Game Mechanics, And The Often Unheard Of Voices Of Smaller Entities

Dracos Rhaghar 2017-06-21

There has been a lot of uproar and complaining over the last month. Much of it has been people from major bloc entities arguing over CCP’s proposed fighter and fighter bomber changes. In the process, a lot of players have lost sight of how the changes will affect smaller entities within the game, especially the few independent entities that still exist in nullsec.

Often, these alliances have little to no form of alliance level income. In the Scalding Pass and Wicked Creek regions, Vanguard and their associates hold the majority of high-value money moons. In Cloud Ring, Pandemic Horde holds the claim to the R64’s. And in Fountain, the same is true of The Culture. The small alliances, without wealth generating moons, have very few ways to secure income. As a result, they’re left taxing their members’ ratting profits.

The lack of major income also affects the wallet of line members. Without that major income, the ship replacement program funds prevalent in larger alliances may not exist. This means that line members’ losses come out of their own wallet. To many, this may not be seen as a large issue. However, larger alliances do not have to worry about this issue. As a result, a nerf to income at any level can heavily affect small alliances within the game.

A look at the figures for income in Delve, and most other regions supports this. The regions with large amounts of income from bounties are generally in regions owned by large coalitions or alliances. In the monthly economic report from May, the following graph shows the production in delve, and shows how little is being exported from the region:

 

One example of a proposed fix that gained traction was posted by Mr_Twinkie- on Reddit:

“So random thought popped into my head today. Why do sov levels work backward to what makes sense, specifically when it comes to mining and ratting?

Ratting

In theory, if you’re destroying 2,000 ships of a certain race an hour in one system, why would that race think it’s a good idea to put even more ships or bases in that system? Why wouldn’t they use the system two jumps away with four kills per hour?

Solution

Sov levels get flipped. A level 1 industry system has the best ore anoms and the most asteroids. Level 2 there are fewer anoms and less asteroids (because they’re being depleted). Level 3 etc… until it’s a barren waste (until the level drops and more asteroids float into the area or some rp thing).

Ratting is the same. Level 1 the system is infested with the crab scum. Level 2 they’re slowly being beaten back and there’s fewer sites, etc etc…”

In theory, this idea works perfectly. At least, it works when aimed at the large alliances who control a region, or multiple regions. In the era of Aegis sovereignty, though, smaller alliances may only control one constellation. When aimed at these groups, this idea is harmful. A better suggestion would be to have the anomalies, and their spawn rates change based on the average number of people in the system over the last 24 hours.

The proposed system also makes it more valuable for large entities to dominate smaller entities, evict them from their space, and keep empty constellations, and optimize the use of these empty constellations by using a “space-rotation” kind of system, rotating out systems when they become overused.

But these ideas are only representative of the major entities in New Eden, and therefore represent what is in their best interests. By examining different aspects of game play, we can see how CCP has tried to make it so that small alliances are able to thrive in the current era of EVE:

Sovereignty Mechanics

Recently the following image was posted on Reddit, showing the change in sovereignty control since between 2014 and 2017, as can be seen, large entities still control swathes of space, however, there are more smaller entities holding space in the current climate.

 

Since the introduction of citadels and industrial complexes, however, it has become much harder to claim sovereignty. The attacker also has to remove all structures from the space in order to maintain control over their space. And so, there have been calls for a reintroduction of the same style of sovereignty mechanics that were present in the Dominion era.

This is understandable, as it can be frustrating entosisising nodes for hours on end. But any mechanic that favors static fighting over one objective ultimately only benefits the larger alliances. They can control a single grid with capital and super-capital domination more easily than many grids in the same constellation. Aegis sovereignty is working, even if citadels have negated many of its advantages. As a result, this mechanic is still more favorable for small- to medium-sized alliances.

Small/Microgang Roaming

Small and Micro-Gang roams are based around certain fleet comps. These are generally kite-y, fast ships, and faction battleships are a popular choice. Unfortunately, due to the over-saturation of faction battleships on the market, and in the game, times have changed. Faction battleships have gone from being a small gang staple to the centerpiece for fleet compositions for larger entities. When an alliance can field 80+ Machariels or Rattlesnakes, it is obvious that there is an inherent flaw in the system.

