Blog Banter #9 – Taking Things Slow

Welcome to the ninth installment of the EVE Blog Banter and its first contest, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

“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 completelyfrom EVE and why? I can see this getting quite heated so lets keep it civil eh?”

Ordinarily I like to write my blog banters in character. My topic for this month’s banter/contest doesn’t lend itself easily to that format.

Today I want to talk about scramming and webbing and why its current implementation should be removed from EVE Online.

Got your attention yet?

How many times have each of us had our hearts sink when we see the familiar “Scram,Web, boom!” of our ship? It’s often a game over mechanic employed by fleets of all sizes, and it works. The tacklers typically are thin and fast, rushing the established enemy primary target, locking them down, then hoping to hold out until help arrives. It allows for at least some diversity in these types of engagements.

But what about those not involved in those types of scenarios? What about solo PVPers? Or small ship combat? Or miners? Or industrialists? Etc, etc.

Some will say it’s all about proper fitting, and to a degree, I concur. Some will say it’s possible to have a ship that can be versatile all on its own, and personally, I have Rifters and other small ships that do just that.

For me, it’s just the underlying mechanic that is so bothersome.

A Rifter frigate is close to the size of a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet. Now a jet flies in atmosphere, so there are some factors to be taken into consideration such as atmospheric drag, etc, etc… but for a moment, think of the sustained energy output required to forcibly halve the speed of a 747 jumbo jet. Have you ever seen it done? It would require a staggering amount of energy to slow down that considerable mass.

Now we all know EVE Online is set in the distant future, and that technology is well advanced, blah, blah. Irrelevant.

Look at Star Wars for a moment, if you will. Let’s talk Death Star vs Millenium Falcon. To me, that’s similar to Titan vs Frigate. I can see the Death Star having the energy grid needed to slap a web and scram on the Falcon indefinitely; no argument there. But could you imagine Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope if it worked by Eve’s Rules?

Death Star enroute to Moon IV – Yavin

COMPUTER VOICE: Death Star ETA, 12 minutes.

A look of dread crosses the faces of the Rebels trapped on the moon of Yavin IV. There is no escape. They pray their small group of fighters can destroy the Death Star, desperate as that may sound.

Suddenly, over the intercom…

HAN SOLO: I’ve got point! Death Star jammed too! Send me more frigates, your royal hawtness, and we’ll reduce it’s velocity to nearly null; that should give you time to send out some battleships to take it down!

Ludicrous to me, yet we accept it as players.

Frigates scramming Battleships, Interceptors webbing Battlecruisers. Puhlease.

It’s boring, repetitive, and flawed. As players, we’ve cried and begged for specialization on our ships in other ways, and CCP continually strives to give us such individualism while maintaining balance.

So why not adjust this fundamental combat mechanic?

Interdictor/ Heavy Interdictor – 99% energy grid reduction for use of warp disruptors, warp scramblers and webbifiers.

See what I did there? I just made things more interesting. A specialized ship whose primary role is interdiction.

That was easy.

If we continue to look at energy requirements as a larger contributing factor to interdicting calculations, we can safely say that even increasing it tenfold will yield more positive results:

  1. Larger ships will have much more effect on smaller ships.
  2. Smaller ships will be hard pressed to scram/web bigger ships.
  3. Specialized ships will be seen more in demand and as part of fleet activities
  4. PVP will be far more interesting in small gangs when scramming/webbing takes more consideration than just being your standard opening move.

Think about it for a moment. Frigate vs Frigate would still be entertaining as hell because neither would have the energy grid to sustain interdiction for a lengthy period of time given transfer velocity and the energy requirements to counter that. You would need to time your use of it wisely. Is the opponent nearly dead? Is now the time to web/scram? Crap, did they warp away too soon? Should I have done it earlier? Would my cap have held out?

So by now hopefully you’re realizing that what I am saying about webbing is true, but you’re thinking “Scramming and webbing are two different mechanics, Roc, and aren’t the same principle.” but they really are.

Sure, so far I’ve mostly been talking about webbing in practicality, sustaining a hold on an enemy ship fighting against that effect. Small ships can’t feasibly possess the energy grid to sustain prolonged usage of such a device given the other physics found in EVE, no matter how far advanced we think New Eden may be.

But scrambling a warp drive? Isn’t that simply disabling the appropriate system (obviously handled automatically in EVE by Aura as we can’t target subsystems).

Hmmm, interesting. Let’s look at wormholes. Does mass factor into wormholes? Yes, yes it does. Do you think mass factors into the necessary capacity of a warp drive for a given ship? Yes, yes it does. Have you ever tried flying a Titan with a 1MN MWD?

Again, energy requirements should be a considerable factor. A Titan must have a massive warp system that a mere frigate should not be able to knock out. Could several dozen frigates accomplish it? Maybe, but how long could they keep it tackled? Would make things far more interesting and specialized though.

I know, I’m kind of all over the place with this article, and for that I apologize. It’s just something I feel very strongly about for consistency within the rich and fantastic EVE mythology we have that needs addressing, and I’m typing my thoughts as they come to mind.

I hope you can at least get a feel for my passion on this topic.

So is it truly a removal? Perhaps not. I suppose it’s just a rework, removing the existing flawed mechanic and creating something far better.

  1. Diary of a Space Jockey, Blog Banter: BE GONE!
  2. EVE Newb, (EVE) Remove You
  3. Miner With Fangs, Blog Banter – It’s the Scotch
  4. The Eden Explorer, Blog Banter: The Map! The Map!
  5. The Wandering Druid of Tranquility, “Beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, mushroom, MUSHROOM!!!”
  6. Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah, Kill the Rats
  7. Mercspector @ EVE, Scotty
  8. EVE’s Weekend Warrior, EVE Blog Banter #9
  9. Miner with Fangs, Blog Banter – It’s the Scotch
  10. A Merry Life and a Short One, Eve Blog Banter #9: Why Won’t You Die?
  11. Into the unknown with gun and camera, Blog Banter – The Hokey Cokey
  12. The Flightless Geek, EVE Blog Banter #9: Remove a Game Mechanic
  13. Sweet Little Bad Girl, Blog Banter 9: Who is Nibbling at My House?
  14. One Man and His Spaceship, Blog Banter 9: What could you do without?
  15. Life in Low Sec, EVE Blog Banter #9: Stop Tarnishing My Halo
  16. Cle Demaari: Citizen, Blog Banter #9: Training for all my men!
  17. A Mule in EVE, He who giveth, also taketh away?
  18. More as they are posted!