Why Bounty is Broken
So let's be blunt, yea? Bounty 12 is shit. It's broken. And it's not because PvP is broken. It's broken because of poor choices, self-serving pansy ass wannabe pirates and the fact that everyone has forgotten what exactly it means to be a damn PIRATE in this game.
I'm not even going to get in depth of why and how certain mechanics are broken, but I'm also not going to sugar coat this. This Bounty is a clear indication of where the game has gone wrong and the path choices that were made that were clearly not thought out beyond the 'now' and 'me' mentality. Some people need to get back to understanding that decisions should be viewed through the filter of 'long view' and 'big picture'.
PvP is NOT PvE
Bounty is PvP. I'm sorry if that hurts your little feelings, but this absolutely basic premise seems to have been completely ignored. It was ignored in developing the rules for banking, it was ignored for developing the rules for guaranteed bounty, it is ignored in so many aspects of this thing it boggles my mind, but I digress. Let's look at specific aspects of Bounty and see if we can put them into this bigger picture for people by proffering a proper alternative.
Banking on demand is kind of meh. Being able to fully bank on demand is fully asinine. Being able to mutually hit one another at 9,000 bounty and bank to gain 4,500 each without losing bounty is beyond fully asinine.
This is supposed to be PvP. Part of the risk is losing your swag. Part of the reward is stealing someone's swag. If you are scared to death of losing your boutny and don't want to engage in PvP - don't play. Wait for the prizes in the raid. To cry and moan that you need to be able to bank on demand - after the incorporation of the auto-bank at 10k - is a clear indication that you probably don't PvP generally.
The base concept of Bounty was to equip those players that played PvP with the equipment, early, so that they could play that aspect of the game and engage one another at that level. Those that did not, could catch the blueprints at a delayed time.
This isn't supposed to be a handout. This isn't supposed to be a PvE event. I sure as hell do not want to be grinding a second raid. Stop, just stop this foolishness. This is absolutely exhausting.
If there is an insistence upon a bank-on-demand option in Bounty- associate a hard in-game (read: Bounty) cost to it in the form of a hard cap percentage to each bank that you do and bar the ability to bank while in combat - any combat. Hell, personally, I think if you pop a doorknocker onto your base you should get a 3 min banking delay if it gets hit, but... back to the hard cap:
For example, day 1 you get 5 banks? Cool. Bank 1 you only bank 90% of your total. Bank 2 & 3, only 80%. Bank 4 would be 75%. Bank 5 would be your last bank and at 50%. Day 2 would be Bank 1 - 90%, Bank 2 - 80%, Bank 3 - 75%,, Bank 4 - 50%.
Why you ask? Economics. PvP. Psychology. This would motivate players to bank by choice less, so that they don’t ‘lose’ bounty from banking, thus promoting them to carry a higher running total and fostering a higher overall ‘available’ bounty in play in the system (we'll get to the auto-banking thing... soon). It also may inhibit players from banking between hits and preclude them from ‘taking their ball and going home’ by banking everything and doing something else. It should also foster a little higher ‘time at the keyboard’. This also will still allow those players that are very reserved and cautious to still have a goal (that increases over the days) they could conceivably bank at and ‘go to bed without worrying', but every base would still be worth something. The PvP risk and reward dynamic is returned to Bounty as well in this fashion.
Players use a gunboat and bank before the other player even gets a singular chance at the base. That's ignoring the other issues of players driving and that the attacker gets one shot at the base, regardless of entry, lag, etc.
Banking on-demand at the full amount is, at it's core, in direct opposition with the concept of PvP in this game. This also will absolutely exclude the need for the idiocy we saw last Bounty.
Guaranteed Bounty on Player Bases
Yea... so... I've admitted it. I was so incensed at that this short-sighted and ignorant mechanic was added to last Bounty that after the notes came out, I discussed the mechanic with a player or two and planned to take absolute full advantage of the mechanic. Much like players in this Bounty are taking advantage of that broken banking system and the archaic mechanic of starting a battle instantly if you enter your base to 'defend'. No, it wasn't an exploit. To be an exploit, the mechanic would have to be used in a way that the company did not foresee and/or in such a way that the mechanic was used outside the intended parameters that it was designed for. I can say with absolute certainty that the former did not apply and that the mechanic was used exactly as designed. For comparative analysis- I wonder how many players that complained about this mechanic being 'exploited' are setting up their OP with the full upgrades and armors and tach installations in order to make their OPs almost impossible to kill inside of a 5 minute hit. Do they draw a comparison between the two? Those setups certainly weren't intended when the upgrades came out as they didn't exist. Just sayin'- throwing stones and glass houses and all.
That being said, instead of trying to over-complicate this horrible idea in order to incorporate it again, just bin it. The design above for the banking system makes the 'need' for the existence of this abomination absolutely valueless. No, don't put it in the game. Regardless of any limits you try and place on it it is far, far too easy to take advantage of. Trying to add complexity to this mechanic in order to implement it instead of addressing the nexus of the need (as I did above) is exactly how this game's complexity has spiraled out of control.
For all those 'pirates' calling foul because 'they' loved it and 'they' didn't 'exploit' it, I'm sorry. No. I'm not fooled and neither is anyone else. You can't go farming baby seals non-stop throughout Bounty for easy points because they are auto-repairing and are 30 sec 200 or 300 points. That is EXACTLY the sort of short-sighted, self-serving mentality that got this idiocy implemented in the first place. This is about as good a mechanic for this event as was the engineering design of the Ford Pinto for a car.
