsec. Of course L1-3 missions and mining ore with a non-strip miner is allowed without permit, so newbies are not penalized.


PS: I support Sugar's suggestion about highsec entrance gatecamps.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quote: "Incursions are the only PvE content in EVE where you actually have to be with players."

Class 4 and above WHs also need a team of players to farm the sleepers.

Anonymous said...

Several CSM members seem to already agree, considering Empire wardecs nothing but tools for griefing.

care to provide a specific citation (inc. page/section number)? I didn't get this impression at all, except that the general consensus is that it is OK that you be 'poked' in highsec.

Which is the fundamental problem: in EVE PvE you don't benefit from playing with other people

Here's the thing about this - it isn't true at all. In fact, it is often adventageous to use multiple pilots when running certain lucrative L4s simply because you can apply more DPS and manage agro better. Does this mean an incursion level fleet? of course not, but to state that you get no benefit from playing with other people when running PvE content is demonstrably wrong.

For this reason PvP usually involves multiple players playing together.

Depends on what you define as 'usually'. Solo PvP is still very much alive and kicking. It isn't the mainstream but it isn't unusual to see either.

Since you don't need other players for PvE, it's pointless to participate in PvE corps. Since the PvE corps have no point, they only exist as a form of socialization. This is why a highsec PvE player hates wardecs more than suicide ganking.

Wow. Each of those sentences stands on its own as a complete load. I'm sorry but you have done nothing whatsoever to backup these points. Basically, prove it. For any of these.

You cannot just go making such bold assertions without making a reasoned case for those assertions. I am calling BS on these points.

For this reason highsec war declaration is a griefing tool, since their only counter is anti-social which griefs social people by definition.

Really? wow. I'm pretty sure the fine gentlemen over at RvB might have something to say about this. Or the mercenaries using the wardec system and the mercenary market place that follows. Is it used for griefing and harassment? sure. Is that its only use? no way. Is it even its main use? very dubious.

CCP thinks about wardecs because they see that there is barely any combat in most, one side just docks up.

You have an insight into what CCP thinks now? I'm pretty sure CCP is very clear about how the wardec system works without your assertions.

I have an idea for that: sovereignty light. Accepting L4 missions or activating strip miner/ice harvester/gas harvester in a system needs a permit. System permits can be purchased by corporations, individual players can't buy permits. L4 or mining without permit makes one a suspect.

Why not post this on the F&I forums to get the idea infront of developers who are in a position to make changes, instead of promising 11 votes to people who cannot do anything about what and how CCP develop anything?

Gevlon said...

@First anonymous: are there C4+ wormholes in highsec?

@Second anonymous: You might BENEFIT from other PILOTS but you definitely don't need more players.

Obviously wardecs can be used MUTUALLY for fun PvP. But "real war", when someone means to attack the other all out can only happen for griefing in highsec as the highsec corps have nothing worth capturing.

Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

Don't like the permit suggestion. Specifically, don't like that you want CCP to implement it.

Traditionally, permits appear when there is a scarce resource requiring management. Completing the process of acquiring a permit indicates that you want / need / able to use the resource more than the one who skips this process, and as such should be given priority access. Are L4 resources scarce and require management?

If they are scarce, why do you need CCP to fix it for you in a world where you decide (or at least should be able to) your own community rules? Find people who are interested in managing this scarce resource, use this interest to score some political power and initiate wardec wars in highsec.

If they are not scarce, than imposing this limitation essentially takes away a player's freedom for the sake of corps, without actually improving efficiency of distribution of mining resources. A weak move from any game design PoV.

Ultimately, what you are tackling here is organisation of people who don't really fear anything. You are trying to introduce a fear element (join corp or your play stops at L3). IMO, you should be looking for inspiration elements instead (shared L4 interest, let's work for it!).

Anonymous said...

I fear the problem is this lacks a constituency. The griefers like the current system. The people who are playing along probably enjoy playing alone or else they would not do it.

The logical supporters of this should be CCP. But I rarely see them go for profits in these sort of things.

