Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Rules for Individual Mercenaries

Sugar has a post up where she throws out the idea of allowing characters as individuals to join into the wars of other corps without leaving their own corp.  Cool story, sis.  I think this is an interesting idea.  I think it would make for an interesting dynamic in wars.

Dire Necessity raises the objection in Sugar's comments that implementing it would be hard.  Well, it would take some time, but I don't think it is that hard.   To that end, I thought I would try to write down a list of rules that fully specify all the situations one could want covered.  Here goes.

First, here are the goals that the specific rules should allow and enforce:
  1. You can join wars of alien corps without leaving your home corp.
  2. You can't join wars of more than one non-home corp at a time.
  3. You can't be at war except via a corp.
  4. There should be no long-term affiliation with non-home corps.
  5. You can never be at war with your home corp/alliance.
  6. Corps can control whether their members can do this.
  7. War targets (at least; possibly other outsiders) can find out about this.

Here are the specific new rules.  [Commentary in square braces.]
  1. There are now two ways in which characters are involved in a war: inherited (via his membership in his home corp), and personal (via affiliation with an outside corp).  A character in a war via an outside corp is called an adjunct of that corp.  A character may be the adjunct of no more than one corp at a time.  The corp which a character is an adjunct of is called his affiliate corp.
  2. Characters in NPC corps are not allowed to affiliate.  [Too powerful, since there can be no corp-level retaliation.]
  3. Create a new corp role, "mercenary", that allows a character to affiliate.  If you don't have the role, you cannot become an adjunct.  [This allows corps to control what their members do with regard to the very important business of getting in wars with outsiders.]
  4. To become an adjunct of a corp, there's an application process.  UI-wise, it should work much like the current corp application.  You apply, the corp OKs it, you accept.  There is a 24 hour wait, then you're an adjunct.  
  5. Assuming he has the "mercenary" role allowing it, a character may apply as adjunct to any number of corps.
  6. Only corps with an active war are allowed to OK applications.
  7. A character may not accept a corp invite to be adjunct unless the corp has an active war.
  8. A character may not accept a corp invite to be adjunct unless he is currently in zero wars (either personal or inherited).  [Corps should not have to tweak merc status to keep their members fighting in their own wars.]
  9. A character cannot accept any adjunct application that would add him to any war against his home corp/alliance.  [You can never be at war with your home corp/alliance for any reason.]
  10. An adjunct who loses the "mercenary" role does not lose affiliate status.  However, he can no longer accept any invite to be an affiliate.
  11. An adjunct who joins a new corp drops any affiliation.  He may, of course, re-apply.
  12. As is currently the case, each individual is allowed in any number of inherited wars.  Similarly, as an adjunct you can also be in any number of personal wars via your affiliated corp.
  13. A UI should exist to show all adjuncts of a corporation, and this info should also be available via API.  [Other corps need to be able to find this out.]
  14. When you are an adjunct to a corporation, you are automatically part of all wars of that corp.  If a war ends for any reason, all personal wars related to that war also end.  [There is no such thing as a truly individual war.]
  15. If you are the adjunct to a corp and it (or its alliance) declares war on your home corp/alliance, or vice versa, when the war goes live you are immediately removed from adjunct status.
  16. If you are the adjunct to a corp it is at peace (in no wars), your adjunct status immediately ends.
  17. The rules for intra-corp attacks should be changed so that attacking corpmates is not allowed by Concord.  "Positive" actions (repping, cap transfer, remote seboing, etc.) made to corpmates are still allowed.  [Given that duels now exist, there is little need for this mechanic any more, and it is far more often (ab)used by awoxers than used for non-tear-extractive ends.  If you really want to spar with corpmates en masse, do it on Sisi.]
  18. An adjunct counts as a member of his affiliated corp for purposes of Concord.  He can attack that corp's enemies without penalty.  That corp's enemies can attack him without penalty.  He can rep affiliated corpmates without penalty.
Go ahead and criticize.  I'll amend to close loopholes if necessary.


