Tuesday, April 7, 2015

WCS: Add Consequences, Not Restrictions

Over at Evoganda, Rixx Javix has consistently made compelling arguments that warp core stabilizers are the devil, both in general and as they relate to FW low-sec space.  In theory, I tend to agree with him... I believe that specifically joining faction warfare only to stabilize your ship so you can run from every possible fight is cowardly and shameful.  You lose the right to complain if someone calls you out about it.

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.


  1. ridiculous. Just put another scram on your ship, or carry one (or two) in your hold along with a mobile depot. I'm not a fan of stabbed farmers, but there are ways to kill them.

    - Than

    1. Yeah, you can do that. It bothers me from the lore perspective, though, too. "Oh, hey, I know you run any time there's a fight, but I'm totally going to keep paying you for doing the easy jobs literally anyone on my payroll in the militia can do. Have a super awesome day!"

    2. You're absolutely right; not allowing players to fit stabs will make some leave FW. But you're wrong about me getting fewer fights. Those WCS players don't give me fights, but they do cause me to waste my time on them. If the people in FW space actually were looking for fights, the time I spend warping to the plex, taking the gate, and engaging would generate a real fight. Now, I waste a lot of time trying to engage people who it's impossible for me to engage. Them being there actually does reduce my fun, because they're a wasted time sink for me.

      This isn't high-sec, this is low, where you should expect to be in jeopardy. Not every area of space needs to cater to those who just want to PvE, or want to find a solution that grants them perfect safety. When you come into low, null, or WH space, you should EXPECT to face danger. WCS eliminate that danger.

      I don't want to bring more buddies; I want to fight 1v1s. Bringing an extra scram and refitting in a nearby station is a good solution, and I think I'm going to do that in the interim. I'd much rather kill them than force them away.

    3. Ask in local if someone is willing to fight or if they are stabbed and planning to run. Every time someone does answer you save time.

      There is barely any difference between a stabbed farmer warping off after getting pointed by you and an unstabbed farmer warping off right as you land (because he still wants to avoid combat because your killboard scares him, you are and older character with more SP, because your ship is a counter to his, because it is the farming alt of corp mate and knows whatyou will do to him.)

      WCS don't eliminate danger, they just reduce the risk. Are you afraid to fit triple scram because it puts you at more risk against other pvp-ers? Are you risk averse?

    4. “…WCS players don't give me fights …” and “…waste my time on them…” and “…I waste a lot of time trying to engage people who it's impossible for me to engage.” and most of all… “Them being there actually does reduce my fun.”

      So, I get that you are talking about how you go about playing your game, but let’s look at the other side of that coin hmmm…

      “…PvP players try to kill me …” and “…waste the time and effort I spent on making my LP and ISK…” and “…I waste a lot of time trying to having to warp off and wait for them to leave local so I can go back to plexing.” and most of all… “Them (PvPers) being there actually does reduce my fun.”

      So, on your blog yes, we get your opinion… but in the client, your opinion is but one of several hundred thousand… and worth no less and not one bit more, than the rest.

      Tal this is nothing, nothing at all but “I want them to fight me and I don’t care that they don’t want to fight… they should have to, they should be forced to or go play somewhere else (not allowing players to fit stabs will make some leave FW)…” and that’s ALL it is.

      Because ‘highsec’ because ‘should expect to face danger' because ‘cater to those who just want to PvE’ because ‘perfect safety’ because ‘WCS eliminate that danger’… Really? Both you and RIxx crow about all the ships you’ve killed who were multi-stabbed… you just had to work harder for it… but that’s not what you want is it?

      “I don't want to bring more buddies…” and most telling of all, “I want to fight 1v1s…”

      What about what the other guy wants? What about the sandbox? What about the players who are not here to make you happy? I do appreciate that your last line was, “Bringing an extra scram and refitting… ….is a good solution.” How about we leave it at that?

      You don’t like a whole lotta things here… and I can bet you whatever you want that a helluva lotta other players don’t like your desire to PvP on them while they are PvEing… so HTFU, get some extra points and kill them anyway… but do not state that anyone else should play the game just to make you happy because “What I want is what’s best for EVE.” That line of purile BS is already trademarked by Rixx “WouldaCouldaShoulda” Javix…

      Cause that’s ALL you are actually saying in this post.

