BB44.2: Encounter Based Local

For a full archive of Blog Banter #44 submissions, please visit this link and be prepared for a lot of reading.

I've had a chance to read all of the submissions regarding the newly resurgent call for altering, modifying, removing, tinkering, needlessly complicating and otherwise mucking around with the Local mechanic in Eve. Wow. An amazing amount of thought and effort and opinion has been generated and each concept is well-considered and developed. Well done.

I was compelled to return to the subject because it is an important one. If many of these proposals are actually implemented I will be forced to quit playing and I don't really want that to happen. That would suck.

So, instead of covering old ground again, this time I'm going to make my own proposal. A proposal that doesn't add needless complications to an already complicated game. A proposal that isn't based on skills, that doesn't favor the rich and powerful, and that doesn't mimic what already exists in WH Space. And, most importantly, a proposal that can be implemented from CCP with minimal effort. Which is important. There are limited resources.

I call it Encounter Based Local.

First of all, Local Chat and Local Intel are separated from each other. Both become individual window panes, customizable and moveable like any other window pane. Local Chat becomes a "talk and seen" channel, you talk in it and you appear in it. Local Chat doesn't contain any Avatars, it is simply a talk channel. Straight forward and simple.

Local Intel remains similar to the current Local Channel but with significant, yet subtle, differences.

Here is how the Local Intel window looks when I enter a new system. You can see I have it customized into a two-column configuration:

Click to embiggen
Local displays all the avatars of those pilots currently in local, but no other information. (If they are in your fleet or gang they would have the purple square next to their name.) In addition, local no longer does math for you and no longer displays a running total of local inhabitants.

The status of local pilots is determined by "encounters" only and is no longer a function of CONCORD or gates or any other voodoo. It is determined by pilots now. You have to find out yourself.

How do you do that?

1) D-Scan - Once a pilot is pinged by d-scan his status is displayed in the channel.
2) On Grid - Once a pilot lands on grid with you, his status is displayed in the channel.
3) Probe - Once pinged by a probe, status is displayed.
4) Get Info - That still works the same way.

Any action that uncovers another pilot in local by you, or someone in fleet with you, reveals that pilots status. But only to you individually, or those in your fleet. Not to anyone else in local.

(Except for Crimewatch activities, Crimewatch activities continue to be broadcast and delivered the same as they are now. So engaging in criminal activity comes with a much higher price now, since you will be revealing yourself to everyone in local without them having to find you!)

Local is a "find and forget" system. Once a pilot leaves local his encounter information with you is forgotten and once more he fades into space, forcing you to encounter him again or use your brain and remember his name.

I am also recommending the following change:

Click to embiggen
See those grayed out avatars? You know what's special about them? They are docked!

Now we finally have a window when we are in station. Which also serves to let us know who in system is docked up. Since they cannot be "encountered" while docked, they are identified as such. This benefits both those docked and undocked. Those in station can now see who is not in station and vice versa. Is that guy that chased you still out in space, or is he docked now?

So there you have it. Simple, easy and useful. You can still tell that there are pilots in local, but are they friend or foe? Are they together or alone? Are they Militia? Are they enemies? It is now up to you to find out for yourself.

This is a change that I think CCP can afford to make. It delivers a form of delayed-local for those that have been calling for that change. It doesn't favor the attacker or the defender, since both are in the dark until they take some action to change their status - using d-scan for example. Cloaking continues to be the best way to avoid being seen, until you de-cloak and someone pings you of course.

It also encourages an increase in Social Awareness within Eve. Remembering names could become your best tool against those you fight often. Hey, I know that Rixx Javix fella!!

It also keeps local non-skill based and universal for everyone - noob or veteran. And I believe that is the most important thing of all. But it also makes Local a more active, user-participated system without going all the way towards adding additional content. This system needs NO ADDITIONAL CONTENT from CCP. Just some adjustments to two windows.

So what are your thoughts?

[ UPDATE: Despite my best efforts to read every single post about this topic it appears one slipped thru my fingers. It is, of course, one that shares many similarities to my own proposal. Azalean Ladder makes many of the same points and while our proposals are different, they are also fundamentally the same for all intents and purposes. Brilliant minds think alike.]