Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Eve Online's Great Escape - Nullification And Warp Core Stabilizer Changes

I didn't write about the upcoming changes to interdiction nullification and warp core stabilizers over the last week because the features kept changing. Unexpectedly, CCP pushed the changes live today with patch 2021-05-18.1. Since I now apparently fly nullification-capable ships, I thought I'd comment on the situation.

First off, CCP removed the passive ship hull ability of interdiction nullification from fleet interceptors, strategic cruisers, and the Victorieux Luxury Yacht. Shuttles were granted built-in nullification to give players outside empire space a travel option that negates bubbles.

The tech 2 version (as seen on patch day)

The developers transferred nullification from hulls to active modules. CCP created four:

  • Interdiction Nullifier I
  • Compact Interdiction Nullifier
  • Restrained Interdiction Nullifier
  • Interdiction Nullifier II

The negative attributes, such as the -50% drone bandwidth, targeting range, and scan resolution penalties, apply at all times. The nullification benefit only applies when the module is activated. Interdiction nullifiers are a high slot module. The module was originally a low slot item but was changed due to player feedback pointing out fitting the module in a low slot would adversely affect armor-tanking ships.

Next, CCP expanded the list of nullification capable ships. The following 7 classes can fit the new nullification modules.

  • Interceptors
  • Blockade Runners
  • Deep Space Transports
  • Tech I Industrials
  • Covert Ops Frigates
  • Victorieux Luxury Yacht
  • Strategic Cruisers

In addition to the combat ships, CCP granted nullification ability to tech 1 and tech 2 cargo carriers as well as to combat interceptors and the four covert ops frigates. The original proposal included all tech 1 and faction frigates as well as stealth bombers. CCP dropped the stealth bomber change in the first round of changes on Singularity and frigates lost the ability due to the escape frigate feature in battleships in the final round.

Where is the nullification text? (as seen on patch day)

I want to comment on one last detail about nullification. According to the patch notes, shuttles now have interdictions nullification baked into the hull. But the trait is not listed in the information window.

The tech 1 WCS (as seen on patch day)

The second part of the changes involve the much-maligned (by hunters) warp core stabilizer. CCP described the changes:

Warp Core Stabilizers

Warp Core Stabilizers have now been converted to an active module, where they must be activated to increase the strength of your ship's warp core. Moving forward, you can only fit one warp core stabliizer to your ship at any time. Those ships that are currently fit with more than one of these modules will need to unfit them from their ship.

In addition to this change, when the module is online the ship's drone bandwidth will be reduced by 50%

The original proposal gave warp core stabilizers a -3 to warp scramble strength, but in the first round of changes on Singularity the value was reduced to -2.

For haulers, especially those performing corp and alliance logistics functions in null sec, I suspect many will see the WCS change as a nerf. Tech 1 industrial ships will only have a maximum warp scramble strength of -2 with the change. Before, they could fill up their low slots with warp core stabilizers to protect themselves from gate camps. Now, the ships are vulnerable to hard tackles by ships only fitting one scram and one point. The situation is better for deep space transport pilots. The inherent -2 warp scrambler strength gives the ship class a possibility of a total of -4 strength. Solo pilots attempting a tackle will require 2 scrams and a point in order to prevent a DST fitting a WCS from warping off.

I suspect the developers might see the reduction in maximum warp scramble strength a fair trade-off for granting haulers interdiction nullification capability. In null sec, wormhole space and Pochven, the argument might even hold water. What about low sec, where bubbles do not work? While I personally only had one ship fitting with multiple WCS, many pilots do rely on the module to move goods around the security band. For them, I can imagine they logged into the game and started shouting at their monitors. 

The change to warp core stabilizers might have its greatest effects on AFK ratting play in null sec. Adding a penalty to drone bandwidth definitely nerfs the use of drone boats like the Gila. I suspect Caldari shield missile ships using auto-targeting missiles will come back into vogue.

I should add another possible side effect of the warp core scramble change: harvesting. With Coveters only having one low slot, the change actually increases the maximum warp scramble strength. Procurers have two low slots and Retrievers three. So the only mining barge negatively affected flying through dangerous space is the Retriever. But the tech 2 exhumers all have three low slots, so they all receive a nerf to their maximum warp scramble strength. But when actually mining, I doubt many pilots fit a full rack of WCS in their low slots.

My Prospect fit now has an empty slot

My final WCS thought concerns gas harvesting. Given greater importance with the changes to building large ships (battleships, capitals, and supercapitals), how will the change affect players huffing gas? My guess is, not that much. The two ships I imagine most players will use are the Venture and Prospect. The Venture, with a built-in warp core strength of +2, requires a ship or ships with 2 scrams and a point to keep from escaping, assuming the pilot fits a WCS in the first place. For the Prospect, I found I only really needed 2, since I used the other two low slots to aid in speed/signature tanking. With one module giving me the previous strength of two, I have to decide how best to modify my fit.

Overall, I don't know what to think of these changes. I have no clue how the nullification changes will work out, since I not only mainly fly in empire space, but mainly fly cov op frigates, mining ships, blockade runners, and deep space transports. Wait, I'm still thinking of the olden times of two days ago. I now have increased capabilities if I want them. But I think I'm in the minority. I guess everyone will find out as we continue on into the Foundation Quadrant.


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