Friday, January 18, 2013

EVE online / Blog Banter 44: Local as chat or local as intelligence tool

Through Seismic Stan of Freebooted Drackarn asks us the following question:

"The local chat channel provides EVE players with an instant source of intel of who is in the system. With a quick glance you can tell who is in system and what your standings are to them. War targets, hated enemies, friends and corp mates all stand out clearly. Is this right? Should we have access to this intel for free with no work or effort? Should the Local chat channel even exist? Should normal space be more like wormhole space where the Local channel appears empty until someone speaks?"

Local chat has two functions, a chat tool and an intelligence tool.

Is local chat as an easy intelligence tool broken? Does it need fixing? Are the alternatives an improvement? Should CCP even focus it's energy on this?

Local as chat tool
We need local or an alternative to talk to the people around us. I want more options for interaction with nonblues as just shooting the other guy.
Local grid only would be too restrictive. After escaping a gate camp and warping off I want to be able to mock my opponent and wish them better luck next time. After getting stuck in a WH I might want to be able to ask the local population for help.
On the other hand the flood of 'gf' after an engagement might be stemmed if your only chance to do so is after losing your ship but before losing or warping your pod.

Replacing local with constellation or regional chat and/or only having the chat visible and no names list pane preserves the chat options for the most part while removing intelligence since you only know someone was in the same constellation at the moment they send the message.

So chat can easily be decoupled from the need for local.

Local as intelligence tool
Local shows us immediate information on who is in system. Someone is of the opinion this is too powerful as an information tool. Does it give out to much information? To fast or to accurate?

It tells us exact names, corporation, alliance and standings. The only other way to get this information right now is to be on the same grid or another (intel) chat channel.
So the problem is probably not in the information it gives but the fact this information is immediate, accurate and without any required action.

Wormholes dont' have local. Everyone is used to this mechanic and it's one of it's unique selling points. For intelligence you are primarily dependant on dscan, probes and perhaps an intel channel.
So local channels are not required as an intelligence tool for Eve to function. But the lack of local does raise the barrier for people to live there. Most people are risk averse. I know I am.

High sec is fine with local as intelligence tool. The information given is available for free without any need for action. Any change would only raise the barrier of entry for new players.
High sec should be among the safest place in Eve, where you can learn the game in your time and pace.

Low/Null then would be the two areas most affected by any change and the real reason to change anything.
But what exactly do we hope to accomplish by making it harder to get accurate information on who is in your vicinity?

Increased safety? Don't think so, with local as intelligence tool you immediately know if a hostile enters system and can dock up for safety or switch to a more appropriate ship. Or when entering a system you know if it's safe to warp to an outbound gate if the system is empty.
More goodfites? I don't think so, without local you have to scan an antire system to even know if there is a possible target.

Some talk about transponders that can be deactivated and have people show up in local when using dscan. Wouldn't that in effect result in a local that is 4 seconds delayed? Because you have to use dscan constantly to make sure you notice someone in warp to your location.
A nice idea is the deployable item that would show up in local as a decoy or pilot.

Others talk about buoys or other anchorables. Wouldn't this give too much benefit to the defending population and discourage roams? Already the local population has the advantage of being able to adapt fleet composition to counter the uninvited guests and the increased mobility offered by jump bridges in sov null.

Others mention the lack of basis for local in reality. Well it's sci-fi. Anything can be explained. From people being immortal thought cloning technology to the fact that spaceships behave more like submarines instead of real spaceships with their maximum velocity and drag.

Most calls for transponders or buoys could be implemented as an improvement of dscan. Turning them into a new mechanic or item is so CCP can base an expansion feature on it and of course players always like new skills/items.

Delayed local only allows for more ganks because it reduces safety and forces people to rely more on intel channels or pressing dscan constantly like WH players.
To be fair this seems the easiest solution. I live in sov null so would become more dependant on intel channels and dscan but other that that not so many problems.

How does this all fit in with the talk of 'farms and fields'? Less security means industrialists might be even less eager to actually live in their own space.

Improving local as intelligence tool
Wouldn't it be nice if we had tabs for local chat just like the overview so we could filter out blues?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Raziel. Thanks for joining the Banteratti. :)

    I'd leave an intelligent response to your well-reasoned discussion on local chat, but to be honest, it's all a bit over my head. I spend most of my time hiding in high-sec with local minimised so I don't think I'm really qualified to comment. Intelligence is something that happens to other people. ;)

    That said, I'm a big fan of immersion, so if something could be done to make it feel more like a spacship tool and less like a chat room, that'd be great by me.

    Seismic Stan/Freebooted