What we need is more tools not a wardec mini-game. A proposal for the expansion of 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.

I think those ideas are all extremely horrible because what they effectively trying to do is to remove a free form tool like the wardec mechanics where you can declare a war for whatever reason which may emerge from the happenings in the sandbox or no reason at all, and replace it with some kind of fixed mini-game. I have multiple issues with that, hopefully I don’t have to explain all of them, because they are obvious. I have for example seen no one who is around for a while who thinks it is a good idea to let CCP replace something with a mini-game of their design.

Instead of removing free form tools from the sandbox and trying to force game mechanics into a certain pattern, which may not even work or not be fun for anyone at all. I propose that we add MORE FREE FORM TOOLS which support the natural processes where meaningful conflicts arise in New Eden.

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 or mini-game like mechanic.

Recently CCP started to add more metrics to the game to track all sorts of player behaviour, 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. Those examples obviously come from the part of the game I’m currently playing, but hopefully you will get the general idea and will come up with your own examples that may be relevant to you.

Example 1, mining competition:

So 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 bumping experts by investing in a contract:

  • target characters, corps, alliaces:
  • 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 bumpers. It doesn’t say how they exactly should achieve that, just what the result should look like.

Example 2, eviction:

So one corp of players hates the guts of some other local alliance and wants them eradicated.

  • target characters,corps,alliances:
  • timeframe: 2 months
  • condition: player_count < 100
  • reward: 10bil ISK
  • collateral: 2bil ISK

The corp who takes the contract now has to make sure that the target alliance loses most of its players within the next two months. Again it does not say how to achieve this. One solution may be to wardec the corp. Another may be to infiltrate them, etc.

This are just two dumb 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. And there will be scams, which is always fine.

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.

Also while I made the obvious merc examples, this system can potentially do much much more. For example you could use it inside the corp to reward activity of a certain kind etc.

Feel free to discuss the idea. Can you imagine any example of such a system which you would use on your own? Do you totally hate the idea? Please share your thoughts.


I like the idea, but I’m not sure I understand the way you’re presenting it…

This looks like an addition to the game, a tool to have on top of whatever the rest of game mechanics happen to be, no? It doesn’t really change war nor any other game mechanics, does it?

So I don’t really understand what problem does it solve, just that it would be a nice addition to the game… if it’s feasible at all, that is…

No, it’s just hiring out to do random stuff which may or may not be actually tracked under any situation without adding more complex information gathering per system.

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What religion?

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Yes it is a an addition and not a change to existing mechanics. But it may influence those existing mechanics like for example wardecs in that it is actually possible to have a conflict where the meaning is visible and there are goals defined by the party interested in getting rid of someone or destroying a structure etc. Of course there will still be wardecs for no reason at all or just to camp a pipe, but it may no longer be the only viable option left.

The important part is that it would be a tool where the reasons for a contract can arise from the sandbox itself, that it supports the stuff happening there already and just allows to formalise a goal between two parties who would not otherwise trust each other, the way it is already happening with courier contracts.

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Fixed, thanks

Like the idea. Pretty exploitable though.

People are always the problem with good ideas.


What’s wrong with exploitable? :wink:

I’m serious, sure this could be used for some horrible scams, but I think that would be great . It’s not the main purpose though and I don’t think that would be the main use either.

I think something like this could also help augment bounties and replace killrights. If you could create a contract with a bounty hunter to do some damage to a target, either directly in terms of ship destruction, or otherwise affect their metrics, you could negotiate a direct bounty for the service, and possibly the contract could optionally include transfer of a killright. A content generator.

The downside is that is quite complicated and opens room for scams, although I guess anything is better than the verbal contacts that make up most mercenary work. It also might be hard to base it on metrics without leaking metrics. Some, like corp member number are clearly public, but others are non-obvious to an outsider.

But in top level I agree - more sandbox tools are a good thing. Creating mini-games to shape sandbox interactions has rarely worked well, and is probably a waste of developer time. What is better is to add desirable things, and let the universe figure them out, tweaking as necessary when something is solved to the point there is no other solution or viable gameplay around it.

The apparent purposeless-ness of wars reflects the purposeless-ness of highsec - there just aren’t that many things to fight over. The solution is not to make the wars themselves the thing to fight over - that is a silly mini-game no one is going to use - but rather objectives like resources and space and limited, desirable things to use the mechanic. I’m not against including structures into wars somehow to make everyone more vulnerable to each other, but how fun or Eve-like is it to fight over a useless structure?

I like your idea to provide a framework to facilitate trading of mercenary services is what I think the Mercenary Marketplace CCP promised during the last wardec revamp should have been, but it was delivered in only the barest of form. While I think it will be complicated to implement in a usable way, it could go a long way to provide meaning to wars and increse accessibility to competent allies for many of the smaller and isolated groups in highsec.

So +1.


