First, I have to say how impressed I was with this dev-blog. Including what I'm sure are charts right out of the game design document is an excellent move. In addition, the dev-blog itself is as detailed and well-written as any we've ever seen out of a CCP dev, so kudos to CCP Masterplan and the rest of Team Five-0. Excellent work! If you haven't read it, do. It's worth your time.
The content of the dev-blog is also damned good. I'm almost universally pleased with what I read here. Let's get one thing straight first, though: this is not a new feature in EVE Online. At best, maybe the little graphical elements in the upper left are a new feature. But it seems clear that the first plan of Team Five-0 here was to recreate most of the existing system (which they call CW1 for brevity; I'll emulate that). It also seems clear that changes to CW1 that we're going to see in Retribution are mostly in places where they either couldn't decide how to implement the existing system or didn't want to.
There aren't very many in the way of "changes", as such, in CW2. Still, there are a few, and a couple of them are pretty major. As far as I can tell, here are the major changes between CW1 and CW2. They also have the virtue of being easy to explain:
- We'll get distinct, obvious aggression timers in the upper left corner of the screen where we can track them. This is a big one. I use a Logitech G15 keyboard with the Stopwatch display app to track what will be called the Weapon flag. I can stop using it. That'll be nice.
- Logistics repping an attacking ship will no longer be able to dock or jump for 60 seconds after their most recent rep. This one is huge. It does not stop all neutral repping in high-sec wars (more on that in a few), but it does cut the abuse rate by about 50%. It's also going to require logis to rethink their tactics. No longer can you sit on a gate when you're aggressed, take 50% shield or armor damage (depending), and then just jump to safety unless your reppers are OFF for at least a minute before you do. No longer can PL carriers undock from a station, rep an PL aggressed super and then just redock when they get primaried as they do it. Like I said, it's huge.
- Dictors will again(!) no longer be able to defensively bubble a gate, then jump through it. That's aggravating for the reasons I discussed last year at this time the first time this was done. I again renew my call for this mechanic to be removed. The only thing it does is force small-gang FCs to comp two dictors/hictors instead of one. Do not create n+1 problems if you don't have to, CCP!
There are three moderate size changes. The first is the entire "Limited Engagement" mechanic. This part of the dev-blog is clearly still under construction, though, so I'll mostly leave it alone. Except to note one thing of interest:
- Player A is Suspect ("S" flag, hereafter). Player B attacks Player A. Player A shoots back at B.
- This invokes the Limited Engagement. Anyone can shoot at A. Only A can shoot at B.
- Player C in a logi reps player B. This gives player C the "S" flag.
- Player D (or anyone else in New Eden) can come along and completely ignore players A and B and just kill helpless logi pilot Player C whose only crime was to help someone shoot a Suspect. Neither Player A nor Player B can shoot Player D.
The second moderate size change:
- If you shoot at a pod in low-sec, even if you don't kill it, you incur a Criminal flag ("C" flag hereafter) and sentry guns throughout low-sec will shoot at you until the "C" flag clears. The logis that rep you also get "C" flags when they rep you after you do this.
The impact that it's going to have, though? We're going to see a lot less podding in low-sec. Ironically, the fleets that don't pod people in low-sec will have a tremendous advantage over fleets that do. The reason: the fleet that includes a low-sec podder will have all its logi "C"-flagged and taking gate guns while the rest of the fleet will probably be safe from them. The logis in the fleet that has no low-sec podders won't take continuous gate-gun fire. In addition, low-sec roaming frigates (more on them in a second) will probably try to avoid podding people so they can avoid "C" flags and continue their low-sec roam without waiting 15 minutes for the "C" flag to clear. This is going to make Rixx Javix and the rest of The Tuskers very happy.
Net result: it will be advantageous to both gangs and solo-roamers not to pod in low-sec, so we're going to see a lot less of it.
Third moderate size change is kind of interesting. Sentry guns will remain, but they're being uncoupled from the "S" flag. As far as I can tell, sentries will only shoot you under two conditions:
- if you have a "C" flag; and,
- if you incur a security status penalty right in front of them.
And once that gate fight is over, loot is scooped, and the fleet moves on, as long as nobody has incurred a "C" flag, the gate guns will ignore that fleet.
Second case is if two low-sec roaming gangs meet and have a fight away from a gate in low-sec, gate guns are never involved. Sure, one fleet or the other will take sec-status hits, incur "S" flags, and so forth. But when that fleet warps to its first gate, the sentries will ignore that fleet. That means that frigates will be able to tackle targets in low-sec all day long and as long as they didn't do it right in front of a gate or a station, they'd never get attacked by sentry guns. And even if they did do it in front of a sentry gun, they could warp off and warp right back and the guns would then ignore them.
Despite CCP's goal that the intent is not to make any part of space more or less safe than it is today, this change is definitely going to make low-sec less safe. Gangs that currently camp low-sec entry gates by hanging out next to a nearby planet, POS, or POCO are going to sit right on the entry gate instead. Their tankiest frigates will tackle people attempting to enter low-sec, get the initial point, then warp off once the tackle is taken over by something heavier. The tanky frig will warp off, the fleet will kill the target, and then warp to the nearest planet.
And then the entire fleet, including the tackle frigate, will warp right back to gate and resume their gate-camp, free of sentry aggro. Low-sec gate camps will no longer be so reliant on BCs and other ships that can continuously tank sentries. The ability to tank sentries for five or ten seconds will be sufficient to participate in all activities of a low-sec gate-camp. A lot of inties and AFs can do that.
So yeah, expect to be podded less in low-sec. But expect to be attacked and successfully tackled more. Low-sec is going to become more dangerous with this change.
And there are some minor changes:
- logis will no longer carry the newest GCC in the fleet, which to date has virtually guaranteed that any logi that reps a GCC-flagged player carries the GCC for the entire rest of the roam;
- you won't be able to eject from your T3 (or anything else), or store your ship in an Orca or carrier within 60 seconds of firing weapons (getting a "W" flag);
- you get kill-rights on someone if they shoot at you in high-sec even if they don't kill you;
- any can-flipping will result in you being a legal target for all of New Eden; and,
- if you shoot at a pod in low-sec, you're going to be CONCORDed if you jump into high-sec within 15 minutes of doing it even if the pod doesn't die, and the pod's pilot appears to get kill-rights on you, too.
That first one makes me kind of sad. No more free ships from people ejecting to save their pods. That was practically a thing. The second one is also kind of amusing. Undock from Jita 4-4 with a PLEX in cargo and a highly over-tanked ship. Wait for someone to cargo scan you and shoot once. Quickly redock before they can kill you. Gain high-sec kill-right. Profit.
Finally, there's one thing that isn't changing that much, and one thing that's been missed entirely.
These changes don't do enough to stop neutral repping in high-sec wars.
- Player A is in Corp A. Player B is in Corp B. Corp A and Corp B are at war.
- Player A attacks Player B in high-sec.
- Player C, a neutral, reps Player B.
- Player A can attack Player C. And Player C can't jump or dock. But Player C isn't "S" flagged.
The thing that's been missed entirely? Contraband. Carrying contraband doesn't give you an "S" flag, and there doesn't seem to be any mechanic for players to legally assign "S" flags. As Garth asked, how are players supposed to police contraband under CW2? An interesting solution was presented by serpentine logic:
The answer is carrying boosters only ["S" flags] you when someone runs a cargo scan on you.I like that! It has the virtue of simplicity. Run with it, CCP. ;-)
Whew! A lot of thought clearly went into these changes and other than the dictor thing, I'm very positive about them! Well done on this one, CCP! I look forward to seeing more detail about Limited Engagements.