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Sensor glare: an anti-blob idea

Author
Kaneda Hiroshi
Ascent To Transcendence
#1 - 2011-12-07 12:41:16 UTC
Blobs firing at one target then switching to the next one is no fun. Not only is the primary guaranteed to die (unless they have five hundred guardians, also not fun), it's boring for the shooters and it's pretty easy to tell at any point who is going to win the fight. It's like watching a status bar. Blob warfare also leads to boring fleet fits, stifling individual creativity and piloting skill.

I would like to see large battles that are more skirmish-like, more fluid, less predictable, more dependent on individual ingenuity--like small gang fights but with higher stakes, way more chaos and a correspondingly larger opportunity to gain the upper hand through effective communication and leadership. A well-organized fleet with five guardians should be able to defeat a badly organized fleet with twenty.

So here's my idea: sensor glare. When targeting a ship that is being targeted by a large number of other ships, your sensors need to "tighten up their aperture" in order to work effectively--like your pupils when you try to look at something bright. You can target that ship like normal, but beware--like your eyes, your sensors will need time to readjust and focus on a new, dimmer target after the first is destroyed. So blob-targeting someone has an inherent drawback: you are basically committing your fleet's targeting power to that one ship. You gain the temporary advantage of full fleet dps but suffer afterwards as you wait for your secondary target to lock.

A mechanic like this would avail fleets that divided their fire between multiple targets, leading to the more skirmish-like situation described above. Multiple primaries means a more granular leadership structure is required, e.g. wing commanders call targets and FCs handle movement and make sure wings have different assignments. Right off the bat this means that no one pilot on the field has full information at any given time, eliminating the status bar situation. Pilots from wing A don't know how close to dying wing B's target is (unless they are very well organized), so situations can shift dramatically in a few seconds. The FC role is critical as always but has less to do with getting people to shoot specific things and more to do with parsing second-hand information, making fleet-level judgements and handling wing commanders.

As a disclaimer I am not an FC nor do I have endless experience in blob warfare, though I think I have seen enough to get the gist of it and notice some non-fun things. This is just an idea that I think would actually work well; it is realistic, relatively easy to implement (think heat but for sensors), jives with the current mechanics of the game and actually has some cool secondary/meta implications. As some parting food for thought, here are a few interesting situations I up with while bored at a conference today:

1. The gate camp feint: If you know a 3-man gate camp is on the other side of a gate and you NEED to get a transport through, you can have a buddy jump through first to (indirectly) dazzle their sensors. They only have three ships and therefore need all the dps they can get, so they all target him (hopefully he is fast enough to get away) but in so doing they commit their sensors to his ship. When you jump in a moment later in the transport, their targeting time is increased just enough for you to safely warp out without being tackled.

2. Wolfpack dominance: Ships with a small sig radius will benefit more from this mechanic than larger ships, especially in large battles. If balanced correctly this might make smaller ships relevant in major fleet fights (hello meaningful AF role).

3. The self-targeting meta-game: If more sensors trained on one target is detrimental to the targeter/attacker, then what about deviously pre-targeting friendlies that you expect the enemy to target? A scorpion is a no-brainer primary in a normal 50 vs 50 fleet engagement. But what if attacking that scorp with half your fleet risked incurring a 75-ship sensor glare penaly for that half of your fleet? This would add another layer of complexity to target calling.

And finally, 4. The desperation all-out assault: Even if it means that no one in your 1200-man fleet is going to be able to target anything for the next year and a half, sometimes you just have to kill that Titan/carrier/whatever. Focus fire at all costs!!
Abdiel Kavash
Deep Core Mining Inc.
Caldari State
#2 - 2011-12-07 12:55:13 UTC
Quote:
correspondingly larger opportunity to gain the upper hand through effective communication and leadership. A well-organized fleet with five guardians should be able to defeat a badly organized fleet with twenty.


Kaneda Hiroshi wrote:
Blobs firing at one target then switching to the next one is no fun. [...] Blob warfare also leads to boring fleet fits, stifling individual creativity and piloting skill.


