Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The War on War Declarations

I've never liked the War Declaration mechanic in EVE.

I mean, I understand the original intent behind war declarations. CCP wanted players to have the ability to fight over resources in the tightly controlled space of high sec so they gave corporations the ability to declare war on each other, removing the obstacles of CONCORD or sentry gun interference and removing any potential security status penalties.

CCP had visions of groups with roughly equal size and skills clashing in battles over moons and asteroid belts.

And this can still happen! But its vastly in the minority. Instead what the players use the mechanic for is basically extortion and seal clubbing.
Groups of veteran PvP players go around and declare war on groups of carebears, asking them for ISK or lose their ships / structures / etc, and if they have the nerve to stand up and try and fight, are bashed in the head via station games, blingy PvP ships, and more experience.

Not to mention the groups of players that just war dec everything they can and sit in trade hubs camping gates all day, using the mechanic as a way to bypass high sec rules.

Its a shitty mechanic that allows the experienced and strong players to prey on the newer and weaker players without consent or reasonable recourse and it sucks and I think it drives players away.

And now we have evidence from CCP indicating that it's true:

CCP Larrikin pulls up activity data for players of corporations that have wars declared against them and it shows considerable activity drops in all activities during the war. They also show that the low activity continues after the war ends. Brisc Rubal noted that the numbers here were so stark, it would justify immediately removing war decs as a mechanic and promising a fix after the fact. The CSM in general were surprised at how stark the numbers were and noted it was clear this mechanic was having a significant impact on player recruitment and retention.
A comment was made in that summit that perhaps those numbers suggest removing war decs immediately. I wholeheartedly agree.

The concept is flawed, built for a style of gameplay and environment that no longer exists. Get rid of it.

* * * * *

OK, now that its gone and the wailing and gnashing of teeth has died down, the game does need some mechanic to deal with competition over the actual things worth fighting over in high sec that should not have absolute safety. Not asteroid fields or trade hub jump gates (both of which already contend with suicide ganks), but rather structures.

I propose that once declaring war against corporations is gone, we replace it with the ability to bribe the NPC government agencies to look the other way while a structure is attacked. The owners of the structure can be attacked too, but only in that system. This would give casual / noobie / pacifist corps an option besides the "hire mercs or learn how to fight" (which really is "watch you get scammed or die horribly to experienced PvPers"). Or of course, what they do now, which is log out and stop playing.

Now that proposal is not fleshed out, its an off-the-cuff idea thrown out to show that I think a radical rethinking of high sec PvP needs to be done, and radical actions need to be taken. EVE desperately needs something.

Time is running out.


  1. There may be something in that. People have suggested only being able to war dec corps that actually have structures. If you also limited it to systems where the corp actually has structures that might be a plan, though coding that might be an obstacle.

    1. Similarly, you could limit the wardec to only allowing people to attack structures, then engagement timers would allow the battle to escalate from there. Maybe easier to code that way.

  2. "I mean, I understand the original intent behind war declarations." Oh, I tend to agree. But you will hear from those that currently benefit, an argument like how wormholes were not supposed to lived in long-term but the players have adapted around the conditions. But it really needed a study to prove this? For years certain parties have been boastful of their ability to drive players out of the game. It was not really a secret.

    I am curious to see what CSM/CCP arrive at. Given the near extremes of thought it is likely no one will be happy except for those on the sidelines without a stake in the solution.

  3. One thing to think on... TEST just anchored the first HS Keepstar for trading purposes. If there are no wardecs how do you remove structures now? It seems to me that if you are going to have a section of the game for those who don't want PVP and run screaming when forced to deal with it that you might as well remove the PVP entirely for them.

    My suggestion would be to make war decs against corporations require that the corporations have a minimum of X number of members. Effectively removing small HS corporations from war dec mechanics.

    Another thought would be to give corporations to toggle wardecs on or off. If it's toggled off you can't be subject to a wardec but you also can't ever fight in one as an ally or declare one.

  4. Part of the problem, surely, is the cost of a dec. It's far too cheap to declare against a small entity, especially if you are a big Alliance.

    Perhaps there's an answer in the Lore? IIRC, the war-dec fee is a bribe to get CONCORD to look the other way. Won't a big group be under more public scrutiny, and thus need to pay more to avoid such, than some one-man corp in the back of beyond?

    But a small corp shouldn't be able to declare war on a large Alliance for peanuts, either. So, instead of the current "scales by target numbers" scheme, how about "scales by deccing group's numbers plus half target group's numbers" or similar.

    And give the defenders another option -- an economic one. If Adam can bribe CONCORD to look the other way, why can't Bruce re-bribe CONCORD to pay attention? A bidding war, 48 hours to respond, cost doubles each time; so 100M "attack" becomes 200M "defence" becomes 400M becomes 800M, at which point (6 days after the initial dec) the attacker stops bidding and the defender has paid to carry on as normal for 16 days after their last bid (money must be in corp wallet and is removed at time of bid, returned if unsuccessful). A game of economic cat and mouse which, importantly for the future, wouldn't impact on structure removal wars against AFK corps...

    1. Players are always richer than you think and ISK barriers never turn out to be barriers at all given enough time and motivation. Hence why Titans propagated to every corner of known space.