Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Case for Wardecs

Pagination ahoy! My latest feature for TheMittani.com, "The Case for Wardecs: An Appeal to Reason", has been posted. The article addresses the new spirit of discontent felt by CCP and the CSM--and some in the EVE playerbase--about wardecs, and evaluates their criticisms.

Permanent links for past articles for TheMittani.com may be found on the Links page.


  1. Good god man... So many :words:

    If I may point out what I think is the problem with hisec wars, it's the lack of way to force a fight. In null if nobody shows up for a reinforcement timer, you lose a tower/ihub/TCU/whatever. In hisec, the defenders likely have nothing to protect. So instead of complaining about targets just folding and reforming, wardeccers should choose their fights against corps that have a tower in space they can use to force a fight. This also lends itself to making a profit in hisec. You know how much a moon slot in a .7 near jita sells for? Basically, wardeccers shouldn't complain about picking their targets poorly.

    Just my 2 cents.


    1. Not to be insulting, but 8 pages makes you invoke your deity? You do know 10 year olds read 1000 page long harry potter books, right? Yet half the population of EVE won't read anything longer than 3 sentences.

    2. probably because we are not 10 years old..

    3. "probably because we are not 10 years old.."

      Come back when you're older, then.

    4. Google 'executive summary' and consider why such a thing might exist.

    5. No need to google, it's common knowledge. It's also common knowledge why executive summaries and also their cousins, academic abstracts and the inverted pyramid style of news articles, are typically found in those domains but not in persuasive essays, critical essays, reflective essays, biographies, legal briefs, novels, etc. Common knowledge, but not common enough for you to be familiar with it, eh mate? Or are you just unable to categorize examples into the former or latter groups? Pretty simple distinction, really mate.

    6. That's what I said...mate.

    7. easy solution: give miners something worth protecting: a mini-pos, anchored 5km off an asteroid field, which boosts asteroid generation by 50% and boost corp mining yields by 20%, or something anchored around a planet to lower PI taxes.
      replace the current wardec system with new "types" of wars:

      idea 1: both corps must agree, both corps must pay an ante. rules may be set (i.e. only in certain system or only certain ships can be attacked, no sec status may be lost but concord may still be summoned if rules are violated) to which both parties must agree. winner takes the jackpot

      idea 2: aggressor corp pays wardec fee, but no fighting is allowed except during a skirmish. either party can initiate a 5-minute countdown to a skirmish, which lasts 25 min or until all aggression timers in both corps are gone, whichever comes later. the side with more kills wins the skirmish. the defending side may initiate as many skirmishes daily as they want. the attacking side may initiate at most 5 skirmishes more than the defending side.

      idea 3: as regards to the mini-poses, they can be attacked while they are active, by anyone (a limited engagement timer is generated). the reinforce timer is 30 minutes, however the attacker must remain on grid, visible during that time or the shield will be fully restored and reinforced reset. activating a mini-pos turns it on for 4 hrs, after which it will turn off (there's no way to turn it off manually apart from destroying it, it also cannot be unanchored)

    8. I'd like to play around with Idea 1 if I may.

      Let's say that GankerCorp starts ganking a 100-toon MinerCorp, because they don't like the look of MinerCorp CEO's avatar. GankerCorp meets some success as MinerCorp does the normal thing of AFK mining in untanked macks and react, entirely predictably, with demands of "why u no warn us" and other such ludicrous messages of hate.

      This bounty of tears continues until MinerCorp CEO finally logs on and gives the rallying call "let's end this harassment by means of honorable war, coz my petitions have all failed" to anyone who is listening. MinerCorp CEO then instructs his minions to start PVP skilling. This takes at least 2 months to get racial battleships to I across the board and to distribute sufficient faction mods (available to corp members at very reasonable prices).

      In the meantime, MinerCorp CEO reads his Sun Tzu and cunningly plants spies everywhere he can. He stops with 10MB of spreadsheet goodness all saying the same thing: "Catalyst, 8xNeutron Blaster I, faction ammo, no tank".

      He loves what he sees, and decides "we're ready". He then declares war.

      Except he can only try to, because according to your idea both sides must first agree to a war, and GankerCorp very unsportingly decline the offer. Instead they post an immediate surrender demand for 250mil in ISK per mining toon, immediately payable RITE NOAW by the CEO, because if any CEO is stupid enough to demand a war with gankers, he deserves to get fleeced.

