I’ve been reading War Dec change proposals for quite a while now and they come all up with arbitrary fixes and the introduction of convoluted new mechanics. The target for a war dec fix should be to keep it as simple as possible, so here we go:
Why are corps declaring war on other corps?
- to get possible targets while camping
- because someone pays them to put them onto their list of possible targets while camping
- to reach some strategical objective (removal of specific trade hubs, clearing an ice belt …)
- for personal reasons
Which of those reasons are perfectly fine from a game play perspective?
Obviously 3. and 4. because the war dec mechanic is used to achieve a specific goal target at a specific corp. 1. and 2. is not, because the targets are exchangeable, the resulting content is often shallow (which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, but it’s rarely good) and results in very low gameplay per war dec.
Who is losing stuff during a war dec?
- people who don’t know they are at war
- people who know they are at war and don’t know what it means
- people who know they are at war and accepting the according risks (either getting caught or engaging willingly)
- all losses that can’t be avoided except through successful defense (like structure losses)
Which of those losses are perfectly fine from a gameplay perspective?
Well, there used to be a time when the answer would have been “all of them. it’s their own fault if they’re stupid”, but that time is apparently over. Therefore:
3. and 4. are fine, it’s actual gameplay resulting from war decs. 1. and 2. can still be blamed on the victims, but their corps and the game are also partially responsible.
This is where I would start with fix 1:
Put a marker in the log-in screen “your corporation is at war”. Along with a tool tip giving a link to an explanation what this actually means (“Another corp declared war on your corporation. All members of both corporations can shoot each other legally in high-sec. You can see war targets in local and the overview… they are marked by… You don’t have to be logged off… talk to your corp mates…” and so on, you get the picture).
And while you’re at it, CCP, put a warning for low sec status and low standings right next to it
Now, we drastically reduced the number of involuntary war targets - fix 2: Re-enable meaningful warfare
Give war-dec griefing corps the ability to be offensive mercs back. Any more or less efficient method to find out if war targets are online and where they are will do. Be it by rework of locator agents or some other mechanic that gives a one time update on a specific map view showing opponents.
There were already lots of suggestions regarding this for the last few years - basically since the watch list removal - and there were certainly some very reasonable, with low implementation effort that would do the trick.
Now, we have reduced the number of involuntary war targets and re-enabled the merc business. The only thing that remains is to “encourage” attackers to get active (if this is even still needed); on to fix 3:
War dec costs are fine and the the possibilities to dec and be decced without limits are also. What we don’t want, are blanket wars without resulting in (meaningful) gameplay. To “encourage” corps to only declare war on suitable targets, I would penalize the aggressor for every war dec that doesn’t result in a win by raising all costs of all war decs for multiple weeks by a certain percentage. To throw some example numbers around:
Any war that isn’t won makes all following wars 20% more expensive for the next six weeks. you can imagine what happens if have 100 wars per week that result in nothing…
This should make war deccing corps choose their targets much more carefully.