Earlier today, CCP Games released a devblog covering the new warfare link changes. Warfare links are modules that electronically link a fleet together to boost their performance in specific areas; speed, armor, shields, mining yields, etc. There are select ships, like Command ships, Industrial Command Ships, or capital ships that were intended to be the favored ships of fleet commanders, but since boosting ship simply had to be somehwere in the same system as the fleet for the boost to work, the role was given to a secondary pilot or alt account. The result was boosting became and essential but undesirable role, often given to an off-grid alt. CCP wanted to change this system to add gameplay value to the otherwise dead role.
The long awiated changes to links are finally here, but won’t be released until November. While you can find the full details in the blog, we’ll give you a rundown here.
Name change: Warfare links will be called Command Bursts and use effect-specific ammunition to fire an area of effect (AoE) that gives fleet members different kinds of boosts (buffs).
You can swap bonuses during combat, like scripts or charges. Changes take 30 seconds.
Each burst creates a weapons timer for boosting ship and uses capaticor.
Boost dissapear by changing systems, docking, being tethered or behind a shield, otherwise they fade over time.
Command Bursts will clearly be seen through visuals, logs, and effects bars on HUD
Command Bursts will suffer stacking penalties with modules, rigs, and other bonuses.
Ships designed for Command Burst use will have new role bonuses such as buff range extension.
Fleet hierarchy no longer matters for boosting.
Command Processors (modules) will be turned into a rig to free up fitting slots.
Leadership/Wing Command/Fleet command skills will now affect the radius of the area effected by Command Bursts.
Skills to use links are changing how they affect the buffs. Leadership skills that have previously provided passive boosts from Squad Commanders regardless of module or ship type will no longer give these boosts, and are not being refunded.
Titans will be able to use new racial Effect Generators that act like wormhole effects for every ship within a certain large range, with buffs and debuffs.
Mining will be shaken up to a great degree, as their links will be forced on-grid and a new industrial command ship, the Porpoise, is introduced. The Rorqual will receive a new module called a Pulse Activated Nexus Invulnerability Core (P.A.N.I.C.) that will make industrual ships in the fleet and on the same grid, as well as the activator, briefly invulnerable.
Between now and November, three more devblogs on the changes will be released. These will go into greater detail and will likely provide answers to many of the questions that have been raised by the initial post.
The new P.A.N.I.C. module for the Rorqual will come with its own, all-new, visual effects.
The basic stats for a Command Burst are modest. What has been released indicates that the module will, like a Micro Jump Drive, have a baked-in reactivation delay. (The MJD, by comparison, has a cycle time while it spools up, and then a reactivation timer after firing.) Both the module cycle time (which may be separate from the reactivation timer) and the duration of the boost itself, will be subject to the effects of Time Dilation. This stands in contrast to the effects of consumable boosters (drugs), which ignore TiDi completely.
The listed basic information is as follows:
Module reactivation delay: 1 minute
Base module reload time: 1 minute (reduced by skills and ship bonuses)
Base Command Burst AoE range: 15km (increased by skills and ship bonuses)
Base bonus duration: 1 minute (increased by skills, implants and ship bonuses)
Tech 2 Command Burst Modules will have +25% Effect Strength
With maxed skills, early theorycrafting would seem to anticipate a 10-20 second window between reactivation and the expiration of the initial boosting effect.
Some groupings of boosts have seen two bonuses combined into a single module, while at least one, the boosts provided by Mining Foreman Bursts, has had an entirely new type of bonus created. Readers are encouraged to look over the devblog’s charts carefully to best understand what the upcoming changes reflect.
One of the most extreme elements of the planned changes is the Effect Generator. A titan-only module, the generators will replace the passive bonuses titans provided. Instead, they will provide race-based AoE effects that will apply to all ships within the AoE, friend and foe alike, and their effects will be similar to the spatial distortions experienced in some wormhole systems. Two examples of the Effect Generators were listed:
Amarr Effect Generator: +Capacitor, -Speed, -EM Resistances, +Kinetic Resistances
Minmatar Effect Generator: -Signature Radius, -Turret Optimal Range, -Explosive Resistances, +Thermal Resistances
Titans may become set peices in fleets fights enhancing fleet doctrines on a whole. This may make titans the ultimate command ships. Doctrine level strategy and tactics may emerge, as one titan buffs his nano fleet’s speed against an enemy titan’s buffing his own slower armor doctrine. It is unlikely titans will ever be risked wihtout more titans to back them up, but this change could possible be one factor that begins to decentralize the massive dog-piling nature of titan fleets today.
Lore enthusiasts should welcome race affecting the performance of the pilots, making decisions of which racial technology to use have real consequences.
Command Bursts will be available in both Tech 1 and Tech 2 modules, with T1 modules requiring level 1 in both Leadership and the appropriate Tier 1 boosting skill, such as Armored Command (currently Armored Warfare). Tech 2 Command Bursts are currently planned as needing level 5 in Leadership, and level 1 in the appropriate Tier 2 boosting skill, such as Armored Command Specialist (currently Armored Warfare Specialist).
Leadership skills will also directly affect the performance of the Command Bursts, with Leadership, Wing Command, and Fleet Command giving bonuses of +6/5/4% to the AoE range per level, respectively. The basic command skills (Armor, Shield, etc) will grant +10% per level to the duration of boosts, while the specialist skills will grant +10% per level to the strength of the effect.
In addition, the skill requirements needed for Command Destroyers and Command Ships (and presumably the Orca and Rorqual as well), will be reduced. Details on how those skill requirements will change have not yet been released, however, and will be covered in one of the upcoming DevBlogs.
IMPLANTS, SHIPS, AND THE BOOSTING MODULE THAT’S GOING AWAY (SORT OF)
Implants appear to be getting renamed, and both the basic mindlinks (e.g. Armored Command Mindlink) and faction mindlinks (Federation Navy Command Mindlink), will grant bonuses to both the strength of the effect, and its duration.
In addition to having their skill requirements reduced, various ship types will also have their bonuses tweaked, with Command Ships becoming the clear leader in subcapital Command Burst performance, able to fit two Command Burst modules and gaining a +100% range bonus to the area of effect. Combat Battlecruisers and Strategic Cruisers will each be able to fit one Command Burst, and gain +50% range as a role bonus, while Command Destroyers will be able to fit one Burst, with no additional range. Command Destroyers, and Command Ships will gain bonuses to the strength and duration of two racial bonus types, and Strategic Cruisers will gain bonuses to three.
On the capital side of things, Titans will be able to sport up to three Command Bursts and one Effect Generator module, gaining a bonus to strength and duration of two racial bonus types. Supercarriers, Carriers, and Force Auxiliaries will only be abel to fit two Command Bursts. All capitals able to fit Command Bursts will enjoy a +200% range modifer.
Finally, Command Processors, the mid-slot items often fitted on boosting ships to enable them to fit more links, will be going away. In their place will be the Command Processor Rig. While CCP has said this is intended to allow boosting ships to fit more tank, the effect may well be to reduce the tank available for armor-based command ships such as the Damnation. So far, there is no indication whether these rigs, like the Higgs rig, will be restricted in number.
Reaction from the playerbase has been mixed. While most have applauded the effort to remove off-grid combat boosting, a number of corporations and alliances whose internal communities have been centered around mining and industry have expressed a great deal of dismay regarding what the changes will mean for the vulnerability of their Rorquals and Orcas. A fuller understanding of the community’s reactions and response can be gained by reading the feedback thread on the EVE-O forums.
Read up in the devblog itself and start preparing for the New Age.