Ryan Dancey wrote:
Good luck. I design data warehouses and audit/risk analysis software for financial and medical firms. Fraud and money laundering techniques get pretty exotic, and just because the environment is virtual doesn't mean it will be any easier.
Some guilds horde exploits like rare treasure and work hard not to cause much noise, just like the best white collar crooks make all of their thefts small and obscure. I have no illusion that the services I provide make my clients fraud-proof. I'm just there to help identify and clean up the mess before it gets too out of hand. Often physicians or financial advisers have been crooked for years before they cause a blip or audit alert.
I don't know where you get that impression. A crafting based economy means the exploits filters through the whole system very differently. Since ExploiterZ guild is now funneling 25% more silver ingots into the market, ExpliterX is doing the same with wheat, etc. Eventually 3-4 week down the line ExpoiterQ gets carried away, the exploit is discovered, removed, and rolled back until prior to ExploiterQ's actions. Even if there are financial system levels of audit trails in the system to allow GW to see Z, and X were shady (doubtful); wiping out all of the derivative goods of the innocent players is an unpopular action. Now you have inflation caused by exploitation, and X and Z are two of the more powerful player groups in the game.
The pay for beta thing rubs me the wrong way. Put some extra nomenclature around it, like "If issues prevent you from playing that time will be refunded to you." Don't fool yourselves, you're a small shop. Your beta won't be Gmail, it will be Darkfall. There is nothing wrong with that if you set that expectation. Otherwise there will be lots of tears here. Some game-breaking bugs that force wipes such as duplication errors, and resource exploits will not come to light until late open beta. Those things will require a wipe. If you are committed to not wiping, you will have shot yourself and the game in the head. Who pays to play something that could be wiped (beta) or a released game with a horribly broken economy due to all the exploits uncovered in beta?...
The combat system is really critical to me, to the extent of make or break.
I've been having a blast playing the persistent character zombie apocalypse mod Day-Z RPG for Arma 2. Arma 2 is a hyper-realistic military simulator (realistic physics fps, vehicles, etc) and the mod takes place over an area that's 225 sq KM in size. Those maps support maybe 50 people but I'd think it's even more demanding than your standard fps.
The learning curve is brutal, there is no character advancement outside of gear, there is free-loot and permadeath. Because of the realistic simulator it's sitting on top of most all of the buttons on the keyboard are used. It's the opposite of a "steamlined" game, and I love it.
What does this have to do with PFO? Basically that I'd like to see a much more *complex* combat system for PFO. Realistic military simulation complex? Nah, but way more complex than "hit 1-3-4-5-5-2 over and over for optimum dps".
Some stuff in there that I'd love to see make an appearance in an "empire simulator".
-Being knocked out
On the upside I've been playing around with the Hero Engine (SWTOR/TES:O, etc) in my spare time since a cloud dev license only cost $99, and even full fps combat with location damage is natively supported; complete with demo projects you can download to see how it works.
The problem with Hero Engine without source access is running a bunch of complex scripts is much slower and more demanding than running native C++ code, so you end up with weird input lag. It works fine, but the controls feel a little *off*. I think you'd need to implement your combat directly into the game code to get the type of tight experience needed. After playing with the engine, I'd blame the "input lag" in SWTOR on them implementing the combat through Heroscript instead of hacking it into the source, but that's pure speculation by me, I could be wrong.
As another programmer with 15 years of experience, I agree with Nihimon. At the end of the day if a player is to create the type of content you describe they have to be able to program themselves. If you let them program themselves, and put the code in your game, you are giving them the power to break your game, damage performance, or write unbalanced content.
The alternative to making someone program is GUI tools that write the code for you, but are so complex they are actually much more difficult to learn (and much more limited) than the type of scripting and 3d mapping you'd need to make a module in say, the single player NwN. Neverwinter Nights (1 and 2) is about as close as we've come to what you described, but creation there definitely had a technical component to it that limited the number of creators making "quality" content.
If Goblinworks was willing to dedicate some members of the staff to thoroughly reviewing content submissions and setting up a process for that, we might be able to see player created content.
eg. Content Creation Tool --> Test Server --> Peer Review Approval --> Employee Review --> Live
Having fun core combat gameplay means tons. Yeah, a game can play well without it, but it's so much more with it. Some games have it *good core combat* but lack everything else.
WoW combat isn't the way to go. However, Darkfall style combat has many shortcomings as well. I'm interested to see what they cook up, and hope they keep in mind that most people are tired of the EQ/WoW standard.
