The Elephant In the Room

This was originally going to be two separate posts: one a funny little interchange with a butt-hurt mission runner who’s Domi I popped, and another as a commentary on the recently brought to light allegations of CCP reimbursing peoples mission ships who lose them to stupidity. However, seeing as they fit together so well on the gray-area subject of aggro-refreshing, I thought they’d play nice together.

Laughing Out Loud:

If you shoot at ninjas, bad things happen. I know this little mantra has been a bit over-played over the years, but this is an eventuality, not a possibility, and solid proof of this came the other night.

Getting bored in Emol without finding much, I popped next door to Ammold to see what sort of trouble I could get into. I tried antagonizing a raven and then a Vargur without much success, and then managed to liberate the ships crew from a Navy Domi and a very belligerent Drake pilot who ended up canceling his own mission rather than pay my modest finders fee for the return of his M.O. Tisk tisk. Fun, but no pew.

Finally, I dropped in on a Dominix, finished with his first room and heading towards the gate to the second one. I zipped over to the last non-looted wreck in the room and snagged a piece of ammo before heading towards the gate. Domi yellow-boxed, popped drones, and then very predictably, went flashy red. Bingo. In my salvage Ruppy, I got my disruptor running, deployed my warrior IIs, and started taking out his drones.

The plan WAS, to bring in the Orca for some fancy re-fitting on the fly, but due to getting THREE convo requests and a phone-call all in the span of about 30 seconds, I managed to warp my Orca to the wrong BM and watched as my Rupure went down kicking and screaming to Kubwa’s drones. Crap.

After that, he of course warped before I could bring in the Orca for real this time. Double-crap. So instead, I settled into a long bout of aggro refreshing hijinx. I’d refresh, then swap to a CovOps and try to find some more unwilling playmates, before swapping into another Ruppy and refreshing again.

Finally though, after about 45 minutes, this was starting to get old and I was starting to lose interest. Pissed, I docked up to take a little food break.

However, in docking at the only station in Ammold, I realized that the Domi wasn’t there, despite still showing in system. I did a quick dscan with my alt still parked in his mission and found nothing. This could only mean one thing: safe spot.

Grinning, I swapped back for a CovOps and sent out probes. When scanning for victims , I always name BMed hits as the ship type as well as the ship’s scan ID. This was coming in very handy at the moment, as I could do a large-probe system scan for a specific ID and then narrow it in. Roughly 25 seconds after deploying probes, I was en route in a cloaked covops to Kubwa’s not-so-safe spot.

My grin turned into full on laughing out loud as I saw Kubwa’s flashy red Domi appear on my overview as I exited warp. Giggling, I BMed the spot and immediately went back to the Orca for the Rupture. Pumped, slightly drunk, and still giggling like a schoolgirl, I warped back to my new friend.

What I hadn’t accounted for however, was that the Domi was moving through this safe spot, so when I came out of warp 50km from him, I panicked. Going for broke, I overheated my AB and started powering towards him anyways.

As the seconds painfully ticked by, I began to realize a little detail that immediately brought a shit-eating grin back to my face: Kubwa was AFK.

Astoundingly enough, Kubwa had apparently walked away from his computer with his ship out in space with a glaring aggro timer staring at him. As I entered disruptor range, I locked him up, sent out my drones, and set into a nice tight orbit. Kubwa’s active tank wasn’t much help with no one actually activating it, and the Domi went down hard.

I sat there clutching my sides from laughing through the whole thing and realized that Kubwa was STILL AFK, his pod just sitting there. I started sending out requests through Corp and Alliance chat for a pod-suicider in the area when my new friend suddenly came back to life:

Kubwa > hrm….interesting?  how am i still aggroed to you?
Aiden Mourn > wierd
Aiden Mourn > magic I guess
Aiden Mourn > nice safe spot
Aiden Mourn > =p

Kubwa > wasn’t a safe spot
Kubwa > i left to go pick up my wife

Aiden Mourn > I’d blame her for this then
Kubwa > nah. think this is petition worthy
Kubwa > seeing as how much longer than 15 mins past since i killed you

Aiden Mourn > not if youre looking for a worth-while response
Kubwa > i’ll get my ship back
Aiden Mourn > no you wont
Kubwa > there’s no debating it
Aiden Mourn > but you might get a well-worded response telling you why you wont

Aggro mechanics are a bitch my friend, but go easy on the old lady for this one.


