The Log In Trap

EVE[EVE Online] Let’s see if we can solve this problem, the “log in trap”. Basically, this is a situation in EVE (but it could happen in most MMOs) where the enemy gathers in an area and then logs off. Waiting for your group to show up in some way (using an alt to observe the area), they all log in at one time and wipe out your side. There is no way to know how many of them are logged off so you can’t prepare (even if you are lucky enough to get intel that they logged off there in the first place). Most of the time you are completely suprised and wiped out.

Sounds like an exploit doesn’t it? It’s certainly a weak tactic. Metagaming I suppose.

This is currently going on in EVE by various corporations and alliances. They can log off the combat forces in space and wait for a juicy target to come by. When the target gets close they all log in at the same time (coordinated via out of game means usually like IM or voice chat) and attack. I wouldn’t mind losing to a superior force, but one that appears out of nowhere ready to fight is just not something I consider fun.

Several ways have been suggested by the players as to how to solve this. From having a certain amount of time where you can’t fight when you log in to automatically warping your ship in a random direction at log off, but none of them have been put to use by CCP.

Another thing to consider in this situation is that when you enter a system you can see who is in it by looking at the local chat box. It shows everyone who is currently logged into that system. Many consider this system to be a flaw and in 0.0 space I tend to agree with them, simply because it makes it too easy to check for threats. People that use the log in trap often claim this to be the reason why they use it.

How have other pvp games out there handled something like this? Is there an elegant solution? For me, having your ship immobile and unable to fight for 3 minutes (and nobody can attack you either) if you log into space (as opposed to being in a station) seems like a good plan. Lots of solutions have been suggested on the forums, but many don’t consider things like a crash to desktop. You still want to avoid punishing someone that accidentally crashed out of the game.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

18 thoughts on “The Log In Trap”

  1. I actually like the idea of warping you off in to a random direction. That is essentially what is done if your connection burps or your system crashes.

  2. This type of issue has always been a problem in MMOs with PvP support, originally because people about to lose in PvP would simply log off and log back in an hour or two later to heal. This was “solved” with the logoff delay, something most people have now gotten used to and accepted as necessary. It becomes a balancing act for the devs – how many people are affected, and how much would a solution inconvenience the rest of the players.

    I like your proposed solution of immobility and invulnerability for some amount of time long enough for a victim to warp away, but short enough to not be extremely annoying. Even a minute should be enough, I think.

    Another possibility would be a space marker – a little beacon left behind when your ship logs off in space, which people could identify to find out who you are and what ship you’re flying. Sure, it’s immersion-breaking, but so is making your ship disappear into an alternate universe on the fly (=logging off in space). This could cause a problem with space clutter, of course.

    Lastly, you could simply prevent people from logging off in space. If they do so anyway (ie, their PC crashes or the network connection goes down) their ship sticks around for a minute or so and then gets warped in a random direction like what happens now.

    As far as the local channel goes, it is extremely simple and I thought CCP already had this in place – if you don’t talk on the local channel, you don’t show up on the local channel. IE, if you don’t want to be found, quit babbling on the radio.

  3. Just auto-dock the ships at the next station, or warp them to the next stargate. That should be enough.

  4. “Just auto-dock the ships at the next station, or warp them to the next stargate. That should be enough.”

    See, that’s sort of the problem – that means someone losing badly in combat (PvP or PvE, doesn’t matter) would just have to quit and/or pull their network plug and they’d be home safe. You’d have to keep their ship immobile in space for X number of minutes/seconds to be fair to all players.

    These types of problems always have two sides to them – most solutions you could find to a problem, especially if the solution is a game mechanic only and not true to the virtual world, will be turned into exploits. Eve handles most issues great because their interface and game mechanics stay very true to their world. Unfortunately, there has to be a logoff mechanism, and the problems associated with logging off is something I have never seen a realistic solution to.

  5. A realistic solution to logging off would be to require all logging off be done in a station and have it take ## seconds to disembark the ship or make it ready for launch. People changing ships would need to be considered I suppose. That could be handled seperately. I know there are people that log off at a safespot or POS and this will cause issues with those people obviously. Perhaps making any logoff while in space require the ship remain? I’m sure that would cause many other problems as well. At least it would be realistic to the situation.

