observatory_array

RIP Local?

 

Line members in nullsec entities often make up a vast majority of their income by running anomalies, belt ratting, or by mining vast asteroid belts. These activities are easily predictable and can safely generate ISK hand over fist with little to no risk or variance involved for the pilot. The biggest thing that can get your heart pumping while doing these light input activities is noticing a spike in the number of people in your Local channel. Noticing Local numbers climbing can often mean the difference between saving your vessel(s) or providing a shiny killmail.

The Local channel is also often used by roaming fleet commanders to determine if the system that they are in, or are jumping into, contains any potential targets. The ability to instantly see the number of people in a system and judging whether or not to send scouts to different locations in system to try and find something to shoot is an invaluable tool to deliver content to your fleet mates. Local exists in all areas of space, and with the exception of wormhole space, provides a near perfect second-to-second reflection of the players in the area. However, at a recent panel during Fanfest, CCP Fozzie suggested that this may not remain the case.

Is Local too much?

make sure that the information gathering and reporting tools in the game not be overpowering

CCP Fozzie mentioned during the panel that it has been a goal of CCP to make sure that the information gathering and reporting tools in the game not be overpowering. Too much intel can rob people of any safety at all, and too little can serve to make people far too safe. Recently, one of the few remaining “perfect” intelligence gathering tools was removed: the non-consensual Watchlist, which in its time led to the downfall of a great many supercapitals. Before its removal, any pilot could set themselves to be notified whenever any other pilot of their choosing logged into the game via an instantaneous notification that had no proximity limitations. Combining this with the, at the time, inability to dock in a station with a supercapital ship, and you ended up with groups that would aggressively hunt those pilots and ships.

In a much smaller way, the Local channel currently gives that same ability. Instant, non-consensual information with no interaction at all on the part of either entity involved. In this case, the advantage likely goes to the would-be prey, rather than the roaming gang. Instant Local reporting leads to people being able to see enemy fleets coming via intelligence channels, and even allows semi-automated programs to be used to make sure ratting and mining pilots are perfectly safe.

There, of course, already exists a class of space without a Local channel providing instant, near-perfect intelligence reports on all capsuleer movements. In the darkest corners of the galaxy, capsuleers have invaded mysterious wormholes, and live just fine without having this information. Inside wormholes, no one appears in Local unless they decide to speak up and announce themselves – an act that is considered taboo in most wormhole focused groups. Those that infrequently travel the tunnels of J-Space find it more untamed and wild because of this lack of constant intel. To know who is in space with you requires either scanner probes, which give off the fact that someone is there, or creative use of the directional scan tool. Primarily J-Space pilots have told me that they find K-Space to be nerve wracking, because they’re not able to hide in the shadows, and are exposed by Local chat.

What’s to be done about this?

manipulate and control the information that the game shows

CCP Fozzie did not go into great detail about what they intend to do about this, but he did begin to speak about the Observatory Array – a new structure being provided to us by the Upwell Consortium in the future. This structure will allow capsuleers to manipulate and control the information that the game shows, potentially letting us alter the information provided by both the in-game map and the Local channel. As the Observatory Array was only very briefly and vaguely mentioned, it’s hard for us to know exactly what CCP intend it’s purpose to be.

We have several different examples of information being provided or denied to pilots inside of the game already. There are the locator agents, who for a cost, will tell you where in New Eden your quarry is currently located. I’ve already mentioned the former all-seeing watchlist feature, which would instantly alert you if a capsuleer of your choosing logged into the game. Also mentioned previously is the low-intel places in wormhole space, which cloak players from Local until they announce themselves. With the new Crest API allowing for fleet commanders to get accurate readouts of the makeup and position of their fleet out of game, we can also see CCP adding in more, very powerful intelligence tools.

Looking ahead

The potential for this structure is limitless, and it’s current intentions are extremely vague. It’s my opinion that CCP Fozzie said what he did intending to start a conversation on this subject and allow us to help guide the future of this structure.

Tags: intel, local, Observatory Array, Sarin Blackfist, structures

About the author

Sarin Blackfist

Sarin Blackfist is a linemember with Karmafleet, part of the Imperium.

