15 March 2016

Who watches the watchlist?

These people don't watch me :-(
After a false start the latest update of EVE was rolled out on Wednesday last week. A large number of changes were introduced in that update but the one I want to mention is the fundamental change to the watchlist feature.

For as long as I have been in New Eden we've been able to add contacts and tick a little box which also puts said contact on a 'watchlist'. From that moment on we are notified when that contact goes on and off line. For my first couple of years in New Eden this watchlist was solely used for tracking friends or people I wanted to get in contact with for some reason (e.g. a recruiter for a corp). When the little notification appeared I could convo the person to say hello.

Once I moved into wormholes the watchlist took on a whole more important role. With a local channel you can see when people log off by their name disappearing from the system when you know they can't have left any other way. In wormholes we don't have local so the watchlist filled that intel gap. With the watchlist we could easily see when a potential target had went offline. This let us know we could stop waiting for them to go do something where we could potentially kill them. Watching patterns of people logging on and off also gave a fairly accurate insight to which characters were alts of each other. If you see three characters log on and off within a few seconds it is a pretty safe bet they are all just one player.

In this regard, removing the watchlist is a rather large nerf to wormhole life. Now we won't be able to know with any accuracy if someone is cloaked up in a given system or actually logged off. We won't be able to watch an industrial ship head out to hisec and know whether he is just being really slow at coming back or if he logged out. We won't be able to add all the members of a small corp to instantly know when they come online, useful if we're doing bad things in their home system. Guess what though? I'm totally okay with all that.

To add someone to your watchlist all you needed was a character's name and you could find out instantly if they were online or not. You didn't even need to have seen them in space to know. There wasn't anything you could do to prevent others adding you to their watchlist either. It was perfect intel and it was free. There is no place in New Eden for that. One of the things I like about living in wormholes is the difficulty associated with acquiring information about your surroundings. It takes proper teamwork (or a ridiculous army of alts) to effectively scout your chains. With the removal of the watchlist the onus on good scouting just increased.

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