Welcome to the reincarnation of my blog. This will be a public forum (why else would I publish it to a blog?) but mostly I plan to use this space to organize my thoughts about EVE Online and maybe a few random thoughts that are only peripherally related to EVE. I'm familiar with the characters on EVE forums, so comments will be moderated. Trolls, griefers, and those with nothing constructive to add will be ignored. I may also delete anonymous postings; I'm putting myself out here and showing you my face - the least you can do is show yours.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

AFK (or The Emporer's New Clothes)

I'm taking a breather from the blogs.  Occasionally, I get caught up in some of the debates and Tom-Foolery of the ongoing drama in EVE.  When that happens, I find myself becoming disenchanted.  Case-in-point:  The new wardec mechanic, the "Forever War" and Goonswarm's tantrum

First, regarding the wardec mechanic, CCP should consider abandoning it. In 3-1/2 years that I've been playing EVE, CCP hasn't touched it.  In null-sec, the mechanic is silly; a player or a corporation can shoot whomever they please without consequence.  Also, a wardec has no bearing on sovereignty.  So why would a null-sec corp or alliance even bother?  (Besides, in keeping with the storyline, CONCORD has no interest in maintaining the peace in the outer reaches).  In hi-sec, there are various ways to circumvent the mechanic (and I suspect this will always be the case).  In low-sec .... meh ... who really goes out there anyway?  (Yes, I know you FW types are out there, but does a wardec really mean anything to you outside of what you're doing in FW?)

CCP hopes to re-invigorate the wardec mechanic by changing the rules a bit.  On the one hand, the changes make it a little more difficult to dodge a wardec.  On the other, the changes will attempt to make professional mercenaries more legitimate while throwing a token defense strategy to the little corps who either can't defend themselves are aren't interested in combat.  BUT there are exploits: 1) "The Forever War" (which is already being 'fixed' (I'll get back to that),  2) The extortion exploit where a mercenary alt corp decs another corp and then offers their services to fix the problem (I don't think we've seen that yet, but its coming), 3)  ???  (I'm sure someone who's more creative and sinister than I am can figure out something).  A targeted corp has two options:  surrender and thereby make themselves a bigger target two weeks out, or pay the extortion fees to hire that merc corp to combat the evil alts.  A couple of other options exist also, but they're not new:  corp jumping or station vacations.  So ya, CCP didn't really 'fix' anything and the wardec mechanic is and will be as broken next winter as it is today.

Second, regarding "The Forever War", my hat is off to Jade Constantine for figuring this one out!  For those of you who don't already know, under the current wardec mechanic introduced in the Inferno expansion, a targeted corp can declare a war 'mutual' thereby preventing the aggressor from withdrawing the wardec.  Then, the targeted corp can hire as many mercenary corps (or non-mercenary corps, for that matter) to join the war.  If the aggressor is an interesting enough target, Goonswarm for instance, mercenaries may end up paying the defending corp to be an ally in the war.  In summary, you have a permanent wardec that the aggressor can't escape and a business opportunity selling access to that war.

The strategy is absolutely brilliant!  It gives the 'home-field' advantage back to the defender and forces the bully corps to think twice about engaging a seemingly helpless mining outfit. 

Unfortunately, CCP doesn't see it that way and promised to 'fix' the mechanic in the next patch (thereby creating the illusion that they were colluding with Goonswarm, a ... ahem ... victim of this exploit, to change a mechanic to favor the largest alliance in the game - more later).  But what CCP fails to see is that Jade's idea is yet another example of emergent game play.  The mechanic isn't broken at all: an unlikely confluence of events within the game has developed where this mechanic has become useful to beat back the tyranny of an evil empire. 

Let me make this point perfectly clear: Jade's war with Goonswarm is an unusual circumstance that is not likely to be duplicated again.  Under normal circumstances, a war just isn't interesting enough for dozens of corps to offer their assistance and even pay for the privilege to do so.  Even in this situation, the involved parties are likely to get bored sometime shy of 'forever' and the parties will workout their differences.  The mechanic isn't broken; the Goons were just a little shortsighted.

Finally, regarding the Goons ....  (yawn).  Nevermind.  Can't be bothered to write anymore about them.  Nor can I be bothered to read any more about them, whether its in the forums or on the other blogs.

Which brings me to where I started.  I started this blog after the Incarna release when the Jita Riots were taking place.  CCP abruptly changed their attitude, but only subtly changed their direction.  Yes, its true, they seem to be concentrating on FIS:  we saw some re-configured frigates and a few new modules, we saw some changes to FW mechanics (I'm really not sure how succesful those mechanics have been, but I have seen a little more FW activity), we saw a new crime-watch mechanic (has this been implemented yet?  I really haven't noticed)  and we saw a new war-dec mechanic (which is in the process of being nerfed as I type this).  (We also saw a whole bunch of great changes to graphics and UI, but those don't affect game play - nonetheless they do make the experience more immersive and enjoyable).  Titans are still broken, though.  POS's are still broken.  Corp management is still broken.  Player Stations are still not destructible, sov mechanics are still meaningless, PVE content is stale...

BUT WE ARE GETTING NEW CLOTHES!  During Fanfest, CCP also suggested that they would dedicate considerable resources to making the game prettier. AURUM is apparently back as well.  Also, was I the only one that saw the WoD trailer? (Awesome, btw, but I was under the impression they laid-off that part of the staff.)

So ya. I'm running out of things to say.  More importantly, I'm losing interest.  I am enjoying the game for what it has to offer, but I am increasingly aware that the game is stagnant and there just isn't a whole lot to say about a stagnant game.  I read Selene's blog about the CSM summit (Part 1 and Part 2) earlier this month and was slightly encouraged at the prospect of player generated missions (Contracts associated with completing specific tasks). If CCP manages to implement even a fraction of those things, perhaps there's hope. 

Thanks for reading, all.  O7

Final word:  60 Tristans down, 1 solo kill and lots of assists.  After Inferno, Tristans are completely useless.  Hopefully they see some love in the Winter.  Tristan project on hold (again).  I'm loving the new Incursus.  Rifter is not the top dog anymore.

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