  • GrouchyOldGamer

    I’d like to see local go, but I doubt they’ll do it.

  • Dirk MacGirk

    The discussion over local has been happening for years, and has its peaks and valleys of interest. The watchlist is a completely different animal, albeit within the same category of intel. The watchlist was in fact OP. Local, not so much. But one could speculate CCP creates some kind of structure that could afford a similar level of information. But at its core, local is only good if human eyes are watching and actively reporting. I’m not sure exactly what nullsec or any sec (outside of wormholes) would be like in the absence of local. Wormhole space is relatively small in terms of the numbers of brave souls who play it on a daily basis. Could null adapt to it going away? I’m not sure. Not and have it be the null that so many players want to inhabit. However, maybe there is room for tweaking it through new structures rather than just have it be given away for free. That might truly be the last barrier to null being almost completely player-driven.

    • GrouchyOldGamer

      Whilst I don’t like local, I’m struggling to see how they would replace it with something better. Local is imperfect but I think it’s the most clunky solution we have. If local went away or people were able to alter it the ability to find fights as opposed to ganks would be hampered.

      • Dirk MacGirk

        yeah it does work both ways. Advantage to prey, but hunters would require a lot more time to hunt so many systems.

        • GrouchyOldGamer

          Having to probe down every system you jumped into would be very tedious very quickly, maybe indicating occupancy but not names and corps would be a way to go?

          • Starrakatt

            No Local? Except for the most dedicated, if hunting become too hard, random PVP will basically turn into gate and pipe camping.

          • Aderoth Anstian

            See my above statement Grouchy. Using probes for every system isn’t necessary nor efficient. D-scanning a system for ships in space takes relatively little time.

      • JZ909

        I think local is generally used to avoid fights, by either finding a gank or avoiding one. If local was gone, you wouldn’t automatically know what was coming, so there would be more uncertainty as to what exactly you were about to fight on all sides, potentially leading to fights that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Also, there would be more reward for good scouting and masking your numbers through careful positioning.

        That being said, until hotdrop mechanics get changed, this is all academic. Cynos allow you to mask everything but one ship, which doesn’t even have to be a combat ship, and you can start applying damage with battleships faster than if you warped in an interceptor fleet from 1 AU away.

        • GrouchyOldGamer

          The benefit of local is that is lets you know if it is worth hunting in that system – without it you’d have to scan every system. Maybe have different types of local the basic showing you the number of people in system but not who they are and upgrades that give the sov holders more intel ie. corp, name etc.

          • JZ909

            That’s true, but at least part of the reason so many roams come up empty is because everyone docks up as soon as local-driven intel channels blow up warning people of an incoming fleet 3 jumps away. Even if the names went away, the local spike would be obvious. It would be better than nothing though.

            Maybe they could set something up where you could view stats that you see in the map view without going in the map, like number of jumps in the last 30 minutes, or average number of ships in space in the last 30 minutes, and maybe allow you to bring that down to 5 minutes. It would be intel, but not perfect intel like local is now.

          • Aderoth Anstian

            Probes are generally only useful if the hunter’s quarry is at a signature and not an anomaly. Anomalies only require moderate skill with the directional scanner and this is not time intensive. Should take no more than a minute to determine if there is prey in any given system.

      • sjp1966

        I was thinking that a delayed local may be beneficial, say a 20 or 30 second delay once jumping into a system.

      • Aderoth Anstian

        Most of the gf type of battles you describe tend to be arranged. I use that term loosely but it is not uncommon for one FC to convo the other in the hopes of finding a “gf” for his/her fleet. Endlessly roaming to all the hotspots in a region is tiring and generally fruitless. That won’t change if some systems have local turned off. Could even give leet FCs a chance to shine. Meet up with an opposing FC in a local blocked system. One with best first hand intel of opposing fleet comp and adjustments mid battle wins the fight.

    • Chopin

      local makes ratting / mining in null sec virtually risk free, you have to be REALLY fucking dedicated and creative to get kills on ratters. It’s just not an activity that should be so safe, only a handful of individuals in the game have the skill to disrupt it.