    5. Yup, it's just my opinion. But I'm not in the business of doing CCP's job for them and coming up with the balance. No one is. Our jobs are to advocate for our particular positions. They have the obligation of coming up with a universal. After all, the search for a "universal" always ends in failure.

      I've gotten into a lot of opinions about PvP and Eve, as you've said. And you're right; they're opinions.

      But here are the key facts.

      1) CCP developed Faction warfare to generate PvP content in underutilized areas of lowsec.
      2) The system is called "faction warfare". PvP content is implicit within that definition. It's even in the description when you join a militia.
      3) The "sandbox" doesn't mean everything supported by the mechanics is equal, or equally desirable. It means everything supported by the mechanics is permitted. If I don't like the ramifications of the mechanics, I can make a case to change it, and hopefully convince enough people (including CCP devs) that it gets changed.

      I believe that if you go into lowsec or below, you should expect to face PvP. That's the cost of entry. The argument, "these people don't want to have PvP inflicted on them" doesn't hold anywhere but high-sec (and some would argue not even there).

      That's all I'm actually saying in this post.

      BTW... I love that you're sticking it to me. Keep it up!

    6. LOL I will y friend! And you keep doin that thing you do!

      "I will fight to the death, to defend your right to disagree with me!"

  2. Works for me. As I've said, it isn't the module as much as it is the mechanics involved. Something is broken and there are many ways to address that environment. This is one I hadn't thought of and it works well within the established lore.

    I will say this however, from what I heard at FF CCP is actually interested in fixing this issue. It isn't a high priority but all I got was positive feedback when I talked about it.

    1. So far, I've been pretty impressed with what I've seen from CCP over the past year. There are a few blindspots, but overall, they've shown a willingness to change things - pretty significantly.

    2. Tal and Rixx... OK let's say the mechanics of FacWar are broken... not WCS, but FacWar itself. So may I offer one idea...

      Instead of orbiting some baconmaker in space to (1) make LP/ISK, (2) flip system control and (3) thereby hopefully encourage PvP... why in hell doesn't CCP tie (1) & (2) into the reality of how war actually works IRL...

      Make PvP wins and losses by Faction the mechanic whereby players ear LP and system control is decided... this takes care of (3) rather nicely now doesn't it?

      (a) we keep LP as a very lucrative ISK faucet just now those who want to earn LP have to actually brave PvP instead of PvE in order to do so... and (b) the whole issue of WCS as used for farming plexes simply goes poof as plexes go poof.

      Reactions? Suggestions? Comments? Whining?

  3. I assume that you'll also want to censure pilots who run away when not having a WCS fitted while in a plex, whether they're running it or not, regardless their chances of winning the fight? When I was in FW, plexing in my condor, I often ran from better ships. I didn't need a WCS to do it; I just warped off whenever I saw someone on short scan.

    The reasoning given for allowing standing loss when using WCS doesn't really hold water, as far as I'm concerned. The Empire militia don't want their pilots to fight honourably, they want them to win the war. It's not Faction Battle Arena. In FW, that's done by flipping systems, not by shooting every enemy pilot. Given the option to win a war with a minimum of loss, every military will chose that option. In the case of the pilot who declines every engagement, if he can help flip that system without losing a single ship, yet causing the enemy as much frustration as Rixx rails against, that's a pilot worthy of a medal.

    This argument is making the same mistake Rixx's argument makes. You get frustrated when someone won't take a fight and you want to change game mechanics to force people to take fights. How can that possibly be in the spirit of what EVE is supposed to be?

    1. Good points. I don't know of many militaries that would say, "Go ahead and give them that town... I don't want you guys getting hurt!" No, they'd say, "Hold that town until help arrives."

      It's one thing if you decide you don't have a good chance of winning the fight and you run. It's a wholly separate thing when you participate in a mechanic like faction warfare (which is meant to induce PvP) with the explicit intention of avoiding fights so you can farm the isk.

