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Blog Banter 32 – EVE is all about risk

This month’s Blog Banter comes from Drackarn of Sand, Cider and Spaceships. He has foolishly chosen to poke the hornet’s nest that is the non-consensual PvP debate. Whilst you read his question, I’ll be finding a safe place to hide.

“A quick view of the Eve Online forums can always find someone complaining about being suicide ganked, whining about some scam they fell for or other such tears. With the Goons’ Ice Interdiction claiming a vast amount of mining ships, there were calls for an “opt out of PvP” option. 

Should this happen? Should people be able to opt-out of PvP in Eve Online. Should CONCORD prevent crime rather than just handing out justice after the event? Or do the hi-sec population already have too much protection from the scum and villainy that inhabits the game?”

Oh boy, this is a fun one!

I hold that there are two major types of player in EVE – those that learn from their mistakes and those who refuse to accept said mistakes. The former suit the game well – adapting and adjusting their playstyles to whatever region of space they live in. The latter whine and bitch when their 8bil-cargo Iteron gets suicide ganked outside Jita 4-4.

It’s the latter who seem to advocate a “removal” of PvP in high-security space. Why? What possible good could come from removing PvP?

Let’s back up a bit. What constitutes PvP? Combat? Markets? Even mining depletes a resource another pilot could claim, so that could be considered PvP too. Removal of all those results in… nothing. I wouldn’t call EVE a “game” at that point. There’d be no spice.

So let’s change the definition of “PvP” into ship combat only, which seems to be the area where people get all mad.

EVE fields a risk/reward scheme throughout the game (with the possible exception of Incursions, trolo). If you take want those big rewards – taking space, getting expensive mods, making billions from trading, defeating whole fleets etc. – then you have to take big risks – Organising alliances, running dangerous sites, investing billions to start trading etc. Non-Consensual combat in Highsec is the risk to the reward of being able to run missions/mine/build/haul without being attacked at every gate. If you want to carry all your loot round cheaply, you are damn well going to take a risk in doing so.

Remove this risk counter. Remove the ninja looting, the can flipping, the suicide ganks. What are we left with? War dec mechanics? Those are laughably easy to exploit.

So you now have a Highsec without ship combat. What happens now? You’ve essentially just turned Highsec into a single player game, where your actions do not have consequences. What’s to stop everyone flooding into Highsec where they are now completely safe? EVE would go haywire. All because some idiot decided that because he didn’t want to take a risk for his reward. Some dumbass doesn’t like people “interfering with his playstyle” yet is perfectly happy to effect everyone else’s playstyle by wanting a removal of PvP.

Then, of course, there’s CONCORD. CONCORD is, as we all know, punishment – not protection. Those wanting a removal of PvP often ask for CONCORD to protect instead.  However, CONCORD is currently the risk factor for the “reward” of criminal activity in Highsec (along with loot drop rates, I guess). Change CONCORD and you’ve removed the risk part of that activity too. You’ve now fundamentally altered another aspect of gameplay. Of course, if you remove PvP then this gameplay is already dead, making this irrelevant, but it’s important to consider.

EVE is nothing without risk. Removal of non-consensual combat removes that risk, and then EVE isn’t EVE. One of its unique selling points is gone. Part of what makes EVE unique is out the window, just like that.

All because someone refused to accept the risk.

If you cannot accept the risk for your rewards, in a game that revolves around risk, I have but one image to link.

To be honest, I was just looking for a reason to link this

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Choosing a target

Today sees me logging in first, again. As I start probing, however, a friendly face logs on. Aii is stuck out in highsec, so I need to find a route in!

There’s no inbounds in our home system today, a C5 inbound that appeared during last night’s capital escalations dead by now. Our previous C4 static is also dead, so I wipe corp bookmarks and start anew. It doesn’t take me long to find it, but C4a today is empty with a C4 static itself. Fortunately, C4 statics are pretty easy to scan down, having a unique signature size. I sweep for inbounds, finding none, before scanning and jumping into C4b.

Ah, now we’re getting interesting. A lone Scorpion and POS light my D-Scan up, but warping to the tower reveals the Scorpion empty. Curses. C4b also has a C4 static, so I scan it and jump in, revealing an empty C4c. This one has a C3 static, which usually lead to k-space, so I keep scanning. No inbounds are found, so into C3a I go!

C3a greets me with a Gallente Battleship wreck on scan, along with 4 Ogre IIs and a couple of towers that appear to be offline. The system boasts a Lowsec static and a Black Hole wormhole effect in place.

