Friday, October 10, 2014

A Stealth Bomber Nerf Due To ISBoxer?

In CCP Greyscale's dev blog last week on the long distance travel changes, he also mentioned that stealth bombers would receive a rebalance pass in Phoebe.  Apparently, as part of that rebalance, cloaked ships will once again decloak each other if they get too close.  At least, players are reporting that is currently the case on the Singularity test shard.

A lot of players have complained about the effectiveness of bombers in null security space in the current meta.  From the reading I've done, the stealth bomber has dictated that null sec fleet doctrines abandon shield tanked battleships and use almost exclusively armor tanked battleships.  Another article written by a member of Goonswarm Federation stated that the CFC switched from its Maelstrom-based Alphafleet to Megathrons because...
"The hull is armor tanked. This is key; ISboxer and cloaking changes made it possible for a single player to do a perfect bombing run with as many accounts as bomb mechanics allow. This alone caused the shift from the Maelstroms of Alphafleet to Megathrons; the smaller signature radius of armor tanked ships gives them much greater survivability against bombs."
These are just two examples of the articles and tweets I've read from people far more knowledgeable than I about null sec PvP pointing out how ISBoxer-controlled stealth bombers are bad for PvP in EVE.  But CCP has made its decision on ISBoxer and has included its ruling in its Third Party Policies document.  As I stated back in August, if CCP is going to allow the use of ISBoxer, then the devs need to balance the game around players using that software.  I even wrote that CCP needed to reverse the change made in Crucible to not have cloaked ships decloak other ships.

No, I'm not taking credit for this change.  Members of the CSM have also spoken out about the use of ISBoxer.  On the forums, players seem to continuously start threads calling for the banning of ISBoxer.  And, in all honesty, taking my advice on PvP is usually a bad bet.  But I've seen enough to know that the use of such advanced multi-boxing software can distort the design intentions of the developers.

Honestly, I'm not sure that CCP has the resources to begin an effort to ban ISBoxer from EVE as NCSoft has done from Guild Wars 2 and Wildstar.  But if they don't, then the next logical step is to limit the damage that ISBoxer use does to EVE.  Making cloaked ships decloak each other is a good start.


  1. Not a chance CCP bans ISBoxer's. It has been said before, and it still holds true. CCP can't afford to ban ISBoxing accounts. CCP has made a commitment to MORE alt accounts, not less. How many players are already gearing up with more capital alts to run the inverted pony express to circumvent the fatigue timers?

    CCP has given up on high sec, wormholes, and likely low sec playstyles, and is "all in", gambling that they can increase the null sec population enough to outweigh the ongoing sub losses in the other areas of the game. And that means Alt's Online, which means ISBoxer is here to stay.

  2. ISBoxer was not a problem until bombers were buffed not to decloak each other when closer then 2 km. No one was using ISBoxer for bombers. However then the buff came and ever since then ISBoxer bomb squads have been a scourge. However, even without ISBoxer the current bombers are too strong. The fact that they don't decloak each others made bombing ridiculously easy. You can pile as many bombers as you'd like on one place without having to worry too much. Previously you had to make sure all the bombers are at a range from each other, which was a non trivial thing. Therefore, even without ISBoxer I would say that the buff had to go.

  3. Although I dislike intensely the idea of balancing the game around ISBoxer, I can't disagree with your comments regarding alts.

    On the subject of high sec, though, I've often wondered what would happen to the volume of mining if CCP decided to ban ISBoxer. Everyone talks about risk vs. reward, but from a purely economic standpoint, I think tedium vs. reward is just as important.

  4. ISBoxer may not have been a problem, but that's only it was mainly being used as a tool for ISK generation via PVE. And we all know the markets and economy don't matter, right? No matter what ISBoxer is used for, it is wrong. It's only become more noticeable now through their use in PVP, primarily their effects on bombing. But no matter the use, it either shouldn't exist or CCP should build the functionality into the game and just mainstream it. Hey, there's an idea

  5. It could also be that it's just a glitch in SISI. v0v

  6. Tiberizzle wrote:
    a bonus to covert jump portal fatigue is stupid

    bomber siegefleets are one of the most effective tools in the sov null strategic toolbox and nearly everyone has a combat T3 doctrine, which can carry a depot and refit in space to a minimal mass covert/nullified travel fit

    pretty much the absolute last thing the game needs is everything except low-counterability, non-content-generating coward strategies and convenience features to be kneecapped in the name of nerfing force projection while the most egregious examples of content avoidance tactics are buffed stratospherically

    Greyscale wrote:
    This isn't the only change we're making to bombers in this release.

  7. That is the most backasswards EVE logic I've ever heard.

  8. Don't see the problem. Per your article, CFC easily adjusted by switching to armor-tanked ships. Now, if there was no option to do so, ie. forced to stay with shield-tanked ships only, then I'd see reason for CCP to do something about it.

  9. This subverts the design principles that CCP tried to establish with its tiericide effort. CCP wants to make all ships viable. The prevalence of stealth bomber ganges basically takes half the ships in EVE out of play in null sec really damages that goal. I've seen both CFC and PL pilots write and tweet that CCP needed to make cloaked ships decloak each other because of ISBoxer-controlled stealth bomber gangs.