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.