Wednesday, February 6, 2013
My CSM Platform
I've written about the way I'm going to campaign for CSM; I promised to offer specifics about how I will change EVE if I'm elected. I always keep my promises, and today I deliver. The title of this post is a little misleading, since my CSM candidacy goes beyond merely offering suggestions for changes to the game. Nevertheless, when people think of CSM platforms, they usually think game mechanics, and that's what today's post is about.
Fixing EVE is a big job. You all know that I am not one to shy away from a challenge. Let's dive right in and talk turkey.
THE BIG PICTURE
My overall objective is to get people out of highsec and into low/null by fixing the current risk/reward imbalance. The overpopulation of highsec stifles gameplay across the board, and it threatens to send EVE further along the theme park trajectory. By giving PvE'ers ample incentive to leave highsec, and by buffing low/null, we can breathe life into lowsec and encourage more small/medium-scale PvP in nullsec.
My platform is like emergency surgery for the game: It corrects serious problems that need fixing right now, and it focuses on changes that can be made with minimal effort on the part of CCP (i.e. not adding big new features that require lots of elaborate coding).
NERF HIGHSEC PVE INTO OBLIVION
The first step is making highsec PvE much more unattractive. Ideally, no one who wants to make any money should remain in highsec very long, unless they're doing trading. Highsec is useful for new players learning how to maneuver their ship, and to create a space for trade hubs, but that's it.
Mining, ratting, missioning, etc. in highsec shouldn't be something that people do over a long period. I don't buy into the idea that it's necessary. I was ninja-mining and ninja-ratting in lowsec in my first week. The crutch of highsec has gotten completely out of control, and I intend to get rid of it.
- Highsec mining will be nerfed into oblivion. We'll have one or possibly two different types of ore available, just so new players can learn how to distinguish between them on the overview.
- Highsec missioning will be nerfed into oblivion. Nothing higher than Level 2 missions will be available. All the rest goes into lowsec.
- Highsec incursions and the like will be scrapped completely. I will eliminate all highsec PvE aside from the (virtually useless) mining and missioning. People say it's to help people learn how to PvE in groups, but that's not true--it's simply become a risk-free money-machine. No more.
Even though this will minimize the reward of highsec, I'd also like to increase the risk of highsec a bit, just in case some players don't get the message.
- Concord and faction police will take twice as long to respond, effectively making it twice as easy to be ganked.
- The firepower of sentry guns in highsec will be cut in half. I think it's excessive at the moment.
- The "boomerang" will be brought back. Concord will still kill you, but you can warp away as before. Boomerang ganking required sufficient skill, effort, and luck that I consider it a fair, legitimate tactic.
- Security status losses will be greatly diminished. I don't have an exact figure, but I don't like the idea that people who commit "crimes" in highsec should need to spend a long time grinding to make up for it. That imposes boredom on the very people who obviously like it least.
BUFF LOWSEC AND NULLSEC PVE
People need to be rewarded for their risks. Highsec carries little risk, while low/null carry great risk. That means lowsec and nullsec PvE should be much more rewarding.
- Low/null mining and ratting will be buffed. Wonks can work out the details, but mining and ratting should be boosted enough to become worth it. It should be valuable enough that people will ninja-mine and ninja-rat in what is essentially hostile territory. Corps should have incentive to have defense ships/scouts to protect their ops.
- Increase entry points? I'm toying with the idea of changing some highsec systems into lowsec, and some lowsec systems into nullsec, to increase the number of entry points. If we're going to encourage everyone to go to low/null, we can't have a handful of gatecamps seal them off. I would still keep highsec contiguous, though.
INCREASE NULLSEC SELF-SUFFICIENCY
I don't like the idea that nullsec empires import most of their stuff from highsec trade hubs. Taking and defending nullsec space requires effort. It should be the most valuable, productive territory in the game--and therefore self-sufficient.
- Nullsec mining will be buffed to the point where it's not only possible to produce nearly everything for an alliance--it should be economically desirable to do so.
- Nullsec infrastructure will be buffed. You'll often hear about major problems with the lack of production slots or whatever. I don't claim to be an expert on research, manufacturing, etc., but my goal is clear enough. We'll buff player-owned stations or do whatever is necessary so that nullsec empires can produce their own stuff.
- Ratting is automatically taxed, but mining isn't. We'll add some way to enable corps/alliances to tax mining without relying on spreadsheets. For example, we might have the refining system in player-owned stations automatically send a percentage of the refined materials into a corp/alliance "taxes" hangar. You get the idea.
ENCOURAGE A VARIETY OF PVP
Buffing low/null PvE goes a long way toward enhancing PvP in those areas. Remember the "food chain" theory of PvP: Miners/industrials provide targets for small-scale pirates, who provide targets for roaming gangs, who provide targets for defense fleets, who provide targets for big blobs. It all begins with making the mining/ratting desirable enough so that money-gatherers present themselves as targets. Effectively, we're replenishing the base of the food chain.
- Not only will mining/ratting be buffed in low/null, it will be varied. Particularly valuable rats and asteroids will appear at random. They'll be rare enough to provide rewards without skewing the system, but they won't be so rare that people feel searching is a waste. This may add a "hunter" element to what is essentially a "farming" activity, and may provide more incentive for people to roam outside their comfort zone.
- We'll shift the focus back to belts. I don't like anomalies, grav-sites, or whatever it is that people scan for. I'd prefer to have PvE done in belts. Probing is an activity few normal people enjoy, so it adds nothing to the game, and it makes things more difficult for predators. Pirates should be able to find their prey by D-scanning the asteroid belts. Remember, no pirates, no food chain.
- Rather than appearing in local when you jump the gate, you'll appear when you drop your gate-cloak. This offers a better balance. Alert, paranoid miners/ratters can escape when they see you enter local, while semi-AFK or lazy PvE'ers can be caught by a skilled/lucky pirate.
Now let's briefly talk about moongoo. Holding sov is difficult and takes effort, so nullsec powers should be rewarded with passive income from moongoo. However, buffing "active" income sources (nullsec ratting and mining--while also enabling the taxation of mining) should create more balance.
It's not so much that you get sov through occupation, but that you make the most of your space through occupation. And by making active income sources more valuable, there will be incentive for others to invade your space for reasons other than sov-grinding. This provides for smaller-scale PvP across space. If you choose not to occupy your space, someone else will. And if you choose to occupy your space without defending it, someone will kill your PvE'ers.
Finally, I'd like to provide for some way of tying moongoo to medium-size PvP. You can only take systems through sov-grinding, but I'd like people to be able to interfere with the flow of moongoo by using formidable, medium-sized subcap gangs. For example, they hit a system's "moon-mining coordination array", and once a timer runs (to prevent time zone chicanery), the array becomes vulnerable. If the attackers take the field and hit it when vulnerable, moongoo stops flowing in that system for 48 hours or something.
Alternatively, for 48 hours the moongoo flows into an unsecure container next to the array, so anyone can start taking from it. This idea isn't polished, but I think it would be hilarious if defenders and vultures attracted from afar started fighting around an out-of-control moongoo spigot.
Of course, attackers may not want to risk losing a medium-sized subcap fleet for the purpose of only temporarily disrupting moongoo--but they might. I imagine this would be more of a harassing tactic, a check against overstretch, and something that roaming gangs can do for fun instead of gatecamping.
Alright, that's enough for one day. I hope this post has given you a sense of what I stand for, and what I'll advocate for if and when I take a seat on the CSM. In future posts, I will go into detail about my philosophy for how the CSM should function.