Designated Wingman

I've argued that links boosters should show on killmails (duh!) and we've seen the effects of large scale TiDi mixed with severe lag (at the Eve-Bet Revenant event last Friday). All of which got me thinking. There are so many fleet tools and mechanics in Eve, heck the invention of Time Dilation only happened because of large fleet battles. And certainly, in the context of Null Space, those tools are needed.

But what about small gangs? Eve is a social game, but "social" isn't just hanging out with 500 of your closest Alliance mates. (One could easily argue the opposite is actually true.) Some of the most social moments I've had in Eve have been in a fleet of two people. Or three. But aside from the fleet tool, there isn't much benefit from being in a small gang unless you resort to an alt flying a link booster.

And so we've come full circle once again. I'm not satisfied and, as usual, I've been looking at this problem from another angle. As I've said before, I am not anti-booster. I just believe that, given they are a contributing factor to the directly applied ability of the aggressor, they should be represented on killmails. The enhancements derived from link support directly engage the defender, unlike Logistical support. Hence = killmail. Those of us that choose not to fly with a T3 alt attached to our hip, or can't afford multiple accounts, or can't multi-box, are at a distinct disadvantage.

But what if we weren't? What if we had an option? What if we could designate a wingman?

I imagine it working in a similar fashion to the current duel mechanic. Two ships in the same fleet accept wingman designation with each other. Based on the leadership skills of each pilot their chosen attributes are enhanced for a specific time. Not as much enhancement as they would get from a T3, but still a direct benefit to each ship. Obviously this wouldn't work in they already had a booster in fleet, or if the fleet exceeded a ceiling of participants. Oh, and the benefits only apply when both ships are on-grid with each other.

Right now you are already thinking about ways to exploit this potential mechanic. I know you. And you'd be right. It is rife for exploiting. I'll just train up an alt with superior leadership skills and he can follow me around so I can pop people without a buddy. And without having to minimally risk a blingy T3 ship in the process. We'll have ten ships in a fleet and each of them will be paired off with a designated wingman, the resulting boosts will be epic! We'll kill all the things.

And now you know the truth. I'm pulling your leg. The Wingman idea is bad in exactly the same way that the booster alt idea is bad. Because it is the same damn mechanic. I just called it something else and wrapped it around different words.

The truth is Eve is a social game that struggles with tremendous numbers. It struggles because ALL games would. The technology just isn't here yet for five thousand people to engage each other from all corners of the world on a single server. CCP will continue to work on that, upgrading servers, working on drone swarms, etc. But perhaps another way is to work on building a game that spreads us all out more. A game that supports small gang and medium sized fleet engagements. A game that remembers that "social" starts between two people. Maybe, just maybe, that game might be a lot more fun to play.

We do need some tools to help the small gang/solo pilots in Eve. But adding more boosts and more game mechanics to an already overloaded environment is not really the answer.

What are your thoughts?


  1. o7

    [begin crowdsourced blog content]

    My thoughts are that link boosting and socialization are not mutually exclusive. There are other, more valid reasons for boosting than wanting to be a leet Jita zkillboard hero. I am a multiboxer with 12 accounts, two of which are dedicated link boosters. I also socialize outside of those times that I'm link boosting.

    I just see it as a matter of preparedness, and there's the sweeping benefit of warfare boosters to a whole fleet of ships (potentially a -lot- of EHP).

    the bonus of warfare links pushes ship performance into officer module territory.

    I also disagree with the mention of funding accounts. I think you're wrong for assuming all account holders have budgeted their finances responsibly, or sensibly. Basically, there's no way to know the relative significance of an account holder's commitment (or sacrifice), and it's not valid to compare those [relative commitments] between two link booster account holders. It's also nobody's business but the account holder what they'd like to do with a character.


    [end crowdsourced blog content]

    1. It worries me how little reading comprehension you display.

    2. Yeah, ok. nevermind I said anything.

  2. right now, if you have a wingman I.e. a 2-man squad, you do get some bonuses to your ship. Defensive, primarily. Putting boosts local only means your wingman is flying with you, not an alt in a pocket. I want boosts on grid only !

    If I have a 200 man fleet, placing an on-grid booster isn't a tremendous hardship - there are opportunities to have backups in the fleet so as to make it hard to determine which is the booster. These fleets tend to move slowly and the booster has no difficulty being in place to provide boosts.

    What about small gangs, particularly those gangs/small fleets of small ships? Battlecruisers warp too slowly, doubly so with the recent warp speed improvements.

    I believe we need a small, fast booster, designed to be on-grid moving with near frigate speed. I suggest a T2 destroyer. A booster should have t2 resists, as it will most likely be a principal target. I believe that this small booster should only be able to boost small ships, but have either specific role enhancements to reduce the powergrid needs for the link modules, or have dedicated small modules that provide small ship bonuses only. Its agility, warp speed and velocity should be adequate to move with the frigate/dessy fleet. I realize that battlecruisers were originally pegged to be the centre of frigate fleets (so say the ship descriptions) but with the changes to warping, I feel that they can no longer fill this role.

    1. I do like the idea of T2 Dessie boosters for small ship fleets. Alot.

    2. Posted to F&I forum. Initial responses typical from the "don't screw with off grid boosting" and "stop wishing for easier to train for command ships". However, some comments were constructive & positive.

    3. Welcome to my world. It is a good idea and deserves its chance to grow.

  3. IMHO your wing man idea is the symptom of the off grid links issue, (speaking as a guy who has a full trained link alt.). If all links were required to be on grid then it becomes a choice to risk a fragile hull tanked T3, a stronger tanked command ship or something else, (probably a long range ewar ship.)

    There is a downside to multiboxers is they would look small gang as opposed to solo.
    The downside to larger fleets is that they might have to bring in a link carrier over the T3/Command combo's to survive the alpha.

    1. There is no doubt it is a direct symptom of the off-grid booster issue. And while I fully support bringing boosts on-grid, there have been indications from CCP that doing so might never happen. So I try to explore other ideas and concepts.

    2. My concern with the wing man idea is that it would be abused in PvE and discourage group play.

      Can you image a 3, 4 man multiboxer plus wing men running sites / incursions?

    3. Based on how links work now, and other ongrid-offgrid information given to the player, there appears to be no technical reason why on-grid only boosting cannot be implemented. Unless there are significant numbers of alts that exist only to be off-grid boosters and there is CCP worry of those accounts being dropped just because of this change, it remains soley a gameplay decision - a game dev choice.

      I cannot fathom any reasoning from a gameplay point of view, that would prefer off-grid boosting over on-grid. However, I openly admit that I am just a pilot, not a game dev.

    4. I guess some accounts could / would be un-subbed by my alt account does more than off grid boosts. Its a general hauler, scout, H/K, cyno & alternative source of pvp.

      There is a lot to be said being in two places at the same time :-)

  4. I like the article, but the situation is not as bad as you write about it imo.

    I don't agree with the "there isn't much benefit from being in a small gang" sentence of yours, because even with my very limited experience I've seen small gangs rape bigger fleets without boosters, because of the great FC

    1. Absolutely. And I agree. Mostly I'm building a case against invisible and generally invulnerable link alts. Which I consider a scourge.


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