When you put it like that…

We have some differences on other things, (ganking) but I kinda really like this idea.
See if you can refine it a bit more and throw it at CCP and see what sticks.

@CCP_Falcon this is one to follow. There is some great possibilities here.

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“exploit” is the wrong word. That means a very specific thing, that someone is using a defect in the software for unfair personal gain. Whether or not the system is actually exploitable depends mostly on how sloppy they do the software.

In regards to the OP, I think the system would touch on a few other systems to need some updating for the new paradigm. For example, because this touches on wardecs, wardecs pricing would need to be adjusted so there would be incentive to find other ways of doing the contract. The haunted indian burial ground known as the corp window would probably need a pretty serious overhaul because this touches on so much corp stuff. As mentioned, information exposure is fundamental to this, raising questions about revamping intel tools.

I don’t think this “solves” wardecs though. The solution for wardecs is education: the typical targets need to learn that wardecs are fun. The obfuscated motivations behind wardecs are just an excuse people make. The correct “solution” to wardecs will get people to be okay with not knowing why because they’ll be having too much fun to care. However, I’m feeling like this is a worthwhile idea, but I wouldn’t particularly mention the word wardec on the packaging.

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Yeah I think this is an important point you bring up here. I’m not sure in how far those new metrics will be public, and if they are not they may not qualify because this contracts bay be abused as an intel tool.

Trading is far simpler than contracts. And simplest option is to give us control on who we do / do not trade with.

I don’t like being wardecced? I don’t like being bumped? I don’t like you? Give me option not to trade with you.

I’m playing FW and don’t like Caldari? I don’t like Alpha pilots? I don’t like people who hide in NPCs? Give me option not to allow them to trade with me.

Mechanics already exist in different applications. It would just be a case of joining the dots.

We can already see who bought or sold us stuff after the event. Simply gives us a filter in advance, as to who we can buy from / who can’t buy from us (eg anyone on our individual “naughty list”), and it’s done.

Sure, anyone can set up a new alt … but they would have to. Any informant can then announce who your new alts are … might even be true. Boycotts could then be lead corp wide … eg Trade War against goons.

Keep the brokers fee. It is needed as isk sink. But remove the insistence we have to trade anonymously via brokers. Give us the freedom to run a player-driven market. Properly.

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Hi, and thanks for your feedback. But that looks like a completely separate idea which should probably be discussed in it’s own thread :wink:

Trading is a contract. End of.

Look up the dictionary definition.

I have the same concerns as i did with the last threas on such open ended contracts. The interactions between people are very complex and diverse. It’s going to be a huge job coding this all in.

There is opportunity for things to go wrong as well. Take the ice interdiction contract; What if someone accepts the contract but is not very effective at stopping the mining. Regardless the miners move on, or do other things or are wardecced by a group unrelated to the contract and mine less ice anyways. Do the accepting group still get paid? What if the issuer doesn’t want to pay them because it wasn’t them?

A courier contract is a very simple thing in comparison. The one accepting the contract takes responsibility for the items and only they can pass it on to others or lose it through negligence. And even these relatively simple contracts are, since citadels, running into issues now that other players can influence the parameters of the contract (access to citadels).

More complex contracts like these will be hard to make reliable.

The idea is not that CCP accounts for the complex interaction of people. The idea is quite the opposite in fact, in that they just provide a simple tool so players can create their own contracts based on the available metrics the game measures as I have shown in the examples.

Such things are perfectly fine and is a risk those people who make the contract take. Again, it is a simple tool and in some cases it may work out and in some it may take time until people can agree on a certain form of contract that works for all parties involved. But if unintended stuff happens that is fine, that’s kinda the point of a sandbox in my opinion.

Yeah, but that is up to the players to figure out. I mean look at RedFrog, they don’t just take any contract, they have certain requirements and the same thing may crystallise in other areas as well once people figure out what works and what not.

Again, the idea is that this is as generic as possible so people can do new stuff with it and not only some cookie cutter contract CCP or someone else thinks is viable gameplay.

I do get that, but the way that the situation can change after the contract has been accepted is going to affect how many people are willing to use this. And on of the things youre trying to do is create a structure so that more people will use it.

But take courier contracts to/from citadels as an example. out of 120 contracts that i can see, 17 involve citadels. Even less have citadels as a drop of point.

One of the biggest problems I see is the lack of a watchlist. Having to stake out an area for months because you can’t see when your targets are online.

War decs were great when you could add a name and hunt a person down.

My best war experience happened shortly after I started. I finally got my first assault frig. Our little 4 man group was war decced by a much larger 50 man Corp. I scoured evewho and the kill boards and found their miners and carebears. We exclusively hunted them for days. We made the war dec mutual. In the end we ended up with 2 losses to their 25 some odd losses. Their Corp hemraged players and they paid us to stop.

I know cool story and everybody clapped. But those are the war decs I miss. I would love a contract system that allowed a watchlist.