Monday, February 9, 2015

CCP Announces the Removal of Awoxing, Sorta

The long-awaited removal of awoxing will be implemented on February 17th, according to CCP's Friendly Fire Control Devblog. As you'll recall, this decision was revealed in a set of CSM summit meeting minutes and discussed thoroughly in a MinerBumping post back in October. However, the implementation of this change will be significantly different than CCP initially planned. In particular, reverse-awoxing and the awoxing of currently existing corps will survive to some degree.

Originally, CCP planned to totally remove legal friendly fire within corps. This would've had some unintended consequences, because corp members often shoot each other for reasons other than awoxing, e.g. practicing fights, thunderdomes, testing tanks, etc.

MinerBumping-endorsed CSM member DJ FunkyBacon saw these issues right away and filled the summit meeting with arguments against a blanket awox removal. If CCP was going to do away with awoxing, FunkyBacon proposed that they add a toggle switch to allow or disallow legal friendly fire. CCP was reluctant. CCP Fozzie argued that the duel mechanic was a suitable replacement. Multiple players wanting to battle could simply "open up a series of duels". Which would be much more intuitive than the old system, he felt.

As I argued in my MinerBumping post, there was another big problem with the plan to make friendly fire illegal: Hundreds of thousands of current EVE players are accustomed to legal friendly fire, and most of them don't read devblogs. Once the patch went live, CONCORD would run amok. There were additional problems due to lowsec penalties (sec status, faction standing, sentry guns) being triggered by illegal friendly fire.

Despite the passionate arguments of the carebear crowd, the day was won by the critics, led by DJ FunkyBacon and the New Order. After postponing the awox removal for a few months, CCP ultimately had to make two major concessions:

* FunkyBacon's toggle switch. Corp CEOs will have the option to set friendly fire to "legal" or "illegal". A change in status will have a 24-hour delay and notify all corp members. Reverse-awoxing will remain possible, as will the traditional uses of shooting corpmates for practice, etc.

* All currently existing corporations will default to making friendly fire "legal". This will prevent players from being blindsided by the change. It also means it's still possible to awox any corporation that hasn't yet set friendly fire to illegal.

Both of these concessions represent a resounding victory for the New Order (and common sense) in the face of One More Nerf™ syndrome.

As a side note, it will be interesting to see how EVE culture responds to this change. Will there be a stigma against corporations that disallow friendly fire, on the grounds that they're too carebearish or paranoid? Will they be viewed as untrusting of their members--or simply weak?

One other observation about the devblog: CCP was surprisingly defensive when announcing this change. They've never spent so many paragraphs in a devblog trying to justify the reason for a nerf to highsec PvP. Explaining a mechanic, sure, but not making excuses.

Although this subject has been debated for months, the opponents of awoxing haven't come up with any new arguments in their favor. It boiled down to this, from the devblog:
"The only ‘choice’ is the binary option of either joining a corp where other players can shoot you, or simply not joining a corp with others at all. For many players, their optimal choice is therefore to avoid signing up to a corp altogether, and so they inevitably miss out on many of the meaningful social interactions that make EVE unique.

"Similarly, as a player interested in running a corp for others, you have no ability to choose the level of aggression-related risk that you want for your members. Again the optimal ‘choice’ for some becomes running a corp containing only alts, or just staying in an NPC corp."
The justification for eliminating awoxing always went beyond the usual line of "Highsec isn't safe enough, but with One More Nerf™ everything will be fine." According to CCP (and the CSM members who agreed), the ever-present threat of awoxing prevents new players from joining corps. This causes newbies to choose to stay in NPC corps, which is bad for player retention. (Ironically enough, NPC corps were designed to be safer precisely to protect new players.)

According to the proponents of awox removal, once friendly fire becomes illegal, NPC corps will become empty as countless newbies flood into newly welcoming player corporations. Beginning on February 17th, player retention will be greatly improved and CCP's subscription revenues from this 11-year-old game will skyrocket.

To those who were unfamiliar with highsec life, all this sounded great. There's only one little problem: Carebears stay in NPC corps to avoid wardecs, not awoxers. Whoops! It's safe to say this line of reasoning will return when subscriptions fail to skyrocket and CCP goes back to nerfing wardecs again.

On the recruitment side, there are already plenty of corps that will take anyone who applies. New players have never had any difficulty finding some corp to join; it's just a matter of finding a good one. But the only corps genuinely afraid of being awoxed by a new player are the purely industrial corps of highsec. In other words, the kind of corp that drives people to quit EVE out of boredom in the first place. Decent corps don't decline newbies out of fear of a 10-hour hero. (Remember, a single combat ship or even a decent flight of drones is enough to thwart a newly minted awox alt.)

According to the anti-awox crowd, beginning on February 17th, good corporations will have their ranks swollen by a flood of new members. No longer will their highly disciplined roaming Ishtar fleets be threatened by a t1-fit Catalyst alt. The newbie will be free to join, because he can't awox them.

On the other hand, it's noteworthy that during the months this awoxing thing has been discussed, we haven't seen the promised multitude of good corps--even if you stretch the definition of "good" to include almost everybody--talking about how they're looking forward to recruiting new players after the change goes live. No one seems to be excited about the opportunity to improve retention rates.

On the bright side: The New Order is always recruiting!

21 comments:

  1. I was honestly disappointed that CCP didn't scrap this idea and instead simply ran with the immensely more popular idea of social corps.

    -Hiasa

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    1. As an aside, it would be interesting to see HiSec wardeccers actively perusing potential target corps for that flag trying to find the softest, most profitable carebears.

      -Hiasa (again)

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    2. But if the troll wardeccers* target those with FF off, then I'll lose the entertainment factor of them wardeccing my corp when I'm in FW or wormhole space. I especially won't have troll wardeccers demanding we pay them to drop the war, as we can have fun responding to them.

