"Beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, mushroom, MUSHROOM!!!"

Welcome to the ninth edition of the EVE Blog Banter , 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 completely from EVE and why? I can see this getting quite heated so lets keep it civil eh?”

Just a quick note before I begin here.  Since I started all this discussion on game mechanics with the last Blog Banter, I have asked that my post NOT be considered for the Blog Banter Contest.  I honestly do not think it would be fair to everyone, as CK and I work so closely together on maintaining the EVE Blogroll and the OPML download, that I be an eligible participant.  However, I am writing a post for the plain and simple reason that I love writing for the monthly Blog Banter discussions.  So, without further adieu, below is my contribution, enjoy!!!

It seems that I created a monster with the introduction of discussions on game mechanics.  Which game mechanic would I like to see removed from the game and why?  Hmm…that’s a tough question.  I am one of those twisted individuals that enjoys how complex EVE can be.  What can we removed from EVE?  Would it still be EVE if it was removed?

EVE Online is more than just a game, it’s a community that is rich in culture and diverse in opinion.  We have seen many changes in the game over the years, including things removed from the game.  Mines were something that were removed as they were a large contributor to generating lag.  The ability to see faction gear on the market was removed and the contracts system was born.  Speed balancing, NOS balancing, etc…we have seen many changes.

So, what would I removed from the game?  It’s hard to think of something to remove without coming up with something to replace it as a result.   What to remove, what to remove……

Well…there have always been discussions about removing local chat from the game.  Such posts on the EVE forums traditionally become rather heated with equally valid points from both sides of the argument.  I can’t argue this one as I am from the ‘keep local’ camp, sorry…

In my article that lead to this blog banter (http://www.eve-druid.com/wow-that-new-thing-is-so-shiny), I put forth the concept of hackable sentry guns at stargates.  Stargates…..YES!  That’s what I would remove from the game, stargates, definitely.

**Ga’len looks around at the stunned looks from people in the room **

Why?  Well, two reasons.  First, to provide for a space flight experience that you can immerse yourself within and two, my favorite,  reduce in system lag.

**Ga’len looks around at the room again, now everyone has passed out from shock. **

Now, of course, every EVE pilot reading this is asking, “How would you travel between systems without stargates?” Stargates after all were established to provide a means to travel the huge distances between systems.  I am sure that any dev reading this is asking, “How will we effect a session change between star systems, grids and nodes?”

The answer is closer than you think.  Take a moment and step outside, look up and take a gander at that jet plane that may be flying over your home.  How is that jet plane that leaves New York travel all the way to Reykjavik Iceland?  In the old days, a pilot would set a course based on using a single instrument, the compass.  In out present day world, jet planes use a compass, navigation beacons that are on the ground and GPS systems.  Navigation beacons, that’s the answer to travel without stargates and believe it or not, it’s how we can reduce lag in the game.

So tell me, in the time that humans have rediscovered space flight, evolved to produce Tech II ships and modules as well as build ships such as a Titan have we also failed to improve on our warp drive systems?  I would think not.  I would think that we would continue to evolve and make our warp drive faster.  With the vast void between systems, there are fewer and fewer gravity wells from objects that could slow down a warp drive engine.  Within a system, there are planets, asteroids, moons and stations.  Just too many gravity wells for a warp drive engine be able to run at full power.  So yes, I would think that a ‘sudden in game event’ that leads to better warp drive should happen so that we can remove stargates.

Capital Ship pilots have jump drives that allow them to travel in a relatively straight line in an instant.  They require the use of another ship sitting in space with an active Cynosaural field to lock onto that beacon and jump.

Why can’t warp drive navigation work in the same manner, where you set your course from Jita to Tash-Murkon Prime based on a universe wide navigational system of beacons.  When you set your course, the distance you can travel based on the energy required to jump you into warp and the active recharge rate of your capacitor would determine which beacons are within your travel range.  You would set course for that beacon and go.  No more inbound and outbound stargates for a system, just a single point where everyone ends up, roughly 15 km from the beacon relative to the direction from which you just traveled.

Now, this is where lag reduction comes into play.  Say you are traveling from Jita to say Emrayur.  The current route would take your through Tash-Murkon Prime.  You would currently jump in the stargate at Bhiz, warp across system and then jump into Emrayur.  Why could you not use the Tash-Murkon Prime beacon as a ‘waypoint’ to help you get into range of the Emrayur beacon.  There would be no need for you to land in Tash-Murkon Prime as you are not stopping there.  If you are not stopping there, then you would never load onto the grid or node.  Having less people in system reduces the lag simply because they are not there.  Having your destination already set on trip would allow for predictive grid loading at your destination.  Such ‘preparation’ for your arrival in reality could reduce the lag you see when you actual load into a system.

Furthermore, with no longer having the same systems be the ‘trade hubs’ due to where they exist on established stargate based travel routes, all star systems with stations have the potential to become important trade hubs.  Having more trade hubs would help to spread out commerce and thus stop the clumping effect of systems like Jita, Tash-Murkon Prime, Hek, etc…Such disbursement of commerce would also help to reduce in system lag and reduce the hold that people may have on a particular area.  No more static markets that newer players have a hard time in which to gain entry.  True market capitalism would be dealt another winning card in game and of course, less people clumped into a system or node, less lag.

Having beacons in the game would could lead to other fun mechanics.  You have jump bridges in 0.0 now for navigation and ease of movement.  Corporations could deploy a corporate beacon at their deployed POS’s to provide additional waypoints beacons for their corp members.  Having such ‘established’ travel routes for corporations would allow pirates some variety in traffic to attempt to catch, etc..

“So Ga’len.  With the removal of those inbound and outbound stargates, will this remove gate camping and piracy?

