Friday, April 26, 2013

Is CCP Preparing to Eliminate Suicide Ganking?

TheMittani.com posted an article yesterday about the Fanfest presentation on Crimewatch and Tags4Sec. The idea of "Tags4Sec", having lowsec rats drop tags that can be sold or redeemed to raise security status, has been around for a long time now. According to CCP's presentation at Fanfest, the upcoming Odyssey expansion will introduce the Tags4Sec feature.

In addition, CCP announced that they will nerf players' ability to raise their security status by removing "cycle ratting". Basically, this means that players can't speed up security status gains by killing rats in multiple systems. This nerf will be partially offset by allowing a security status gain once every five minutes, regardless of system, instead of every fifteen minutes ("ticks" were twelve minutes when I used to rat, but everyone says fifteen, so whatevs).

The practical effect of these changes is actually somewhat unclear. In the comments section of the article, Powers Sa of Goonswarm's Miniluv estimated that the replacement of cycle ratting with a 5-minute limit will roughly double the amount of time it takes to raise sec status. But one must also add Tags4Sec into the mix. How rare/expensive will the tags be? Will buying tags add to the ever-increasing cost of suicide ganking, or will they be common/cheap enough to make raising sec status trivial? Adding to the complexity is the fact that there will be different tags for increasing sec status in different ranges. Will it become much more costly to raise sec status from -10 up to -8, as opposed to going from -2 to 0?

Based on CCP's historic pattern, one might guess that they'll initially go overboard with the new feature, putting tag-rats everywhere in lowsec, making them extremely cheap. Then, having seen the effect of a relatively small number of sec-grinders buying from the vast pool of tags, CCP will nerf the tags to make them more expensive. But this is all speculation.

At this point, you might be wondering what the big deal is. That's because I have committed not one, but two journalistic crimes in this post. The first crime was to have a headline that ends with a question mark. The second crime was to bury the lede. I feel justified in the committing the later crime because sometimes a bit of background information is helpful in effectively communicating the "important" part, which saves time in the long run. Besides, if you're reading blog posts about EVE (or indeed, playing EVE at all), you can't really be too pressed for time. Anyway, while most of the conversation in the EVE community has centered on the subjects I've just addressed, the far more significant announcement in the Fanfest presentation had to do with "Concord standings". Here's the brief mention from the TheMittani.com article:
"The first announced change was the splitting of security status from CONCORD standings. Currently CONCORD standing and security status are the same thing. After Odyssey CONCORD standings will be reset to 0 for all players and will function as standings, just like any other faction present in the game. It was stated that this will have relatively little effect for the moment, but offers CCP the freedom to program "interesting things" in future. Please note this is NOT a resetting of security status, which will remain consistent."
Before I delve into the significance of this, a brief diversion: Sec status affects players in two different ways. The first, near and dear to our hearts, relates to suicide ganking in highsec. Once your sec status drops below -2, you begin to be shut out from flying freely through highsec systems. You can still warp your pod around, but you are attackable by all players and, more significantly, faction police will tackle and destroy you if you remain in the same place for too long. This is the reason why some gankers (such as Miniluv) periodically restore their sec status. Others, like the Knights of the Order, design their operation around gank alts with permanent -10 sec status.

The second affect of sec status has to do with lowsec players. If you attack anyone in lowsec who isn't a wardec target, you'll lose sec status. The penalty isn't as great, but it still eventually shuts lowsec players out of operating freely in highsec. The difference is that Concord isn't present in lowsec. A lowsec player can reach -10 sec status without ever having suicide ganked a miner. Indeed, you can be a model citizen in highsec and still have a bad rap, simply by being an active lowsec player.

There isn't any good reason for this kind of treatment for lowsec players, and it's one of the reasons why lowsec became the red-headed stepchild of the EVE galaxy. Personally, I think they should remove all sec status penalties for lowsec actions. You might recall from my debate with Ripard Teg on my CSM platform that even he agreed with some of my opinions on sec status grinding, particularly where lowsec is concerned.

