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, January 23, 2013

Hot drop o'clock

The CSM December Summit Minutes is such a deep document.  Ironic as this may sound, I really want to congratulate CSM7 for their coverage of the Summit and the detail provided in this doc.  See, Alek?  I do sometimes say nice things about you guys.  Anyway, I'm still only about a third of the way through the posts I want to write about it, so let's continue with a short one on...

Focus: CSM Summit Minutes, "Ship Balancing" session

First, the most interesting bit: CCP Ytterbium opens the session by blandly stating that CCP isn't going to be looking at capital ships or industrial ships in 2013, and probably not early in 2014, either.

Yeah, yeah, OK.  He didn't say that.  But what he did say is that the order of the next set of changes would be: battle cruisers, battleships, adjusting the skill requirements needed for T1 ships, then on to T2 ships.  So... er... yeah.  He kinda did say that, didn't he?  Once T1 combat sub-caps are out of the way, the first T2 ships adjusted would be Command Ships, Black Ops, and EAFs.  The first one, we knew about.  And from the time when CCP Diagoras was doing stats, we know that the other two comprise the two least-used classes of ships in the game.

"Nobody uses rockets, so why should we waste time on them.", I think the saying was once.  ;-)  CCP can be taught!(1)

That's the good news.  The bad news is that we're all going to have to exercise a lot of patience on this one.  There's a lot more ships in EVE than anybody realizes and Ytterbium and CCP Fozzie have job security for the next couple of years while they steadily work on them.  Overall, the discussion in this session revolved around four items:
  1. a few imminent changes, to armor-tanking, Black Ops, battle cruisers, and such;
  2. black ops ships;
  3. the role differences between tech 1, tech 2, and tech 3 ships; and,
  4. super-caps.
That last one, I want to cover in a separate post.

The first one, I'm pretty content about leaving alone.  The one really great thing about this team is that they've been completely open with players every step of the way.  I credit CCP Fozzie on that one.  Even when he's pissing players off, he's open and honest and communicative about it.  As long as this team continues operating as they're operating today, I have many compliments and no complaints.  The only thing I'm gonna say about armor tanking 2.0 is "called it" and other than saying I like almost all the changes in all respects, leave it at that.  ;-)

The one change I don't like?  The new skill.  This is really starting to feel like CCP is just tossing new skills into the game so that long-term vets will have something to train, and so that alts that aren't training skills will fall further behind the state of the art.  But as a side effect, it's impacting and widening the gap between new and old players.  But I'm going to be a long tent-pole post about that issue coming up before the end of the month so I'm not going to cover it further here.

For the role differences between T1 and T2, Fozzie and Ytterbium lay out basically the following strategy:
  • T2s are like T1s, just ultra-specialized into one or two aspects of the T1 design, with comparative reductions in other aspects;
  • T3s are like T1s, just able to do more in every area, or in specific areas, than the T1 design.
The old joke about customer service goes: "Fast, cheap, good: pick two."  (Or sometimes, pick one.)  In many ways, what we're getting with this balance is similar.  If the list is "High DPS.  Tanky.  Fast.  Good bonuses.  Easy to fly.  Inexpensive.", then current T1 cruisers get to pick three of which one is always "inexpensive."  Moas are tanky and easy to fly.  Thoraxes are fast and high DPS.  Bellicoses are fast and have a good bonus.  Omens are high DPS and tanky, and so on.  In this model, tech 3 ships will be able to pick four or five, but won't be able to pick inexpensive.  And tech 2s will be able to pick two, one at double strength, and also won't be able to pick inexpensive.  It's a good model and easy to understand and explain.

And finally, that leaves black ops ships.  They're getting three quick changes:
  • Increase the base jump range of all Black Ops ships to 3.5 light-years (equal to that of Titans);
  • Reduce the fuel cost of covert bridges by 25%; and,
  • Increase the fuel bay on all Black Ops by 25%, to 1250m3.
The latter two are not particularly significant.  To run a black ops gang of any size these days, one of the ships in the gang has to be a cloaky hauler.  That isn't going to change, particularly since the fuel cost of this kind of jump is based on the mass of the ship times distance.  Since the distance is increasing, the needed fuel will increase.  That means a cloaky hauler still has to be a part of the package.

That first one, though?  That's huge.  And I can't decide if I'm happy or sad about it.

