Thursday, August 15, 2019

Making EVE A More Dangerous Place - August 2019 Edition

Once again, CCP is shaking up the sandbox we call EVE Online. Some may call the recent round of changes "The Chaos Era", but that's just marketing talk. I'd call the moves a correction for some changes made over the course of time. Every so often, MMORPG developers evaluate the direction of a game and nerf some things. EVE is no different. What some players may consider different is that the devs are bringing change to all parts of the game.

High sec experienced a change Tuesday with the introduction of Triglavian recon ships roaming outside of invasion zones in high sec. Fortunately for high sec dwellers, Triglavian recon ships are not the same as the tech 2 cruisers capsuleers fly.

Damaviks are Triglavian frigates for those unfamiliar with the terminology. The two plain recon ships will bring DPS while the others are set up for logistics (Renewing), energy neutralization (Starving), and sensor damping (Blinding). Just be careful because, unlike normal belt rats, the Triglavian AI will target drones if the ship does not present a big enough threat. But with no Anchoring Recons present, players are free to just warp off. Assuming they are not AFK.

Triglavians Ate My Drones
Apparently, botters are not happy the Triglavians like to attack drones. The above post was from a disgruntled Orca botter who, while he didn't lose his ship to the Triglavians, lost all his drones as the bot released combat drones in order to take care of the threat. The Triglavian recon ships basically ate his drones for breakfast. Now, he refuses to undock and bot until the bot maker releases a new version that handles the situation. But is that any reason to call the Triglavians names?

Also on Tuesday, CCP Rise announced on Twitter a change long requested by players in factional warfare.

Back in the Into The Abyss expansion in May 2018, CCP removed the ability of ships fit with warp core stabilizers to enter factional warfare complexes. Those pilots wishing to have the effect of the WCS would then fly the Venture, which has a built-in +2 bonus to warp core strength. Instead of nerfing the ship's bonuses, CCP is making a change next month to the ship's ability to capture FW complexes. Hopefully, we will find out in CCP Rise's interview on Talking In Stations if the change will lock the Venture out of complexes. I imagine not, as large FW complexes do not have acceleration gates.

The final bit of news affects both low and null security space. I imagine null sec will see the biggest change in everyday game play. CCP Rise posted yesterday on the official forums:
This September we are planning two large changes for Cynosural Fields:
  • Cynosural Field Generator I can only be fit by Force Recon Ships and Black Ops Battleships (note: these classes can still fit covert cynos)
  • Jump Freighters can jump to Covert Cynosural Fields
During this era of chaos we are eager to introduce new challenges for veteran pilots while working towards a deeper and more balanced capital meta. Historically, cynos have been extremely flexible. They can be used on flocks of alts at nearly no risk or used by the largest and strongest ships in the game. With few options for cyno disruption, capital response time and power has grown to the point that it’s oppressing activity. This change will make it more complex and demanding to get capitals to the field quickly and give more strategic options for those wishing to disrupt capital response.

While most of the impact from this change is on combat, we are sensitive to the effect on Jump Freighters and logistics overall. Jump Freighters will be allowed to use Covert Cynos which can be activated by cheaper hulls like Covert Ops Frigates. This may need further attention and we will be watching this area very closely.

Fly safe o/
I wouldn't consider the cyno change an element of chaos so much as fixing a problem introduced in the expansion of the Alpha skill set in December 2017. In addition to giving free-to-play characters the ability to fly battlecruisers and battleships and train into pirate faction ships, CCP made what I consider a mistake. The change of the level of CPU Management an Alpha could use from level 4 to level 5 meant Alpha characters could now fit a Cynosural Field Generator I.

Oh good. Free cyno alts for everyone. Yes, CCP set up a system that prevented Alpha and Omega accounts from running on the same computer. I've even accidentally tested the feature. However, the feature doesn't work if a player uses multiple computers. VPNs anyone? Considering how often, and for how long, the problem has appeared on the EVE Online sub-Reddit, I think I'm safe mentioning the exploit. Also, since it is an exploit, DON'T DO IT!

UPDATE: Alphas cannot train Cynosural Field Theory. All the change meant was that you didn't need to be subscribed in order to train CPU Management to 5.

Perhaps I'm a bit too cynical. The change does give Force Recons and Black Ops battleships a required role, especially in null sec. After all, the blackout gave a boost to Combat Recon ships, so why not give a couple of other ship classes some love? I'm not sure how much the change will affect Rorquals. Sure, they won't fit cynos themselves, but with the panic module timer, can a group get the proper ship into position to light a cyno in time to save the huge ship if it comes under attack?

Some would say a nerf to the Rorqual's abiltiy to protect itself by lighting its own cyno would help correct another problem. When the ship was massively buffed in the Ascension expansion (which also introduced Alpha accounts) in November 2016, many players pointed out how overpowered the Rorqual became. CCP has steadily nerfed the ship ever since.

I guess I should also mention that the price of cyno ships will go up tremendously, as tech 2 cruisers and battleships are not cheap. Expect cargo transportation prices to go up accordingly.

The above are just my thoughts on the current and upcoming changes. I thought I should put my thoughts down now as Matterall is interviewing CCP Rise today for the Talking in Stations podcast, with the release probably tomorrow. This way, we can see how wrong (or right) I really am before hearing the official answers to everyone's questions.

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