Rant on a Common Misconception about Incursion Difficulty

TL:DR- I get annoyed when people say incursions are too easy. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The truth of the matter is that incursions are extremely dangerous, it’s just that some of the best players in the game carry all the newbros, casuals, and knuckleheads who would otherwise be losing ships. After hearing this a billion and one times, and seeing the sentiment echoed in the CSM minutes, I needed to rant.

First off, I’m not saying that incursions payouts do or do not need to be nerfed with this post. They pour a lot of isk into the economy, and they may very well need further tweaks to their reward structure and/or risk to reward ratio. Before jumping the gun, however, I would like to point out that due to recent changes and real life events, isk efficiency is currently way down for WTM (the game’s largest and most active incursion community). So, might want to see how things pan out before making further changes. But, I digress.

Now, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that Incursions have an out of balance risk to reward ratio. However, l want to make it perfectly clear as to what is actually going on. The truth of the matter is that incursions are actually extremely difficult and extremely dangerous. They only appear to be risk free because highly knowledgeable and hardworking players are carrying the newbros, casuals, and knuckleheads.

Let me explain. In solo PvE activities, everyone would lose more ships, but this is especially true for all the lower tier players. However, in group PvE content:

  • There are no ships lost due to bad fits- You don’t even need to research fits. The community will tell you exactly what tank you need to fly in order to be able to participate safely. And, if you don’t meet their fitting requirements, then they won’t let you int.
  • There is a decrease in ships lost due to a lack of knowledge- no need to research, or learn by trial and error. The FC will tell you exactly where to go, where to anchor, and who to shoot. And if you start doing something stupid, he’ll call you out.
  • There is a decrease in ships lost due to mistakes- The FC and Logi masters are constantly looking for mistakes that might get someone killed. They will call them out on it, and try to save their asses if they do start to die.
  • There is a decrease in ships lost due to DC’s- Suspected DC’s will get preemptively locked by logi and seen safely off grid.
  • There is a decrease in ships lost to PvP- Logi support provides a lot of reps that need to be chewed through, 40 people provide a lot of eyeballs, and the FC will take special precautions to help keep the fleet safe. Thus, the group hardens what would otherwise be soft targets.

In other words, the hardcore and knowledgeable players use their knowledge and energy to not only to help them make isk safely, but to also help others make isk safely. In fact, I think nothing illustrates this point better than this. One of the guys who sometimes flies with WTM clearly has dementia. This guy is a f*cking train wreck (and if you’ve flown with him, you already know who I’m talking about). Yet somehow, through the skill of command core (and the grace of god), he still hasn’t lost a ship in a WTM fleet.

So, the next time you propose that the risk to reward balance be changed for incursions, say it right. Don’t say, “incursion are too easy.” Instead say, “Incursions are actually really hard and dangerous, the problem is that some of the best players in the game have made it idiot proof.”

And, as a bonus, here’s footage of me saving a mach who failed to broadcast for shields on time. No one broadcast for shields with the new wave, so I followed the lasers in space to see who was being shot at. I then broadcasted him so that the other logi could lock him and start getting him reps.

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EXACTLY!

They’re an extraordinarily well managed risk, but 15-20s of inattention in your farming outside your designated bio breaks, by you or any X number of the logi, and poof. You’re dead, and if it was your fault, EVEN WTM won’t SRP it.

Now, we’ve gotten better since I started. Quite a lot better since WTM was founded in 2013. It’s a level of institutional knowledge on incursions, battleships, and the modules which is actively developed and approaches a 2-4 credit hour class in exactly how to run an incursion fleet and another class in rando management.

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YES!
Incursions are too easy because they are always the same meaning all that stuff you do, all that knowledge and experience; only makes it easier because there are no random events.

safely = easy

But that is the nature of the EvE pve, there are no real random elements. Just multiple spawns of dumb ai ships usually in an order that can be easily anticipated. Usually the ‘balancing’ seems to be to nerf the ships commonly used for them (eg VNI) or nerf the payout or spawn rate.

Not that i take issue with the incursion fleets their usually quite big, but that in itself is an issue as the sites that can be ran with only a few people dont really payout and the ease in which they can be ran doesnt really challenge (i imagine) a small high sp group.

I did a conduit site the other day while in an Orca then afterwards I mined the rocks.

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Try it. Minimum to get full payout for an HQ site is 20 people. Minimum average times to make the 100m isk/hr that is the minimum most HQ communities advertise as a floor is 18:54.

Or if you mean vanguards, again. Try it. 5-10 people for full payout. IF you run as good as the dedicated public communities, you’re looking for ~6 minutes pay to pay. If you have a fully alert and dedicated fleet, you can make your 180m/hr in some constellations, but some almost hard limit you because even the smallest VG systems are 75+AU across.

The issue with VGs is that they’re harder to pay minimal attention to and still make good isk, and take even more specific niche optimization to run well.

you call that good isk?

Come on man, they are too God-damned easy.

The proof is in the pudding. If there was risk or danger, they would not be the home of the most pimped-out, over-priced ships seen anywhere in Eve. It should not be a valid risk vs. reward calculation to field a 5-10B ISK ship in highsec to do PvE. That only makes sense if the PvE is far too safe, and far too lucrative.