      Is there a clear separation between isk-making and PvPing? No, it's a scale. And finding a "this is ok, that isn't" is tricky. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be attempted.

      We use the "emergent gameplay" argument a lot in Eve... on all sides of every issue. But when one of those emergent gameplay elements defeats the very purpose of a mechanic, you've got a problem. Just like how null-sec rewards docking up when an enemy shows up. CCP's fixing that with FozzieSov... why not this as well?

    2. I think I've done a poor job with my allusion to real life. If a victory can be won with a minium of loss, most militaries would go for that option. To translate that to EVE, "winning" in FW is about flipping systems, not destroying the enemy. One can flip a system by either destroying the enemy first, then plexing and shooting the ihub, or just plexing and shooting the ihub. Outside of the fortress systems of FW, it makes more sense to harass and attempt to flip while minimizing losses than it does to take every fight.

      Again, you haven't addressed my point about what to do with people who are non-WCS fit and choose to run without a shot being fired. Are they to be punished, too? Or do they only get punished when it's a 'fair fight' - whatever that means.

      I never used the emergent game play argument as a reason to not ban WCS in FW, BTW. Instead of banning WCS from FW, why not just allow bubbles and bombs in low? That would fix the problem, too, wouldn't it?

      Not a Soldier addresses the issue pretty well, too.

  4. People are not playing the way I want = broken mechanic.

    1. I can see how you can go there. What offends me, though, is entering faction warfare without an interest in participating in the warfare part. In a video game.

    2. Sandbox... FW is a tool and it's up to the players to use that tool as they see fit. It can be used to generate fights (and I'll agree with you that this should be the purpose of FW.) but it can also be used to generate income.
      Apparantly more players view FW as an pve income source than as a pvp battleground?

  5. WCS should add align time penalty and acceleration penalty. You can bump your way to victory if you're skilled enough. But losing FW points? Because of module fitted? Sounds a little bit funny.

  6. You bring up the "real world" argument (always a bad idea...).
    There are a lot of soldiers trained to avoid open fights while operating behind enemy lines. I wouldn't call them "target callers" but yes, they seek and mark targets for long range weapon systems. Snipers "run away" as soon as they get spotted. Pilots flying stealth aircrafts to avoid fights. "Skynet" combat drones operated from 2 countries away. In fact armies spend a lot of money to get their soldiers out of combat situations.
    Let's leave real life where it is... outside New Eden.

    As far as I can tell you'd be happy if the first Tristan Pilot would have been equiped with 5 Hornet ECs + 2-3 ECM modules instead of WCS?
    Because having a point and he warps away is bad but being permajammed while watching him warping away is fun. Imagine all the farming Griffins you'd encounter. Or Maulus. Or ECM-Ventures...
    Or everyone warping to his safespot as soon as they see something an dscan @ 1000000km.
    Hopefully you'd get a faction hit, too, if you warp out your pod after a fight. You are immortal, no need to fear the loss of your pod.

    Banning a module or changing it in any way will not change attitudes.

    The FW mechanic itself is broken. Farming > fighting in terms of ISK and gameplay. You can't conquer a system by only doing pvp.

    So I have to come back to your "After all, do you really expect your militia to tolerate – or pay for – you running from every fight you get in?"
    What is the purpose of those wars? Shooting immortals or gaining control over systems?
    I don't know what militia you are in, but my chief in command asked me to conquer enemy space, not to shoot someone who can't die and waste ressources.
    Conquer enemy space: no fight needed.
    That's the basic mechanic of FW.

    Get over WCS and ECM and stuff... as long as FW can only be fought by non-combat activities that's what you'll find in FW: non-combat activities.

  7. Here's perhaps a better idea. Just make plex unenterable if you have WCS fitted. It doesn't affect anyone else in any way, but entering a plex is an offensive act against another militia, and as such, you have no need to ever enter one if you don't intend to fight.

    Simple, and effective.

  8. You make the same mistake Rixx does, although he does it intentionally :(

    The issue is plex farming by players, so how about a fix for that instead of complaining about the one module (besides random % ECM) that offers a way to escape execution.

