Friday, January 11, 2013

Local Spike

Earlier this week Poetic, over on Poetic Discourse wrote a post about his ideas for how they could implement new scanning/scouting resources and delay local in both nullsec and lowsec, similar to wormhole space. While I don’t usually jump on topics other Bloggers are writing about (I’m not entirely sure why, except that I hate simply repeating information other people have already given) this topic has intrigued me for some time so I thought I’d weigh in.

My first reaction to delaying local in regular regions of space was similar to a lot of other peoples. –“That could be really cool!” However, as a Faction War pilot, I’ve learned not to jump into something without really looking at what else it could affect. LP for plexing and PVP sounded cool, too  (and are cool, now that certain things are fixed)–but I don’t think we completely considered all the consequences, and have had to suffer some unexpected side effects over the past few months. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Delaying local in lowsec seems like it could really negatively affect a lot of small gang warfare, if you really think about all the ways we rely on local. Having to scan systems from multiple celestials, piecemeal, would significantly slow down roaming gangs and other small gang warfare styles. People complain now that it is often hard to find targets to kill. Going on a dozen jump roam and not finding a target can be mildly frustrating. Imagine doing this, but having to spend fifteen minutes in each system scanning from various celestials and attempting to determine if any of the found ships are friendly, hostile, or even occupied?

Now, imagine this from the perspective of a roaming solo pilot? It could decrease their ability to even find a target tenfold or more.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against making things harder –so long as they are not going to be harder for the sake of being harder without any additional changes to make them also more fun, or interesting. And throwing all of your local intel gathering power into your system scanner doesn't seem very fun, or practical to me.

That being said, is there anything that could be done to have the best of both worlds? –To not just make things trickier but to also make them exceeding more interesting?

It would be interesting to investigate, and discuss ideas on the concept of ‘stealth’ in general in EVE. Not just from the standpoint of Local channels, but also in scanning skills, cloaking abilities and etc.

Imagine a cloaking module you could fit on a command ship, that doesn't just cloak your own ship but also cloaks all ships within a certain, small radius? A sort of cloaking ‘bubble.’

What if instead of making local delayed until someone talks, it was time-based delayed instead? IE: for 30 seconds, or 1 minutes, etc. What if you could put up system upgrades that increased or decreased this amount? What if your security status impacted how fast local picked you up, with -10 pirates showing virtually immediately?

What if standings were integrated into directional scanning in some way, so that ‘bluing’ someone essentially gave them the ability to identify you on their scanners? In Star Trek, they always seem to know when it’s a ‘Federation Signature’ on scan. It seems to make sense that if we scan, we should be able to easily identify the ‘signatures’ of our corpmates and alliance members.

What if local delay was somehow tied to the security status of a system? --Giving players more of a sense that the lower security you go, the more dangerous it becomes?

What if getting a criminal tag in Empire also created a warpable beacon on people’s overviews? You are, after all, marked by the authorities.

What if local wasn’t a chat channel at all? What if it was more like a fleet broadcast window? For example, what if suspect and criminal behavior created a broadcast history log entry, allowing you to warp to them? What if you could broadcast your location to anyone you have set blue, or your alliance members and they could warp to you even without being in a fleet together? What if you could right click an enemy on your overview, and broadcast their position to your friends, allowing them to warp to them?---“I have a fix on their position!”

What if in this broadcast window, it showed you all active ship signatures in space, and whether they are friendly (have you set blue, or in your corp/alliance) or unknown? You would have basic information about whether getting pvp in that system was likely but wouldn't have any information about who might be hunting you, unless you found them…  Docked pilots wouldn't show up at all. Because, how can you see through the station walls to see that they’re there, anyway? What if you could virtually 'hide' in a station?

What if they created special unrestricted ‘sites’ in low-sec where players could more easily regain security status? What does this have to do with local chat and stealth, and the ability to find targets? Well, imagine that there was a sort of “Amamake Top Belt” in all systems—a place pvpers check first because it is the most likely place fights would be happening?

What if you could fit a module on your ship that forced people to be closer to you in order to get you on their directional scanners?

Anyway, just some thoughts. While it would be easy for CCP to simply ‘make local like wormhole space’ I think that it would be a mistake not to carefully consider the player interactions and strategies involved. You could expound slightly upon something that already exists, sure. Or you could think of creative ways to interconnect changes with other aspects of the game –both solving other problems that might exist or making a more robust feature.

It’s time to start thinking about connections we may have never thought about before:

How could local chat relate to corporate roles? How could directional scanning differently impact industrialists? How could the concept of ‘broadcasting’ be used outside of a fleet setting, and what myriad of things could you do around the mechanics of standings and sec status?

I think we've outgrown temporary, and/or half thought-through band aid fixes and features that border on the mediocre. It’s time to start thinking outside of the box.


  1. well I see it little differently. If low sec roaming gang is too lazy to scout other than checking local. Then low sec mining in a venture, especially in a gravi site will be safer. Hell, maybe living in a quite low sec doing industry work is profitable. Then low sec might get populated. Then ppl will start learning scouting the system to find those targets——problem solved,you got more pew.

  2. Though, on the other hand, it also means that the miners would have to 'scout' meaning they couldn't just watch local. They would have to rely on D-Scan, which means a cloaky could get close, then bring in their fleet from across system, easily capturing them before they even know there's enemies in local.

    So, in some ways, removing local, in and of itself, would make low-sec more dangerous for industrialists.

    1. yep that's why I said graiv site would be much safer. Miner gonna watch d be ware of probe though. And i totoally agree that CCP could do a lot of jobs to buff the mining mechanism, so our dear fellow industrialists don't want to AFK making decent profits, and have more fun.

  3. The answer to all the what-ifs can be found in wormhole space, where it's absent. People use the d-scan and probes. People still roam, find targets, fight.

    If they remove it, I would like to see, on screen, statistics you can see on the map: number of pilots in space, number of pilots docked but active, number of ship kills, pod kills. All these give you an idea of how busy a system is, and I'd rather not have to open and close the map all the time.

  4. But, do they really roam in wormhole space like they do in low-sec? How do you roam if you have to probe down each and every exit?

    I don't think that people roam in wormholes quite the same way.

    1. Yes there's roam in wh space. If you don't have the sig handy, you can set up trap at the wh link or use combat probes. Now there's no jump API available in w-space, but NPC spike is always a good indicate for possible targets.