  1. I love this idea. It preserves your corporate identity but also lets you freelance -- with your home corp's approval, of course. And I absolutely agree that a corporation's members' side affiliations should be discoverable by API and UI. I think you're right about the restriction on NPC corp members' ability to affiliate, as well.

    And yes, totally, to the idea of dropping the shoot-your-corpmates loophole. That has never made sense to me. For friendly fire dueling practice, I like the idea of a within-fleet PVP flag that's set at fleet creation time. There are people I'd like to practice with who aren't in my corp, and it'd be cool if we could fleet up just for that.

    Would you set a limit on how many affiliates a wardecced corp could have, or should that be open-ended? I'd lean toward the latter, since that sounds like big-time fun 'n games if a newbie corp with tough veteran friends puts out a distress call.

    1. There needs to be a limit beyond which you ought to hire mercs, not take in freelancers. I think affiliates should count against the corp employee limit. Or maybe have a new skill for that? We need charisma skills. But yeah, I kind of also feel the more the merrier.

      The whole need for friendly fire is something I don't know about. I can see that it might be useful. I don't need it personally; I practically never do it myself (EFT is most of what you need), and when I do I can practice in my wormhole when zipped just fine, or more likely do it on sisi. So, I don't really know. That's where I'd want to have someone stand in for me, who is smart and clued into the game, who talks to a lot of players from all over the map. Or maybe a council of such players. Yeah.

  2. I like the 'you can solo merc' check box that the corp has in this.

    1. People should not be able to hide in a wardec proof NPC corp and join wars, escaping any retaliation. Realism-wise (oooh, the r-word!) it seems reasonable that a corp should be able to rule its members, and also that anything an NPC corp can do a PC corp can do. Do note that I did it as a role, so that it can be assigned to individuals on a per-character basis, if desired.

  3. Firstly, I think the 'no attacking corp mates' breaks part of RVB; Red fights red, blue fights blue. This can be worked around by a CEO elected 'tick' stating whether corp members are allowed to attack each other; changing this setting should send out a corp wide evemail. Or do we merely move RVB to sisi and/or wormholes.

    18 rules to work out what you can/can't do will be a hard sell. Can the rules be re-worded so that there are less rules? This is not necessarily a change to what you are trying to achieve; merely making it palatable to a wider audience.

    1. I did not know that RvB did intra-corp scrimmaging with the two corps. I guess that is a problem, then. So yeah, you might allow attacking corp mates via a checkbox, or a via a role. I tend to like roles because they are fine-grained.

      As for the level of detail, this is a "take this and program it" level, i.e. something akin to a functional spec. But the end-user does not need that. He or she just uses the thing, and as long as it acts more or less in accordance with expectations, it's fine. But maybe you can sell the list of seven goals as easier to understand. If you really need to sell something.

  4. Von Keigai,

    I had two primary concerns with Sugar’s Individual Mercenary idea.

    My primary concern derived out of the mechanic enabling a player to join a corporation with, for lack of a better set of words, “light status”. Individual Mercenaries would be “light” members in the sense that they’d joined a corporation but without accepting the limitations (like individual control to dabble in other's wars) joining a corporation imposes. Your particular instantiation of the idea greatly reduces this concern since the decision to allow light members is decided at the corp level not the individual level.

    My secondary concern was difficulty of implementation which greatly affects whether CCP resources will be directed towards something. We could argue whether 7 goals and 18 specific rules is too resource intensive to be worth the bother but that’s connected to how popular the mechanic would be which I have no way to measure.

    As is my style, whenever I examine a mechanic I look for devious ways to use/exploit/bust it to my benefit. One curious aspect of your proposal is the ability to set up well nigh impregnable “secret societies” backed up by huge corporations within massive alliances. A player sets up a front corporation, dozens of players from different corporations (many within large alliances) affiliate with that front corporation. Front corporation declares war. Victim faces an astoundingly difficult retaliation situation since declaring war back at the affiliate members means declaring war on dozens of corporations (many members of large alliances). Being a devious player, I actually kind of like this feature but point out that it’s not very white knighty.