The Elephant In the Room:

Apparently, aggro mechanics are proving to be a bit more of an elephant in the room than can be ignored any longer, with the staggering recent reimbursment by CCP to a carebear who lost his CNR due to aggro-refresh techniques by a ninja he’d shot at.

Aggro-refreshing, for those not in the know, has always been a bit of a gray-area in the Ninja’s arsenal of tricks in hunting mission runners that involves literally refreshing the original aggro timer on the carebear who shot at your salvage ship before docking, by aggressing items in space that belong to them: i.e. wrecks. I do want to make it clear that this has NEVER been deemed an exploit officially by CCP, nor do we at SN endorse using actual exploits in Eve.

In light of this event, Paul from My Loot, Your Tears made an inquiry with a senior GM who confirmed that refreshing aggro is NOT considered an exploit. The GM followed it up though by saying that CCP “reserves the right” to change this feature later.

And thats where the problem lies. In making this a case-by-case deliberation, CCP only brings the aggro-refresh bug to the surface without addressing any real solution to the problem.

Aggro-refreshing is not a perfect system either; its bugged to hell and works like a malfunctioning appliance at best: sometimes you need to change sessions (docking/undocking) between refreshing, and somtimes you don’t. Sometimes the timer resets itself, or even disappears completely and other times its stays visible. And other times, you get the random “GCC bug”, which despite the lack of CONCORD warning, flags you with a GCC timer, at which point you can neither dock or change ships for 15 minutes without getting blown to bits. So there’s no denying that its a flawed tool and I would seriously doubt that its a “working as intended” game mechanic. But that’s where my biggest problem with it is.

What I would like to see is a solid answer, a yes or no response, from CCP. Pick a side, and follow through with it. If refreshing aggro via a wreck or can is a viable and fully intended game mechanic, then fix it and get rid of the bugs. And if IS a bug or exploit that’s resulting in reimbursed ships, then just call it that and we can be done with it. Aggro-refreshing is hardly the only trick up a ninja’s sleeve, but I for one would appreciate a straight answer.

Because as Paul also mentioned on his blog, the real concern in this is “how often DOES this happen?” This particular event has been blown into the public spectrum due the mission runner in question posting about it on his blog, but how many others who’ve shot at ninjas, then ignored aggro timer warnings and been killed have had their ships replaced as well? Seeing as I spend the majority of my time in Eve separating people from their ships, isk, and assets, its an issue that rings pretty close to me, and I’d like to know if its all a waste.



~ by Aiden Mourn on August 15, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Elephant In the Room”

  1. I wouldn’t call it all a “waste”. If both the carebear and the ninja got what they wanted, why is it a waste?

    I understand and agree that CCP needs to make it clear whether it’s an exploit or valid mechanic (and fix the bugs) etc…

    But I don’t understand why a ninja would be so upset that a carebear got his ship back. It’s not like the GM went and took all the loot back from the ninja is it?

    If it was me, I would prefer that my victims received their ship back, because it just means they are more likely to be returning customers/victims. It’s the same reason I hardly ever pod people. I would rather they keep playing the game, and come back and fight me again.

    Just my 2 cents. I do hope CCP gets this issue dealt with and fixed (whichever way) soon.

    • @Laedy: To me its more the principal of it. No, of course the GMs aren’t removing isk or loot from my end of things after a gank. But in replacing a ship lost as a result of actions taken on the part of two people (yes, its a 2-person affair, it’s not like I randomly suicide people’s mission ships), CCP sends a message that its *ok* to make stupid mistakes because there will be a safety net. Eve is a game that revolves around the concept of consequences to every action, which is what makes it so awesome. Hell, even npc-corp-dwelling, antisocial mission grinders are faced with consequences to their actions, in terms of choosing what corp to run for, which pirate/racial faction to make friends or enemies with, etc. Its the cog that drives this game, and adding a secret “do-over” button defeats that idea in my opinion.

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