The Evil Behind the Thousand Megathrons

Last week, I posted about the need for Eve’s nullsec Sovereignty system to be redesigned in order to break up blocs, shrink alliances and give a chance to younger players to strike out into nullsec without the risk of being stamped upon. The key post with the vision and reasoning behind this is found here.

I also posted an example of a sovereignty system that would reward small groups who turned up to fight for their space and offer little encouragement or reward for grouping up into vast coalitions as happens now. Importantly, I showed how such a system could be created using only existing mechanics that already exist in the game: mechanics stolen from wormholes, from Factional War complexes, and from the sovereignty index system.

Interestingly, the most strenuous objections to my suggestions came from pretty high-ranking members of Goonwaffe: people are are still in love with the huge scale of our puissance. I see this as a confirmation that I’m on the right lines… And no, that didn’t include The Mittani, who linked to my posts from themittani.com. He has a vested interest (said site) in ensuring the health, vibrancy and well-being of Eve, after all. Otherwise, nobody will want Eve Online news.

Today, though, I want to discuss another key element of why the last few years have seen a race to the top of the numbers tree from both sides of our dull, static Eve. This aspect of Eve is part of the sovereignty system itself but it does absolutely preclude smaller alliances fighting bigger ones in a sustained sovereignty war.

The Numbers Game

In today’s Eve Online, a small group cannot grind down a larger enemy by keeping turning up and getting kills the way that used to be possible, because if you do not have sufficient numbers to alpha-strike enemy ships you will not kill anything.

This is not self-interest: we in the CFC can field huge numbers of megathrons and support, and have proven that we win wars: that’s what we do. Can you remember the last war that Goons lost? I think it was after we lost Delve almost five years ago, and tried to hold space against a well-organised Ev0ke in Cloud Ring. This is about fixing Eve.

If a four hundred man alliance, capable of fielding, for a final timer, a one-off hundred-man fleet comes up against a 250-man fleet then they will kill a few tackle, but nothing else. They will not be able to break the logistics remote reps of the larger fleet, and so they won’t kill anything large enough to survive their alpha, which includes basically every well-tanked battleship in Eve.

Remote Reps: The Reason for the Thousand Megathrons

So the current logistics model means that you need to get bigger, and out-grow your enemy so as to be able to kill his ships before reps land. This leads to endlessly-bigger alliances and blocs.

It also leads to a dull landscape in fleet make-up. You may have a favourite ship – mine is the Eos – but the odds are that you don’t get to fly your favourite in big fights, because almost everyone has to be shepherded into the same dull choices. Two years ago it was apocs and maelstroms. Last year it was predominantly dominixes and ishtars and carriers. Now it is increasingly ishtars and carriers and megathrons, with the odd apoc or tempest fleet thrown in.

DPS doesn’t matter. Local tanks are laughed-at. Everything has to be sacrificed to alpha capability and buffer tanks. How dull.

I don’t want to remove logistics ships: especially in small-gang warfare logistics pilots are often amongst the most skilled in the group. But in their current form they scale too perfectly and force everyone to play the numbers game.

I Got This

My suggestion is to stack remote reps. The maths should be such that it’s worth having six to eight remote reps on you (the equivalent of two guardians), or flying spider-tanking ships in smaller fleets, but that after that you are getting a tiny fraction of the initial remote reps. This would open up DPS ships as a viable, even desirable choice for fleets, and be a step towards returning us to the varied ship choices of the past. It is also fun managing a local tank n smaller fights.

It would make supercapitals more vulnerable without allowing them to be e-warred by frigates, which I suspect is otherwise in the post. It would allow skilled groups willing to double-down to keep using a couple of alternately-triaged carriers to keep each other and their fleets alive, which leaves me bewildered and impressed every time I watch videos of it in action.

As an aside, this would also make POS guns a bit more of a threat again, which is long-overdue. That said, they need some sort of a buff to deal with today’s sieged dreads.

