Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jester's Schmeck

A few days ago, Jester posted an amusing article on his blog poking fun at the style of the CSM minutes, in which we generally don't identify individual CSMs opinions. This is mostly because the recordings we work off are not very good (I've already bitched about this), and it's often hard to tell who's talking, and also because it would take a huge amount of time to transcribe the minutes at that level of detail.

I had previously stated on FHC that if anyone wanted to know where I specifically stood, they should feel free to ask. So Jester, clever fellow that he is, posted a laundry list of questions. Several other CSMs have posted their answers, so I guess it's my turn.

Now, as most people are aware, I tend to concentrate on higher-level issues (ie: pushing for more dev/community interaction, more resources for the UI, addressing fundamental game-mechanic issues, etc.), so you can assume that any of Jester's questions I don't answer are those I don't have a particular opinion on, or I think are just irrelevant.

Pilots -- most particularly super-carrier pilots -- should be given a "partial respec" of their skill-points (page 12).

I am in favor of this, as long as it is limited in both the amount of SP that can be respec'd, and the frequency at which it is available is rare. This is, I know, not a popular opinion. My reasons for thinking it is acceptable is that it will be a useful tool both for conversion of noobs into long-term customers (undoing early mistakes, trying a new career path), and encouraging reactivations. I view it as a similar issue to remaps.

As a general principle, I think the "it was hard for me, so it should be hard for you" argument is bogus, unless there is a really good reason for something to be difficult. In the UI discussion, for example, I was the CSM who was in favor of better, easier to use situational awareness tools, and strongly disagreed with another CSM, who felt that the current system (numeric values for angular velocity, for example) was better because it provided an edge for skilled players.

Super-carriers should be able to dock in stations (pages 13 and 17); 

Only if those stations can be blown up with the SC's inside them. :)

Drones should just give ISK bounties instead of dropping alloys (page 16).

Does not seem unreasonable, though I am sure many will disagree. This decision will be largely driven by the Research and Economics people at CCP.

Alliances should be able to tax member ratting income (page 16).

I am generally in favor of activity-based income rather than passive income for Corps and Alliances.

Wars in EVE are driven by hatred and grudges rather than resources (page 16).

Well, part of the problem is, if you don't have resources now, you don't have the resources, under the current sov system, to go to war to get the resources. Catch-22.

Fleets of Rifters should be able to tackle and hold down a Titan (page 17).

I am tempted to agree with this just because the mental image is so much fun. But it would have to be a big fleet.

There both should and should not be a new class of capital ship specialized in tackling (page 17).(1)

No new cap ships. Too many other things to fix.

There should never be new super-capital ships added to EVE (page 17).

I would never say never, but I don't see a need anytime in the next several years.

Outposts should be destructible (pages 17 and 18).


NPC station services should be destructible (page 18).


Station service hit-points are at the right level (page 19); and, they should not be a viable target for small gangs looking to force sov-holders to defend their territories (page 19).

I think shooting at structures is boring, and using it as a basis for a sov system is ridiculous. IMHO, you should gain sov in a system by holding it and using it, and you should take sov from someone by getting in their face, blowing them up, stopping them from using their space, and using its resources.

In other words, sov is not something you use to control space; sov is something you get from controlling space.

Note that such a system, if properly designed, would greatly reduce the ability of existing alliances to control large amounts of space.

Faction Warfare stuff (page 20).

I think CCP ought to be going to the FW folks and discussing improvements to FW. And then doing something interesting and innovative.

Rewards in low-sec, particularly Faction Warfare rewards, are not high enough (pages 20 and 25).

Low-sec is a difficult design problem, because it is sandwiched between high- and null-sec. If you set the rewards too high, the null-sec folks will move in to farm it; if you set them too low, the high-sec folks won't touch it. And because high-sec people tend to be very risk-adverse (they hate losses more than they love gains, which is very human), there may not be a sweet-spot.

There should be some sort of wormhole stabilizer to make invading w-space easier (page 20).(3)


Sleepers should attack POSs and/or pod people (page 20).(3)

Maybe. But it would have to be balanced by some improvements to WH space, like the ability to have clones in WH systems.

Electronic Attack Frigates should be able to "impact" super-capital ships immune to e-war (page 21).(4)

This was spitballing to find a good role for EAFs, which are currently almost completely unused according to CCP. It seems like an interesting possibility.

Sov-holders should be able to build a module in their own space that hurts other people's sov space (page 24).