Wut? So an organized fleet should prevail, but you don't like flying in well-organized fleets?

(I stopped reading there, sorry. No, actually I am not.)
Kaneda Hiroshi
Ascent To Transcendence
#3 - 2011-12-07 13:02:34 UTC  |  Edited by: Kaneda Hiroshi
Abdiel Kavash wrote:
Quote:
correspondingly larger opportunity to gain the upper hand through effective communication and leadership. A well-organized fleet with five guardians should be able to defeat a badly organized fleet with twenty.


Kaneda Hiroshi wrote:
Blobs firing at one target then switching to the next one is no fun. [...] Blob warfare also leads to boring fleet fits, stifling individual creativity and piloting skill.


Wut? So an organized fleet should prevail, but you don't like flying in well-organized fleets?

(I stopped reading there, sorry. No, actually I am not.)


Let's not get sidetracked, I'm just trying to frame the idea. All I intended to say in the passages you quoted( which are just context to the real post) is that there is so much more potential in eve for fleet organization beyond getting as many people as possible into guardians and armor bs. Put another way, bringing more logistics than the other team is a weak form of organization compared to smart fc'ing on the ground.
Sutskop
LENINGRAD SPB Ru
#4 - 2011-12-07 13:23:01 UTC
Abdiel Kavash wrote:
Quote:
correspondingly larger opportunity to gain the upper hand through effective communication and leadership. A well-organized fleet with five guardians should be able to defeat a badly organized fleet with twenty.


Kaneda Hiroshi wrote:
Blobs firing at one target then switching to the next one is no fun. [...] Blob warfare also leads to boring fleet fits, stifling individual creativity and piloting skill.


Wut? So an organized fleet should prevail, but you don't like flying in well-organized fleets?


Your conclusion is making no sense whatsoever.
Currently the only important module in blobs aka bigger fleets is as much Sensor Boosters as possible to make as many killmails as possible. Not much to do with skills.
I like the idea.
Dimitryy
The Brotherhood.
Tactical Narcotics Team
#5 - 2011-12-07 14:28:04 UTC
Just sounds annoying, another gameplay hoop to jump through for large fleets taking sov. Its already annoying enough to FC large fleets in sov fights without having to deal with arbitrary sensor nonsense ******* your target calls.
Kaneda Hiroshi
Ascent To Transcendence
#6 - 2011-12-07 14:48:24 UTC  |  Edited by: Kaneda Hiroshi
Dimitryy wrote:
Just sounds annoying, another gameplay hoop to jump through for large fleets taking sov. Its already annoying enough to FC large fleets in sov fights without having to deal with arbitrary sensor nonsense ******* your target calls.


Maybe sov fights wouldn't be such a monotonous inconvenience if they were more than target primary, F1, target primary, F1...for hours...
Score
Brutor Tribe
Minmatar Republic
#7 - 2011-12-07 15:21:31 UTC
"Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

No clue who said that, but your FC are using a tactic that works. And until guerrilla warfare became an accepted tactic, this approach is exactly what all major armies in the war used IRL. Now you're FC is using the same elementary tactic in space 50 million years in the 'future'.

But it works.

IMO, the counter to a large blob fleet with one or two ships calling primaries are:

  1. Good Intel (it looks like a blob... it smells like a blob... what's a blob taste like?)
  2. Good friends (It's not ****... it's a surprise Titan baby")
  3. Good kill-squads (say hello to my suicidal interceptor WWW squadron)


All of these are human factors, not mechanical. ++++

Score Industrial Forge Works, Inc

Roime
Shiva Furnace
#8 - 2011-12-07 16:33:18 UTC  |  Edited by: Roime
I like this, and not only because I thought about a similar concept some time ago. Shocked

In my version the number of ships targeting a ship (their added scan resolution) would decrease the signature radius of the target.

(not a fake edit: Obviously locking up your own fleet members would not be affected by enemy ships targeting the said fleet member, as you are in fleet and hence interstellarly connected via the fleet network)

(really a fake edit: Gallente warfare link bonus should be changed to decrease the effect of sensor glare!)

