Thursday, 27 February 2014

Rubicon 1.3 - Corporation Member Cap Increase


With the current corporation skills allowing for 6300 members and the ever increasing size of corporations in the game, we are getting to the stage where no amount of CEO training is able to cope
with their size.  This is primarily affecting Brave Newbies who are dangerously close to hitting the cap (within 100 members of the cap).  Rather than adding another tier of skill, CCP are choosing to double the effectiveness of the current levels of skill, raising the new cap to 12600 members.

The skills will now increase the member cap as follows:
Corporation Management will provide +20 members per level.
Megacorp Management will provide +100 members per level.
Empire Control will provide +400 members per level.
Sovereignty will provide +2000 members per level.
Existing CEOs will need to update their corp with their skills for the changes to take effect.

The Objections
As with almost every change there are people on both sides of the argument, both for and against.  The primary reasons for objecting to this change are:
  • Removal of diversity
    • By allowing people to form larger corporations the game becomes less diverse as people form into larger groups pushing smaller groups out.
  • Overpowering the blobs
    • Allowing larger groups gives people more opportunity to outnumber their enemies without restriction.  Smaller corporations would stand less chance of being able to go against larger corporations.
  • Reducing Conflict
    • With larger corporations, members will have less targets to fight, reducing opportunities for conflict to erupt.
Support for Change
Personally, I support this change.  A mechanical limit on the number of player in a corporation is not really a sandbox feature, and it can easily be bypassed by forming an alliance.  While the objections are fair, there's nothing that will happen after this change that couldn't happen before except there will be a green blob rather than a blue one.  Even so, that will only happen in one case for a while, which is Brave Newbies.  No other corp is anywhere close to the cap.

Brave Newbies should in fact be held as an example for why the corporation change is a good thing.  They are growing in number rapidly, and beginning to engage in larger scale combat.  When N3 tried to make a break from the 0-W station Brave Newbies formed a fleet and fought right to the end.  Allowing a group like that more room to grow can only be a good thing.

It's an unfortunate fact that EVE will never be for small groups all round.  Null combat is likely to be dominated by the largest force that can project the most amount of fleets into combat.  Now that's not to say smaller groups should have no content.  Smaller groups are currently more effective in wormhole space due to movement restrictions, and their effectiveness should definitely be increased in many areas.  But when it gets to the point that mechanics have to choke larger groups to allow the smaller groups to thrive, the freedom of EVE will have been stifled.

Problems and Future Considerations
Larger corporations do have their downsides, which this change will expand.  Corporations are susceptible to thefts and other forms of awoxing, and the larger a corporation grows, the harder it becomes to monitor and control all of the members.  Corporation management mechanics really don't help with this.  They are archaic and can be difficult to set up and audit.  The larger a corporation grows, the more people you need to help manage and monitor the use of roles and titles, further opening the corporation to security holes.

While the ability to steal from your corporation, kill all of the other members and even boot everyone out and disband the corporation if you can is a vitally important part of the game, being able to do so because the tools provided to prevent you are awful is not a good thing.  For this reason, I think it's important that CCP start to think about how to change the corporation management tools.  Roles need to be simplified down and the ability to track and manage those roles needs to be improved.  But that's all for another post.