Saturday, January 19, 2013

BB 44: In the Local Newz...

or~ You Can Warp, But You Can’t Hide!

CONCORD Traffic Control. The Owners of Local.
Blog Banter 44: Is There Anybody Out There?

A conversation, led by the literary pugilist Poetic Stanziel and fiction champion Rhavas, has been rumbling in the bowels of the blogosphere for a few days now. Due to popular demand, for posterity and for the attentions of CCP Sisyphus of Team Pulmonary Embolism Player Experience, I have been asked to envelop this discussion into a Blog Banter. The community has spoken and so Drackarn has provided the following question:

"The local chat channel provides EVE players with an instant source of intel of who is in the system. With a quick glance you can tell who is in system and what your standings are to them. War targets, hated enemies, friends and corp mates all stand out clearly. Is this right?" 

"Should we have access to this intel for free with no work or effort? Should the Local chat channel even exist? Should normal space be more like wormhole space where the Local channel appears empty until someone speaks?" 


Get yer high-waters on.. I’ma wade out into waters I have muddled in afore…

I recently received a comment on an older post of mine.. Rhavas it seems had found much in it to his liking and asked if it was ok to use the pic he had already stolen and posted on THE INTERNET!!! … umm, yea ok… (wow, somebody actually asked… AND attrib’ed me too… How can this be? An honest man, in EVE!?!? …say ‘taint so!)    =]

Anyhoo, this naturally led to me reading his very thought provoking (and BTW also his 100th) post and thence to following links to many good words on the same topic by Poetic, Hermit, Mary Titor (now on my blogroll) and my good friend Scientist, and… your humble host, moi.… since then my corpmate Mabrick has weighed in, Tigerears has added her Ms Pennysworth's to the discussion… and more and more bloggers have vigorously applied their grey matter to this grey area… Seems we may have had our first ever “Grass Roots Blog Banter” in progress… and as you can see, Stan even jumped in and made it official.  =]

(Ok, ready? doubt it…)
A Little Background on “Local” as I understands it...
The technology infrastructure for “local” as it exists now is based on (1) the Neocom and (2) Stargates & Stations.

The "Neocom" is an instantaneous FTL communications system allowing connectivity between Stargates that are able to ‘reach’ each other (IE in ‘range’, meaning the one’s they can send/receive to/from) and all the Stations in a given system. This is the “Local Communication Link” or, LCL [acronym mine] usually just  called “local”.

As each gate and station crew (the ever affable Docking Manager Scotty) handles Traffic Control and records the Approach; Landing; Fight Plan Transmittal or Docking Request; Request for Jump Clearance; Jump; Jump Landing; Request for Warp Clearance or Undock Clearance and Warpout for EACH and EVERY ship that passes through them, and because LCL allows instantaneous updates of these records to ALL gates in range and ALL Stations inside each system, and because all ships 'have to be connected to the LCL' in order to use the gates and stations, therefore all ships share these updates and hence have ‘prefect intel’ on the ships that enter and leave a given system. The Capsuleers (and NPC Crews) can also use the LCL to communicate with anyone in the system.

In Anoikis, W-space, just jumping thru a wormhole does not post yer pic and name up for all to see… why? No GATES… Naturally occurring wormholes are not Neocom networked so once you jump through, you are cut off from Empire LCL.

La Grande Image…
Rhavas kicked all of this off with the statement that he is …not entirely certain that “Local is broken”. As to the ‘broken’ part I say no (the over use of ‘broken’ in a statement about an EvE mechanic one does not “like” T’s me off.. I RAIL against this abuse of language as it is not ‘broken’… I can ‘use’ it just fine), but it just may be, however ‘UNBALANCED’ at the least it is perceived that way by a vocal segment of New Eden. OK, so not broken per se, but possibly unbalanced… okay, to ‘splain…

The whole 'Local' issue is (for me also tied into the AFK Cloaky, Cyno, and Blob Hotdrop issues)… is as always, really about the universal PvE (risk adverse) player vs. PvP (risk inclined) player thing and the game mechanics that help or hinder each in their preferred gameplay…

