In Soviet Russia, Crime Watches You

CCP Masterplan has just released the new DevBlog on the highly anticipated/morosely dreaded Crimewatch iterations, and I can literally here Poetic, Ripard, and at least 40 other Eve bloggers furiously hammering out their responses from here.

First of all, I will clear the air right off and say this post will actually not be about how Crimewatch 2 applies to Ninja Salvaging. Yes, this will in some ways effect that particularly close-to-my-heart profession, but Ninja Salvaging has always been a sort of gray area fringe niche, and will move forward with this in some form or another. The real nerfs to the profession came more than a year ago with loot drop and salvage price dives, and the community has and will continue to find creative new ways of ruining someones day regardless. I’m honestly not too worried about the effect his may or may not have on Ninjaing as a profession, because if anything, it blows the doors wide open for conflict escalation and further tom-foolery.

That said, there are some glaring problems with Crimewatch 2 (CW2) that need a hard looking at.

First of all, I do believe that CCP deserves a medal for even attempting to take a look at the absurd complexity of the aggression system in Eve and iron out some of the wrinkles. Granted, I myself and other like me have based a solid chunk of their entire play-style on exploiting peoples inability or refusal to understand the rules, but I can at least accept that its a messy situation that needed looking at.

That said however, I’ve got some major concerns about where this takes us. I understand that Eve needs to be, at a ground level, more accessible to a new player. Retention after all, means this game continues to grow and thrive. What worries me though is that the path we seem to be on now equates “accessibility” with “easiness”. Historically (and I know its been said a million times), “Eve is hard”, and that’s actually been its draw to most people who play it. Now, that mentality might be changing as CCP ramps up for the big leagues with the DUST release, but its definitely what drew most of us to this game in the first place; lets now forget that. Eve is a harsh, cruel learning curve, and everyone really is out to get you. There are no “pvp shards” or do-overs, and when you lose your stuff, that stuff is gone, not back in your castle/dungeon/magic toadstool manor.

So why dumb it down? Sure, people should be aware of the consequences of their actions, but that’s called “learning the rules”, and it does not and should not involve a giant neon blinker in your face yelling “WARNING YOU ARE ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING DUMB“. Eve has always been about trial and error, and learning from your mistakes. This just seems like we’re diluting it down to make room for some squishy new players. What ever happened to HTFU? About 6 months ago, I wrote a post entitled “Eve Was Hard” about the dumbing down and homogenization of Eve, and it seems we’re back around to the same issue.

Interestingly and conversely, CW2 in some ways actually makes being a fresh new player even harder. Lets look at can-flipping, which has been pretty much every budding PvPers first foray into fighting other players. In the past, feisty new guy steals from a can and either A.) kills the common-sense-deprived retriever that actually shoots back or B.) retriever runs off and comes back in a PvP ship to stomp on him. Anybody with an IQ north of 70 would typically go with B and either go get a PvP ship or more commonly, request help from another corpmate nearby. Whatever the outcome though, our feisty new guy learned a lot about fighting a real person, got his adrenaline pumping, and went out looking for more.

That, it seems, all goes out the window with CW2, because now when you steal from a can that isn’t yours, everybody pretty much anywhere can now shoot at you. In our brave new world, when our new guy grabs a can, he no longer gets a 1v1 and a valuable lesson, he gets a 1v30 and says “fuck this”. The lesson learned here now is that large blob mentality wins, and he should probably go off and join one of the biggest null alliances in the game and join rank with thousands of others who now realize that doing anything without at least a fleet behind them is a waste of their time and ship. So much for encouraging solo and small gang work.

There are other points of the new Crimewatch that I think are a great addition to the game; the new logging off mechanics for instance, or killrights for even an attempted gank (and I say that as a suicider). But again, I hope CCP keeps in mind that we love this sandbox because it is what we make it, not because it came with pre-made sandcastles and someone to hold our hand as we play in it.




Eve-O comment thread on Masterplan’s DevBlog can be found here:

My original response (SPOILER: liberal copy/pasting was utilized between the forum post and this blog post. Why dilute a good point by trying to surmise yourself?) can be found here:


[Fake Edit:] Its now been pointed out that freighter ganking in highsec is about to get hilarious. Gank-squad pops freighter. Use neutral freighter alt to scoop loot thats so big ONLY another freighter can scoop it. Get sad when every pilot in the game can now shoot your neutral freighter for “stealing” from original owner. Rinse, repeat. Remind me to bring popcorn and a lawnchair to Uedama on expansion day.


