A structural criticism of current suicide ganking activity

I recently had my first, very frustrating experience with suicide ganking in highsec and I was surprised by both what a low echelon of gameplay gets exposed to suicide ganking, and just how much my enthusiasm for playing the game again was ruined. I want to try to air my grievance here in a way that honors my frustrated feelings while also addressing the common retorts frustrated players frequently hear and being deliberate about taking a structural approach.

I’ve been an off-and-on-again player since 2007, having spent most of my time in 0.0/loswec - so not a stranger to good safety habits (for nullsec, anyway). I had my loss as I was uprooting PI operations in Syndicate to move into Curse, just after I’d cleared some surplus P2 out of 0.0 with a blockade runner. An expanded Tayra flying on autopilot to Jita full of P2 was suicide ganked in Sivala and I was podded. What seems wrong to me is that P2 is not a high level material, and that suicide ganking is occurring at an echelon of gameplay that is fairly basic. This is problematic because suicide ganking conflicts with the basic narratives and structures of the game, and that the bending and breaking of those basic narratives and structures seems like something that should be reserved for players who enter into more advanced echelons of gameplay.

I noticed there are some tweaks to the CCP description of CONCORD that subtly acknowledge the activity of suicide ganking, but there is nevertheless an underlying narrative new players experience in which there is high security space within which you won’t be arbitrarily killed, and then there’s low/null security space within which you can (and will) be arbitrarily killed. As a new pilot you make a choice between staying in safe systems and being restricted to its inferior fruits, or accepting the risks of low/null sec and taking responsibility for your own safety as you enjoy greater rewards. Not nearly as grandiose, but there is also a narrative that if you have cargo to haul, you haul it in a hauler. This universe has ships whose purpose is to have a large cargohold, for when you need to move a large amount of cargo, as opposed to fighting or mining or flying safely in low/null security.

Both of these narratives create a reasonable, balanced and appealing quasi-sandbox game in which players begin with safety and then take on risks in exchange for more rewarding or engaging experiences, and in which there are cargo ships for when you are hauling cargo. I think it makes complete sense for this to start to break down as a player advances to the upper echelons of the game and starts to deal with objects whose value transcends traditional protections - things like deadspace modules, advanced blueprints, high level implants, participation in alliances with active wardecs. It seems unreasonable to me that bulk P2, a very simple partially refined material, is being included as something that transcends traditional protection. It also begs a question I have been building to: why does the universe have large cargo haulers if there’s nowhere you can haul a large amount of cargo without being ganked? It seems like aside from perhaps a mining niche, there is a group of cargo haulers whose capacity is sufficiently large (and tank weak) that they become a valuable target to suicide gankers when their cargohold is completely filled with -anything-. Their presence in the game feels like some kind of cruel joke right now.

The problem, emphatically, is not players’ choices to engage in suicide ganking. Gankers are pushing the envelope of what can be done in the game, which is completely reasonable and the game should be structured around players doing exactly this. The problem is the structural configuration of the game that allows a cost-benefit equation that points to the ganking of these basic targets. One thing that is problematic that gankers do is post strawman arguments in these forums, variously telling people that they should be tolerant of other players’ gameplay styles, that the game is a sandbox, and that frustrated players should stay away from the game. Firstly, nobody here should be telling people off from the game as that is not constructive at all, and the idea that ganked players should be tolerant of others’ playstyles is a lopsided idea of tolerance when there is clearly a playstyle gank victims are trying to pursue and being denied. Secondly, while this game is more of a sandbox than most others, it is not a true sandbox. 0.0 space does begin to approach a true sandbox experience, but it’s supported by a high security area that is curated by a structural design of the game. Myself and other players expressing grievances about suicide ganking I think are overwhelmingly angry with the way the high security space is curated right now, and how their experiences seem unreasonable and out of line with the game’s own narratives.

My hope is that the game can be structurally adjusted so that the cost-benefit equation that determines whether a particular suicide gank is an advantageous activity or not gets shifted in such a way to make it unfavorable to gank a player operating at basic echelons of the game, and restricts the activity of suicide ganking to targeting only players who are toying unsafely with the upper echelons of the game (carrying deadspace mods, very large bounties, etc). I don’t know whether this should be done through faster CONCORD response times, restrictions on movement by low security status characters, better tanks on industrial ships, or what. I just want to emphasize that the current structure of the game is problematic and I think unreasonable, and it’s worked to ruin my enthusiasm for playing this otherwise incredible and unmatched game.

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Why were you autopiloting in t1 hauler ei why not in that blockade runner you mention you own

Players are those who determine the cost-benefit equation. They take what risks they want to take, and they engage what targets they want to engage.

