Friday, February 24, 2012

Radical Idea: War Decs Are Stupid

One of the things getting looked at in Inferno is CONCORD sanction wars, more commonly known as war declarations or war decs. The background story is that one alliance/corporation bribes CONCORD to look the other way as they perform criminal acts on a target alliance/corporation, the upshot is that CONCORD also ignores criminal acts going the other way.

When  the two entities in question are willing to fight, the mechanic works fine. See Red Versus Blue. When the target is large enough or powerful to ignore the aggressor in most cases, the mechanic is not overly harmful to the game. See war decs on null sec alliances or Eve University. When the target is vulnerable and unwilling to fight but the aggressor is one or two guys looking for easy kills or ransoms, its not the worst thing in the world. But when the target is weak and the aggressor is strong, the target corporation usually tries to avoid the war dec by docking up or hopping to a new corp that is not at war. This tactic leaves neither the target (who has to change corps and reset up shop when all he wants to do is play the game in a non-pvp manner) nor the aggressor (who has to watch his target melt away like snow in the hot sun and thus gets no kills nor ISK out of the effort) happy. Any effort to make war decs easier or harder to launch or avoid is going to piss off the other party.

And let's be frank: war decs are stupid in any internally consistent world.

In a logical world the empires would look at the violence, destruction, economic impact, and chaos caused by high sec war decs and then look accusingly at CONCORD and ask "what the hell are you doing?" It would be as if crime families in major cities could pay the police to look the other way as they blew up buildings and shot at each other in the streets. Sooner or later the military would come in to restore order and sack the entire police force.

Now, I acknowledge that using real world examples to apply to an internet spaceship game where we supposedly play immortal god-like beings of cast wealth and power and are dealing with what amounts to essentially a independent police force free from government interference is a stretch. I'm a big fan of making storyline fit good game design and not making poor game design to fit with storyline.

And I also acknowledge that we need some method of allowing non-consensual PvP in high sec beyond market shenanigans and suicide ganks/can flipping. But at the same time, I think we need a mechanic for players not looking for PvP to have some assistance in dealing with unwanted aggression.

So, here is my proposals (flame as you will):

1) Reduce the time and effort it takes to declare a war. The 24 hour voting and then24 hour to war start is too much.

2) Allow the war dec'ed corp to pay to CONCORD to end the war dec, but make the cost high and make it so the aggressive entity gets it costs back. Once done, war cannot be declared on that corp for at least 24 hours.

3) CONCORD will no respond to hostilities in high sec, but faction navies will and they will engage anyone involved who does a criminal action. This will not be enough to give non-PvPers a complete pass but might be enough support to give them a fighting chance. Nothing changes in terms of low sec though.

4) Do not allow pilots to leave or join a corp in an active war declaration (either target or aggressor).

* * * * *

I know I'm not a war declaration expert and this idea may have holes or issues large enough to drive a Megathron through. Mostly I wanted to write a post pointing out how stupid war decs are.


  1. "Now, I acknowledge that using real world examples to apply to an internet spaceship game where we supposedly play immortal god-like beings of cast wealth and power and are dealing with what amounts to essentially a independent police force free from government interference is a stretch."

    Kirith--no, it's not. I use RL allegories all the time. Why? Because "stories" (to include the ones in games) have to have some "link" to reality, some "common ground", or it's so abstract and obtuse that nobody can relate to it, and thus nobody will CARE about it. So keep making your RL-allegories, man, because for fuck's sake I can't be the only one doing it! lol

    Also, just the fact that you think about things from a rational "what would the 'real' result in this game world be..." aspect, your idea may have a few holes but as for "fixing things", well, ur DoingItRightBro a hell of a lot more than those just throwing out random ideas cause they "sound good" or "help buff/nerf my side of the argument".

  2. I think it should be possible to 'buy-off' a wardeck, or admit defeat without needing both CEO's present, perhaps at an isk penalty of some sort, perhaps to be paid to the aggressor.This would allow for the targets to quit the war at their own choosing and also have an isk reward for 'winning' a war.

  3. Anonymous5:04 am

    Kirith, I went into these in detail. Most of the changes you suggested have holes big enough to autopilot a fleet of Obelisks escorted by a pantheon of Megathrons through, all on auto-pilot.

    1. This is a bad idea for reasons I just outlined here

    2. Any mechanic that allows the defenders to escape or avoid wars through isk CAN ONLY lead to wars being primarily against those least able to defend themselves. I talked about this several times in my CSM thread and other posts on the forums.

    3. No, faction navies, what, no. Just no. The whole idea behind eve, the entire dark backstory, if you read it, is about the incredible sway the capsuleer community holds over everyone, how they do whatever they goddamn please, and how nobody really wants to interfere if they're keen on blowing each other up. Plus, it would make for terrible gameplay.