The more *skillful* combat is, the less players are inclined to cry about insurmountable gear gaps/level gaps/etc.
Urlord the Wonderful wrote:
So, we all know "a server" is actually in modern games a bunch of servers. Some control areas, some chat channels, some AI, etc.
From my standpoint I imagine how many machines are covering an area would depend on how populous and active an area is. A prime city may be made up of many *servers* even though it doesn't cover much area. A barren wasteland with very low traffic may cover a huge area with one server from the cluster. I'm not sure the number of servers serving a hex has much implications to players, but technically in the background those may be subdivided many times due to the need to serve more players without a performance loss.
Eve seems to handle load balancing *super* well with a "single server" environment, and many of the guys in Goblinworks are from CCP.
For sense of wonder and lasting fun I'd have to give it to UO. The scope and anything being possible is something few games attempt at all.
For raw living in the moment fun I'd have to give it to D&D Online. The combat is realtime, it's D&D, and their scripted modules are top notch.
A game that combined both aspects would be my dream project. Hmmm, wonder why I'm here? Oh yeah, this game IS pretty much combining those two things
Although the combat may not be as fluid and visceral as DDO combat I'm convinced the developers are going for something much compelling than WoW combat, if just because of the technology lead's history.
Ryan/Goblinworks: You guys should add a dollar tier. Sure, I'll get my Goblin Squad stuff, but I'm more invested. Just about every gamer I know would kick a dollar in if just to prove they believed in the concept of a fantasy sandbox MMO, even if they weren't sold that you guys can make the best one.
I'll be honest. This is a bit of a let down. I was hoping for a single player game (like NWN) but instead we get a game like D&D: Online.
Actually, this is sort of as far as you can get from DDO while still being an MMO. DDO is a lobby based theme park, and this is a huge open world sandbox.
Yeah, but the thing you have to keep in mind is that just because something is funded on Kickstarter doesn't mean it won't run out of money, have-to do another Kickstarter, or never actually be completed.
Any such incentive you got out of the campaign would be a "maybe lifetime sub if the game actually gets made". If it gets made, but badly you're then looking at a lifetime sub of a game whose lifetime was a month or two.
In order for a Kickstarter MMO to get funded more than a very small amount there would haveto be some pretty hardcore pledges by the developers, and extremely proven developers (not marketing people) fronting the project. Stuff like, "if we fold we'll open source." Things that would probably hurt the chances of landing regular investor funding. I don't think anyone expects something like Kickstarter to raise the multi-millions needed to make an MMO.
Ryan Dancey wrote:
And frankly, from the perspective of an entrepreneur, I'd much rather do it the Kickstarter way, pay for performance, rather than pay for equity. With equity comes all sorts of headaches, from notification requirements to people who treat showing up at annual meetings and wasting everyone's time as a sport, to frivolous lawsuits, to the need to get lots of agreement when doing things like dilution, or issuing new classes of stock, etc.
Yeah, I totally get that. But as a gamer with disposable income I sink 30-60$ into kickstarter projects basically pre-ordering games I want that are unlikely to be funded by publishers. Shadowrun being a great example, I'm going to love a new classic RPG style Shadowrun. What I don't understand, maybe since I've never made more than 80k in any given year; is pumping $500 into a kickstarter campaign for a game. I don't want to play any game enough to *spend* $500 on it. However, I absolutely understand *investing* $500 in a project you have faith in.
I've done it with plenty of hobbyist software projects of my own (or colleagues) that later end up paying for themselves, usually in time savings. So, I'm very interested in seeing this "Kickstarter alternative" at e3, but unless it involves some ROI beyond playing a game I don't see dropping more than $100 on any game with only the game and useless fluff in exchange.
I suspect that the majority of the modules will be available through the sub or else it lessens the value of said subscription. What you'll get then is someone figuring out which modules offer the best bang for your buck and those will be the only ones that get bought, reducing overall revenue for Goblinworks/Paizo. Far better for the greater majority of modules to be available through the sub as that then increases the likelihood of a 'f2p' player buying more modules so they can play them with their subbed friends.
It seems unlikely anyone outside of a free training period would play "f2p" since they essentially can't earn any XP while being F2P. So, outside of modules designed for *level 1* who would the market be for buying modules, if not the people that already bought *training time* for the month?
