Blindfolded-fighting

REMOVE LOCAL SO I CAN PWN NOOBS

 
Removing local has been a point of contention as long as I can remember. Some people love the idea and some people hate it. It comes up over and over again like its buddy the AFK Cloaker Question. Without further build up, I am going to jump right into the fire.

The Wormhole Comparison

Interestingly, local does not exist in one part of the game, wormhole space. Some advocates of local removal point out that W-space works fine. Then they demand that everyone should accept the idea of local removal on that fact alone. They fail to acknowledge any of the differences between K-space and W-space. To start, a wormhole resident can collapse any wormhole that he does not like. If it is too dangerous to collapse that wormhole, then they can and probably should retreat to a safe location such as a POS. Many times wormhole residents have early warning of an incursion because they see on their scanners that a new wormhole has opened into their space. That means somebody is coming, at the very least a prober alt. In the event of combat it is very hard to blob in W-space, as hard as blobbing happens in K-space. Populations are low. Concentration is penalized by lowered incomes. Travelling to group up is hard. Capitals win fights, so the mechanics of capitals in W-space bears particular examination. You cannot hotdrop into a W-space system. A tackler has to wait for backup to arrive the usual way. 20 carriers cannot be instantly crammed into a system. A W-space defender has a much greater leeway to use capitals in his system’s defense than a K-space FC. Invading a wormhole with any decent number of capitals takes multiple wormholes over a longer period of time. The only defenders who will not be aware this is happening are those who are totally asleep at the wheel. It is my opinion that using W-space as an example of why local should be removed from K-space is a really bad comparison. There are too many differences between the two. The decision to remove local from K-space should be based on the rules and gameplay that exist in K-space. To be clear, the failure of this argument should be separate from the question of K-space local. It would be a mistake to hold the awfulness of this particular argument against the idea of removing local. With this out of the way let us look at real pros and cons.

Fleet Size Disparity: Removing local helps the big gangs

Removing local would by definition make everyone sneakier. The biggest disparity I see coming from this would be between a solo pilot and a larger gang. For this example the larger gang can be fairly small itself. I am going to compare a solo pilot against a 20 man roaming gang. With local removed, the 20 man roaming gang could have four or five interceptors looking in nearby systems, and a few alts as well. The 20 man gang would be able to piece together a reasonable picture of what was in the area. The solo pilot might have an alt. This alt could only look in one direction, giving him a much more limited view. And that assumes that the solo pilot does have an alt. Many people do not own alts. The game should probably be playable for those guys. Now imagine an encounter between the 20 man gang and the solo pilot. With local, when the 20 man gang comes into system the solo pilot can get safe and not be blobbed. If the 20 man fleet wanted to kill the solo pilot, they would have to send in a bait ship to engage him while hiding at least one system away. The bait ship would have to be something he would not be afraid to fight. When the bait ship(s) is engaged against the solo pilot, the fleet would rush to the bait ship’s aid. They would have to jump into the system, and the solo pilot would know that he was about to get blobbed. The solo pilot would have a handful of seconds (20-30 on average) to kill the bait ship and run or to escape the bait ship’s tackle. If local was removed the solo pilot would only know he was in trouble when the fleet showed up on D-scan. This is a much smaller window of opportunity within which to act. An interceptor on D-scan is seconds away from landing and making very firm tackle. Removing local creates an intelligence disparity that favors larger fleets who can afford to send scouts around. Smaller gangs and solo pilots will operate nearly blind. This is terrible because solo and small gang should be viable in EVE. The smaller gang is already at a disadvantage. The big gang has more firepower, repair, hitpoints, and EWAR than the small gang. The advantages of more people are already huge and hard to overcome. Small gang play in EVE should be a matter of skill, not a crapshoot where the small gang could get blobbed at any moment.

Hot Droppers : One guy is not just one guy

Hot dropping is a major factor in local removal. A single guy could bring in 20, 50, or any number of additional pilots within a few seconds. A cloaked T3 with an interdiction nullifier is nearly impossible to stop, and only visible to D-scan or watching the gate for a couple seconds when it comes into a system. If it was just that one guy, I would suggest that his anonymity was fine. One guy on his own is not much of a threat. Cloaky nullified T3s are weak combatants. The fact that he can bring in help nearly instantly means that it is probably fair to warn pilots in the system that he is around. Again, EVE should be a matter of skill. A good pilot should have some chance to avoid a hotdrop with the proper precautions.

