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I focus almost exclusively on PvP, whether solo, small gang, or large bloc warfare. In the past, I've been a miner, mission runner, and faction warfare jockey. I'm particularly interested in helping high-sec players get into 0.0 combat.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Subterfuge, Deception, and Dash Cunning

PvP in null-sec is hard work.  Unlike low-sec fighting, you don’t have the advantage of a full local channel to mask your nefarious intent.  Generally, ratters are happily plugging away at pirates until you show up in local, at which point they safe up.  Various suggestions have been floating around the Eve forums about removing local entirely or delaying it, but I find that a bit extreme.

I sympathize with the ratters who want to have some warning they’re about to be dropped on (and dscan isn’t enough… if an interceptor is traveling at 9.0 au/sec, you have maybe 4-5 seconds from the moment it hits dscan until you’re targeted, and a battleship can’t align that quickly).  But I also think we need to boost the ability of roamers to get a target once in a while.

My solution: planetary nebulas1.

Yes, the name is absurd, as nebulas are huge swaths of space that don’t fit within a single solar system, but I’m sure the good folks at CCP can come up with something that works equally well.  These nebulas would be cosmic anomalies existing in every system that would not only mask any ships inside from dscan, but from local as well.  The only way to tell if anyone was inside would be to go in there and have a visual look.  But – and here’s the kicker – you could see everyone outside the nebula on dscan and in local without any problems.

Being cosmic anomalies, they would move regularly, so scouts and afk campers would at least have to warp to the new anomaly from time to time.  The nebula would need to be only about 200km across to prevent folks from slow boating off the grid to become perfectly undetectable.

You could light cynos in them without showing up on the overview, making it possible to bring whole fleets in surreptitiously.

Roaming gangs would have a place to hide their numbers until their scouts found a target.  Find a nice empty system, warp into the nebula, and wait while traffic passes you buy, entirely unaware of your presence.  The possibilities are endless, whereas now, intel channels make it impossible for any gang to travel any distance in secrecy.  If a gang disappears from intel, they could be hiding in literally any system.

Ratters could still see the initial local spike when the roamer enters system, but he would disappear when he enter the nebula.  Curious if it’s safe?  Better go in and have a look yourself.  Warping at range would work just fine, but did you pick the right distance to be out of his point range?

I love the possibilities of this kind of mechanic.  If we removed local entirely or delayed it, the ratter would only have the time it takes for a ship to appear on dscan to escape – with nebulas, this would be the same.  The only difference is that in a nebula system, the ratter would have warning that someone entered, then “left” system, and would have the opportunity to make a judgment call as to whether it’s safe to resume his PvE activities.

I think a mechanic like this would help roamers tremendously, while allowing smart, cautious ratters a good chance to survive.  That’s what Eve is all about, right?  Punishing the reckless and rewarding the intelligent?

1And yes, I know that the proper plural is "nebulae", but "nebulas" has become ubiquitous and is more comprehensible to most readers.  It's a living language, yo.


  1. "Curious if it’s safe? Better go in and have a look yourself."
    Unless the neut shows up on local when in you're both in the nebula this would be pointless as they'd just be invisible and cloaked and there'd be no way to tell if they're there.
    And if they do show up in local then people would just leave a cloaked alt in the nebula in ratting systems as well.

  2. I failed to understand this one part in your first paragraph: 'Unlike low-sec fighting, you don’t have the advantage of a full local channel to mask your nefarious intent.'.. Are you mistakenly confusing null with W-space? Local works just as well in null as it does in low.

    Don't get me wrong, I find the rubicon changes extraordinary, they will certainly change the nature of the game in nullsec, with interceptors that can actually intercept their prey..

    But then again, while your idea has it's merits (it's actually one of the best ones i've seen), but it worsens another lopsided problem: AFK sitters.

    These are cloaky people who log in solely for the purpose of having a red in system, blockading most activities in low-activity systems, for hours at a time, AFKing and grabbing an easy prey for time to time, and in worst case scenarios, gathering intel on who logs when and where.

    These are completely undetectable and, worst of all, unoposable.

    As I said, I like your idea, but I'd add two more points to it:
    The cloud is toxic (think mercoxit cloud).. You can only stay inside for a while, say a couple hours at a time? Also, they don't spawn in EVERY system all the time.. say they have a 25% chance of being in a given system at a given time? And raising sov level decreases that time, too (but never to zero). Also, the mechanic may or may not be predictable? The number might have to be tuned, too.

    I wait for the day where a kloaky spai will jump inside one of those clouds, only to be surprised by a dozen sentry guns already inside.

    Also, recent research might reveal that cloaking is dangerous, and therefore cloaking modules have get worse and worse at hiding you as time goes by. As sensor technologies improve, eventually watching distant starlight pass thru and arrive in multiple points in system will enable people to sometimes find out where the cloaky ship is. Say, a set of cloak-finding probes, with a cycle time of about 300 seconds, that CANNOT be used by a ship while being cloaked (that would otherwise skew the results). Five minutes is plenty of time for any cloaky traveller to go past, and plenty of time for any non-afk watcher to move around (and maybe generate a false positive?), but a window nice enough to catch afkers. Also, since cloaking detheriorates over time, every hour that passes, makes it easier to find a cloaky ship?

    Anyways, that's my 2c. Good work on your idea, again! :D

    1. This is what I meant about low-sec... Low tends to be more populated than null. If you jump into a null system with a single neutral, your arrival is much more likely to attract attention than if you jump into a low-sec system with dozens already in it. It's easier to hide in a crowd than an empty square.

  3. Then, since we're talking the theoretical where wishes are horses, let's ride with this.. why not make cloaks ineffective inside?

    1. hmm yeah that might be alright

  4. What is wrong with local in the first place? I see people being killed daily in null despite local being there. If people are complaining about it killing null sec pvp and making ratting 100% safe then they are doing something wrong.