Live Edit: Came up with an interesting idea while discussing this- a LOT of people liked the flat amount added to bases- this one is simple- 2 types of OPP bases. First is normal points, no guard, 2nd is guard included and double the points. There you go and you don't have to be clubbing baby seals the entire time.
Do I need to explain this one? With new releases there are combinations that absolutely kill base hit attempts. And people still hold drones and drive up on hulls, insta-start battles, etc. etc. Makes for soooooo much fun hitting a real base.
Auto-Bank of 10k
The next rail-car in this train of thought would be the 10k auto-bank. This concept I do like, however, I am not the biggest fan of its implementation.
In the current PvP environment, the 10k works, only because PvP is so broken that you can guarantee a loss to an attacker through the combination of the bank-on-demand, the use of base guards to drive and chase the only real reliably viable base hitting combo in the game, namely the Sloth fleet, and the OP upgrades.
IF (BIG if) PvP is ever corrected, then this mechanic should be re-visited I think. While it's a great mechanic currently, it also precludes the 'big hits' some of the highest level PvP players crave. Given that these are also typically some of larger spending players in the game, it only makes sense to try and bring some of that back into the game. Maybe not to the extent that we saw previous to this current banking iteration. Yes, this won't be a popular position, but let's face it, this is supposed to be a PvP event, and PvP is traditionally the turf of these players. We can not cater events to just one segment of the players base, that is how overall balance is lost. So that there is ample opportunity for the 'smaller' players I envision a system where the auto-banking would look something like this:
5, 10, 10, 10, 15 thereafter until the next day cycle.
In conjunction with the changes above, this would allow ample opportunity for the smaller players to achieve plenty of Bounty and reach their goals, but if you are in the upper echelon and want 'everything' the possibility of opening up yourself to significant losses (and gains) will now exist.
When did we go to bi-monthly raids? As in other aspects of the game we are seeing rampant inflation in an event that really should not be this much of an event, ya feel me? Players are burnt the hell out. Auto hulls don't auto, so you have to drive and grind. Over and over and over again. Map targets are getting progressively more punitive at each release to the extent that the auto hull (a top tier hull that was an equal investment for players as the Hydra) was effectively locked out of the 103 base parts target forcing the use of the Hydra in those targets (the skill a/k/a driving hull). This all adds to the overall feeling of always having to do something, always having to engage fully, rarely relaxing and enjoying unless you can 'game' the system somehow and mitigate the grind.
This is causing terminal burnout in the community. Players are exhausted. The opportunities for 'fun' are becoming less and less. Adding to this perpetual feeling of grinding is all of this inflation which then makes players feel even more exhausted and frustrated. I would implore this - if the intent is to have a larger distribution of Bounty prizes than originally designed for when Bounty was first implemented- reduce the costs of the prizes, don't try and come up with complex 'solutions' by re-inventing Bounty monthly and impel more engagement by inflating overall prize costs. You don't re-invent PvP monthly, that's PvE.. oh wait...
This clearly follows on the above section. Forcing engagement, while in some instances is great from a business perspective, must needs be tempered by the psychological pressure that can be put on a player and player base when said forced engagement is continual and persistent. Temper this. Re-evaluate the overall strategy of player engagement because currently the overall feel is one of burn-out.
Reward (Opp Bases)
Even with no guard fleets in these bases, the time engagement for some of these bases truly sucks. Honestly, I'm not sure how to easily correct this other than increasing the pay out. This could be done complimentary to a pricing adjustment, or can be ignored if the pricing adjustment is significant enough to offset this issue.
I'm tired of repeating this month after month. The locator sucks. Really and truly, how damn hard is it to code a random list from the whole of the world that you are in? (Here is a hint: it's not.) I mean, we already deal with tons of lag just trying to drag across the map (why are the Gantries still here again?) I think we could live with a slight delay of results while a proper randomized search populates the locator list.
Ok, that's it. This is partially why I rarely write. The only time I am 'passionate' anymore in this game is when things are really borked. I'm exhausted. I don't have the time to commit needed to maintain he level I expect since so many things have been 'adjusted' to maximize engagement (and likely h0ped for coining). Is there more? Sure. But I can barely see past my eyelids, so it's time for bed. G'night my fellow pirates.
This one really needs to be tweaked for this, particularly if other things run concurrently. Docks - instant repair, or something like 10 minutes repair. Let players play. Bases (so you can adjust to your enemy) should repair a little faster OR have a flat 2 gold cost to repair.
LIVE EDIT: Wow... this is interesting. I'm actually very curious now about something having had an opportunity to review the comments and hate mail (and mail agreeing).
Clearly, I believe that a PvP event should revolve around, you know, PvP, and approached this in that mindset.
Also as clear is that there are many players who disagree. I'd love to hear what those that disagree think that the Bounty should entail then. I mean, I don't mind that you think I'm a douchebag or that my view doesn't count because of my position or whatever... that's fine, BUT I want to know why. Why is my premise wrong? Why shouldn't this be a PvP event? Why is banking 100% at-will good for a PvP event? Why should PvP not have a basis of theft of another player's swag? You may think I don't take certain things into consideration, but... maybe... I do. ;)