This brings us to CCP's plans to divide sec status from Concord status. According to my long-standing theory on the carebearization of EVE, CCP has been incrementally removing all risk from highsec, for the purpose of making EVE a more welcoming place for the mainstream, theme park MMO players who have made so many other computer companies rich. My theory further states that CCP knows from past experience that it cannot create a theme park in highsec in one fell swoop without risking the wrath of its existing playerbase, so they must do it step-by-step and disguise their intentions along the way.

In the past, we've discussed a lot of the changes to suicide ganking, can-flipping, and wardecs that have occurred along the way. More recently, we've talked about the debate that has already taken place among CCP and the CSM about whether to remove non-consensual wardecs entirely. My theory also predicts that despite suicide ganking of mining ships occurring at an all-time low, CCP will be tempted to take further steps toward eliminating suicide ganking altogether.

Based on that prediction, I and other like-minded individuals have paid special attention to anything that might diminish the ability of EVE players to perform suicide ganks while at -10 sec status. In particular, I have been watchful for any hints that CCP might buff faction police or make Concord response time variable according to sec status. (Incidentally, both of these changes have been proposed by carebear advocates of a risk-free highsec in whine threads on EVE-O.) Such changes would be especially harmful because most suicide gankers have been forced to operate at -10 sec status, thanks to all the previous nerfs to ganking.

CCP's announcement that they will be splitting sec status from Concord standings (without telling us anything about why they're doing it) is exactly the kind of thing I have been on the lookout for. The article on TheMittani.com quotes CCP as saying "this will have relatively little effect for the moment, but offers CCP the freedom to program 'interesting things' in future." Let's consider the kind of interesting things CCP might do with the new feature.

The most obvious use for the new Concord standings is to program variable Concord response time. For example, a player with a Concord standing of 0 might get the default amount of time to perform a suicide gank, but a player with -10 could be stopped by Concord within a few short seconds. This would effectively spell the end of DPS-based suicide ganking as we know it. Alpha-based suicide ganking could be eliminated if low Concord standings allow preexisting Concord squads (such as those milling around the Jita gate) to open fire on criminals before they commit a Concordable offense.

CCP could argue that it's not really a nerf to ganking, perhaps by allowing people with higher Concord standings to have more than the default time to commit a gank. But in practice, anyone who performs suicide ganks does more than one gank in the lifetime of a character. Before long, any ganker would find himself with low Concord standings and at the mercy of whatever new nerf is planned.

To the extent that gankers could adapt to the change, they would need to do it by abandoning their -10 lifestyle. A determined ganker might respond by saying, "Welp, time to buy a bunch of tags or grind sec status." Depending on how the Tags4Sec system shakes out, this might be practical, or it might be effectively impossible. But that's where the splitting of Concord status and sec status really comes into play.

Remember, CCP announced said that sec status and Concord standings will be completely separate. They have not said anything about being able to increase one's Concord standings with the new tags--only sec status. They have not said anything about how Concord standings may be raised, or even whether they can be raised at all.

By splitting Concord standings from sec status, CCP will be able to treat suicide gankers very differently from the lowsec community. Recall, for example, the massive nerfs to suicide ganking that occurred after the Jihadswarm campaign of several years ago. In those days, CCP attempted to limit ganking by increasing the sec status penalties and making them more of a burden to grind. Suppose CCP wanted to do something like this again. It wouldn't merely affect the suicide gankers; it would also affect everyone in lowsec. But now, by dividing sec status from Concord standings, CCP could punish the gankers without touching the lowsec players.

We might imagine, for instance, cheaply-available tags that help lowseccers increase their sec status, and ultra-rare Concord tags that allow suicide gankers to increase their Concord standings only for a high price. CCP could allow ratting to raise sec status as normal, but make Concord standings unaffected by ratting. Alternatively, they could make ratting raise sec status at a decent rate, but make Concord standings creep up only in very small amounts. The result would be that gankers operating at a permanent -10 would be neutered by faster Concord reaction times, while gankers who grind standings would be subject to a more burdensome Concord standing grind. Meanwhile, the lowsec crowd would have no incentive to join the ganking community in opposing these changes, because they would have an easier time restoring sec status.

