Pondering a fix in Eve
About a week ago, Ripard Teg (aka Jester) of Jester’s Trek wrote a post about an EVE Online maybe-problem that I’ve been thinking about for a while. My recommended solution also impacts another EVE Online problem. I recommend bumping be changed to ramming.
So non-EVE players reading understand, bumping is ramming, but Eve Online currently makes it a zero-damage action. It imparts changes to momentum but causes no damage.
The problem is ‘how do you stop bumpers?’
To sum the post, he went through the general recommendations for ‘how do you stop’ an annoyance group. What the group does is use a system technicality to attack other players in high-sec without invoking a PVP flag. (high security, the place where if you start non-consensual PVP the game’s police force assists the victim by attacking you). Some of these folk are botters or AFK players (in other words, not so much playing as setting the computer to a task and doing something else while it works) while others are people who just refuse to pay for ‘protection’ permit. (Yes, the classic scam. ‘Be a shame if something were to interfere with your ability to mine here, wouldn’t it? If you’ll pay this small fee for protection I’ll make certain you’re left alone.’)
To be fair it’s within the concept of EVE online’s whole PVP driven gameview, and the ranking Ripard gives all the suggestions reflect this. That’s why everything’s just ‘leave me alone’. That said I have a recommended solution.
As I said up top, the technicality is that ramming causes no damage, so they ‘bump’ the ship. While ramming causes no damage, it changes each ships’ momentum. Stationary ships get moved, moving ships get a slight change to vector. Speed and mass still matter a bit but it’s not physics ‘right’ even with the damage removed.
Generally the ships being bumped are mining. Mining is a long-duration activity that consists of ‘sit here and run the mining sequence.’ For best efficiency the miner sits in range of several asteroids and as he empties one he shifts the tools to the next that’s in range. As I said it’s conducive to botters and AFK play. But when the ship gets bumped out of range of the asteroid the player’s mining systems stop. The controller (player or bot) has to get back in range of the asteroids and start the miners again. A bumper can keep nudging the miner to delay this – and gets no aggravation penalty at all, because if the miner shoots at the bumper it’s the miner who gets to deal with Concord. And concord ships are not quite God Ships – but they’ll destroy player ships quickly enough.
My suggestion, which I’ve not seen, is to change bumping to ramming. See, the bumpers are being care-bear players too and taking advantage of the fact they’re (mostly) safe from damage. My suggestion is that ramming should be changed to cause damage, which since it causes damage invokes a PVP situation which in turn could trigger a CONCORD response.
There are two large issues to consider. The easiest to describe is dealing with bumping that happens where no frustration is intended. When you start cramming a bunch of ships into local space of a station as they are coming in and going out – say at one of the big market sites – then error and stupidity and greed make collisions inevitable. The other – which frankly makes the former so significant – is ensuring CONCORD response goes only against the aggressor.
And after some thought I’ve got a fairly simple test for aggression flagging. General case: the faster vessel is the one that gets flagged. Not potentially faster, actual speed. If the speed demon is standing still and the freighter runs into him it’s the freighter that gets flagged. To reduce abusing the mechanism in reverse (parking directly in front of the target and letting him ram you), if both vessels are under 41 m/s then neither is flagged. (This should be low enough that cruisers can’t easily bump miners out of range. It may need tweaked downward a bit.) To reduce problems in congested bases undock immunity should apply to impact. (If a launching freighter runs into a loitering frigate the freighter shouldn’t get flagged.)
The other issue is the damage calculation. In the “real world” if I run a small frigate at really high speeds into a capital ship it could potentially be mutually destructive. Personally I like this as it cuts into the tendency toward giantism currently infesting Eve Online. I figure CCP would reduce the game damage from ‘real’ levels, but I’d still like to see it have an effect. This means that X small ships moving fast enough can destroy a Titan. It forces a significant change in fleet tactics and compositions. It’s not just frigates, the cost/effect balance may make it worthwhile to use cruisers or even larger ships in some cases. As I said at first walk I like it, but it may cause enough player screaming that CCP can’t use it.
And yet it’s a move that has an impact on two perceived problems. So I put it out for consideration.