EvE Online – Changing the Cat and Mouse game of gate camps

In EvE Online, the bane of all travelers is the gate camp. Weather you are in High/Low/Null you have the possibility of someone waiting to kill you on the other side of a gate.

Gallente Freightor
Pilot X – Doesn’t want to be ganked

I enjoy the game from CCP, EvE Online. It is a very interesting game, and I like the social and open world aspects.  There are a few things I’d like to throw out there to recommend as ideas for CCP to improve game play a bit.  CCP if you implement this idea I won’t object or ask for money at all… although an invite to your HQ would be awesome I’d love to see it, but that is just a hope not a requirement. I would however happily manufacturer the goods, sell them and use them.

This blog post is directed more at the CCP Development team than the average user however the more average users who read this and find it worth while and support it the more likely CCP might pay attention to it.

The Problem:

The bane of all travelers is the gate camp. Weather you are in High/Low/Null you have the possibility of someone waiting to kill you on the other side of a gate.  In the real world, individuals AND corporations a like would spend a LOT of time developing ways to minimize this liability (risk). No hauling company would ever be ok with someone jumping BLIND into the potential of losing profit. (Loss of life would be tragic but in all honesty the motivation would be profit.)  So here are two solutions that I think are fairly balanced. They provide information to both the person who wants to avoid dying AND the people who want to kill them and take their stuff, or in some cases just kill them.

Mac Gate Camp
The gate camp… They want to eat Pilot X and his lunch.

The Existing Solutions

Here are some of the responses I have found generated by players trying to mitigate this problem.

  1. Online intel:
    1. EvE Overmind  – Almost real time intel (I highly recommend)
    2. EvE Gatecamp Check – Plot a path and find out how many kill have happened recently, and if so how many of them have been on the gate (and which one if available)
    3. DOTLAN – Wow. Tons (and TONS) of map data and statistics, usually in a friendly format, but not always, and not always exactly what you are looking for. Lags behind real data a fair bit, not exactly sure how long usually for me it is measured in fractions of an hour.
    4. GankerLookout – Really good data about active gank activity along with historical trends about systems/regions and activity with times.
    5. AstralServices – A site with information about other people interested in stopping ganking.  It has information, tactics, in game channels, lists of known active gankers.
    6. Twitch.tv  (or other streaming services gaming.youtube.com) – Actively finding people/corps/groups who actively camp your gates and finding streams that reveal their behavior.  MANY people who do this LOVE attention and find that streaming what they are doing live gives them a real kick. I have seen tons of people streaming fleets / camps / suicide ganks in space I intend to travel… it can be very hit or miss though.  Often they will name their stream things like “Camping X7-JJ9” or “Ganking in Jita” or “Camping for Newbs”. Many attempt to mask their location or use a time delay, but both of those are “usually” pretty easy to solve.
  2. In game intel channels:
    1. Anti-ganking – A public channel where people share intel and tactics to stop ganking.
    2. Gank-Intel – A public channel dedicated to the reporting of suicide ganking.
  3. The in game map – This is an amazing resource that is often over looked, however it leaves a LOT to be desired in the solution of this problem.

There are flaws in each of the solutions above that are outside the control of the pilot(s) wanting to avoid ganking. The online intel usually lags behind a fair bit, and can be subject to outages at times.  Also unless you created the intel source you have no idea what exactly they are doing with that data or who else it is getting fed too. None of it is as up to date as your Eve Client. The anti-ganking channels (of any kind weather part of your corp/alliance or public) is subject to manipulation and false information. “Hey there is a team of 300 people camping this gate here a XXXXX.  Best to avoid it and go to YYYYY gate to take the long way”… while the gankers are sitting at YYYYY gate laughing.

Moving to an in game solution would make it so that the Pilot is in control of the intel they receive and it reflects the reality in the EvE Client.

The Proposed Solution

Jump Gate Probes/Drones.

  1. Probe possibility:
    1. Skill required to use… obviously.
    2. Launcher (may use existing or a specialize launcher) from a high slot.
    3. Launcher would launch a consumable “probe” (ammunition)
    4. Pilot would have to align to gate (within some range) and launch it similarly to how a smart bomb or moon scanning probe would be launched
    5. Probe would glide to gate and Jump (gate would flash BUT no new pilot would arrive in local)
    6. The probe would be visible (or de-cloak?) and technically be target-able however it would have a very small sig radius AND perform its task and die very rapidly. It would display WHO launched it in the overview (giving intel to possible gankers). It would not leave any debris on the field if destroyed though. (possibly easily kill-able with smart bombs?)
    7. Once on the other side it would perform a D-Scan within some range (probably determined by skill?)
    8. It would then relay the results back to the pilot who launched in the form of a “remote” d-scan report/mail/message/?.
  2. Drone possibility:
    1. Skills required… (new ones and existing drone skills)
    2. Specialized Drone required (possibly a new category of “intel” or use ECM type if existing category is wanted)
    3. Pilot would launch the drone
    4. Pilot would have to target the gate and be within drone range
    5. Pilot would “engage” (terminology would need to be established) the gate with the drone
    6. The drone would go to the targeted Gate and Jump, with gate flash
    7. Once on the other side the drone would follow same rules as a ship for cloak/de-cloak rules and timers. It would display the OWNER’s information on the overview and “show info” screen (the way drones normally do).
    8. Once the drone de-cloaks (or some set time after jumping) it would perform its D-Scan (or a scan of some kind)
    9. The drone would go back to the gate, Jump again, with gate flash
    10. Upon return of the drone to the Pilot’s control range the pilot would receive a “remote” d-scan report of the drones results.
    11. The drone could be targeted and/or destroyed on the remote side preventing the drone from getting results. Doing 2 things.
      1. Alerting possible gate campers there is a pilot on the other side worried about being ganked… (who they could then jump through and gank)
      2. Allowing a pilot to eventually figure out that their drone is dead… and there is probably a gate camp that destroyed it if it did not return.

