Aggression Mechanics as They Relate to Drones & Missiles

(William Ormono) #1

I recently heard a story of a pilot getting Concorded in a method that came as a surprise to me. The surprise - he had his safety set to Green when it happened. I’d link the story, but seems that the entry was deleted from where I found it in the VMG Advertisement Thread (probably due to not being on topic, but who knows).

Regardless, I’ll try and summarize the important parts of the situation below:

  • There were two pilots involved. We’ll call them “Hunter” and “Prey” (although those might not be very fitting). Both pilots fly with their safeties set to “Green”.

  • Hunter and Prey belong to different corps and at the time of the story their corps are war decced against each other.

  • Hunter encounters Prey in HS and has the opportunity to try and kill him. Hunter locks up Prey, releases his drones and hits “F” to order the drones to attack the valid war target. Hunter’s drones start flying towards Prey in preparation to attack.

  • Prey sees that he is locked and about to be engaged. He knows this is a fight he can’t win. The only thing he can think to do to save his ship is to make himself an invalid target. The only way he can think to do that is by dropping corp. So that’s what he does.

  • Seconds later, Hunter’s drones reach Prey and open fire (as they were ordered to do seconds ago, when the target was valid). As Prey has dropped corp, he and Hunter are now neutrals (no longer war targets). And since they are in HS, Hunter gets a criminal flag for attacking a neutral. Concord arrives shortly after and makes Hunter go BOOM.

Before I heard this story, I was under the impression that if my safety was set to green, I was immune to Concord (and maybe if you use instant damaging mods like lasers, you are). From what I understand (and I could be wrong), this mechanic is functioning as CCP intended it to, so this is just a bit of a PSA for those who choose to read this to be aware of it. Just because you’re set to green doesn’t mean you’re 100% safe if you’re using drones (and maybe other types of delayed damage dealers, like possibly missiles).

So I’m left to wonder if this same mechanic applies itself to missiles. Is it possible to shoot at a valid target, have the target’s status change during the missiles flight time, and then get a criminal timer when your missiles strike the now invalid target? If someone knows, please weigh in!

I personally am not a big fan of this mechanic, but that’s just my opinion. I would prefer to either:
a) have the aggression be registered as soon as you hit “F” or “F1” or whatever you use, or
b) make the drones/missiles smart enough to know not to damage an invalid target when safety is set to green. So you might waste missiles, but that’s about the only downside.

I’d be interested to know what you think of this mechanic. Do you like it or no?

(William Ormono) #2

@Gai_Heiyuu as requested, linking you to the thread.

(Scipio Artelius) #3

Just an unfortunate edge case in my view.

Doesn’t matter how solid the game design and code, there will always be edge cases.

In this case, it’s something that can only happen if the target is in a pod, not a ship and overall extremely rare.

So for me, just something to accept as a possibility.

The take away is to always have a weapon/module fit that can apply instantly. Then the issue cant occur due to the flight time of the drones, since you’ll already be in a legal engagement when the drones start to apply.

(Old Pervert) #4

Would have loved to be a fly on the wall next to his computer. Out of range of thrown objects of course.

I would be salty as ■■■■ if that happened.

Regarding missiles, you get an aggression timer the moment your volley leaves your ship (module activation most likely), not when it lands. To test, go somewhere in a retardedly fast ship, and have someone shoot at you with HMLs or torpedos while you burn away from them.

Volley will never hit you, but you’ll still get an engagement timer.

(Gai Heiyuu) #5

Awesome, thank you!

Anyhow, I’ve read up, and caught up.

First off, this might be a prelude to the abuse of more such cases. I hate to say it, but it would take some pretty quick reflexes and thinking to quit corp. The whole thing sounds premeditated. I can’t recall the drones that were used, but mercs like using drones like Warrior IIs, that can intercept fast moving ships.

Secondly, more in response to this quote, your statement made me think of 3 things.

  1. Most ships larger than a frigate come with at least a 25m3 drone hangar. Infact, the ship lost in the above example was a Machariel IIRC.
  2. Drones make up one half of both the Amarr, and Gallente weapon platforms. ORE ships can only defend themselves with drones, with the exception of the Venture and it’s T2 variants. The entire pirate faction that includes the Worm, Gila, and Rattlesnake are only Drones AND Missiles. The Sisters of EvE faction is also heavily drone dependant. Now compile that list against the Missile weapon system factions, like Minmatar, Caldari, and the faction that includes the Garmur. This is a massive list of ship options your post basically suggests excluding. I’d have to say it’s close to 50% of the game’s ship options are eliminated here.
  3. The mechanic makes me wonder about other possible ways of getting concorded. For example, what if you left your corporation after taking an artillery volley, which triggers the drones to attack, before the drones reach you and fire. What if you’re using a tempest, and chose to use missiles as well as your artillery, and fire them all at once, and they manage to leave corp in between the artillery damage application, and the missile damage application?

