This is my submission for the Blog Banter challenge, run by CrazyKinux. The subject is: “Last month Ga’len asked us which game mechanic we would most like to see added to EVE. This month Keith “WebMandrill” Nielson proposes to reverse the question and ask what may be a controversial question: Which game mechanic would you most like to see removed completely from EVE and why? I can see this getting quite heated so lets keep it civil eh?”
Solar winds swept a multicoloured corona across the atmosphere of the first planet; coruscating light played like sprites dancing a whirlygig chase. I knew it was merely plasma, but the movement made it seem almost alive. An organic part of the lifesphere that we called a system. Random electrons and protons had never seemed so curious. Truly here was the work of God. The divine in motion, evidence for all of those unbelievers that a higher hand guided all things.
Still, I drew my gaze away and forced my thoughts back to the matter at hand. All around my compatriots waited. Serried ranks of glittering metallic craft , golden in reflected light, as we awaited the order to warp. This war had only been active a week or so, but had already seen many losses on both sides. Their losses were by far the pricier; command vessels, battleships and even that jump freighter. A smile played across my face at the memory. A fat, slow target, rammed to the gunnels with expensive electronics and valuable cargo. Surely someone must have forgotten to tell him that they were at war, for why else would he be snoozing in his capsule as the autopilot drifted his valuable vessel into the clutches of our fleet. Still, we’d had our losses too – a hundred or more firgates , destroyers and cruisers. Cheap, certainly, but still we felt each loss. This time we stood to cost them a fleet issue Tempest. Our scouts had tracked him across the region, and we knew where he was, and we had managed to tempt him out…
The comm unit crackled to life with the order to jump. Fantastic! He’d left the safety of the station and now we had him! The computer engaged the warp drive, as I readied for a fight.
I’d jumped to my optimals, a scant 10 clicks out from the target, and there he was. I recited in my mind the sequence, wrote learned so many years ago. Target, point, web… got him! My fellow tacklers had all done the same, and he was held. Our damage support were working hard on his shields, and all looked good. Shields at 50%… 30%… 10% – he’s into armour now! 70%… 50%… 30%… where’s he gone? Lazers sailed through space that he formerly occupied, yet we knew that his warp drives were jammed. Where…. oh.
The public comm channel filled with our fleet commanders voice… he did not sound happy.
“This is Amarr vice-admiral Clunes to Amarr Navy station control.”
“Yes, sir. This is Amarr Navy station, go ahead.”
“Do you have a Minmatar Fleet issue Tempest docked within? One that few moments ago we were fighting here?”
“Yes, sir. We do.”
“Would you care to explain to me, exactly, what you are doing, giving shelter to a war target?”
“Uhhh, sir. You know that we can’t take sides in this. This is a matter between your corporation and his. This is not a matter for the Amarr Navy. As long as he doesn’t attack any of you, he’s free to dock and undock as many times as he’d like.”
“But his corporation has declared war on us! Us! I myself have spent years working for you and yours, my loyalty to the Amarr Navy is beyond reproach, acknowledged by Kezti Sundara himself even! I have killed thousands of minmatar on your behalf, and yet here you are, telling me that you can’t, or won’t, stop this war target of ours from hiding in your station!”
“That’s correct, sir. Corporation policy, you understand.”
“Can’t we… Fleet! Engage, engage, engage!”
He was out again. Undocked and floating out of the docking bay! I repeated the procedure, target, point, web… and locked him down again. This time he reached 45% armour before he redocked.
“He did it again, did you see that?”
“Well what, sir?”
“Well, are you going to kick him out?”
“No, sir, I’m afraid….”
“Wait! look I’ve just used the neocom to check his standings… you don’t even like him!”
“No sir – this pilot has accounted for a fair number of our people in combat operations over the years.”
“So, let me get this straight… he is an enemy pilot, in a formally declared war with your allies, who are sat outside your station; and you won’t turf him out?”
“No sir. Corporation policy dictates that we let him dock and undock at will, as long as he doesn’t attack anyone. That we hate him makes no difference. That he’s at war, makes no difference. That the war is with our allies, makes no difference. He’s free to dock and undock whenever he’d like.”
“That’s insane! Do you hear me? Insane!”
“Sir, it is not for me to make value judgements on the sanity or otherwise of regulations. Rules are rules, after all.”
“Now, you listen to me, you little…”
I switched the channel off to avoid the inevitable volley of abuse.
Twice more the Tempest undocked, letting us waste valuable energy and time, before redocking. Each time his laughing was audible over the public channels. The more he laughed, the more it felt as an affront to all Amarr. And the more that the Vice-admiral swore. I’d suggested that the station control might be amenable to a bribe, but it seemed not. We’d tried to lure the enemy into shooting at us, but of course he would not. Our fine work with the corporation that controlled the station seemed to count for nothing. We even tried bumping him out of docking range, but the ring on the station was far too wide, and whilst we were able to move him, he was always able to dock.
After three hours, we gave up. These docking games were neither productive nor fun. We went home. I understand that the Vice-admiral was in a rage for weeks.
So there we go. I think that this illustrates the mechanic that I’d like to see removed. Namely, the ability of targets in combat to dock. I don’t care whether they have aggressed or not, I think that if you are fighting, you should not be able to dock. Perhaps, standings could be used to influence this. If you are +5 or above with a corp, perhaps they’ll let you dock if you are under attack. But anyone below that can’t dock during combat. The mechanics that allow docking games are flawed, frustrating and should be removed or changed.
Eve hi-sec war is a slightly flawed mechnic in and of itself – but I can see the reasons for it. Docking games simply add a layer of frustration to it, that is both unecessary and not fun.
Thanks for reading.
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