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Here is the latest devblog on the subject: (http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=72889)

Hi there capsuleers. I’m SoniClover from Team Super Friends, here to bring you the highlights of what the team has been working on for Inferno 1.1. Without further ado, let’s hop to it:

The Bi-Weekly Attention Span

Ally contracts will now have a fixed length of two weeks. It is of course possible to ally again after the two weeks, but there is no recur automatically option in, so you will have to go through the motion of offering to ally every two weeks. Important note:  When Inferno 1.1 goes live, all existing ally contracts will get a two week timer (i.e. they will end two weeks after Inferno 1.1 goes live).

Lets Step Outside and Settle This Like Men

Allies can now no longer be part of mutual wars – mutual wars are now strictly mano-a-mano. This means that when a war is set to mutual, all existing ally contracts are set to end (i.e. their two week timer is adjusted to end immediately), with the usual 24 hour grace period. Furthermore, no new ally contracts can be accepted.

Money For Nothing

There is a cost now associated with hiring lots of allies. You are still free to hire as many allies as you want, but there is an increasing cost in doing so. Refer to this:

  • Ally #1 – Free!
  • Ally #2 – 10 million
  • Ally #3 – 20 million
  • Ally #4 – 40 million
  • Ally #5 – 80 million
  • and so on…

Note that this fee is for hiring an ally for a two week period, as per the contract length change mentioned above.

You Can Bribe Me, But Not Too Much

There is now a cap on how much the number of members in the defender corp/alliance can affect the war declaration cost. The cap is 500 million. Note that this is not a cap on total cost of war – the multiplier for the number of wars you have declared still applies.

Push the Button

We prettified the UI a bit in the war list, making it easier to select what you want to do there. We use a brand-new utility menu and it looks like this (list populated based on your roles, of course):

And Now For Something Completely Different…

Lastly, there is a new skill out there, called Armor Resistance Phasing. It reduces the cycle time of Reactive Armor Hardeners (or, well, the one that currently exists) by 10% per level. This skill costs ca. 600k, has a skill rank of 5 and is sold wherever good skill books are sold (i.e. the usual places).

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It is also a good idea to review Ripard Teg’s blog on this subject here: http://jestertrek.blogspot.com/2012/06/total-war.html

Let’s review the four main points regarding the wardec system:

  1. All ally contracts will be fixed for two week periods.  You can re-contract after the two weeks indefinately, but you will have to manually do so.
  2. Allies cannot be part of mutual wars.
  3. While you are free to hire as many allies as you want, the cost doubles for each additional ally after the first.
  4. War Dec Costs are capped at 500 million isk.

Points 1 and 4 I agree wholeheartedly with and don’t think there is an issue.  500 mil is a nice round sum and as such is reasonably reachable by even small alliances.  The two week time period is nice as well because then you aren’t locked in if they guy you are helping turns out to be a douche and besides.. if you want to be around long term with each other.. form an alliance (that is the reason for that mechanic after all).

Point 2 – Your allies cannot be part of mutual wars. To be honest, I am not exactly sure how I want to view that.  My perception of the ally system was to essentially be the new “coalition” mechanic.  So, I think you should be allowed to have as many allies as you want (for both sides at that point), but each time a new corp or alliance is added both have to “re-agree” for the war to be mutual.  I think that would have been a better option.

Point 3 – Allies Cost Money.  This is one that I think has the most potential harm to new and smaller corps and alliances in Eve.  Sure, the initial fee of 10mil is pretty low for having two allies.  But the price doubles with each successive ally.  So, the next ally is 20 million, the next 40mil, the next one 80 mil.  So, for five allies, you’ve just spent 150 million isk.  To add one more would require an additional 160mil isk.  You better not have more than 6 buddies or defending yourself will probably cost more than surrendering.  So, I made my statement on the comments about this:

I think this point alone discourages smaller alliances and corporations from defending against large, generally better funded, alliances. And to be honest, this sounds too much like the Mittani’s influence because of what happened between Goons and Star Fraction. Smaller alliances should have the ability to contract as many allies as they need.. without financial cost.

But.. things are that simple as BugraT WarheaD commented:

Please … Don’t say such things …A cap limit for funding war and protection ? that’s ridiculous. And if i’m dec, can I ally for free to PL, Goon and other big alliance ? That makes no sense.

