Friday, June 6, 2014

Unnecessary Additions

Discussion about balance within Eve Online is absolutely essential.  In fact, I’d argue it’s the most valuable topic of discussion, since it lets us stretch our innovative muscles in a way that requires us to consider third- and fourth-order consequences to changes, not just first- and second-order ones.

Easier said than done.

A lot of discussion about balance and changes CCP should make revolve around making the proposer’s life easier, often at the expense of others, whether intentionally or unintentionally.  Personally, my view is that CCP should only make changes if they a) maintain or improve the level of engagement and vestment players have in the game, b) reduce – or at least not add to – unnecessary complication, and c) generate additional revenue.

Eve is a game, after all, and CCP needs to make money.  They can’t simply grab at cash, though, because changes that annoy or frustrate the players so much that they stop playing is counter-productive (that’s why we don’t have a per-module tax on ship fittings, or a ship “holding” fee for every ship you own that you’re not actively piloting, for instance.

Often times, a lot of changes to the game that people propose seek to perform a single function in a single situation.  The new hull buffer tank modules fit into the same role (reducing freighter ganks by increasing hull HP, making them cost-inefficient to kill).  I generally don’t like these types of modules.  By all means apply specific conditions to them, but when you include them for a very clear, single purpose, it strikes me as meddling with the sandbox too much.

But that’s just a personal opinion.  Since these modules do fit a specific role not being filled right now, it’s complication, but not unnecessary complication.  I don’t like them, but they don’t violate my conditions.

Why this long introduction?  TMC recently posted an article talking about the need for a remote logistics disruptor.  In a nutshell, this module would activated against the target of logistic ship reps to make the reps less effective.  In other words, if you are shooting at an Archon and you activate a remote logistics disruptor module on it, any ship repping that Archon will provide less actual shield HP for each rep.

Unfortunately, not only would this module require new code to be written to support it, it’s utterly unnecessary.  Why?  Because we already have a logistics-cancelling option available: remote sensor dampeners.  To neutralize logistics ships, all you need to do is throw a couple remote sensor dampeners on the logi ship to reduce its lock range; a logi ship can’t rep a ship that isn’t in lock range.  Or, you can throw scan res scripts in your dampeners and make it take forever for the logi to lock your primary target initially, allowing you to throw more volleys into the target before it catches reps.

The options are already there, and remote sensor dampeners can be applied at significant range, making countermeasures against them difficult.

And if your fleet chooses to kill the logi first, you can turn those remote sensor dampeners to your high DPS targets to take them out of the fight as well – it’s particularly useful against kiters.

The author does a good job of considering the issue, and I’ll never find fault with that.  I’m enjoying these articles as thought-exercises, and his writing style is entertaining.  He’s looking for ways to help reduce the size of fleets once again, and I’m fully on board with that mission.

But while the argument of his first post – that the prevalence of logistics is pushing fleet sizes upwards by encouraging more logi and enough DPS ships to achieve an obliterative alpha strike, makes a great deal of sense – let’s not add additional modules and required training when we have options that work effectively already.


  1. By the same reasoning we should also remove tracking disruptors?

  2. Even more rediculous, what about all the redundant weapon systems that all basically remove HP from the target.

    Do we really need hybrids and lasers and projectiles and missiles? Once we got any one of them, we could use your reasoning to say we don't need the others?

    1. A point worth raising, but there is a distinction: the modules you mentioned have multiple uses. It's one thing for CCP to introduce "effects" that players can apply in a wide variety of ways. It's another to limit the sandbox with "mitigators" introduced to specifically counter one sandbox-driven consequence. Directly introducing a module to modify downward a player-driven meta is something quite different.

      For that reason, I'm not keen on the new freighter changes, which are pretty much intended to reduce ganks. The only saving grace is that adding hull-tank modules rounds out a pre-established could already armor- or shield-tank, so it makes sense to introduce hull-tanking for symmetry.

    2. A hybrid gun has multiple uses? Lasers have multiple uses? I must disagree. They have exactly one use. They actually have the same use.

      EANM also have exactly one use. It's single use is to counter the previously mention hybrid and laser etc.

      I'm not really in favour of the logi reducing suggestion, but to come at it from the point of view that you don't like modules that are exist for the singular reason of counter another module is not a good approach to take.

      Likewise, coming at it from the direction of "there are other modules that basically do the same thing already" also isn't a very robust argument.

    3. You're right, you pointed out a flaw in my statement... I should have said, "Application", not "use". Yes, a hybrid gun has one use - to shoot things - but you can use railgun or blaster, you can fight point-blank or fight in fall-off.

      With an EANM, you can apply its use multiple ways, depending on the situation. Fit an EANM to boost your self-repping capability. Or use it for fitting purposes to squeeze more ehp. Or dual-tank a bait ship with it. Or let it serve as your only tank.

      Introducing a module whose only job is to mitigate one specific role is a different thing. The use dictates a singular application. Not so with other ewar.

      Jammers can take either dps ships or logi or other ewar out of a fight. They can be used for escape - to jam the only point, for instance. Sensor dampeners can reduce targeting range to mitigate dps, or force logi out of the fight, or force ewar from comfortable positions, or save you from a point. Neuts can do all of the same things, depending on what needs accomplished for a particular fight.

      Tell me a second application of a remote logistics dampener OTHER than making logi less effective so you can destroy a ship? The application is singular, unlike all the other ewar modules in the game.

  3. The post you are referring to was also brought up for discussion on the E-Uni forums. The resounding response from the community was no, for there were many alternatives available in game already. Additionally, there were arguments that it would break small-gang PVP.

  4. He comments on Sensor Damps specifically in the first article as well

    "The Wrecking Ball uses armor supercarriers to support Slowcat Archons. Supercapitals cannot be sensor damped by Fuckyoufleet so they provide ewar-immune logistical support for Slowcats."

    When your logi is immune to EWAR, what good are damps, ECM, or any other type of effect cast onto a Logi ship other than DPS?

    1. A good point. But let me turn it back on you. If those ewar modules don't work on a supercap, why would a remote logistic dampener work on supercaps?

      It seems the easier answer is to modify supercaps to allow ewar to work on them. Level the playing field... much like other T1-to-T2 tiericide efforts, this change would allow supercaps to remain more powerful, but close the gap with carriers.

    2. Remote logistic dampers would work on supercaps because they target the ship being repped, and not the ship doing the repping.

      Making supercaps lose ewar immunity just means fleets will bring more ewar than even now. If you want null fleet fights to get smaller in size, that's not the way to go about it.

    3. I get you. I was thinking about supercaps repping other supercaps, not repping carriers. Good point.

  5. Gotta hate those Shield Archon Slowcat fleets...

  6. Since remote logi doesn't have stacking penalties, disrupting them means fielding dampers in proportion to enemy logi numbers. The end result of that is ewar only becomes effective in fleet engagements if they're fielded as massed fuckyoufleet support formations. Sensor damp mechanics currently aggravate rather than solve the nullsec problem of n+1 race towards 1% tidi server meltdown.

    The RLD's ability to proportionally reduce total incoming logi reps regardless of the number of sources, combined with a stacking penalty against its own effectiveness, means smaller gangs can hope to engage and deal some damage before they're driven off the field, but bigger fleets don't gain additional benefits by bringing several hundred rather than a few handful of RLDs. There is no comparable functionality among existing modules.