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AFK Cloaking™: Ideas, Discussion, and Proposals

First post First post
ISD LackOfFaith
ISD Community Communications Liaisons
ISD Alliance
#1 - 2015-01-09 15:57:24 UTC  |  Edited by: ISD Ezwal
Hey, all! As some of the more veteran members of the forums may be aware, the topic of cloaking for long periods of time using a cloaking device to remain undetected is a very common one, and has been for years and years. It shows up in all sorts of subforums, and has been discussed very thoroughly because of the number of times it's been brought up over a long period of time. Because of this, new threads on it immediately run into rule #17 of the forums:


Forum rules

17. Redundant and re-posted threads will be locked.

As a courtesy to other forum users, please search to see if there is a thread already open on the topic you wish to discuss. If so, please place your comments there instead. Multiple threads on the same subject clutter up the forums needlessly, causing good feedback and ideas to be lost. Please keep discussions regarding a topic to a single thread.

For almost all other topics, invoking rule #17 means actually redirecting the discussion to an already existing thread about it. Due to its oft-reposted nature, though, this has not been possible for threads about AFK cloaking. That's not fair to people who actually wish to discuss it, and we do not wish to stifle good discussions. Because of this, we are creating this centralized Official AFK Cloaking™ thread to serve as the gathering place for discussion about it. Any future threads on this same topic will be locked and redirected here for discussion.

To emphasize: this thread is on the topic of balance, changes, or feedback on the mechanic of using a cloak. Posts outside this topic will be moderated/deleted.

Please keep the discussion and feedback civil and constructive.

Edit: As reference the old AFK Cloaking Collection Thread
Edit 2: Some closed but relatively recent threads on the subject for further reference.
- What if Circadian Drones would detect afk cloaky campers
- Cloaking Mechanic
- Cloaks
- Covert-Op's System Overload
- A 3 player gamechanism to make a chance to decloak afk cloakies
- 2 ideas, 1 thread - cloaking and high sec cynos
- once upon a time there was a cloaky camper....
- Cloaky ships
- Another ideal for better gameplay with sensors - sound/ELINT
- Covops killing Destroyer
- Smart Bomb to de-cloak
- porbes that can detect cloaked ships?
- Anti-UBoot warfare
- Inactivity Timer: Log Out Campers

ISD LackOfFaith


Community Communication Liaisons (CCLs)

Interstellar Services Department

I do not respond to Eve Mail or anything other than the forums.

Caleb Seremshur
Commando Guri
Guristas Pirates
#2 - 2015-01-09 16:29:14 UTC
Afk cloaking will always be in this game so long as local and hostile watchlisting exist. In kspace afk cloaking is an Intel tool and a weapon. In j space it is meaningless outside of scouting and seeding. Prove me wrong nerds.

If you get free intel from the game then you deserve to suffer the insecurity of not knowing where your shiny little name is located.
Thelonious Blake
Miles Research and Development
#3 - 2015-01-09 16:30:08 UTC
Local chat and the intel it gives is the problem, not cloaking. I can see who's in system without even undocking.
Rolled Out
#4 - 2015-01-09 16:37:24 UTC

As the first 3 respondents to this thread have already pointed out - it's not the problem. Disgunbegud (or not).

I'm right behind you

Thelonious Blake
Miles Research and Development
#5 - 2015-01-09 16:49:27 UTC  |  Edited by: ISD Ezwal
And honestly I have yet to see a member of distinguished wormhole group/corporation to moan about cloaking mechanics. And this speaks alot. Prove me wrong with a link.

*Snip* Please refrain from personal attacks. ISD Ezwal.
being vocal about AFK cloaking doesn't mean the mechanic is broken. Not in the current state of the game, at least by my opinion.
Wrecking Machine.
#6 - 2015-01-09 17:08:21 UTC  |  Edited by: Aamina
All said so far is true, local being best intel tool there is, however I would agree on some mechanic that forces players that they can't be cloaked for more then one or two hours at given time.

