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EVE Online: combat group organization E-mail
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
As we wrote yesterday on our article about the status of EVE Kali: Revelations  and Mephisto's blog entry, the next EVE Online free content patch will also contain a system which will allow to organize combat groups in squadrons, wings and fleets and keeping formations.
TomB new dev blog gives us a better explanation of this neat new feature.

GANGS OF NEW EDEN

The gang system has gone under an overhaul that is rumored to be bigger than my own ego. But if you know me in person you will see that... IT IS NOT TRUE.

But it is fun, while I am not, and that really matters when you have traveled far into empty space.

The Gang

The old gang still exists as you know it and is formed in the same way as it always has been. The gang has been changed however so that you can not have more than 50 members in a flat gang and gang bonuses of any kind (skills, modules) have been disabled completely.

The Fleet

You can now convert your gang to a fleet through an option by clicking the arrow in the gang header or right-clicking the header itself. This will change the gang to a fleet mode where you are can split the gang mates into seperate groups and assign commanders. This will also activate the ability of distributing gang bonus to gang members.

The hierachy of the fleet is split into a four tiered hierachy: Fleet Commander (1), Wing Commanders (5), Squad Commanders (25) and Squad Members (225). This means the biggest possible fleet in EVE an army of 256 members.

Commanders have total control over the group that they are in charge of; a Squadron Commander can invite anyone to his Squadron, but the Fleet Commander can also invite to that Squadron as it’s a part of the fleet group.

A group without a commander is deemed as inactive because one of the following happened:

  • There are not enough members in the system for this group.
  • The commander is not in the same system as the rest of his group.
  • The commander of the group is in a pod or docked.
When the group is inactive no bonuses are received from the group's commander.

There is one more role that can be assigned to a gang member, the “Scout”, but is only used for the new broadcast system menionted below. The scout role will allow the player to send out specific broadcasts such as “Enemy Spotted” to all gang members of a fleet.

This all together will make operating a fleet bit more tactical, especially since commanders must be kept alive for his gang to get gang bonuses and new commanders promoted quickly if they die in battle.

Skill Requirements

The basic Leadership skill will be used for Squadron Commanders to run a Squadron. The skill allows you to have an active Squadron of up to maximum of 10 members (the commander is included).

We have added two new skills which allows players to command a Wing or the entire Fleet. These skills give the player the ability to manage bigger groups where the Wing Command allows control of one Squadron per skill level and the Fleet Command allows control of one Wing per skill level.

Gang Boosting Bonuses

Gang bonuses can now only be received from commanders in a gang that has been converted to a fleet, which is quite a change to current gang bonus mechanics. The reason for this change is to make more use of gang command/bonus based characters and to make specialized characters that focus on gangs a more common choice for players.

Commanders can only give gang bonuses and receive their own bonuses but can not receive bonuses from other commanders or normal members. A normal Squad Member how ever can receive bonuses from three possible parties: his Squad Commander, his Wing Commander or the daddy Fleet Commander himself.

Broadcasts

We have created a new system that allows you to quickly send messages to a group of players. This feature had been on our drawing table for quite a while. However we couldn't keep it there anymore, especially with the voice intergration coming in so that players with no mic would start feeling left out in the cold.

Broadcasts have orders assigned to them which allows you to interact with them directly, as seen on the picture below; you have warp options to the enemy spotted broadcast. Other broadcasts will have other options, for example “Need Armor Repair!” will only give you the options of target locking on the member that sent the broadcast.

These broadcasts will be displayed in a new window below the gang window that opens once you have sent or received a broadcast. They will also be displayed in other locations, depending on the broadcast type. The locations that broadcasts can be displayed at are: inspace (attached to an object), in the overview, in the system map and in the star map.

Here are a few examples of how where broadcasts can be seen and how it looks like:

  • On one hand we have “Lock Target!” (accessed by ctrl-shift-left-clicking an object or right-clicking and selecting from the context menu) which will only be sent to gang mates that are inside your grid; seen in space and in the overview (attached to an object). Note: this broadcast also allows commanders to prioritize the targets and switch priority on the fly.



  • On the other hand we have “Enemy Spotted!” (accessed through short-key or gang menu button) which will be shown inspace (attached to nearest location), in the overview and in the system map.



  • And on the hand far far away we have “Travel To” which will only be shown in the starmap.

We have also made a broadcast filter menu that deletes all incoming broadcasts for a specific type so you won’t get spammed with “Need Armor/Shield/Cap” when you don’t want to hear them (i.e. not fitted as a logistics ship). Broadcasts send from commanders will override all filters to ensure you hear what your commanders have to say.

More Useless Things

We have improved a couple of other things including;

-Health bars now take up a single line instead of three lines, making each player entry in the gang UI take less height. When you make the gang UI smaller in width the health bars overlap name of the players.

-Health bars are now also just shown for specific part of the group, based on where you are in the gang. The main reason for this is to optimize the gang service performance as status on health won’t be send to hundred of gang mates. In detail:

  • Fleet Commander will only see health bars of the Wing Commanders.
  • Wing Commanders will only see the health bars of the Fleet Command and the Squadron Commanders in their Wing.
  • Squad Commanders/Members will only see the health bars of their Squad Members and their Wing Commander.
The gang chat has also had some nifty changes, mainly that a Squadron chat channel gets added for each individual Squadron.

We have also cleaned up the context menu for gang members in the gang UI, now you will only get gang options and normal options as if you were interacting with the player in-space. No more “transfer isk to character from corp wallet” here.

Is That All?

We had more features that we had designed and hoped to get in, for example Formations were put on a hold because of the complexity needed for implementation, both technically and design wise.

There were some smaller features we couldn't squeeze into the first phase of Revelations, but with the new gang skeleton we can make sure that the gang mechanic can continue to grow. Hopefully we will see these smaller things added in upcoming patches.

Happy fighting,
TomB

 

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