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Camios
Minmatar
Sebiestor Tribe
Posted - 2011.02.02 13:02:00 - [1]
 

Edited by: Camios on 02/02/2011 13:10:42
This may look as a pretty abstract subject, but it has to do with game design and with the minutes of the december summit.
The thing that prompted me to post this thread is here:

From the 3rd part of the minutes of the december CSM-CCP summit
Quote:
CSM concerns: Any disruption must involve activity (AFK cloaking is lame). Problems with static objectives include hitpoints, timezoning, and min-maxing (if I want to steal your moon-go, I'll do it at 4AM when you are not around).


This actually shows the problem: how can a structure be designed so that
  1. that structure is reasonably at safe (that is, it can survive long enough to allow amortizations of cost and some net gain, thus allowing the related activities to be profitable)
  2. that structure can be attacked with a small gang without much effort (if it's not defended by real players)


The present game design paradigm is that every structure in the game must be protected by a huge amount of HPs and some invulnerability timers. By this reasoning, the request 1 is satisfied, while it is not possible to satisfy the second one, just because it seems to conflict with the first. So, the question is:

What are the possible designs to make a structure in space safe enough?

  1. Give it one or more invulnerability timers, lot of HPs, and very strong damage capabilities: in three words, "make it tough". It will only be vulnerable to large fleets or small group of powerful vessels. Of course, it will cost quite a lot in terms of setup, maintenance, time required etc.
  2. Make it (almost) invisible so that hostiles will not know about it, e.g. it will be invisible on scanner and unprobable but some random days of the week you can probe it down.
  3. Make it so that it can only be attacked by small ships, and give it some defence without making it invincible (i.e. place it in a deadspace complex with ship restrictions, or make PI stuff nukable only by stealth bombers). This does not make an asset safe, just forces the attacker to organise a fleet of small ships to destroy it, it may be good.
  4. Make it cost just a little, and easy to set up, so that if it is blown up it's not the end of the world and it can be replaced easily.


The only design that is used in EVE is the first (ok, EVE uses a pretty expanded version of it). But there is no way such a design can be tweaked to allow both the safety of assets and small gangs to attack it. Actually, the first design is pretty conservative and stands only on the "owner side", but of course it demands a lot from the owner (refueling, huge amount of time, bills).


My personal opinion is that a mix of the 2,3,4 designs could be the one that allows small gangs to attack stuff in space while it will be "safe most of the time", or better, "profitable to run", and that's what actually matters.
On a side note: being "profitable to run" means being profitable even from an opportunity standpoint: i.e. if I can run lvl4 missions and make 30 mil per hour per account, while the net gain from playing with structures in space is less (when taking into consideration all the benefits but also the inevitable losses), I may prefer to run missions.

This could be applied (maybe) to the "nuke it from orbit" idea for PI, whenever it will be implemented, or to some new other stuff.

I'm not going to discuss the specific feature ideas here, the goal of this thread is just to discuss a general mechanic ("safety of structures in space") since that topic was discussed with CCP in the summit.


Edit: grammar and stuff


Trebor Daehdoow
Gallente
Sane Industries Inc.
Posted - 2011.02.03 09:32:00 - [2]
 

Perhaps one possibility might be things that degrade POS operation that can be achieved by small/medium gangs, permitting hit-and-run harassment operations against enemy infrastructure.

Sokratesz
Rionnag Alba
Northern Coalition.
Posted - 2011.02.03 17:03:00 - [3]
 

Edited by: Sokratesz on 03/02/2011 17:04:47

The problem that any fixed HP system runs into is the one where 'If ten people can do it in an hour, they will bring a hundred and do it in six minutes'. We saw it happen with POS'es and POS guns, station services SBU's etc.

I am hugely in favour of more conflict drivers in all types of space but care should be taken to prevent situations where, instead of the intended 'small gang', you will find a roving band of 50 people running around nicking all the stuff in no-time. While certainly natural and according to expectations, it doesn't exactly make the game more interesting.

Camios
Minmatar
Sebiestor Tribe
Posted - 2011.02.05 18:07:00 - [4]
 

Edited by: Camios on 05/02/2011 18:11:35
Originally by: Trebor Daehdoow
Perhaps one possibility might be things that degrade POS operation that can be achieved by small/medium gangs, permitting hit-and-run harassment operations against enemy infrastructure.