Of course, this is all speculation. On the other hand, speculation only ends when the official decision has already been made. By the time a new system has been announced, it will be too late. In the meantime, consider the following: Aside from creating a new way to nerf gankers and make highsec safer, are there any other possible reasons for the new system? And if there are potentially "good" uses for the system, why hasn't CCP said anything about them?

46 comments:

  1. Good points, though like you said all speculation.

    It could very well be that they are instead going to create Concord as its own nation (like Amarr, Caldari, Gallente, Minmatar) with its own standings, missions, etc. and remove Concord ships from all over regions of space.

    At least, I hope that's what they want to do.

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  2. Sounds like someone a little paranoid about losing their mindless following of gankers :)

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    Replies
    1. Mindless? I put forth a lot of effort in my ganking. I do it for money. And you can make ISK doing it. ...but you've never tried to suicide gank before have you? Going based off what you wrote I can conclude that you have no idea the effort that is put into ganking, yet you comment as if you do.

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    2. and going based off what you wrote i can conclude you're making assumptions to lean your argument if your favor.

      yes, i have indeed done suicide ganking. neutral scout provides warp in, undock from station, warp to scout, apply dps. i'm not sure how much "effort" you need to do this, especially against a stationary target that has a good chance to be afk. perhaps if you find it too much of a challenge you should try to find a better source of income.

      now please go on and tell me how i have no idea idea what i'm talking about while you preach james 315's words as an excuse for your tears addiction.

      again, mindless is the word that comes to mind. carry on plebeian.

      Delete
    3. If you think it's that simple, then you've never scouted, FC'd, ran logistics of a suicide ganking fleet, and were more of the f1 dps guy. I should have made my comment more clear, I was referring to solo suicide ganking Exhumers for profit. Yes, suicide ganking in a fleet is a bit easier than doing it yourself *if* you have the dps in the fleet; which, sometimes you don't. but that's not my point, back to the point I was originally making, but failed to be clear about it. Solo suicide ganking Exhumers for profit is on the verge of extinction; if it isn't extinct already. You would think that more people would have taken notice to this and be upset over it regardless of which side of the fence you stand on.. essentially because Eve is slowly losing it's "anything can happened" slogan one nerf at a time.

      I used to solo gank Exhumers. All the potential target needed was one mod and no matter the security status, no matter the pre-pull, if that module was fitted, I was not ganking them. And I'm cool with that. More people should learn to fit slots with something other than nothing. But, it started taking too long to find targets, and then the isk/hr wasn't very good anymore with the salvage nerf.

      Hope that clears up what I meant.

      Delete
  3. Is it clear that committing criminal actions will impact CONCORD standings?

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    Replies
    1. It isn't clear what, exactly, would affect CONCORD standings or what effect CONCORD standings would have on gameplay. If you are optimistic, you may remember that CCP had circulated some rumors awhile back about doing away with CONCORD death squads and having a system whereby players would be given some incentive to do the policing in highsec themselves. That would be a dream come true pretty much any way you could imagine it.

      If you are pessimistic, you probably are looking at this like there will be two sorts of security status to manage, rather than one, with the idea of making it more difficult to persistently commit highsec crimes.

      I want to be an optimist, I really do. I want to believe that CCP holds a secret love for highsec PvP and highsec piracy and will always support and nourish us to some extent. Unfortunately they have disappointed me over and over again, and I don't have high hopes that this will be any different.

      Delete
  4. CCP hasn't said how Concord standings can be raised, but they also haven't said how they can be lowered. We don't know yet whether criminal actions that draw Concord response will lower Concord standing in addition to or instead of sec status losses.

    My hope: this change is not significant in itself, just a necessary housekeeping step to allow Concord to get a proper faction police, and a trip through the Sanctum constellation will no longer be a death sentence for PVPers.

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  5. All I hear are tears...gankers tears. Like you said before, if u don't like it, play another game. lol. I smell the end to the new order. gankers tears are sooo sweet.

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    Replies
    1. Or we just make more 10 hour catalyst alts.

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    2. Anon - Your confidence in your prediction is belied somewhat by your reluctance to include your Eve name.

      Care to bet ISK with me on the future of the New Order?

