BlackOps are for Killers: CCP Should Double Down

2021-07-01

Header art by Redline XIII

I recently gave the new BlackOps changes a whirl on Singularity, and I have to say, I really like where CCP is going with this. These changes show the Killer player-type some much needed love in a game that once drew them like flies to honey. For the last several years EVE Online game mechanics have been heavily in favor of Socializers and Achievers, and recently, Explorers have gotten some attention – with the events and industry changes – which is fine; but Killers are what made this game hit the big leagues. CCP is on the right track with these changes, and frankly they could even go further.

You would think BlackOps would be right up my alley, but up until now, I’ve never flown one. Until now, they weren’t worth the time and money. As a small time FC I’ve had alliance mates beg me to do “BLOPS” or bombers, and I’ve frankly always hated them. I want to fight; I don’t want to sit around on a station waiting for other people to stalk around in the tall grass only to bridge a bunch of people over for a 10 second beatdown of an unsuspecting carebear. And I sure as shit have had it up to here walking around with my finger in some other FC’s belt-loop like some kind of Cleveland Browns fanboy who collects watches.

Nope. I want to kill things. I want to fly things that bling-bling, and sling that zing-zing. I want to fly badass ships that do scary amounts of damage, and I’m willing to pay for the privilege. 

Dial It to 11

BlackOps are an asset class that cost as much as a capital ship while having the hitpoints of a lightly-tanked battleship. This means they have plenty of room to be sick little demons that haunt people’s nightmares. CCP’s changes are definitely a step in the right direction, but they need to go a bit further to really be the Christmas-in-July that the killers of this game have been needing. Here’s a few thoughts:

  • Either remove the Improved Cloak speed penalty entirely, or remove it for BlackOps.
  • Alternatively, consider giving them the Covert Ops Cloak.
  • Remove cloaked BlackOps pilots from local chat.

The first two have obvious implications, and that is where I thought CCP was going with the changes. It would mean that while cloaked, a BlackOps would effectively be micro-warp-driving. This could create some really cool tactics for hotshots willing to put these assets on the line. Imagine the games of Marco/Polo they could play.

The last suggestion would really give BlackOps pilots an edge, and would be a reasonable compromise for the poorly-received blackout. Gangs of BlackOps battleships could really infiltrate an area, stalk their prey, and strike at the heart of enemy territory. The counter-balance to this would be the extreme cost of failure.

Taken together, these changes would breathe some much needed life into combat throughout the cluster. I’m glad BlackOps are finally getting the attention they deserve; I just hope CCP doesn’t play things too conservatively. BlackOps are the perfect candidate for a real serious buff – they’re expensive, slow, don’t have too many hit points, have a high skill ceiling, with a serious punishment for failure. 

There is no need for CCP to be gentle when it comes to these monsters. Unleash the beasts!

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Comments

  • chimpy

    Perhaps if people though the no names in local when cloacked idea was too strong, the mobile scanner 15 minute decloak thing could also apply to your names removed from local too? I guess it sort of does already in that if it decloaks you, your name would appear in local. Someone who was awake seeing the pings go out and your name appearing at the same time would then know that you were in a cloaked BlackOps.

    July 1, 2021 at 8:31 AM
    • Undeadenemy chimpy

      Ya something like that could work fine. I just think having them disappear from local would be a cool mechanic to put on the black ops ships which would really make them perform like their role suggests.

      July 1, 2021 at 3:47 PM
      • chimpy Undeadenemy

        It would fit in with the active playing = good ethos. Like if you’re paying attention and use one of the mobile observatories you have some intel gameplay against the black ops. If you’re asleep at keyboard or even AFK then you loose the chance at the countreplay. For instance you have to recloak every so often to deal with a mobile observatory. During that moment you might appear in local chat just for an instant. Somone paying attention gets info from that. Someone not paying attention gets to go pop….

        July 1, 2021 at 4:27 PM
  • Guilford Australis

    It’s been a while since I played around with this on Singularity, but my recollection is that my Sin fit (with a 650% velocity bonus while cloaked) was actually *faster* using a T2 cloak than uncloaked.

    I’m not sure I agree with giving Blops the Covert Ops Cloak. The platform was meant to be high-risk and high-cost, requiring high levels of fleet discipline to, say, always warp to the Blops cloaked and offline plates (for T3Cs) before bridging. I think if CCP wants to give huge buffs to this platform, it should retain the intended risk factors and inconveniences.

    July 1, 2021 at 8:58 AM
    • Undeadenemy Guilford Australis

      The problem is the Improved Cloak II has a -75% move speed penalty. So the 650% bonus only gets the ship moving about 450 m/s. It would be better if it was doing 1,500m/s 😀

      July 1, 2021 at 3:46 PM
  • Sirhan Blixt

    “These are PERFECT except – – ”

    While you’re wishing for all that, would you also like a Coke?

    July 1, 2021 at 5:42 PM
  • Counter-point: Blackops are the ultimate stylish Killa vessel precisely ~*because*~ they are over-priced and under-powered. This is the true beauty of these meme-machines. Some of us had a lot of fun running combat-fit blops gangs at the beginning of this war… we didn’t even fit cloaks on them so as to improve our scan-res. I mean really: what could be more baller than paying dread money to throw down a T2 battleship that kind of sucks… just because you can!

    I mean really what’s the point of balancing any of this stuff… cloaking is scuffed thanks to CCP’s dumb new deployables, there’s no way to make a blops BS drop make sense without hell-nerfing stealth bombers and T3Cs, and there’s no targets to drop on anyway since CCP nerfed the living fuck out of all forms of PvE literally what, a year or more ago? Who cares.

    July 4, 2021 at 10:56 AM