But here comes the problem: enemy is going to shoot it when you are not online, so basically if you want your asset to be safe you must have a consistent number of pilots logged in at any time. This has never been a requirement, and cannot be.
The current paradigm is that you don't have to play necessarily outside your primetime if you want to defend your stuff: either we change this (but it may soud quite harsh) or just accept that having stuff in space that can be destroyed or damaged at anytime while you are away is not a good mechanic.
Shooting station services or pos modules has always been possible, it's just very boring and I hope we're looking for a totally different mechanic.

Originally by: Sokratesz
Edited by: Sokratesz on 03/02/2011 17:04:47

The problem that any fixed HP system runs into is the one where 'If ten people can do it in an hour, they will bring a hundred and do it in six minutes'. We saw it happen with POS'es and POS guns, station services SBU's etc.

I am hugely in favour of more conflict drivers in all types of space but care should be taken to prevent situations where, instead of the intended 'small gang', you will find a roving band of 50 people running around nicking all the stuff in no-time. While certainly natural and according to expectations, it doesn't exactly make the game more interesting.


In my opinion a possible solution is to have several multiple small objectives around many systems. In that situation, travel time becomes important, and an attacking fleet would be better to split into smaller groups so that they spend much less time warping around systems (if there is no or little resistance).
But having small objectives with little HPs means that they rely on active protection to survive, or on invisibility.

The point of the original post is this: in EVE, the security of stuff in space is achieved only though active protection and/or firepower and/or EHPs and/or reinforcement timers, and this design has some clear limitations.

What if we add visibility to this scheme? i.e.: Structures that become probe-able only for random time intervals during the day? Of course those structures must be cheap, and easy to set up, and their "visibility time" must be tweaked so that it is profitable anyway to run them, even if the enemy destroys it. But the certainty that, on aerage, it will run undetected for a sufficient amount of time to amortize the cost, is enough.

This is a pretty general concept, with a lot of potential, that comes true very seldomly in EVE just thanks to 'the sandbox' (for example, ninja moon mining, ninja lowsec mission running, ninja stuff in general). It's just trading efficiency for having less visibility, thus gaining security. Why can't this become a well rooted mechanic in the game instead, with great profit?


Sokratesz
Rionnag Alba
Northern Coalition.
Posted - 2011.02.08 18:48:00 - [5]
 

One way that this could be achieved with for example station services is giving them a very low hp amount but decent resists - somewhere along the lines of 90 - 95%, but only 5-10.000 or so hp. This means that a very small gang can incap them, but also that a single logistics pilot will be able to rep it back up in a matter of minutes. This would mean that even very small gangs would have a way of disrupting the enemies home base, luring them out to defend themselves and or repair the damage, but bringing a much larger gang would have no real advantage other than the fact that they probably would not come out as easy.

It would also mean that if they do bring a large gang and kill everything, they would probably get bored and leave without a response, enabling even a handful of players to quickly repair the damage.

Camios
Minmatar
Sebiestor Tribe
Posted - 2011.02.11 14:42:00 - [6]
 

Edited by: Camios on 11/02/2011 14:55:42


While I still think that EVE currently lacks the tools for enabling a really meaningful small gang warfare, I think that lowering a lot the EHPs of station services would be a good start, but highening the resistances while keeping the EHPs constant could discourage combat: the defender would pay less from not intervening.

I mean, this must be balanced, but i like it.
Moreover, we could be able to fire on ihub upgrades and disable them, and it should not be possible to place JBs and cyno beacons near POSes (at least, not deathstars).


But the core of the problem is another.
In my opinion, meaningful small gang warfare can only be done by small, independent political entities. The good reason for setting up a small gang is to have fun, but if you have a real objective you'd better set up a proper fleet/blob.
The only situation where you don't make a blob is where you can't, because your side has just too few pilots.
These measures would make possible for small gangs to create some damage, but small entities would lack the tools to survive anyway (and surviving does not mean winning over bigger forces).


If CCP creates a logistical/production tool that allows small entities to survive in 0.0, they would encourage small gang warfare in 2 ways:
1. First of all, populating 0.0 with small entities, that actually live on small scale stuff and small scale PVP;
2. Those logistical/production tools would be the natural targets for small gangs.



The point of my thread is that such tools cannot be designed like poses or outposts just changing the numbers, we need something radically different in how "safety" is achieved.


 

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