----

Do you think the CSM discussions not have as much notice as the chatter is about Test vs GS. Based upon your experiment there, do you think there will be a war and who do you think will win?

I was expecting to read more about the beta DUST being on Tranquility. But I am seeing fewer DUST comments than I was expecting.

Monkeytroubles said...

First: Your suggestion leaves out those people who just want fun socialization and don't want to run coordinated group activities all the time. Those who join non-permit social corps shouldn't have to suffer grief-decs.

Second: Why is minimal-consequence ganking ever being allowed in high-sec? The general point of the zone is to offer low-risk, low-reward activities. What is the rationale behind arbitrarily allowing war squads to attack some, but not all, high-sec activities? If a game is to have high/low/null safety zones, then those divisions should be adhered to. Move the permit-worthy stuff to a riskier zone where those higher rewards ought to be.

Third: The reason eve PVE can be done with alt-chars is that it is so simple that it does not benefit much from active management. A simple target switching macro can clear most of a mission for you. For eve PVE to benefit from more actual humans at the keyboard, it has to be made complex enough to go beyond an individual's ability to multi-box. I wouldn't expect such a major game change anytime soon. Without such a change, it will still be altcorps buying permits and docking up during a wardec.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon:

your original wording was


"Which is the fundamental problem: in EVE PvE you don't benefit from playing with other people" (emphasis mine)

You then go on to state:

"You might BENEFIT from other PILOTS but you definitely don't need more players."

Benefiting was your initial assertion. So you admit that you benefit. You've moved the goal posts to state that you don't need them.

Care to explain?

Azuriel said...

Your permit suggestion is defeated by the 1-man corporation which you already mentioned at the beginning of the post.

Perhaps you could require a corporation to have 50 members (or however many) before a permit can be purchased, but that would probably end up being like the guys in WoW begging for guild charter signatures in Trade Chat. As in, easily circumvented.

Anonymous said...

The wardeccing is literally the reason I quit at the end of my first month. I joined a random (relatively big) corp, just to have some social interaction and to have a place to ask questions, and then it got wardecced by a corp of 8 russian PVPers. So what did our awesome leaders decide? Everyone dock up forever! Which is really not what you want to do when you start off.

Anonymous said...

If I was in command of a PVE corp that got wardecced I would say let's give a shot at PVP. It acts as a nice introduction. Yes, it can be harsh, but if you supplement some newer players with cheap ships it can't be that big a problem. Most wardeccers aren't planning to attack with a fleet of 30+ men anyway. In the end I even think it has it's benefits and gives a rather nice change.
About the "uselessness" of PVE corps: It's just a way to have a cirlce of friends. It's nice to see the same faces, to build relations, to help each other out (not for free always ofcourse). In the end, on a rational basis, yes it's better working alone, but on a fun/social basis I would go for the player corp.

Johnicholas Hines said...

Sov, including Sov-light, is a form of relationship-specific investment.

The player has a relationship with the corporation. The player invests in the relationship by getting a permit for the corp in a location. Now the player is "glued" to the corp, in that they have a nice thing (ratting or whatever in a permitted location) that they would lose if they terminated the relationship.

There are other ways to have a relationship-specific investment. For example, a refiner and a miner could invest in refining and mining equipment that is specialized to each other. Then if they stick together, they get the benefit (an increment of efficiency), but if they split apart, then their investment was wasted.

gallego said...

I wouldn't say there's no good benefit to corps for a PvE player, POSes give access to perpetually running all your research slots which the public ones are pretty much always on waiting list. And there's good money in PI which a POCO allows you much easier and more profitable access to.

You're right though that there's a lot of bad that drives people away from player corps. While your sov light idea is interesting, its generally bad game design to take a current and established game mechanic and add hurdles and gates to it. Usually you create incentives by adding content, not by taking it away.

Anonymous said...

..I really don't see what the problem with high sec pvp is. Eve is a pvp game where you can be attacked anywhere.

In Eve, there is also a wardec system. When a cop gets wardeced, they can either fight back and engage the attackers or dock up.

