- Abyss sites designed for group PvE that uses Alliance Tournament like restrictions.
- Low tier sites don’t kill you if you fail. They just eject you.
Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of instances and not a fan of abyss space (I was in two minds about posting this at all). However, Abyss space is probably here to stay and, despite my lack of love for abyss space and instances, I do think it is the way to get the most out of group PvE.
Disclaimer 2: I am not very well versed on writing in these forums. My apologise if the format is bad.
So why do I think Abyss Instances are better for group PvE?
I do believe that having PvE ‘on demand’ is a great benefit to keeping players engaged. It means players don’t have to suffer waiting or searching for content. They can also start an abyss site anywhere, which means all you need is your mates and a shard. So no jump cloning or travelling back and forth between PvE areas or staging systems. No having to set-up your HQ near a decent agent. You just bring along a bunch of shards to wherever you wanna operate out of.
Sort of related to the first point, one of the problems I found with Resource Wars and acceleration gates was forming a fleet with some buddies, counting the size of our fleet when we were all ready, looking in the agency window for a site that will fit us all in and then travelling several systems to the site with the whole fleet only to find it already half full with another group or randoms. When this happens, you are left with two choices, find another site that can fit your gang or split up the gang and leave some of your bro’s behind. This was in fact a way to troll Resource Wars. A player could put a couple of alts into a site, denying some genuine resource war runners entry to the site, and deliberately be unproductive. The way resource wars and their acceleration gates work in fact encourage smaller gangs in two ways: First, smaller sites are more frequent than larger ones and second, you are more likely to fit into sites if you have a smaller gang. Abyss space on the other hand suffers none of the above. You will never have to worry about having to find a site that fits your gang. You will never have to worry about the site being already half full or randomers trolling the site. You will never have to worry about leaving bro’s behind. You make your gang, choose the site you want and instantly everyone in your gang enters.
Perhaps the most key feature of Abyss space is that it cannot be blobbed. You cannot bring in an overwhelming amount of friends and alts and logi to make the content brain-dead easy. By restricting the content to a certain number of a certain type of ships, setting the difficulty of the content within is much easier to tweak and therefore much easier to make the rewards less exploitable.
Time Limits and Walls.
Again, related to the above point, having to complete a site within a time limit means players cannot use mass logi or over tanked ships to slowly but safely grind through the PvE. In a similar way again, the restricted area means kiting and sniping are less of an option. Min-maxing is harder to do.
Onto the idea itself:
The core concept of the idea is that new Abyss shards will offer a variety of sizes and difficulty of sites for players to run. The spectrum starting at small-and-easy and scaling to big-and-difficult. Small sites will be designed for small gangs, and big sites around big gangs. Easy sites will be designed for low sp ships/mods. Difficult sites will be designed around high sp ships/expensive mods.
How do we do this?
To put it bluntly by restricting how many and what can get into each site. How all these restrictions work is up for debate. They could be hard restrictions where breaking a limit means that the site will not open for the fleet or we could introduce something like a soft limit where the limit can be broken, but at a cost.
Cost proposal 1:
One of the most obvious costs and perhaps easiest to implement would be a shortening of the timer for any fleet comp that breaks any of the limits for that site. And how shortened the timer is could depend on how many or how far limits have been broken.
Cost Proposal 2:
Another way to penalise breaking limits could be increased points costs (see below) where limits have been broken. How I imagine this may work is detailed below, but these are just suggestions and open to criticism (or ridicule).
Point system. (Associated Cost: Breaking the points limit would shorten the timer for the site.)
Anyone familiar with the Alliance Tournament will know that each ship type is allocated a points cost and a team is given a points limit with which to make their gang. The more powerful the ship the more points it costs. This system could, easily in my opinion, be adapted to this type of PvE content and provides players with an extra strategic element to running PvE. Smart crafters will squeeze the most out of their fleet comps. This will also allow a way for devs to balance sites for correct difficulty in two ways beyond redesigning the sites themselves. Much in the way that ship point costs are tweaked if people feel a particular ship type has become too dominant or weak in the alliance tournament. Or, if a particular site is proving too difficult or easy, the points limit for the site can be tweaked.
Player limit. (This would be hard limit that, if exceeded, would stop the site from opening.)