      The idea of mutual matched war in Eve is absurd. Sorry man, please try again.

      Dr Tyler

    9. that's why all 3 "types" of wars must be available. if GankerCorp refuses idea 1, MinerCorp can go for idea 2 and get their revenge without GankerCorp's permission.

      i'm also thinking that it would be nice to have corp bounties automatically generated by ganking in highsec...
      i'm also thinking that it would be nice to prevent non-actively skill training characters from buying clones.
      i'm also thinking that it would be nice to give that mini-pos multi-target ecm capabilities (20-sec duration, 70% success, 1 minute cooldown, lock time of 5 sec, targets all aggressive ships).
      i'm also thinking of giving that mini-pos a CONCORD jump bridge (corp will have to pay CONCORD a fee as well).
      i'm also thinking about reinforcement timers for your ship, fit to mid slot, it ejects your pod and makes your ship invulnerable for 10 minutes upon losing shield, after which the self destruct timer is initiated. equipping it also disables CONCORD from responding to your ship.

      if what you want is to snuff out the light of miner ganking from highsec and replace it with forced pvp

      yeah I included idea 1 in order to preserve the "good fights" that can but rarely happen under the current system. wardeccers can still harass with idea 2, but the 5-minute pre-skirmish gives the defenders time to get into a ship that stands a chance, plus the harassment is limited to a total of 2.5 hours of station sitting per day.

  2. One thing that strikes me about wardecs is EVE University's war history. I often see EVE University wardecs held up as some kind of sign that wardecs are bad and unfair, but is that true?

    It's easy to look at people wardeccing EVE University and say, "oh no why are players allowed to beat up on all those poor innocent newbies." It becomes even easier to get angry at wardecs when the war reports are viewed: EVE University's losses are invariably huge compared to its aggressors'. It's tempting to view wars with EVE University as the vilest form of griefing, an innately anti-newbie, anti-EVE activity.

    The problem is that this sentiment is misplaced. One must ask himself, why are EVE University's losses so high? In a non-EVE game, the answer would be obvious: The players EVE University are all level 1s with 42 hitpoints; the players in the wardeccing corp are all level 85s with 42,000 hitpoints. However, this is not WoW or any other level-based game; this is EVE, where any character can defend himself with a minimum of training.

    Particularly notable is that EVE University is full of newbies -- players who, at this stage in their career, are most receptive to PVP training and least likely to form an attachment to their ship. EVE University should be a prime training ground for PVP pilots -- PVP pilots in T1 frigates to be sure, but PVP pilots nonetheless. EVE University should be a force to be reckoned with, because it should be teaching players how to fight back, not teaching them how to pilot a fucking Retriever.

    So why is EVE University's war history brimming with dead carebears, with comparatively so few kills earned against their aggressors? Is EVE University deliberately vacuuming up newbies who could have become promising PVP pilots and acclimating them to the soul-crushing boredom of highsec mining and missioning? Just what the hell is going on in that alliance?

    EVE University is filled with promising young capsuleers who can be quickly and easily trained to fight back against any aggressor, in frightening numbers, using a variety of unpredictable tactics. The results of the wardecs against them tell me that something is going wrong behind those ivory walls; something horrible is happening to the new pilots that enroll in EVE University. Let the wardecs come, let EVE University be wardec'd into the ground if that's what teaches its students about the real EVE.

    EVE University is just one example about how nerfing wardecs "to protect newbies" is fallacious and dangerous. I thought I might name it in particular, long as I was reading your article. You're doing a great job, James. :)

  3. Get rid of dec-shields.

    If you leave a corp during a wardec, all the opposing players should get a free killright on you.

  4. I subscribe to the "Make Wardecs Resolve Something" school of thought, so I thought I would take the time to answer James' questions. To wit:

    Let's suppose we all agree that highsec wardecs should resolve something. How do you make this happen? How do you force both participants in a wardec to engage in combat? How do you measure victory? ... What are the consequences if one side decides not to fight, or if the defender drops corp, or if someone doesn't log in because they're on vacation? What kind of punishment are you willing to inflict on a defender who doesn't measure up to whatever expectations are being put into place? ... And what kind of lasting resolution exists in an area of space with no territory to defend--are you going to banish someone from Jita?

    For reference, my idea of how to fix wardecs is here.

    First, what do I imagine a wardec resolves? It determines which corp is stronger; specifically, which can beat the other in a war. Or whether they are more or less equal.