      Delete
    3. OK ... make a one day wonder.

      Gank until you hit the limit CCP sets.

      Make another.

      You still lose, little miner.

      Delete
    4. CCP does not look lightly upon creating temporary accounts to suicide gank with just so you can delete them and create another. if you want to be a ganker, fine. but you need to take the consequences that come with it.

      Delete
    5. CCP sets limits on biomassing alts, yes.

      Nowhere did I advocate exceeding them.

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    6. Let's assume for a minute this post is full of 'ganker' tears; it's not, but for the sake of argument let's say it is. There are 3219841938518237591827 more tears from whinebears/crybears/carebears (whatever you want to call yourselves). There's nothing more to type beyond that.

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    7. go ahead and create alt after alt just to just to get around the sec penalty. Just realize this is a banable offense. So go right ahead, I want to see how many gankers get banned.

      Delete
  6. I read somewhere that more agents would be added. I don't know if it was official or someone's speculation, but since it was on the Internet, it must be true. Currently stations owned by CONCORD like DED are unattractive for trading and refining because there's no way to raise standings. Maybe that will change.

    As for the tags, I would think the lowest sec status range (-10 to -8) would be cheapest, since you can avoid ever needing them by using the higher ones more often. But I'm used to being -10, so barring a major change to game mechanics I don't expect to buy any.

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  7. I honestly doubt it will affect the legions of -10 gankers operating under The New Order banner. It's been design philosophy with CCP that they won't totally lock you out of any section of space. If anything, the tags4sec system will give us -10s a way to repair sec when/as needed.

    Would lead to some interesting interactions with the rebels. They fleet up to gank the gankers, only to have us tag out sec status to -4.9.

    Worst comes to worst, we switch on over to AWOXing.

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  8. You're making a big assumption that getting concord-ed or committing other sec status violations will lower your concord standing. No other corp or faction standing works this way and this change clearly (at least a major portion of it) is to standardize how the standings code work since shoe-horning player security status into the standings code base was clearly a mistake.

    What happens beyond that with this new corp/faction standing that's being added to the game is anyone's guess but I'm sure your conversations with Art Bell have convinced you it could only mean bad for you.

    Have you ever noticed how even though you continue to claim that CCP has been killing off eve for years now with every theme parkirization and nerf to ganking yet the subscription numbers keep rising? I'm surprised you've never tied those two together every time you've played the "yet the subscription numbers keep rising" space in James 315 bingo.

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  9. It is comical to think that you should have a -10 sec status and be able to fly by the space police and just wave out the window to them, on your way to blow up another miner.

    I agree that players should be able to gank. I agree that players should be able to make a career out of being an outlaw. That is the sandbox. But I also think if you do it repeatedly then eventually you get Concorded on sight.

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  10. Quite astounding that two contradictory ideas can coexist in your post.

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  11. A nerf to suicide ganks, rolled out at the same time as a buff to nullsec ores (per today's devblog). Curiouser and curiouser.

    I really wish that CCP would make one change at a time, so as to adequately quantify the effect of it before making another change.

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  12. meanwhile, failure to comment on the lowering of exhumer tanks by the lowering of their native resists;

    https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=224880

    and now the removal of needing to scan down miners inside a grav site;

    https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=229269

    something you specifically desired on your aborted run for CSM. We are all getting worried about your lack exposure to the wider game experience. But keep up playing the same old tune about carebearism.

    Those who want to gank can, those who cant start blogs.

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    Replies
    1. There's also the issue of the ice mining nerf.

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    2. The change from ice belts to anoms could potentially be an incredible nerf to suicide ganking - if we are unable to land within reasonable range of the target due to deadspace mechanics, this could potentially herald the end of suicide ganking against ice miners.

      Delete
  13. Firstly, i just love how 99% of whiny little baby bears ONLY post under anonymous. It must be a hard life to have an opinion, but be to afraid to own up to that opinion.
    Otherwise....James, stop giving CCP all these ideas theyd never come up with on their own.