Make high security space safer, and people will be willing to take greater risks, and I don’t think a lot would change overall. People, yourself included, are disposed to make themselves a profitable target because they feel safer than they actually are.

What. Are. You. Talking. About?

[Edit: expression of bafflement / non-understanding on my part; not criticism of right to express opinion on your part.]

That’s surely the point? In EvE, the lowest common denominator (ie echelon in organisation or gameplay terms) is that anyone can kill you and/or that anyone from a pod upwards (= lowest echelon in military terms) can get killed. Why the surprise?

That is an opinion … I do not disagree that suicide ganking is “basic”; I disagree that it is somehow “wrong”. Perhaps you can explain what is wrong about it?

As to P2, who cares what the value of your load is … as long as the ganker can make you lose more than them, keeping their killboard net positive, then that’s all they apparently care about. (That, and perhaps some sort of perverted logic about “punishing” autopilot users.)

This is where you truly lost me.

I don’t know where you got that idea from. The “narrative” is that if you ARE arbitrarily killed in hisec, then CONCORD will punish the “evil doer”; not, that you won’t get killed in the first place.

Safe-ER systems. Not safe, per se.

You could just as easily ask … why do pilots insist on hauling to markets and/or via routes where ganking is rife? And/or insist on using autopilot, where exposure time around gates is increased? Your questions(s) is/are valid, but a tad one sided.

Cost-benefit equation? Tears are a priceless commodity for certain people/players and everyone carries some in their cargo always.

I think the main question for CCP is the amount of tears that certain players wish to mine VS the point where too many players will be unwilling to offer up anymore tears and simply quit the game. Its a really hard balance there.

Secondary to that is trying to get players out of hi-sec to areas where they have more tears to offer. and they cannot do that while allowing hi-sec to be so safe no one wants to leave.

I too would like to see a lot of mechanics that facilitate/dissuade ganking revamped, including how auto-pilot works (because manually piloting is not fun and I could be doing other things). However, it can be said that the risks of auto-pilot are obvious to all but the very beginner. So as a basis for change, I think this particular experience leaves a lot to be desired.

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I have an idea that might interest you concerning auto pilot Dead Seer, and I will leave it to you to submit it if you like it.

Step 1: CCP creates the new explanation/dynamic that autopilot systems cannot warp to zero from stargate to stargate because of some sort of electromagnetic interference with AP systems or whatever between gates. BUT, autopilot can warp to zero from a stargate to a station, planet, moon, belt, non stargate bookmark etc. or warp to zero from anything to a stargate.

Step 2: Add a waypoint selection menu/feature to the destination selection function.

Thus, if you are lazy and don’t choose waypoints everything remains the same in AP; you go gate to gate arriving 10 km from the gate. But if you put in extra effort you can use AP to warp you from gate to somewhere, then somewhere to a gate arriving at zero, but you will increase your travel time.

I think its a great idea all around. Even people not using auto pilot will be thankful for having those waypoints marked yellow when traveling through low and null sec helping them avoid warp bubbles. Meanwhile there will still be lazy people for suicide and other gankers to feast on.

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I’m not a suicide ganker myself, but I frequent a tradehub and have conversed with one or two of the Tornado gankers that also chill out there.

Generally speaking, suicide gankers will typically be after one (or more) of three things:

  • loot
  • tears
  • the alleviation of boredom

In the first case an expanded Tayra filled with P2s is not very valuable, particularly given that Bob is a fickle deity and the loot fairy even more capricious, so the amount of value that an alt (or friend) of the ganker can then scoop from the wreck is probably almost nothing.

However tears- and in the case of more organized groups, the alleviation of boredom- are perfectly valid reasons for them to act against another player in such a way. Put simply, the ganker pops your “worthless” hauler because to them it is funny to listen to/read your protestations that this is not engaging, fair, or enjoyable.

Given that you state that you used a blockade runner to initially move the materials, I’m curious as to why you have not bothered to invest in a DST to run cargo in highsec? A Bustard for example can fairly trivially go above 100k EHP, have a 12 second align, and still warp IIRC ~4-5 AU/s. The high tank and reasonable align/warp speeds make it serviceable for low-attention cargo running, and a generally undesirable target particularly if loaded with low-value cargo.

Granted that 100k+ EHP Bustard uses active hardeners (with heat it’ll go above 180k EHP), so if you’re flying AFK/autopilot then you probably want to run full passive resists. Currently I haven’t personally flown much value bulk cargo with my Bustard, or have flown only very short distances with it, so I’ve found a straight T2 tank to be sufficient. DSTs are however moderately expensive so investing into the tank mods is a worthwhile option.