It's each pilots choice as to which corp they join. One that can defend themselves or one that can't.

It's like joining a fun casual guild in WoW and complaining for nerfs when they can't complete a raid. Is it the Guilds fault? Or is it the fault of the player who chose to join a guild that is unable to compete with the content?

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: you didn't get it. Imagine that solo players could raid, just "fun casual guilds" couldn't. In WoW you merely win nothing by joining a "fun casual guild", in EVE you lose a lot.

Von Keigai said...

I agree with your diagnosis. After I joined EVE I joined a small corp of a few of my real-life friends, also newbs. We struggled to find any activity we could do jointly, where we could earn substantially more ISK/player/hour collectively rather than separately. Two players can run a L4 faster than one, but not twice as fast, and anyway you don't actually need two players, just two pilots.

As Monkeytroubles points out: "For [an EVE activity] to benefit from more actual humans at the keyboard, it has to be made complex enough to go beyond an individual's ability to multi-box". This is the fundamental problem. Currently there is only one activity like this: PVP. So as Monkeytroubles says, either you should propose CCP should come up with a completely new super-complex PVE activity (a bad idea), or else you should attempt to promote more highsec PVP.

Your proposal does the trick, on the assumption that you mean to limit the number of system permits per system to some small finite N. (Ideally, to N=1.) That is, you must create scarcity. This is absolutely necessary to get people to fight. If you just have permits but no scarcity, then wardeccing is no more meaningful than it is now.

I proposed a similar sort of idea back in December, except that in mine the "owned" item was a grid, not a whole system. Mine has the advantage of being more sandboxy in that I expect people could come up with novel uses for it. Yours has the advantage that it is easier to manage ownership of larger items (systems vs grids).

Anonymous said...

When my mining/missioning noob corp got wardecced we actually nutted up and fought, and wound up having a great time and even winning the isk war by a big margin. Funny thing is, victory killed our corp. Once the wardec was over it became so much clearer that it was the only thing the corp had done that was actually worth doing together, and everyone wound up drifting their separate ways.

I agree that the answer isnt buffing pve content, because if L4 mission runners wanted to be running incursions, they would be running incursions, and anything less challenging can be more profitably done with a fleet of alts.

As far as I can see, the answer is somewhere in better POS and corp management tools. If you give players a reason to have a highsec (or lowsec, if its profitable enough) POS besides just research, and give them the tools to be able to use it cooperatively and profitably without banging their heads into the insane trust and management problems inherent in the current system. Having shared, profitable assets in space would require players to work together to maintain and defend it.

mordis mydaddy said...

"So as Monkeytroubles says, either you should propose CCP should come up with a completely new super-complex PVE activity (a bad idea)"

You have heard of incursions, right? Or sleepers in w-space? There is no need to come up with something that already exists.

But this talk ignores existing mechanics. Moving L4 to lowsec just makes people switch to L3, not follow them into lowsec. L5 is available with better rewards in lowsec doesn't make a big move to go after them. Incursions offer better pay for an incursion corp but everyone doesn't chase after those. CCP would almost have to nerf hisec down to small veldspar roids and L1 only before rewards might be compelling enough to force more people to lowsec. But I suspect it would just make people quit and really just leave 23x7 bots working hisec mining and missions.

Anonymous said...

If people join PVE corps to socialize, then they aren't there for PVE. Thus, restricting or enhancing PVE will do nothing for them.

You're proposing to incentivize PVE corp membership by enhancing group PVE, and then tacking PVP onto it. PFFT. It's like trying to get them to go to lowsec by increasing "rewards". They don't want to PVP, and they barely want to PVE, you're not going to get anywhere by limiting or trying to force them to.

If they're in the PVE corp to socialize, make socializing better. Better UI, give them uniforms, corporate ship paint jobs, colors in the channels, roleplay tools, whatever. Then tack PVP onto the socialization (PVP can be a form of socialization too). Bragging rights for evading gatecamps, achievements system, whatever.

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