It is based in the methodologies, mechanics, strategies and tactics of ‘safety’ in EvE and the methodologies, mechanics, strategies and tactics of ‘aggression’ in EvE…  boiled down, it is the EvE version of “hide and seek”… but instead of “TAG yer IT!” and a reset, the one found and tagged gets assploded, with a attendant cost in ISK and time, and may also possibly win a free POD express trip to their clonehome… so… 

Motives and Motivations...
One of the things I find absolutely fascinating about EvE is that players who are Miners and Industry types (not botters or RMTers) some of whom really are deeply dyed-in-the-wool PvP adverse people, all still find the size and openness of the market economy and the complexity and challenge of being a successful Industry player in EvE fulfilling enough to make it worth their limited play time to play EvE ‘their way’ even though it is such a well known and blatant gankers paradise.

Now while I am quite sure that a really huge number of mining Chars etc. are alts and ISKchars for null and lowsec PvP mains, and another large segment are ISKchars/bots for non-players or RMTers, them as ‘game the game’ but don't PLAY the game. I believe if you subtract them (the ISKbots, RMTbots and ISKchars)… and from my time in EvE, on the forums, following blogs and just gut feeling, I'd say 1/3 or less of mining Chars are full time real EvE Miners who’s main playstyle and ingame enjoyment IS Mining and Industry.

But NONE of them… not a gods blessed ONE is going to be lured into low or null to ultimately be targets for the Greiferbears. Aint gonna happen, the Holy Balance Sheets have Calculated and Decreed. ONLY if they are as safe as in Hisec… not MORE safe, just AS SAFE, and by this I mean as “profitable” as hisec... then and ONLY then will you see more non-Alliance mining move into lo and null… a few very salient points from Hermit …

…(the ubiquitous ‘they’) think local makes it too easy for people to avoid PVP.” and…

…is it likely to increase, leave unchanged, or decrease the average population of impacted systems?” This last point is important. ”Make each system a nirvana for Pirates and you get, well, just Pirates."

The converse is true too…Make each system a nirvana for Miners and you get, well, Miners and Industrialists and Market Mavens, and Mission Runners and… oh, wait…” “A nirvana for Miners?” you cry! Yea… make it as safe as Hisec and it’s just more hisec, make it SAFER than Hisec and the majority of carebears will eventually move there.

And no matter how much ‘bettah’ ores you put in lo and null, as long as a decent wage can be earned and a fulfilling time can be played, miners and Indy types will STAY in safer space… “OK, you say with ebil grin, “So keep slowly reducing the profits in Hi and slowly increasing them in low!” you chuckle… “Slowly wean them off the Great Teat of  Hisec and let them come down sit at the Big Peoples Table and feast in the Land of Plenty!” uh huh…

Change things until Hi is (still as safe but) no longer ‘profitable’, Lo and Null possible revenues notwithstanding and all you will is break their enjoyment in the game and their will-to-play… you will drive them out of the game. Change things so the Holy Balance Sheet Says, “Not Worth Undocking”… and they’ll simply unsub and play some other, more enjoyable and fulfilling game.

Carebears are NOT IN IT FOR Greiferbears ENJOYMENT. They are in it for the exact same reason Griefers are, for their own personal enjoyment of the game and what they get out of it in THEIR chosen playstyle. How many Greiferbears would rage quit if CCP ever made EvE a PvP optional game? uh huh.. and how fast? Riiiight… Well, take away the Carebears “enjoyment” and they will leave just as quickly and in greater numbers.

OK, so if you follow me and IF you can accept and understand that we each play the game only so long as it’s WORTH it to us as individuals. And as individuals we each have different ways of enjoying our time in EvE, then.

Back to Main Topic…

How would changes to ‘local’ affect Grieferbears griefin and Carebears bearing?

As I see it, not much at all really. It is the DESIRE to do a thing, not the ABILITY to do a thing that drives each of us. If you don’t really WANT to do it (no matter what IT is) then you simply won’t, no matter the incentive. And if you DO really want to do “it”, and “it” is no longer cost effective or fun… well, there’s always Tanks.