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    Replies
    1. I rather like being an anonymous supporter of James 315. I'm a carebear, but I like to believe that James 315 is improving my game -- he's changing highsec so that I'm rewarded for staying at my keyboard and being aware of my surroundings. As long as the New Order is operating, if I mine at my keyboard I have an advantage over the AFK miners, the advantage being that I don't get suddenly blown to bits. Oh, and I bought a permit, of course.

      I'm not 100% sure I agree with James's hypothesis in the above blog post, but I dread the prospect of a risk-free highsec. Risk represents opportunity for me -- it allows me to outperform other carebears, by understanding the risks and compensating for them. By understanding aggression timers and PVP tactics I can survive mission invasions; by understanding contracts and educating myself about defective buy orders I can avoid scams; by following the Code and permit-tanking my Retriever I can avoid New Order ganks. Every risk in highsec challenges me, taunts me to accept and defeat the risk where others would fall victim to it.

      If highsec became risk-free, I'm not sure I would play EVE anymore. I just couldn't maintain an advantage over my fellow carebears.

      Delete
  14. God damn, CCP, just teach bears how to tank there ships. Idk how many Hulks and Macks I gank that dont have anything in their mid slots, and ofc their lows are MLUs (or Ice equiv). -10 for life. All hail James315.

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  15. You've missed the new scanning tool. What happens when that takes over the functionality of the current dscan? Especially with it's 'always on' setting.

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    Replies
    1. It doesn't replace the dscan, it replaces the system wide anom scanner.

      Delete
    2. *Now* it replaces the anom scanner. So what happens *when* it replaces the dscan?

      People have been asking for a change to the constant pressing of the scan button for years, I suspect this is the tool that will do it, with differing accuracies/ranges dependant on skills and ship type/fitting

      Delete
  16. Holy shit and I thought "I" was paranoid. So what if what you propose really happens? It depends on how you can gain CONCORD-standings. So high CONCORD-standings would only protect people willing to run missions or shovel some kind of tags into the maws of CONCORD-agents or something similar.

    Heck, maybe you have to kill pilots with negative standings or negative sec status to gain CONCORD-standing. Nothing of which will help your victims, except if they are prepated to actually play the game for a chance.

    If this idle speculation actually comes true, nothing will change for carebears, especially the AFK-variant. (Some could even be worse off then now if they never bother to do something about their CONCORD-standings.)

    ReplyDelete
  17. > "Aside from creating a new way to nerf gankers and make highsec safer, are there any other possible reasons for the new system?"

    Acquiring sufficient standings with a faction gives you shiny ship(iirc, it was either a hull or a limited bpc) for free. You could potentially get CONCORD ships with just as high standings.

    That would probably get used by players wanting to deter gankers by flying around like CONCORD does(bot-aspirant much?), so the gankers decide to attempt to "pull" them and thus don't spend that time ganking the proper target, giving said target that window of opportunity to get out of there safely.

    New Order agents would probably take the time to look at the "CONCORD" ship and call out the bluff. Or even more hilariously: Imagine bumping non-compliants while FLYING a CONCORD cruiser/battleship.

    > "And if there are potentially "good" uses for the system, why hasn't CCP said anything about them?"

    To avoid the hype that'd follow, with hysteria and all that drama, only to disappoint when they fail to deliver on the hype?

    Looking at the CONCORD Hulls example again, obviously these things if given to players would be no stronger that what is already available to players. At the most, they'd be equatable to Pirate faction ships or T2. Thus, the potential rewards would not match the hype(which would obviously be hysterical over the prospect of us getting the power of CONCORDDOKEN).

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  18. In the same manner of you accusing carebears of whining posts aren't you whining here of speculated changes. Or is it a case of who's whining is more justified. Hi sec should be made safer for people if they want to carebear. Why should the game play of Eve be dictated by people such as yourself. Making HS safer will attract and retain more players, and of these players there will be those who will transition into Low and Null. I do agree that Low should remain untouched, or should include some sort of incentive for HS carebears to take the risk to try and exploit LS so that people can still employ ganking tactics so as to remain an element of Eve. Failing that perhaps there could be a rethink on how sec mechanics operate perhaps creating a transitional sector/s so leaving say 1-0.7 safe, 0.6-0.5 as it is now. Either way like it or not Eve is no longer the domain of gankers, pirates, pvpers etc. the game now belongs to many different types of players including carebears. And just because someone wants to carebear doesn't make them weak, and doesn't make them less if a player. If the truth is told most of the so called hard arses on Eve would probably melt into water if they where put into a real world pvp situation.

