- Rollback of lowering the reward for vanguard sites by 10%
- Rollback of changes to system influence
During Escalation, four changes were made to Incursions:
- Two (and possibly three) sites were updated so that killing the trigger didn't automatically trigger the next wave;
- the waves were randomized a bit, with the Sansha AI getting "points" to "spend" on ships for a wave rather than fixed waves;
- the reward for completing Vanguard sites was reduced by 10%; and,
- the rate at which Sansha influence over incursion constellations was greatly increased.
Worse still, in the time since the Escalation to Inferno patch, the shield public channel has seen roughly a 50% loss in active pilots. The armor public channel has collapsed entirely in many time zones. Again, I'm sure there are readers that will gloat over this, and that's certainly your prerogative. But the fact remains that CCP essentially murdered what was previously a growing, vibrant player community. Whatever you think about this particular community, EVE certainly doesn't need that. Today, there might be more players running COSMOS missions than incursions.
I'm pretty sure that wasn't CCP's intent. This is particularly likely since the number of people actively playing EVE hit a peak in the months after the Incursion expansion was launched that hasn't been matched since. As I said yesterday, when CCP gets out the nerf bat, they don't mess around.
So now of the four changes to incursions in Escalation, two of them are being rolled back. The removal of the 10% reduction to Vanguard payouts is rather minor. The time needed to complete two of the Vanguard sites was greatly increased in Escalation. That effectively doubled the time it takes to complete a large number of Vanguard sites, effectively cutting overall Vanguard income by 50%. By modifying fleet compositions in the time since, players have managed to get a few percent of that back. But the fact remains: a 10% cut next to a 50% cut is pretty minor. ;-) Getting it back is also pretty minor. Players will appreciate it, but it's not a big deal.
That leaves the rollback of the change to Sansha influence. I estimated that post-Escalation, Sansha influence was rising at something like 10-15% per hour. And I said at the time I felt like stronger Sansha influence is a good thing, and I still believe that. Prior to Escalation, Sansha influence could be safely ignored only a few hours after a new incursion was Established in a constellation. You rarely saw Sansha influence of even a few percent. Still, the 10-15% per hour rate is clearly too high. Having to fight it down tooth and nail with hundreds of players over the course of days is too harsh. But it shouldn't be too easy, either.
This is a change that's going to bear some watching and some patience. My impulse is that we're not going to see much positive change out of this rollback for a while. So much damage has been done to the public incursion communities that it's going to take some time to rebuild them. That rebuilding will be complicated by the fact that we're in the midst of EVE's quiet summer season. So, I'd caution the team working on this not to draw any conclusions quickly. Let things sit with these two rollbacks at least into August or so when EVE traditionally starts to pick up again.
Prior to Escalation, if the shield community was in one high-sec incursion and the armor community was in another, independent incursion runners still had enough clout to negate Sansha influence in the third high-sec incursion. In my view, that's a good measuring stick. It should take a concentrated community effort to reduce Sansha influence in a given constellation, and a few independent Vanguard fleets shouldn't be able to do it alone. The independents should have to either compete with the organized communities or accept a higher Sansha influence if they choose to operate outside of the community umbrella.
And of course, these changes are going to be controversial. There will be those that will accuse CCP of pandering to the incursion bears. If the Sansha influence change turns out to be too kind, we can expect some gnashing of teeth over how incursions are once again ruining the EVE economy...
How about it, incursion runners? Several of you out there said to me in EVE mails or comments that you were un-subbing until CCP fixed this. Are these fixes enough for you? Discuss.