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Becq Starforged
Minmatar Ship Construction Services
Ushra'Khan
Posted - 2009.11.18 23:57:00 - [1]
 

I think the changes being made warrant re-introducing the following. I've posted it before, and it's gotten good responses, but the problem is ongoing and will become worse in the next expansion.

TL;DR: read the quote box below.

BACKGROUND

Scenario: My corp/alliance is at war. Intel has indicated that one of the hostiles is camping a particular station. One of our members engages, hostilities commence in both directions, both sides are warp-scrambled. We send in reinforcements and the battle swings our way. The hostile stops firing, then docks a short time later. He undocks a few seconds later, fully repaired, and engages again. Then stops, waits out his timer, and redocks. Repeat.

Welcome to Docking Games 101, a tactic that allows players to exploit a mechanic to engage in virtually risk-free PvP. Who needs stabs when you can simply dock at any time? Traditionally this tactic is most common in empire wars, and is one of the key factors in making empire wars far more dull than they have any right to be. It is also not uncommon to see such docking games played with dreadnaughts or carriers in lowsec systems.

But with the changes to sovereignty in the upcoming Dominion patch, the problem becomes magnified. Under the new system, a challenge to sovereignty requires the attacker to disable any outpost in the system (among other things). This requirement will bring the art of the Docking Game to new heights (or more accurately, depths).

Set aside the scenario above where each side has perhaps a handful of battlecruisers and battleships. The Dominion Docking Game will involve potentially hundreds of battleships, capital ships, or even supercapitals on each side. Except that now, the defender can simply fight in the shadow of their station, docking up when they take aggro to repair the damage. And the repairs are free, since the outpost owner can control the repair fees.

Can you imagine the results? The defender is fielding a Titan (which cannot dock), along with a sizeable fleet of carriers. The carriers repair the Titan until they are declared primary by the attacker's dread fleet, at which point that carrier de-aggros, docks, repairs for free, then undocks and resumes repairs. Meanwhile the Titan is destroying an attacking dreadnaught every few minutes. Motherships would also fare well in this environment, being able to dock to repair as needed.

Sovereighty wars in such an environment will be one of the least amusing features of the game in a long time, and I include lag on that list.

Becq Starforged
Minmatar Ship Construction Services
Ushra'Khan
Posted - 2009.11.19 00:02:00 - [2]
 

Edited by: Becq Starforged on 25/11/2009 20:09:34
SOLUTION

The basic mechanic that needs to be modified is the docking timer, which prevents performing those actions within a minute after the last aggressive act was committed. A common suggestion has been to simply increase the docking time, but that is a bad solution for two reasons. First, unless the timer is fairly long, it doesn't address the issue of capital ship docking games, especially the lowsec version, where the capital ship has plenty of time to de-aggro and dock. Second, the longer the time is, the more irritating it will be to legitimate attempts to dock, for example after a fight is finished.

Here is a better solution:

Quote:
Very simply, the timer that controls station docking after aggression should be modified as follows:
* So long as a ship does not commit an aggressive act (weapons, drones, EW, remote repair of a combatant, etc), no timer applies to docking (beyond the usual session change limits).
* If a ship acts in an aggressive manner, that ship gains the usual aggression flag, and the docking timer is set to one minute. Until the timer runs out, the ship cannot dock. (Edit: I no longer recommend applying this to gate timers as well.)
* Once flagged, any hostile act whether it's by the ship in question or against it will reset the docking timer to the full one minute.


That third bullet point represents the change in a nutshell. Let me clarify that point:

Currently, the timer to enter the station resets itself each time you attack, and only runs down if you abstain from attacking for the duration of the timer. So if you stop attacking for a short time, you can re-enter the station regardless of what your opponents do. What I'm suggesting is that the station timer be reset any time you fire OR any time someone fires on you, so long as you have an aggression flag active to them.