Maybe slow cap drain or something.
Maybe cloaking device takes slow heat damage and you have to drop cloak periodically to rep it back up (you could do this while in warp).
Maybe new mechanic where cloak builds up some sort of fatigue and while not running it dissipates at rate that all would be gone in 2-5 minutes and build up would be random between 30-120 minutes to full value where your ship drops cloak automatically

General idea is remove AFK game styles which I support, other then that I don't have problems with AFK cloakers, my playstyle is depended on waiting at blops till our hunter (who doesn't even have a cloak) finds a juicy target that we then drop on, AFK cloakers are as much issue for us as docked up people are.
Bronson Hughes
The Knights of the Blessed Mother of Acceleration
#7 - 2015-01-09 17:11:24 UTC
Someone at CCP/CSM/ISD said it best (and I'm paraphrasing here because I can't for the life of me find the link): "Show me someone who has been genuinely harmed by AFK cloaking, and I'll show you someone who has no business playing EvE."

AFK cloaking doesn't hurt anyone. It never has, and it never will. All it does is shatter the illusion of safety presented by a local list that is friendly. Any impact that shattered illusion has on someone's activities is entirely their choice, not the person cloaking.

Until someone comes up with a bona fide, rational example of AFK cloaking actually harming another player, I say it should be left as-is.

Relatively Notorious By Association

My Many Misadventures

I predicted FAUXs

Ralph King-Griffin
New Eden Tech Support
#8 - 2015-01-09 17:15:52 UTC  |  Edited by: Ralph King-Griffin
dont think that you can get away with it just because your an isdBlink
Paikis wrote:
This thread comes up on almost a weekly basis. In fact, I'd be surprised if there wasn't a nerf cloaking thread in the first 2 pages on this forum section. Almost every single one of them goes like this:

1. OP posts a post with a new (lol) idea that always boils down to some variation of the following:
- "There's a big meanie who is sitting in my system and not doing anything, but I don't know where he is and I can't ever just go next door. I can't find said meanie and even though I know that he's probably at work and poses no threat at all, I wont do anything in my system that I absolutely can't leave ever because he might not be at work and I might lose a ship. CCP please stop the meanie from being able to do nothing to me because he's probably at work"

2. Thread gets trolled because its been done literally to death. This horse has been beaten so hard and so often that it's little more than a memory of a memory of a red smear on the grass, and yet it STILL WONT DIE! In fact it's been done so many times that this particular horse is now undead; even if it does die, it will still be remembered and parodied.

3. Someone comes along and suggests that AFK cloakers can't hurt you, because they are, by their very definition, AFK. No one ever lost a ship to someone who ISN'T PLAYING THE GAME.

4. Someone else comes along and points out that while the cloaker might be AFK, he might not be, and so we have Schrodinger's Hot Dropper. The cyno pilot who might be AFK... but he might not be as well, and you will only know for sure when he decloaks, points and lights his candle. (Yes, I know this isn't how the cat works)

5. Someone else comes along and suggests that you use bait and setup a TARP. Or have a defence fleet on standby. Heaven forbid you have to actually fight to defend your space.

6. A further person comes along and suggests that the problem isn't cloaking AFK in your system that you can't possibly leave ever, but that you KNOW that the person is AFK in your system... and perhaps local should be removed because free 100% accurate intel is probably not the best thing in the game and if you didn't know that the big meanie was in your system, you wouldn't be worried about leaving the undock/POS.

7. Then another person pokes their head in and complains that local is 100% NEEDED because D-Scan and probing are such bad mechanics, and IF YOU TAKE MY LOCAL AWAY IM QUITTING FOREVER AND NO YOU CAN'T HAVE MY STUFF!

8. Someone asks if they can have 7's stuff.

We end up with another thread which goes on for pages and pages between complains about local, defence fleets, inability to just go next door, people who aren't playing the game but are playing the meta, lots of bickering and in the end nothing gets solved. CCP wont remove cloaking because it would mess with waaay too many things and it creates content (which is a good thing) by removing content (which is a bad thing) but they can't really think of any way to do it without a complete overhaul of the local and scanning systems.

Now that I've had this entire thread's conversation, can we just let it die? Please?
Catherine Laartii
#9 - 2015-01-09 17:33:08 UTC  |  Edited by: Catherine Laartii
Ok, so since this is finally a sticky and not a taboo subject, let's talk balance.

As many have pointed out either here or in other threads, cloaks provide a great benefit (which is being invisible) with some decent drawbacks (which are hindering targeting ability and immobility during cloak). I'd like to say from a mechanical standpoint it works, but it also has its problems.

Cloaks on non-covops boats are generally used in lowsec to hide from unwanted attention, whether it be in an fw complex or in a hastily made safe or off gate. For anywhere else, more common tactics exist like using mwd/cloak trick, or simply cloaking up somewhere while you get up to do something in IRL for a bit. From a tactical perspective, they are primarily a defensive technology.

