CCP is making good on their promise of a new capital ship PvE experience. On September 29th 2021, CCP introduced a devblog titled “Summon the Swarm” and invited players to test the new content. In a nod to the community, the new content requires a CONCORD Rogue Analysis Beacon, or CRAB for short. Before we begin, CCP has warned that this content is subject to change based on feedback. With that out of the way, I decided to check out this new content and tell you about it, starting with the costs.
The very first thing I did after fitting a carrier for this type of PvE was try and gauge how much one of these beacons would cost. Any krab – I mean, all PvE players worth their salt are going to want to know if cost outweighs the reward. As of this patch on Singularity, the CRAB blueprint requires the following:
- Tritanium (246000 Units)
- Pyerite (5111 Units)
- Isogen (10400 Units)
- Zydrine (1840 Units)
- Megacyte (120 Units)
- Broadcast Node (10 Units)
- Self-Harmonizing Power Core (4 Units)
- Sterile Conduits (4 Units)
- Wetware Mainframe (4 Units)
This price tag comes out to about 35-38 million currently on Tranquility, calculated at Jita prices. This puts this gear at twice the cost of several types of the PvE Cataclysmic (Tier 6) Filaments.
If you start me up!
I decided to test this new content with a self-repairing (dual rep-active fit) Thanatos. After refitting my carrier and buying the new CRAB, I warped to a belt to online the CRAB. It failed to online. The first thing I can tell you, then, is that only three of them may be active in a system at any given time. Once I learned that, I jumped to an empty system and tried again.
The second thing that has to be done, after finding a good spot, is to deploy the onlined CRAB. I warped to an asteroid belt and deployed it. After 10 seconds, I was allowed to link to the CRAB, which has a nice lighted circle to show you how close you need to be to link to it. After I started the linking process, my ship was prevented from cloaking, moving, tethering, and warping. I also received 50% less damage, via a buff, while I was linking to the CRAB. The linking process itself took four minutes. After five minutes I was once again allowed to cloak, move, tether, and warp, but I also lost my 50% reduced-damage buff.
After successfully linking to the CRAB, a ring of lights appeared within 100 kilometers of my ship and the event began. The rats (NPCs, mobs) themselves were somewhat interesting to fight. I found a mix of tackle (Infested Jaguar), brawlers (Infested Raven, Infested Dominix, Infested Brutix, Infested Prophecy), kiters (Infested Oracle), and snipers (Infested Eagles). While not as diverse or interesting as an Abyssal Filament, they are far more interesting than anomaly rats. After 25 minutes of smashing rats, and several close calls, the site was completed. I nearly lost my carrier several times as some of the rats, especially the battleships and battlecruisers, hit my ship for several thousand damage at a time. I also lost two Templar IIs in the process. The rats also shred fighters in seconds.
Not Very Rewarding Currently
After the lighted 100 kilometer ring disappeared, I was able to loot the CRAB. It contained 531 Rogue Drone Survey Data, an item I suspect will be like the Triglavian Survey Database seen in Abyssal Filaments, and a Heavy Drone Tank Mutaplasmid of unknown value. I was awarded 46 million ISK in bounties and 24.5 million ISK from the Encounter Surveillance System (ESS), for a total of 70.5 million ISK with a Bounty Risk Modifier of 70%. After a while, the CRAB self-destructed due to its lifespan restriction. It took about 30 minutes to complete and loot the site. This puts it at about 130 million ISK per hour for me from the bounties alone, but about 61 million ISK per hour if you include the price of building the CRAB. The profit was worse if you add in the lost fighters (and why wouldn’t you?). CCP Swift has claimed that the payouts will likely increase.
The Meta So Far
Most people on the test server swear by HAW (High Angle Weapon) dreadnoughts. I also tested this out with a Revelation class Dreadnought. It was considerably easier, considering the bonuses dreads get to having an active tank and the raw damage they can put out. Dreadnoughts, with a good fit, will also be able to defend themselves quite well if a gang comes to gank them, since the rats will also target subcaps on the field. Considering the high tracking the rats have, it may be difficult to gank a dreadnought while running these sites without a large wing of logi (healers). While a dreadnought has far more survivability, the carrier can leave the site after the initial 5 minutes; so, capsuleers will have to choose wisely when running these sites.
CCP has introduced an interesting new PvE experience on Singularity. While the payouts are currently low, the content itself is more engaging than anomaly ratting and seems to favor dreadnoughts currently. While the payout appears poor and perhaps not worth the current risk, CCP claims it will increase the rewards to draw in krabs and hunters alike to this new content.