This means that if you leave a station and see a camp there, you can still dock again so long as you hold your fire. But once you return fire, you are committing yourself to the fight, and the station will not shelter you if you fare poorly. If this happens, you still have the option to flee away from the station (assuming you aren't scrambled or can outrun your pursuers), and if you can avoid combat until the docking timer runs down, you can return to the station and dock. It also means that as long as you are flagged (aggression flag, not the docking timer), you will regain the full docking timer if anyone you are flagged to fires on you. It also means that if you hold fire long enough for your aggression flag to expire, you are free to dock even if you are attacked again on the way.

In short, this is not an nerf, it simply plugs a hole in the game system to prevent exploiting a technicality to engage in fights with zero risk.

Constructive criticism or other comments are welcome.

EDIT: I've been convinced that the mechanics I proposed should apply only to docking timers, therefore I've edited out the references to gate timers. Unlike stations, ships can be engaged on the other side of gates, and therefor gates don't offer the same exploit potential. The one exception to this is gates between highsec and nullsec systems, allowing non-WT combatants to de-aggress and flee to the safety of highsec. In such cases, the 15 minute aggression flag should probably be retained to allow the other side to continue the fight in highsec, but that would be the subject of a different proposal.

Agent Known
Posted - 2009.11.19 00:35:00 - [3]
 

Edited by: Agent Known on 19/11/2009 00:35:17
After reading all the failed attempts at changing the mechanic, I am very impressed by the proposal. It's balanced to not favor those who want to exploit the mechanic, but to at least provide some way to redock if you undock into a station camp.

That being said, this should be extended to jumping as well. It's not as bad as station games, but playing ping-pong with WTs isn't exactly a fun time...

Supported.


Edit: Now with more thumbs!

NaMorham Santorin
Caldari
Raptor Ops
Kamikaze Project
Posted - 2009.11.19 00:55:00 - [4]
 


MysticMonk
Noctiscion
Posted - 2009.11.19 00:59:00 - [5]
 

An end to docking games indeed. Wanabee pirates beware!

William Pierce
Caldari
Zor Industries
Pandemic Legion
Posted - 2009.11.19 01:03:00 - [6]
 

CCP would be idiots to let Dominion roll out with the current system in place. With your proposed ideas, we could have a fair and eloquent solution, which does not favor any one side.

Evil Amarrian142
Posted - 2009.11.19 01:08:00 - [7]
 

Docking games are terrible the op is right, it will only get worse with Dominion. Please listen to this idea CCP

Marcus Henik
Posted - 2009.11.19 01:10:00 - [8]
 

supported. docking games blow. so does neutral remtoe repping, but I see that that would be added to the list of aggro items wich would help the problem at least a little.

Draco Carollis
Amarr
The Dead Canary Mining Corporation
Talos Coalition
Posted - 2009.11.19 01:24:00 - [9]
 

I've seen several "solutions" to docking games, but this one is one of the better and more balanced ones i've seen.

Damnskippy
Posted - 2009.11.19 01:24:00 - [10]
 

Supported.

TimMc
Brutal Deliverance
Gypsy Band
Posted - 2009.11.19 01:34:00 - [11]
 

Excellent.

Kazzzi
Amarr
Heathen Legion
Ushra'Khan
Posted - 2009.11.19 01:35:00 - [12]
 

Op makes much sense. Why would station docking personnel risk letting somebody dock when there's shells flying at them?

Rudolf Miller
Dawn of a new Empire
The Initiative.
Posted - 2009.11.19 01:44:00 - [13]
 

this is worth logging in for to say +1 Cool

Don Pellegrino
Pod Liberation Authority
HYDRA RELOADED
Posted - 2009.11.19 01:45:00 - [14]
 

The only thing I don't like is that sometimes you will land 800-1300 meters off a station, so you have to approach it before being able to dock and a frigate (especially an inty) could easily agress you, thus preventing you to dock.