So with that in mind, what can be done to rebalance them to be more useful?

A start I think would be to get rid of the mobility penalty when normal cloaks are active, and set it up so keeping it active requires a certain amount of capacitor to use. I'd also like to see prop mods and potentially things like active hardeners available for use on the t2 and covops cloaks, except there would be an activation delay for them of the same length as the normal targeting delay. Things like local tank mods and an afterburner (not mwd) could be used while cloaked on the t2 and covops cloak, while the simpler and easy to fit t1 cloak would function as current except without the speed penalty. T2 and covops would have significantly more capacitor usage, and the covops skill (not the ship skills) would help reduce capacitor usage on covops cloaks.

This would give them a very useful tactical ability while still having them be relatively balanced, since if they're targeted they still wouldn't be able to cloak. Giving you the ability to go back into the shadows and lick your wounds after a fight would be very nice, and the fitting cost of the t2 would limit its usage to cruiser or larger sized ships. I could see it becoming somewhat problematic with bombers, but since they don't active tank and mobility is an advantage they'll hold against their targets regardless of whether they can move a little faster while cloaked, I don't see it becoming a serious balance issue.
Ix Method
#10 - 2015-01-09 17:33:29 UTC
There was something about a specialised destroyer that was unusually well thought out like 30 threads back. Hopefully they'll come back. Fancy destroyers are cool.

Travelling at the speed of love.

Ines Tegator
Serious Business Inc. Ltd. LLC. etc.
#11 - 2015-01-09 17:56:29 UTC  |  Edited by: Ines Tegator
There is no way to address cloaking without breaking the gameplay cloaking provides. Depth charges, fuel, capacitor, whatever, all undermine both the defense purpose of cloaking and the recon purpose, not to mention the "I have to take a bio break" aspect. Besides, cloaking is not the problem. The problem is with Local. A cloaker who is truly afk is harmless in every way. His only power is in making you paranoid.

Option 1: Remove cloakers from local:
-solves problem.
-creates new problems, such as surprise cynos.
-reduces the value of nullsec by making it more like wormholes.
-not a good idea.

Option 2: Remove inactive cloakers from local:
-solves problem
-makes local EVEN BETTER intel, since it will tell you whether a cloaker is active or not.
-much better then option 1, though still not ideal.

Option 3: Completely overhaul Local, Dscan, and Intel gathering in general.
-solves problem
-takes a lot of work
-updates EVE gameplay by 10 years. yay.
-new system may be worse then old one (ccp has a very bad track record on UI issues).
-UPDATE: I put together some suggestions on how to to do this.

Honestly, I can't decide whether to push the issue or not. The status quo is, at the least, reliably quo. Pushing for change in such a core aspect of gameplay may just lead to trouble. On the other hand, Local as an intel tool is stupid and Dscan is decades out of date as a gameplay feature.
commander aze
#12 - 2015-01-09 18:31:25 UTC
New anchor able structure that allows for submarine type pings give benefit to those still at their computer allowing them to warp off to a different safe and re cloak basically deals 1 damage or coded to turn off cloaks over 5au of space but still have to position them in a coordinated effort to depth charge a system and smoke out the cloaky camper.

Forcing players to cloaky camp systems and walk away for the day to get killed by their inactivity while promoting active hunter killers for blops.

obvious concern is leaving these near gates and decloaking people as they enter system this is countered by a 30 second spool up timer and a recharge timer so they cant rapid fire keeping someone uncloaked.

gives the deployable team something fun to play with still requires teamwork and promotes people actually sitting at their computer to effect operations in a system.

I want it clear i think cloaky camping is funny and a good aprt of the game trying to catch people doing something stupid but it is important. However I do not approve of people being able to effect multiple systems and industry while having logged in in the morning and staying cloaked in a safe until when they return from work.

it goes under the same logic as the hobocamping patch for interdictors. if you are going to effect space your ship needs to be at risk. some counter must exist to counter someone sitting idle in a system that equalized the effect to risk

Commander Aze For CSM XII

Support the Community #Broadcast4Reps

State War Academy
Caldari State
#13 - 2015-01-09 18:53:35 UTC
T2 Probes.

They are handled like combat probes, but they are big to carry in cargo (I'm thinking 10m3 each). They have a scan time of 2 minutes, after skills.

