Main War declaration thread

(ISD Sakimura) #842

I’ve merged quite a few threads together into this single one, all on the topic of War Declaration mechanics.

This topic has become just as heated as the topic of “AFK Cloaking” has been for years and while the more recent announcements/actions have put more focus on this one, this too have been coming back into the light every now and again for many years.

(Annah Tsero) #843

Thanks a lot :slight_smile: <3

(Dirk Kajhone) #844

Unfortunately ISD decided to bury a 2-day old suggestion that was getting a least a few looks behind a bunch of 3-week old posts that everyone had given up on apparently.

If you want to see a combined WarDec/Social Corp/Growth Corp proposal that maybe has some useful ideas to discuss, just jump back to the post this is a reply to.

Thanks for reading!

(link for jumping to the actual post - so you can see the follow-up posts:

The Mother of all War(dec proposal)s

(CowQueen MMXII) #845

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?

  1. to get possible targets while camping
  2. because someone pays them to put them onto their list of possible targets while camping
  3. to reach some strategical objective (removal of specific trade hubs, clearing an ice belt …)
  4. 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?

  1. people who don’t know they are at war
  2. people who know they are at war and don’t know what it means
  3. people who know they are at war and accepting the according risks (either getting caught or engaging willingly)
  4. 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.

:point_right: 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 :wink:

:point_right: 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.

:point_right: 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.

(Donkyhotay) #846

I’ve seen variations of the “war structure” idea mentioned before, especially on Reddit. My personal thought is that if the defending corp successfully takes out the war structure they’re rewarded part of the fees the attacking corp paid into it.

(Whitehound) #847

The ability to see war targets on the map.

A locator agent can only tell about the location of a single player, and this info often gets passed onto an entire fleet. This shifts the balance of fights towards “the many” versus “the few”. Being able for a single player to locate many war targets at once would provide the desperately needed counter-intel and to allow the smaller corps to act during a war.

Even when it only means that the intel is used to run away further from a war would it allow one to undock during a war and to find a safer space for a while, and thereby bring back some player activity.

Being able to lift “the fog of war” will remove much of the uncertainty and has a chance to give confidence to players. Most new players won’t like the idea of undocking and not knowing where the next encounter might be. I suppose this is what keeps many from undocking during a war in the first place.

Once the uncertainty is removed and confidence is restored can even larger corporations fight smaller ones by using bait tactics or by simply playing fair, showing up with only a few ships and verifiable through the map, which can cause a defender to actually undock and to be drawn into a fight.

The ability to see war targets on the map would also allow for more advanced hunts and stragegies as well as provide FCs with a better tactical overview for larger engagements.

How exactly this could get implemented is yet unclear. It could be a skill, which adds a visibility range per level. It could be an anchorable structure, or it could become fully available for mutual wars.

The advantages such an ability would bring to warfare and for improving PvP but also player activity seems too good to miss out on and should somehow find its way into the game.

(Nevyn Auscent) #848

Fog of war is actually what’s needed in Eve.
I get what you are saying about the current state, but currently it’s either a black out or full intel. No half vision. Uncertainty is good though as it leads to mistakes.
So you dont want perfect map vision, not even delayed 30 minutes or something, but some kind of idea of recent activity by region or the like could work if it doesn’t have exact numbers.

I also had the idea of tying intel in with WiS. You want spy information you have to do it in person, not magically.

(Dal Shooth) #849

I’ve seen variations of the “war structure” idea mentioned before, especially on Reddit. My personal thought is that if the defending corp successfully takes out the war structure they’re rewarded part of the fees the attacking corp paid into it.

That would be a good carrot, even for people looking to wardec wardeccers.

(Dal Shooth) #850

Fog of war is actually what’s needed in Eve.
I get what you are saying about the current state, but currently it’s either a black out or full intel. No half vision. Uncertainty is good though as it leads to mistakes.
So you dont want perfect map vision, not even delayed 30 minutes or something, but some kind of idea of recent activity by region or the like could work if it doesn’t have exact numbers.