That particular session of the minutes was all spitballing about possible future ideas. My major comment about all this stuff was that I wouldn't want resources diverted to such ideas when there are so many pressing global issues. I mean, most people think the current sov system sucks, so why spend time polishing the turd?

Null-sec is about hate and cruelty (page 25).

Some people like to think so. I personally think everyone has a different reason for being there. Or not.

The contraband system should be removed (page 25).

It's just annoying, and it would reduce the load on Crimewatch.

Buying a PvP ship should be an investment that brings in ISK (page 25).

The major concern here is that the % of the ship's value you get out of a kill varies widely, and perhaps it should vary a little less. But I don't view it as an earthshatteringly important issue.

The person who destroys your ship should get 10-20% of your insurance pay-out for that ship (page 26), including if they gank you in high-sec (also page 26).(3)

I am indifferent to the first part, but I was the CSM who raised the issue that gankers shouldn't get rewarded.

Despite the fact CCP has a large number of assets for the NeX store, they should not be released at this time (page 30).

It would be a waste of resources. If they agree that NeX and Aurum are a failure, they should re-engineer the system (using ISK, PLEX, and perhaps micro-PLEX) and release the new stuff then.

Players should be able to train more than one pilot per account by paying for this privelige with PLEXes (page 30).


Players don't care about their corporation logos (page 30); and, they care about their alliance logos much more (page 30).

Probably the case for most, but largely irrelevant, since if CCP permits people to put alliance logo nose art on their ships, they'll be able to put corp logos on as well.

The unique attraction of EVE is "you can grief people" and "it's not a game for wusses" (page 32).

Absolutely. For example, it allows smarty-pants bloggers to try and grief hard-working CSMs, except for the fact that we're not wusses, so it never works.



  1. One smarty-pants, at your service. ;-) Thanks for the responses!

    Question regarding the NPC station services thing: how would you prevent a nearby sov-holding 0.0 alliance from just incapping the services of all NPC stations in their area of influence as part of their daily fleet? ie, what would stop a Goon or LAWN fleet from just incapping all the NPC stations in Pure Blind every day to prevent people living there?

    You also skipped the question about the Drake. Do you agree with the changes to the Drake proposed in the CSM minutes (remove its shield resistance bonus and kinetic missile bonus in favor of missile velocity and rate of fire)?

    1. As you know, I'm not big on shooting structures, but quite frankly, I rather doubt that sov-holding alliances will devote the time and effort to repeatedly disabling the services in a bunch of stations.

      As for the Drake, I have no strong opinion about it, since I don't fly it, except that it does have a reputation of being a bit of a Swiss Army knife. With respect to the changes suggested in the minutes, that was a brief discussion and a "for example" IIRC. I would expect that CCP Tallest would spend a lot more time thinking things through before deciding on any changes.

  2. Thanks for clearing up your stance on these issues. While your answers where mostly satisfactory, the answer to taxing ratting income was vague at best, please elaborate.
    A few issues i feel strongly about that are listed below.

    I do feel (as you said) that alliances should have to defend they're space, especially in Null.

    Also, while I do think that the EvE interface is too hard atm, things like grief mechanics and measuring in game states like rad/sec is not a bad or unfair mechanic atm. Everyone is capable of seeing they're guns tracking speed in rad/sec and it is defined as such in the game. Not exactly rocket surgery there.

    As far as the Null/Low rebalance, I do feel that there is not enough draw for new players to leave High sec. If someone wants to live in High sec they're entire EvE career thats fine but it shouldn't be as lucrative as Low or Null. New players need some sort of incentive to explore these areas too.

    1. WRT to the EVE interface, having to remember what your tracking speed is, for all your different ships, is just silly. In the real world, the military spends huge amounts of time and effort on situational awareness improvements, and the EVE UI should do so as well. If a player wants to dig down to the raw numbers level (like we have now), then fine, but they shouldn't have to.

      The reason a lot of people stick to High-sec even when a pure economic analysis makes it clearly obvious that they'd do better taking a bit more risk in Low-sec is in large part due to Loss Aversion -- see

      And what makes it even more difficult is that large parts of Null-sec can be safer than Low-sec (because of player intel networks, big areas of controlled space, etc), but you can't adjust the risk/reward to compensate because if you do, the large Null-sec political entities will move in and take control.

      This is why I think making Low-sec more popular is a really hard problem.