Warping to one of the towers quickly reveals its reason for being offline. A host of Cruise Missile Batteries and Torpedo Missile Batteries surround the abandoned tower – the defences effectively useless in a Black Hole system, which boosts ship velocities and reduces missile velocities in kind. I start scanning for the seemingly abandoned Ogre IIs, hoping they lead me to the BS wreck. Since the Ogre IIs are unclaimed, I assume that the killers of the Gallente Battleship had to leave in a hurry. Resolving the signature hit, I warp to the drones to see an unspoilt wreck waiting for me!

A check on the owner of the wreck reveals no PvP losses in this system, leading me to believe he lost the Battleship to Sleepers. How embarrassing. The wreck contains a fairly cheap Faction armour repair as well as a Shadow Serpentis energized adaptive nano module, but the rest is standard T2 loot. Not worth a lot, all told, but ISK is ISK!

I scan the low, finding myself in Old Man Star and drop bookmarks for Aii, who promptly comes home. A C3 is scanned in OMS, but it holds nothing of interest. With nothing going on, I log out till the evening.

Constellation as I logged out

Logging back on some hours later has Mick also online. I decide to sit at C4b’s tower, but an online Dominix there simply logs off. Mick goes scouting into C4c, where he notes probes on scan. He scouts further into the system, revealing an Anathema, Nighthawk, 3 Drakes and a lot of wrecks.

Hmm.

The Drakes and Nighthawk are at an anomaly, and the Anathema has cloaked. I swap my Scangu for a Manticore bomber, preferring the “insta-lock-on-decloak” of this ship and head over to join Mick, who is now sitting cloaked 160km off the ratting ships.

Shhh... be very very quiet...

Another alliance member, Rihanna, moves to join us but lacks a suitable cloaky vessel – opting for a PvP fit Loki and sitting in C4b, ready to jump in and help if we engage something.

There’s no chance we can hit the 4 ratting ships, so we decide to wait for their Noctis. Mick deploys probes and resolves a new inbound – presumably the source of these ships. However, a Retriever and Covetor are now on scan, and it isn’t long before Mining Drones are on scan too. Intriguing.

The ratters finish their site, warping towards another. One Drake  warps elsewhere and soon disappears from scan – presumably gone back to their Wormhole. It isn’t long before a Noctis shows up on scan, along with an Imicus frigate.

The Noctis appears to be in an anom we haven’t located, and the Imicus is replaced by  a second Covetor which appears in the same direction as the other 2 mining barges. An Iteron V appears, and locates itself with the miners.

At this point, we have to pick a target.

  • 2 Drakes + Nighthawk at an Anomaly
  • Retriever, 2x Covetors + Iteron Mk V at  a Grav site
  • Noctis at the Anomaly we have bookmarked.
  • Try and snag one of their scouts on a wormhole.

Whichever we pick loses the others, and we have no idea what reinforcements they could have. We have to make it quick. So we obviously pick the Noctis.

After 10 minutes of waiting, the Noctis appears in the Anomaly we’re sitting at cloaked. He’s 160km away, and appears to be unmoving – allowing his Tractor Beams to do the work for him.

There's always someone watching

We let him salvage some wrecks, but he still doesn’t move. This works to our advantage – a moving Noctis is harder to hit than a stationary one.

We bookmark a wreck he tractors to him, and both warp in and engage.

The Noctis is in armour by the time we even notify Rihanna on comms, but it’s dying too fast for her to warp and engage too, so she holds out of system.

A good thing too. The Noctis pops easily, but the pod escapes even my sensor boosted Manticore. I hit the “Loot All” button on the wreck, but my Manticore’s cargo is already bomb laden and I only grab a handful. Mick grabs some more, but he shoots the wreck to deny the rest. As Mick does so, the Nighthawk and Drakes land, but we both easily cloak and warp back off to the tactical. Gone as soon as we appeared.

The Drakes and their mining barges warp back to their Wormhole, which I scout as a C2, whilst the Nighthawk remains in the site. It’s a tempting target, but if it’s running C4s it’ll likely be brick tanked and we simply don’t have the DPS to kill one before its’ allies arrive.

The Drakes return, and one of them starts salvaging, albeit slowly. They’ve probably refit for PvP, but are desperate for some ISK return since we kind of blew it all up.

There’s not a lot else myself and Mick can do at this point, so we head home for the night.