Monday, November 10, 2014

The o\ Show Recap Part 1: Awoxing, Wardecs, and New Player Retention

This past Friday night/Saturday morning we had one hell of a show on Eve Radio. Elijah Ghost, Charlie Firpol, Zeratha and I donned some of our best formal attire for the evening and engaged in a dual live broadcast (audio only through ER for those playing games or listening on the go from their phones, and a live webcam feed through twitch for those few with less divided attentions).

For the evening we had 2 main talking points (which lead to several smaller discussions) and had occasional breaks to go over progress in a prize giveaway we were also doing at the time. For an Eve Radio first, we also featured a new live polling system to help give live feedback on the various topics being discussed.

This posting will be the first of 2 covering the main topics of the broadcast. I was originally going to make 1 post, but it got to be quite long, and the topics are different enough to each warrant their own post. Check back tomorrow for my thoughts on the elimination of clone costs and escape pod mechanics.

If you would like to view the original broadcast for yourself, you can view it on twitch HERE.

The AWOX Dilema

We started things off this week on familiar ground, though the discussion took a turn from the previous week and I was able to keep my cool through most of it. Unsurprisingly, through live polling the majority of our listeners were in favor of the removal of highsec awoxing from the game. This is something I understand, even if I don't agree with it. The reason I don't agree with the change is because I also the issue that CCP is attempting to solve with this change, with the further understanding that this change will NOT solve the issue on its own and further changes will be needed to reach the goal.

What is the goal, you ask? Quite simply, the reason for the removal of highsec Awoxing is to make players in high sec feel safer about joining a player corporation. It is designed to make a player corporation more attractive of a destination to new players, and make more veteran carebears feel safer about inviting new players into their group.

Corp infiltration and theft are still going to be an issue, even I would consider it to be a minor concern. I mean, if you don't trust people not to Awox you, you're certainly not going to give them access to anything in your corporation, but at least you'll let them into your chat channel, maybe teach them how to play the game and be afraid of anything risky.

The major issue still in play however is present wardec mechanics. Live polling on the show this week showed that the same people in favor of removing highsec awoxing also agree that the threat of wardecs is a larger deterrent to people gathering in player corporations in highsec. While being in an NPC corp gives someone Concord protection from intra-corp awoxing, it also gives the much larger benefit of making them immune from highsec wardecs.

It's a known issue that a primarily industrial corporation based in highsec does not have the ways or means to defend itself against a larger, more PVP oriented group of players, and these guys are prime targets for groups like the highsec wardec alliance Marmite Collective. Marmite is not the ONLY group that does this, but they are one of the most prominent.

Some of you will remember the story I told on the blog last week (and retold with a bit more detail on The o\ Show this past weekend) where I created a new account and posed as a new player in Eve. Despite fears of awoxing, I managed to get accepted into a highsec industry corp. That corporation then formed an alliance with another corporation and within 24 hours was wardecced by Marmite Collective, who likely saw them on a list of newly formed alliances in Eve.

The alliance leader promptly sent a mail to everyone instructing them to dock up for the duration of the wardec, and everyone followed the advice. For the next 2 weeks, hardly anyone logged in, hardly anyone undocked in anything bigger than a shuttle, no one was talking, and I got bored and decided not to pay the next month's sub for that account. I wasn't the only one that didn't come back either.

Player Retention and Protecting the Newbies: One Possible Solution

It has been toted as fact that players that get engaged socially while playing Eve are far more likely to stick around than those that never leave an NPC corp and don't get involved socially. It is an apparent directive of CCP to make player run corporations a more attractive venue for players to congregate in than NPC corps. If CCP is going to be serious about this, then the removal of highsec awoxing can only be the next step on the yellow brick road to new player retention. Until wardecs and other forms of intra-corp risk outside awoxing can be eliminated, player corporations will continue to be sub-optimal destinations for new and/or defenseless players when considered next to an NPC corporation.