Kell Braugh
Dawn of a new Empire
The Initiative.
Posted - 2009.11.19 01:48:00 - [15]
 

How will this not just turn the docking games currently into an overused (and abused) agro with a tank and just have everyone blob in from next door.

I also think making logistics actions aggressive with have much farther sweeping (role killing) changes than just docking games.


Becq Starforged
Minmatar Ship Construction Services
Ushra'Khan
Posted - 2009.11.19 01:50:00 - [16]
 

Originally by: Agent Known
That being said, this should be extended to jumping as well. It's not as bad as station games, but playing ping-pong with WTs isn't exactly a fun time...

Note that while I use the term 'docking games' frequently, the modified timer mechanics I suggested deliberately apply to gate travel as well as docking.
Originally by: MysticMonk
An end to docking games indeed. Wanabee pirates beware!

This is definitely not a nerf to piracy. In fact, for the most part, it has no impact on the usual pirate tactics, except those that involve exploiting gates or stations to attack superior forces in safety. In fact, enterprising pirates (and non-pirate PvPers) might take note that baiting becomes more dangerous under this system (the bait ship can't escape if it engages), but also become more powerful, as well (the target can't either, once it engages).

I should rephrase that. It becomes harder to escape. Interceptors and other particularly fast ships, for example, could burn away and evade until the timer expired, allowing them to escape, which is fine. Certain forms of EW might become useful in breaking away from combat. Stabs would still behave as normal. In general, combat at gates and stations would become the same as combat at belts.

Becq Starforged
Minmatar Ship Construction Services
Ushra'Khan
Posted - 2009.11.19 02:08:00 - [17]
 

Originally by: Don Pellegrino
The only thing I don't like is that sometimes you will land 800-1300 meters off a station, so you have to approach it before being able to dock and a frigate (especially an inty) could easily agress you, thus preventing you to dock.

Not at all. If you have no aggression flag, you never get a timer in the first place. You only get a timer (and an aggression flag) if you make an aggressive act, and you timer is only reset if you attack or are attacked while you still are flagged.

In the example you gave, you could sit outside the station as long as you wanted, and so long as you don't aggress, you may dock freely.

The point of this change is not to give free ganks against unsuspecting people, it's to make the decision to engage a commitment.
Originally by: Kell Braugh
How will this not just turn the docking games currently into an overused (and abused) agro with a tank and just have everyone blob in from next door.

I'm not really sure how to respond to this. Yes, it's absolutely true. But keep in mind that the mechanic is only initially triggered against a pilot by that pilot's act of aggression. Until he attacks, he may redock at will. If he chooses to attack without proper intel, then he may have to deal with the consequences, but how is this different from almost every other aspect of EVE?
Originally by: Kell Braugh
I also think making logistics actions aggressive with have much farther sweeping (role killing) changes than just docking games.

I believe that logistics actions already generates an aggression flag, allowing those hostile to the ship you're assisting to attack you, as well. (Note that this is an aggression flag, NOT a criminal flag.)

So yes, this would also address the issue of 'neutral' logistics/RR assisting WTs and using docking games as a means to eliminate the risk of doing so. They can still do so, but are making a decision to commit to the battle when doing so.

Herschel Yamamoto
Agent-Orange
Nabaal Syndicate
Posted - 2009.11.19 02:16:00 - [18]
 

This is the cleanest solution to docking games I've ever seen. I love it.

Carai an'Caldazar
Amarr
Oberon Incorporated
Morsus Mihi
Posted - 2009.11.19 03:05:00 - [19]
 

Edited by: Carai an''Caldazar on 19/11/2009 03:09:25
I like the solution... thumbs up from me...

Ambushes might take a different tone for empire wars, low sec fights, and even 0.0 station defenses... and anything to get better fights is a major thumbs up here!

EDIT: This may also mean Guardians won't have to circle gates during RR-gangs, which is a major plus as they won't be able to use Stargates as a get-out-of-death-free mechanism.