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Dem Ratters and Bots: Hiding from hunters is so easy even a caveman can do it

While it should be possible for a pilot who is paying attention to evade a hunter, it shouldn’t be as simple as hiding in a POS when a red comes into local. There should be a bit more dynamism to the situation. The fact that local tells a pilot exactly when they should hide is evident when you look at bot programs. Bots go about their business and the only decision they need to make is to warp to their safe when someone enters local. This makes bots nearly untouchable. Now and then one gets caught by a rat, and there are some tricks that can be done with bubbles. However bots mostly get away. EVE should require skill. A robot skilled enough to play the game right should be a triumph of artificial intelligence. It should not come down to; if(hostile is in local): hide until they go away. If we could somehow break this, such as by removing local, bots would suffer greatly. This is a good thing. It is good for the health of the game from a perspective of gameplay, fairness, avoiding RMT, and preventing more devious hacking attempts. Death to bots.

The Dread Pirate Roberts: Local provides too much specific intel

Dread Pirate Roberts might be hiding in system somewhere no one can see him, biding his time, waiting to swoop down on someone. Unfortunately local gives him away. His reputation precedes him, and everybody is extra careful when he is in system, thwarting his dastardly plans. If he wants to be treated as a random pubby, he has to create a new account. When he tries to sneak through enemy systems, everyone knows what he is up to with very little effort. They know what he flies by checking the killboards. They know how much of a threat he is for the same reason. He has to resort to AFK cloaking, finding really unskilled players, and logoff traps to accomplish his goals. Real hotdroppers use obscure alts. Dread Pirate Roberts anonymity or lack thereof does not really stop hotdrops from occurring. To handle the risk of a hotdrop, a pilot simply needs to know that someone else is in system with them. They would like to know if the local is blue or not, but they do not need to know the specific name.

The Lore of Local: It is hard to justify local

Some people say that local is a registry of residents in a system that the gates keep track of. That does not make sense when someone comes in through a wormhole or a cyno. It really is pretty hard to understand why people would want to announce their presence to their enemies. Wormholes obviously do not have local so is local something to do with the infrastructure of a system? If it has to do with local infrastructure, should not sov holders be able to set local so only their allies know who is where? The desire to remove local is inspired in many people by the fact that it does not make any sense.

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My Solution: Modify local so it only shows how many pilots are in system

Yes. In K-space, take away the list of exactly who is in local. Do not tell people how many blues or hostiles are in local. Just display the number of people in a system. For lore reasons call it, “active drives detected in system.” You can speak in local and reveal yourself, but you do not have to. This keeps the good part of local, a solo pilot or micro gang can avoid being blobbed. Some warning exists for a potential hotdrop. At the same time, this accomplishes many of the good things that make people want to remove local. A bot has to make a decision, is it going to stop ratting when anyone comes into system, even if they could be friendly? Dread Pirate Roberts gets to keep his anonymity until he initiates combat. The best part is, this penalizes the blob. When 100 guys are hanging around a system, one hostile can sneak in and nobody might notice. They would have to keep a regular role call to know that 99 guys in the system are friendly and one is unaccounted for and therefore probably hostile. It makes more work for the blob instead of the solo pilot. That guy who sneaks into the 100 man system can swoop in and surprise somebody before the alarm is sounded. When the blob is roaming, they have to expend effort differentiating blues and fleet members from potential targets. For a solo pilot in hostile space, he knows that everyone he sees is a potential threat or target. For the same reason, NPC stations would simply provide a number of guests instead of who exactly is docked. Station sov owners would be provided with a list of occupants, but no one else would see the list.

Additional Tweaks: Buff D-scan a little bit to make up for nerfing local

I suggest a module that can be fitted to a ship that increases the range at which they can D-scan. Call it active sensors and inform anybody who gets pinged by a ship using D-scan with this module. This would create a new role in fleets of long range scanner and could make for some neat submarine warfare style of thing. Choosing to use this gives a clearer picture or the area, but it also warns the enemy that people are looking for them. A module that reduces the range at which the fitted ship could be D-scanned would make for an interesting counter. It does not really matter exactly how the remaining intel tools get buffed. The important part would be that they require active work to gather intel so there is some actual gameplay to scouting. Intel should be a bit more dynamic than it currently is. CCP has moved a bit in this direction already by making combat recons immune to D-scan.