.

Kaanchana
Tax-haven
#9 - 2011-12-07 16:58:34 UTC
have u read the chronicle about the amarr-jovian war? called the Battle of Vak-atioth or something. What you are suggesting is akin to that. It will be definitely interesting if fleet battles happened like that.
Janus Varg
Smoke Jaguars
#10 - 2011-12-07 17:02:39 UTC
Sounds... interesting. I say 'interesting' because I have no desire to ever be part of large fleet wars anyway, mostly because of the reputation it has for being so dull and slow, and therefore have no idea if this would actually prevent it from being dull and slow.

I'm a little confused by the description though. Why is my targeting system like an eye? I'd agree more with the idea that the targeting systems in EVE eventually create interference making it progressively harder to lock on (I base this on the fact that there is a passive targeting module, so evidently something with a funny description like "Gravimetric" is being bounced off the targets normally).
Merdaneth
Angel Wing.
#11 - 2011-12-07 17:41:16 UTC
This is a partially solution to the core problem of 'the Blob'. The core problem of the blob is not superior numbers: it the ability to focus fire perfectly.

Take that ability away, and you break the 'one-second-youre-alive, next second-your-dead' problem of larger fleets.

Make it more difficult to focus fire on specific named hostiles or ships, and you open up the chaos of the battlefield. Ship hostile to each other should not broadcast their id's during battle, you should something akin to a fog of war.

CCP likes EVE to be the ultimate SF simulator. Everyone who has seen SF shows knows how space battles are portrayed (even in CCPs own video's): ships weaving in and out of enemy lines, and multiple small battles between individual ships going on amidst the greater carnage.

Allow for more chaos in space battle (overview and broadcasts are major nuisances in this regard) and the better organized and skilled people will have more chance to come out on top vs. superior numbers as well.

Allow for more chaos, and you have a better chance to exploit local superiority (even on grid) if you are a more expert PvPer.
Zakuak
Viziam
Amarr Empire
#12 - 2011-12-07 21:15:27 UTC
Quote:
So here's my idea: sensor glare. When targeting a ship that is being targeted by a large number of other ships, your sensors need to "tighten up their aperture" in order to work effectively--like your pupils when you try to look at something bright. You can target that ship like normal, but beware--like your eyes, your sensors will need time to readjust and focus on a new, dimmer target after the first is destroyed. So blob-targeting someone has an inherent drawback: you are basically committing your fleet's targeting power to that one ship. You gain the temporary advantage of full fleet dps but suffer afterwards as you wait for your secondary target to lock.


Sooo, If you had a 100 ship fleet and 25 aimed at 1 ship and 25 at anoher ship and so on....the sensor glare drawback would be less then if you just had to kill the Bhaal and you stick all 100 of em on it and suffer the prolonged SG drawback?

I dunno sounds pretty cool to me
Ulstan
State Protectorate
Caldari State
#13 - 2011-12-07 21:31:33 UTC  |  Edited by: Ulstan
I suppose you are trying to make space fights a little more like 18th century naval warfare. You might have fleets of a hundred ships of the line, but by and large each ship would target a different enemy ship. You would never have a case where all 100 ships of the line targetted the same enemy ship, vaporized him with a volley, then moved on to the next ship.

If they COULD have focused fire like that they WOULD have. And indeed, every time they had a chance to 'double up' and put 2 of their ships vs one of the enemies ships, they did.

However, to get rid fo blob warfare you'll have to implement a much better physics engine that accurately models two important real life concepts:

Friendly fire is possible: if you fire a laser/missile at an enemy but a friendly gets in the way, the friendly takes the hit.
Intercepting fire for a friendly is possible: if an enemy fires a laser/missile at friendly but you get in the way, you take the hit instead.


As long as the weapons being shot are not physical objects that can interact with all the friendly/enemy actors on the field who are also physical objects, I don't think you'll ever be able to solve the completely unrealistic perfectly efficient blob focus fire technique.