That may be the case, I wouldn't fund it anyways. While that sounds fine in theory I've played a jillion f2p games, that's not how it works out. A single $0.50 item from cash shop ends up costing a day+ worth of coin farming from an advanced character.
I've thought this for a few months now. There needs to be some alternative to Kickstarter where we aren't just pre-purchasing a game, but actually pooling a bunch of smaller investments ($100, $1000, $5000, etc) that will actually show a return on investment. Almost like selling "stock" in a product instead of a company. So that say 50% of real profit will come back to the product *shareholders* based upon the size of their investment relative to the total pool until they have a 200% ROI.
For example, if I *invested* $1000 in the Pathfinder project, out of a total pool of $10,000,000 investment capital raised during the crowd source investment period, I'd get 0.0001% of the final (after expense) profit that came in every month, or if the product made 2M profit in a month, I'd get $200 back. Eg, the investment would pay itself off in 10 months.
Ordinarily investor relations are much more skewed, in that the investor claims a larger chunk of profits and has much stronger input into what's being made, but often they also don't really know what the hell they are investing in.
I think such a model might work, but I don't think it exists in any form at the moment. Is this just me having a goofball moment? Or would other people throw far more money at game projects they believed in if it was an *investment* instead of essentially a pre-purchase?
I did throw cash into the Shadowrun Returns and Wasteland 2 Kickstarters, but as much as I want this game to be my MMO rest home I'm dubious about throwing kickstarter funds into a game that will have a cash shop and open PvP. Unless there are guarantees from Ryan the cash shop will be only cosmetic, and the Kickstarter can make that happen (avoiding an ugly investor relationship).
If I'm to be paying $15/m for a "sub", I don't want to also buy modules that give me good gear for completion, and (training speed boost) items, and "healing potions", etc.
So, I'll happily drop money in a Kickstarter, if the detailed plans for the cash shop are released and there is some commitment to *what is acceptable* for inclusion within it. I'll also pimp it on my site, on Slashdot, and everywhere else I frequent.
I also think that you are absolutely crazy if you think that 250ms is insurmountable latency, or that faster throughput results in lower minimum ping.
Faster net infrastructure and non-analog signals result in a much lower minimum ping. The higher bandwidth lets more data be sent each update pulse. It's not uncommon for me to ping between 15 and 60MS to any given game server on arguably one of the worst cable isp's in the states (Time Warner).
To be clear, it's insurmountable in competitive PvP in derivative MMO combat. Let me give you an example.
If I am in WoW arena, and I've partly through casting frost bolt (2s cast) to snare a melee type, and my team-mate notes the potential to kill the healer next to my current target who has 1 hit's worth of life left, I must move to cancel the current spell, retarget (multiple tabs) till I get to the healer, wait for my GCD to finish and ultimately have a fraction (less than a 5th) of a second left to get a counterspell in to prevent the life saving flash heal (1.5s cast) from completing.
In a game with aiming I could have let the frostbolt cast finish but re-aimed while it was casting at the healer. It would actually in effect be much *less* twitch than traditional MMO combat, less artificial and awkward, and less prone to latency causing my intention to go awry. My low ping in the derivative MMO scenario outlined above (<30ms) actually gave me a much greater advantage than slightly more accurate aiming does in a modern FPS where players don't run 900 miles an hour like they did in the Quake days.
I remember that thread well. Thing is, since the technical problems are not insurmountable unless you want people to be able to play on a 56k modem, and hotbar-tab target-timer based combat ends up being rather "twitch" anyways, in addition to boring and heavily gear dependent; why not have something more visceral?
His analogy (not sure if it was that thread) about guitar playing intrigued me, so I started thinking of possibilities. Active defensive skills is one of them, as is certain extra powerful attacks being "aimed" while others are not. Think player controlled parry-riposte.
One of the unique but poorly executed ideas in Matrix Online was this idea of melee "interlock", where once you locked in on someone your focus was on controlling the combat, and not your character's movement, since your character would automatically animate and move in opposition to the person you "locked on".
It got me thinking of what's wrong with MMO combat in general, and much of it is movement and behaviors that don't make sense in real combat. Like constantly for example (running through) someone in order to stay out of their line-of-sight in standard model, or "jousting" in a more realtime model.
An interlock type of system resolves that goofiness, and leaves the player free to focus on controlling the actual combat instead of juggling multiple responsibilities. Thus, combat can be much more involved without being overwhelming.
Also, range is a huge advantage that having aiming mechanisms and interlock type systems can move more towards balance.