    2. Without wanting to be rude, Trebor, I think you're simultaneously misunderstanding the appeal of lowsec for most of its current residents, and wildly underestimating the amount of carebearing (and thus the current risk:reward balance) that goes on there.

      The first of these is straightforward enough - while you're arguing that lowsec's risk:reward balance needs to be changed to draw in carebears, the fact is that most current residents of lowsec are there for casual and easy-access small-scale pvp, mostly against other people who are also looking for a fight. Perma-camped systems like Rancer where outlaws feast on defenceless traffic are the exception rather than the rule. As such, any change to lowsec aimed at "reducing risk" is likely to alienate the ~8% of the current playerbase that lives there because "reducing risk" generally translates to "reducing the likelihood of gettting a fight." The objective should be to make it easier and more appealing to get into the thunderdome, not to make it more attractive for bearing. To that end, I think the best change that could be made would be to implement Jack Dant's suggestion outlined here:
      In brief, he proposes that it should be impossible to have your sec status drop below -2.0 by initiating aggression against or destroying ships/structures in lowsec, while simultaneously making all players whose sec status is below 0 "valid" targets who could be engaged in lowsec without taking GCC or sentry fire. This would eliminate the biggest barrier to entry for lowsec pvp by allowing people to get involved without having to sign up for a militia or losing access to highsec, and a number of active pvp'ers who currently avoid lowsec have commented that this alone would be sufficient to draw them back in.

      As for carebearing and the current risk:reward balance for ISK-making, lowsec offers a very broad array of methods for individuals to make ISK (numerous L4 superhubs with 3+ agents, L5 missions, FW missions, good exploration that will become orders of magnitude better in caldari/minmatar space with the imminent release of deadspace invulnerability fields). These support a much greater density of prey than is generally appreciated, although due to the nature of lowsec, that prey *tends* to be more wary than the average bear and to be in the habit of maintaining good situational awareness, making them somewhat hard to catch consistently.

      Finally, as mentioned above, the last set of population statistics released by CCP state that lowsec is home to ~8% of the game's population. It also represents ~8% of the game's systems and accounts for 25% of all kills. That means it is much more densely populated and violent than either nullsec or w-space. The meeting minutes are clearly wrong when they say "little enjoyment is currently to be found there" - noone is forced to live in lowsec and yet a sizeable fraction of the playerbase chooses to do so, presumably because they consider it to offer more enjoyment than can be found anywhere else in the game. One of my big concerns with the tone of the meeting minutes is that neither CCP nor the CSM seem to appreciate what makes lowsec attractive to its current residents and are therefore liable to trash those things while chasing some misguided vision of what lowsec "should" be.

      (long comment is long)

  3. Thanks for the responses Trebor. Going back to the station services one, the original question still needs an answer; do you actually think the level of HP on station services is fine and that they should not be potential targets for roaming small gang warfare?

  4. Trebor I have posted a thought about tracking on my blog, but I will also post it here. It is not but a thought, and I'd like for some sort of opinion on it, even if you disagree and think it's a horrible idea.

    "In my opinion: i ask would it be very hard to implement something to the ui in order to increase the awareness of someone shooting at a target?

    I'm not saying it should be exactly precise or standard, but what if CCP had decided to give turret modules a small icon when they were shooting that would suggest the chance to hit a target based on the turret's rad/sec and the target's current velocities? I'm sure it's difficult enough to program it, but it also is already part of the programming of turret hits.

    If anything I might suggest a simple icon that is black when not firing/targeting something, red when it is unlikely to hit something, orange or yellow when there is an alright chance, and some form of green when the probability is very likely. This would not need to be absolute, as the chance for hitting is not absolute. But it would be something to make pilots more aware of their tracking problems and why they would not be able to hit consistently on a target that is doing everything right."


    1. Something like this is exactly what I suggested in December, except that it lived in the overview, and let you see at a glance how you were doing with regard to important things like range, tracking, and so on. You'd just specify what module you want it to track.

    2. You know, something even simple like an info box would work relatively well. That would be an awesome idea if it told you current status on your ammo (such as how badly damaged your lens is), rads/sec, optimal range, falloff range. I would think it wouldn't be too hard because of the recent changes in the fitting manager as well. That is the calculation of damage, but just make it so that it's an information box and you can assign whatever turrets you want to it, provided in a limited set up to not tax the box too much.

      It's almost be like a list so you didn't have to show info to get the status.