There was a solution to this, but I did not bring up on the show until I was able to be clear whether it was covered under NDA or not. Upon talking with other members of the CSM, the solution in one form or another has been blogged about already by others, so I should be clear to at least drop my version of the solution here for public consumption and consideration. For the record, I am not sure whether this solution, or others like it are being considered by CCP or not. You would need to ask them if something like this is on the table.

The idea is something called Corp Lite. This is a player corporation, but is mechanically different from corporations as we have them now. The idea is to leave corporations in the game as they are now, awoxing and all, and create this new type of corp. Corp Lite has some serious benefits over a regular corporation, but it also has some detractors. I think a bullet point list will illustrate this best:

Corp Lite Benefits:
  • Immune to wardecs
  • Can set standings like any other corporation. Makes forming fleets with other groups easier.
  • No intra-corp aggression without Concord response (in highsec)
  • Has corporate chat channel and any other social tools available to regular corps.
  • Individuals can create contracts that can be completed by any member of the corp lite.
  • Would have a 1 time option to convert to a regular corp. Cannot convert back to lite once conversion has been made.
Corp Lite Disadvantages:
  • Can not rent corporate offices. (Reduces chance of corp theft)
  • Can not own a POS
  • Can not own a POCO
  • Can not join Factional Warfare
  • Can not join an alliance
  • Can not hold Sov.
  • Since there is no corp wallet or tax, should cost something to maintain, TBD.
So there you have it. A step up from an NPC corp, player controlled, would work well for mining and basic industry. As CCP seems to be a big fan lately of doing whatever is easiest, whether something like this would get implemented or not I fear will depend on whether it's easier to nerf the other stuff or code for a new type of corporation. A lot of support from the player base might go a ways to convince CCP as well.

Of course we're left with the dilemma that many people in Eve get a lot of enjoyment out of causing grief to highsec carebears, and there is a strong griefer culture in Eve. This was brought up by a listener on the show, and I was forced to agree that some people who are new to the game are likely turned off by this and don't continue playing as a result of it.


  1. Traditional corp or corp-lite, if you allow NPC corps to be free of wardecs, it will remain an incredibly high barrier to get casuals or the socially unmotivated to join non-NPC corps. NPC corps are the path of least resistance.

    And for the record, wardecs are as broken a mechanic as the awox loophole. They exist just because, not because they make sense. If it is a bribe/payoff/whatever that causes Concord to look the other way, then a bribe from the other side should get them to look back again.

    1. There are issues with wardecs, but unlike awoxing that has always been a part of the game, wardecs were actually added after launch as a way for people in highsec to settle differences with another corporation that pissed them off. Like many things in Eve however, the intended use, and the use people actually found for it, were somewhat different.

    2. Yeah, wardecs are definitely a designed feature. A feature biased towards the instigator, but certainly working as intended.

      The awox loophole may have been a coding issue at one point, but after so many years in existence it certainly became accepted to the point of being a design feature. Sort of like genes that get passed down until we discovered how to manipulate DNA and now we want to scrub out the ginger defect. lol

  2. Now that you mention it I'm kinda curious what about lore / CCP explanation of a war dec. Is it a formal bribe to CONCORD? What is CONCORD in terms of lore? The ambiguous police faction? You seem to have a pretty strong opinion about all this so I'd be curious to hear your answers.

    1. As I mentioned in my reply to dirk, Wardecs were added to the game to give people in highsec a way to settle differences with another corp that did something to piss them off or otherwise offend them. The lore side of it I'm less in tune with.

      also as mentioned above, the intended use for the mechanic, and the actual use of the mechanic differed somewhat, which resulted some pretty stiff nerfs to wardecs several years ago, most notably to make them cost significantly more, and then later the ally thing.