Closing: I am a bad person

There are reasons for and against removing local. I have tried to propose a solution that captures the best of both worlds. Given that it is a fairly radical solution, I will attempt to engage with anyone who wants to discuss the idea or the issues surrounding local itself. My general opinion of trying to influence CCP to change the game is that it is a weak strategy. Then there is the fact that most ideas are probably terrible, including my own. Remember how bad that fatigue idea was. What idiot thought that would make the game better? A good player adapts to whatever changes CCP decides to make. In the worst case scenario, if CCP ruins the game, the good player recognizes this and moves on. Proposing ways to change the game generally comes as a form of advocacy. CCP BUFF ME SO I CAN WINZOR MORE! CCP NERF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE FIGHTING ME AND MY ALLIANCE AND MY COALITION! Of course my last article was me whining at CCP about ship skins. I am as guilty of advocacy as anyone else. That is because I am a bad person. In this case I am more interested in talking to the people who constantly want to bring up removing local. It is an engaging conversation that deserves more than mere advocacy. It deserves having its various points and solutions looked over carefully. It deserves more than a simple position, remove local / do not remove local. People are going to go on talking about removing local for as long as the server runs, so we might as well have a detailed conversation.
Tags: local, Mukk

About the author

Mukk Barovian

Mukk is a long time skirmish FC with a penchant for overpropping his ships.

  • Kamar Raimo

    So, what about having wartargets (including FW) flagged in local. After all there you can argue that they are official enemies and the gates could broadcast this data to the appropriate people in system

    In FW particularly it is quite instrumental for decision making on roams to know whether the people in local are wartargets or not. If you are looking for a fight you don’t necessarily want to have to warp to every plex or station to find out whether the guys who hang out there are valid targets for you or not.

    Of course it also helps others to run if they see a war-target local spike, but I rather deal with that than having to comb through every system for targets.

    • islador

      I’ve been in FW for the last two or so months and running fleets here for just as long. I can tell you right now that scouts almost always end up zipping around a system to see if anyone is actually in space. Local tends to have insufficient exact intel and Mukk’s proposal would retain enough of that. Especially since fighting pirates is as common as WTs.

      • Leo2014

        Firstly, I am open to changes to Local. In the case of FW, hunters are going to scout around already; while missioners and plex cappers will have less intel as to if friend or foe has entered. Plexes are timed events and you don’t want to scurry away when 5 friendly militia targets enter the system.

        • islador

          I routinely mission in the warzone as well; dscan is your primary means of threat detection. Yes local counts and members determine how vigilant you have to be to survive, but ultimately a local count alone would be a sufficient amount of intel to serve that purpose.

          As far as plexing goes; for most you have the inbound gate creating a delay on inbound hostiles. Combined with dscan this creates a very powerful early warning system that allows you to detect a potential threat with more certainty. Sure the perceived hostiles may indeed by blues, but that can be resolved with intel sharing and general communication among militia members. Ultimately that communication is something we want to foster because it builds communities and that in turn adds content to the game.

          For Large plexes the calculus is different, and one is really at a lot more risk with a mere local count. However I would argue that the premium LP faucet that large plexes represent should have a higher risk ratio than the other plexes.

          • Kamar Raimo

            Yeah defensively local isn’t that necessary. After all this is not renter nullsec where people pack their isk-grinding machinery as soon as one neutral enters the system.

            Still, having information on the number of targets in system is very useful. Sure, you dscan those plexes, but the first thing you want to know is whether it actually makes sense to spend the time. If I only saw that there are 25 people in local that could just as well be some EVE Uni guys passing through or a friendly station camp. As an FC with people looking for a fight you don;t want to waste time on every system until you established the identity of all players present.

            Someone else suggested retaining at least character status. Actually I could live with that. Just list the number of players present and how many are neutral, friendly, wartargets, suspect or criminal, that would be fine.

          • islador

            > Just list the number of players present and how many are neutral, friendly, wartargets, suspect or criminal, that would be fine.

            Wouldn’t this be a buff to local instead of a nerf? I lose exact player data, and thus some threat analysis capability, but in exchange I receive condensed player statistics that improve the speed of my threat analysis.

            As in many forms of PVP, speed is king. Within bounds it is augmented by accuracy and depth, but rarely eclipsed by it.

          • Kamar Raimo

            Depends on how you do it I guess.

            If there is a tally that says 15 wartargets, three criminals, four suspects, one neutral then, yes, it would make preliminary scouting actually easier except for autist savants who see three kinds of flashy symbols and immediately know how many there are.

            OTOH if you keep it in the same format as now but just omit the names, then the difficulty of tallying up the amount of potential targets remains the same.

          • Leo2014

            That was what I was suggesting in my other comment. Leave up the list with all the icons, just change all names to “Unknown” initially. Then if someone chats their name replaces unknown.
            A further enhancement could even be once you get someone on overview it will unhide their name in the local window too.

          • Leo2014

            “Ultimately that communication is something we want to foster because it builds communities and that in turn adds content to the game.”

            Yeah but that is bad, boring communication.

