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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Aggression Timers and Ninjas

 Since I seem to be a fan of disclaimers, here's the one for this post. This can be something of heated topic for some people and a bit of a rant from me. But also not really a rant. It is a look at core gameplay mechanics and part of a discussion I have had with other pilots about the universe we choose to inhabit and my observations of things. So read at your own discretion.

  Aggression timers are pretty confusing. They can be convoluted and only the easy things really explained at all.  Too many young pilots do not understand them, subsequently learning the hard way. Engaging in a fight prevents you from jumping through stargates, that's simple enough. Attacking someone else that is not an outlaw or has engaged you first draws fire from gate guns, station guns, and gives you a Glocal Criminal Countdown. That's another easy one. But then it gets nebulous. When you steal, that person can shoot you. Then you can shoot back. Why? Self defense even though you just committed a crime? That’s like someone coming up and robbing me, I punch him to drive him off and suddenly he pulls a gun “in self defense”. That makes no sense to me, call me crazy. Not only that, but a ninja is able to extend YOUR aggression timer by popping your wrecks or stealing more. I don't have the best handle on much of this because I didn't spend much time at all with missions and never really dealt with ninjas. The only timers I ever had to worry about were ones that prevented me from chasing flashy targets, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. But this just leads me into the issue of ninjas in Eve.

  I fail to see the point in allowing sociopathic actions predicated on confusing mechanics. When someone ganks or ninjas for the sole reason of “extracting tears”, they do it to ruin someone else’s experience. Yes, you can do it. That’s not my point. I don’t care that you CAN do it and I understand it’s just a game. But when all you do is ruin someone else’s gaming time, I don’t see how that should be encouraged. It amused me a while back when a mission runner got his CNR replaced and all the pirates and ninja’s whined up a storm.  And yet they are nothing but derisive in every reference to “carebears”.  While EVE is just a game, what a lot of people forget is that on the other side of the game theres a real person investing real life time into the game. As people, we make mistakes so when I see posts that just laugh at how “stupid and fail” a carebear is as if they are superior just for the kill…it’s just sad and rather immature. Why do some people feel the need for it? Internet anonymity has done some detrimental things to how people interact with each other.  I’m surprised so many MR’s lose their ships to ninjas, though. Just shoot the wreck and leave the ninja alone. He has an Orca waiting to switch ships and gank you, don’t shoot.

This is why I love and cannot wait to move to wormhole space. That is where I will be most comfortable. Someone tries to steal from you or gank you? There’s nothing stopping you from shooting back and dealing with them in whatever fitting manner. It’s also far easier to control your environment and who has access. No CONCORD, no gate guns, no sec status decreases, aggression timers mean less and in general less to worry about. No local means you have to be alert and aware, paranoid even. It’s the wild west and everyone has a gun. Highsec has started to feel like a straightjacket in some ways. You can’t stop a ninja without big consequence or disruptions in your mission. I digress.

  It may be working as programmed, but I highly doubt its as intended. Backtracking and calling it “intended” just means CCP has its own sociopathic tendencies and above stated love affair with “criminal activity”. Just sayin’. Yes I know Eve is to be gritty and harsh. I like it that way and it is a challenge. But make it harsh in a logical and sensible way that I can actually follow rather than waiting for petitions to explain if it’s “intended” or not. All I see is a breed of pilot that doesn’t do it for the kill like a criminal, they do it for the tears and anything that hinders them in that shouldn’t be allowed and, in fact, more things should be done to help them in their mission for the sorrow of others.

  There are, of course, many things to be fixed in New Eden, whether it is graphical or finishing a shiny. But I think a fundamental mechanic such as this should have been addressed long ago and not picked at bit by bit over time so that has become difficult. I personally have not had issues with aggression timers in my experience simply because I avoid such issues. While I am sure my views are highly trollable, they are just that, mine. I am not calling for nerfs or for things to change that shouldn’t. Logic simply dictates to me that the mechanic is awry.

