Thursday, January 19, 2012

Uziel99: Noir. Academy Alumni

As I mentioned in a previous post I sent my combat pilot Uziel99 through the Noir. Academy training program. We wreaked havoc in Providence over the course of three weeks, destroying several billion in ships. While many of those who graduated have gone on to join Noir. I however did not. Unlike the others, who were gunning for a spot on the roster of the merc corp, I had a different reason for doing the academy.

I mentioned briefly the occupation of a certain station in KW-OAM that belonged to Noir. while I was in Split Infinity Alliance in Tennerifis. When things began to really fall apart Alekseyev Karrde brought Noir. down to fight for their station. What they found as far as the state of their occupying alliance no doubt did not impress them. Many things were said (many of them quite unpleasant) in mails, voice comms and private convos. Needless to say, I took things personally. This random guy I've never met comes out of the blue and begins insulting my corp and alliance mates. Not cool. So as things unravel I bide my time and do a lot more digging on this merc alliance and their leader.

I found out about Noir. Academy and waited. Finally in late November Noir. announces the next Academy class. The time had finally come. I applied and was interviewed by Nidia Masters, Alekseyev's right hand man. To my surprise they didn't seem to remember me, or if they did remember they didn't think much of it despite having been on a kill with Noir in that region of space. I was accepted fairly quickly and began training to fit new ships and modules.

After a month of action in Vale of the Silent and Providence I was told I would be graduating by Alekseyev. It was at this point I told him I would not be joining Noir., that I had come to prove a point (even if only to myself) and the graduation and it's subsequent medal was the goal all along.

So, what was the point? Why spend a month working for free at the behest of someone who intentionally or otherwise insulted you, your friends and your corp? Simple. Alekseyev insinuated that the late night crew of my alliance (which was not the dominant TZ for our corp or alliance) were essentially worthless in a fight and I proved him wrong. The same worthless miner he derided 4 months ago was being offered a spot in his mercenary pvp corp. Now that is what I call irony.

Alek will probably read this and think I still have a massive hateon for him and his corp like I did during the fall of SI. The truth is however Noir is a good bunch of people to work with. And while the flames of bitterness and rage are long dead, only the goal remained. Now that it's done it's time to move on and let this chapter take it's place among the lessons of the past.

Blog Banter 32: PvP needs consequences for both sides.

This month's Blog Banter on Freebooted is about one of the most fundamental principles of the game, and also one of the most debated. We are talking about non-consensual PvP combat.

In most MMO's the rules for engaging in pvp are pretty straightforward. In WoW (or as it's more commonly know to the eve community, "The game that shall not be named") pvp is activated by setting a character option to allow pvp combat (aka flagging) this is also activated by joining in Battlegrounds or Arenas as well as attacking flagged players or entering certain areas that are designated as Combat Zones (Lake Wintergrasp and Tol Barad) or are contested territories on pvp servers.

Eve however has no such mechanic. That Thrasher that just undocked beside your industrial could easily lock you up and poof, no more industrial. While many see this as a bad thing and cry great amounts of tears when this happens, the behavior doesn't change. There are penalties of course. In highsec an aggressor runs afoul of CONCORD who will destroy the offending ship, lending this mechanic it's name. Suicide Ganking. Security status is lost by these acts unless the attacker's corporation has a CONCORD sanctioned war in place that allows them to temporarily ignore the restrictions of highsec combat (known in-game as the Yulai Convention, the document that created CONCORD).

 Included below are some easy ways to make yourself prepared for pvp in this madhouse we call a sandbox.

1. Don't make yourself an easy target. Stay aware of current events throughout New Eden. If you know the Goons are coming or that Hulkageddon is just around the corner you'll be more wary and observant than those who find out when their Exhumers are primaried.

2. Don't make yourself an attractive target. Since most ganks happen outside the confines of a wardec the aggressor will be losing his ship, and thanks to the insurance changes will not be getting any compensation for it. This means they are going to be looking for high-value targets who have loot that might be scooped from the wreck by a nearby friend or alt for profit. So doing something like undocking from Jita 4-4 in a Kestrel with 72 PLEX in the cargo hold is a very bad idea. Also running officer fit ratting or mission ships will make you a target. So keep the 13 billion isk Raven Navy Issue's indoors.