That said, there is no way the current engine can support something like what would be needed, so don't get your hopes up. Additionally I have no idea how to make the friendly fire issue work with CONCORD in high sec space, but without it, people can just blob up and fire the hulls of their own ships. There's no need to spread out and form wings, etc, to maximize firepower. So EVE remains, at it's core, a very tactically uninteresting representation of fleet fights that everyone KNOWS is completely unrealistic.

In real life you simply have to disperse or adopt formations so you don't shoot your own friendlies in front of you. Until EVE addsd something like this, I think the focus fire blob will always remain the dominant method of fleet combat.
Pinaculus
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#14 - 2011-12-07 21:56:59 UTC
Often wondered if CCP even thinks The Blob is a problem. They seem to want enormous battles, probably because "2000 total players in one fleet fight!" makes better ad copy.

If they wanted to add an additional layer of strategy, they could redesign smart bombs from the ground up to be an Anti-Blob weapon. I'm no game designer, so I'm not sure what the end result would look like. It just seems to be an underused, odd-ball weapon that has a lot of potential for Small Fleet vs. Big Fleet tactics.

I know sometimes it's difficult to realize just how much you spend on incidental things each month or year, but seriously, EVE is very cheap entertainment compared to most things... If you are a smoker, smoke one less pack a week and pay for EVE, with money left over to pick up a cheap bundle of flowers for the EVE widow upstairs.

Hepius
Native Freshfood
Minmatar Republic
#15 - 2011-12-07 22:17:40 UTC
I think this is a great idea.

Massing fire at a single target is basic military strategy. Given current game mechanisms, the blob firing at a single target makes perfect sense.

Change the game mechanism by making it more difficult to mass fire, and tactics will change. Battles will be more dynamic with many small fights taking place within the larger battle. Lower level leaders will have a much greater role to play.

As a previous commenter stated, the battles will have more of a sci-fi feel to them.
Gizznitt Malikite
Agony Unleashed
Agony Empire
#16 - 2011-12-07 22:24:57 UTC

I do want a lot more chaos in big battles.... very much so....

But I honestly don't understand how your mechanics are working?

It sounds like your suggesting: If 10 ships target ship X, then the 11th ship has a longer lock time. And if 50 ships are targeting ship X, its more expedient for the next 50 ships to target & shoot ship Y rather than lock and fire on ship X.

Potential Problems:
1.) Logistics to rep the attacked target become impossible if their lock time is also increased.

2.) Potential abuse by having everyone in your own fleet target important ships (FC, Booster ships, etc), thereby limiting the ability of the enemy fleet to lock said target.

3.) Limit this glare from larger targets and structures. If 200 ships want to shoot a station or IHUB or Titan, giving them a huge lock time is unnecessary!!!

I think ships in your own fleet need to be both immune to sensor glare when locking fleet members, and they also need to not contribute to sensor glare.
Nikollai Tesla
Federal Defense Union
Gallente Federation
#17 - 2011-12-08 00:48:13 UTC  |  Edited by: Nikollai Tesla
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanchester%27s_laws

This is an important read. Currently we have in blob warfare, you call primary and everyone shoots at it. This counts as aimed fire, and is covered under Lanchester's square law.

Where the square of the ration of the forces determines the inverse casualty ratio.
example (A)100 vs (B) 50. Ratio is 2:1, So casualty is 1:4. A looses 12 ships, B looses 50

Whats important here is that the skill ratio is linear based while #s is square based. Note that Lanchester's Square Law does not apply to technological force, only numerical force; so it takes an N-squared-fold increase in quality to make up for an N-fold increase in quantity.

So if you are out number 2:1 you need to be 4 times as skilled to take down your opponent.

By limiting the Number of Combatants, were you can only engage and be engaged by X, similar to your 18th century warfare. This follows the linear laws.
In this case the same battle of 100(A) vs 50(B), you'd have a 1:1 ration. Where A looses 50 ships and B looses 50 ships.
Kaneda Hiroshi
Ascent To Transcendence
#18 - 2011-12-08 02:54:40 UTC
Thanks for the feedback! Some great comments.

