Fixing Station Docking Games

Props to Letrange for bringing up a nice little tidbit from the CSM meeting minutes. The link in question is here, and the specific comments are:

‘Noah asked what the CSM thought of a feature where ships that were warp scrambled or under other module effect could not dock. This was received with mixed comments but it was pointed out that it would open up something which would give unfair ganks. Noah asked if it would change anything if you could get overview information before undocking. There were more mixed reviews about that and nothing conclusive came out of subsequent discussions. [The CSM, upon further reflection during the weekend, rallied behind the idea. See Saturday minutes for further information. Xhagen]’

I, like many in Eve, dislike station games and those who practice this as their version of PVP. While I’m all for people having the right to play however they want, imho ‘playing station games’ is largely a tactic of griefers to mess with the noobish and less powerful. It’s my hypothesis that nerfing station games by making it impossible for a warp scrammed ship to re-dock would greatly reduce high sec griefing, and potentially re-vitalize high sec warfare. A bit of background on station games:

– Station games are PVP on a station, usually in a heavily tanked ship which engages (typically unsuspecting) targets as they undock, where the aggressor has the element of surprise and counts on a large tank to allow him to de-aggress, aka wait out the 60 second aggression timer, and dock before a counter-attack can successfully finish him.
– This tactic is commonly used in high sec, low sec, and NPC space in 0.0.
– Commonly combined with alts for repping and / or sensor boosting. In low sec and NPC 0.0 this alt is often a carrier, whereas in high sec often a (neutral) repping alt in a logi cruiser or rr bs. Repping alts are highly effective, as repping an aggressed target is not considered aggression, so the alt has no timer and can redock immediately if threatened.
– Station games are generally not as big of an issue in 0.0, because it only affects NPC stations, and because of the greater resources of the harassed: more experience, larger counter-fleets with more dps, and snipah Titans that insta-pop carriers. Losing one carrier to a DD is enough to call it a day in my book. I saw a number of these killmails shortly after Dominion launched, likely enough to end the practice in 0.0. Plenty of station camping happens in 0.0, true, but not as much of the de-aggress docking games version.
– People will view this as a low sec pirate nerf. However, because of the common use of carriers, above, imho it is not. Why? First, because the carrier reps are so large, but, also because there is a much better tactic than de-aggressing – just place your ship into the ship hangar of the carrier and warp your pod away! No timer on hangaring your ship, so ta-da! The aggressors ship is instantly safe. My former corp mates do a ton of this, but I think it’s rather meh. Combine this with no Titan DD in low sec and you have safe carrier tactic (exploit?) – can anyone tell me why exactly they took the Titan headshot out of low sec??

Overall, I think this change would largely affect high sec griefers, and would be a positive change. This tactic is fairly easy to avoid by experienced, prepared characters, through alts and insta-undock bookmarks. However, younger characters are not familiar with these counters. As a result, this tactic is primarily used by high sec griefers to target noobs in an environment where the aggressor relies upon game mechanics to save them. Every tactic should have a counter, but high sec station games have very few.

Yes, this would increase the risk to certain ships as they undock, possibly resulting in more ganking – but I’m skeptical. Ganking on stations is very, very common today, and this would add far more risk to the gankers than the gankees, imho.

But, shouldn’t this really be aimed at those horrible low sec scum? Yes, low sec dwellers pwn noobs too, but the difference is its low sec, it’s very very clearly marked not safe. This change would affect low sec griefers as well, but they’re more comfortable with the risk and, fair or not, have the carrier escape option, so THIS change is more of a high sec one than low sec.

I’m also not arguing that high sec should be 100% safe – I’m all for war decs, suicide ganks, etc. Station games ruin high sec wars by turning the whole affair into ‘who has more alts and has more stamina for boring station camps’. Adding more risk and tactical options for both sides would be a good thing for high sec warfare.

This is not a ‘whine’ post. I live in low sec and 0.0. I’ve lived flashy for the last 8 months in game. I have numerous alts and station insta-undock bookmarks that allow me to easily avoid these tactics. I couldn’t care less if they don’t opt for changes here, as I find it easy to avoid, but I do think, as I’ve stated above, this is a tactic largely used in high sec to harass noobs. As a result, I think it’s a solid proposal and would add complexity and balance to the game.

Another juicy bit from CSM minutes – no more self destructing to avoid KMs?? Um, yes please! It sucks to work on killing a carrier for an hour, only to have him self-destruct to avoid a KM.

Lastly, go CSM!! Nice job touching on the biggest issues plaguing the game, from lag, to the 0.0 income imbalance, small but really annoying things like self destructing to avoid KMs, and finally adding in new features. Glad to see you guys are representing the player base well!!

2 Responses to Fixing Station Docking Games

  1. Baa says:

    This does look to be a welcome change. I’d like to see something similar done to 0.0 warfare too. This is pretty much just gate warfare. You can occasionally snag someone at a celestial, but the majority of combat is at, or near gates.

    Making a successful point prevent a jump might have some impact on the gate games we currently see. It would also be good to be be able to pull ships out of warp at any point along their travel route with a bubble rather than just within 100km of the warp end point. Just something to make the whole combat a bit more fluid.

    • Calderus Rex says:

      In thinking more about this *possible* change last night does suggest we’ll see a lot more gate camping. That said, 0.0 warfare is a bit of a different animal – fights on gates are fine, imho, as its quite easy to put tacklers on other side and/or chase forces that retreat. The real problem in 0.0 is the lag issues, gates or celestials I don’t think have much impact on that.

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