  For those of you that haven't simply hit unsubscribe or completely ignored this, what are your thoughts? Do you find anything wrong or is it just me?



Viperous Stark said...

I have not yet had the experience of dealing with any "Ninja's" in my missions in the past year or so.

I also don't have any interest in participating in "ninja salvaging" in order to get MR's to shoot me so that I can gank them.

However, I have no issue with the tactics that corps like Suddenly Ninja (TEARS) use. When that CNR got restored a few months back, the "ninjas" were not up in arms about the CNR being restored. They were up in arms because CCP REFUSED to call it a bug / exploit. To the "ninjas", they were playing their style of game play within the game rules. Many of the "ninja" blogs asked CCP to simply state it as a bug / exploit and they would move on and not use the aggro extension tactics anymore.

Personally, I agree with them. If CCP is unwilling to admit that it is not intended, then by all means...use it to your advantage.

Sure, it would suck to lose your pimped out MR ship. But Eve is a harsh environment and people need to learn to not SHOOT the "ninjas". Chances are, that MR isn't going to shoot first / think later next time someone enters his mission and starts salvaging.

Some of the Ninja blogs are some of the funnest to read IMO. Ones like My Loot, Your Tears and Finders Keepers are some of the best blogs I've read. They aren't bad people...they play a game and enjoy their chosen "profession" Eve is a sandbox, and every type of play style is valid and no one should say any different.

Ninja Blog-Pack:

Viperous Stark said...

Short Version: It was the MR's fault.

Memoocan said...

I do give them credit for that. I was surprised at some of them when that happened, in a good way. CCP does need to be far more clear with situations like that and have failed to do so.
I myself enjoy reading My Loot, Your Tears and one or two other ninja blogs. For the most part. I do not act any differently in game than I do in RL, so although it is a game and they aren't horrible people (Heck, I'd grab a drink with 'em), it is just the act of ruining someone's time for the tears that rubs me the wrong way. I hardly think it should be gone from the game and it certainly was the MR's fault. I wasn't trying to imply the ninjas were in the wrong, just that things like this show that CCP needs to fix something and be definitive. Yes it's a sandbox and no I don't expect everyone to place nice, I just hate when it devolves into inane smack talk and epeen arrogance.
I would hope the Eve population could be a bit more mature as a whole, but that's life.

I hope this post didn't sound too emorage :P

Ardent Finder said...

Seems that CCP is trying to play both ends off against the middle.

They don't want to admit they were wrong, and they don't want to potentially upset playerbase that uses the exploit. (Yeah, I said it. It's an exploit.) So, they won't come out and admit the timer mechanic is badly designed.

But, they also don't want to alienate MRs, as a LOT of people do it. So, they replace the ship.

The problem for CCP is that everyone knows exactly what is going on here. Wishy-washy politicking don't work in the Eve community of suspicious, paranoid, cynical pilots.

Ardent Finder said...

Also, it is still not confirmed that this CNR ship replacement happened, as far as I know. This may be a giant troll just to extract delicious tears from the Ninjas for a change.

Viperous Stark said...

Another quick note about aggression time extension (in case it happens to you).

If the ninja extends your aggression still shows the "new" time in the upper left corner of the screen in YELLOW font.

Note: The "Corp can assist you" timer is a "hidden" timer and runs out in 15 minutes regardless of what the timer in the upper left says.

Basically, that CNR that got destroyed, if he had paid attention to the timer that is displayed on his screen he would have seen that it wasn't up :)

Shandir said...

I think that ninja'ing dumb mission runners is no less fair than scamming people who don't read contracts, or blowing up someone who autopilots into lowsec.
In EVE: stupid gets you killed, then you learn or you quit.

I do think that being able to extend the timer of the victim by shooting/stealing from wrecks sounds exploitative - as it makes no sense, and can be used as an excessive griefing tactic. CCP should man up and admit it's a bug, then fix it.

I do also, as others have said, think CCP shouldn't refund something unless they decide it's an exploit/bug - one way or another, this fence sitting only causes upset.