Roime wrote:
I like this, and not only because I thought about a similar concept some time ago. Shocked

In my version the number of ships targeting a ship (their added scan resolution) would decrease the signature radius of the target.

(not a fake edit: Obviously locking up your own fleet members would not be affected by enemy ships targeting the said fleet member, as you are in fleet and hence interstellarly connected via the fleet network)

(really a fake edit: Gallente warfare link bonus should be changed to decrease the effect of sensor glare!)


Big smile I remember reading that thread and it is the official inspiration for this idea! I wanted to take a second look though because someone correctly pointed out that signature radius would actually increase with lots of targeters. Also this could be exploited with the friendly-target. I wanted a solution that also didn't assume two fleets were fighting, maybe it's a three or our-way fight. Most of all, SG puts the onus on the FC to organize the division of fire, rather than just locking the slowest players out of the fight.


Kaanchana wrote:
have u read the chronicle about the amarr-jovian war? called the Battle of Vak-atioth or something. What you are suggesting is akin to that. It will be definitely interesting if fleet battles happened like that.


Will check that out.


Janus Varg wrote:
I'm a little confused by the description though. Why is my targeting system like an eye? I'd agree more with the idea that the targeting systems in EVE eventually create interference making it progressively harder to lock on (I base this on the fact that there is a passive targeting module, so evidently something with a funny description like "Gravimetric" is being bounced off the targets normally).


Sensors work by illuminating the target with light, radio waves, etc ( gravity waves?) then focusing in on that illuminated section of space. Imagine 50 people with flashlights looking for a mark on the wall of a dark room. Once they all find it it will be very brightly lit (the glare) and so when they move on to look for the next mark, their eyes will need time to adjust to the relative darkness of only one flashlight.
Vimsy Vortis
Shoulda Checked Local
Break-A-Wish Foundation
#19 - 2011-12-08 03:24:09 UTC
People who can mobilise large numbers of pilots and have them fight in a well co-ordinated way should be punished because I don't like losing to people who can use their superior numbers effectively.
Kaneda Hiroshi
Ascent To Transcendence
#20 - 2011-12-08 03:42:43 UTC
Gizznitt Malikite wrote:
It sounds like your suggesting: If 10 ships target ship X, then the 11th ship has a longer lock time.


No! This is basically what roime suggested, see my comments above for reasons to not do this. I am proposing that all 11 ships would see an increased lock time when they targeted ship Y.

Gizznitt Malikite wrote:
And if 50 ships are targeting ship X, its more expedient for the next 50 ships to target & shoot ship Y rather than lock and fire on ship X.


Right, it would be slightly faster to attack in parallel than in series, like the ideal "sci-fi battle" mentioned above by several people.

Gizznitt Malikite wrote:
Potential Problems:
1.) Logistics to rep the attacked target become impossible if their lock time is also increased.


Not the case, see earlier in this post. However, this mechanic would have an impact on logis: a logistics ship locking a friendly X would be committing sensor strength to that friendly ship, and so would have a slightly increased lock time when targeting the next primaried friendly Y. This would need some balancing but could have some interesting implications: if a friendly ship is being targeted by the entire enemy fleet, is it worth the SG penalty to try to rep him? Maybe half your logis try to save him and the other half save their sensors in case the enemy is just feingting. Logis would be better spread out amongst your fleet, just like your firepower. Much more nuance here than normal fleet logistics.

Gizznitt Malilien wrote:
2.) Potential abuse by having everyone in your own fleet target important ships (FC, Booster ships, etc), thereby limiting the ability of the enemy fleet to lock said target.


Again, that's not what I'm proposing, and I adressed this specific situation in my original post--I mentioned a fleet scorpion, take a look.

Gizznitt Malikite wrote:
3.) Limit this glare from larger targets and structures. If 200 ships want to shoot a station or IHUB or Titan, giving them a huge lock time is unnecessary!!!


Agreed!
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