For those who haven't heard of it, Crimewatch is the name CCP has given to their project dedicated to overhauling the Aggression and Flagging Systems in EVE Online. Currently the systems are sloppy, unreliable, and the cause of many pilots frustration (and death). It will be implemented in the Winter Expansion in early December.
The biggest problem in the past was that it was never very clear if you had a timer, what timer it was, who it was directed at, and what it all meant. Simply learning these complex rules was challenging, but allowed Griefers to exploit other people's ignorance of them (ex: Can Flipping).
Much of this is going to change, and while it looks like the new system will be more simple, I wonder exactly how it will impact PVP and that's what we will examine in this article.
One of the major changes is to clearly show the timers and provide "tooltip" descriptions of what they mean. This will massively simplify things by it's self.
Here's the description direct from CCP:
The following image shows a character with three flags. From left-to-right: PVP flag, Suspect flag, Weapons flag. Each flag also has an associated timer, shown by the clock around it. The specifics of what each flag means will be explained later.
Aggression Timer Weapon Timer will be very helpful in PVP when you need to jump or dock. Trying to time this in your head was always a pain. My old solution to this was to keep a stop watch by my computer. That's something I will happily give up.
Another big change is to the way Logistics and Assistance Modules effect timers and aggro. This has been badly broken for a long time. Neutral Logistics that could dock at any time for example.
The new system will cause pilots to "inherit" all flags and timers from those they help. Meaning Neutral Logi would become a valid target and would not be allowed to dock as long as they continued to assist a player that was aggressing. Beyond that, team Logistics will no longer reset each others timers and be forced into a never ending criminal timer.
A very nice way of handling the problem in my opinion:
In most cases, using assistance modules on another player will cause you to inherit all of his flags, including whatever their current countdown state is, if the flag has a higher time remaining than your own. Assisting someone with 10 seconds left on his Weapons Flag will give you a 10 second Weapons Flag (as long you your current flag doesn't have more than 10 seconds on the clock). The system will work in such a way that a pair of mutually-assisting logistics ships won't lock each other in to being perma-flagged (as long as they themselves aren't also aggressing), but will have their timers count down in sync with any combat ships they are assisting. In general, logistics ships should be able to jump through gates at the same time as their fellow combat ships.
The next big change is the introduction of the "SUSPECT" Flag which is a completely new form of aggro players can get. This flag means that you are a legal target for ALL Players (not just those you aggro) in both high and low sec space. But unlike Criminal, a SUSPECT flag does not mean you will be shot by Concord or the Navy
This is pretty big because it will open up a brand new type of PVP with rules and tactics that have yet to be created. Players will actively seek to get Suspect flags and then bait others to shoot at them...
I can already see my self getting some SUSPECT aggro and then flying around high sec in a Taranis baiting the Care Bears to come play with me!
Legality Flag: This flag exists to penalize those who commit criminal/suspicious actions in Empire space (high and low sec). A character with a Legal flag is always a legal target for offense from all other players. This flag has two severity levels: SUSPECT and CRIMINAL. The severity depends on what action is performed and where it happens. The severity also controls what consequences can occur (CONCORD will always attack CRIMINALS but not SUSPECTS, for example). This flag functions only in Empire areas of space. (But you can't shed it by jumping in-and-out of null). The CRIMINAL severity will always override SUSPECT.
Here's another HUGE change...
Illegal attacks on ships (not capsules) in low-sec only incur a Suspect flag. No CONCORD response if the attacker subsequently jumps in to high-sec.
This is cool because Low Sec PVP becomes less penalized and thus more attractive (low sec still needs more to make it work, but this helps). Now you can jump to low sec, blow up a few ships, then continue on your way through high and low sec with no sentries (as long as you didn't aggro near them in the first place) or concord bothering you.
The bigger change is how PVP on gates will happen. In the past if you jumped a gate camp in a low sec system on the high sec gate, you knew that the flashy gate camper (who now won't be flashy unless -5 or lower) could not escape through the gate because he would most likely get killed by concord on the other side (there are or were ways around this, but most people don't know them). This fact allowed you to focus your forces on one side of the gate and get kills with fewer pilots (or solo).
Now the target can freely de-aggro (wait out weapons timer) and jump away to high sec, making escape more easy for buffer tanking campers. HOWEVER, it is likely that gate guns will still fire on both sides of the gate and because of this change people will start putting tackle on the other side as well.
If a SUSPECT Flagged pilot is taking gate guns and he jumps his say 200,000 EHP Abaddon into high sec, then gets tackled by a lone inty, he will face twice as many Sentries in high sec and Twice as much DPS (around 700DPS from high sec gates). This should allow the Inty to finish him alone.
In the end it will change tactics a bit but a good change.
Next is the impact on Can Flipping, something I'm not too excited about. The way I read this is that the current can flipping mechanic is being killed in favor of a more Care Bear Friendly system.
Stealing from a container will expose you to potential attacks from all players (but not from sentry guns). The existing rules for what constitutes 'legal access' to a container are the same (I am the owner of the container, I am in the corp registered to the container, I am in the fleet registered to the container, The container is Abandoned), but we are adding one additional rule: If I can legally attack the owner of a container, then I can legally take from the container.
That last line changes everything! Now if you steal from a Can and put it in your own can, the original owner / target can take it back with no risk and no aggression toward you! So basically, you can steal the ore, but most miners will simply ignore you.
BUT I don't think this is the death of Can Flipping, simply a big change. I still see two possibilities for Can Flippers to be successful.
- Take ORE, Put in own can, kill your own can (no penalty), and deny the miners the ability to Jet Can Mine in hopes they will seek revenge and open themselves up to PVP.
- Use a alt or friend in a different corp to "clean" your aggro. Basically have your alt flip the can, then you flip his can. Now from what I understand the miner cannot take from you or even shoot you without taking aggression and making himself a target.
The problem is that Can Flipping is still more complex and less attractive because of these changes. We will have to wait for more details to know for sure.
It looks to me that with the Mining Ship changes and now this, CCP is buffing mining and nerfing the PVP associated with it.
One final change is the Front Loading of Security Status Penalties. I like that you can see it instantly, however the fact that we will now take a FULL sec hit for attacking ships, EVEN if we don't kill them is Very Stupid. Low Sec is dead because the security status penalties make low sec PVP virtually impossible unless you give up and go beyond -5 and put your self at a disadvantage.
Security-status penalties are now ‘front-loaded’, so a criminal/suspect will incur the full penalty when an illegal attack starts, not when (if) the target is destroyed...
Overall I think Crimewatch is a positive change for EVE Online and I look forward to it, but I hope CCP reconsiders the Security Status system as well. Why not give large boosts of Security Status when a Player kills another Player with negative sec status? Make Pirate Hunting more attractive and give Low Sec a massive Boost?
Then players would focus on killing just Pirates and never get penalized, while Pirates could focus on everyone and potentially get some edge for being beyond -5 in sec status. A new skill perhaps? Some kind of player based stealing? Maybe a skill and module based chance to steal from other ships in space, but should it fail you take suspect flag?
Those are changes that would make the game much more fun for everyone.