EDIT: Please Dev's take notice that Remote Repping here is a major concern, and should be an agro mechanic.

Saihras
Gallente
Trust Doesn't Rust
Ushra'Khan
Posted - 2009.11.19 03:16:00 - [20]
 

I for one dont wish to see the carrier blobs of dominion under the current mechanic

Jason Edwards
Internet Tough Guy
Spreadsheets Online
Posted - 2009.11.19 03:20:00 - [21]
 

Originally by: Herschel Yamamoto
This is the cleanest solution to docking games I've ever seen. I love it.

No.

Cleanest solution would be to remove docking timers entirely.

Rocius
Gradient
Electus Matari
Posted - 2009.11.19 03:26:00 - [22]
 

Hell yeah, good idea.


Tagami Wasp
Caldari
Sarz'na Khumatari
Ushra'Khan
Posted - 2009.11.19 03:42:00 - [23]
 

Logging in to say that Becq makes sense. Listen to the man CCP!

Nosenhojh
Excrutiating Dirge
Merciless.
Posted - 2009.11.19 03:45:00 - [24]
 

Big +1 time to get rid of some of this silly risk free PvP.

Bunyip
Gallente
Center for Advanced Studies
Posted - 2009.11.19 04:04:00 - [25]
 

So long as RR is included, I see no reason why this shouldn't be implemented immediately, especially with Dominion less than two weeks away. Supported.

Tuttle SVC
Minmatar Ship Construction Services
Ushra'Khan
Posted - 2009.11.19 04:04:00 - [26]
 

I am in favor of this proposal.

Ashina Sito
Gallente
Center for Advanced Studies
Posted - 2009.11.19 04:22:00 - [27]
 

Originally by: Becq Starforged

* If a ship acts in an aggressive manner, that ship gains the usual aggression flag, and the station/gate timer is set to one minute. Until the timer runs out, the ship cannot dock or use gates.
* Once flagged, any hostile act whether it's by the ship in question or against it will reset the station/gate timer to the full one minute.



Sounds good. I only see one problem.

A player can exploit the aggression timer to hold the target indefinably.

Pilot A unlocks and engages pilot B. Pilot A can not kill Pilot B. Pilot B keeps a point on Pilot A so he can not dock. Pilot A is stuck sitting on station till downtime. It's a simple example but you could extrapolate a number of other ways to exploit the mechanic.

A way to fix this issue is to have an extended deaggression timer. So Pilot A in the example above stops attacking and say 10 minutes later he can redock. If Pilot B can not kill A within 10 minutes he never will. You can also add time to the docking timers based on ship size.

Talr Shiar
Posted - 2009.11.19 04:35:00 - [28]
 

I hate the docking game, it makes empire combat so dull - SUPPORTED

Altaen
Lutinari Syndicate
Electus Matari
Posted - 2009.11.19 05:20:00 - [29]
 

Edited by: Altaen on 19/11/2009 05:20:08
Sold.

I definitely support this proposal, and look forward to seeing the truly talented pilots rise to the opportunity.

Herschel Yamamoto
Agent-Orange
Nabaal Syndicate
Posted - 2009.11.19 05:20:00 - [30]
 

Originally by: Ashina Sito
Sounds good. I only see one problem.

A player can exploit the aggression timer to hold the target indefinably.

Pilot A unlocks and engages pilot B. Pilot A can not kill Pilot B. Pilot B keeps a point on Pilot A so he can not dock. Pilot A is stuck sitting on station till downtime. It's a simple example but you could extrapolate a number of other ways to exploit the mechanic.

A way to fix this issue is to have an extended deaggression timer. So Pilot A in the example above stops attacking and say 10 minutes later he can redock. If Pilot B can not kill A within 10 minutes he never will. You can also add time to the docking timers based on ship size.


Worst-case, you always have the ability to self-destruct and get away, or log off and have your ship disappear after 15 minutes. Still, I think that's a reasonable amendment.


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