Some years ago we had a mechanic in Eve that discouraged being casual or flippant with character death in game. This mechanic was a skill point loss upon getting podded if you diddn’t have an up-to-date medical clone to cover your total amount of skill points on your character.
The skill point loss mechanic was arguably harsh since it directly impacted your character progression and investment in your account above and beyond the loss of in-game assets. While I agree with and support the removal of such a system from the game it has left a vacuum in game mechanics that has made character death via podding a cheap event with no real discouragement or impact upon gameplay beyond just an isk loss or the inconvenience of respawning at your medical clone.
Character death in game should:
- Be a bad thing. Getting podded should have a penalty that makes a capsuleer WANT to avoid it happening no matter how much isk or assets he/she possesses.
- Should impede you from simply returning to whatever activity you were doing by just replacing your ship. Whether you are taking over a system for resources, removing a competing corporation from your claim on a system or defending against such aggression podding the opposition should provide a method of effectively removing them from the fight so you don’t feel like you are competing against an enemy that is simply recycling itself and returning.
Character death in game should not:
- Remove the victims ability to play the game.
- Cause permanent or long term regression to a players character or account investment beyond what can blow up in space.
I propose a solution I feel is balanced for both the aggressor and defender that makes character death meaningful in game without harming a players sense of character progression.
My system, upon being podded, puts 2 timers on the victim. The first timer tracks penalty severity, while the second timer tracks the duration and application of the penalty. The penalty is a temporary effective reduction in skills. This can be an effect on a players effective skill levels, or a penalty to actual stats, whatever is easier to code and track.
The first timer, that affects the penalty severity, is a long timer, something like a week by my thoughts. When it is first applied it gives an initial penalty of 15%, (For the purpose of example I will use 15% increments) and duration of 1 week. If a player is podded within this timer a second time the 1 week duration resets and the penalty increases another 15% to 30%. This cycle continues up to a reasonable cap until the player goes 1 week without being podded at which point it resets to 0.
The second timer that tracks the application and duration of the penalty is a shorter timer that resets and stacks the duration cumulatively each time the player is podded within the timer. So the first time a player is podded it will apply the current penalty for 2 hours (frex), if podded again within this timer it resets the 2 hours and adds double that (4 hours) for a total of 6 hours of penalty. If the timer expires without incident then it resets and will begin again at 2 hours.
So, for a working example:
I’m flying along doing whatever I do in game and end up in a Pvp confrontation and get podded. I get my two timers: The severity timer that sets the penalty at 15% for 1 week, and the duration timer that applies it for the next 2 hours. So, for the next 2 hours I have an effective 15% reduction in my effective skill levels. Combat, ship fitting, indy, everything (The ability to train or qualify to train skills is unaffected).
So 1 hour goes by ( I have docked up during this time to reassess my situation and decide what I want to do at this point) and I have 1 hour left of penalty (at 15%) and 6 days 23 hours left of the severity timer. I decided to move some of my stuff to another location. In route I come across the same people that podded me earlier and they are still upset at the circumstances of our previous engagement and have caught me in lowsec space. They proceed to pod me again. Now upon respawning I have a 6 hour duration on my penalty that is now at 30% effective skill reduction. The severity timer has reset to 1 week again.
Ok, I figure these guys are not going to let up so I decide to stay docked and do some ingame research on some production and jump to an alt for a while instead of risk further penalty on my character. 7 hours go by and I log my character back in. The 6 hour duration timer has expired so I am no longer suffering any penalty to my actions in game, however the severity timer still has 6 days 17 hours left on it (1 week - 7 hours) at a current 30% penalty…so if I get podded again before the severity timer is up I will have a 45% penalty to actions in game (30% + 15%) but only for 2 hours since the duration timer had already expired without incident. If both timers expire without me being podded again it all starts over from 0.
So this is my idea on a balanced, meaningful death system for Eve that discourages flippant or casual podding of players while not applying a penalty that hurts a players investment in their character/account. All numbers are for reference/example of course but are close enough to something working to provide meaningful example. If you like this idea please respond positively; if not, please explain what is wrong, why and how you would do it differently.
EDIT: The shorter duration timer should not exceed the longer severity timer, and the state of either of these pod timers should never be viewable on kill mails or by other players.