Thursday 18 September 2014

Crime and Punishment in Eve Online

Being a criminal is too easy. Besides being too easy, gate camping / station camping is about as lame as it gets. Conflict should be moved away from the gates and stations, out to the belts, moons and anomalies while travel between gates and stations (in hi sec anyhow) should be relatively safe.

After all you'd think the mighty empires of space would protect the trade routes that are the lifeblood of the economies that made them mighty. Gankers camping the station undock in Jita is comparable to fleets of pirates sitting right off the docks of London picking off merchant galleons in the 1700s or 1800s. Britain wouldn't tolerate it and neither should the Caldari.

There should be more meaningful consequences for ganking in hi sec. Like for starters losing docking privileges, having cargo confiscated when caught by police or in extreme cases involving the most hardened criminals (the ones with the worst security status) having other assets confiscated too.

That could all be done on a system by system and faction by faction basis based on both security status and faction standings. The lower the security status and/or faction standing the more severe and more widespread the repercussions.

It shouldn't be at all easy for gankers to repair faction standings either, especially not as more crimes have been committed and standings get lower. Once faction standing is low enough, they should be a free target for other players that increases their killer's standing with the same faction. Criminals with low standing should be kill on sight for faction police / concord who will see them (even when cloaked) if they go anywhere near a hi sec gate or station. Escaping police should be allowed but if they fire back on the police then concord comes.

The hard lines between hi, low and null should be more blurred too. For example as system security status gets lower the police (backed up by concord) would still protect the gates and stations but be less likely to respond to trouble out in the belts. Say 100% in 1.0, 80% in 0.7-0.9, 50% in 0.6 and 40% in 0.5.

As system security gets lower there'd be fewer police around too, it would take them longer to find a criminal, making it easier for criminals to evade them. And of course Concord would respond more slowly too, just like now.

It'd be nice if there was a chance (even a small one, perhaps requiring a high level of criminal activity) of concord responding to trouble on the other side of a hi to low/null gate too. And once there, they'd stick around for a while too. Setting up a camp at chokepoints like EC-P8R, Auenenen or Gondista would suddenly be just a little bit riskier.


1. This started out as a comment I made on another blog that I figured was worth fleshing out a bit more and making a post out of.

2. With one exception (the other side of hi to low/null gates) all of this would apply to hi sec and hi sec only. Low and null would be another story.


  1. I agree. Highsec 1.0 - 0.5 is almost indistinguishable from one another, but go through a gate to lowsec and everything changes. It would be way better if there was more of a graduation. It's also silly that pirates with -10 sec are completely safe - they just ignore the police and dock up. preventing them docking with -10 would at least make them wait in low - not just able to undock and gank at will.
    Another idea is a 'call the police' button - so if you get attacked you can call for help, arriving quickly (maybe with logi?) but AFK/autopilot is penalised and pretty safe to gank.

  2. Wow. I don't even know where to begin. For starters station dock camps are extremely easy to avoid with insta docks/undocks. Gate camps are easy to avoid/run away from if you have half a brain (scout/BR/stabs/DST etc). Second, travel in highsec is extremely safe as it is: Freighters/orcas are pretty tanky and require coordination/luck/investment to take down and Blockade Runners are pretty much impossible to catch unless someone is afk. If you are below -5 you are already a legitimate target in high/low and you doon't get the protection of Concord & gate/station guns. If you want to totally avoid risk you can also use courier contracts which are dirt cheap. If anything I think that there should be more risk to travel in highsec. I mean people afk freighters/orcas and other shiny stuff and 95% of the time survive.

    1. Having a look at the CODE site it seems freighters and orca's are not as safe as you would suggest.

      MoxNix is correct - not suggesting that ganking should go away entirely, merely that currently it is too easy.

      Due to the asymmetric nature of it, the gankers have everything in their favour. PVP ships vs PVE ships, choosing the time and place... By the very nature of what he is doing, the PVE pilot HAS to be at a disadvantage.

      Ganking is very difficult to counter. Gankers are often in NPC corps (no war dec). You cannot pre-emptively attack them (except ganking, but then you gank shitty catalysts?). Even if you have a fleet escort your freighter to Jita, there will be little said fleet can do about 15 Talos's targeting your freighter - I mean what are you going to do? Kill a suicide gangker before he gets CONCORDed? What will that accomplish? Rep your freighter? When most are killed by the alpha?

      Gankers as a group tend to be very vocal about the "you should not be without risk" mantra - yet as a group, gankers are virtually without risk. Dare I say hypocrites?

      Why should the same squad of gankers be allowed to camp an undock all day long. Make them free to shoot at after the first gank for say 24 hours. At least that way some anti pirate group can try and take them down. At a time of own their choosing... In pvp ships... This way a ganking fleet has to at least mount a tank and have logi in case of an attack. Their costs go up, they too are forced to compromise their fit/ship/tactics (gasp! the horror!).

      We're not saying no ganking, but ganking has to have at least a little risk

    2. Ganking is a 100% risk activity though. Whenever someone suicide ganks they die. Unless the target drops more than what the ganker was worth then the reward was also zero. 1/0 is infinity. So is suicide ganking infinitely risky? :D

      Unless of course the reward is to pad the killboard. However, I haven't seen any compelling evidence that empty freighters are getting suicide ganked on a regular basis.

