Thursday, February 16, 2012

Its Time - Delayed Local In Null Sec

Local chat is a leftover artifact of a previous design philosophy, one that said that people play MMORPGs to socialize with other players and that its the game's responsibility to provide an easy avenue to communicate. Thus room/zone/local chat was introduced and propagated to this day in all games of the genre.

However, Eve's evolution has strayed a lot from most (if not all other) MMOs. I've argued in the past that Eve is a simulation rather than a game and due to that higher level of complexity the Local chat channel has evolved from a socialization tool to anything but. I can count on two hands that in 5 years the Local channel was something I used for spontaneous interaction. Alliance/Corp channels, public channels, voice comms, forums, IRC/Jabber all replace the need for Local chat for socialization purposes.

So what?

The Problem


Well, Local chat in Eve is primarily an intelligence gathering tool. Whenever someone is in a system with you, regardless of the millions of positions he could be at, you know his name, corp, alliance, employment history, and standings all at the click of a mouse on 'Show Info'. Its as if you are in a 50 story office building on the 35th floor and know all the relevant facts about someone entering the building from any entrance except for the clothes they are wearing.

So a pilot in Eve knows when someone has entered system with him without ever putting eyes on him. This is an equal tool for sure, available to all and sundry, but the issue is that provides an extremely easy and effective warning system and thus limits opportunities for PvP. However, the funny part of it all is that it also acts as an effective hunting tool for PvPers looking for targets that are not as vigilant of the local channel.

The end result is that small groups/individuals who can't watch all the nearby local channels like a hawk are more easily hunted while larger groups and bot software that can observe local 24/7 are more easily protected. 


In other words, Local chat channel intelligence is a tool that helps the people that need it / deserve it the least. This is a contributing factor why low sec is a barren wasteland filled mostly with people simply shooting each other and industry a mostly forgotten playstyle, and its a contributing factor to why small alliances can't make headway into null sec (i.e. there is no way to hide). It also, in my ever so humble opinion, makes warfare in Eve less exciting as surprising your opponents is very difficult since any alt can peek into the nearby systems and look at local to see hostile fleets, thus leading to the cyno hot drop as the most effective surprise attack weapon.

The Solution

Its time to put delayed local into play in null sec. For those not aware, delayed mode in a chat channel is the state where you don't appear in the list as soon as you join the channel. Instead, you only appear once you say something in that channel. This is the mode used by various channels you can join and is the mode used by local channel in wormhole space.

PvP in wormhole space is fraught with excitement and danger as you never know if someone is hunting you or if the target you've locked has four buddies ready to warp in and assist them. Now imagine that suspense without the vagaries of random wormholes and mass limitations; two large fleets moving to engage when suddenly another unexpected fleet warps in? Delicious.

Also, the delayed local would allow small groups to more easily infiltrate large alliance space as scouts will have to have eyes on gates instead of cloaked at a safe spot, and tracking an enemy fleet will require actually following them and using scan probes. It would allow small groups wishing to exploit resources in deep space to more easily hide their numbers and even existence from the local overlords, forcing large power blocks to patrol their space more judiciously.

Finally, it will make it harder on bots to protect themselves. Instead of watching local for new contacts, additional accounts will be needed to sit on the gates to watch for hostiles, seriously cutting into profitability of the mechanical monsters. Or they continue to use one account and directional scanner but are more vulnerable to cloaked hunters.

Force alliances to work to hold their space while making it harder for bots and easier for small groups to enter null sec and perhaps make a living? And more exciting combat scenarios?

Sounds like a win-win-win to me.

Its time: make null sec use delayed local chat channels.

32 comments:

  1. Would you just do Null first to see how it worked before expanding it to Low and High?

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  2. I fully endorse this.

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  3. The biggest complaints will arise from those who say that they use local to try to find fights in losec.

    For that, they can use constellation chat, which should remain non-delayed.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. This = win.

    wormhole space is by far the most exciting place to go looking for a fight, but with this comes the hassle of needed a scanner or a scanning alt just to move from one system to the next.

    I say set delayed local to null and low sec. Keep local as it is in hisec, call it a service provided by Concord, otherwise it'll make nerf wardecs considerably.