I also had the idea of tying intel in with WiS. You want spy information you have to do it in person, not magically.

This statement is so true. I have felt this way since the day I officially learned the mechanics of EVE. Once you know where and how to look for intel, you find out pretty quickly its so abundant you would have to either be unaware of it or lazy to be caught with your pants down.

(Whitehound) #851

No. We already have it and look where it got us. We have a lot of people asking for more intel and they should have it.

Even when the update time for the map would be 5 minutes will this be enough for a freighter to move 2-3 systems, an Orca could move 5 systems, and an interceptor can make 15+ jumps. So there will still be room for plenty inaccuracy, tactics and strategies. It would allow players to go mining during a war and switch into a combat ship when war targets come close. And imagine how useful it will be when war targets would show on the side-panel map (F11). It would be amazing.

Fog of war, when your opponents are many and skilled, is only a fog of death and not very meaningful as such. Having more intel helps to make PvP more casual, more consumable, and for high-sec does this seem to be a good thing and the right place. For the more in-depth PvP experience can players always look towards WH and sov null-sec.

(Nevyn Auscent) #852

Too much Intel leads to no uncertainty which leads to one sided fights.
Fog of war is not blindness. Its knowing roughly where your enemy is, having some idea of numbers, and maybe ship sizes, but not having perfect Intel.
You are suggesting perfect intel again. That’s one of the biggest pvp killers in Eve. “oh, I cant take a kestral, I’m just going to dock up”.

(Whitehound) #853

That’s where we are right now. Due to the lack of intel have the large corps started spamming wardecs. Corporate warfare is basically dead and the “Big Five” have won it. Locator agents reveal the position of a single player, which then gets passed on to hundreds of others through chats.
It needs a new way and providing good intel can work as an introduction into PvP, which I believe was the original intention of having wars in high-sec.

Instead has all the uncertainty led to large corporations sucking up any willing PvPer and to train them in their ways to get to fights, ending in those 1:40 or 1:100 kill ratios and all the other bad press about Marmite & Co.

(Ima Wreckyou) #854

tl;dr The discussions about wardecs lacks a constructive approach that tries to get the meta changed with adding tools for the sandbox instead of limiting the currently existing mechanics. The recent addition of metrics presents an interesting opportunity to extend the very successful contract system and add a way to formalize conflicts, not just for wars, but in general. Read on to find out about the reasoning and details of this proposal…

Most proposals that attempt to fix wardecs focus on the mechanic itself and attempt to limit it’s reach or impose a certain direction or “goals” in the hope of enforcing a certain behavior in the players using the mechanic. I believe this is the wrong direction to go and this is an attempt to describe the reasoning why I think that and a possible approach on how to change the current situation in another way than limiting gameplay.

First of all the current wardec mechanics are a pretty free form tool. Wars can be declared for every reason someone may come up with or for no reason at all. It is important to recognize that this tools allows the players to use wardecs however they want.

That means that if we limit the mechanic, impose more rules, add goals etc. the resulting feature will be a subset of what we have today where we try to remove a certain behavior in the hope that whatever remains is still interesting enough for people to still use the feature.

The reason why we got where we are and why wardecs are used the way they are today is complicated, but the reason is not the mechanic itself. It was other mechanics that changed, like for example the watchlist feature that lead to a change in the behavior of those who used to hunt targets.

I’m of the opinion if the removal of tools which where used in wardecs changed the behavior of players then we can probably change it as well by adding tools not just for the wardecers but also for the defender, an aspect that is completely missing from the current discussion.

The ideas I present here are not mutually exclusive to other ideas. Concepts like a “social corp” or various other approaches may as well coexist. I believe that there is no single concept or attempt to fix wardecs, but a whole range of ideas that have to be considered.

Make hunting and hiding viable again

One reason we hear over and over again from wardec veterans is that the removal of the watchlist made it basically impossible to hunt which “forced” them to increase wardecs and just wait at the trade lanes or in Jita for some of them to stumble into their fangs. If you have used a wardec yourself you may have experienced the same issue as you don’t know anymore if any target is even online so you are basically chasing ghosts.