One of the big concerns about titans and super-caps in general is their ability to power project.  This is their ability to sit in a centralized area and strike fast in a lot of different directions, or quickly cross space as needed.  You can jump a super-cap fleet right across New Eden in a very short time.

Now let's be clear: as a Black Ops pilot, the massive increase in jump range makes me very very happy.  It means that I can drop a "blops" group right across an entire region from my home system.  It's a big deal.  What's a bigger deal is that blops droppers can strike at carrier ratting groups, or mining groups, from half a region away or from bordering systems in the next region over, with little to no warning.  This is going to hit the north particularly hard since both of those activities are common from east to west.  Today, those groups are protected by bubble cages on the in-bound star gates and cynosural field jammers in the systems themselves.  Individual pilots, even when cloaked, are often ignored because regional intel channels are so good.  Today, any blops group large enough to threaten a large mining op is going to be detected long before it gets within range of the op, and the individual titan pilots are known and watch-listed to prevent them from using the titan's long range to perform bridges.

But now, with stronger black ops ships and the longer jump ranges, fleets of these will be able to jump far behind enemy lines with little to no warning before they strike.  A blops drop will have more than enough DPS to kill ratting carriers.  There's no way alliances can possibly track every single black ops pilot so there will be no way to stop ops for that reason.  In short, this forces more carebeary alliances to be a lot more diligent in their scouting and intel, and will probably force them to actually come out and defend their ratters and miners.  Fatal Ascension should be particularly fearful of Pandemic Legion blops drops if the CFC/HBC "limited engagement" allows such things.  The only bad thing is that ratting supers will still be safe since there isn't a ship capable of tackling a super that can use a black ops bridge.

The flip-side of people having to come defend their ratters and miners is I think all of us have a much better chances of getting some black ops kills once this change goes into effect.  That can only be a positive, since I still don't have one of those.  ;-)

So yeah, in those respects it's a good thing.  I have a Redeemer, and I'm looking forward to flying it.

But on the other hand... we've now just extended the power projection problem one step down, into sub-cap ships.  And I can't help thinking that's not such a hot idea.  Alliances already like to joke sometimes that every hour of every day is hot drop o'clock.  This certainly ain't gonna help...  I guess we'll see how it goes.

(1) In other news, reading that post today is kinda creepy.  It's great how far CCP has come in two years!


  1. You raise a valid concern regarding power projection, I think I'm ok with it because of the restricted nature of what you can bridge through. Black-ops bridgeable ships tend to be less resilient, lower dps, and more expensive. A black-ops bridgeable fleet is much less cost effective, so at least there is a trade off for not needing to go gate-to-gate. I feel like the power projection complaints tend to involve fleet comps that require a titan bridge.

  2. I've always wondered, but never tried it: couldn't you use Void bombs in the SBs to keep the cap low and thus keep the cap from jumping?

    1. I'm almost certain the answer to this is "no". I don't think Void bombs, even en masse, would hit the cap hard enough. It's an interesting thought, though. Blops neut ships? A few neut Redeemers being fed cap by a Sin cap chain while the Panthers keep bumping the super cap in question would do it.

      Kinda specialized, though. Actually, strike that. Hugely specialized. ;-)

    2. Hugely specialised, strike that?

      That just makes it more likely that DNS will actually do it.

    3. Some "easy" math.
      A raw Aeon has 75000 GJ of cap, at jump drive op V, it needs 70% cap to jump which is 52500.
      75000-52500 = 22500

      One void bomb removes 1800 GJ of cap.
      So, 22500/1800 = 12,5
      So. all you need is 13 Void bombs to prevent it from jumping.
      This number will increase with better cap skills/recharge etc.
      So, theoretically it's possible, but since you can at most carry 4 void bombs, it's gonna be a pain in the ass.
      If you add good cap skills to it, you are looking at way to many void bombs for it to actally look possible.

      I might be completely off however, and if i am. well. fuckit.

    4. Or you could just use Pilgrims.

  3. The first supercarrier was killed in lowsec before hictors had a script. They used canes to bump and neut

  4. I think Eve needs a new continent, a vast expanse of space with much greater distance in light years between solar systems.