Use Case:

I think these proposals would provide both sides of this conflict important pieces of information.  The same technology could be used by gankers to gain more intel.  For example, if the single pilot launches a drone the gankers could destroy, and send a drone/probe of their own back… collecting intel on the incoming side of the whole… is there one guy sitting there or a fleet of 300 cormorants?

Admittedly NOTHING will work better than having a trusted team of people working in tandem to scout, distract, fly, shit talk in local and contract. However there are a LOT of independents who play the game AND some times even a scout (or FC) wants to know what they are about to jump into.  It is a skill that I think MOST people will probably ignore but, it would get used a lot by people who fly in fleets (to do quick intel), people who haul/ship/travel, and even more by people who gank (to get intel/counter intel).

Potential Abuses

I can think of a couple possible exploits, that would need to be addressed in a variety of ways:

A huge fleet of people could launch said devices at a single gate a once. Doing so could cause problems depending on the implementation of the solution.

  1. The exploiting pilot(s) could possibly impact the client experience.  (for example) If you are sitting at a gate… then 1200 drones/probes jump next to you simultaneously and scan… that could possibly cause resource issues making the client unstable? Both system resources and network resources.
  2. This could possibly congest gate traffic, if enough people are launching through a gate at once (again it depends on a lot here, and I am not a programmer for CCP so I don’t know how things work in the code/infrastructure) it could add significant delay to gate traffic? or network transitions on the server side??? I really don’t know this is just a guess
  3. I am not sure how this would/could impact the time dilatation calculations either. It would completely depend on how those calculations are performed AND how this type of project would be implemented.

I believe these could be mitigated through the implementation of the project.

My Thoughts and Intentions

What I’m proposing tries not to tip the balance to far out of either side. As I myself love a good gate camp (as a participant) I don’t want people to just be able to avoid me, but as a hauler, and general explorer/scout, I want to avoid baddies.  So, what I’m proposing should allow both the campers/gankers to learn valuable information AND allow the pilot(s) looking for that data to do the same.  Both sides will be able to use what is reveled to their advantage if they chose wisely. Both could find it fatal if they do not.

I am not trying to make the game “fair” as life is not and the game is a modified reflection of that, however, it could change the dynamics of how hunting/camping is done and allow both the hunter and the prey find what they are looking for. Also I will add that even in an “unfair” world those in the disadvantage will always seek ways to remove the advantage of others and turn it against others. This would be a good reflection of that… in my opinion of course. The perpetual cat/mouse game of life.

Variations

There could also be a variation used for worm holes? Different probes/drones/skills obviously… but the concept would function the same in theory. The worm hole ones would be used extensively in null sec, by explorers, worm holers, and haulers who use worm holes,  etc.

Eve Online – Unkillable Hauler

I did everything you are “not supposed” to do in Eve… and didn’t die.

Ok, I’ve been playing Eve online lately.  Today I decided to try to see how hard it was to be a hauler and I tried to get “ganked”.

I flew between Jita and Amarr for 2 hours on autopilot in a poorly tanked T1 hauler, carrying blue prints (original and copies) for things ranging from T1 to T3.  On a character that was only 2 months old.

I flew (on auto pilot) through a fleet of 58 members of “.Code”.  I believe they are required to shoot people using autopilot…?

And not a single person shot me. Only 3 people yellow boxed me in my 2 hr adventure. Yellow boxing, for those who don’t play, simply means getting a radar lock on without attacking.

I jumped through Sivala and Uedama over 6 times. During the course of the last hour 108 players were ganked in Uedama.

I sat in Jita, undocked for 20 minutes… and no one ganked me.

I’m not sure what is wrong with this game.  I could not find anyone to engage me, I did everything you are “not supposed” to do and I didn’t die.

Eve Online – With a new Set of Eyes

Pictures of the beautiful scenery in the game Eve Online.

I’ve been playing EVE online for a while now and was just recently able to upgrade my hardware to truly see the game. This post is pretty simple, I just wanted to show some of the screen shots I was able to get in the last few days, most of them this evening.

A T1 mining barge getting ready to dock near a wonderful looking sun.
T1 Mining Barge In a belt
T1 Mining Barge In a belt
A Rattlesnake ratting in an haven
A Rattlesnake ratting in an haven
Titan
A Titan approaching a warp approaching a warp gate
Coming out of warp
Coming out of warp with a fleet
A carrier docking
A carrier docking
A caracle in a steady bank
A Caracle in a steady bank
A Titan
A Titan
Nocits after a hard labor
Nocits after a hard labor
Taranis at rest
Taranis at rest

Please do not use these images in your other works.