I don’t propose to bring the watchlist back, what I would like to see is some kind of mechanic that allows to locate an active character but also allows the hunted to screw with the results and hide their tracks.

The following idea for such a mechanic emerged from a discussion in the wardec discord but is just an example and not a fleshed out mechanic

Search contracts

If you want to locate someone you will need to create some kind of search contract. Such a mechanic could also be tied to a surveillance structure of some kind. Other than just an automatic response this will flag the members of the target corp or the player as wanted. People who find such a wanted person can similarly to activating a suspect flag activate a ping that will inform the hunter of the position of the person, in which case he gets a reward. But he may also send false information in which case he does not get a reward. Maybe because he contacts the hunted and arranges a better deal. Other people of the searched group can’t see the search contracts, but neutral alts can if the contract is public, so it is possible for the defender to check if someone is looking for them and screw with the information themselves.

The implementation details are not that important here. It’s more about the general idea that both parties are involved in the process and can possibly influence the result.

An metrics based extension to the contract system

From time to time the topic about wardecs comes up and complaints arise, that they don’t have any meaning, that they are just there for bullies who want to prey on people who can’t fight back. And then someone will usually bring up an idea that CCP should change the mechanics and forcefully introduce some kind of meaning by tying the mechanic to structures or something along those lines.

However, we all know that the most interesting stories of EVE come from those emergent conflicts, from stuff that happens between different players. Chance encounters, but also rivalries between groups, no matter the part they play in this living and breeding world. So I think it would be only natural to support those interactions with more tools which players may use or not than to enforce an artificial framework of fixed goals or mini-game like mechanic.

Recently CCP started to add more metrics to the game to track all sorts of player behavior, and with those metrics comes an interesting opportunity.

What if I could use those metrics in a contract?

Let me make some example where I’m going with this. Keep in mind that this are just examples and not a set of fixed contracts I propose. The players should be able to craft the conditions of the contract out of the available metrics.

Example 1, mining competition:

A certain mining corp has settled in a quiet little system with an ice anomaly and they are happily mining ice every day. Suddenly a new competitor arrives with a massive fleet who just melts the belt in minutes, completely putting the little corp out of business.

In their desperation they seek help from other players by investing in a contract:

  • target characters, corps, alliaces: “that other corp”
  • timeframe: 2 weeks
  • conditions: (ice_mining_amount < 1000 blocks) and (system = Oppold)
  • reward: 2bil ISK
  • collateral: 2bil ISK

Now this means, that anyone who takes the contract has to make sure that the listed characters can not mine more than 1000 blocks of ice within the next two weeks in the system of Oppold. If they successfully hinder those character in gathering the ice they will get the reward of 2bil ISK. If they fail the mining corp will get 2bil ISK for having wasted 2 weeks with incompetent mercs.

It doesn’t say how they exactly should achieve that, just what the result should look like. This is important because this isn’t exclusively tied to the wardec system. The merc who takes the contract could use a wardec. He could also just bump them out.

The “target” corp on the other hand could do everything they can to fail the contract by ninja mining in fast t2 mining frigates or similar strategies.

Example 2, eviction:

There is this corp which just annoyed the hell out of everyone in the system and they have to go. So another corp sets up a contract to drive them away.

  • target characters,corps,alliances: “that annoying corp”
  • timeframe: 2 months
  • condition: (player_count < 10) and (constellation = foo)
  • reward: 10bil ISK
  • collateral: 2bil ISK

The corp who takes the contract now has to make sure that the target corp moves the majority of their players out of the constellation.

Again the way this is achieved is open. It may involve a wardec, it may just involve some bribery or a corp infiltration and takeover. It doesn’t matter, both parties have an goal.

This are just two very simple examples, but hopefully you get the general idea I’m trying to describe here. The point is not that exactly something like this would happen. But maybe something similar. Maybe something completely different. The list of possibilities is potentially endless and the sandbox will decide which forms of those contract will make sense and are accepted and what doesn’t work.