    How do you resolve that? If either CEO hits a button "I Surrender this War", his corp loses, and is deemed weaker. If neither does, it is -- thus far -- a draw. If either corp disbands, it loses. If both sides agree to a draw, it is a draw. There are no other cases. Wars should go on indefinitely until resolved in one of the above ways. No more docking up for a week! We require real resolution.

    There are no consequences of non-fighting. Thus, being on vacation would be just fine. There are no consequences for individuals for dropping corps. However, obviously dissolving your corp to duck wardecs is ridiculous today, and needs to be nerfed. To limit corp-dissolution, the potential taxes paid by the wardeccee should be placed into escrow immediately upon wardec. If the aggressee dissolves, then as per the para above it loses, and the winner gets the tribute.

    As detailed in my post, the punishment for the loser is to become the vassal of, and pay monthly taxes to, the winner (and Concord). You can avoid becoming a vassal by dissolving, but you cannot avoid paying taxes, and accepting vassaldom is superior in that your new suzerain must protect you or lose you as a vassal.

    The "lasting resolution" is the new status of the loser as a vassal of the winner. The vassal gains protection in return for money.

    1. "To limit corp-dissolution, the potential taxes paid by the wardeccee should be placed into escrow immediately upon wardec. If the aggressee dissolves, then as per the para above it loses, and the winner gets the tribute."

      Corps could avoid this by simply not keeping ISK in the corp wallet. The kind of corps which would easily dissolve to avoid a dec are the kind of corps which could easily get by without ISK in the corp wallet. What method would you enact to prevent this? Make corp formation cost 200m ISK, which is held in escrow from the date of corp formation? With this method, at many points in the process you describe above, where "the protection ends" for one reason or another, the previously vassal corp would instantly be dissolved if it did not have another 200m ready to go in the corp wallet. It seems that you've fixed a system where corps are able to be dissolved too easily to avoid wardecs, by replacing it with a system where suzerain corps are able to dissolve other corps too easily by dropping their protection. With 200m in escrow for every carebear corp in the game, pvp corps will dec just to collect the escrow, then drop protection, instantly dissolving the corp they are theoretically protecting. Rinse and repeat.

      If you avoid this by not collecting 200m in escrow at corp creation, then your entire system falls apart, as corps can still dissolve without penalty.

    2. As you point out, collecting escrowed money for every corp seems abusable. So let's not do that. Check the corp wallet. If the total amount is not there, then escrow whatever is there.

      I think we need only one tweak to what I have described: in this situation only (insufficient escrow), inform the aggressor of the amount, and give him the option to decline starting the war. This means there is no undue financial risk for the would-be wardeccer.

      What are the consequences? Yes, as you suggest a corp would be then able to avoid consequential wars by (a) not owning any highsec POSes, (b) never keeping any cash on hand, and (c) not selling anything of significant value via sell orders (else cash would almost certainly be there from time to time, and aggressors would be able to keep querying wars to find out when).

      This does mean, as you say, that some corps would be poor targets from a purely financial perspective. Given that I propose the aggressor pays N to potentially take 2N from the victim, a corp could cause all wars against it to be negative-sum by keeping its wallet at less than N.

      But I note that wardecs are still pretty common, even now, where aggressors pay but gain nothing for most wars. Here is one answer, then: it turns out that EVE is not uniformly full of homo economicus. Rather, some proportion of EVE players will actually pay money to (maybe) get in a fight, that is they are "griefers". I.e. right now they pay 50m for a perhaps 20% chance of getting a fight. Recall that I propose abolishing term-limited wars. The aggressor pays a moderate fee for any length of war. Do you think the same guys willing to pay 50m for a 1-week war with a 80% fail rate, would pay 100m for an indefinite length war where they are guaranteed to either force the enemy corp to dissolve, or force the enemy to acknowledge defeat (and be a vassal), with perhaps the same 20% rate of opposition? I do! There are rich veins of tears to be mined!

      Let me also note that the psychology of both sides is very different in a term-limited war as versus an indefinite one. In any term limited war, the defender has the reasonable hope that if he can just be boring enough, the aggressor will get bored; and while aggressors will pay astounding amounts for good pew, they won't want to keep paying every week for nothing. So, they'll get the message after a week and go away.

      By making all wars be open-ended, the "be-boring" strategy is broken. The aggressor may have very small hope of getting any tears or good pew, but on the other hand, keeping the war alive costs him nothing. His hope is small but nonzero, so he does not accept peace. And the defender knows this, so he can have no hope that the aggressor will relent -- not without being paid.