So, ‘You’ want more players in Lo & Null? Simple, give them a reason to WANT to go to Lo & Null. But to do THAT, you have to understand their way of thinking, thier way of playing the game, what drives them and what motivates them and what they WANT out of the game… but as long as your only thought is of YOUR desire to SHOOTZ them… there will never be a carrot big enough or juicy enough to lure them anywhere… because you can’t offer them anything they want.

It’s really quite easy… leave and never come back and they’ll come down in droves… but as long you are there, camping the gates ‘tween Hi and Lo and as long as what YOU want, to assplode them, is directly opposed to what THEY want, to maximize their mining yield and ROI without losing ships, getting PODDED and LOLed at… then you’ll never see any change at all.

Make enough changes so they have little choice BUT to mine in Lo & Null… and they’ll go play Tanks.

"Tur, you make it seem hopeless… like Hisec will always be Paris or New York or London… Bright Lights, Broadway, Banks, Cops, Crowds and Wall Street… Quafe N Hookers Baby!!! and Null will always be vast, cold, lonely deserts populated by treacherous and vile hordes, gathering together around scattered oases, tribes of thieves and assassins held together by their shared ebil natures… and Lo will forever be… the slums of New Eden, a no-man’s land roamed by loners and small gangs of petty thugs, errant highwaymen and poor pirates who find neither home nor peace in the ‘Cities of Light’ or the ‘Deserts of Darkness’… is this all we have to look forward to?” 

Yea… pretty much sums it up.   =\

[You may have noticed that I left out Anoikis (IE W-space, IE wormholes…), that was on purpose. We who choose to live on the other side of the sky are just-fine-thank-you-very-much. We have need only of Empires markets and the great bags of ISK they freely give for our rare and richly valued wares, so we can fill our wallets with ISK and our POS bellies with the finest ships and food and luxuries…]    =P

Now understand there still IS a ‘local’ channel… it does exist but we have what is called ‘delayed local’… as long as you don’t talk, you don’t show up in it. The ships, POSes, POCOs and PI Structures are all Neocom linked and so there is a network, it just doesn’t include the entrances and exits and cannot connect to Empire LCL.

So, in Empire only, LCL gives us:

(1) Accurate intel on the number and names of the ‘pilots’ who are insystem and Real Time updates as pilots  enter and leave systems; with a pilots name, you can do a quick records search and get detailed info on the pilot, his current and past activities, current and past corps and Alliances, etc.

(2) And not much else really… huh. Granted it seems that’s enough to cause a Monsoon inna Mug for some…

From LCL we know WHO (numbers and names) is in a system with us and we get Real Time updates, IE the ever popular “Local Spike!” when a fleet jumps in together and local immediately logs the increased number of pilots, the same occurs in reverse when a fleet jumps out and the faces/names ripple away from local.

In my corp, when we scan down the static losec hole, the first scout thru holds cloak and FIRST BM’s the return and SECOND checks local… reports #in-local; system name; #of-jumps to Hi and #of-jumps to closest trade hub…

Then he is ready to break jump cloak and either jump back or cloak up and go scouting or whatever. Normally he will recloak and continue static scouting/data collection… Pull up the Star Map and check the System History for ship/pod kills, jumps, pilots ‘in space’ and pilots ‘docked in station’ looking for patterns indicating ganks, camps, fac war, etc.

I find it very interesting that NO ONE has brought up the System Statistics available in the OV. The #of ships kills; #of pod kills; #of pilots in space; #of pilots docked; #of jumps, etc., etc. All of which MUST be the historical data collected from all gates & stations as pilots ships jump, travel and assplode (PODs too) all of which is captured by multiple redundant computer systems at each gate & station throughout New Eden (except in Anoikis)...

I personally live in a hole, so local is meh to me, but I do feel that it should be altered or modified through a set of skills and mods that gives them as live in Empire control of local or control of access to it AND a way to counter being visible on it...

Ms Penny of Tigerears has brought up what is, I feel, a very salient point… The Ship’s Transponder (an integral part of the above postulated technology that handles automatic connections, IFF and background data transmissions to/from the LCL providing CONCORD with the ability to handle ‘Traffic Control’ which WOULD be needed at the gates and stations throughout New Eden… plus, of course, their vaunted and amazing response times for criminal acts.