    For the people in lowsec that complain that they can't find fights anymore, this is what the directional scanner is for, plus if this gets more people to go into lowsec, then the difficulty caused by delayed local will be balanced by a greater number of targets.

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  6. Endorsed.. Have been asking for this for years...

    Zandramus

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  7. You'll get a big positive response from wormholers -- myself included -- but the nullseccers I speak with are universally opposed to the notion.

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  8. As a wormhole dweller, I think you'll encounter a problem. Having no idea of what danger surrounds you can drive people insane. They become paranoiac and expect bad things to happen all the time. I know a few people that hate going into wormholes because they feel blind and vulnerable.

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  9. I approve this.

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  10. Actually, I worry that removing local might benefit larger groups more than smaller groups.

    Without local, it may become more difficult to get a solo or small gang fight since your opponent has no way of knowing that you're really solo or in a small gang (we already know how cautious most people are to engage even as it is).

    On the other side of the coin, it becomes very easy for larger groups to gank smaller groups given that it becomes much easier to conceal their own numbers. In wormholes you can usually make a assumption about numbers, but in nullsec (where very large gangs are both easy to move and common to encounter) this may prove a real problem. Then again most of the very large groups can already do this via titan bridges.

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  11. Although the idea seems interesting, I don't think it would be all that beneficial. People would become paranoid (because you know there would be gangs of cloaky t3s just waiting for people to come rat. Everyone would either move in fleets, or fly cloaky ships. It would sort of turn null into WH space, and diminish the diversity of eve.

    How about an actual 'delayed' local. i.e. you don't show up for some time (5 minutes?) and after than you appear in local. That way fast moving gangs can remain 'invisible' and it also won't be the same as WH space.

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  12. This would obviously be a severe problem for nullsec industry and pve.

    -It means no miner can or will undock without having scouts deployed in all systems around the mining system

    -it means pilots will have to stand guard at every entrance stargate of their sov, 23/7 perhaps, which is most definitely not a fun activity (and Jester explained recently.. CCP is in the business of selling fun, ultimately)

    -many in nullsec rat for isk in order to pay for their pvp. This ISK making will probably move to highsec; soloing L4's is already a tempting alternative, and delaying local would only increase the risk

    -holding sov becomes less valuable, because you'll need more pilots to protect pve activities, meaning less ISK is made per head.

    So what will you hunt and shoot, if there's no one there? Measures that negatively impact the existing security situation of PVE activities in nullsec, will disencourage pilots to spend time in nullsec. There's a reason that lowsec is a deserted wasteland..

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    1. Have you ever been to low sec? I'm guessing not. Calling it a wasteland is pretty a lie, with the exception of (most of) Amarr low sec due to how large it is.

      I'm for delaying local; it requires people to actually pay attention to intel channels and be on the lookout rather than the current situation which is that anyone who even glances at local every ~15 seconds can tell if there's a "baddie" out there.

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    2. Been to low sec? I live in low sec, you killed me last week. ;)

      By barren wasteland I mean in terms of non-pirate / faction warfare entities and their alts. Mission runners, explorers, miners, industrialists, etc tend to avoid low sec except for a few hardy souls. And those that do venture into low sec have to content with us hungry PvPers eager for kills.

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    3. Hmm, an area full of blood-thirsty pirates and crazed faction warfare people who would just as soon shoot you as look at you. And you wonder why pve and industry don't go on out there?

      Maybe because it would be like taking an innocent little 8 year-old on a charming tour of an insane asylum!

      We avoid the area because of the psychopaths. At least in null we have psychopaths of our own. And they have friends.

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  13. thinking about this - an interesting variant perhaps: have delayed local in null by default, but allow alliances to upgrade to direct local. For instance by installing upgrades in the ihub (option only available if your ownership is above 3 for instance), or by a cynojammer like device. Alliances would have to make a conscious choice to invest in security for selected systems.

    All other options remain anathema to me ;-)

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    1. This is a good one.

      "Delayed" local for both low & null would be ok with me, provided that instead of the regular 5-min delay that happens when you currently set a channel to "delayed mode", make it say, 2 & a half mins.
      That is MORE than enough time to sneak through a system, from gate-flash to gate-flash, unless it's a huge system and you're in say, a battleship. Even then, those in the system who aren't on the gate, are probably just going to catch a glimpse of your name, then poof yer gone again.
      That allows for "sneakiness" of travel unless you directly encounter someone else, but as soon as you delay a bit, whether warping to celestials or belts to look for targets, or throwing probes out, etc, you'll show up in local.

