Any other business?

The latest CSM 4 meeting minutes are out, and announce a number of changes in how the CSM might be expected to function and interact with CCP in the future.  The minutes are a fairly lengthy read, and as is the case with minutes, are pretty general and non-specific. You can find them in full here.

One of the more interesting suggestions was that the CSM panel term would last for a full year (as opposed to the 6 months currently in place).  There are pros and cons to this of course; on the plus side it means the CSM can gain in experience and align their recommendations to a longer period of the development cycle.   It might also allow the voting process to become a ‘bigger’ and better supported even in the EVE Online Calender – rather than the 6 month roll around which can inflict more ‘voter apathy’.

From the Blog a more concerning comment was –

“Tim, aka Sokratesz commented that ”I was very skeptical initially, but the trip has convinced me that CCP has an active interest in the playerbase and is willing to listen. One of the best moments for me was when Noah [CCP Hammer] grabbed a pen to take notes during a heated debate between council members.

Really? I mean is the act of a Dev taking notes so uncommon at these meetings that it becomes one of those ‘best moments’?! Anyway moving on…

“The debate is whether to encourage or enforce smaller fights through game design or whether we have to focus on supporting even bigger fights or distribute the lag more evenly between the fleet jumping in and the fleet that already is already there and already has the grid loaded”.

My personal view here is that CCP should aim to encourage (not enforce) smaller fights through game design. The idea of distributing lag more evenly strikes me as something of a cop out and pretty illogical: lag isnt good and it remains ‘not good’ no matter how evenly you dish it out.  Having posted this question to the CSM did they come back to ask our opinion? Erm no…

“The CSM would not like to see very large fleet fights discouraged through game design but feels there is a need for a fair distribution of lag caused by grids not loading”.

I can only hope that this was a of the minutes being taken down incorrectly.  I don’t to see large fleet flights discouraged either; but I do feel that they are becoming increasingly endemic through a lack of any other option.

For the most part I would imagine you enjoy flying with a select group of friends. Perhaps up to a dozen really good buddies. And that’s the essence of a small gang and the area that a huge number of players say they enjoy the most.  But what, in strategic terms, can such a small group do to effect the course of a war? What static (or otherwise) objective exist outside of the FW mechanics that support gangs of this size – and more importantly have an advantage over a bigger fleet?  Unfortunately the CSM has spoken and CCP now have a good excuse not to put much needed effort into developing EVE towards supporting small gang warfare.  Perhaps you disagree, if so I would love to hear your thoughts.

There’s not too much comment out there on the blogo’sphere about CSM IV which is slightly disappointing as it runs the risk of the CSM becoming a slightly dusty old meeting where Nozh doodles furiously onto a piece of paper to avoid falling asleep whilst our erstwhile representatives drone on and on about how Railguns just dont do the same amount of damage as they did in the good ol days.  However Bryan Ward over at EVOGANDA does have an alternative perspective – check it out!


7 Responses to “Any other business?”

  1. Ahem *cough* *cough*

    Before the Dev Blog (which I’ll be covering in my weekly Dev Blog Breakdown on Friday) and, I think I’m right in saying, before anyone else. 😉

    On the big fleet question I think its a case of mutual escalation in this case, that and the fact that big fleets bashing POS’s and Outposts are how its been done for years. The simplest counter to a big fleet is, you guessed it, and even bigger fleet. You can see how this feeds back on itself until you’ve got massive fleets facing off on gates and lagging the hell out of each other. This, IMO, is down to lazy thinking on the part of the tacticians involved and to some degree a lack of balance in the game design.

    It may be that Alliance tacticians and strategists will come up with uses for smaller, faster moving fleets once they get the hang of the new SOV mechanics. It will take only take one of them running rings around a big fleet with smaller gangs to gain SOV in a system and they’ll all be at it.

    As to the lag distribution issue, the main problem with lag in big fleet fights at the moment is the fact that it is very one sided. The fleet that holds the grid has a huge advantage in terms of lag, in that its the fleet warping in that generally suffers losses as their client tries to load a grid full of ships. I don’t think that what they meant when they talked about distributing the lag was spreading it across the whole server so that a big fleet fight affects everyone online at once. What I rather think they meant was distributing the lag more evenly among the ships taking part in that battle, so that neither side has an advantage or is handicapped by it, relative to their opponents.

  2. Yup you beat me too it Dev Blog wise: I caught it last night but was just to tired to blog about it (well to make any sense blogging about it!)