  6. I don’t think penalising people who routinely log off in space or at POSes between gaming sessions is a good idea. Stations in 0.0 are scarce and contested. If you leave a ship in space for 24h there is a good chance of it being probed down and killed. Logging off to escape is mostly fixed: emergency warp, then there’s a timer before your ship vanishes, which is two minutes normally or 15 if you’ve been shot at. The question is, what should happen at logon?

    I propose that if you log on before the timer has expired, you should return to your ship exactly as it was and autowarp back to where you were (this is the current situation). However, if the timer has expired, then it should not auto-warp, and further more all your offensive modules should be offlined. There should be an exemption for people logging off within a POS bubble.

    You can then warp to your safespot or otherwise run away, but it will take a little while to get everything going again. Crucially, you can’t login and immediately start attacking people – you can only online one module, then you have to wait for your cap to recharge before you can online another.

    With a gang you online a NOS as your first action and then NOS gangmates to get back in the fight promptly. Or burn through cap injector charges.

    The people I see this penalising would be 0.0 soloists with bad connections, or reasons to login/out frequently. A refinement would be to add another timer of an hour or two, after which there is no penalty for logging in.

    RP justification: the ship’s invisibility in space is achieved by turning off all external modules to achieve radio silence, making it indistinguishable from floating debris.

  7. I read that CCP will change the Local Channel to only show those who chime in as part of an upcoming release, Kali 1 or some other patch.

  8. I think one of the funniest things about this post is the fact that Log-Ganking is being deemed a large problem. This isn’t the hugest of problems in EvE, least of all mine, if your corp, gang, or what ever isn’t prepared to fly in to Low Sec space…. Don’t Go there!

    Losing ships is part of the game. As far as figuring out a different way of handling logging off / in, I’m thinking “leave it alone” and go after other matters, I do like the suggestion that someone mentioned that explained about how Local should only reflect Pilots who have posted in there, and nothing more, letting people observe it, or use it as a help line, or trying to sell stuff, but not to have the list of people currently in that space. I think that alone would keep people from Log-Ganking because no one would know you had a 10 HAC fleet sitting 150k off the gate waiting for Juicy Haulers coming thru, I think this would also make scouting a more involved job, and it would be sweet!… Cloaks ftw!

  9. I agree with you Fox. I think changing how local works not only makes sense from a realistic perspective, but it would render this topic pointless really. The reality is, if the local did not show them – they could all be cloaked and then suddenly appear and it would work the same as a log in trap. But it would be very hard to claim it is an exploit.

  10. Thanks Ethic :) … I havent seen you online in quite awhile, you still buzzin around Tranquillity?… as far as this issue, I hope CCP takes a look at this thread, it would rule if they fixed Local :P

  11. Yeah I have been playing more often. Lots of things going on in our corp lately. It’s been exciting.

  12. Me too… our corp just joined a subsidiary of BoB :P … We’ll see how that goes. Are you hangin out in 0.0 at all?…I used to be in Immensea, but we are out in Fountain now :P …let me know if we are neighbors :)

  13. Everyone seems to have overlooked the easiest solution. The map! Just add a “### people logged off in the last hour in this system” to the info block of a system. Works the same way as “### of ships destroyed in the last hour”. This way you can see a logoff trap and choose whether to engauge. Also it really deters the tactic because it gives away your potential fleet size.

    Only thing it doesn’t solve is log off and wait several hours to log back in to rampage a system. A simple change would be to include all logoffs in the last 24 hours that still haven’t logged back on.

    Just something simple to check the number of logoffs in a system would suffice. Hell they could even make it a / command.

  14. Forcing someone to be immobile for 3 minutes following login? Yeah, that’s what players will like, sitting there picking their asses for 3 minutes while they cannot do anything. Taking movement control away from a player is never the way to solve game design.

    Whew. I said it.

  15. What if on sign-in a players wepons are inactive for N number of seconds? Defenses works, just not offenses. They can move and get ready (or run like a coward), but not attack.

    Of course the bad side to this is 15 ships come in out of nowhere, power up defenses preventing the folks getting ambushed from finishing off the bait that lured them in.

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