    4. Restricting movement in and out of corporations that are at war is good, but you can't just lock them in. These restrictions need to be in place for specific reasons and with particular considerations in mind; read my post here

    Locking people into corps that are involved in a war not only breaks gameplay elements like RvB, but forcing someone to participate in something they never meant to be involved in in the first place FOREVER (or until it's over, whichever comes first) is just terrible planning. It opens up all kinds of doors for abuse and harassment when two parties conspire to ruin the days of someone they baited into their corporation, for instance.

    For additional discussions on the topic, see the following links: and following discussion this post

    ...and a couple other posts and discussions I've had with others during the course of the CSM proceedings thus far.

    I hope you will consider and respond to these

    1. Widdershins: Let's face it, CCP doesn't even know wtf they're thinking about their own damn game.
      #3--Funny, I've read Empyrean Age several times (that's how I found out about EVE), and suffered through The Burning Life once (and only once, god what a steaming pile of shit, 15 yr olds writing for can do better) and yeah, they overtly say "Capsuleers are the most powerful entities everywhere, only CONCORD has any say about them," blah blah, but then go on to DIRECTLY CONTRADICT that stated premise by the plot mechanics.
      Capsuleers are really rich, really powerful, but then many of them are in the employ of the various Factions directly (according to the books anyways)... so truly only the "free agent capsuleers" (which most of us play) are really "free to do as we will with limited constraint".
      Interesting turn from Burning Life -- get killed outside your pod, apparently you're perma-dead (see final chapter of Burning Life). Direct contradiction to what was previously accepted "canon" about "soft-cloning".

      See my latest blog post for a diff view on all this.
      Really, CCP has painted themselves into a corner by not sufficiently creating/fleshing out Prime Fiction and designing a game around it. Instead they chose to create a game, and then go "gee, I guess we need a _reason_ for all this, why things are how they are, we can't just say 'cause we said so', so let's make some shit up." <--- this might be fine provided you NEVER have to change your game mechanics... but once you do, obvious arbitrary game mechanics become obviously arbitrary, and in some cases fail to make sense or contradict what little "prime fiction" you have thought up, and now you have a problem.

      Remember CONCORD wasn't always in the game. CONCORD is itself one of those "arbitrary mechanics are arbitrary" -- so don't factor them in TOO strongly when trying to think this all through. That's the problem with arbitrary mechanics are arbitrary -- yes CONCORD does figure into the "prime fiction" now, BUT, it was arbitrarily created, and it can be arbitrarily nerfed or even deleted. When you work from that arbitrary system, hey, any option is on the table.

      CCP just needs to stop and re-write the whole damn game from the ground up, with an eye to the "whos, whys, and wherefores", and THEN implement the mechanics to express that reality.

      That or you people need to give me a massive influx of capital to invest and I will make a game that out-EVEs EVE. ;-D

    2. I'm sorry - When was dying out side of your pod ever NOT perma dead?

      The only thing I have seen that says people can die outside of pods and be cloned relates soley to dust514, and NOT to capsuleers.

      And yes, Some capsuleers ARE employed by the factions. Thats where the NPC corps come into play.

  4. Anonymous6:32 am

    Heck, I'd be interested in talking about them with you in game or in chat if you want. Whatever works. Since you reckoned it was worth the time to post about, perhaps it's worth taking a few minutes to talk with someone who works with war declarations day in and day out.

  5. I think CCP should make War Decs even more dangerous that they are now... Right now it kinda just turns high sec into null in a lot of respects.

    Why not make it a threat in null as well? Maybe some kind of docking timer so that anyone under a war dec cannot spend more than 15 minutes docked at any given time. Should they log while docked, they get ejected into space anyway at end of 15 minutes.

    I know it sounds extreme but it would certianly make EVE more violent and that's always a good thing.

    1. And what, pray tell, would be the reason for this great and wonderful new mechanic? Do tell moar. What's the reason behind it? Maybe an NPC corp station might not want wardecced parties "hiding out" there, but then again any hostile action against the station itself would be met by the station guns and CONCORD response, and NPC stations are perma-invulnerable that's really a non-issue.

      And a friendly SOV station...they're really not going to care if a blue hangs out there to hide from reds. Happens all the time in nullsec.

      At this point, "obvious commentary on nullsec by someone who has never so much as BEEN to nullsec" -- is obvious. You're dismissed, son.

      PS--I'll make ya a deal. En Garde is under a few wardecs right now. You can come find me in LGK-VP. There's only one station there. Feel free to camp it looking for me if you like...and if you can even make it there in the first place. ;-)

    2. Anonymous11:51 pm

      You were doing so well there until the end there. What you said in the first half is still valid, even if he does have a good philosophy. Making wars more dangerous is laudable, but not by doing it in that way.

      That said, you just lost all your personal credibility with your call-out to "come to nullsec and fight me there" and your absurd posturing. EVERYONE says that, and I do mean everyone. It is the number-one most-used excuse/taunt from someone who feels impinged, threatened, or defeated outside their home ground surrounded by their friends and capitals.

      P.S. it doesn't really pertain to the argument, but the fact that you're in En Garde is hilarious.