3. Blueball the enemy. When wardecced by an enemy, make them wish they had decced someone else. Play station games with them. If you have a POS make sure it's fully stronted with extra stront and fuel in the Corp Hangar Array and run all the hardeners and ECM you can. Grief the griefer.

In short the issue with non-consensual pvp is not so much the pvp as it is a lack of consequence for the aggressor. Below I cover some suggestions:

1. Stargate access tied to sec status: Negative sec status players can still enter secured space, meet up with an Orca board a ship, warp to a belt and pop ice miners. The Mittani himself gave instructions on how to do this to his members to extend the duration of their Ice Interdiction. This is unacceptable. It turns sec status into nothing but a meaningless number. As suggested the first Blog Banter I submitted there should be no entry into a system by a player who would be fired upon should they enter the system in a ship. A simple error message "The stargate denies you permission to jump due to your security status being too low." and no jump for Mr. Ganker. The ganker will now have to raise their security status back to an acceptable level to enter the target system.

2. Dynamic status loss. When committing a crime the sec status of the system should be factored in. In a .5 system like Niarja the status hits would be the same as they are now. In a 1.0 system like Perimeter or Amarr they would be higher (preferably tripled)

3. CONCORD/sentry guns podding GCC players. Most gankers run cheap throw away fits and ships. Usually these ships have enough to fire one devastating volley before they are destroyed. There is one thing they have that is still valuable. Their pods. These pilots still have SP and possibly implants or hardwirings installed when they are out ganking. Podding these pilots forces them to upgrade their medical clones and replace any cybernetic implants they had plugged in.

4. Increased wardec costs. Highsec wardecs are broken in many ways. for less than the cost of a cruiser I could declare war on any corp that is not in an alliance for 1 week and gleefully kill them (including pods) with impunity. This is little more than legalized piracy. This also gives griefer corps a cheap way to operate with no consequence or severe financial outlay. All wardecs should be proportional to the number of pilots (and average skillpoint level of those pilots) in the corps with a minimum of 100 million isk to wardec a corporation and 500 million isk to wardec an alliance. If this route is unfeasible than a counter cost should be added that the target corp can pay to have the dec invalidated. This would be 150% of the dec cost but would become lower over time if the aggressor corp continues to push wardecs (though the aggressors cost would not rise with each week) until eventually the dec can be invalidated for free after 10 weeks.

5. Automatic CONCORDing / podding of Neutral RR. Many griefer corps rely on the use of the broken Neutral Remote Repair mechanic to fight battles while protecting expensive logistics ships. This is an exploit and should be banned. To encourage players away from this behavior. CONCORD should treat those who neutral RR a ship that is aggressed by someone with a valid wardec on them as if they had a GCC including the above mentioned podkill. If the exploiter complains remind them that they didn't pay CONCORD for the whole suspension of the Yulai Convention like the aggressor corp did. Then tell them to HTFU.

In short, the problem isn't pvp. It's the holes in place that minimize and eliminate risk and consequence. Fix those problems and no one will complain about pvp and griefers will become extinct from lack of carebear tears.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Uziel99: Noir Academy

Due to prior indirect involvement with and listening to the podcast presented by Noir. Mercenary Group I decided to have my combat pilot, Uziel99 sign up for the tenth class of Noir. Academy. I honestly didn't expect to get in given the character doesn't have a great deal of Tech II ships to fly or access to most Tech II weapons.

Against all odds, or laws of sanity I was approved for the class. It has been a blast, even for a low SP pilot. Alekseyev Karrde and Nidia Masters have been working with the academy as instructors for the initial week causing a little havoc in Vale of the Silent. We have since moved on to a different region and are working with Noir. itself and getting tons of first hand experience and advice.

I'll put out more updates as time goes on. I wouldn't want to show our hand. I'm sure our targets know who they are by now.