And I quote: “Transponder information couldn't be hidden without eventual Concord involvement, and would be difficult to hide anyway. Want to dock? You need an active transponder. What to use a stargate? You need an active transponder. This is how the list of pilots can be built and maintained in each system. Every ship that undocks is known; every ship that jumps from one system to another is known and tracked. The lack of hardware pushing ships to w-space is also how local doesn't work there. 

This backs up my postulation above as regards the tech and lore behind the how and why of Local.

And I REALLY like her following postulation so much that..

again I quote directly: “maybe this is how local can be successfully transformed. High-sec has active Concord involvement. The traffic control information is relayed publicly, for safety and information, so is free to all. Low-sec could have a delay, maybe updating once every thirty seconds—or maybe having a base delay of thirty seconds that scales upwards as the security status of the system drops—just because the equipment isn't as high a standard as in high-sec. Stargates and stations build up a log of all entries and exits, and ping the log occasionally.

This is again backed by current lore and the virtuality we live in…
> 1.0 to .0.5 CONCROD response times follow a pattern that stipulates a ‘perfect’ level of intel

> 0.6 to 0.9 CONCORD response times are degraded… noticeably.. as if communications and intel was not as effective and timely.

> Null… well, all CONCORD knows about null is that you did something... they are relegated to just keeping records of your bad acts… (your security status…

> Anoikis, they don’t even know you exist.

All of this is directly tied to communications and intel. This ties in so closely with my idea’s it’s scary… Go Ms Penny! Maybe, local should be a direct reflection of CONCORD involvement, intel gathering, accuracy and response times.

(told ya you weren’t ready…)   So WhatinhelldowedonowFFS??...

I dunt know, Ima jus the messenger, I jus points out the stuff I see… Ima no fix eet…

I have no idea if (1) there is anything to FIX per se but (B) there are a LOT of good ideas out there and… we have this really great GAME and it has all this great STUFF innit and it is a BLAST to play and mess with and talk about and blog about and moan about and bich about and… and… and…  Ima pick a few ideas I have had, read and like and Ima edit, play with and post for your edification...

‘Local Cloak’ – Poetic Stanziel – “Local Cloaking - Bringing Mining Back to Lowsec

The idea is a low slot mod that ‘hides’ you from local but not Dscan. In other words no change to the Client or server, the change is based on the module effects.


Personally I REALLY like this one. It makes sense, it feels right scientifically, it changes the mechanic of “Perfect Local Intel” to something right between what it is now and “No-Local” as we have in holes. It adds new elements to both Strategy & Tactics and Gameplay & Immersion.

I prefer a server change removing local from the system as a whole and basing it on your ships attributes  alone. Your ship would have a ‘Base Neocom Range’ (Comms Range), scaled same as all attributes… shortest for POD, then upscaling for shuttles, then Noob ships, then Frigs, etc., etc. … hitting the max base range of 14.35 AU probably at the Cruiser/BC class… same base max range as Dscan but can be altered/affected by Modules. Reports the same info as now only for ships that are WITHIN your Comms Range. Additional modules/skills to augment/counter this.

Module classification: ‘Intelwar Module’; shares Ewar bonuses.

Augment: (Increase Ships Local Comms Range & Strength [You See More])
> Low slot mods (+skills): “Neocom Antenna Multiplexor”: increase Comms range in increments to +100% of base, stacking & CPU penalties;
> Mid slot mods (+skills): “Neocom Signal Booster”: significantly increase Comms range to max of +200%, and enhanced data; IE ship types/pull INFO/range and bearing, fit ONE only w/ High CAP cost;
> No Hi slot Mods for Comms Augmentation.

Counter: (Decrease Ships Local Comms Signal & Response [You are Harder to See])
> Low slot mods (+skills): “Neocom Signal Distortion Amplifier”: Passive Jam Comms; jamming strength in increments to -50% of base and % chance to jam based on ship attributes and skills; stacking & CPU penalties;
> Mid slot mods (+skills): “Neocom Multiband Jammer”: Active Jam Comms; jamming strength and % chance to jam based on ship attributes and skills; significantly increase Comms Jam strength and % chance to jam to max of -100%; fit ONE only w/ High CAP cost;
> No Hi slot Mods for Comms Jamming.