      • Dirk MacGirk

        yeah, I don’t deny that it makes it hard when you have the intel and the player-based intel relays. Of course, I don;t know how tedious and time consuming it would become for the hunter to manually scan every system they are passing through in null and whether they would prefer that. Living in null would become more difficult for that average ratter/miner, which itself would probably reduce the number of potential targets. Its a really tough call to make to find a good balance. You want there to be sheep in the fields, and you want to wolves to not have to waste a lot of time finding them.

        • Vargralor

          Local makes it very easy to avoid fights in FW space too. It is easy to run missions or plex in safety by watching local in low pop systems. Perhaps an answer for the hunters is borrowing the FW mechanic and have anoms show a beacon on the overlay if someone has been there, like the plexes and missions in FW space. Hell even missions in non-FW space could do it too. Wouldn’t help find people ratting/mining at belts but it is an option. Just like in FW you have the option to enter multiple sites before you start one to flood the overlay with beacons.

          • sandbox eveis

            Avoiding a fight is a valid tactic. Just saying

        • bob@wormholes.com

          Local is even more overpowered then the watchlist.
          Because of one simple thing, it can not be countered by anything.
          It is instant and nothing you can do against it.
          You can be seen 10 jumps ahead of your destination. Only ratters who can not read intell channels are caught these days.

          If you ask me, only ships with cyno beacon in or on the ship should be visible in local. (so that you can prepare aginst hotdrops)
          All the rest should not be visable.
          The observatory is a way to tweak that.
          Make it so that if you put one up, it restores current null local.
          Make it killable , so that people can disrupt that.
          That would make it a tactical element in null, you can prepare a constellation for invasion…. .

      • atomyx

        I don’t think you have to be THAT dedicated to hunt ratters, miners, and such with local. Just as it does for them, it gives the hunters teal time intel of who is in system as well. When they are caught it was because mistakes were made, usually from lack of attention.

      • YeahNo

        …and yet people still get caught ratting/mining every single day

  • DaReaper

    I always figured the observatory array would be used to turn local on. In other words, the communication network of the star gates in null dies. All local in null goes dark (like wh’s) but each alliance can deploy an observatory to turn local bakc on (among other things) this would give a strategic target to hit before a large invasion. Send a small fleet in to disables all the observatory and try to move your bigger fleet before the opponent turns them back on. /me shrugs

  • Marco Vujević

    I understood the mention of the observatory to be in the context of afk cloaking in systems.
    I’m not sure that removing automatic local listing is a good idea.
    instead of looking at local chat, a ratter in a shiny ship will keep looking at dscan to see if probes show up.
    or have an alt (or very bored newb) at gates to watch for ships.
    On the other hand, if you hunt for PvE players, it will be much harder to find them. your scout will have to actually scout the whole system to know if someone is there. imagine that for every system and you need a lot of stamina to have roaming fleets hunting for people.

    I’m not saying it will break EVE, but it will certainly change player interaction in 0.0 on a fundamental level, and if not done correctly (and carefully) could lead to a lot less “gf”s than we have with the current system.

    • JZ909

      Here’s my idea on giving less info in null, and maybe low without making it wormhole space: When you decloak after entering a system through a gate, local says that you have entered system, but it doesn’t maintain a log that you’re in system, just that you entered. When you jump through a gate to leave, local says that you have left system. When you login, jump through a wormhole, or bridge in, local doesn’t say anything.

  • luobote kong

    I am fairly sure this was put forward by CCP about a year ago at the Corbexx/Sugar/Steve townhall meetings. It wasn’t a big deal then because we were all wormhole dwellers so no effective change. Just a nullbear thing.

  • Kir

    I’ve often wondered what the implications of removing Local and replacing it with Constellation would be. You’d still see people in the area, and affiliations, but they could be docked in any of a constellation’s stations.

    (might be insane in highsec, though)

    • Zappity

      Constellation chat as a new default for null with local being granted by the Observatory would be interesting.

    • Aderoth Anstian

      yea this seems like an interesting compromise

    • jasperwillem

      What if you did it just for Low and Null sec?

