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Good Fights

Any Eve Online player whose done any PVP knows these two words.  They also know how truly elusive they are.

What are “Good Fights”?  The kneejerk reaction usually starts in the extremes of “Any fight you win.” and “My Blob is bigger than your Blob”.  But you really ask anyone who truly enjoys Eve, and they will all say the same thing: a fight where the odds are fair, or even, a little against you.  Whether you have won or lost isn’t often viewed as that important.  A true “Good Fight”, often leaves everyone who participated on the edge of their seat, out of breathe, maybe even sweating a little.  Even if you’ve lost, the experience is profound and you can’t help but smile at just being a part of such an event. 

So, one usually asks at this point, “Why don’t we have more of these good fights?”

The answer is multifold:

  1. “n+1” Problem:  The current game and Soverignty mechanics support the essentially reality that more is better.  In general, if you have five cruisers in your fleet, then going after a six cruiser fleet might be harder, and going after a ten cruiser fleet would be tantamount to suicide.  Certain tactics and skills can change this dynamic at smaller levels, but when the fleets start to reach in the fifties-plus range, then even the best tactics often take a back seat to more numbers.
  2. Supercaps:  Prior to Crucible, Supercapital ships ruled both null-sec and low-sec with impunity.  If you had one, it was often used as an “I win” button because you could easily drop one anywhere you were operating, had a tremendous amount of EHP, and if you got in trouble, you could log off and there would be a 90 to 95% chance you would be safe because your targets likely didn’t have another supercap available to counter yours.  Crucible made some significant headway against this, but the stigma will still be around for a little while.
  3. Fleet Logistics:  There is no reason NOT to have more ships in a fleet.  There is no difficulty in doing so, especially since the skills needed are relatively easy to acquire.  In addition, unlike reality, where you have to worry about fuel and food for every single one.. a huge fleet can move along at whatever pace they can wander.. so long as the people behind the screens are up for it.  In addition, things like Cyno fields, jump bridges, and titan bridges allow large numbers of ships to be transported instantly across distances.  Even warp speeds have an effect because the major body of sub-cap ships (Cruisers to Battleships) fly at 3.0 AU or close to it making it just as difficult to wield cruisers as it is to wield battleships in extended and distanced engagements.
  4. Sov Mechanics:  With the current mechanics on getting Sovereignty, it requires an enemy to field a large fleet, especially capitals and supercaps, to take down important structures in a timely manner.  No skill, all DPS.

So, the next question usually persued is: “How can we get back to “good fights”?  But that isn’t the hard question.  The hard question is “How and where do “good fights” exist?  You see, “good fights” still happen every day in Eve Online.. it is too vast for it not to happen.  But usually it is on a very small scale, and rarely happens, and almost always requires that both sides make a trusted agreement about what to bring and what not to bring.. like the popular NIPs or Non-Invasion Pacts.  The only place in the history of Eve Online where there were more consistant “good fights”, was in Providence 1.0, which had a sort of non-official, and often denied, NIP with -A- for quite some time.  And the size of fleets that had the most fun?  Well, those were usually somewhere around the 10 ship mark.. sometimes a bit larger, sometimes a bit smaller.  No worries about having a capital ship dropped on your head.  Just good, clean fun.

So, that is why I think CCP and the CSM need to officially sit down and say to the player community, “Okay, we want the game to be fun, and we know that the vast majority of PVP’ers out there really like the small gang action over large fleets.  So, we are going to say that the “10-man gang” is the gold standard for what we plan to work towards.  We aren’t going to destroy major thousand man fleets, but we will be gearing general PVP life in Eve to have the 10-man gang be the foundation and the staple of both null-sec and low-sec politics and engagements.”  I think that once everyone gets on that same page, because I don’t think they are.. even though they actually do want to be there, then you will start to see some well focused Sov, faction, and even mining changes.

Here’s to hoping..