    2. Thanks for the quick reply. I feel like your Corp Lite idea is borne of modifying a broken system, not to say it's a bad idea, but I expect it'll get twisted in unfortunate ways. Why not allow players to choose what NPC corp they join? Perhaps with some standing and LP aspects tied in?

      To me a formalized system of extracting isk in exchange for a NAP would do more to solve wardec griefing. If you aren't willing to fight or pay I'm not sure you need to be in a corp. Of course the station game bullshit that high sec wardec corps indulge in is the next problem in line.

  3. I'm a former EVE player. I used to run one of the biggest highsec missioning corps.

    Awoxes were never a problem for us, as we screened new members carefully, did a full API check, etc.

    Wardecs, however, were a big problem.
    Once we got to about 50 members, we were under wardec about half the time.
    We tried corp-hopping to alt corps, joining a PVP alliance, calling in allies, and various other techniques.
    We only ever lost about 3 ships in total, but, even after months of dodging decs, the decs just kept coming.

    Ultimately, I decided to quit EVE, and encouraged my corp-mates to quit EVE as well.
    Some of us actually still play together, but in other games - games without harassment.

    If we could have kept playing without wardecs, we would have, but the wardecs ended up driving us out of EVE.
    I'm sure we're not the only ones. I've seen several other highsec corps go the same way.
    Whole corps of people quit playing, mostly due to the wardec mechanics.

    Players gather together, to be social and have fun.
    Then they get targeted and harassed until they lose the will to keep playing.
    This wouldn't fly in any other game, and it shouldn't fly in EVE, either.
    EVE is not a special snowflake, and it is exactly that sort of thinking that prevents the game from becoming mainstream.

    Customers who simply want to hang out with friends and socialize while missioning/mining, etc, should be allowed to do so.

    It is too late to bring me back to EVE. I have given up. What a lot of money down the drain.
    It is too late to get my corp-mates to resubscribe. We've moved on to other, more fun games where we don't get harassed.

    CCP can, however, let the next generation of highsec residents opt-out of wardecs, and thus better retain those new players.
    It is too late for me, too late for us, but perhaps it isn't too late for the new people now trying EVE.
    Perhaps. Only time will tell.

    1. Its YOUR thinking that is wrong, pvp is a vital element to eve, eve is MEANT to be different to other MMO's, if people don't have the brains to find a strategy to combat war-decs then they deserve to be beat.

      You are just a defeatist, a carebear, a wower.

    2. It absolutely should fly in Eve. I do agree with some of the Corp lite bullets but I add one more.... a time limit to how long that status is maintained. Something in the ballpark of a year tops. By that time you should have your shit in order to play with the rest of us.

    3. A quitter -- fine. Encouraging others to quit: so bad.

      > Customers who simply want to hang out with friends and socialize
      while missioning/mining, etc, should be allowed to do so.

      You mean in your own private little game separate from everyone else? Nope. EVE is a roleplaying video game designed completely around non-consensual interaction and space piracy in a single shared world.

  4. Corp Lite could be named "Association" "Club" or any other similar name. It could be finetuned so that it could handle stuff that would help for example Spectre Fleet or other similar extra-corporation activities. If it was also made so that you can be member of an corporation and also of this Corp Lite at the same time, it would give a new useful tool for players.

  5. +1 for something along the lines of corp-lite. This is coming from
    someone who actively plays both merc and carebear toons in hisec.

    The pros/cons tradeoff for corp-lites is definitely in the right
    direction. Corps and corp-lites could be balanced around e.g. current
    mission earnings. Full corp income should be potentially tax free, as
    currently; undeccable corp-lite should be subject to something like the
    current 11% NPC tax. NPC corps should charge like 50% tax on, say,
    toons older than 2 months. I would also like to see NPC corps tax
    market transactions.