  • Vertigoe

    when you compare wormhole space with no local to nullsec space with local you cannot leave out the small detail of cyno’s and force projection. This is always overlooked and is a huge deal.

    • Aderoth Anstian

      Guess I’m not seeing your point. In wormhole space you can light a cyno and it appears on your overview just like in null (not to say it is at all useful in whs) and force projection is absolutely considered in wh space. One of the main reasons T3 doctrines are the goto for whs is because the amount of punch and tank they can pack into a ship with cruiser size mass thus allowing more of them to get through a wormhole chain without collapsing everything behind them. Yet we do this all without local.

      • Vertigoe

        Force projection, pretty self explanatory. Wormhole connections have a limited amount that can fit through an entrance. Cyno’s do not suffer from that limitation, if it can jump or be bridged it can show up on grid in any number from anywhere within 5 light years.

        • Aderoth Anstian

          Guess I wasn’t clear enough. Exactly how are you saying that local affects cyno force projection? Is it that it would allow an opposing fleet to sit in a local-blocked system on a titan? All it takes is one scout in their staging system with moderate dscan skills to mitigate this.

          • Vertigoe

            I am not saying local effects force projection. However people seem to think having local makes nullsec easymode compared to wormholes. I simply pointed out a major difference that dispels that in my opinion. They each have different benefits and obstacles. Removing local will actually benefit the occupants in the space and make hunting harder than it already is. It is not. The free intel works both ways, removing local means the hunters get no free intel either. It matters not to me either way, after reflecting on it I am probably more in favor than not for the null sec residents. Especially if they also remove the ability for dotlan to track system activity and provide free intel to hunters.

  • Tim

    Well if they do remove local I’ll be packing up my stuff and moving to highsec. People with the infrastructure to put intel in place will suddenly have an advantage, and it will become impossible to aim for anything resembling a fair fight when groups can hide their pilots completely. Lack of local works in wormholes where there limited entrances, restricted ship sizes and no force projection, but everywhere else it would pretty much destroy the game.

    • Starrakatt

      Maybe the ‘New Territiories’ CCP is aiming at, with Stargate contruction will be Nulsec deprived of Local.

    • AVH

      Just woke up and the ‘This will Destroy the Game’ box on my Eve media bingo board has already been checked off. Its going to be a good day…

    • Aderoth Anstian

      Please stay in Null. No local is just as much a boon to the ratter as it is to the hunter. Simply having pickets on gates solves everything. Oh and guess what. Your gates stay exactly where they have always been. So its not like you have to scan down the gate every 24 hours or have to worry about whether you’ve put too much mass through it. Voluntary local is just one of the many differences between null and wormholes. This won’t ruin your game.

    • jasperwillem

      If you need an X structure to modify local, it will not hit a lot of null, just very select pockets of null sec. Would that be a big impact?

      http://content.eveonline.com/www/newssystem/media/67008/1/Structure_ISIS5-05.png < source for it having an X variant.

    • jasperwillem

      If you need an L structure to modify local, it will not hit a lot of null, just very select pockets of null sec. Would that be a big impact?

      http://content.eveonline.com/www/newssystem/media/67008/1/Structure_ISIS5-05.png < source for L structure.

    • Milkshak3

      You know there are limited entrances in nullsec too right?

  • Bryan Frye

    I would be okay with it so if you are docked or tethered you are not in local. that would make sense, since you DO own the station

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  • Addelee

    Be interesting if this applies to Highsec and Lowsec as well. Presumably it would as wars are present in all area’s of eve

  • Nou Mene

    I would like, at least, to delay local until ship decloaks after gatejump.

    • Aderoth Anstian

      meh. if anyone is sitting on the gate they will still see it fire and have a good idea of how many jumped in. even better have a scout on the other side of the gate so you dont have to guess.

      • Nou Mene

        which is fine by me… if you put the effort to get intel you should get it… the problem for me is the free instant intel

  • jodasee

    Out of game market PvP out of game FC, CCP will remove local because none is in it. J space has local chat you noob, the thing is jspace is empty.

    • Milkshak3

      Sounds like you’re the “noob” buddy. The reason no one is in local in J space is because they have to talk before they show up, not because no one is there. Go back to highsec please.