            Piolt1: I have entered Tama, no one on gate xxx.
            Pilot1: I am leaving Tama. Bye
            Pilot2: Small militia group entered Tama 3 ships.
            Pilot3: Entering Oto.

            I don’t want to see that scrolling through my militia intel window constantly. I don’t want to have type it in with every jump I make either.

            Leave up the status icons, and you have not hurt quality of life.

            If you want to foster improved comms then find another way than forcing repetitive tasks down peoples throats.

  • BS

    This guy is FC ? What hes fc’ing ? gatecamps ?

    • Bagehi

      Roams. Small-to-medium sized roams. A lot of them.

    • islador

      Yup, and he’s one of the best skirmish FCs in the game. Has been for years.

  • JP_Finn

    Actually kind of like everything he proposed in this article. Makes logical sense in terms of the RP/lore angle and definitely opens up some soloing tactics that can be unreasonably difficult; but w/out making it impossible for newbros and other potential targets to protect themselves. Another idea for compensating for the change would be a module that upgrades your d-scan to show more info (the stuff that currently is in local), e.g., blues/reds/flashies, player names, etc.–that way, you could still have access to that info that is currently broadcasted to everyone ‘for free,’ but only within a certain scan range and only at the cost of a module slot.

    • MukkBarovian

      I did not go into detail on a plan to buff intel tools like dscan because I felt that those kind of changes were not on topic. I also do not have any outstanding ideas on the subject that I feel are the one true way. I have some small ideas that might be interesting one way or another.

      For example how about a highslot module that does the following things:
      Takes a small bit of pg and cpu.
      Cycles once every 3-5 seconds, and automatically hits the D-scan button every cycle.
      Uses a bit of cap to activate.
      Increases the signature of a ship when the module is active by 20%.

      This would take the pain out of spamming D-scan, but has enough downsides that players would be unlikely to use it frivolously. I’m sure automated D-scan is not currently a thing because it would melt the servers. In combat you would not want to run this because you would take more damage from everything, including bombs. A cloaked ship could not spam this. An uncloaked ship spamming this would be easier to probe and kill. Using this would be a tactical decision.

      I have a lot of little ideas of this sort. I think it would be really cool if sensors were a bigger part of gameplay and ship fittings. But it is more of a side argument than a main thing.

  • Bob

    Local is an essential part of socializing and matchmaking in EvE. Removing the names would end all talking in local, greeting friends, end feeling some comfort in a hostile environment. Paranoia would rise everywhere like in wh-space.

    • oh gosh

      This. so much this. Reason I never got into wormholes because of that feeling of isolation not knowing if anyone’s actually there, it lacks the level of social aspect that known space presents. Believe it or not some people like to actually meet new people outside of their corp/alliance/coalition in this game and not just shoot everything they see. Local chat helps that. I know, OP, local hurts your pvp epeen because of people being able to outwit you due to local chat, but the game’s been out over 10 years now, last time I check ships are still getting destroyed on a daily basis, fights always happening, even with local chat around. In fact I think wormhole space(no local chat) have the most risk averse anti-social carebear neckbeards in this game, glad HK and the likes of them are still around to spice things up with content, otherwise W-space is doomed. Point is: just deal with it. Local chat will stay. You want fights? target that person’s assets. I hear they’re making it easier to take structures this coming June.

      • Druik Arbosa

        I agree with you about the social aspect to local, add the fact that social interaction is one of the biggest selling points of the game.

        Local does need to change though, and the author of the article did put together some good ideas, but I am not sure how it can be done to satisfy the basis of social play.

        • MukkBarovian

          I had not considered the social aspect. Sometimes I wave at people in local. Mostly I see the channel filled with spam, posturing, taunting or insults. My perspective as an older player with too many out of game communication channels to handle is probably biased.

          New players particularly need a good medium in which to establish initial social bonds. Ideally we want them talking to people as much as possible to increase their engagement with the game and soften the learning curve.

          The medium for socializing does not need to be tied to the primary intelligence tool. Linking the two things creates a series of odd constraints for both. This point convinces me more that support for socialization should be increased at the same time if local was changed, not that local is too big to fall.

          • Druik Arbosa

            Why not a sliding scale of information,
            highsec has a full local chat system.
            Lowsec has limits like you know many characters are in the system and perhaps if they are war targets or not but no names.
            Nullsec is the same as wormholes, but, if you do say something in the chat box for “local”, you reveal yourself to everyone in the system.

            I have no idea if that is hard or simple to implement code wise, it does give new players a chance to communicate in their first moments in space, without screwing life up too much for Lowsec and Nullsec dwellers.