    So what about the idea of a module similar to but cheaper as the entosis module? (cheaper, easy to fit, cycles only once with the duration as long as it takes to capture a plex, can't abort a cycle before it ends).

    Easiest solution of all, remove rewards for plexing...that would certainly chase away the farmers and leave room for people whose primary goal is pvp and not earning isk/lp.

    1. As with most things with me, it comes down to motivation. I abhor the playstyle that seeks isk-making to the exclusion of PvP... and I doubly abhor it within a system specifically intended to generate PvP content in low-sec, faction warfare.

      For me, though, the WCS itself is a problem. If you want to farm plexes for isk, you can do so and simply warp off when someone lands on the outside of your plex. You're actively dscanning and remaining vigilant. A WCS, on the other hand, is a safety net for the lazy. They obviously aren't looking at a short dscan, they obviously aren't staying aligned and warping out when someone comes in. After all, they have to get caught for it to be revealed that they were stabbed. They have their chance to escape... and they simply can't be bothered to take it.

      That's a problem to me. So I want to keep the applications that a vigilant, active player would use WCS for, while eliminating the use a lazy player would.

    2. trolling mode activeated: In that case I will just have to disagree with your idea about the purpose of FW. Eve is a sandbox, not a pvp game. PVP is an essential part of it but obviously FW caters more to the risk averse PVE crowd.

      Real pvp-ers don't need to be rewarded for pvp, pvp should be it's own reward.
      Want isk? Work for it, but noooo the pvp crowd is lazy and needs to be rewarded for for orbiting a button. Then they whine more when people play the system to earn isk instead of noble and honourable pvp as god intended.

      You want to farm WCS fitted ships? Just fit to kill them then. Use a faction scram + point. Or hell, just fit 5 warp disruptors/scramblers.. It's not as if someone with 5 WCS can shoot anything.
      Or are you too lazy to (re)fit your ship to catch your target? Surely you don't insist one one ship/fitting that should be capable of killing everything?

      So you have your chance to get tackle, and you simply can't be bothered to take it.

      That's a problem to me. So I want to keep the option for a vigilant, active player to kill others while eliminating the easy kills for a pvp-er unable to fit enough warp disruption.

      As if you wouldn't complain if everyone flew only griffins and other ECM ships...because surely then you couldn't be bothered to fit ECCM either.

  9. I don't necessarily see WCS as broken in other parts of the game, which is why I tend not to like arguments about blanket removing them when there is no reward and possible loss (Travel BS in Low-Sec). However, you make good points about Faction Warfare as there is a high reward.
    Since there was a similar problem with cloaked ships and that was solved by making the beacon several KMs wide, why not have the beacon act like a bubble if inside it's radius? However, unlike a Null-Sec bubble, this one only disallows a >1 warp stability (and has no or a different visual effect), Thus tackle is still necessary but fitting 3 points just to combat 1 ship is not. The size of the effect could be tweaked so people don't just sit still with a MWD running on the edge of the bubble.

    1. Maybe. But i like the elegance of allowing the mechanic, but the consequences of using it finding its way to their superiors. That puts the decision in the hands of the players, much as shooting people in low-sec lowers your sec status. You're capable of doing it, but whether you WANT to is a different story.

    2. I prefer choices too, as long as each choice provides a benefit (even situational) and is not just lesser-of-two evils. In this case, I guess it would depend on how good the server would be at determining "fault". Those complexes are used by a lot of people besides Faction Warfare players as combat foci, and thus the mechanic should probably be balanced around that as well. No good military leader would fault soldiers for retreating if they were attacked by a drastically superior third party that was neutral in the war.

  10. Has any one considered removeimg both points and stabs?
    don't tell me you need the points.. points just force the issue and gives backed into a corner choices tacticly.

  11. WCS should apply to bubbles and not to points. Reduce our reliance on interdiction bubbles for keeping caps on grid and restore the basics of tackling.

    FW can be fixed by not making button camping free. Include an anchorable in the mix and the pilots involved might have to surrender a flag that is worth more than their ship.