Tuesday, August 30, 2016

First Look At The Death Of Off-Grid Boosting

Yesterday, Team 5-O published a long-awaited dev blog giving an introduction to the new fleet boosting system. As the next two scheduled dev blogs promise to explain the system in greater detail, I figured I would give some quick initial impressions from the introductory blog on the feature.

First, CCP will eliminate all passive fleet boosts, including ones from skills. Here's a list of the fleet boosts the new system eliminates.

  • Armored Warfare: 2% bonus to fleet members' armor hitpoints per skill level.
  • Information Warfare: 2% bonus to fleet members' targeting range per skill level.
  • Leadership: 2% bonus to fleet members' targeting speed per skill level.
  • Mining Foreman: 2% bonus to fleet members' mining yield per skill level.
  • Siege Warfare: 2% bonus to fleet members' shield capacity per skill level.
  • Skirmish Warfare: 2% bonus to fleet members' agility per skill level.

Look, I understand why, in addition to the stated reason for wanting to create valid counter-play strategies, CCP would want to get rid of bonuses flowing through the fleet hierarchy. Eliminating a long slog of learning charisma-based leadership skills allows eager young players who want to try their hand at FC'ing a faster path to potentially becoming a valued content creator in EVE. Older players can put the younger player into a fleet leadership position without worrying that the move will weaken the fleet.

From a personal standpoint, however, the change is really going to hurt. The change means I will run missions with 10% less armor hitpoints, 10% less shield hitpoints, 10% shorter targeting range, 10% slower target locking times, and 10% less agility. Perhaps more painful, on those occasions I mine in low sec, filling up my ore hold will take 10% longer.

The next change is associating the number of command burst modules a ship may fit to a ship's size. So command destroyers, combat battlecruisers, and strategic cruisers with a warfare processor subsystem all may fit on command burst. Command ships, the new Porpoise industrial command ship, carriers, supercarriers, and force auxillary ships may all fit two command bursts. Finally, Orcas, Rorquals, and Titans may all fit three command bursts. Players can fit additional burst modules though the use of command processors, but CCP is turning the low slow module into a rig come November.

I understand why CCP may want to base the number of command burst modules to ship size. The idea not only makes sense from a realism perspective, but gives an understandable frame of reference for any changes the developers may make in the future. But from a personal perspective, the change is probably a net nerf to my Claymore fit. After the update I will have to drop one of my three warfare links as both my rig slots hold Medium Processor Overclocking Unit Is. I will probably replace the Rapid Deployment I skirmish link with a fifth Heavy Missile Launcher II. A change to a Nestor/Damnation combination is starting to look better and better.

Another possibly controversial decision is the limited area of effect of the command burst modules. With a base area of effect of 15 km, the radius after taking skills and bonuses into effect is still under 100 km even in a titan. I think some people hoped for a grid-wide effect. Truthfully, I don't care, as I normally fly both my Claymore and Orca within 20 km of the ships they boost.

An interesting design decision is the use of ammunition to power the command burst modules. Supposedly the modules will hold a large amount of the ammunition, but the numbers are not available at this time. Also, how much cargo space is required to hold a variety of ammunition? The fact that firing the command burst module triggers a weapons timer that prevents warping through a gate or docking for one minute raised some eyebrows.

When I read the part about the material required to build the ammunition coming from ice products, I immediately thought about going back to low sec and resuming ice mining. I figure I may have to as I expect the price to shoot through the ceiling in the early days. Perhaps I can get involved in some profiteering at the beginning for a change.

Finally, I would like to end on a personal high note. The command burst is a lot easier to skill into. The tech 1 version only requires Leadership I and the basic group skill (like Armored Command) trained to 1. Tech 2 command bursts only require Leadership V and the advanced group skill (like Armored Command Speicalist) trained to 1. Currently, to fit tech 2 warfare links requires training  the advanced group skill to 5. That means I do not need to train anymore skills in order to fit tech 2 command bursts come November. In order to fit the tech 2 versions of warfare links, I was looking at a 37-day train for each of the 5 links. Now I can concentrate on learning other skills.

The above is just a brief look at the changes coming to New Eden in November. CCP is still due to release three more dev blogs on the subject, with two getting into greater detail on the mechanics. Until I start seeing more dev blogs and prototypes on Singularity, though, I don't plan on getting too upset about the future.

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