Monday, September 27, 2010

The Problems With War Decs - Part 1

This week I'll be doing a series of posts about some of the problems I see with high-sec warfare in EVE.  I would like to make it perfectly clear that I believe war decs have a definite purpose, and that they should not be removed from EVE.  High sec should never be a perfectly safe place. However, the current mechanic and implementation has some drawbacks.

Part 1: Assymetrical Warfare

Assymetrical warfare is a powerful tool in real life, but it is even more powerful in EVE.  Several factors combine to make assymetrical warfare a serious weakness in its current implementation.

1. No proper lines of battle:  High sec is relatively impossible to secure territory, so there is never really a "homeland" for a corp to control.  OOC alts can easily haul in ships, mods, and ammo, and any competent attacker can get to the station to fit their ship and undock whenever they want.  This means that the typical advantages of a defender do not exist, allowing asymmetrical warfare to be used anywhere. This makes it impossible for high-sec corps to have secured areas they can operate in with a higher degree of safety.  Login traps, OOC scouts, and other factors make a simple high-sec mining op into a risky undertaking at any time.  Eve simply lacks a way for high-sec corps to have a defensive perimeter, which means that an opponent can always choose to avoid battle whenever they wish, and only attack vulnerable opponents without having to go to any particular effort to infiltrating the space.

2. Alt:  It often seems like everyone in EVE has at least one alt (I have many), and this contributes to the overpowered nature of assymetrical warfare.  I could easily have a second account dec a target, and simply not log in on that account until the odds are highly in my favor.  This means that my opponent has almost no chance to prepare against me, while I can continue playing as normal on my main account. This takes away from the immediacy and totality of how war should be portrayed.

3. Lack of a logistical backbone: Unless a corp decides to put up a pos, it is impossible to effect their logistics in any way. OOC haulers, market chars, etc... can keep a warring corp supplied forever, with no possible way to stop it (especially if the chars are in NPC corps).  This is a flawed mechanic, as it gives one side nothing at all to attack to disrupt the other's operations. Typically, in assymetrical warfare, the more powerful established force would have some way in which it could attack the logistics of its opponent, no matter how time intensive or inefficient.  EVE lacks that option.

4. Cost:Wars are simply too cheap.  A 2 person corp can declare war on a 1000 person corp for a few million a week, which can be paid for a minutes of effort by an alt.  If they get one good kill with tens or hundreds of millions of isk gained, it pays war costs for months.  War should be an expensive undertaking, with scaling costs based upon the length an entity has been at war, to properly reflect the escalating costs of a wartime economy.

I am unsure of how many of these problems can be fixed, but maybe these blogs can generate some meaningful conversation about war decs in EVE. War decs have and should have a vital role in making high-sec PVP possible, but their weaknesses take away from the effect.


  1. Definitely a big problem, although possibly not so much for a lot of corps other than the Uni due to the wartime SOP. Anyway, the only solution I've heard that seems to fix some of these problems is requiring corps to have a POS in order to create a wardec.

  2. The lack of a perimeter to defend is the biggest issue imho. And I believe it's one that can't be fixed in high sec. It'd be like applying the rules of claimable nullsec to empire, I don't see how could that be possible.

    There might be some ways in the logistics department, though. Maybe if corps who declare war weren't allowed to receive money or stuff from NPC corps. And if alt corps aiding them would automatically be included in the hostilities, that may force the aggressive part to obtain the money by themselves. I guess this could apply to the defensive part, too.

    Anyway, I think wardecs are as flawed as bounties atm. Nobody gets to win and often both parties are frustrated by the result.

  3. It is still a weakness in corps other than the Uni, as many larger corps will simply ignore the attackers and accept a few empire losses as the cost of doing business. They feel there is no effective way to fight back against this type of attacker.

  4. I agree with everything said.
    Addressing the alt/logistics issue, I wonder if there is a way to include ooc assistance in a wardec. For example, defining a certain level of interaction between two characters or entities as "aiding" and then including the aiding party as a legitimate target. This would be similar to the way repping a combatant includes you as a legitimate target, though on a more macro scale.
    How "aid" would be defined is a can of worms I'd rather leave up to CCP, as they get paid to handle conundrums of that size.

  5. Personally, I'd like targets that RR a war-target to have a warning flash on screen before doing it, and then be automatically included in the war for the remainder of its duration that week. Just them, not their corp, even if in an NPC corp.

  6. Great post, I can't wait for part 2. Definitely a few flaws in the system as far as war is concerned. All too often an OOC alt or player is aiding with RR, POS haven, what have you. Perhaps putting a cap on the war ratio. Eg. A 2 man corp can only dec a a corp that has up to 50 players, limiting the amount of grief decs against corps like the Uni. Money is also a definite way to go, scaling as you said.

  7. I think you have to be careful not to have your viewpoint skewed by the e-uni response to wardecs. E-uni can be 'grief decced' only because it chooses to put heavy restrictions on its members during war. Not wanting to get into a debate on whether the uni response is right for the uni, but just pointing out that the majority of the 'grief' is self-inflicted and therefore unlikely to garner much sympathy from the rest of the EVE playerbase.

    CCP should possibly look at the costs of wardecs however as there has naturally been inflation since they were set. War should be costly, but not excessively so.

    Scaling costs or wardec restrictions with membership size will introduce a new mechanic that will warp other aspects of the game (e.g. Getting -all- the alts of every member into a corp to swell its numbers and maximise the effect on the mechanic). It would also make e-uni unfairly 'safe' as with 1500 members it be a balancing challenge to prevent it becoming undeccable by most corps or the mechanic so weak that it doesnt effect any other highsec corp.

    Permanently flagging those who 'aid' the enemy via RR during battle is valid. Flagging those who provide haulage becomes an exploitable intel tool to discover peoples alts.

    TL-DR: Make sure any idea you come up with works for all EVE players and not just in E-uni's favour.

  8. I'm trying to keep my suggestions and comments for all corps, but I can see that some commenter s are not necessarily doing so.