Instanced Battles work great in LiF, would they work in EVE?

If you go way back in the archives of this blog, I’ve been pretty against the idea of instancing in open world games vs keeping content out in the world. When WoW first started using phasing (personal instances, basically), I mocked it, and still feel its a pretty terribly way to execute content.

So I’m a bit torn on Instanced Battles (IB) in Life is Feudal. Or rather, I’m torn because I think they work exceptionally well in LiF, and I wonder if a similar approach wouldn’t solve one of the ongoing problems in EVE as well. But before I get to EVE, lets first talk about why IB are great in LiF.

The first and biggest advantage is performance; in an IB not only is the number of people limited, but you also don’t load all of the world and its related teraforming. Its just a clean, small section of the map where the IB was dropped, with the 100 or 200 (IB come in 50v50 and 100v100 flavors) players who are all here to fight it out. Performance is especially important in LiF because the combat system is somewhat nuanced; it relies heavily on correct timing to block, counter, and execute combos. When you have lag or lower FPS, all of that goes out the window. Yes, in an ideal world the game would run great at all times, but in an MMO things are never ideal, and if a game runs well for 100 players, 110 will show up (more on that later).

IB also have clear win/loss conditions, both for the actual battle itself, and the outcome. The losing side of an IB has their realm claim decrease in size, and enough loses can downgrade your guild monument. The downgrade process is how, currently, you can actually fully remove a guild claim from the world. In the actual battle, the winner is the side who controls the capture point, which is a very clear objective that can’t be argued against. It also makes clear who is the attacked and who is the defender, and this influences strategy for both sides.

IB can only happen during a set time (currently this is set to around 9pm EST on Telmun). This means the important battles can’t be scheduled for off hours, or ‘timezone tanked’. The 24 hour or so period between the drop of an IB and the actual battle also gives both sides a bit of time to gather numbers, so again you aren’t dealing with panic-response situations.

Finally, just because LiF has IB, doesn’t mean that world PvP doesn’t happen. Judgment Hours encourage open-world fighting, and plenty of random, ‘natural’ roaming PvP happens as well.

If you look at the above, it solves a lot of problems EVE has when massive battles occur. Even though CCP is miles ahead of everyone in terms of technology, in a game that allows thousands of players to fight, those players always bring n+1 to a battle, resulting in soul-crushing TiDi (servers slow down time, so 1 minute in-game is actually 10 minutes real-time). Imagine if the timers around a citadel were fought in an IB?

Because it’s EVE, lets say a Keepstar battle would be a 1000v1000 situation, while smaller citadels would be limited to fewer pilots. EVE can easily handle 1000v1000, especially instanced, so performance would be near-perfect. From a strategy perspective, what ships do people bring? 1000 titans is the ‘well of course’ answer, but would that really happen? 1000 titans can’t hit small ships, and even if that side won the battle but lost 100 titan in exchange for much smaller/cheaper ships, would it still be a victory? Plus smaller citadels aren’t worth nearly as much as a Keepstar, so would alliances still risk such ships? If the answer is ‘no’, what ships do you bring? Supercarriers can be defanged, dreads aren’t effective vs sub-caps, and once you go lower than that, the meta could be all over the place.

IB in EVE would also result in clear winners/loser in terms of the objective. No more citadels repairing because of TiDi, no more posturing for a massive battle only to have neither side engage. No more running away the moment a battle looks risky. In an IB, whatever pilots and ships go in, they fight until one side wins. And just like in LiF, IB wouldn’t kill open-world PvP, especially because citadels would still need to be reinforced initially to start such a contest.

I’m sure there are many pros and cons I’m not covering here, both for LiF and especially for EVE, but I think the idea is at least an interesting conversation.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Combat Systems, EVE Online, Life is Feudal, MMO design, PvP. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Instanced Battles work great in LiF, would they work in EVE?

  1. Catalina de Erauso says:

    There is an obvious con. The side that gets a enemy fleet to turn coats after the battle starts will end up being 1,500 vs 500 or 1,800 vs 200. It’s a similar problem to capping fleet size and defining who are “allied”, “enemy” and “neutral”.

    I don’t know what’s the solution, as EVE players will object and/or minmax any ruleset that limits big battles, and they will also n+1 everything CCP achieves in terms of server performance.

    Maybe there should be some kind of queue as in concerts; they aren’t expected to let everyone in and out at the same time, people queues to get in and out so it is easier to handle. Maybe something like this could be done.

    • SynCaine says:

      Betrayals is a part of EVE, I don’t see that as a major downside, especially because the leader of both sides controls who can actually get into the battle, everyone else just signs up.

  2. rverghes says:

    It might hurt one of Eve’s selling points, the idea that newbies are “useful on Day 1”. If you have more players than spots, then people will have to sit on the bench. That most likely means sorting by experience, and dropping the weakest.

    • SynCaine says:

      That part is certainly true, though again its not like IB would be the only, or even the most common form of PvP, but they would be the ‘big moments’, so yes, certainly a downside.

  3. I imagine that this won’t fly if only because if violates one of the rules that CCP has set, which is that nothing gets instanced out or made otherwise inaccessible to the rest of the player base. (Except the AT of course, which is part of what doesn’t thrill me about the AT.) And, if implemented, it would be as exploitable as the current situation, so why invest the effort?

    • SynCaine says:

      How would it be exploited?

      • Given the minds at work in the EVE Online player base, I have no doubt that it would be exploited. Literally every change made to the game ends up forcing some sort of optimized behavior. That I can’t point to an obvious exploit, aside from what Catalina pointed out above, doesn’t mean it won’t be. History is on my side.

        But, as I said, that is theoretical. CCP won’t do it because it takes an event out of the game into its own instance. Not going to happen.

    • Trego says:

      Because not lagging and not under massive TiDi is more fun than lag + massive TiDi?

      • You’re suggesting fixing a relatively rare situation by breaking the basic design philosophy of the game. Leaving aside the absolute assurance that it will be exploited by Goons for their own advantage, 99.9% of fights in EVE Online have no such problem.

        Let people suffer if they insist on bringing 6,000+ people to a fight. I would rather that than make some artificial limit where fights will go to those who spend the most on ships and implants or will be limited to special groups that train for those fights leaving line members behind.

        And I say this as somebody who has been in most of the famous lagfest tidi fights you’ve probably heard of.

        • Trego says:

          If every situation can and will be exploited, then the current situation is being exploited. Going from one exploited situation to another isn’t a significant change, so that’s not a relevant objection.

          “You’re suggesting fixing a relatively rare situation by breaking the basic design philosophy of the game. ”
          That’s a bald-faced lie. You asked a question: ” And, if implemented, it would be as exploitable as the current situation, so why invest the effort?” I answered the question by giving a reason why. That doesn’t constitute me suggesting anything, it only constitutes me answering your question, which was asking for a reason why to invest the effort.

        • @Trego Bald faced lie? That seems a bit strong when I was explaining why your answer is extreme given the circumstances. You don’t get to give flippant answers that ignore context and then get pissy when you get called out on it.

        • Trego says:

          You don’t get to tell me what to do.

        • Trego says:

          That answer didn’t ignore context; in fact it included context you’re ignoring.

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