Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I mentioned yesterday that there are a couple of controversial changes in store for Inferno 1.1.  And they both come in pairs.  Here's the other pair:
  • Rollback of lowering the reward for vanguard sites by 10%
  • Rollback of changes to system influence
There's also a devblog talking about these changes, but it's really sparse.  Honestly, it doesn't offer any more useful text than the two lines above, but it does include an interesting graphic.

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.
I've written about the impact those changes had on the incursion community before, gave my opinion that the changes were "completely awful", and made it clear that the four changes in combination had created a vicious circle that it would be impossible for players to break.  And that turns out to have been completely accurate.  I've been watching the incursion journal almost daily since then and whether there are two active incursions or eight at any given time, no matter how many of them are in high-sec, only one of them is not at 100% Sansha influence.

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.


  1. I am unsubbing. These rollbacks do nothing to the Wall of OTA's that are poisioning the Vanguard Systems. I doubt the NULL/LO Sec communities that died will be able to crack the OTA wall either. -DathNefarius (TDF Armour FC)

  2. I'm not sure how the influence increase is calculated, but it would seem that a mechanic which has the sansha influence increase more rapidly as it declines (let's say, that the Sansha are pushing extra hard to maintain a presence). That way, it's easy to get the influence down to 10-15% (or whatever), but very difficult to get it to 0%.

    If it already works like this, nevermind. :D

  3. The influence thing was a big fix for me, as i started running HQ sites with TVP a month ago or so, and haven't looked back. The problem is, we usually needed to have at least 2 HQ fleets and a good number of AS fleets up to get the influence anywhere...and anyone who has flown the site with a jammer (I can't recall the name), holy crap, that thing is hard. Being a Logi in that Site at 100 influence is enough to give you an ulcer! I haven't done them in a couple weeks, but I'm not looking forward to grinding down influence during the summer low, along with the evisceration of the incursion community.

  4. The reduction in influence regeneration will make it a little less tedious to push the influence down in a system, but like Darth and many others have mentioned in the forums, this change will not address the main issue with vanguards and specifically, OTAs. Vanguards, being the primary incursion sites for smaller incursion fleets.

    When OTAs were first tested in May of last year, sub-faction fleets struggled with breaking the OTA wall and the logistics tower hacking mechanic until they reached the DPS point where they could knock an OTA out in under 7m, which was a time comparable to NCOs and NMCs.

    Hacking ships were troublesome, ultimately useless outside of an OTA or Arch site, and contributed little to quicker site completion.

    With the point allocation now used in post-inferno sites, and the requirement that all spawns must be killed in a site, OTA completion at it's fastest tends to take five to ten minutes longer than other vanguard sites. If one does not have a hacker, and they break the Mara spawns, that still pushes the site still yet further into the territory known as "not worth the time".

    1. Thanks for the info! I need to get into a VG fleet and experience this OTA wall for myself. When I do sites, I mostly do AS and HQ sites.

    2. OTAs would have been adequately balanced by only adding the requirement to kill everything.

      The new OTAs could be adequately balanced by allowing the logistics towers to be blown up, affected by EWAR, and/or moving the towers closer to the station or the warp-in point so that you can use a bigger, slower hacking boat capable of contributing to the fleet (such as the typical hacking logistics).

      It is possible to have logistics do the hacking, but the towers are beyond logistics range from the warp-in. Thus the whole fleet has to move ten kilometres either direction from the warp-in: it doesn't seem like a big thing until you actually have to do it. Traversing the distance between hacking towers in a logistics is daft, so you'll want two logistics with codebreakers, or have the towers moved closer together (say, 65km apart).

      I like the basic concept of the OTA kinda-sorta requiring non-combat activity to complete, but the execution is poor. Being allowed to use EWAR on the logistics towers would be handy, allowing players more options on how to deal with them.

  5. as an AS/HQ pilot I can only echo what Yaman has already said. Influence change makes things less tedious, so thats nice, the 10% rollback on VG's however is entirely insignificant.

    Fly through any VG system late in the day and you'll see the same thing. OTA's everywhere and not a single soul in system. Either the site mechanics need to be changed to bring it in-line with the others or VG's will remain exactly where they are today.

    Part of the reason armour fleets have stopped is because armour used to run VG's. An armour fleet in a VG site has/had a massive targeting and tracking advantage over a shield fleet. This was important where targets are small and fast but becomes much less important in AS/HQ sites where raw damage becomes more valuable.

    In short, the problems created by the quad nerf will not be fixxed by a 10% increase in pay. People who stopped doing VG's did not stop doing them because of the pay.

  6. yeah i know what you mean , i play occasionally and the last incursions i have been in, i'm able to make more isk doing lvl4s than vg sites, and lvl4s are boring as hell, so i've refused to do anything but hq's and even then the isk and lps are barely worth it, but at least it's not as boring as lvl4s.

  7. Most of the armor community and a fair majority of our fcs are still unsubbed. Either that or they dropped 1-3 accounts. Still no plans to resubscribe. Shields have assaults/hq advantages due to dps. Until they rebalance otas armor effector has nothing.

  8. On Sansha influence, I was in Wyllequet when it started. Within seconds the bar was completely RED.

    And why does Wyllequet get all the love? Seems like they have an Incursion there every month. Must have been 4-5 of them in recent months.

  9. Well, I'm not going anywhere. This fix sucks balls, but with the nerf to mission loot as well, and the fact that I want more +6% implants from concord, I will still be running incursions - if I can find people to run them with. Other than TVP, who's really still around? SAQD is gone. Dirty Bastards is gone. I've never cared for BTL.

    But, it beats the hell out of mining.

  10. Turns out CCP Affinity lied Vanguards mow payout 10.39 million ISK instead of 10.5 million like they used to. LOL here's what she said in the Middsions & Complex's Incursion unnerf thread... ( she is such a troll! )
    Also, it's worth noting that we are rolling back the 10% reward reduction. This is not the same thing as increasing the current payout by 10%. eg: 1000 reduced by 10% = 900 which becomes the new payout amount - so 900 increased by 10% is 990
    CCP Affinity | Team Five 0 | @CCP_Affinity


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