      So in addition, we have as one more consequence for the would-be wardec ducker: (d) not safely flying in highsec space indefinitely. Now, I can imagine that some corps might fit all of these criteria (a) to (d) -- i.e. maybe a wormhole carebear corp -- but not many.

    3. "
      By making all wars be open-ended, the "be-boring" strategy is broken. "

      I agree completely. The logical result of your change, as currently described, is: "be boring" strategy is broken, so carebears will migrate to a new strategy. This strategy will clearly be: dissolve corp and reform a new one, made possible without cost by keeping money out of the corp wallet. Ergo, your proposal, meant to end corp dissolving, will actually be the single greatest boost to corp dissolving as a strategy that EVE has ever seen. I don't mean to be unduly harsh: many aspects of your strategy seem like they could be very positive, especially when compared to the currently broken system. I'm just pointing that as constructed, your strategy seems to have a massive loophole which will lead it to have an effect opposite that intended.

      " Yes, as you suggest a corp would be then able to avoid consequential wars by (a) not owning any highsec POSes, (b) never keeping any cash on hand, and (c) not selling anything of significant value via sell orders (else cash would almost certainly be there from time to time, and aggressors would be able to keep querying wars to find out when). "

      A. Take down the highsec pos when war-decced, before the cooldown period ends, if any are owned.

      B. Never keeping cash on hand is easily done. If desired, one can use the strategy described in the next point to have a type of cash on hand.

      C. Never using sell orders. Easily done by using private sell orders. If it's absolutely necessary to have cash on hand and corp sell orders, this is still easily done. Make a second corp, have everyone put their trade alts in it. use this corp to keep cash on hand and do corporate sell orders. No one in this second corp undocks in anything but a shuttle, so war deccing it is nearly useless. This corp will never concede defeat or dissolve, as they never leave station in anything worth anything, so everyone deccing it will waste 100m for nothing.

    4. (cont)

      "But I note that wardecs are still pretty common, even now, where aggressors pay but gain nothing for most wars. Here is one answer, then: it turns out that EVE is not uniformly full of homo economicus."

      This is EXACTLY CORRECT, however, you haven't realized this cuts both ways. Currently, people in highsec corps, who SHOULD dissolve and reform their corp, if they were home economicus, don't, because they are not. Obviously if someone is bad at pvp, doesn't like pvp, and could avoid pvp with a much more skilled attacker, then it is economically rational for him to take that road. (My private view of course being that fighting is good, because EVE is about fighting, so I am not homo economicus either, but I am presenting the economically rational point of view since you've raised it) The 20% of carebear corps who choose to actually fight, but at a disadvantage, do so out of pride. The 60% of carebear corps who choose "be boring", do so out of pride; this seems like a contradiction, but it is a fact that these 60% feel that reforming a new corp would be somehow less prideful than merely sitting in station for 3 weeks. By changing the psychology, as you mention, by making wars endless , you will change the psychology in a way it seems you have not calculated. Folding and reforming a corp will lose the current social stigma, and it will therefore happen 100% of the time, instead of only 20% of the time. (guesstimating 20% fold, 60% 'be boring', 20% fight; we could change the figures without affecting my argument in any real way)

      The first time I let you reply without advising you on what you should reply, to see what you would come up with. This time I'll end with some opinions of my own. As described above, adding in endless war, without disincentivizing corp dissolution, will merely maximize future corp dissolution to avoid wardecs, which is exactly what we're trying to avoid. Therefore, the option of forcing people to pay the 200m escrow at corp formation begins to seem like the best option. However, if we do this, it would behoove us to make it more difficult for suzerain corps to drop their vassals without penalty--or else we run the risk, a very likely risk, of the most common behavior among suzerain corps being simply repeatedly harvesting the 200m escrow from unaffiliated carebear corps and immediately dropping them thereafter. (Which of course while not great, is still probably better than what we have now, which is really quite bad) There are a number of ways to do this, I haven't thought them all through yet, but it appears likely that the best option lies down that path, unless I've made an error somewhere.

    5. I have another perceived flaw in your system: How do you handle multiple wardecs on the same corporation? I see two possibilities:

      A. Since wardecs are now a means of gaining a 2-part relationship, it seems that only one entity should be allowed to wardec another at any one time. Of course, this means that having your alt corp wardec your corp gives you perfect safety.

