Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Web Exploits

Yesterday Garmon attacked and killed a jump freighter while it was warping off a station just after undocking. His vessel (which was later retrieved by Pandemic Leagion) has 3 webs and no warp disruption. Curious, a thread popped up on Failheap asking about "web warp denial". It appears that a slow ship initiating warp while undocking from a station can be prevented from both warping and cancelling the warp (disallowing them to redock).

EVE News picked up the event, labeling it an exploit and testing it on Singularity.

it works on the principle that when you undock a ship, it is moving much faster than your maximum speed (especially in a freighter) if you hit warp, your ship tries to align while slowing down too (it is ESSENTIAL that your ship has to change alignment, [instant undock] will always work) this is when you slap it with triple webs.

once the triple webs hit, under normal conditions your top speed is reduced to 1.1m/s. But your speed is still like 100/200ms as in the kickout from the undock, you won’t be able to stop the warp, you cannot dock Either.

You never reach warp because your speed never reaches that low, you can’t eject, you cant [disconnect] because you are trying to initiate warp, you are ALWAYS going to die, we tested ALL of this just now.
 Garmon defended himself in the FHC thread:
This has been in the game for a very long time, for as long as I can remember, I died to it two years ago and I petitioned it incase it was a bug or an intended mechanic, it was the latter, I am 100% sure that a lot of people has been doing the same thing over the years, I don't think it's exploiting since CCP is aware of it, just bad game design I think
Well, with the thread and EVE News article explaining how to replicate this "intended mechanic", pirates came out in droves to see what they could catch. All the buzz and activity alerted CCP, and they made a pretty clear decision:
It has come to our attention that some players are making use of a broken game mechanic involving web modules preventing people from warping, for the purpose of killing them.  This is a clear exploit and anyone found abusing this will be dealt with accordingly.  Exploiting may result in a permanent suspension from the game. Our Game Design team will be working to deploy a fix for this issue in the near future.
This seems to be very typical of CCP: gray areas of the mechanic-exploit spectrum are interpreted by GMs differently, without ever asking/alerting game designers or managers. Then years later, someone with authority hears about it and either condemns or approves those involved.

EVE is all about clever use of game mechanics. I would label this as an exploit, but why is it OK to employ webs to let ships enter warp faster? Bumping ships out of POS force fields? Suicide ganking? Contract scamming? Ninja looting + Orca ship swapping? Cloaked MWD warp trick?

Some of those actions are exploitative, but nonetheless avoidable. Don't shoot at the loot thief, and he won't come back with a Tengu. Don't transport 3 billion ISK in an Iteron IV (or use a scout). What about having instant undock bookmarks from low sec stations, or stopping your jump freighter after undocking and then initiating warp? Do those qualify as preventive measures against the exploiter?

I guess not for CCP. Seems a bit arbitrary.

(This reminded me of another clever use of webs. A few months ago, Tiger Ears had a good post about pinning down two hulks with a single web and single point. Begin reading after the first image.)

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