Just a quickie.
The more of my old null-sec sov warfare friends I talk to lately, the more of them are excited about the winter expansion. And the thing that they're excited about is not the thing that you're excited about. No, they're excited about TiDi. And secondarily (and strangely), they're also excited about drones being removed from dreads and super-carriers. And it isn't even for the reason that you think.
I used to be a sov warrior myself, and I've been in many fights with several hundred on each side. I still have a "NO LAG" tab on the Overviews of all of my mains, set up to remove brackets from view and only show me the bare minimum necessary Overview information that I need for a big fight. Lag is an enormous consideration in a big fleet fight. It currently drives virtually every decision about the fight, from what types of ships to bring to how many guns should be in each weapon group on your DPS ships. Hell, you have to think about what portions of your fleet you can sacrifice if lag is too bad and the order that people have to jump into a system, just in case you only get part of your fleet into a fight.
It's just not the sort of thing that most EVE players have to deal with, you know? ;-)
But sov warriors deal with that because they like big, epic fights with hundreds on both sides. Those are the only fights that make the gaming press. I'm having a great time in Rote and feel more and more firmly that's where I belong, but the biggest fight I'm likely to have in Rote will be 30 or 40 to a side. If lag has to figure into my calculations there, something's badly wrong with the game.
And we're not likely to make the gaming press.
The big problem that TiDi is going to solve in these big, epic fights is the inherent unfairness of them. Right now, if EVE doesn't like the number of calls that it's getting from ships in a system, it will arbitrarily just drop some of them. And it's unpredictable whose calls will be dropped. The dropped calls might be as simple and minor as a single volley of weapon fire from a single frigate all the way to as important as the call that will jump a Titan out of a heavily-lagged system. The call will be dropped, the action won't happen, and you won't know why. If you're that Titan pilot, you might think your ship safely out of the system. Meanwhile, it's exploding. All you see is a black screen until it's all over. And despite the dropped calls being CCP's fault, they'll reject any petition you make to replace that Titan.
The replacement of this capricious mechanic with one that is simple and predictable is making my null-sec sov warfare friends very happy, and understandably so.
So why are they also happy that drones are being removed from dreads and super-carriers? Because that's another major source of lag. A ton of people have looked at this, and two big sources of lag are jump-ins and drone launches. Both actions involve adding a bunch of new database entries and models to the grid. A big fleet fight can easily have thousands of drones per side. Fewer drone-capable ships means fewer drone launches means less lag in a big fleet fight. It's really as simple as that. Without those cap drones, TiDi should be invoked less often than it otherwise would. And it's really not something that anyone not involved in sov warfare would ever think of.
When I say TiDi is as close as Crucible will have to new EVE Online game play, this is what I mean. It's just not a sort of "game-play" that you'll think of if you haven't been involved.