Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kill The Rats

Welcome to the ninth instalment of the EVE Blog Banter , the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here . Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

Last month Ga'len asked us which game mechanic we would most like to see added to EVE. This month Keith "WebMandrill" Nielson proposes to reverse the question and ask what may be a controversial question: "Which game mechanic would you most like to see removed completely from EVE and why? I can see this getting quite heated so lets keep it civil eh?"

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Belt rats.

Yep, I think that NPC pirates sitting around in belts with nothing to do except shoot some pod pilot that happens to warp in is insanity. What are they doing there? What do they do to keep occupied the other 12 hours no one is in system? Why do they bring the least amount of firepower when obviously out-gunned and why do they not run away?

The current implementation is obviously a mechanic for making money and nothing else. Its so 2003 and needs to be updated. As usual, I have ideas. Here is my seven step plan to improving the system.

1. Remove the current implementation of belt rats entirely.

2. Add rat mining operations. Randomly spawn pirate fleets that include mining ships, haulers, and sentries. These spawns should be limited in number per constellation such that you find one in every ten to fifteen asteroids belts you check out. When a mining operation is wiped out, it respawns somewhere else in the constellation. Also, the mining ships and haulers should begin to warp soon after your ship(s) arrive in the belt. The size of the mining operation would depend on the security rating of the system, and the number and size of the guarding rats should be at least double what you run into in a belt today, if not more.

3. Add rat spawns that will come into a belt after you are there after a random number of minutes, range from 1 to 100 minutes. That means if you stay in a belt for a while eventually the rats will scan you down and attack you, but you can't farm rats in belt after belt after belt. It means mining operations will be consistently attacked but belt ratters will be frustrated and this is a more realistic scenario. These spawns should scale their size to the number of player ships that are in belt, i.e. a fleet of three ships sitting in the belt should be attacked by more rats than if it were one ship.

4. Rats should run away if its going badly or if more players warp in.

5. Rats should practice target switching like Sleepers do.

6. More complexes found using the on board scanner should be added to make up for the removal of current belt rats. The idea is not to nerf the typicall ratter's overall income but to make it less of a mind numbing and immersion breaking exercise.

7. With all this in place, introduce rats with drones, rats using cloaking devices to set traps, and rats using more exotic ship types (like Heavy Interdictors!) and, one more thing.... brace yourself... Capital rats. That's right. I want a Blood Raider carrier to show up on my overview and me have to call in my corp mates to take it down before it or its escorts kill me.

The end result of this mechanic overhaul would be a more realistic form of interaction with rats. I think Sleepers were done right: they guard installations and mostly ignore belts, and they send in bigger waves as their numbers are diminished by the players. I want the known space rats to act in a similar fashion so that they more properly emulate players. This would make ratting more engaging and varied.