I would suspect that the role of the traditional gate camper would change and they would have a much harder time of catching someone as they travel ‘through’ a system and not stop at a beacon as it’s not their final destination.

But being a pirate, I have some evil thoughts on this one.  I would introduce a module that creates a ‘ghost beacon’.

What is a ‘ghost beacon’?  Well, how many of us have had trouble with our satellite television or radio due to interference?  A ‘ghost beacon’ would be an electronic warfare type of module that would create interference with communications with a beacon in system.  Such modules could only be operated in systems with a security level of 0.4 or lower as Concord officially disapproves of the use of modules that interfere with navigation.  You would have to be in close proximity to the actual in system beacon.  This module, when active, would begin to mask or steal the signal from a navigational beacon.  As a ship in warp travels closer to where a ‘waypoint’ beacon is located, loss of signal would cause a navigational problem and the ship would simply drop out of warp, say, 15 km from the where the ‘ghost beacon’ ship is located.

Once the ship drops out of warp, it’s able to lock onto the correct navigational beacon again as the interference from the warp drive operation and the ‘ghost beacon’ module are not as strong.  You can then warp out and be on your way, unless the pirates are able to tackle you. This mechanic becomes even more evil in 0.0 space where you can deploy warp bubbles.  An unsuspecting ship would drop out of warp and would become instantly trapped in the warp bubble.

Of course, you would have no way of knowing that a ‘ghost beacon’ is in operation until you came within the 40 km of the ‘ghost beacon’ ship and saw that you were having communication problems.  You could then of course, select to drop out of warp early and re-establish communication with the navigational system.  Flying AFK would still be dangerous as if you did not see the warning of a communication problem, you would not be able to drop out of warp early and would most likely be tackled by pirates, much like flying on autopilot now.

Currently, many people avoid gate camps by looking at the universe map and seeing how many ships were destroyed in a system, this would still provide you the a way to avoid such dangers.  ‘Traffic Piracy’ would not really change much from how it works now save that there would be a single entryway to a system and beacons everywhere save 0.0 space would still have sentry guns.  The use of scouting alts would no longer be very effective as there would be no stargate to scout anymore, however, a scout ship along a well traveled ‘vector’ between popular systems could be staged to identify potential targets that are in warp.

So, there you have it.  Stargates and their current travel mechanic.  Yup, that’s what I would remove.

Please do read these other fine posts on this month’s Blog Banter!!!

    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. Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah, Kill the Rats
    6. Mercspector @ EVE, Scotty
    7. EVE’s Weekend Warrior, EVE Blog Banter #9
    8. A Merry Life and a Short One, Eve Blog Banter #9: Why Won’t You Die?
    9. Into the unknown with gun and camera, Blog Banter – The Hokey Cokey
    10. The Flightless Geek, EVE Blog Banter #9: Remove a Game Mechanic
    11. Sweet Little Bad Girl, Blog Banter 9: Who is Nibbling at My House?
    12. One Man and His Spaceship, Blog Banter 9: What could you do without?
    13. Life in Low Sec, EVE Blog Banter #9: Stop Tarnishing My Halo
    14. Cle Demaari: Citizen, Blog Banter #9: Training for all my men!
    15. A Mule in EVE, He who giveth, also taketh away?
    16. Dense Veldspar, Blog Banter 9
    17. Morphisat’s Blog, Blog Banter #9 – Randomness Be Gone !
    18. Facepalm’s Blog, EVE Blog Banter #9: What a new pilot could do without
    19. Memoires of New Eden, You’re Fired
    20. Kyle Langdon’s Journeys in EVE, EVE Blog Banter #9 Titans? What’s a Titan?
    21. Achernar, The gates! The gates are down!
    22. Speed Fairy, EVE Blog Banter #9: Down with Downtime!
    23. I am Keith Neilson, EVE Blog Banter #9-F**K Da Police
    24. Ripe Lacunae, The UI… Where do I begin… (Eve Blog Banter #9)
    25. Clown Punchers, EvE Blogs: What game mechanic would you get rid of?
    26. Estel Arador Corp Services, You’ve got mail
    27. Epic Slant, Let Mom and Pop Play: EVE Blog Banter #9
    28. Deaf Plasma’s EVE Musings, Blog Banter #9 – Removal of Anchoring Delay of POS modules
    29. Podded Once Again, Blog Banter #9 – Do we really need to go AFK?
    30. Postcards from EVE, 2009.
    31. Harbinger Zero, Blog Banter #9 – War Declarations & Sec Status
    32. Warp Scrammed, Blog Banter 9 – Never Too Fast
    33. Ecaf Ersa (EVE Mag), Can a Tractor Tractor a Can?
    34. Thoughts from an Accidental Minmatar Revolutionary, EVE Blog Banter #9 – Aggression timers, WTs and Stargates
    35. Mike Azariah, I don’t put much stock in it…
    36. Rettic’s Log, Blog Banter: Overview Overload
    37. A Sebiestor Scholar, [OOC] EVE Blog Banter #9: Slaves
    38. Diary of a pod pilot, [OOC] EVE blog banter #9: Because of Falcon
    39. Roc’s Ramblings, Blog Banter #9 – Taking Things Slow
    40. The Gaming-Griefer, EVE Sucks, But I Love It: The Memoir of a Masochist
    41. Letrange’s EVE Blog, Blog Banter #9: Bye Bye Learning Skills
    42. Lyietfinvar, Remove that monopoly
    43. Sceadugenga, Blog Banter #9
    44. Industrialist with Teeth, EVE Blog Banter #9
    45. More articles as they are posted!!!

    ~ by J. Riley Castine on June 30, 2009.

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