    1. When I dream, Dire, I'm not going to clip the wings of my idea before it even takes flight by predeciding CCP resources.

      No one can be forced to be a white knight, Dire. That is why there are tools. To assume that a mechanic is only meant to be used in one way and for one moral goal would be a ridiculous underestimation of the average Eve player.

      That exact same behavior can and does exist today with people from war deccing groups leaving corp and rejoining constantly. The goal is not to make the people who already do fun complex things with mechanics lives harder but to give people who do not have that ability (yet) the a more clear path to obtaining it.

    2. Regarding "light status", one thing I suppose could be explicitly stated is that affiliates don't get any of the normal corp privileges of their affiliated corp. This is how things currently are, so it requires no work. But still, maybe it should be clearer. That is, they don't have roles, can't use POSes (except force fields, via password), hangars, etc. If it were important I suppose such access could be added. But I don't think it is.

      I appreciate you thinking of "devious ways to use/exploit/bust it". Any new rules need such hard scrutiny from people who like breaking stuff. Hopefully anything you think of is either (a) not really a problem, or (b) can be fixed by rule patch.

      In the specific case of your "front corporation", I don't really see the problem. Do recall that the "victim" corp is in a war, by assumption; it does not need a wardec of its own to fight the mercs. Now, it would need a wardec if it wants to fight the home corp of the mercs, presumably with the intent of forcing that corp to stop allowing mercenary activity. And yes, this may well be prohibitive. (You cannot reasonably wardec Goonswarm, for example, to force them to stop allowing mercenaries.) Is it a problem that small corps cannot wardec large ones and force them to bend to their will? No. It's the current design, and it should not change.

      I would note, though, that the rules do tend to prevent this sort of thing. They disallow affiliation when the home corp is at war. (You can keep an existing affiliation, but not form a new one.) As such, "hiding" as it were in any large corp is unlikely to be very effective, since most such large corps have wardecs on them fairly often. Goonswarm, for example, is now continually wardecced thanks to Gevlon Goblin. So all members of Goonswarm would not be allowed to be adjuncts. At least until Gevlon gets bored of his crusade, and/or Goonswarm surrenders to Gevlon.

    3. Von Keigai,

      I’m coming around on this specifically because the option for corporations to enable/disallow solo mercing reframes the idea to one of promoting more corporation options rather than being a game mechanic enabling players a way to evade the very important limitations joining a player corp should rightly impose given the massive benefits joing a player corporation hands out. In other words, I’d say you’re approaching the idea at the right level.

      To clarify, what I meant by “light status” was not one’s affiliation status but rather the very option to affiliate in the first place. “Light status” was meant to compare to the current “Heavy status” situation where corporations alone declare, “We, and we only, decide who you get to go to war with.” Your instantiation allows individual corps to choose between being a “light status” corp or a “heavy status” corp. On a conceptual level I’m much more comfortable with this since it allows corps to keep strict control of their player’s combat options if they wish.

      To reframe the matter once again, you’re instantiation of the initial idea could be seen/utilized as a way to create a Defense Division within a corporation. Accordingly, when your Industrial/Mining corp isn’t being attacked you needn’t let your defense division go idle. No, you merc them out. “Gotta keep our bloodthirsty battle pilots murder happy and combat sharp.” This I find appealing.



      Appears I’m a devotee of the “Fail Fast” approach to innovation. (I did not know this about myself.) Also kindly forgive me for confusing origin with purpose. T’was presumptuous of me to suppose that when you explained how the idea came about I was to infer that might provide some clue as to it's purpose. (“I liked this idea because I could see someone in an environment such as my own breaking off to go and occupy themselves by white knighting.”)


      Little Idea,

      With Von Keigai’s addition of an enable/disallow solo mercing role I’m unable to strangle you in crib. From White Knight origin you’ve moved on to something much richer. Welcome to the big leagues Little Idea. It’s a big scary world out there. Good luck.