The Secure Commerce Commission Needs Teeth!

The whole “suicide ganking” issue has been getting a lot of play in EVE Online discussion circles. Groups of players in high security systems, systems with CONCORD police patrols, sacrificing themselves to blow up your ship so their corp mates can then loot your wreck and make off with the goodies you were hauling.

I’m coming up on two years in the game, and that is just life in EVE.   I’ve faced the issue myself.  And CCP says that it is not griefing as long as the motive is economic gain.

Highway robbery is a valid economic proposal in EVE Online!

The scheme is more than a little dubious as people make alts, train them up just enough to be effective, gank away until they lose enough security status to no longer be useful, then roll another alt.

I suppose you can make a claim about “false IDs” or getting your security clearance “doctored” as a role play justification for this, but it is still a matter of a game mechanism being used as it was not intended.

The attacks have been getting worse of late though. I have been shot up a couple of times flying an empty hauler. Fortunately I was on my guard a couple of times and the attacker was inept in the one other case. But still, you want to shout “BUY A CARGO SCANNER” in the local channel. I get the “for profit” aspect, but now gangs are just crapping on people for no reason.

Of course, some people want CONCORD to be more effective. They want CONCORD out kicking butt and taking names.

When it was just economic gain that people were pursuing with this behavior, CCP seemed disinclined to change things. Now that it seems to be something of an epidemic, CCP has taken official notice. In the latest EVE Insider Dev Blog they have listed out some measures that they are looking into to keep suicide ganking from being so easy.

The items they are proposing seem good to me. They do not appear, in my eyes, to push CONCORD too far from their position of “force of retribution” as opposed to a “force of protection.” Still, I bet the debates will rage on the EVE forums.

But, while we’re on the subject, I would like to toss out one more idea that I think is completely in keeping with the nature of EVE Online.

I would changes things so that, if you attack and destroy a ship in a high security system, you should not only face the wrath of CONCORD, but you (and your helpers) should also have to pay back the Secure Commerce Commission for any insurance payout they have to make.

And, while I was doing that, I would also raise the insurance premiums and payouts on Tech II ships.

I think that a realistic economic disincentive to ganking would do nearly as much to slow it down as making CONCORD more aggressive. If you do not have enough ISK in your account when you kill somebody, you balance goes negative. Of course, people could work around that with trades, so you would probably have to add in something to prevent people from deleting characters with negative ISK balances or at least some ability to impound ships or equipment.

I know I would make sure I had the platinum insurance plan on all my ships if a high sec ganker was going to have to take care of the payout!

What else, if anything, should CCP consider?

11 thoughts on “The Secure Commerce Commission Needs Teeth!

  1. Sara Pickell

    This may seem kind of out there, but why not have a section of the volunteer program that allows you to work for CONCORD as a detective. Whenever someone suicide ganks you can come in later and read system wide logs tracked by the billboards and see who did the ganking, who took the loot and which way they left the system.

    From there you have to actually track them down and can fine them, or even catch them in the act when they strike again. Of course you would have CONCORD reinforcements on call so that you aren’t all just bark.

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  2. mbp

    While I understand that the current risk verus reward ratio is completely unbalanced in favour of gankers I really really hope these changes don’t bring about the end of high sec suicide ganking.

    Withouth suicide gankers there would be no reason to keep looking over your shoulder in the safe regions of Empire Space. Without risk EVE would not be EVE.

    I also disagree with you about insurance payouts for Tech 2 ships. In fact I more or less think CCP should dispense with insurance for all but the lowest level of noob ships. Without the risk of loss everybody would simply fly around in the biggest baddest ship they could afford all the time. The risk of loss forces players to balance risk against reward in every aspect of the game. Again I say that without risk EVE would not be EVE.

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  3. wallaceblue

    I don’t have an issue with the changes, the losses to suicide gankers are greater, but don’t stop it from becoming worthwhile.

    There is a similar, but easier to implement, version of what Sara is suggesting, in the form of transferable kill rights.

    It’s an idea that CCP are aware of, and will hopefully be brought into the game at some point.

    The problem with kill rights is that your average industrialist isn’t going to be able to take advantage them.

    However, if they can give them to another, more combat orientated character, then people who repeatedly attack others in high sec will find themselves open to counter attacks.

    And it would open up the bounty hunting profession, which would be awesome.

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  4. bluelinebasher

    Is this a knee-jerk reaction to bleeding-heart carebear cries? Or is it the repair of a design flaw? I think CCP is focusing on the wrong thing here. Suicide ganking should still be a part of the game. With warp to zero and ship salvaging now, I can understand people gambling and taking potshots at any hauler that goes by regardless of cargo contents. I think really the only victims are those that are AFK (what are you thinking hauling a packaged hulk AFK?!). I’ve only been bothered in high-sec by baiters warp scrambling the cargo containers called “You” by bot checkers. If there’s some sort of insurance/security exploit going on, yes, that needs to be fixed, and if there’s some sort of alt rolling to avoid punishment that should be worked into the TOS. But I think they put day limits on deleting characters so there is nothing automatic about it one on account except using your other slots (and free accounts).

    The real problem is if suicide ganking is happening out of sheer boredom from pvp players, the PvP/pirating profession needs enhancement. There should be more opportunity for high sec pvp if there is not enough worthwhile action in low-sec. Mission runners need more risk/reward involved for higher level missions and storyline. This is completely tangable — would you do a courier mission for a +5 implant that flagged you as a PvP killable ship in high sec (and made you a nice flashing red target) across 10 jumps? As a pirate, wouldn’t you like to be able to help if you get a distress call from your faction that is getting pummeled in a level 4 mission in high sec? If pirates are down to just killing other pirates in low/null sec, there needs to be some growth that breaks the security barriers a bit. Did faction warfare succeed in this?

