Create minor sov-realted harassment targets, and give those targets a very small sig radius, so large weapons aren't as useful to them. Maybe they require hacking or codebreaking modules to enable for a limited window.
I like the idea of some targets requiring non-DPS attacks to neutralize.
I like the idea of more varied battlefield terrain to mix things up. Not so sure about scaling penalties though, seems overly complex.
Gabrienne said... here's a two-part, simple to implement idea; the code for the first part already exists, and the second isn't terribly complicated
1. add wormhole bonus/penalty anomalies to all space i.e. shield boosting, armor resist, drone damage, etc. you'd do this on a inverted scale tied to sec status, so the penalties/bonuses in 1.0 space would be 0, 0.9 space would be 10%, 0.0 would be 100%, and so on
2. you add new anomalies that make either
a) big ships bad
i.e. make a 50 man fleet of frigates able to compete with a 20 man fleet of BC's
b) small ships better i.e. a scaling tracking modifier where bigger guns, using bigger ammo, don't hit as hard; call it nebula sludge that slows the rate of speed of the ammo. but of course smaller ammo with less mass can pass through it unaffected
c) and this is likely the most effective one, have an effect with a scaling penalty, i.e. if there's 500 people in a system, then everyone suffers a 50% reduction in rate of fire
-these kind of penalties would have to be offense related, or they'd give an advantage to whoever was in system first i.e. alpha down an enemy fleet jumping in on a gate as their defenses get penalized
-making these offense related and tied to # of people in a system instantly makes it bad to bring too many people to fight in one place, as you may gimp your dps to the point where you can't break the enemy's tank (and he can't break yours) creating an instant stalemate
Tom said... Greetings,Interesting concept, but I think I would prefer that your signature is enhanced by number of ships on the grid or in the system such that large fleets are easier to probe out in safe spots. At the same time, I'd make a change to prevent short range scanning for those on grid warp-ins that has killed the sniping battleship, but that's just a pet peeve.
if you saw the movie 'Jumper', a jumper ( warper in our case ) creates a rift in space and jumps through. What if groups of more than 15 ships create a rift large enough that they leave rifts behind which can be used by other ships to follow them wherever they go. Rifts would phase out after 5/10 minutes.
This would make hit and run harder for larger groups since the run part is pretty impossible until they split off.
- Small scale titan-like portals which only allow for a certain mass to pass through. Maybe module that can be fitted on a fleet command-ish battleship or something?
- Area of effect weapons. We all know how devastating 40 stealth bombers can be to a 100 (or 500 for that matter) man fleet. We might want more down that lane. My personal favorite: suicide bombers (fly somewhere and hit 'detonate' to do 10% hull (or perhaps a % of EHP would be fairer?) damage to everyone in a 10km radius. Maybe even with cloaked warp capabilities but with only freighter-like speed. Would be awesome, trying to sneak through the bubbles as far as possible into the heart of an enemy fleet, all while running the risk of being devloaked. But if you succeed in getting 10-ish people in, the hostile (supercap ;D ) blob is gone for the day
We already have Black Ops covert portals and they encourage small gang hot drops already, perhaps more modules like that for other ships is worthwhile. As for the second point, area of effect weapons tend not to break up blobs but simply change their composition. For example, in the day of the AoE doomsday, super-tank battleships and heavy interdictors were the ship of the line. I much prefer the varied fleet types we have no in contrast.
StevieTopSiders said... I think Meatay touched on a key point. It's not that there are so many pilots, but that there are so many pilots who can field effective ships. I know it would be very un-fun to have pilots say, "I can't afford to fleet up, so I guess I'll ship spin," but currently, fielding a fleet-fit BS isn't that big of a deal.
Anyway, my pet "small-gang objective" is the CONCORD Relay Station. This is a celestial object in every 0.0 system; it is easily seen on the overview. Canonically, the CRS is a CONCORD outpost that runs coms for the CONCORD vessels and capsuleers who roam null-sec. The Outpost is indestructible, but it has two stages of reinforced.
