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?