Unfortunately, it’s something CCP can’t account for. The lack of large-scale warfare is the ultimate problem in New Eden. Making these ships rarer is the only way for CCP to attempt to control this over-saturation in the current climate. Prices would rise. However, this would have a negative effect on smaller gangs and alliances. It’s not even clear how effective such a measure would be. Many groups in null have been stockpiling blueprints for years. It may be too late to limit the availability of pirate battleships.

CSM Representation

Another concern comes from the mechanics of electing a CSM (Council of Stellar Management) representative. Members are elected by majority, the major power blocs are able to ensure their representatives claim a seat on the CSM. While this is unfortunate for smaller groups, it is also fair. The majority of players see their interests being represented on the CSM, and their voices have more of an impact. As a suggestion to balance this, a seat or two could be reserved for representatives of small entities. This, of course, could open those seats up to be gamed by alt alliances of  large entities. As a result, it would need certain protections to work.

Realistically though, assaulting a player’s incomes does not solve CCP’s issues. Nor does changing faction battleships prices. The problem is a lack of content in New Eden. (Ironically, this is a problem small and medium sized alliances do not have.) People throughout New Eden make money with nothing to spend it on. EVE Online needs a war, and the players need a reason to go to war. The question CCP should ask themselves is not “How do we stop players making so much ISK?” Instead, they should ask, “How do we encourage players to destroy each others’ ships?”

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Comments

  • McCool

    What is this, a graph for ants?

    June 21, 2017 at 9:28 am
    • Rhivre McCool

      Graph for non-ants has now been put in.

      June 21, 2017 at 12:00 pm
    • Dracos Rhaghar McCool

      Its clearly a graph for bees 😉

      June 21, 2017 at 5:30 pm
  • Jan Koxsos Kopecky

    Sandbox where all live in peace and prosperity realizing that throwing away ships for dank killmails is not always worth it and found other ways to feed their epeen.
    Like reddit circlejerk practices.
    Ultimate weaponized boredom prevails, blame devs.

    June 21, 2017 at 9:29 am
  • Daito Endashi

    I like what you’re saying.
    Makes everything -even more- complicated though 😛

    June 21, 2017 at 1:21 pm
  • Moomin Amatin

    Moon mining changes may well affect a nullsec alliance’s ability to control all the moons in a region. At this time the collection of moon-goo is easily done. Once more significant effort is required to collect it then some alliances are likely to lose interest in this.

    Renting is probably a larger and more stable income source in the long run. Just look at the rates that systems are rented out for and you will see what I mean.

    There are a lot of ideas that are being put forward as ways to fix one element or another but they all seem to make things more complex. I do not think it would be to silly to state that often a simple solution is not only more feasible but also more elegant. So with that in mind I would suggest that there are two simple fixes to this situation. Double the amount of players or half the amount of space.

    The maps are also funny as well. Just because there is the illusion of diversity does not mean that it actually exists. Some groups noticed that by having a large footprint on the map meant that you were more likely to be a target. I mean everyone wants to kill the largest blob right? So a lot of groups have got together in a super coalition. This makes it look like things are healthier than they are.

    For instance, is TC going to invade PH or GotG any time soon? The answer is of course no and we know this by who TC will batphone when there is the slightest risk of losing. Moving on, is PH going to invade TC or GotG? Again, no. We also know where PH’s allegiances are. OK so GotG going for anyone near them? Yet another resounding no. You can keep doing this all the way around the map until you get to The Legacy Coalition.

    This means that the map is probably the worst that it has ever been. Three quarters are owned by a single super coalition that have no interest in anything other than farming Catch and with an eye on Provi. People may point to the odd battle report here and there but it is all PvP theatrics in the main. Recent action in Khanid and Catch only goes to support that this is the case.

    The shouts of “look at Delve” when it comes to production are also folly. The Imperium is probably the only group being honest in all of this. They plant a flag on the map and stand by it. No sneaky rental empires or special blue not blue lists for show. Given previous history they probably have a sense of what will happen. Quite simply it will be the same old story of waiting for the hate to be raised against them enough that all the blue not blue entities drop any pretense and try to invade Delve. In that it is very likely that the reason you do not see all the stuff being produced leaving Delve is because it is being stock piled.