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    Replies
    1. "Eve is no longer the domain of gankers, pirates, pvpers etc. the game now belongs to many different types of players including carebears."

      Now that we've identified the problem, we can start to work on solutions.


      "And just because someone wants to carebear doesn't make them weak, and doesn't make them less if a player."

      That's your opinion, it's incorrect, but you're entitled to it.


      "...most of the so called hard arses on Eve would probably melt into water if they where put into a real world pvp situation."

      'real world PvP situation' huh? Is that like when you're at the supermarket and somebody in the produce department walks up and violences your space ship?


      "Why should the game play of Eve be dictated by people such as yourself."

      We believe the game should be run by players, not NPCs. Now, whether it should be "people such as [us]" is open for debate, but it comes down to that old saying, you know, "politics goes to those who show up". Well so far, we're the only ones who have shown up.


      Go with the Code.
      -Galaxy Pig

      Delete
    2. Markgame777: Control in EVE is for the strongest. The most you did till now is commenting on the forum, and you're not even able to use paragraphs.

      High Sec belong to the New Order because they're conquering it by actions. You want to defeat them not by your own hand, but by asking even more safety from CCP. And you think you're not weak.

      Also, don't you realize that the New Order is invincible thanks to all the safety carebears begged for over the years? Think about it.

      Delete
    3. well said, anon 4:08.

      The New order succeeds THANKS to the very carebears they prey on. If they hadn't begged for the ability to use one-man corps to avoid wardecs, James would have lost alot of navy stabbers by now and wouldn't be one of the richest persons in high sec outside the plex sellers.

      The best way to beat the new order is to ask CCP to, while not nerf high sec to the degree the New order wish *as it would render the game unplayable for new accounts* to make it harder for player corps to avoid their concequences.

      Just recently, these very exploits were used to avoid a Black legion corp...thats how bad its gotten.

      I used to mine myself until I turned to PVP for a little action so I pass this advice onto my fellow miners.

      When you are playing EVE, learn to use the guns before you learn to use the pickaxe...you'll last longer.

      And if you want the New order to be shootable and answerble to the concequences, STOP BEGGING CCP FOR EXPLOITS THAT THEY CAN USE!!!

      Though I don't expect you high sec miners to listen...

      Delete
  19. I've never understood why PvP players feel like miners HAVE to be gankable for some reason. They're invariably low-skill, low-awareness people who usually have bad social skills on top of being bad at Eve. ...so on top of that we have to make them the whipping mule of choice? ...You may be completely inept at PvP, but just about any idiot can Tornado-f1-alpha an indy or an exhumer. "You should tank!" ...Yes, because god forbid these kids...and make no mistake, most of them are kids...should make 10million an hour instead of 8million.

    For my money, CCP should give Exhumers 10x the HP. What's the point in making what amounts to a garbage truck as fragile as these things are? The risk vs. reward is balls, and it makes mining the undisputed king of "worst ways to spend your time and SP in Eve."

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  20. "I've never understood why PvP players feel like miners HAVE to be gankable for some reason."

    That's not actually a view held by every PvP player; so, you're wrong.

    "For my money, CCP should give Exhumers 10x the HP. What' s the point in making what amounts to a garbage truck as fragile as these things are?"

    You can get an exhumer to battleship levels of EHP. You want to multiply that by 10? ...what's wrong with you?

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  21. This blog is hilarious. Not the ganking tears stuff. That's old & stale and hasn't changed in years.

    What is hilarious though, is how this blog's comments highlight the vast quantity of ganker tears. tears that occur over NOTHING. The slightest hint of a change in the game and gankers all start crowing about how "CCP are definitely going to kill EvE with all of these changes that I've just made up off the top of my head" (just read the comments above to see what I mean).

    Delusional ganker tears = Best tears. And best laughs when reading through their tear sodden posts with hindsight. Poor neurotic little souls.

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