Design Goals in Aegis SovMukk Barovian
My problem with Fozziesov—though it has some strong points—it is that the mechanics encourage trolling. I honestly believe that when the design team came together to hash it out the new sovereignty system, they had the idea in their heads of breaking up the CFC. Well, maybe that’s a little hyperbolic. Let’s just say that large sov empires were in the crosshairs. Maybe the goals on the whiteboard were:
- Punish oversized empires
- Lower the barriers to entry
- Make it so that capitals are not the ultimate doctrine
- Reward small gangs
To me, “Punish oversized empires,” is definitely poisoning the system. It breaks down into units such as “Let people troll oversized empires”. Ideas about making sov unpleasant pass through the vetting process because they promise to demoralize the big players, and that’s a problem on many levels. For one, these tools are available to everyone. Anything bad enough to stagger the Imperium is a nightmare weapon in the hands of the Imperium. The Reavers and the entire organized sov machine of the Imperium will march out to make life unbearable for everybody else. Pandemic Legion, Black Legion, NC. and the few remaining power blocks will harvest tears in unprecedented quantities. Even if these guys somehow disappeared, any new crop of power blocks would deliberately spend time tormenting each other.
I think that CCP needs to have another design meeting. Strike out “Punish oversized empires”, and add “Make this fun”. A low barrier of entry is sufficient to give new guys room to breathe. People are more satisfied with a process when they lose, if they perceive it to be fair. Go over all the mechanics and smooth them out so that trolls don’t find a home in them. These would be mostly superficial changes and minor tweaks.
I am not trying to say that the system should be thrown out, or demands complicated and intensive programming changes. Let me give an example by discussing Entosis ships.
Entosis ships cannot be remotely repaired. CCP believed that Entosis would not be activated until the fight was over. This was wrong. People try to win the fight by finishing entosis. Fights devolve into gimmicky affairs with both sides trying to kill their enemies’ Entosis ships while keeping their own alive. You can see where this might become frustrating. Fights end early when one side finishes capturing a node. Particularly bad situations arise where you lose Entosis ships that you otherwise could have saved. In the end, you throw your hands in the air and spam suicide ships saying, “It is the cost of doing business.” You might even decide to find ways to force the enemy to field some Entosis ships for you to blow up.
What if Entosis ships could be repaired? Both sides would show up and activate Entosis. This would result in a stalemate where sov capture was concerned. The fleets would fight as normal, and eventually one side would win. The losers would flee the field or be destroyed. With no reps, the losers’ Entosis ship would be annihilated, and the winners would proceed to capture the node. Of course this does not stop long fights of attrition where neither side can get the upper hand. However a player will feel that outcome is more ‘fair’ than one where some snipers came by and blapped all the Entosis ships. (Snipers will still enjoy a buff because an Entosis ship cannot warp away from them.)
Timers are another big deal. Trolls can leverage timers so that 10 minutes of work for the attacker translates to 100 minutes for the defender. Anything like this should be looked at seriously. Yes, the timer disparity is an important part of Fozziesov. The problem is that people are going to do a few quick calculations and jump to the conclusion that the system is unfair. They are going to feel cheated every time they go out to deal with it. Then they realize that they can inflict this experience on other people (starting with whoever did it to them).
Regardless of any details, it is vitally important to make the system fun. The next few years of EVE rest on the success of Fozziesov. Fun is more important than whether it can kill the Imperium, stop the wrecking ball, or elevate the solo pilot. CCP, get together and look at this again. Ask yourselves, “How can we make this a positive experience as often as possible for the people doing it?” Yes, we will still troll each other and use misery as a weapon to beat each other with. But you do not have to encourage it.