    I feel for the members of the CSM. They seem to be there for the benefit of the game. The issue though is not with the representatives or how they got there but it is how CCP uses such a resource. The same can be said for all the focus groups. This is but a cheap ploy to allow for CCP to keep a bunch of people talking until someone in the crowd says the thing that CCPS wants to do. Then CCP will focus on that singular voice in order to validate their actions. Not only do I think this is underhand but I also think it is quite insulting. I mean if you are going to trick me at least be smarter about it please.

    CCP have a string of broken promises and poorly thought out and implemented plans. They have also had an issue with their own staff not only being thin skinned, but then openly displaying that as well with falsehoods to try and support their actions. If you make a mess of stuff then it is best you own your errors. To top this off to restrict the open and honest exchange of ideas and experiences is going to hurt you in the long term. Just imagine knowing someone who you cannot say anything to that they consider negative. Even when they are making a mess of it and you are trying to help anything you say is shut down. But they are free to say what they like about you. Now does that seem like a healthy relationship?

    Anyhoo thank you for your article and sorry about all these words :-).

    June 21, 2017 at 1:55 pm
  • Pew Pew

    “How do we encourage players to destroy each others’ ships?”

    Get rid of logi and jump freighters.

    Without logi every fight is a brawl and everyone gets some killmails and there’s no more “we’re not leaving until we get 3 more logi” borefests in stations.

    Without jump freighters people will have to fly industrials around in space which means that there will be a lot of targets which means aggro.

    June 21, 2017 at 2:50 pm
    • Glornak Ironspawn Pew Pew

      I’m not joking when I say that’d work perfectly and be very good for the health of the game. However just like every other nerf people will bitch and moan and unsub while saying it’s the worst decision CCP ever made. At the very least though getting rid of the Remote Capacitor bonus entirely will have a similar effect since you can’t just keep reps going forever anymore.

      June 21, 2017 at 5:58 pm
      • At some point CCP is going to have to wake up to the fact people don’t know what they want.

        June 21, 2017 at 6:59 pm
    • Cincinnatus Pew Pew

      How about you intoduce a module that reduces effectiveness of remote reps by giving them diminishing returns

      June 21, 2017 at 6:25 pm
      • Pew Pew Cincinnatus

        Yeah could work. I really think just taking them away is a better option. It’s just cleaner.

        June 21, 2017 at 6:59 pm
    • Remember when nobody fielded mass logi because losing them was not affordable (lol, remember when farming ISK took time and effort?) and one titan warping in would nuke your entire logi wing with a single AOE DD?

      Also, you’re right: fuck jump freighters. Also, fuck taxi ships. Make Sabres Great Again.

      June 22, 2017 at 6:24 am
  • schrodingers cat

    they have the next war lined up. They are banking on a scramble to take outposts just prior to them changing into faction citadels.

    June 21, 2017 at 3:13 pm
  • I’ll admit I only got like halfway through this article, but my basic question for you is this: why should we change EVE online in order to accommodate small, independent nullsec groups?

    I don’t think it’s a desirable or practicable idea. People have whinged about this issue for ages, and every time CCP make a change that appears to “benefit smaller groups,” it completely fucks up the game for everyone else. If people want to be part of small / independent groups of players that reside in nullsec, they should get accustomed to the notion of living in hostile space rather than demanding that CCP make it possible for them to claim, hold, and profit from sovereignty. There is no good reason why a tiny group should be able to take and hold territory in a PvP game unless they’re completely exceptional in some other regard (really rich / well equipped, absurdly good at the game, etc).

    If CCP were smart, they’d be changing the game in a way that would benefit everybody– Make Blowing Up Spaceships Great Again– stop making it so easy for large groups to exploit their cloistered riches with impunity. Trash nullified / covert fit taxi ships. Make people actually move around in order to collect bounties or move goods. Make geography matter again– do away with teleportation and taxi ships and unlimited resource spawns. Return sov warfare to the bloodthirsty, multi-timezone meatgrinding grudge-fucking hellmarch that it used to be before Dominion came around.

    Nullsec should be balanced around the exploits of powerful groups– to encourage them to impinge on each others’ ambitions and clash violently against one another frequently. When the big powers fight, everyone else should benefit– bloc members should get the massive, headling-grabbing battles they desire; producers should have markets for their goods; and smaller entities should be able to raid the fields while the fighting men are off at war.

    June 22, 2017 at 6:10 am