* * * * *
List of Participants:
  1. Diary of a Space Jockey, Blog Banter: BE GONE!
  2. EVE Newb, (EVE) Remove You
  3. Miner With Fangs, Blog Banter - It's the Scotch
  4. The Eden Explorer, Blog Banter: The Map! The Map!
  5. The Wandering Druid of Tranquility, "Beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, mushroom, MUSHROOM!!!"
  6. Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah, Kill the Rats
  7. Mercspector @ EVE, Scotty
  8. EVE's Weekend Warrior, EVE Blog Banter #9
  9. A Merry Life and a Short One, Eve Blog Banter #9: Why Won't You Die?
  10. Into the unknown with gun and camera, Blog Banter – The Hokey Cokey
  11. The Flightless Geek, EVE Blog Banter #9: Remove a Game Mechanic
  12. Sweet Little Bad Girl, Blog Banter 9: Who is Nibbling at My House?
  13. One Man and His Spaceship, Blog Banter 9: What could you do without?
  14. Life in Low Sec, EVE Blog Banter #9: Stop Tarnishing My Halo
  15. Cle Demaari: Citizen, Blog Banter #9: Training for all my men!
  16. A Mule in EVE, He who giveth, also taketh away?
  17. Dense Veldspar, Blog Banter 9
  18. Morphisat’s Blog, Blog Banter #9 – Randomness Be Gone !
  19. Facepalm's Blog, EVE Blog Banter #9: What a new pilot could do without
  20. Memoires of New Eden, You're Fired
  21. Kyle Langdon's Journeys in EVE, EVE Blog Banter #9 Titans? What's a Titan?
  22. Achernar, The gates! The gates are down!
  23. Speed Fairy, EVE Blog Banter #9: Down with Downtime!
  24. I am Keith Neilson, EVE Blog Banter #9-F**K Da Police
  25. Ripe Lacunae, The UI… Where do I begin… (Eve Blog Banter #9)
  26. Clown Punchers, EvE Blogs: What game mechanic would you get rid of?
  27. Estel Arador Corp Services, You've got mail
  28. Epic Slant, Let Mom and Pop Play: EVE Blog Banter #9
  29. Deaf Plasma's EVE Musings, Blog Banter #9 - Removal of Anchoring Delay of POS modules
  30. Podded Once Again, Blog Banter #9 - Do we really need to go AFK?
  31. Postcards from EVE, 2009.
  32. Harbinger Zero, Blog Banter #9 – War Declarations & Sec Status
  33. Warp Scrammed, Blog Banter 9 – Never Too Fast
  34. Ecaf Ersa (EVE Mag), Can a Tractor Tractor a Can?
  35. Thoughts from an Accidental Minmatar Revolutionary, EVE Blog Banter #9 - Aggression timers, WTs and Stargates
  36. Mike Azariah, I don't put much stock in it...
  37. Rettic's Log, Blog Banter: Overview Overload
  38. A Sebiestor Scholar, [OOC] EVE Blog Banter #9: Slaves
  39. Diary of a pod pilot, [OOC] EVE blog banter #9: Because of Falcon
  40. Roc's Ramblings, Blog Banter #9 – Taking Things Slow
  41. The Gaming-Griefer, EVE Sucks, But I Love It: The Memoir of a Masochist
  42. Letrange's EVE Blog, Blog Banter #9: Bye Bye Learning Skills
  43. Lyietfinvar, Remove that monopoly
  44. Sceadugenga, Blog Banter #9
  45. Industrialist with Teeth, EVE Blog Banter #9


  1. Anonymous8:11 am

    I think that while at it CCP should also look at gate rats. I live the 4 cruisers "camps"... especially with warp to 0.

  2. Agreed.

    I've often said that an awesome use of rats would be a roaming gang full of 'em complete with bubblers, tacklers, ECM and DPS. Of course these would have to be scaled from 1.0 space to 0.0, but it would make space travel interesting to say the least.

    And yes, the occasional capital rat (rat DD?) would be awesome :))

  3. These are actually some great ideas. I like.

  4. Good ideas here. I am training up a new Amarr pilot to be an ace frigateer and the high sec rats are just plain boring.

    Tackling the rats in low sec is slightly more rewarding, and gives you a bit more of a thrill.

    Adding variety to would be really good.

    The really easy rats can stay in 1.0 and 0.9 for absolute beginners but everything else should include cruisers and more.

  5. Anonymous12:14 pm

    I like this idea. It would add to the immersion of flying in space. You are just mining in a belt and in swoop the pirate, npc's or otherwise.

    Good post mate!!!

  6. I like that idea. I've been sec-grinding an alt and totally zoning out. A system like that would make it worth the effort.

  7. Anonymous1:11 pm

    I love #2 and #3!

    If it were like this, people could actually practice their pvp skills and small gang ganks.

    It would be another nice smooth step towards getting high sec carebears into lowsec and 0.0.

  8. Anonymous2:51 pm

    Dude...care bears gonna hate you for that idea....overall though it certainly beats the current system.

  9. I love the mining rat operation idea. Also the roaming gang proposed by Cozmik R5. Plus it would make so much more sense, as in common sense and lore worthiness. I can definitely envision CCP doing something about rat belts in the future.

  10. I stamp the "Weekend Warrior's Approval" stamp.

    Great idea!

  11. Anonymous12:56 pm

    Reading very many interesting ideas in this blog banter.

    Yours is among that list for sure.

  12. I actually fully and entirely agree with this. It would completely change the mentality people have towards "ratting" and certainly in my opinion make it MUCH more entertaining...as well as adding realism to the game which CCP seems to strive for. Only thing I feel a little iffy about it the Capital rats. As long as they're rare like officer spawns are (or even more so) and only found in 0.1 or 0.0 systems than yeah, I'm totally 100% on-board with this idea.

  13. @Selina: "Oh no, I just got hotdropped by 10 Blood Raider archons! THIS SUCKS!"