And, Ima copy my own comment w/ attribute!! Taken directly (then edited) from a response on Poetics ‘Local Cloak’ post: 

The ONLY reason the Cloak works and is BALANCED in W-space is because there is NO Cyno in W-space. The issue is not cloaks… its Cynos. But NOBODY wants to talk about how out of balance they are.

Cyno Counter:
I wanna see a “Cyno Jump Disruptor”… Lo/Null only POS Mod, can be Anchored and Onlined in any Lrg POS in any Lo/Null system. When ON this module ‘disrupts’ any active cyno jump or jump bridge that crosses the system the module is in. Any and all ships, passing through a system with a “Cyno Jump Disruptor” online, are forced out of warp back into normal space randomly (all together w/ Fleet status maintained) ‘somewhere’ in the system roughly along their line of warp...

There is a one minute reset on ALL the ships that were forced out of warp… because being FORCED out of a warp tunnel shuts all computer systems DOWN and it takes at least one minute for them to reboot plus (…it feels like someone reached up through your anus, out through your mouth, grabbed the top of your heard… and yanked you head out you ass…) for the crew AND Capsuleer, it hurts like hell, gives everyone onboard a pounding migraine and severe grommet pain… and one really weird side effect… a full minute of projectile diarrhea…   (hence the burning ‘grommet’ pain)   =\

For a full 60 seconds your whole shitty fleet just drifts, aimless, non-responsive and stinking in space… inside a system… possibly a hostile system… full of clean, hostile ships… with clean Combat Probes already in the air… Ping!    Ping!    Ping!    Ping! 

NOW let’s see how many Titan Fleets or Cap Fleets or even Subcap Fleets wanna risk jumping across ANY systems not under their control? Imagine the possibilities!!! Imagine the FUN!!! Imagine the Typhoon of Tears, the Monsoon of Moaning, the utter and implacable RAGE from CFC and HBC that anyone DARES to even suggest screwing with the ‘perfectly balanced mechanic’ of Cynos and Jump Bridges… their private highways through the ether…

OK, ok… that last part, the CJD, was mainly just for fun and ‘cause my muse wouldn’t effin let go of my brain for a few… (was funny though…) But really… to sum up:

(1) Local is not BROKEN, it is, IMHO however unbalanced in favor of the aggressor as it stands now.

(2) As a game mechanic and in Lore there is good sound technological basis for the way the mechanic works ATM.

(3) So we have a working mechanic with a good basis in tech & lore. Let us focus on BALANCING it as regards Aggressor vs. Defender while at the same time creating more immersion, depth and most importantly, ‘control’ for the players through new Mods & Skills that allows us to modify, IE increase or decrease, our personal use of, and exposure to and on, the Neocom Local Celestial Link.

There’s gotta be something between this… and Local.

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=


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  1. CONCORD traffic control... don't think I've ever thought of it quite like you pictured. It makes sense. It's a nice picture too. Well done my friend. And, I agree with you and all the others that say local isn't broken. It really isn't. I just long for something less chatty. That's one of the things I really, really like about w-space. NO CHATTING. *grin*

  2. LOL yea.. we do all our chattin on TS... if you aint on our TS server, yer a TARGET!!

    And if you suspend disbelief and let yourself see New Eden as a 'reality' things like Traffic Control at Gates and Stations would be as obvious as they are at airports and and shipping terminals in RL.

    As you well know I do not 'role play' so much as believe in EvE. When I am logged on, I AM Tur... and this is his Real Life... so I tend to look at it from the perspective of if this were real, what's missing and or incongruous.

    Local, as it exists now, with the SciFi assumptions of FTL travel and communication, actually makes a lot of sense from a tech standpoint... but as it is TECH based, it should be vulnerable to TECH based modification... increasing it's use/range/detail and decreasing it's use/range/detail..

    IE we should be able to Fuk With Local... =]

  3. Thanks for the props, Tur. And I like how it all fits in to Concord response times. Very nice post.

  4. Stealin pictures of cloaky ships on teh internetz erryday.

    Thanks for the inspiration.


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