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  5. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I certainly do not want to banish suicide ganking. That high sec highway robbery could be made to pay is one of the great moments of EVE.

    But it is too easy, too widespread, and too profitable at the moment. They need to draw in the reigns a bit so that it isn’t seen as an alternative for bored pirates just looking for some fun.

    You mention my losing that Hulk. It got out to Amarr space the first time on an AFK run. The space lanes were pretty quiet back then. I got attacked once on the move back to Caldari space when I gave people a nice, juicy target. My bad, I took it like a man. But on the trip back out to Amarr again, I got jumped every other trip.

    Monkey see, monkey do has made this a big deal. The downside is so low that it is a positive feedback loop that will keep speeding up.

    I think some plan along the lines of bounties might be good. Maybe that is the Secure Commerce Commision’s outlet. A high sec ganker gets a bounty on his or her head for high sec kills equal to the amount of the insurance payout.

    Going back to insurance payouts, I think that could be adjusted to reflect where you got killed, with a lower payout for low sec or 0.0 space… call it a high risk waiver… and higher payouts for high security space. The SCC should want to make things right if you get smacked in a 1.0 system.

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  6. bluelinebasher

    I’ll agree, and even go further that 1.0 should be a safe zone. With Eve’s punishment system for absorbing ISK loses, there needs to be a guaranteed way to wiggle out of nothingness. It may mean grinding veld some, and I think if gankers are down to picking off these guys, that should be considered grieving and Concord should arrive in time to prevent in this case. Same with those people that used to hang out in the tutorial zones and drop their can for a noob to loot. They may have been fixed with the new tutorials, but I’m sure it still happens a lot outside of 1.0 stations.

    It would be interesting if they implemented a way for high-sec hold ups. 3-5 webbers and warp scrams to hold people in place and be able to pull from their cargo holds if someone is within range (make it so they need hacking skills or whatever, or a whole new criminal line of skills) without firing weapons. A way for the victim to call for Concord if engaged. There needs to be the added element for a pirate of “maybe I can pull this off…” without planning to accept a ship loss to see what can get grabbed in time. Good crooks make a getaway in time, maybe not getting all the loot. Have it be a time based thing (docking, securing, hauling — could all be trained skills like a salvaging mod) and the heist needs to be completed before Concord catches and punishes. Those with higher security status get protected quicker, fast talk can be used as an edge on being able to jump away from the system…I like the bounty hunter idea and it makes sense for someone who is becoming a successful robber, and I like the idea of a DED or Concord helper to be able to assist in distress calls.

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  7. A goon

    Somebody said the risk to reward ratio is in favour of the gankers. This is amazingly untrue. As a suicide ganker myself I know this. I gank hulks. The actual killing NEVER makes me a profit (unless it is a faction fit hulk or something) and I typically lose 10-15 million per hulk gank on a fully insured typhoon.

    I don’t do this for profit, I do it for fun. To instil some anarchy in a place people thought was safe. But if CCP go ahead and change insurance and increase concord response times an entire play style will be taken away.

    And as for your idea of gankers having to pay a fine? That is the worst idea I have ever heard. Don’t criticise something until you have tried it and CERTAINLY don’t try to make suggestions for fixing something without trying it.

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  8. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Well, if that is your motivation, which I read as basically screwing with people, and which a lot of people would label as griefing, then you are probably going do it no matter what the consequences are.

    And I completely fail to see why the SCC shouldn’t look to you to pay for the insurance outlays. The insurance system as it stands now in EVE is a complete charade of any real economic entity. It is a giant bottomless cash bucket for people. It makes no sense.

    This game is supposed to have some real economic constraints, but you want to just haul off and destroy other ships along with your own and have somebody else pay for it.

    If you went out to your car right now and decided to just crash it into somebody else’s for fun, you’d end up paying. Why do you expect it to be different in EVE? Or do you want the game to only be hard core the aspects YOU enjoy?

    If 10-15 million ISK are the only consequences to you, that is pretty trivial and convinces me that things are totally slanted towards the gankers.

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  9. A goon

    When it’s a 10-15 million isk loss per gank we have already payed our prices. And no, this will not stop me, it will just make it more difficult and more expensive. If CCP insists that this is a sandbox game they should not be putting artificial constraints on a playstyle.

    As for the whole “It’s different in real life!” argument: There’s no sound in space either, eve still has that. Lasers don’t recoil. Eve has that.

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  10. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    It is a game, it is nothing but artificial constraints.

    The insurance payout that limits your loss to 10-15 million ISK is an artificial constraint. The real constraint should be the full cost of your Typhoon. That would be the “sans constraint” sandbox you speak of. But the magically solvent insurance company makes things easy on you.

    You want to have fun, why shouldn’t you pay your share? That 10-15 million ISK sure doesn’t cover it.

    As for real life, you can’t die and resurrect in your clone either. But I’m not talking about science and technology, I’m talking about economics, something CCP says they are serious about modeling.

    And in their current model, I’d rather have no insurance company than the economic crutch they have right now. There is a dose of sandbox reality I’d like to see.

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  11. A goon

    The fact remains that you have never tried suicide ganking. People like you seem to think it’s easy as pie. It’s not. Trying to limit your losses, by spending as little as possible, while still trying to muster enough firepower to kill a tanked hulk is difficult. If you want to try it I will personally hold your hand through the entire process.

    Ingame is Cancer Face

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