Anyways, just some random thoughts. In my experience the standard derivative MMO combat is just as unplayable with a 250 ms ping in PvP as a 200 player match of Battlefield is with the same ping.
Does this sort of /anyone can now do it/ integration of real time combat into MMO middleware complete with provided reference game code make it more likely Goblinworks will go for a more active combat model than the WoW standard tab-target timer-based hotkey pressing? Eg, might we get some active aiming and blocking mechanics going on?
Reference Worlds — Access to reference worlds of typical online games (social, FPS ect), complete with example code.
"There are actually 2 worlds -- a world with a blade you can download to get references and check how things work, and a player client for a different world where you can actually play. There is not a great deal of “gameplay” other than shooting other robots in the face. But there are kill streaks and leader boards, etc. There’s a standard rifle, and a melee axe, and limbs can get blown off."
True that, but I think mostly it's been a lack of trying since companies decided after WoW that theme parks were where the real money was at.
There were more innovative MMO's coming out in the early 2000's than there are now. We have PFO being made by some CCP vets/real gamers, World of Darkness by CCP, a bunch of indy projects that are way underfunded and suffer tremendously for it, and over 9000 theme park WoW clones.
Any of you guys ever play Medievia or Materia Magicka? First thing I flashed back to when I first came across the Pathfinder Online blog was running caravans between towns in Medievia. Funny how long it's taken some of these mud features to make their way to graphical games.
Yeah, I would too. I'd be happy about most things. Honestly the game could be using 3rd person top down BG perspective in 2d and I'd still be interested, but I'd love a first person and more "realistic" art style. Not necessarily meaning it looks like Skyrim or something, but that things are drawn to realistic proportions. No chain mail bikinis, Rakhasas being anime cat girls, or GIANT SHOULDERS and hands.
Just because something is stylized and (drawn looking) doesn't mean it has to be of the awkward cartoon like proportions say, Elder Scrolls Online, or WoW is. The Walking Dead is a wonderful example of this.
Eg, I'm not opposed to a much more stylistic look, except when that style is american Saturday morning cartoons or anime.
For profit exploration is actually one of the coolest things I'd never even considered that might be possible here. So, that's kinda awesome and I see nothing wrong with it. Most games don't reward exploration at all, or only through "achievements"; for the kids that care about those.
Art Direction and UI are extremely important factors that determine how much immersion a game has. If the user interface is full of 30 hotbars, a mini-map, a guild chat panel, inventory bags, and archaic /slash commands it becomes much harder to *forget* you are playing a game and get drawn into the world.
By the same token art direction has the same effect. If a game looks like a cartoon and/or has poor animation quality, it's not only hard to take it seriously, it can be hard to get engaged in the combat and content, even if it's of a high quality. The engagement is on a "game" level, and not on the *epic movie/book* level that a more realistic game art style can offer.
Personally, I'd love to see *highly playable* first person perspective in Pathfinder, although the cynic in me says it'll be all third person. I'd also love to see a less obtrusive UI, but most attempts to deviate from standards have met with failure.
So, what do you guys think? Would you prefer a more realistic or "cartoon" style in Pathfinder? How important is animation quality and art direction to your level of immersion?
/edit: Lagged while posting this and ended up with 4 copies, I deleted the dupes. As an aside I want to thank Goblinworks for making a sandbox fantasy MMO to begin with. With the recent extraordinarily disappointing announcement that TES online would be another "me-too" theme park this game has moved to #1 on my anticipated fantasy games list.
Keep in mind that the Baldur's Gate is rated teen.
1) Enemies that explode into showers of body parts.
I think in most everyone's head Pathfinder is equilavent to D&D in content style and tone. Most everyone would also agree that the content in say, Planescape Torment, or the Baldur's Gate series is rather mature, even though it's rated 'T'. If those games came out today, they would probably get an 'M', but that's irrelevant in PFO. Those games are likely in line with what Paizo considers acceptable content for PFO.
Would you Goblinworks guys say that is a safe assumption? Or, are those classics more mature than your aim?
Ryan Dancey wrote:
I think you hit the nail on the head there. No matter how great the design was on paper it needs adjustment and a guiding hand in game to see it through.
No matter how cool the original idea is, if you crowdsource hundreds of people into exploiting it mercilessly it's going to turn ugly without adjustment.
I'm very curious to see how the PvE works. IIRC it was previously mentioned that campaigns and modules would be sold via the store. Presumably these would be available as part of the package to subscribers.