In Eve there’s big alliances and small corporation. When you create and/or enter an small corp/alliance, you know the risks and the benefits, wardec are still part of the game, and it’s making perfect sense that big alliances can protect themselves easier than small ones

He sort of made a good point.  If you put a lot of effort into organizing and maintaining a large combat alliance.. there should be some benefits.  I agree wholeheartedly in that respect.  The tools that large alliances use, both in-game and meta tools, are inheritly advantages that they should be able to use.  But that doesn’t change the problem that you’ve now made small corporations and alliances easy prey for large, mega alliances.

And just to be clear, I have no problem with a large alliance having the ability to grind into the dust a smaller corp or alliance that had pissed them off.  I would consider it game-breaking if it wasn’t there.  The problem I see with this system is that it makes it impossible for the pendulum to swing the other way.. and really doesn’t allow the smaller, less well funded organization to prosecute to a finish any wardec that they got pulled into.  In fact, that pricing feature basically guarantees that the smaller corp won’t be able to get the upper hand.. and at best, may only break even financially.  The smaller corp will always be the loser, as there is no real financial incentive for the larger alliance to end the war.

There really isn’t any “free” help option.  You can get help in the form of either allies (who, by assisting you, essentially join you for a cheaper wardec fee), by mercs (who need to be bought), or by non-allied strangers (who help you, but pretty much have to pay for their own wardec).  No matter what you do, small corps and alliances, particularly ones whose goals may not be as financially rewarding as others are, are going to put in a position where their best option is to just wait it out for two weeks and hope that the large alliance who wardec’d them gets bored and goes away.  So.. pretty much no change over what it is now.  Well, actually.. it would seem that this new system is even MORE expensive to smaller corps and alliances than it is under the current wardec system.

Alekseyev Karrade, a member of the CSM and CEO of the well known mercenary group, NOIR. wrote the following:

The “merc tailored” option Soundwave referenced that I pushed for was a cap on allies (2-3 would have been nice) but you would not have any cost for taking them. If you wanted to hire a merc, you could at whatever price you negotiated. If you wanted to bring friends in, you could do it for free. If you wanted to accept free help from strangers (or strangers that buy in to your war dec) you could do that too, or any combination of the three. I feel this would have restored the merc market (the real one, not the Inferno mechanic) close to where it was before Inferno while not further unleveling the playing field between the big guys and the little guys.

I’m sure most of the people opposed to this fees change would be equally opposed to any limiting factor on allies, and certainly would oppose a flat limit. My position is whatever limit to the allies system is put in place should achieve the goal of restoring the viability of the long established mercenary profession that was undermined when the system was launched. I didnt/dont expect the fee system and prices described in this blog to do that, and so would do more harm than good.

While I don’t fully agree with the “limit” imposed, the rest of his argument is good.  There needs to be a “place” for mercenaries in this mechanic.  One where fees can be charged and mercs can get paid.  Adding a fee to each new ally just means that they have less isk to spend on hiring mercs, and as Aleks said, it “would do more harm than good.”   Merc Corps “reputation” needs to e something that the merc community can cash in on.  It has value, and it is something that can set them apart.. either negatively or positively.

Now, the problem with my current view is something that Keluum said (paraphrased by Aleks, but italics mine):

Kel explained his position to me as that the ally fees are better than nothing since they’d stop “things from going silly” (which they will). From the merc point of view they’re better than nothing but not by much.

How will things get silly?  Having no limits would cause new corps to sign up every Tom, Dick, and Harry who can fly an Ibis to “defend” them.  There would be no true “mano-y-mano” fights of any sort because the moment a corp got wardecced they would snag anyone and everyone to help them on defense.  This would also be useful to the original defending corp because it spreads out the attacker’s strikes.. reducing their risk to such an extent that the war may not be of any real concern.  Essentially, it neuters the “fear” from a wardec.

So, while I am against the financial fees, and somewhat against the limits.. I really can’t see any alternative outside of what Aleks has already proposed.  Feel free to check out the devblog comments and add your thoughts to the mix.. or even adding a like to Aleks as well if you agree.

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