Tuesday, 27 January 2015

CCP rules on "Hyperdunking"

Recently in EVE a discussion has come up around the idea of "hyperdunking".  For those unfamiliar this is a method of executing a solo gank on almost any ship whcih has in theory been possible for a long time, but has been thrust into the spolight with the addition of the Bowhead freighter which makes it easier to pull off as it store so many more ships.  It works approximately as follows:

  1. Park a bumper and an Orca/Bowhead full of catalyst at a gank location.
  2. Bump a freighter.
  3. Send in a gank catalyst to attack the freighter.
  4. Get blown up by concord.
  5. Dock pod.
  6. Undock in rookie ship
  7. Get blown up by concord.
  8. Warp to Orca/Bowhead, get in catalyst.
  9. Go to 3, repeat until Freighter is dead.

When this was recently done to a bowhead freighter it was reported and the ganker in question was reportedly banned while CCP investigated.  Following that investigation, CCP have released this statement:
Since the introduction of the Bowhead freighter, we’ve become aware of a tactic that has been introduced which has become known as “Hyperdunking”. This involves leaving a grid where a criminal action occurs to draw away CONCORD and reshipping to continue shooting at a target. There’s been much discussion among members of the community regarding this tactic, and whether or not it is considered legitimate gameplay.
After meeting with members of the game design and customer support teams and discussing this in depth, we have come to the consensus that due to the fact no rules are being broken and any ship that is involved in a criminal act is being destroyed by CONCORD as intended, that this tactic is simply an unintended but legitimate use of new game mechanics, and is not in breach of the rules. Tactics similar to this have been used with previous hulls before the Bowhead was introduced, and have been considered perfectly legitimate in the past.
With this in mind, at this time we do not consider this tactic to be in breach of the game rules, and as such our customer support team will not be offering reimbursements for hulls lost in this manner.
Players are also reminded that if someone is criminally flagged, they are fair game to be attacked in self-defense. Feel free to use this to your advantage.

Now I have three main issues with this

  1. It feels very much like getting around mechanics that are there to stop exactly that.  Perhaps it's not, and it certainly seems that CCP is claiming it's not, but it always seemed like the criminal timer was there to put a time between ganks, so a player could only "be bad" once every 15 minutes.  Now that's officially not the case, and the criminal timer seems pointless.  Once concord has destroyed the first ship it becomes effectively a suspect timer, but red.  A ganker could in theory work with multiple bumpers, ganking one ship with a hit landing every minute or two, then seamlessly move onto the next target with the Orca moving between targets while the ganker moves concord.
  2. It makes tank irrelevant.  If a player can simply reship in the Orca as many times as they want, then no amount of tank will save a ship.  The entire claim that tanking your ship is a necessity is now obsolete.
  3. It further reduces the difficulty of ganking.  Ganking is already incredibly easy.  An empty freighter is killboard green.  Using T1 catalysts, it would cost around 60 million (30 ships) to gank even the most tanked Obelisk, or 210 million (21 ships) if using T2 catalysts.  The argument the gankers have always put forward for this is "but we need so many players, getting that many players is difficult".  That argument was sound, but is now irrelevant, since any freighter can now be ganked with 3 characters no matter how many catalysts it takes.
As you can imagine, within minutes of the post appearing, with people weighing in on both sides the usual crowd came in with their usual posts of "popcorn", "the tears", and other such constructive posts.  Supposedly people are not allowed to hold opinions if they oppose making ganking even easier and cheaper than it already is.  The EVE forums have seemed particularly toxic of late and this post has got CODE players frothing at the mouth with excitement.

I'd like to say I'd be very surprised if CCP held this ruling in place without changing the mechanics before too long, but honestly this seems like one of those rulings CCP will stand by no matter how unbalanced it may be.  If you live in highsec and you're not a trader or a scammer pretty much the easiest playstyle is now ganking.