While this makes sense to me having played DDO off and on since it came out, it fails to make sense to me in the context of a sandbox with time based advancement.
First because you can't really quantify what you're trying to sell to marketing. DDO being basically a hacked up D&D 3.5 can say, "Intended for balanced parties of adventurers, levels 14-16". Pathfinder I suppose could say, "Balanced archetypes levels 7-10" but there is a ton of leeway there to have characters that are more or less suitable to actual combat. Also, level 7-10 are characters that are about a year old. That's about the oldest you could ever anticipate characters being while designing modules because of attrition in a game with a super long curve.
Second because you can't load up these modules with fantastical loot in any way I can figure out without invalidating much of the idea of a crafting/economy based game.
So, I think it's safe to assume there will be introductory quests to pull you into the game and explain the game systems, the rest of how PvE might work is entirely mysterious to me.
Yeah, the effect of similar systems in other sandbox PvP games such as Mortal Online has been that *everyone* is unlawful / KOS to everyone else, and lawful characters are anomalies. This in spite of the fact that game has harsher death penalties for unlawful characters that theoretically act as a deterant to such behavior. Those penalties fail to perform their design function since in spite of them the risk/reward ratio is very slanted towards the aggressor achieving a more favorable outcome/reward.
Ryan Dancey wrote:
On paper there would seem to be a large disincentive towards activities like say, guarding a caravan, or a harvesting node. As, unless they could pay more than the value of the goods being protected it would be more rewarding to just rob them.
Can you share some of the systems that will be in place to prevent this, or is it by design? We know about the bounty system, but I fail to see how dying matters much in most cases if you are running around looking for PvP. A team of mages comes to mind wearing nothing valuable. Pop the target, allied salvagers come in and kill the mages looting the ill gotten gains from them without taking a lawful hit, profit.
For the most part I'd agree that we do all want the same thing. The devil is in the level of detail needed to turn those generic things into an actual game.
Some mechanics don't work at all towards achieving what we want, some sort of work, and some seem like they'd work until you think about it sideways and realize it actually has the opposite incentive when you're playing.
Goblinworks said, "We want to make a fantasy sandbox in the Pathfinder universe that captures the spirit of Pathfinder in a persistent player controlled world." in not quite those words. Our initial reaction was of course, "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY".
10 minutes later you start to think logically and recognize that the details are key to making that dream game into a reality. Since we all care; we nitpick details. It's all good spirited I think, and I've enjoyed posting here.
I like Andius' gear driven progression ideas because it lowers the barrier to entry. If much of the character's effectiveness comes from gear "catching up" on skill advancement or becoming stuck in a narrow specialization becomes much less of a concern. It makes your victory more about how you played instead of /subscribed time, while also making wealthy merchants with powerful magic wands and defensive equipment less attractive targets.
One of the problems sandbox PvP games face is that the most optimal path to advancement ends up being killing people. Sure, you could run a trade caravan, but the guy who just robbed you made more money than you would have (no initial investment) and can engage in a wider variety of activities.
The mechanism that prevents this from being universally true in Eve is the destruction of assets through combat. If only unequipped items are dropped only people who aren't looking for PvP will lose items. Knowing the merchant on top of the merchant caravan may have the wand equivalent of an AA12 and a ridiculous set of enchanted armor would go a long way towards making his life as viable as the lives of those who would rob him.
Under the systems as described the cost of defeat for those attacking a trade caravan or harvesting operation is a walk; or maybe later "bounty hunters" show up and make you "walk more". Still no loss. The victims could lose millions of gold worth of assets. In that equation all of the risk is on the people attempting to be productive. Which is more attractive to the average player? Exciting times raiding and stealing, worst that can happen is a walk. Or, working your butt off and constantly being robbed?
Can't say. Don't know Shadowbane, and there's so much variability in what you mean by "mechanically copies WoW Combat" and what I would imagine that we're not even speaking the same language.
1+ second global cooldown between skill uses. Defensive abilities are passive % chances, attacks are auto-aimed and can not be avoided except passively or through line of sight. Skill usage is limited through cool downs instead of resource consumption. Core gameplay consists of min-maxxing and macro'ing "skill rotations" to optimize DPS for "burst" or "sustained". Crowd control (stuns, snares, mezzes, fears, etc) and healing abilities are the strongest PvP abilities in the game.