Maybe this incident is the catalyst needed to open eyes on something CCP may be able to easily fix. I think at the very least, it’s worth looking into.

(William Ormono) #6

I think in these cases the aggression timer would kick in as soon as the artillery volley’s struck their target. Which in turn would prevent anyone from being Concorded.

Don’t quote me though. I’m furiously trying to figure out how engagement timers work in general. Thought I had it figured out, but there are still some surprises out there.

(Toran Mallow) #7

Maybe change the mechanics so that you can only drop/change corp when docked in a station?

(Scipio Artelius) #8

You can’t drop when in a ship, only when in a capsule (when you are in space that is).

So the only time this is possible is if the target is in a pod.

At all other times, it isn’t possible.

If the mechanics are changed to something else, the edge cases won’t disappear, they’ll just change to a use of a different mechanic.

Nothing is perfect, so in the absence of perfection, rare occurrence is a pretty good target; and that’s what this is at the moment.

(Wanda Fayne) #9

If people just killed the pod rather than waiting for everyone to whoreinthekillmail this probably wouldn’t be an issue :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Additionally I would rather see proof than hear a second-hand account. If it happened to me (as I know it has to others) I would simply file a support ticket for explanation and/or reimbursement. CCP has the logs and can make the determination…

(William Ormono) #10

What I’ve come to understand from second hand information, is this:

  • This mechanic is operating the way CCP wants it to
  • CCP will likely reimburse you for a ship loss if it was caused by this mechanic

That’s strange to me. Someone somewhere pointed out that legacy code may be to blame. That’s about the only thing I can think of that makes sense out of this.

(Gai Heiyuu) #11

Correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t you quit to NPC corp in space?

(Scipio Artelius) #12

You can if you’re in a pod.

Used to be able to do it in a ship, but that was being manipulated during wars to get alongside a target and join the war, then instantly shoot without the target suspecting.

So now you can only drop Corp when in space by beng in a capsule.

(Gai Heiyuu) #13

That trick was tied to the join command, which is not the same as the quit command.

With Join, you can join a player corporation, which can be at war. However if you have corporate roles, this command will allow you to enter stasis, and if you have corporate roles, it removes your corporate roles, and keeps you in corp for a minimum of 24 hours.

Quit on the other hand, immediately removes you from your player corporation, and enters you into your default, NPC corporation. This will happen regardless of your corporate roles that you held when you quit, allows you to bypass your stasis period, and cannot allow you to enter into a corporation that is at war.

This means the system may very well be recognizing the two commands differently, and players may still be able to quit corporation to thier default NPC corp bypassing the fix that they implemented that you were just talking about.

(Scipio Artelius) #14

Jump on SiSi and do it. They work the same.

Don’t take my explanation for it. Go do it and see for yourself. You can quit a corporation when you are in space, as long as you are in your pod (not a ship).


To save any further discussion:

  1. Here’s a video of me doing it on SiSi:
  1. Here’s CCP Lebowski’s post in the forum back in 2014 explaining that the way to quit a corp would be kept consistent with joining (ie. in station, or in a pod):

and, the relevant parts of CCP Lebowski’s post highlighted:

and probably should have included the “changing coporations is always consistent” part as well. That is, whether joining or quitting, it works the same and both were changed as a result of the previous exploit.

(Gai Heiyuu) #15

Glad to see your homework is in order. Thank you for bringing in the material for the discussion.

If we don’t need to worry about the Join and Quit command separately, then we can narrow down the possibilities of a reoccurance, and possibly even recommend some fixes for them.

For example:

The game DOES have target lock detection. Perhaps corporation changing should be impossible while target locked. It would eliminate nearly all of the possible exploitable possibilities mentioned above, while piggybacking off of a pre-existing mechanic of the game.

(Scipio Artelius) #16

Pity yours wasn’t.

As to changing it to target locking not allowing changing Corps, it could be. Of course, anyone can lock anyone without any aggression timers at all, so I’m sure there would be someone that could find a way to use that to their advantage somehow.

It wouldn’t fix the issue. It’d just shift it to something else. It’s not a bad suggestion though on first thought.

(Gai Heiyuu) #17

Was this really necessary?

That’s a little toxic of a reply after I congratulate you for bringing your A game. Let’s keep it classy yeah? This isn’t C&P afterall lol

Anyways, back on topic…

As for players being able to lock without aggression timers, that shouldn’t matter. Just like with cloaked ships, and the safe log option, both acts are sealed while you’re target locked. If this were Star Trek, I’m sure this situation would be called “Yellow Alert”, during which from an in-game-RP perspective, you’re aware that another ship has their targeting systems locked onto your ship, and certain actions are sealed. I’m merely suggesting adding corp join/corp quit to that list of sealed actions that’s already in place.