~ by Aiden Mourn on October 4, 2012.

9 Responses to “In Soviet Russia, Crime Watches You”

  1. I would say, that while interesting, the CW2 changes to our “bread and butter” trick of can flipping are a good thing. Often one can find themselves in a mission runner’s “turf” with a few friends along; either in corp or not. Now, the probability of someone, anyone, shooting at the thief increases. For me, I think I will like this – I can get some practice against 1vN and I can also set those bait cans, knowing the baited thief will also be flagged at a bigger level.

    What I noticed, though, was it seems CONCORD will no longer respond to illegal PVP in low-sec… I like.

  2. […] off, I have to say the great Aiden has a fantastic post about his opinion of CW2. Go read it. Then come back here and realize I add *nothing* to the […]

  3. Can flipping will become the superawesomebtungwa of pvp. What better way to learn the ropes than by having multiple hostiles to swat away. A young pilot fighting a gang of highsec ‘bads’ will become a pretty good pilot I feel…. more so than the old skooler who had to shoot back at the lone flippee….. The intense excitement of not knowing who will shoot. And let’s not forget that the new pvper ‘can flipper’ can now wait around for someone to trigger aggro…. It opens up pvp to more people I feel. I could be wrong, but, I hope I’m right.


    • Thats a pretty great counter-argument actually. Its the same reason why I’m not really worried about these changes effecting ninja salvaging/ganking, because as you say, all this is going to do is blow the doors wide open for escalation and more pew pew. Still, the trigger happy new guy is going to be in for a shock, but then again, welcome to Eve ;). I hope you’re right too.

  4. […] is that most of it is good in general, or at least neutral for me in particular. I will also echo Aiden Mourn and Ripard Teg in thanking CCP for tackling this horrid beast, and providing a lot of detail (even […]

  5. Getting the timers displayed isn’t a bad thing. most players know pretty soon that after aggression you can not jump. but the “how long” is tricky, 60 sec… did I shot last 34 sec ago or 42? might make a difference if hunting someone.

    By can-flipping you now got your really big arena! Flip a can, wait for the white knights to fight you and bring in your friends, they sent you a host of logistic drones and your enemies either ignore them or switch target either way you don’t have to fight alone if you don’t want to.
    But maybe you pick that little honey pot a nearby pvp gang has laid for you and you might actually be the one who looses the ship.
    It is still all about doing what you want but dealing with the consequences. That haven’t changed and hopefully never will.

  6. So here’s a couple of interesting observations:

    If you steal from someone’s can and then jet it, they can legally take it back from you without flagging themselves (due to the new rule on when you can take from a container).

    However, if you take from their can, jet it, and then flip it again with a second character (who will also be able to legally take from the first character’s can because they’re a suspect), the victim cannot take their ore back without flagging *themselves* as a suspect.

    In other words, you can get a situation where the victim is suspect flagged and can be shot by anyone, but the can flipper is only classed as being in a Limited Engagement with the victim.

    • Obviously, I love the idea, and I’ll definitely be using when I can, but this is definitely for the more advanced player with help on his/her side. Again, the green new player is ultimately going to get screwed trying canflipping out. In the long run, yeah, this is part of that learning curve, and that canflipper will definitely learn to spot the obvious traps, or get help of his own I suppose. I just think its a weird choice on CCPs part to unilaterally “make highsec safer” while simultaneous raising the entry-level bar for new players. The proposed mission changes back this up to, where, since rats will now be switching to smaller targets, new player in frigates can no longer tag along with older players in their corp on level 4s to learn the ropes, as they’ll now be instantly curb-stomped by NPCs.

      Anyways, back to your idea, I definitely look forward to a whole new level of mechanics abuse, especially with the mentality in everyone’s head that their “safer” now… 😉

  7. […] means. This is a necessary change. I don't entirely agree that there are players who possess an 'inability or refusal to understand the rules', in that there are no clear rules to follow. I don't relish the idea of potentially losing ship […]

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