      So yes, you get the "chance at sneaky travel", but once you go beyond just traveling gate-to-gate and start "hunting", you show up clear as day.

      Best of both worlds, no?

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    2. I've been wanting the local channel as an intel tool to end for a long time. It's a tool that has never been used for it's original propose: chat.

      But I don't think turning nullsec into something very similar to W-space would be the way to go. Local has been used as intel since forever, and the whole eve gameplay, though probably not by design, does spin around what intel local channels provide. It's like a powerfull radar capable of detecting anything butnthe color of your underwear. W-space has had delayed local since the get got, and a new gameplay was developep around it by players. But that particular gameplay style, kind of a hide and seek game, works because both as a reason and as a consequence w-space is a lot less crowed (not to say a desert), in such a way that, although risky, chances of having foes around are a lot smaller than in crowed spaces. Apply that gameplay in nullsec and the game becomes boring, stressful, slow... Not fun.

      Every space has it's characteristics and gameplay.

      But I do think we need some change here. I like the idea of it been delayed as default, but possible to upgrade to instant local by alliance depending on sov level or something similar. It would go hand to hand with CCP idea of forcing alliances to focus on the systems important to them, since it's not pratical to upgrade all systems, leaving other systems easier to infiltrate.

      Think about a constellation or key systems in a alliance space were the upgrade was set, and most people hang there, trade and all. It's a safe place because of it's structure and crowd, but not every thing can be done there, so people still have to venture into risky, delayed systems to rat, mine, travel or whatever they need to do. They'd be be going out of the safe zone, per say, and more caution would be needed. Fleets or gangs could move through a lot of systems undetected until they reached a safe zone, thus allowing less time to form a defence fleet.

      Anyways... Would change the gameplay of null and/or low sec space, but not turn it into w-space gameplay. Would be interesting to see something on that line...

      Also, maybe some other method of ship detection. Imagine a less upgraded system that could, like a radar, inform of present vessels, maybe with some error margin depending on the upgrade level, but no transponder capability so you wouldn't know if ships are friends or foe. Or maybe a transponder module tha players could fit and thus let other players know they're blue. Ideas, ideas...

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  14. Like Azual, I'm not convinced this would really help small groups all that much. On top of that, I can't think of any evidence that would suggest that CCP wants or encourages small groups to participate in null sec. It seems to be designed from top to bottom as a large group affair.

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  15. CONFRIMIGN SOMETHIGNS NEED TO BE DOIGN.

    ALSO I JUST NOT SURE THET THESE IS THE ASNWER.

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  16. Why not a progressive delay...? the fewer ships in one location and the smaller, the longer the delay.

    cyno in a hostile fleet of supers... bang... instant in local. One solo pilot in a cov ops... 5 or even 10 minute delay.

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  17. I think replacing local as the default, always-open channel with either the constellation channel (or maybe a 2-jump range 'shared local' channel) would be a better solution. Someone being in local means they can potentially warp in on you at any time. Someone being in constellation would make alliance intel channels still easy to maintain, but allow for some uncertainty as to what targets the hostiles are actually after.

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  18. I've got so many things to say on this:
    "I can count on two hands that in 5 years the Local channel was something I used for spontaneous interaction." I see and use local chat all the time for spontaneous interaction. True, it's used a lot more in high sec than in null... but it still IS used even if you don't use it.

    “but the issue is that provides an extremely easy and effective warning system and thus limits opportunities for PvP.” Remember, local chat goes both ways. Imagine going on a roam and having to scout the ENTIRE system to look for targets of opportunity. It would slow roams down so much that it’d be boring, even at current 0.0 population levels.

    “The end result is that small groups/individuals who can’t watch all the nearby local channels like a hawk are more easily hunted while larger groups and bot software that can observe local 24/7 are more easily protected.” I realize that you’re talking about local channels around the main systems you’re operating in, but all you really need to do is watch local in your system to stay safe. Explain to me how it is easier for a small group/individual to watch local than a bigger group? It only takes 1 person to watch local and it’s not very hard to do.

