Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Server maintenance part 3 : pried from your cold dead fingers

You can have my downtime when you pry it from my cold dead fingers. 

Your proposal is acceptable. 
(misquoting Men In Black).

TL:DR; Instead of a uniform shutdown determined by CCP; PVP actions determine when any given game area is shutdown.

Sales pitch

For most players in Europe or the America's, the current downtime suits you.  You don't want the downtime to change.

To the EU and US pirates online around downtime : How many juicy targets do you have around downtime?  Are the few online targets scattered all over the place?  Would you like all those mission runners and traders to be concentrated in just a few regions at the most quiet times?

For Australian carebears : Are you tired of completing missions around downtime and just miss out on handing them in.  How much of a pain do you find it to have to lodge a help request to reset the mission - or simply abandon it?

Help Desk: How would you like those calls to go away (Ok I admit - I probably will make different problems for you at least at first).

CCP: Would you like to improve the participation by Australians?

Possible currencies

I am using the term 'vote' below, whether it is gained by a soap box, ballot box or ammo box; and the more ammo expended the greater the acceptability in an Eve universe.
  • Faction war has Occupancy.  Rewards for victory could include a 'vote' to shift a region to a new timezone.
  • Null sec has Sovereignty Mechanics.  A vote for these could be a majority of controlled systems.
  • Territorial control units even in low or highsec could be counted as a vote. You could even make it so that anyone placing one of these becomes gankable without concord interference, and vulnerable/target-able similar to when placing Cynosural fields.
  • Loyalty Points (I'm important to my NPC), ISK (NPC bribes) and Plex (CCP bribes) (or any mix) could also be counted as votes.
My personal preference is the currency easiest for me to accumulate (ISK).  That said, I PVP currency (probably in the form of control units) would be more acceptable to the wider population.

When downtime starts should not change easily.  It is currently outside of a player's ability to influence.  I want the ability for newbies, carebears and gankers alike to fight to play when they want.   

Downtime change

In my musings I have considered that a region would have the same downtime.  However, the minimum size of the area 'contained' within a downtime could be a system, constellation, region or all faction dominated regions.  To change a system's downtime would be much easier than changing a faction's downtime.

Lets say for arguments sake - you need 75% of votes with a minimum quorum to change downtime for a region.  There should be visibility to at any time where there is an attempt to change, and possibly a 'local chat' message of the day when the vote exceeds certain thresholds.  There could also be a (1 week?) timer initiated when a vote is cast allowing those that disagree to fight to maintain the status quo.

Ideally there would be a carebear driven starter system (and surrounds) with an alternative downtime; and possibly the character selection screen could provide a recommendation of race and faction based on character creation time.  I expect that there would be sufficient carebears in our timezone that would devote time to obtaining votes.

Similarly, I expect that there would be timezone based corporations prepared to carve out a losec region.

Those that want a different downtime are likely to band together;  Those that maintain the current uniform downtime are likely to be too apathetic to worry about it, especially if the 'different downtime' group avoid high population areas like Jita.

CCP could give slight guidance by providing a small (say 5% of votes) bonus from NPC's in regions with a lesser population to shift to an alternative downtime.

Meta Gaming

There was a comment to a previous post "Your enemy lives in region X and has a roaming party or mining fleet out of that region? Hit them when their home region is down so they can't call for reinforcements."

My initial thoughts are 'so what?'.  So are my subsequent ones.  Having a home ground advantage and away from home disadvantage seems to me to be a good thing.  Of course the same applies in reverse: If I am away from home doing some mining and the locals decide to gank me; if I don't have support pre-organised, then I either run away or lose my ships.  This occurs regardless of timezones.  If no-one wants to gank me then I don't have a problem.


  • Sever restarts are required
  • It is technically possible to have some servers down and other servers up
  • In game 'integrity' will be maintained (i.e. not allow account theft or in game duplication)
  • Some players are inconvenienced by current state of uniform shutdowns.
  • Different players will be inconvenienced by a non-uniform shutdowns.
  • Chat servers will have high availability - though not necessarily 100%

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