  5. Jester, you forgot another big change, cloaky haulers (and anything else capable of fitting a covert cloak) will be able to fit and light covert cyno's. Of course the Prowler is the only hauler thats going to be utilizing this atm but this is still pretty cool for those of us who have made BLOP PvP our primary play-style.

  6. This is a good change, for the simple reason that it will help shake things up a bit in null. The mere idea that anyone can be "carebeary" in null is ridiculous - if you want to be a carebear, move to high sec.

    Now, we just need those super stealth bombers, based on a BC hull, and capable of taking down super caps.

  7. Better power projection and afk camping will get even more common. Looking forward to the day where every system has a 24/7 afk cloaker sitting in it just in case there happens something to drop on it.

    I like black ops and there capabilities and it is good that they get improved but supporting the afk camping style is not good. Everyone screams about afk mining and passive income but passive income prevention is fine?

    1. if they were really AFK it wouldnt be a problem :P

  8. BLOPS drops in FA space is nothing new, so i find it funny that you think we would be at a bigger risk now than before.
    And a neut in local is always a neut in local, if you are dumb enough to rat with said neut/red in local. You deserve to loose the ratting ship.
    Oh and btw. Last time i checked, we had around 60 dudes capable of flying black ops, so i'm looking forward to this.

  9. Would it be hugely overpowered if there was, say, a low slot module that allowed any ship to fit a covops cloak, or, to put it another way, if there were such a module, what kind of drawbacks would it need to have in order to not be hugely overpowered?

    1. ...There's actually a simpler solution if you want blops bridges to be useful to launch roams around while restricting the titan bridging. A high slot module with 1 CPU 1 PG that counts as a covops cloak for the purposes of black ops bridging, and fits on anything subcapital, but does not actually let you cloak.

      Not overpowered, not too restrictive, limiting it to fitting to specific ship types can be used to adjust just how useful black ops bridging is to be.

  10. RE your concerns about power projection, I'd like to point out that part of the problem with supercap projection is the power associated with the projected ships.

    A titan bridge can launch pretty much anything, whereas blops can only bridge a limited number of classes and themselves.

    You get SBs (Which are fast and do about the damage of a cruiser but have a fraction of the tank and struggle to hit frigates well), recons (excellent ewar but very little gank or tank), stategic cruisers (tanky but they tend to sacrifice a fair ammount of their DPS by fitting for cov-ops), blockade runners (do you really want to put them in a fight?) and other blops can jump in (which aren't particulary more powerful in straight combat than their T1 equivilents).

    Titans can bridge virtually anything including Inties, AFs, T1 cruisers, HACs, Full combat fitted strategic cruisers, BCs, Command ships, T1 battleships, faction BS or maruaders...

    You get the idea. Ships which are either cheaper and easier to skill into without sacrificing much performance (eg; a T1 armageddon as compared to your redeemer) or significantly outperform their covert comtemporaries (i'd happily take on a covert loki in a sleipnir which is also half the price of the T3).

    And that's not counting the fact other caps and supercaps can jump to that cyno.

    To make a slightly silly analogy;
    A blops drop is a ninja (fast and unexpected. Appears from nowhere) with a dagger (a small force which must be applied carefully against a single or small number of enemies to be effective and doesn't stand up well in combat once noticed). I'm fine with this.
    A titan bridge is the same ninja but now we've given him a machine gun. This seems just a little OP considering how mobile such a force is.

    P.S. I think most of the changes proposed so far for BCs (except the Harb which gets shafted in my opinion), armour tanking and blops are for the better and I'm looking forward to trying everything out on SiSi

    1. But the titans range is limited to where it is..

      unless youre jumping your titan around..

      You can bridge the blops from the titan only so far.. and then blops bridge even further.. I think is what im getting at.

  11. Really looking forward to the change, Had left my Redeemer in lowsec and unused, once I heard about the change I trained my alt to fly the Redeemer, and I went and bought a brand new Panther. Then I moved them both up into the north and am waiting for the change to take place. I think we have something like 15 black ops pilots in our corp, I personally have 2 and then have 3 other cyno 5 tunes to facilitate moving around. The jump range has always been an issue especially across regional gates, where you simply couldnt jump or bridge across them. That will be no longer the issue with the change.


  12. OOh, I can see it now . . . push black ops bridges for sub-cap fleets to be projected with, then later nuke titan bridges substantially. Power project with smaller fleets, or wait a lot longer to get cap fleets in . . .