    I feel there is good opportunity here to push the "POS as home"
    direction mentioned in the minutes. E.g. corp-lites should definitely
    not be able to put up POS: corp-lites have to dock at NPC stations,
    which could charge a small fee for docking and maintenance; full-corps
    can base from a POS, and perhaps POS can be designed to convey small
    bonuses to missioning/mining activites in the system or neighbourhood
    (something like ESS but obviously not exactly like that). Of course a
    corp's POS facilities need to be restricted to outsiders.

    I agree: leave intra-corp aggression as it is and implement "no friendly
    fire" only for corp-lites. Removing intra-corp aggression will take
    away a lot of value from being in a good corp: good practices regarding
    recruiting, and the value of having close corpmates that you have to trust.

    Given corp-lites are undeccable, I would consider on the other hand
    making wardecced toons unable to simply quit to NPC/corp-lite, and to
    carry any active/pending wars over to another full corp (just as corps
    carry it over to an alliance).

    Well, whatever the exact details: corps should be fully deccable with
    awox danger, with suitable rewards to justify the risk; corp-lites
    should be subject to reasonable penalties to prevent all of hisec going
    to corp-lites and becoming completely safe.

    The corp-lites also remind me of the "social tools" Mangala has promoted.


  6. P.S. for those who consider wardecs "griefing", if you follow the money
    trail behind most hisec contracts, it doesn't usually lead to what you
    probably think of as griefers... If you've been wardecced hard, think
    back if your corp has been trash talking in local or otherwise pissing
    people off, under the impression that your corp can do so with impunity,
    as in so many other games. People are so quick to blame others and/or
    the system before looking at themselves.

  7. 'Corp lite' is a horrible idea, after a long series of nerfs *already* to non-consensual aggression in hisec the answer is NOT more nerfs, or more places for WoW-rejects to hide out and be safe from aggression while enjoying a 0% tax rate!

    The player retention issue isn't one of carebear dunces getting detonated per se', its about CCP not properly expectation levelling with them in the first place when they join EvE that they *can* get detonated in hisec.

    The real answer is to improve new player education or tutorials, while BUFFING war mechanics, by introducing a high tax rate to NPC corps to incentivize people into joining player corps, and having wars follow a player when he drops corp.

    Safety should COST SOMETHING, but today wars are 100% consensual already because pansies can just hide out in NPC corps forever, or rotate through 0% tax-shelter corps ad infinitum.

    I may be out of step here, but when I joined EvE it wasn't about constant water-torture drips turning it *into* WoW, and endlessly giving people ways to avoid non-consensual conflict.

    You guys have simply lost the plot and lost your way.


  8. The people that are suggesting any player who has a problem with being wardec'd 24/7 are "carebears"............ you are all f**king morons.

    ehmahgerd y u no fight back?

    You don't seem to understand that in hisec wardecs the majority of cases it's david vs goliath. The corps being wardec'd have NO way to fight back and that just makes it greifing; no better than a fully grown adult attacking an 8 year old child.... but I'm sure if you saw a 260lb 40 year old man beating the shit out of a skinny 8 year old kid... you would stand there and shout at the child "fight back you f**king carebear" ..... and "working as intended".

    What you elitist c**ts don't understand is that you are forcing new blood out of the game all for the sake of "omg carebear tears are delicious" fucking circle-jerk fests where you compare who has killed the most defenceless players this week.

    When a corp literally can not fight back and ends up being FORCED to stay docked up (or lose everything they fly) people get pissed.... they literally can't play a game they are paying for and your elitist attitude will kill this game.

    Go outside and start beating the shit out of a small child............ go on. I fucking dare you. No? That's because society will stop you and punish you for your actions. Eve need to do the same thing... wardecs are one thing but griefing defenceless corps for the "lulz" WILL kill the game so go ahead and continue bullying the defenceless because that is what it is.... if you had balls you wouldn't be picking on such easy targets in the first place. You bitch at npc corp stayers picking the "easy" and "no risk" option..... then you go ahead and minimize YOUR risk and select the easy option by wardec'ing the most defenceless of players. Hypocritical elitist cunts.