Again similar to the alliance tournament and current abyss space, sites will restrict the size of a gang that can enter. Obviously small sites will be more restrictive, starting at something like 3 ships and then big sites allowing 10 or maybe more.
Ship limits can work in a few ways:
Setting a max number of ship sizes for a site. So many small ships (Frigs/Dessies), so many medium ships (Cruisers/BC’s), so many large ships (Battleships).
Exceeding these limits would increase the points costs of all ships within a size class. For example, if a site is limited to 2 battleships but the gang entering has 3 in fleet, the points cost of each battleship increases by 20% (see Points System above), kinda like a stacking penalty.
Some sites can simply not allow certain types of ships, a straight forward example may be that small sites never allow large ships, and easy sites never allow tech 2 ships.
Marauders and Tech 3 ships may be restricted from this content all together.
This would be a hard limit. The presence of these ships would simply prevent the site from opening for the fleet.
Limits on how many of the same ship you can take. Again, like the alliance tournament, we could force a gang to take a variety of ships by restricting the number of identical ships to 3. So you couldn’t take 10x Thorax’ (congrats if you get that reference). Exceeding this limit would increase the points costs of such identical ships (see Points System above).
Why might that last one be a valuable restriction? It puts a stricter limit on ships within types and roles that out shine the others (e.g. Gila compared to other pirate cruisers) and encourages players to put more thought into fleet comps.
After reading all that you may think that some restrictions are unnecessary and that its too complicated. But the above are just suggestions on how we may restrict such content. It does not mean I envision all of these restrictions all working at once.
What might this look like? (UI)
(Prepare for awesome paint skillz. All numbers are place holders and have no basis in maths. They have been pulled from my arse)
- Abyssal Filament information would be updated as follows, showing the points limit for the site, the player limit and the ‘Fleet Specifications. The Abyssal filaments themselves will be renamed with the suffixes small, medium, large etc.
- On top of that the fleet window will get a slight modification on the ‘My Fleet’ tab. In the top right there will be a new feature called ‘Abyss Mass Energy’ which is simply another way of saying ‘points costs’ of the current fleet. Any fleet exceeding the maximum points capacity or including any ships disallowed into Abyss sites (caps for sure, T3’s, Marauders or whatever are disallowed into abyss space) will simply list the Abyss Mass Energy as - N/A.
- When entering the site there will be a warning sign that allows a comparison between the restrictions for the site against the current fleet trying to enter. If there are any penalties for the gang they will be clearly marked on this warning sign. Note the shortened timer in yellow (again, numbers pulled from arse. Actual math not used)
What happens if we fail? Do we all die and lose our stuffs?
Running out of time.
Some players have said in a previous forum thread that they have little interest in Abyss space because the risk of getting trapped and losing the loot, their ship and their pod. This risk is amplified several times over in a situation where there are a bunch of you running an abyss site, and I admit it seems harsh that the mistake (or deliberate sabotage) of one player can destroy everyones stuffs. As ‘EVE’ as this might be, it does seem to be a good reason to deter or reject noobs from running these sites with other people, and of course that’s exactly the opposite of what we are doing here.
So I propose, that Abyss sites of difficulty tier 1 (and maybe 2), Aka Calm (and maybe Agitated), of any size do not cause instant destruction and podding for running out of time. Instead they will immediately eject all players out of site with no rewards.
Higher difficulty sites will behave as normal. Everyone takes the pod express.
Destruction due to excessive gunfire.
Players that lose their ship will remain in the site in their pod. Their friends are free to continue the site and try to complete it (and loot the wreck of their fallen comrade). They can even follow through gates to further rooms to watch their buddies battle on (or die in a fire). If the survivors succeed, anyone in a pod leaves with them.
If everyone loses their ship in a Calm (or Agitated) site before the time runs out, their pods are ejected. In more difficult sites, their pods will be destroyed.
Proving grounds. Why not?
Certain tiers will have proving ground options for survivors at the end.
So there we have it. Let me know what you think, good or bad.
I think I had more in mind for this idea but after coming back to it after a while I seem to have forgotten what it was. Probably something to do with only being able to open certain sites in certain sec status to balance the reward with risk (and suspect timers are clunky).