    “In other words, Local chat channel intelligence is a tool that helps the people that need it / deserve it the least.” Why do larger groups deserve intel less? They have put the work in to build a big alliance/block and deserve a reward for being successful.

    “This is a contributing factor why low sec is a barren wasteland filled mostly with people simply shooting each other and industry a mostly forgotten playstyle” Um, what? That doesn’t make any sense.
    “…and its a contributing factor to why small alliances can’t make headway into null sec (i.e. there is no way to hide).” I think that a small alliance/group of players moving into a system in 0.0 will DEFINATLEY get noticed even without local. If they put up a POS to live out of, that’ll get noticed (if I remember right, the game sends a mail to the sov holders that a POS has been anchored in their system). If they start ratting, the wrecks will get noticed by players living in system. Having a delayed local may make hiding their numbers easy, but they cannot hide their presence.

    “PvP in wormhole space is fraught with excitement and danger as you never know if someone is hunting you or if the target you’ve locked has four buddies ready to warp in and assist them.” If you make 0.0 into wormhole space, then why would I want to go to wormhole space?

    “Now imagine that suspense without the vagaries of random wormholes and mass limitations; two large fleets moving to engage when suddenly another unexpected fleet warps in? Delicious.” OK, so now FC’s will be afraid to engage because they don’t know the size of their enemy. I thought we were trying to encourage combat?

    “Finally, it will make it harder on bots to protect themselves.” There are so many easier way to combat bots.

    Does having local chat make it easier for 0.0 dwellers to stay safe? Yes. Does everybody effectively use the tool? No. There are dumbasses that get caught ratting/mining all the time because they’re not watching local and that’s what I like about the current system. Having local means that only the dummies get caught, and those are the ones that deserve to die, not the people that are vigilant.
    If you make local chat delayed, it will make isk-whoring SO much harder in 0.0 and there will be a mass exodus. Instead of making isk in 0.0 to buy pvp ships, people will just run to high sec to run incursions or missions, then occasionally fly back to 0.0 for fights. In this case, roams will have ZERO targets, instead of only the dummies not watching local.

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    1. I've got so many things to say on this:

      - local is used more to spam nonsensical jibberish in fleet fights than actual conversation to the point where if you strike up actual conversation with the opponent you risk getting kicked from your corp/alliance. The general rule of every nullsec entity i've been in has been stay out of local.

      - As one who hunts in whs on a regular basis, checking an entire system doesn't take long and relies more on the skill of the scout than on skills, which is never a bad thing considering skill point differences in this game.

      - watching local turns into spamming d-scan, keeping an eye out for probes now that they are easy to put on the overview is insanely easy and something people doing plexes should be checking for anyways. Also delayed local does benefit larger groups more so than smaller groups. haveing a larger group means you have a larger pool of people who can keep eyes on entry points into your space and thus more people to report when larger groups encroach onto your space. smaller groups wont have that luxury. That being said smaller groups would be harder to find, not neccesarily impossible, just harder.

      - why do larger groups deserve more and better intel if their member base can't provide it themselves?? Intel should be based on what each individual member can provide to benefit the whole.

      - knowing whether a system is in use or not is harder than you might realize, for them to get the mail that the pos is being anchored there has to be an active tcu, not just an anchored one. As for would they be noticed most deinately. but some entities are... "difficult" to evict.

      - adding delayed local wouldnt make nullsec like wh space it would just be moving one of the best advantages of wh space to nullsec. but the one thing that will keep whs unique is the WORMHOLES!!! the extreme numbers and mass limiter, what prevents 200man bs blobs from moving around easily isnt the delayed local its the WORMHOLES. thus gameplay would still be significantly different betweent nullsec and whs.

      - Whether or not a person will be willing to FC depends on the individual person. If your group of people has no one who would be willing to FC under unknown circumstances than i pity your group because you must not get much pew pew. Even today its hard to tell the exact size of your enemy or just how close that supercap fleet is or that titan supported maxed out subcap fleet. more variety to pvp is a good thing. how will a delayed local make any difference to this if you have proper scouts??

      "There are so many easier way to combat bots."