Spending a few minutes trawling zkill I did find this lossmail: https://zkillboard.com/kill/73732535/, which seems to match your account since there’s a correlating pod loss.

Incidentally I can tell you straight up that a no-tank max cargo Tayra was exactly the wrong ship to autopilot through a busy pipe system of any kind that sees gank activity, because even if the cargo is relatively worthless the level of effort that needs to be expended to destroy it is so little that you’d have to be flying practically empty in order to make it uninteresting to attack. This type of hauler fit, and its great abundance (despite being terrible for anything other than max cargo), is what really makes low-effort suicide ganking (like the three Thrashers that killed said Tayra) a worthwhile endeavor.

Most of the time you extract tears, while blowing something up (content!) and every once in a while you luck into a whale of a kill that feeds your need to blap haulers for years to come.

It’s something of a gambling man’s game, and there’s more than a few people who do it solely for the sport of it, rather than the money. Not unlike fishing for fights by going suspect off of highsec undock, really.

TL;DR: you died because you flew a no-tank hauler. Don’t fly no-tank haulers.

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I’m not sure what the OP’s complaint is. They autopiloted a 300M ISK T1 hauler full of modules that make them easier to explode and someone noticed and spent the 10M ISM in ships necessary to call them on their lazy play. Perhaps there would be some argument that the game is structurally imbalanced is it was too difficult to move such goods at all, but there are a dozen ships that could have moved that valuable a load with no danger of being profitably ganked. Even the Tayra can be fit differently or flown differently such that a suicide ganker would be hard pressed to catch one or have a financial incentive to try. The problem is not with the system, but the choices you made.

You went for max cargo and min effort and got called on your corner cutting. The game is working as intended.

Piracy is a legitimate career choice in Eve. Like real-world police, CONCORD doesn’t prevent crime - they respond to criminal acts and punish the criminals.

Eve has a player driven economy where destruction drives production - things don’t wear out or go obsolete. Since most players choose to live in highsec - that’s where most of the destruction normally happens. A look at the October MER shows that 7 of the top 10 regions for destruction are in Empire space:

It’s hard to believe someone who has been playing Eve for 11 years hasn’t learned that autopiloting a ship through Uedama where the expected reward for ganking is 15 times the expected cost is unwise!

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I stopped reading at “autopilot”. Sorry for your loss, but it was totally deserved, and your fault.

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This is all we need to read here. You made a stupid choice and died. No mechanics changes are required.

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Tbh idk why auto still warps to 15. Why force someone to watch their ship move gate to gate? It’s not like pushing jump is difficult or engaging.

Imo if they want auto pilot to just take longer then they should make your ship hold cloak for like 50 seconds after each jump.

I didn’t bother reading all, but:
1.) risk vs reward on the side of hauling people is fine. Load too much, be afk etc = you are likely to die. The way it should be.
2.) risk vs reward on the ganker side is nonexistent. They will gank you if they can profit and won’t if they cannot. This isn’t fine, but I have no idea how to fix that (unless by breaking point 1 and making hauling perfectly safe).
3.) Autopilot warps to 15 probably to make AFK hauling as undesirable as possible. IMO pretty stupid, they should make it jump to 0. It isn’t THAT profitable anyway, and mining can be AFK at the same efficiency as doing it manually, so why not hauling too?
They likely also didn’t consider many new players WILL use autopilot just to get around and then bitch how boring the game is by taking so long to just travel around. Especially if they follow suggestion like “start with intro agents, then finish blood stained stars epic arc” - where the arc has enormous amount of travel.

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Because of the OP. Lazy people pay for their laziness with increased vulnerability to suicide ganking (and other threats), encouraging actively playing the game instead of going AFK and waiting for the autopilot to do something.

That’s not the main reason. The main reason is to make it unsafe and risky, plus make it take much longer to discourage AFK gameplay.

It is a wanted mechanic that AFK haulers get killed.

Meh no one likes jumping. You’re already at a huge disadvantage in auto anyways. No active tank mods no reactions no cloak+mwd etc. I’m fully against automated gameplay for the most part but jumping seems just silly. If I want to go fly to my friends why can’t I make dinner while doing it without risking my ship and pod in a travel inty to a hs-ls border.

If you want less automated gameplay maybe look at drone ratters or rorqs. Trust me those hs haulers aren’t the ones raking anything in, and the ones who are wouldn’t use it anyways because of the disadvantages mentioned above.

Dude, you just autopiloted an untanked Tayra with over 300M in haul.

The cost-benefit equation works as intended.

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