About two years ago, Mike Azariah floated an interesting thought experiment called a “peace dec.” Summarizing it: Using a peace dec, a non-destructive entity (i.e. mining/industry/ratting) would be able to unilaterally sue for peace with a PvP group, forcing that PvP group to perform some industrial activity in order to regain the ability to engage those pilots in space.
Ripard Teg recently revived discussion of the idea this week, neatly summarizing it: Both the proposed peacedec system and the existing wardec system serve as a tool to force players into participating in a play style that they don’t enjoy.
When it was first posted, Mike pointed out that it was a thought experiment with obvious weaknesses (and obvious possibilities for workarounds/evasions), and that it would almost certainly never be implemented. However, the reactions to the idea — especially with Ripard’s recent revival of it — have been interesting: as you’d expect, the reactions have been very positive from the industrial/ratting community, and negative from the PvP community. In this case, however, I’m pretty disappointed in the former, though; the idea is proving to be popular simply because it’s “sticking it to those damn griefers,” and that’s a terrible reason.
I’ll get into a discussion of “griefing” sometime later; in the meantime, let’s roll with this idea a bit. If the problem with wardecs is that they force you to play Eve in a different (and potentially unpleasant) way, then how about we introduce a mechanic that encourages competition between industrial/ratting entities? One that does not involve destroying each other’s assets — or even directly interacting with each other — but that rewards people for competitive behavior.
For example, imagine a mining interdiction declaration:
- Corp/alliance A (for aggressor) declares that corp/alliance T (for target) will be prohibited from mining in system S.
- For one week, if any member of T activates a harvesting module (miner, gas harvester, etc) while in S, they will suffer some penalty — I like the idea of them gaining a suspect flag, but a fine or a dramatic reduction in mining efficiency would work too.
- However, in order to continue the interdiction, the members of A must mine a minimum amount of ore (in m^3) from system S.
- If A cannot mine enough ore to continue the interdiction, they cannot start another interdiction for a significant period of time.
This is competitive, but in a constructive, and largely non-confrontational manner. It has all sorts of possibilities:
- Corp T might simply move to another system for mining for that week.
- Corp T might choose to mine in the system during a quiet timezone, when nobody’s there to shoot them.
- Corp T might choose to ninja-mine an anomaly in the system with Prospects, forcing A (or other entities in the system) to probe them down and hunt them.
It also encourages community involvement:
- Non-A locals in the system might be compelled to engage members of T that receive suspect flags by mining in defiance of the “minedec” — or be encouraged/bribed to let them go.
- Members of A need to be undocked and mining in S in order to maintain the interdiction, so there’s room to interfere with A — whether that’s a conventional wardec, a suicide gank, or simply bumping their miners.
It encourages competitive industry. It doesn’t require direct, destructive combat between ships — we could probably even remove the suspect flag mechanic, and simply say that members of the target corp/alliance will get significantly reduced output in the system, or a small fine from CONCORD for defying the minedec. It’s constructive for the rest of the Eve universe too; no matter how the minedec ends, you’re going to have somebody mining ore to sell.
And yet, if something like this was implemented, I guarantee you that the miners of Eve would shit themselves in rage.
There are similar analogs for market PvP that we can make. For example, plenty of nations in the real world have restrictions against predatory pricing and “dumping product” — how about CCP implements a market wardec that increased the cool-down period for updating your sell/buy orders, effectively preventing a trader from 0.01-isking? (Or increased the market-maker fees taken out of each sale?) Or a market competition, where traders could compete on market volume for an item in one region, with the winner receiving some bonus to trade on that item.
You can’t make every player happy. My suspicion is that wardecs (and the peacedec/minedec/tradedec ideas) are offensive to people not because they’re asymmetric, or even because that they force you into a different play-style. They are offensive to people because they are inherently competitive, and not everyone enjoys competition — of any kind. I’ll talk about that, and the definition of griefing, and about the nature of certain themepark MMOs, later. :)