/edit: Shadowbane city management - http://www.anybrowser.org/shadowbane/city.html
Curiosity inspires me to ask these questions.
1) What is the "sweet spot" for you all when someone can fully participate in the game (competitively engage in all available activities) with 1 subscription/character? Never? (eg, 10+ years), 5 years? 7.5 years? (How long WoW has been out so far...), 9 years (how long Eve has been out?)
2) What is the LONGEST you have ever played a single MMO. Subscribing without playing doesn't count, nor does a game you went back to several times with big subscription lapses.
3) Why did you stop playing the game you played the longest, if you played in spurts, why did you stop going back?
4) If PFO mechanically copies the following systems but strings them together into a believable economy and world, how long will you play it before becoming bored?
People who are tired of the same old lazy *dime a dozen* MMO design and are looking for a real fantasy sandbox? After all, if the standard approach is what you want, hundreds of games out there cater to it.
With "real time" skill training that takes 2.5 years to reach the pinnacle of 1 archetype, and a PvP focus on controlling resources; the gap between established and new players can not be insurmountable as it is in a standard (2 mo/cap) game; or you end up with no new players and a game that dies fairly rapidly.
In order to fully appreciate the AI in Skyrim you have to stop fast travelling. The non-combat AI is way above anything else I've played sans the Sims. In most MMO the NPC's are loot pinatas and quest vending machines. In Skyrim I followed this group of undead/vampire hunters once for a few hours. It lead me to some extremely interesting content that had nothing to do with quests. 400 hours in I'm still finding strange things laying around Skyrim. Some is scripted, some is emergent behavior of the AI. Sometimes the 2 collide with really amusing results, like General Tullius being attacked by a Dragon while he gives a rousing speech in front of the final war related battle (Imperial aligned).
Right, but then there is all this cool crap going on all around you in the world. That's what inevitably makes me break down and go, "Ya know, maybe I'll try Eve again." Which always regardless of the path I took brings me back to cancelling in 3 weeks. I had alot of fun in the beta because everyone was a mover and shaker in the sandbox. Everyone was on relatively equal footing. The player competition and dyanamic nature of the world overcame the shortcomings of the gameplay itself.
When I sold my high skilled jack-of-all trades to pay off a CC (it was worth that much) 3-4 years ago, I mostly stopped playing Eve. It was pretty fun on that character because I had a wide variety of viable activities I could do alone or in small groups. However, that character had alot of REAL TIME TRAINING behind them. That character also *grew up* along with everyone else, and built up many skills while I wasn't even playing the game but was still subbed/queue'ing skills. They were never the extremely limited *can't really participate in the sandbox* character that the newer ones I try with my wife are.
In Eve the entertainment value of the "activities" themselves is very dubious. So, the "fun" comes in making money, winning, and taking risks, yeah? If activity 1 is not inherently fun but it earns you a bunch more money than activity 2, which is also not inherently fun, which will you do?
The *fun* that comes out of Eve activities is the same kind of *fun* that comes out of a slot or video poker machine. If I must trade/mine/etc for 6 hours to earn as much ISK as I would in 1 hour of PvE, and the *gameplay* behind any of these activities is not exciting or inherently fun on a gameplay level, trading is zero fun for my combat focused character.
Somewhat, more like, "Give me fun stuff to do while my skills advance me towards the activity goal I've set."
It could be that Pathfinder's equivalents to agent missions or whatever other activity are so much more intrinsically *fun* from a gameplay perspective than Eve's that it is no problem here. In fact, knowing how the advancement system works and my innate dislike of that feature, that is my best hope of getting enjoyment out of the game.
Like any other game, Pathfinder will live or die on my hard drive on the merits of it's core gameplay; that being what you actually do when you log in on an average day. If it's boring and repetitive which a sandbox shouldn't be, but Eve is, it dies.
Warp Scramblers. A module type you can train to fit in your ship that factors into part of the investment time of being PvP ready. The person who undertook this task then becomes the "tackler".
Small fast vessels are hard for big vessels to hit at short range. So, in this case you try to crawl up the butt of a big ship with your little frigate very fast hoping it doesn't deploy drones stronger than your ship to kill you immediately. Tech 2 Interceptors (big time investment) are much more effective at this role than entry level frigates. You then keep the bigger ship warp scrambled while your buddies kill it.
/edit: Also, excellent analogy Mel, same way I feel about it. I'll clarify that I have no issues dropping additional cash on a game I already enjoy for extra stuff like expansions or meaty DLC.