    3. Not true. Losing your ship is pretty much guaranteed by the very action of ganking - thus not a risk, but a certainty. A cost.

      So risk = 0. 0/whatever drops =0% risk.

      Ganking can also be for fun - been there done that, so win all the way

  3. Ganking is extemely easy to counter. 1) use insta dock/undock (makes you literally uncatchable on stations) 2) Tank your ships. You think they're gonna try going after a 400k ehp orca? 3) Don't put absurd 50B cargo in your ship with 0 tank lol. 4) Don't afk 5) use a scout & a webber. If you follow those rules the chances of you getting ganked are slim to none. On the other side you have Jump freighters which are 99.999% safe to travel in. And that Code website is a joke.

    1. Oh, I agree, one can (and should) take care.

      Still does not address the asymmetric nature of ganking. Still does not introduce risk to gankers. Still too easy.

      400k EHP Orca's still get ganked. Empty ships still get ganked (no need for 50B). Jump freighters can't cyno into Jita.

      O course there are all the things you mention to make it more difficult for gankers to catch a ship.... NONE of which introduce risk to gankers.

      Time the whiney gankers get introduced to some risk...

  4. Hauling is too safe in highsec. Despite what you may think from sites like minerbumping or events like Burn Jita, big-time haulers essentially never die (like <0.01%). How often has one of your DSTs putting around highsec AFK been ganked? Zero probably. The risk of losing your freighter or T2 hauler is so low, that the risk of this can be ignored. This is a problem as Eve was designed to balance risk vs. reward so haulers were suppose to tank their ships or provide escorts, but with practically no chance of losing your non-T1 hauler anywhere in highsec, it makes sense to just fit for maximum cargo and AFK your way to profit. This is effectively a broken part of the game as haulers can make significant reward with effectively zero risk and no effort.

    As to your points specifically:

    1) Gate/station camping may be “lame” in your view and inconsistent with your views of how the Empires should operate but what is the alternative? With the current game mechanics there is no way for a pirate/ganker to snag a hauler once it is in warp, like a pirate might have done when a transport ship was out at sea. If you make stations and gates 100% safe, there is literally no opportunity for a hauler to lose their cargo in highsec. As it is, it is already incredibly difficult (read: expensive) to catch a properly tanked hauler because of the gate guns and CONCORD in highsec.
    2) There are already significant consequences for being a ganker in highsec. Not only do you lose your cargo, but also your ship to the Faction Police if you try to operate normally in highsec (on a sliding scale, exactly like you propose in your post). Not only that, but any player can attack you or your pod without penalty at will, and you are forced to “sit out” of the game for 15 minutes every time you commit a criminal act. Adding losing docking privileges would only add a the small hurdle and goes against the design principles of the game where CCP has said they would allow all players to not ever be locked out of any space. However, I would support a lockout if some mechanism existed for player pirates to set up their own clandestine outpost of some sort, maybe like a POS, for them to base out of. It could then serve as a target for any anti-gankers to track down and attack and generate some content.
    3) You can debate the ease of repair using tags, but they were put in the game for a good reason – they created the mini-profession of tag farmer and allow all sorts of PvPers (including those operating only in lowsec) to trade ISK for the time to repair standings via tags. Overall this is good as it gets more people in lowsec either PvPing or farming tags.


    1. Actually minerbumping and Burn Jita kind of prove the point. Ganking is too easy.

      Nope, I've never lost a DST putting around hi sec (AFK or not) and I've never lost a freighter either. I haven't lost any in low or null either but that's as it should be since I've never flown a DST or freighter.

      1. I never said gates and stations should be 100% safe, just that they should be relatively safe. To expand on that a bit, the occasional suicide gank could still happen at gates/stations and characters with good security status should be able get away with a few gate/station ganks before his security status drops enough to get on the police "wanted list". The perma campers hanging out at various chokepoints throughout hi sec would have to start working for their ganks though.

      2. What significant consequences? Losing a dirt cheap gank ship and an even cheaper tiny cargo of ammo is an insignificant loss, even for suicide gankers. For the far more common for profit ganker it's just a minor cost. And aw, you just killed someone and stole his stuff, "go stand in the corner for 15 minutes" isn't much of a deterrent at all, especially not when the ganker probably has other other alts to do things (like more ganking) on in the meantime.

      3. Regardless repairing faction standings is still too easy. I can see the point for FW but not for pirates and gankers. That's a choice you made that shouldn't be so easy to undo.

    2. "Actually minerbumping and Burn Jita kind of prove the point. Ganking is too easy."

      No, if you read into them carefully, you see that most of their targets are anti-tanked; therefore, they prove that ganking isn't that easy.

      "Nope, I've never lost a DST putting around hi sec (AFK or not) and I've never lost a freighter either. I haven't lost any in low or null either but that's as it should be since I've never flown a DST or freighter."

      I fly them often, on multiple accounts at once, and I've never lost one: because I tank mine.

