But, even when I spent a lot of time around Tama and surrounding systems, I didn't notice it as being such a massive problem. My experience was that blobbing, and not WCS, ruined most of the fun. And I'm okay with when people blog me... it means I should have killed the other guy faster, and good for him for having a bunch of friends nearby.
And then Sunday night happened. I left from Tamo with a drone Tristan and headed towards the Ashitsu constellation, hoping to find a few pilots to fight. A few jumps in, I saw another Tristan at a plex and slid in. He was about 20 km away, so I dutifully applied my point and dropped my drones.
And then he warped away.
I tossed a mere, "Are you kidding me?" in local, but of course, he didn't respond. I followed him around as he warped between the novice and small plexes in the system, caught him twice and managed to give the "attack" order to my drones, only to watch him warp off again.
Annoyed, I moved in, and found a Federation Navy Comet in the next system and warped to him. Landing and sliding, I saw him 10 km off, applied my point, and began to damage him. I watched as he locked me back, and gleefully hoped for an actual fight.
Nope. At 60% shield, he warped off again, still under point. Apparently, he was teasing me with his slow reaction time. This time, I grumbled a bit more loudly in local. He rightly pointed out that even with a Comet, he had no chance against a character created in 2009 when he was only a month old (I didn’t check his age when I engaged him). But it didn’t change the fact that he still flew with a WCS. Even if he wanted to fight, fitting that module would reduce his lock time to the point that he’d be spotting his opponent at least two volleys before he could lock.
So I moved on again. And found a Merlin sitting in a plex. Again, I pointed him.
I moved to the next system and found yet another target, an Incursus this time.
The first four pilots I found were actively engaged in a faction warfare action, yet had fitted themselves specifically to avoid fights.
Let me phrase that another way. These pilots signed up for a militia, moved to a warzone, dedicated themselves to fighting for their glorious empire, and decided to run from every possible engagement, an action that would see them shot in any military worth its salt.
No wonder why the empires hate capsuleers.
This is absolutely a broken mechanic, so allow me to propose a lore-approved solution that preserves choice and doesn’t require a change to the WCS module itself, which CCP seems unwilling to do. After all, militia commanders wouldn’t necessarily condemn fitting a WCS, right? They’re not sadistic, and they don’t want more of their pilots dying (even immortal ones) than absolutely necessary for the morale boost killing an enemy gives a soldier.
But they still do have standards they expect their soldiers to conform to, and I’m willing to be running from the enemy all the time isn’t one of them. In a regular unit, you’d be court-martialed or shot.
Hold on there… there’s an idea. Shooting a capsuleer for desertion doesn’t really make sense… we’d just wake up in another body, after all, so it’s not really much of a threat (particularly now that clone costs were eliminated). But a court-martial… I like the sound of that.
So here’s a proposal. For every time you warp away while a) you have a WCS fitted, and b) that WCS allows you to disengage while a scram or point is applied to you, you lose some faction standing with your own militia.
This solution would allow the militia to censure you for running from the enemy, yet would still permit you to use a WCS in a limited, tactical way. You’d still have the choice as to whether you fit it, but that choice would come with consequences.
The occasional WCS-fitted pilot doing it for a clear reason (a boosting ship using it as a last resort in case he gets caught, for instance?) would still be fine, since their other FW activities would more than off-set the loss of faction standing from an occasional “court-martial” hit, but the farmer who considers stabbing his ship a standard fitting option would only be able to do so so often before he finds himself kicked from the militia for poor standings.
After all, do you really expect your militia to tolerate – or pay for – you running from every fight you get in?
From a coding perspective, the game already has to correctly calculate and apply the effects of a WCS and points, so there’s a log entry the mechanic can rest upon. The “court-martial” would simply have to check for that log entry.
And we can do away with a behavior that makes no sense, creates frustration, and undermines the purpose of an existing mechanic, all without having to remove or change a module or add additional restrictions.
Consequence, not abolition.