Trawling through the F&I forums can lead to compact little gold nuggets of truly great ideas. Buuuut more often than not you’ll just see a re hash of old ideas – or more precisely old moans.
Today’s one of those days, but seeing as there is an umpteenth post on the slippery subject of ‘cloaking’ I think I should at least come clean and offer up my own view on the subject.
Firstly I should “fess up” and admit it….I use cloaks. There I’ve said it. In fact I love cloaking ships for a number of reasons, not least that I have always held a soft spot for anything even remotely ‘sneaky’ in pretty much any game I have played. I am, in that D&D parlance the classic ‘Rogue’ character type. Cloaks also enable me to do what I equally enjoy which is exploration. Exploring, wandering – however you want to call it – means that from time to time you’re going to put yourself in areas that are pretty dangerous and you’re going to be pretty much alone doing it.
Cloaks have a few troubling characteristic of course, they’re a binary mechanic (either ‘on’ or ‘off’) so you can either be located – or you can’t – and I can see why that probably grates on some peoples fragile nerves. They’re also infinite, in the sense they never run out of gas or wear off. All of which means that its childs play to sit, AFK, in a star system for hours, even days, completely invulnerable. Just like sitting in a station then.
Local also has it’s part to play – because whilst a cloak hides your physical ship from being seen or targeted it doesn’t conceal you from the local chat channel. So you’re “sorta sneaky but not”. In fact its probably fair to say you are only stealthy against those who are too lazy to stay alert and watch for trouble.
There has been some talk from CCP about changing the intel interface within EVE – but when Ive considered this problem I always end up drawing to a few fundamental conclusions. What would a scanning system need to do?
1. Allow you to have a fair indication of potential targets at a glance.
2. Allow you to have a fair degree of warning of potential hostile threats at a glance.
3. Not reveal to much ‘fine detail’ about point 1 or 2 without extra effort.
When you consider local channel it actually does all of that already. Even the current cloaking system does not detract from these fundamentals – although it resolutely clamps out point 3; whilst sacrificing the ability to do anything but cloak.
All in all I tend to view the topic of local and cloaks as something that is pretty much fine as it is. Remove local and you give too much power to the cloaked vessel, allow cloaks to be probed down and you defeat much of their purpose. I often think that commentators in this subject area actually want far less risk in EVE for their particular perspective and either way you swing the pendulum you will end up disadvantaging the other party.