      1. They're already relatively safe.

      2. The significant consequence for a ganker is spending a lot of time sitting around. They could make much more money by pve'ing or trading. The loss of sec status is also significant.

      3. I don't care either way on this one; clearly CCP does as they've revised it many times.

  5. ...continued from above.

    4) I do agree the lines should be more blurred. Adding a chance based mechanism for CONCORD spawning, or on the time of the spawn would actually put more uncertainty back into the gankers side. Right now the only risks come from the loot fairy, and the actions of others (white knights jamming the ganker, others stealing the loot, etc.). The current mechanics are too predictable for a ganker to calculate the cost/benefit. This would force people to think about where they operate and allow much larger zone of risk and reward for people to find the balance they prefer.
    5) I have no problem with a small chance of CONCORD showing up, even in a very low security system to break up a gate camp, although most of the gate campers should have a chance to escape. Similarly, I think there should be a very small chance of a powerful NPC rat spawning on gates or in belts of highsec (depending on the security status), warp scramble and attack a miner or hauler. A box would pop up asking if the player wanted to send a distress signal, and if they do nearby players could destroy the rat for bounty, or eventually CONCORD would spawn and destroy the rat. It would be tuned so that if you were at the keyboard, you would always save your ship, but if not, the damage would ramp up over time even enough to destroy a freighter in a few minutes. This would put a small amount of risk for AFKing into the game.

    Honestly, the game needs more risk in highsec to force people to balance their decisions around risk vs. reward. Currently, hauling is far, far, too safe, (and mining to a lesser extent) at least for those who understand the game mechanics, to the point most cargo is moved AFK in near perfect safety. If you want to make gates and stations 100% safe, then you need to allow bubbles or some other mechanism to trap/attack haulers away from the station or the game would be even more broken.

    1. 4. Agreed.

      5. I meant more along the lines of concord breaking up large, near permanent gate gamps and only directly on the other side of hi to low / null gates, not anywhere else in the system. With low gank activity there'd be no chance of concord intervention at all, concord would ignore it, but the more activity the higher the chance concord would appear.

      Also I did say " Conflict should be moved away from the gates and stations" and while I didn't make any suggestions on how to go about making that happen, it's likely other changes would be necessary.

  6. I don't agree that high sec should be safer than it already is, at least not for NPC corp hauling characters. Haulers have plenty of precautions they can take to avoid being ganked while still being highly rewarded. Heck, in previous posts you have spoken about how you autopilot multi billion isk cargos around in blockade runners and rarely get ganked. That sounds like the risk/reward ratio is pretty good to me.

    I think your idea about more consequences for gankers standings is fine in principle, but difficult to implement in practice without major overhaul to game mechanics. For example, if you were to prevent <-5 status characters from docking they would simply circumvent this using neutral status alts to supply the ganking ships at a safe bookmark.

    Also, players with low enough security status (<-5) are already free targets for other players and are targeted by police at gates. Maybe this could be extended to safe spots, just as faction police will spawn against enemy FW participants at safes after a while.

    I do agree that faction standings are too easy to repair. I think that being a "pirate" should be a more committed choice than it is currently.

    Lastly, I do wonder how often empty ships honestly get ganked? In 1 year of empty autopiloting freighters I have never had an empty freighter ganked. I have been ganked once whilst autopiloting a blockade runner in a 0.5 system, but that's it and the "loot pinata" aspect to it at least makes some sense to me. I'm not denying that empty freighters get suicide ganked but I've never seen any stats to back the statement up that it is a regular occurrence. Only anecdotal evidence.

    1. Actually I've been ganked exactly once flying a BR afk in hi sec and ironically it was empty.

      However, IMO that merely proves gankers are extremetly risk adverse. They're in it for profit, they don't gank BRs often because they can't see what a BR is carrying and have no idea if ganking it will be profitable or not.

      And of course my experience flying small, fast, agile, unscannable BRs has no relation to what happens to large, slow, ungainly haulers that can be scanned.

      And yes, other changes probably would be necessary too. I doubt it would take a major overhaul though.

      Then again, a lot of the core mechanics are downright silly with a whole bunch of bandaid "fixes" ( causing more problems) slapped on top of them. A major mechanics overhaul would be a good idea in it's own right.

    2. I should add that it was another story when I was flying Vigils for transport. Small, fast and agile, but can be scanned and very fragile. With anything even moderately valuable on board it wasn't anywhere as safe as with BRs, especially not on auto.

      T1 industrials were even worse, mostly due to being so big, slow and ungainly.

    3. All you have to do is keep the cargo value:tank ratio reasonably low and 99.9% of gankers will leave you alone. Like you said most gankers are in it for the profit (as are the haulers after all). And jump freighters are pretty much 99.99% safe. As to the risk averse part: you can spend 2B in ships to kill a freighter and get 10 mil payout or downright fail if something goes wrong.

  7. There should be docking restrictions for going under -5 in highsec. If gankers need to invest in tags or start living in POSes, the whole thing becomes a lot less easymode. The security styatus loss for attacking ships in highsec is also quite ridiculously low, nearly identical to lowsec. Fix these 2 things and it's reasonable balanced in terms of risk/reward.