The point is that it is just a tool. A simple system which can use the various metrics CCP are collecting about players, corps and alliances to create meaningful contracts between two parties in the game for whatever purpose there may arise in the sandbox. Some of this metrics will be completely useless, but the more there are available the more creative stuff will happen neither CCP nor anyone else can even imagine.

A system like this will add REAL purpose to wars and conflict in general. This purpose is already there, one may argue that this is not really needed since mercs already create contracts with their customers. But the formalized contract adds another element, which is that we can do business without necessarily trusting each other.

RedFrog could also ship cargo for customers without contracts, but I would argue that there would be far less people using the service without the formalized deal the contract system allows and certainly independent Freighter pilots would really struggle because of the missing trust.

The new metrics would simply allow to expand on this massively successful feature.

While I made the obvious merc examples because this is more or less in the context of wardecs, this system can potentially do much much more. It isn’t hard to imagine some contract examples for rewarding activity inside the corp or alliance or similar things.

(Ore Grinder) #855

Search contracts
Too easy to game the system with neutral alts. There is nothing in game that ties characters from other accounts to the same RL person. Sounds like more fun, but seems to me it’s too easy to break the system. Needs more fleshing out. Just my opinion.

The ice mining thing
In this case assuming war decs are NOT removed, mercenary work would be hired to prevent the other guys from undocking which puts us back in the situation where activity level drops. Unfortunately, very few groups of people will stand and fight even if evenly matched. People stop logging in, less people pay to play the game, less guys to kill, Eve dies slowly. This example would need to be more compelling. If War decs are removed (as they are now) and this situational type of mechanic can fill it’s place then I would be OK with that.

Eviction example. I would start an alt corp and take this contract, then just tell my guys to move out of the constellation and start bullying another group. Rinse, repeat, profit. Original intention is OK, but the fact that neutral alts and alt corps can exist means gaming the system is way too easy. I think a viable idea starts with how worthwhile or easy it can be to loop-hole it.

(Merin Ryskin) #856

But the point is that it doesn’t matter if you “game” the system like that. The contract was to remove a corp from a region, it doesn’t matter if they leave voluntarily or because they lost too many ships. If the CEO of the corp to remove makes an alt corp, claims the contract, and moves their corp out of the region to collect the payment then those players are still out of the region and the issuing corp’s goal is accomplished.

That said, this isn’t going to fix anything. The problem with war decs is not the mechanics, it’s whiny carebears who feel entitled to opt out of PvP entirely*. No war mechanic will ever get them to fight because fighting is unacceptable. It’s just unfortunate that CCP has gone soft and abandoned their “go back to WoW” attitude in favor of pandering to people who don’t belong in this game.

*Just witness all the whining and crying over war corps declaring war on everything and camping Jita. Trivially easy to avoid if you just stop flying into Jita, but whiny carebears won’t accept the possibility of having less than maximum ISK/hour by having to use a different market system. Nor will they bother to do anything to protect themselves, preferring to undock easy kills right into the waiting fleet and then cry to CCP when they inevitably die.

(Ima Wreckyou) #857

It is just an example how such a contract for a specific Situation could be created. It is not a fixed thing CCP designed, but a free form tool where people can create their own contracts.

Also, while this is not tied to wardecs and would still work without them, no one ever said that CCP wants to remove wardecs. But this is probably best discusses in the main wardecs thread.

(Ima Wreckyou) #858

@ISD_Sakimura Hey, a lot of time went into creating this proposal. Why would you immediately close it and merge it with a thread full of spam where it will be lost after 5min?

(ISD Sakimura) #859

I don’t doubt that you spend a lot of time thinking about your proposal, however, why should you get any special treatment? the topic is still War Declarations which is the purpose of this Mega-thread. You can continue the discussion of your proposal here like the rest.

(Ima Wreckyou) #860

Who said you have to destroy them all by merging them into one pile?

(ISD Sakimura) #861

Moderation is not up for discussion, if you feel it’s unjustified, feel free to make a support ticket.