And a touch of gaming – Eve Online

I made a comment recently to one of Jester’s posts. I don’t – won’t – write regularly about Eve Online because I only play irregularly. I’m not only not an expert, I’m not even adequate (by my judgment). But this caught my attention and I responded.

And i’m going to repeat it here.

Background first. ECM in Eve Online is one of the subtle things that are hard to balance. It’s hard to balance because it’s potentially so darn powerful. Basically, if you successfully apply ECM the target can’t shoot. Or rather, it can’t lock onto any targets, and what cannot be locked cannot be shot. ECCM is a counter to this. For the WoW players (now and past) think stunlock from thieves, and abilities to prevent the stunlock. But not really, as I’ll get to in a bit.

What Jester asked, lamented, whatever, in an earlier post is why nobody bothers with ECCM. And in this one he asked what people would recommend. For a number of reasons (with which I agree) he added the caveat that neither remove ECM or massive reprogramming were acceptable solutions.

The problem is that in the mechanics of the game design there really isn’t a way without massive changes. If ECM succeeds then it applies for the next 20 seconds. Its chance of success is basically a percentage chance based on ECM vs signal abilities plus ECCM. And its success is all or nothing. All ECCM does is add a few percentage points to the defenders chance he will be able to continue lockon for the next 20 seconds. And to do this he has to use one (or some) of his dedicated slots that can be used for other stuff for something that only shows up something and is still binary in result.

That noted I made my suggestion of what re-write to do. Specifically, I suggested that application be a bit different. I phrased it there as cycle time but it’s not, really. What I suggested was that EACH SHOT gets a chance of lockon based on ECM/(SigStr+ECCM) values. Suddenly instead of 20 seconds of combat stunlock it’s 20 seconds of hard but not impossible to hit. And more important the ECCM isn’t once every 20 seconds for an all or nothing effect.

To be honest I’m not sure it’s the best solution. I don’t play the game enough to know. But it looks to me like it’s an acceptable solution. And I’m tossing it here so it doesn’t disappear down a hole.


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