In the beginning, the CRS is not reinforced, and Local chat displays both the number of people in the system and their names. Suppose, however, that an alliance sends a small roaming gang into enemy space. This roaming gang can attack the CRS and put it into reinforced 1. This will take the structure to armor. At that time, Local ceases to show who is in the system. It only details the number of capsuleers in the system and names people who have talked in the past 15 minutes.
The CRS remains in reinforced for 15 minutes. After that, it can be attacked again, and when its armor is destroyed it enters reinforced 2. At this stage, Local either a) goes offline or b) shows only the people who have spoken.
Reinforced 1 mode lasts 2 hours, and the shields slowly begin to recharge after the 15-minute timer. Reinforced 2 mode lasts 4 hours, and armor/shields begin repping immediately after being taken to structure.
I think reinforced 1 should take about 10 average-DPS frigates to make it come about. Reinforced 2 should require a slightly larger/more powerful gang. I imagine 20 average-DPS frigates, or a smaller number of Cruisers, Assault Ships, or something else. Somewhere between 5-10 minutes of shooting should do the trick.
Additionally, I think the CRS needs to broadcast in Local (or in the sov-holding alliance's Alliance chat; not sure...) when it is being attacked. That gives the inhabitants of the system warning, so they may either mount a counterattack or call in reinforcements to keep the CRS from entering reinforced 2.
So why is this helpful? It allows small gangs an objective that is useful to larger fleets. An invading alliance could send gangs into various systems, destroying their Local. The defenders would then not be able to rely on a ratter in his POS telling them, "300-man DRF fleet in UMI-KK," but instead they would need to have defensive scouts in the system, scanning and watching for fleet movements. On the other hand, reinforcing the CRS will allert the defenders to a coming attack.
This kind of ties into the "terrain effects" idea from Gabrienne. Having areas of space where the rules do not apply the same definitely creates room for more tactics, and having such a target that assists the larger fleet seems like a good start.
A few comments after Stevie's post were directed to it so I'll jump over those and go right to this:
Talinthi said...I don't know how to make it work but having multiple objectives that have to completed at the same time or some sort of pre-programmed scaling defence might slow down a large blob faster than a small one.
Not sure if this was mentioned yet, but why not make some sov targets similar in style to incursion sites?? I know it doesnt directly relate but the scaling of isk making in incursions is directly related to the number of people in the fleet, why not make some sov targets based on that same scaling??
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So all of these ideas hinge on changing the objectives of fleets or the terrain they fight in. While these ideas have merit, I do find them to be full of potential problems and unintended side effects and would probably take a few iterations to find the right balance of incentive and penalty to encourage small fleet warfare.
When I was approaching this question myself, I asked the potentially foolish question: how does real life apply here? I know Eve <> Real Life but we can draw some parallels and inspiration from it.
So why does a Navy not consist of nothing but Aircraft Carriers, currently the king of the seas, but instead has a pyramid of ship types with small destroyers being most numerous? Well, there are several reasons.
- It takes a lot of manpower to operate a carrier.
- They are slower to get where they need to be.
- They are expensive to construct.
- Their operational costs are a lot higher than smaller ships.
I'm sure there is more but I'm writing by the seat of my pants here.
So in Eve, the comparison is obvious:
- a small ship, large ship, the manpower requirement is the same
- smaller fleets move a bit faster but not enough to be an issue most of the time
- usually ISK is not a big consideration as each pilot is responsible for their own vessel in most cases
- The operational costs of all ships is laughably low, big or small.
So there are several avenues of attack we could take to make Eve fleets face the same limitations as real navies, but all of them fly in the face of fun in my opinion, and fun should always win out. And any limitation or cost you put on an organized fleet structure will be circumvented by smaller fleets working together via an FC on teamspeak.
No, the answer lies in the objectives and terrain.
I started playing around with the idea of more acceleration gates in space with ship size limitations and/or mass limitations with recharge rates. But you need something on the other side of those gates to make pilots want to try to get through with the limited fleets. Sov structures? industrial targets? Both possibilities.
Perhaps inspiration from Wormholes and Incursions is in order, system wide effects that make different sized hulls more preferable. Perhaps there can be sov structures that induce these effects and require the unusual fleet sizes and compositions to take out.
In the end, the point is this: CCP needs to take some action to stir up the pot. Its not lack of ideas holding us back, its lack of development will.