      *Those that have no intention of fighting whoever they wardecced.

      Delete
  2. This is a victory for all hisec haulers who don't have to go Green Flashie when webbing a 10bn isk loot piñata through Uedama and other such places.

    For T1 freighters: Web tank best tank
    (For T2 freighters: Fuel tank best tank)

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    1. licensed truck driver in spaceFebruary 10, 2015 at 4:27 AM

      Hi, I'm pretty sure "Green Flashie" is "Limited Engagement" by default. Players that aren't directly involved in the engagement (read: everyone except for the webber and the hauler) shouldn't even be able to see the color, much less interact with it.
      Furthermore, I don't see how this change will affect anything, as in-corp aggression currently still triggers a limited engagement, just like a regular duel does.
      Admittedly, gaining a limited engagement timer and webbing a freighter is also associated with gaining a weapons timer, which renders your webbing alt unable to jump for a while. Subtracting warp time, you would sometimes get tens of seconds of sitting on a gate, waiting for the timer to finish, which is of course not where you want to be in systems like Uedama (I've had my own webbing alt get yellowboxed by random entities on gates before and it did make me a little... concerned). But again, as long as you have to web your freighter, you will get a weapons timer, regardless of how highsec in-corp aggression works.

      Am I, perhaps, missing something?

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    2. Sad state of affairs as the deep end of the pool is slowly being turned into the kiddie end of the pool.

      Delete
  3. This very much feels like a CCP Veers action plan.

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  4. And no a single to mention that it was initially proposed by Sion from the Goons. Is this the "carebear crowd" you are decrying about? You sure have all the facts sorted out... or sort of...

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  5. The next step is neutering wardeccs so that you can sustain a presence in a highsec corp.

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    1. I beg to differ, I think Eve would do better if we increased AFK incursion running by 450% and had Concord escorts for every ship in HS. Only after that it would make sense to increase new player retention by giving every new player (anyone with <7 years of game time) 3-4 billion isk and an insta warping frieghter which can deploy up to 8 machinaws or vindicators controlled via the drone interface. These new players, in order to be retained, will be given a new implant which protects them from corp thieves. All activities which are not AFK incursion running will require special tokens, purchased via microtransaction, to allow them to do anything else in eve.

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    2. I'll take one of those instawarping freighters with 8 vindicator drones, please!

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    3. Getting real tired of your shit, fake Veers.

      The Veers at 5:09 is not me. You can tell he's a fake Veers because I shun all human interaction (except sometimes when I get tired of grinding red crosses AFK and want to try to make pvpers feel bad about themselves), and so no amount of nerfs to awoxing, wardecs, ganking, etc would ever get me in a corp, interacting with other human beings. The game does not directly reward talking with another person, there's no in-game mechanism for converting "words exchanged with another human being" into money, so doing so is sociopathic. Since there is no profit motive for talking with people, the only reason anyone would ever do so is griefing and real-life harassment.

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    4. Veers, are you a lawyer? You sure sound like one.

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    5. Yup, I am a lawyer. A powerful, successful lawyer, who is much better than all you low-life griefer scum. That's why I spend 10-hour stretches of time mining red crosses in order to pay for my subscription with PLEX and avoid spending any of the mounds of money I totally do have. And my real-life success and the respect of my peers and social inferiors (which is all of you) is why I care so deeply about being taken seriously by strangers in an online spaceship game.

      Yup, totally a lawyer. I'm glad you asked, btw. Otherwise I'd have had to find some way of inserting it into the conversation a couple times so you'd know to be properly respectful.

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    6. @ Anonymous 5:09: The next change should be to make the punishment for space murder :) such that you cannot profit from it:

      1. CONCORD provides 100% SRP including cargo - including courier wrappers.

      2. Anyone who goes GCC gets fined the EVE assessed value of their target.

      3. Anyone with negative wallet on a toon on an account cannot train a skill.

      4. No killmails or loss mails are created if someone has gone GCC to generate it.

      5. Anyone with a negative wallet cannot accept station trades or contracts.

      Delete
    7. Why bother hiding it? Just advocate making it impossible to shoot other spaceships. Oh, oh, or make it so that all blingy ships are automatically invulnerable. These are tried and true focuses of carebear whining, no need to be shy about wanting them.

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  6. At the end of the day, it's all a nerf. However, in defense of the mechanics of it, it's not really that different from using RL "friend/foe" technology. It is not difficult to justify that ships flown by corporations could make sure that they cannot shoot each other. However, I would not make it illegal. If this is going to get hit with the nerf bat, just nuke it and make it so they cannot use aggressive modules on each other at all with their "easy button".

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  7. I think "Directors" are allowed to toggle the flag.

    Lets see, infiltrate a 20-30 man corp, become a director after a few weeks. Lead an incursion fleet and accidentally toggle the FF flag 24 hours before. They bring shinnies you zap the ones not on comms first with an in corp alt then finish the rest.

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    1. I consider myself fairly friendly, but I don't see how people get director status so easily. Hate me all you want for being a PvEer and mining without a 'license', but reluctantly, I sometimes find myself on the same side with you. I had thought this change just a QoL thing to prevent accidental shots at corp mates, which have occasionally happened while one of us would have another targeted for remote repair purposes. There's a lot more to it than what I thought.

      I don't care for something that reduces the need to vet members before you admit them to your corporation. I would not want to join a corporation that accepted anyone without thought. Even as a 'carebear' miner industialist, I have no need for this feature. Absolute worst case is that I lose some ships and have to buy new ones, which is about business as usual, isn't it?

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  8. What's to stop another Director from flipping the switch back?

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