Ok, I get your point - there was some risk and uncertainty to figure out and mitigate here, but that is solved man. Incursion are basically just a resource fountain now, spewing ISK and LP into the economy with essentially no direct risk from other players. Ok, if someone makes a mistake or skirts too close to the line I guess losses from the NPCs might happen? But that is a terribly low amount of risk for an activity that still rivals any other resource generating activity anywhere in New Eden.

I like that Incursions offer a PvE fleet activity for players to participate in. But you can’t tell me with a straight face that risk vs. reward is anywhere near balanced when you see the ships the typical professional Incursion runner flies. That content has been solved, and at this point just needs to be toned down and put to the side, especially now that CCP is trying to rebalance rewards properly to stimulate conflict.

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That’s completely stupid.
According to you what is dangerous is what is not done. Therefore all the PVE activities should not be done at all ?

Because pimping ACTUALLY is required to reduce the danger and make it worth doing. Its the same for many activities : they need pimp in order to become worth doing. Otherwise, you lose more than you win.

Yes I can. mainly because I actually did incursion.

You are complaining that something is made WORTH DOING by players.

That’s just complete stupidity. You are using a term of risk that makes no sense in the first place.

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After all this time MY best ship is a Gila and they just killed it!

Single player in own corp with 2 accounts, the other one is only doing salvage and repair after fight

That’s what people are complaining about being too good for as safe as they are.

Some of the communities will manage good hours doubling it or a bit more, but that’s almost always with contest mechanics meaning some other community took a big hit to theirs. And that’s with 2b isk battleships being predominant in that fleet. Risk/reward on incursions is big-ish investment (t2 battleship guns, 2 racial battleships to 4/5, 2b+ for your hull) or very attention and micro intensive (logi) or both (Armor doctrine nestors look to be ~3b for the cheapest feasible and need to be managing reps fairly tightly) and are still about 100-160m/hr before concord LP. IF we assume bottom of market for concord LP, increase those numbers ~18%, and if we calculate all the profit all the way through the industry chain on best items and conversion from concord LP, it’s up to another 30%.

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I believe you. I also believe that the wording is off. It’s only easy from the perspective of those who are ignorant of the efforts involved. I don’t really know if others think beyond “it’s too easy”, but I can tell you that there really is a problem when someone can do something so reliably that he doesn’t lose anything.

I believe it would be better for the game if acitivites, not just incursions, had more fluctuating dangers. Like more ships coming in at once than anticipated, or different NPC fleet setups that aren’t a part of a guide so you might or might not have the right or wrong fitting for the job.

This is a general problem, not just related to incursions. What’s also a rather general problem is when people ignorantly claim something is too easy because one handful of people is doing it. I’m well aware that such people completely ignore the fact that, if it was really so easy, then ■■■■■■■ everyone would be doing it. They’re too short sighted to see that far.

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The only mechanics not in HEAVY use in incursions are scrams to turn off MWDs (but with the number and strength of webs, that’s not necessary), damps, and TDs. An HQ fleet is setup to fight everything from fast frigates to battleships with 2-3kGJ neuts to supers to 9M EHP towers. Finding something one isn’t going to have an adequate tool to handle would be quite hard.

More variation, either in new sites or more flucuations in the sites we have, would be a nice change, but I’m putting out the variety of things already planned for to show it’s more than a little bit of work to make the fleet change much overall.

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BS.
The problem is when people can’t get a reward from an activity. Doing an activity with profit is the base design of a game.

Then more bling would be required. or people would just stop because the reward would not justify the risk.

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You know best, I’m sure. Maybe you also know your own vulnerabilities and weaknesses, which could be exploited by CCP?

I do know some mechanics which would force us to treat them as a primary threat, like we do with the trio of rats which even one of poses a danger to fleet safety and so are targeted right off the hop.

If ever CCP decides to ask, I’m more than happy to help design sites to challenge current doctrines, but absent something like AOE TDs or other systems players don’t have access to and which may cause issues like the old POS code, it’s a matter of either overtuning them and welping enough fleets that the current communities go away or picking off only some of the low effort or inattentive players still.

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Also: see super ratting. Those ships are even pricier, and several are far more pimped for similar or lower gains, leading me to conclude they’re equally overpimped for their purpose.

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I think it is pretty dumb that the Concord LP can be converted to other factions - it messes up the nullsec PVE rewards. Otherwise, Incursions seem pretty harmless - even with the huge payouts. The datacore redemption still rankles me too, even years later.

Incursions are probably one of the more important niches - those guys are passionate, at least by highsec PVE standards. Plus, they actually do help get other players engaged.

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remember that not all faction accept concord LP.

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How does it mess with nullsec PVE rewards? Empire factions are at .8 per concord LP, and the few non-empire corps (no pirates) are .4 per concord LP. Are the couple people converting concord LP to ORE that big an issue? It doesn’t seem like it should be.

Perhaps an example will illustrate my concern:

If some specific item becomes highly valuable, ORE strip miners, let’s say… how can the market adjust for that?

  1. Have a bunch of people out in null jumping between systems trying to run mining missions in barges? Lots of player interaction! Money to be made! Valuable resources!

  2. All the incursion runners can just swap out their loyalty points and sneak their stuff back to Jita?