      - I cant think of anything easier than removing local given the bots instawarp/instalog once an entity enters local. please elaborate on your "easier ways"

      "In this case, roams will have ZERO targets, instead of only the dummies not watching local."

      - saying that a delayed local will remove all targets is just idiocy all you have to do is look and see how many hulks and gas harvesting ships are lost on a regular basis in whs not to mention the entire pve fleets that get whelped on a regular basis. ccp should take a page out of the most successful expansion they've ever introduced into the game which to this day was wormholes.(yeah biased i know) As for people being dumbasses that'll happen regardless of whether or not there is a local chat or whether or not its delayed, people en masse have always been stupid, its each and every pilot that contributes to making an alliance better that sets one group apart from the rest. Its something that all the great alliances had and when they lost it, they failed.

      -Talinthi, AHARM

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  19. Here's my 2 isk worth. It's based on the idea that the gates and stations in a system are all capable of logging who comes and goes, and that info is available but also controllable in various degrees. So:

    1. Local is a local chat everywhere - you don't appear until you say something there.
    2. In every system you can access the logs of the stations and gates to see who has come and gone.
    3. In High sec, the empire factions make this generally public (in game a display screen you can open like local the is continuously updated). When someone jumps in via a gate or wakes up in a clone in station, they are recorded in the log.
    2. In low sec the information is available, but you have to ask for it and pay for it. Depending on how far back in time you want to go (and pay for) you can see a log of arrivals and departures via gates and clone. So if you don't look back far enough, you won't see someone who arrived some time ago, so you're never 100% sure of the info.
    3. In low sec, if you jump in via a cyno, you aren't recorded until you appear on-grid (uncloaked) with a station or gate (or other NPC location, maybe).
    4. In low sec there could be a way to control the service in some degree - like PI Customs offices - where you could set and profit from the fees.
    5. Same in null sec, except it's entirely player driven. If you hold sov, your corp/alliance has free/cheap access to the logs. You still don't know if someone cynos in until they appear on-grid with a station/gate, but if they arrive via gate or clone in station, there's a log entry created then.
    6. Sov holders can set access rights (based on standings, business arrangements, etc.) for the info in the logs and set access fees.
    7. Sov holders have to pay for the service - via an upgrade, maybe, and it should cost enough that it's too expensive to install in every held system - just the more important ones.

    That's my thoughts on the subject.

    L.

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  20. Your dumb if you think this would help solve the botting issue. Mashing dscan might be entertaining if you have been dropped on your head. But for normal people it's rsi inducing. Bots can spam dscan more effectively than any person anyway.

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  21. Your dumb if you think this would help solve the botting issue. Mashing dscan might be entertaining if you have been dropped on your head. But for normal people it's rsi inducing. Bots can spam dscan more effectively than any person anyway.

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    1. My cloaked ship is not detected on deepscan but my character is visible in local.

      You're dumb if you think it would not help ;)

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    2. Kirith, following your own logic here: if your cloaked ship is not detected and you are not visible on local - how could industrialists even be aware of your presence? They would not, because no alliance can guard their territory 24/7 on all gates. Plus, with a cloaky bomber you'd probably slip through gate camps anyway. I fail to see how any sane miner (and most ratters, btw) would still undock, under those circumstances.

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    3. I am partial to the botting argument, but wouldn't botters just program their own cloaky scouts at entrance gates? Scoutbots? No one would be more efficient at mashing that dscan button than a bot..

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    4. Sered, re ratters and miners: the point is that ratters and miners would need to work within the framework of the local alliance to ensure the space is locked down and safe. This may cause a contraction of alliances to smaller more protectable borders but I'm ok with that.

      As for the botters using scout bots, every additional account cuts into profit and using scouts would force the bots to try to comminicate with each other instead of each one watching local by themselves. A lot more room for error and less profit.

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  22. It would help against botters and solo ganks against mission runners and miners, but I doubt it would do much to foster small gang warfare. People seem to have this romanticized view of how EVE is when they're going on a roam that evasion of larger gangs and sneaking up on people is how you get fights, but this couldnt be further from the truth.

    I mean honestly, how many times have you gone on a 2 hr roam where you didn't run into anything and eventually resort to hoping you'll show up in the enemy's intel channel and they'll form a defense gang.

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