          • Bob

            People need a way to start a communication with somebody in context of their play. I can’t see anything better than the context of the system they are currently in (assuming your are not yet established in dozen of intel and corp chats, and those are not all for casual talking). But communication comes with intel, you can’t separate those, only sacrifice one for the other … and IMO I would rather live with intel than wandering through an ever quiet New Eden full of paranoid people.

      • Cosmo

        I’d love Local to be a structure-based, sov-based building that enables different functionalities for the system. Some might want a full-local environement for a system, while for another full w-space anonymity.

      • Totally Not a Troll

        Show on the doll where the mean WH’er touched you.

  • ExdioS

    I believe that removing Local or limiting it any further than what it current is would have a destructive aspect to the game itself, let along the actual game play. At present local does nothing but provide an equivalent Sensor overlay of a system and tell you how many are in local and who they are, that’s it. It does not provide anything further, it doesn’t provide any coordinate mechanic or location data to a pilot. Hell it doesn’t even tell you what they are in, ship wise.

    I remember talk afew months ago about a possible structure that could scan a system and provide something similar to local was being talked about, I can’t remember if it was just a suggestion or an idea, but if Local was to be removed then adding a Sensor structure that provided say a 15min system ping would provide a delayed replacement for local.

    But I know from my point of view if Local was just removed, then it would remove a aspect to the game for me, and I would seriously question my activity in the game. The Dscan in its current form, at present doesn’t even come close to replacing what local does.

    • Cosmo

      Oh my boy, you’re wrong. Local gives SO much information it’s ridiculous. A quick Zkillboard browse of someone can often tell you what kind of player they are, if they’re a cyno alt or not and what they like to fit.

      If we’re including local-copy-pasting to third party apps/sites that identify coalition blues amongst the mess of neutrals in a system or something that automatically pulls info, like Pirate’s Little Helper, then it’s clear that local is a too-specific and too-revealing source of information.

      • ExdioS

        Actually I was referencing to information from the Local window directly, Not KB lookups or thirdparty apps, etc etc. I am well aware of other information that can be sourced from it. I’m a nullsec pilot, have been for years, and Local is always a good source of information.

        While I will agree Local can provide the basis for too much information, to completely remove local would hurt the game. ALOT of players don’t like WH’s because of the fact there is no local, and to force this on all the “playership” could actually hurt the game if it wasn’t replaced with some ingame device/structure/module to fill the gap left by its removal.

        • Joey

          deleted

      • Joey

        Your counter argument is so flawed the first thing you do is take one piece of information (CharName) and then go to an outside source for more information and attribute THAT information to being over-powered? That’s simply data mining and data accumulation by OTHER SITES.

        • farbauti

          It’s still happening, so it can’t be dismissed.

          • Joey

            Pfft. Dismissed.

  • Leo2014

    CLose. I think you are trying to solve too many problems that you create new ones. For instance, I hate bots, but don’t think removing capsuleer status icons is a good idea.

    I’d be okay with a local that had no names but displayed all the normal status icons for a player and new icon for unknown if it the pilot had no status.

    Then, you would know if a friendly, enemy, WT, criminal, suspect, entered the system.

    Part of the fun when someone is suspect is you can go chase them down and engage them. If their status was hidden, you would never know about the opportunity.

    Hunting war targets would be near impossible because you would have no way to tell if a pilot was a WT unless you got them on your overview. D-Scan is not designed for this.

    Lastly adding a module to enhance D-Scan is not needed. It is in game already. It is called Enhanced Probe Launcher with combat scanner probes. Now if you could integrate data gathered from probes with D-Scan or Local that could be some cool new mechanic that would make combat scanners more valuable.

  • Johnny Rotten

    Why not have deployables for sov holders to place in their systems near the gates that can scan incoming traffic. If a wormhole was to appear in the system the sov holders would have to be on the ball and have their scanners set up to monitor it.

    they could even make them hackable by intruders so that they are offlined for xx minutes or if the incursion is big enough they can blap it offline

  • Saint Michael’s Soul

    Only remove local, if you can have the option to take “friendly” (blue or purple) ships out of your d-scan results. If that’s done, then go for it.

  • Your Done

    Solution. Sell deployed device to detect and show local. Add fuel to cloaks.add cloak timers like cyno. Eliminate afk cloakers.

  • Leo2014

    Another change I would like to see for Local is to have docked players not show in the list.

  • Joey

    Small logic flaw. The game doesn’t doesn’t know who is hostile and who isn’t. That’s a function of the players & corp standings lists.

  • Curse resident lol’n @ PL

    Awwwwww poor PL can’t blob the solo pilot because of local chat.