    I can see the sense in sorting out the lag for fleet fights – as you describe – my concern was this seemed a ‘preferable solution’ to encouraging smaller scale objectives. Small scale objectives were (supposedly) to be part of Dominion; but to date I cant see any. Perhaps Tyrannis will do better…


  3. Warning! Wall of text follows!

    tl;dr: I basically agree but reckon the big alliances are to caught up in their pissing contests to care

    Wall of text>

    My point was that dominon does have the smaller objectives, its just that alliance leadership has to change its thinking both tactically and strategically to take advantage of them.

    Imagine if you will. System A is a border system between two rival alliances in 0.0.

    Alliance X Masses a fleet nearby (or appears to) supposedly so they can take System A. Alliance Y notices this and masses its own fleet in system A to prevent the planting of SDU’s and to protect its sovreignty.

    Meanwhile Alliance X has a black ops fleet working its way stealthily to another system (B) that belongs to Alliance X at the other end of their empire. While gearing up for a big fight in system A, Alliance Y is shocked when System B’s TCU becomes vulnerable and comes under attack.

    They then have a choice to make. Dash in a haphazard fashion to System B with the fleet they have in System A (costing time, jump fuel and fraying the nerves). muster what pilots are around in the area of System B to defend it whilst preparing to move the fleet from system A as support(Will likely not be the best pilots, or the most organised of fleets, and moving the fleet will cost, like the first option), or simply let System B fall and keep their fleet in System A in case System B is a feint.

    In the case of the first choice, Alliance Y can then sweep into system A with the ‘fake’ fleet ( a much smaller force than Alliance Y thought it was, there are sneaky ways to do this) and take it fairly easily. The black ops fleet that was in System B is long gone by the time Alliance Y’s fleet gets there and you’re left with 500 pilots with nothing to shoot at but the roids (bad for morale, a waste of time for all concerned)

    In the case of the second choice Alliance X Has a ‘ragtag’ fleet holding off a much better organised black ops fleet, trying to keep them at bay until help arrives (this would require some changes to the way black ops BS’s work but I believe that CCP are looking into that.) This option also has the benefit of drawing the massed fleet away from System A, leaving it open for attack again.

    The third option just means that Alliance Y gets System B without a fight and the Fleet is left in system A looking like right lemons.

    The reason this kind of thing doesn’t happen basically boils down to 0.0 warfare as it currently stands being a contest to see who can bring the biggest fleet. I’m pretty certain that if any of the big alliances came under assault (or were led to believe they were under assault) on multiple fronts and from multiple directions you would see a lot of smaller fleets set up for fast response times across wide regions of space.

    As things stand though I honestly don’t believe that any of the big alliances have the strategic flexibilty (logistically and mentally) to run such an operation.

    But hey what do I know, I’m just an armchair general 😀

    </wall of text

  4. I didn’t blog on the CSM meeting mostly because CCP hasn’t yet convinced me that they’ve started to take the process seriously. I’ve spent way too much time in corporate meetings to believe that holding hands and singing Kumbaya together actually means that they’ll make progress. I really hope so, however.

    As for the fleet fights: small gangs shouldn’t necessarily “win” over large fleets, particularly not in stand-up fights. That sort of guerrilla warfare has all sorts of interesting uses, particularly in reconnaissance, intel gathering, and strikes against industry (e.g. finding and eliminating mining fleets). I’d like to see ways to encourage that sort of warfare without crippling the sort of large fleet actions described here.

  5. Hi there Casiella,

    I think it will always be difficult to judge quite how seriously CCP take the CSM. If they approve and implement a CSM proposal CCP will be accused of bowing to the masses and not following their own vision. If they don’t approve a proposal they’ll be accused of not taking the CSM seriously – theyre kinda damned both ways.

    I would definitely agree that small gangs should ‘win’ over larger fleets. But its interesting to note that your “strike against industry” had just one example: mining fleets.

    I cant really think of any other examples (haulers perhaps but the existence of Jump Freighters and blockade runners make that a pretty small target). Every other target (POS, SBUs, TCUs) are essentially big lumps of HPs which require big lumps of DPS in the form of big lumps of ships – otherwise known as blobs.

    Smaller scale objectives need to be just that: smaller.

  6. […] about the prevalence of big fleets in 0.0 sovreignty wars. You can read through the comments here and here to get the general gist of what we were saying. This idea grew from Luminarious using the […]

  7. […] about the prevalence of big fleets in 0.0 sovreignty wars. You can read through the comments here and here to get the general gist of what we were saying. This idea grew from Lumenarious using the […]

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