They can scan cloaked ships, but due to the long duration scan time, if someone who is cloaked is actually at the keyboard, they can dscan to see them and take defensive action, while anyone afk can be seen, decloaked and killed.

Even if someone is moving while afk, you bookmark the location from one scan, rescan, warp, bookmark and you can see the direction of travel for the afk cloaky and can move to decloak.
Eldorado Exhumers
Fractions of PI
#14 - 2015-01-09 18:57:30 UTC
Can we give destroyer class ships the capability of detect cloaked ships, just like the real world destroyer that hunts submarine? Give them a specialized module that needs to be actively tracking cloaked ships. Or anti-cloaking drone equipped in high slot that are only for destroyers? And this way, destroyers can have another specialized role. Any ideas?
Gabriel Elarik
Celestiel Rams
#15 - 2015-01-09 19:29:36 UTC
Nothing should be 100% safe in eve

make a safe cloak 100% safe thats wrong nothing else as long as he is cloaked he cant harm anyone
Lady Rift
His Majesty's Privateers
#16 - 2015-01-09 20:11:05 UTC
CrookedSpike wrote:
T2 Probes.

They are handled like combat probes, but they are big to carry in cargo (I'm thinking 10m3 each). They have a scan time of 2 minutes, after skills.

They can scan cloaked ships, but due to the long duration scan time, if someone who is cloaked is actually at the keyboard, they can dscan to see them and take defensive action, while anyone afk can be seen, decloaked and killed.

Even if someone is moving while afk, you bookmark the location from one scan, rescan, warp, bookmark and you can see the direction of travel for the afk cloaky and can move to decloak.

only lets you land on grid with the cloaky. You have to fly around grid and hope you get lucky. they also have horrible scan strength.
Collapsed Out
Pandemic Legion
#17 - 2015-01-09 20:22:32 UTC
People keep saying "local is the problem" or "little to no counter to cloaking" or "no way to tell if someone is afk or not". people give a lot of excuses as to what the main problem is, but the problem is in fact all of the options.

Someone is in local/local intel. This is a problem on a few levels, there is no one solution and any solution will make people unhappy. Maybe set it up to link to the ships scan res or sensor strength? stronger ships see it first local Intel earlier?

Cloaked people in a safe cannot be located. Hands down there is no way to hunt cloaked people. Maybe probes that have a really long scanning time (3 minutes to scan), problems moving cloaked hostiles. Maybe and AoE blast that disables the activater's warp and jump for some time but has a chance of decloaking a hostile in range (in assistance to the probes or something). Maybe a timer or fuel for cloaking. Fuel I do not really have a problem, but there should be enough fuel for black ops to cloak for up to 2 hours, without interfering with their fuel bay.

AFK people. For the longest time, i believed this game should have a popup that asks people after an hour "are you still here, 5 minutes until you are disconnected automatically", for non-cloaking reasons - people who sit in station and don't do anything specifically Jita.
Corraidhin Farsaidh
Federal Navy Academy
Gallente Federation
#18 - 2015-01-09 21:53:21 UTC
Ix Method wrote:
There was something about a specialised destroyer that was unusually well thought out like 30 threads back. Hopefully they'll come back. Fancy destroyers are cool.

I've suggested destroyers using a local module but also needing a second destroyer running a remote 'sonar'booster to emulate triangulation from multiple sensor sources.

This should only work for an active ship though, a ship just sat still in space running nothing but cloak should be the same as a sub sitting on the seabed, undetectable beyond visual methods.

This lets people check if a ship is cloaked and afk but also lets the cloaky guy 'play dead' to bait people. The increased paranoia of knowing a player is afk ...but are they *really* afk? That could be joyous...
Mr Floydy
Questionable Ethics.
Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork
#19 - 2015-01-09 21:59:41 UTC
Fix afk cloaking my changing local. Just remove local ;)

As a comprimise, make local opt in - to see it you have to be visible in local yourself. To be hidden you can't see it.
Exotic Dancers Union
#20 - 2015-01-09 22:18:44 UTC  |  Edited by: Rovinia
One possibility would be to make cloaking devices use fuel. Just use the mechanics of the anciliary reppers with some new sort of fuel (would as well give PI a little push).

After 2-3 hours, you have to get a refuel or your cloaking device deactivates itself. In most cases that would mean that you have to leave the system from time to time --> more traffic on stargates --> more things to shoot.
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