A real benefit would come in small gangs, too, since your ten-man roam would have a real chance to swoop in, pick off a valuable ship from the forty-man gang you are facing, and get out again. Right now, you will probably not break their reps.

  • Murdoch

    So I don’t and never have flown fleets, so when the case is laid out like this I’m bewildered that reps didn’t suffer stacking penalties already. It seems that everything else, including other remote actions (like ECM) is stacking-penalized already, but not reps?

  • Dunk Dinkle

    No, remote reps are not stacking penalized. But neither are damage methods stacking penalized.

    Should we discuss only being able to take damage from 2-3 DPS ships before “getting a tiny fraction of the initial” damage from additional DPS ships?

  • Murdoch

    [Should we discuss only being able to take damage from 2-3 DPS ships
    before "getting a tiny fraction of the initial" damage from additional
    DPS ships?]

    No, we shouldn’t. That’s not the point of this topic.

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  • NaterNater

    Some concerns I can think of:
    1. Currently the weakness to sniping platforms is that it is difficult to get enough numbers to alpha targets. If a fleet does obtain critical mass they are large enough to be a very juicy bombing target. With this change you wouldn’t be able to rep through small sniper fleets. Any fleet doctrine that couldn’t hit out beyond at least 150km would be dead in the water. Instead of “Ishtars online” it would become “slippery petes online” — only worse.

    2. All combat ships would need an extreme rebalance since they are currently balanced around the role EHP plays in allowing ships to “catch reps.”

    3. SuperStar FC’s would be devalued vastly. Also, lacking a robust spying network would become an even larger barrier for entry for new groups. The CFC, PL, NC. or Jean Leaner could headshot every single player that tries to take over target-calling, meanwhile the newer group would not be able to identify Mr. Vee’s 9th alt that he is using to FC. It sounds great that all the F1 grunts would need to be able to take over the fleet at any moment, but the downside is the powerful entities get even more powerful. They already have fleets where every 2nd player is a proven FC and they have the spy resources to headshot all target callers.

    4. Using mechanics to find intelligent ways to “catch reps” is the only way a smaller force can beat a larger force. Remove this ability and there are even less options to defeat 500 megathrons. Trying to engage the larger force with the idea “well at least we can kill some of them, let’s make this hurt” generally doesn’t work because the rate of ship losses will cascade in favor of the advantaged force. It’s not simply a matter of the smaller fleet quickly falling below the threshold to break reps. More ships kill faster, which means the initial number disparity grows and the kill-rate disparity grows. Fighting outnumbered 2:1 does not correspond to ship losses of 1:2 — It’s closer to 1:4 or more.

    Some Ideas I had for this issue to make more interesting gameplay:
    A.) A Hictor bubble that, instead of preventing warp, would reduce incoming remote reps by X% (argue about what X should be)
    B.) A dictor bubble that reduces OUTGOING remote reps by Y% instead.
    C.) For capital fights, a Dread module used in siege in the place of guns that reduces incoming remote reps by Z% on the targeted ship and ignores supercapital ECM immunity.
    D.) Something similar to C.) for subcaps — perhaps used in Bastion mode or created for a new class of T2 cruiser that uses some type of bastion/siege mechanic.
    E.) A mobile deployable that reduces remote reps by X% and increases local reps by Y%.

  • Diskutant

    Stacking penalties for remote reps: +1.
    Nater’s remark about spies enabling headshotting target callers has merit. It will be less relevant in smaller fleets, but is important in large battles. I suggest that the stacking penalty is less (i.e. mor reps possible) the higher the pilot is in the fleet tree. FCs can be better protected, headshotting requires more dps – more fun for everyone.

  • Jack Haydn

    If you really think that our objections mean we want to maintain the status quo instead of working together with you, showing the weaknesses in your design and hopefully improving EVE in a really solid way, then I am a little bit disappointed… ;)

  • Tarsas Phage

    If you can alpha through buffer tanks now, why would you not try to do so with even if there were weaker logi? Nothing beats the fist of god, you know.