      B. To avoid this easy decshield, we allow many corps to wardec one corp. So, 10 corps wardec corp X. Corp X surrenders to one of these corps, call it corp A, which they see as the strongest of these 10. Is corp A now at war with corps B, C,D,E... etc? How is this situation handled? If we decide to handle the earlier issue with suzerains dropping vassals by locking suzerains into wars, then is a pretty hilarious way to have interlocking wars quickly have the entire highsec population in player corps at war with every single other player corp...but if that's what we want, wouldn't it be simpler just to eliminate highsec altogether, or restrict it to only NPC corp members? If corp A now isn't at war with B-J, then what was the point of surrendering to A in the first place? At that point you've just forced every carebear into NPC corps forever, and CCP will never implement that. Not enough carrot, too much stick.

    6. Nony (or multiple Nonies?) why don't you get a handle? You might even use your in-game name!

      Regarding your idea of how to duck, don't forget (d): with active wardecs that are indefinite, you don't get to fly in highsec. So, no mining, no missioning, no cargo transport. Some corps (i.e. Red Frog Freight), can function without this by using NPC-corp alts. Most cannot; at the minimum it takes significant organization. And don't forget, that I propose to tax people in NPC corps just as much as the maximum tribute-per-member paid by a vassal. So NPC corps are a shield from wardecs, but not from taxation. The point of the design is that taxwise, you always do as well in a vassal corp as a NPC corp. The only way to escape a modest level of taxation is to fight when challenged.

      I think it best to terminate all current wars that a corp has, when it surrenders to any corp (and gets vassalized). This discourages multiple wardecs on a single non vassalized corp, without forbidding it (which has problems as you note). Obviously one can surrender to a alt-controlled suzerain; we might therefore disallow the dropping of vassal status for at least one month. (During that month, outsiders can wardec and thus gain a war on both vassal and suzerain together.)

      In case I didn't say this already: vassals should be disallowed from declaring wars.

      I don't see corp dissolution (at low cost), of corps that don't really do anything corporate, as a huge problem. We tolerate it now for corps that do do all sorts of things. I do think that the corp name should be forfeit, for at least a little while. Say, 1 year. At least a month. Obviously this is about pride, though, so many won't care about it.

      As for the financial incentives to drop corps, they are fine so long as a character is taxed each time he enters an NPC corp, if he has not already paid taxes that month for being NPC affiliated.

      I do agree with you, that a sovereign should not be allowed to war upon a vassal repeatedly and thereby gain more money. Concord does not wish its cash cows to be overculled. My opinion: a sovereign should not be allowed to drop a vassal intentionally for the first month after vassalizing them. Concord frowns upon such behavior, since the entire purpose of wardecs is to establish a privatized tax collection regime. After the first month, there can be no financial incentive to drop a vassal (since vassals have to pay sovereigns once per month in any case). So it should be allowed. Does this mean that a wardec on a new vassal should automatically create a war with the new suzerain... ? Yes! I think so! War is good.

  5. "The strong do as they can and the weak suffer what they must"
    this is the general concencus(sic)

  6. The ability to call in allies is a HUGE advantage for the wardecee! Go meet some new people. Make all kinds of different friends. Especially, the kind that have "pew pew" in their bee-o. If someone wardecs you just call in the boys.

    Now get out there and engage your fellow EvE players!

  7. The tears of jealous EVE players distraught that James can write more intelligent words on a topic than their attention span can encompass are even more delicious than the tears of angry miners bereft of their ships. The comments on this TMC article are a motherlode of salty sweet lachrymation rarely matched in modern times.

  8. I don't have a problem with wardec so much as the use of neutral ships. I think a LOT of what bothers me about wardecs could be solved by making any neutral ship that assists or is a part of a fleet with war targets adopt the war target's status so they can also be attacked. Also, any sort of fleet boosts must also be on the same grid as the attackers. It's a cheap exploit that, if fixed, I think would make wardecs a lot more balanced.

  9. I find it ironic that James 315 (someone who repeatedly dissolves his own corp when war is declared on him) has anything to say about this topic. His employment history doesn't lie and is quite carebear-ish. Practice what you preach brother.

    1. "I find it ironic that James 315 ..."

      That's because he was doing it ironically.

      "His employment history doesn't lie and is quite carebear-ish. Practice what you preach brother."

      Practice what you preach? You mean, don't judge someone on his history while posting anonymously? Oops, you failed.


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