Changes to CovOps, Black Ops Live on Singularity

2021-06-11

Art by Major Sniper

CCP announced today a sweeping series of changes to Black Ops and Covert Ops ships designed to improve the distinctiveness and usefulness of these hulls. These changes are currently available for testing on Singularity.

Black Ops: More than a Covert Jump Bridge

CCP is making changes to Black Ops battleships to encourage more active combat use of those ships as a part of covert warfare. All Black Ops are receiving significant buffs to their combat damage. In addition, they are receiving a new alternative to covert bridging called the Group Jump. When a Black Ops activates Group Jump, the Battleship itself will jump to the covert cyno and bring with it eligible fleet members that are within range–similar to how a Command Destroyer Jump Field Generator will boosh ships in proximity to itself.

To be eligible to receive a Black Ops Group Jump, a ship must be:

  • In fleet with the Black Ops Battleship initiating the Group Jump
  • Within range of the Battleship (presumed to be the same as the bridge range, 2,500 meters)
  • Capable of fitting a CovOps cloak
  • Uncloaked
  • Jump eligible: No pointed or bubbled, not restricted by Jump Fatigue

Group Jumps are significantly cheaper than bridging, especially when large numbers of ships are being move. Group Jumps are currently slated to cost a flat 1000 isotopes regardless of the number of ships being jumped. This reduced fuel cost may act as a strong motivator for fleets to bring their Black Ops directly to the front line.

To support this increased exposure to combat, all of the Black Ops Battleships are receiving significant buffs to their damage bonuses. In most cases, bonuses are going from 5% to 10% per skill level.

Covert Ops: Specialized for Scouting

A second change now available for testing on Singularity is an overhaul of the four faction Covert Ops ships (Anathema, Buzzard, Cheetah, Helios) to focus their use specifically on scouting. All of them are having their combat bonuses removed entirely. The Cheetah and the Helios are having their cloaked velocity buffed to enable faster covert movement. The Buzzard and the Anathema are having their Scan Deviation buffed to enable faster scanning.

All four of them are receiving an additional slot. The Anathema, Buzzard, and Cheetah are receiving a low slot. The Helios is receiving a high list to better complement its use of the new nullification module recently added to the game.

EDENCOM Vortron Projectors Buffed

Vortron Projectors, the chain-damage weapons used by EDENCOM ships, have had the max number of ships damaged by their attacks increased from five to ten. This change is being announced a few weeks after Gobbins urged PAPI players to be training for EDENCOM ships.

Stay Tuned!

These changes are live on the Singularity Test Server. That means that while they’ve taken a step toward going into the game, they’re not yet finalized. CCP has already updated the devblog once since its release, and is likely to continue to do so. Keep an eye out for future changes!

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Comments

  • Guilford Australis

    Classic CCP.

    They nerfed capitals, supercarriers, and Rorquals into the dust (not to mention fighter damage, ore spawns, and combat anomalies), ensuring that whalers have no more targets in nullsec for their Blops fleets, then made some minor tweaks to black ops battleships in hopes that it might counterbalance their obsessive, years-long, massive nerf-train of literally everything in nullsec.

    Outside of boutique PVE playstyles that involve multiboxing Blops in DED sites, these ships are rarely used in combat, particularly after the jamming nerfs (have I already mentioned CCP’s affinity for nerfs?) years ago. They are incredibly expensive and frail, with resistances roughly comparable to their T1 counterparts. So I don’t see how these buffs will encourage their use in combat. The accepted wisdom is that if your fleet’s Blops ends up in a combat scenario, lots of things have gone incredibly wrong and you are screwed. Damage bonuses ain’t fixing that.

    June 11, 2021 at 3:01 PM
    • Deni'z von Meanace Guilford Australis

      Of course they don’t. They’re watching statistics of specific hull usage and if found it overused they’ve decided to nerf it or vice versa. They do read comments on forums sometimes and listen CSMs reps. Thats how they get a feedback.

      June 11, 2021 at 7:45 PM
      • Garreth Vlox Deni'z von Meanace

        They clearly don’t listen to the CSM given several of the last few changes that flew in the face of everything the entire CSM had to say about those changes.

        The blops changes are mostly pointless and with a few exceptions of whaler groups that use blackops BS’s to drop and try to insta pop high value squishy targets, these changes will have 0 use for the average player or fleet.

        This is just another “we don’t actually play the game but based on random stats we pulled from the server this will fix a problem that didn’t exist, with changes no one asked for” move from CCP.

        June 12, 2021 at 4:49 AM
        • Cowards complained about cloaky campers making them too scared to undock and CCP nerfed cloaky camping.

          They do sometimes change things people/cowards ask for.

          June 12, 2021 at 1:59 PM
          • Guilford Australis Noob

            Which “people/cowards” asked for black ops battleship buffs? They are effectively a single-purpose platform, and combat is not that single purpose.

            I flew with Bombers Bar back in the glory days before it became frowned upon in my alliance due to Olmeca Gold pushing to turn it into a Goon-farming machine rather than a true NPSI community and Mar5hy losing his mind over a couple of successful Goon spy ops. They were pros and knew how to use black ops battleships exactly as intended. You know what they never did? Combat with their black ops battleships, nor did they complain about the limited (but powerful) role of the ship, or clamor for a damage bonus they’d never use because the ship is too expensive and fragile to be used in most direct combat scenarios.

            June 12, 2021 at 8:29 PM
          • CCP have no idea how their game works. The people who like to drop combat blops already do it in spite of the fact that there is zero rational / pragmatic reason to drop a blops BS. Nobody who uses blops for bridging is going to yeet a blops onto a hot grid in order to save a few thousand topes. Dumb.

            June 13, 2021 at 8:19 PM
          • Elithiel en Gravonere Ganthrithor

            It’s not a changed aimed at nullblocs. It’s designed for lowsec whalers.

            June 14, 2021 at 6:29 AM
          • Oh – I agree.

            Just saying sometimes CCP listens (to the wrong people).

            June 15, 2021 at 12:30 PM
          • Carvj94 Noob

            Calling the line members who are making isk for the Corp “cowards” is why every other alliance has barely any industry compared to goons. Which is also why they don’t have enough isk to risk their ships in fights.

            June 12, 2021 at 9:47 PM
          • Noob Carvj94

            I wasn’t targeting those making isk.

            I was targeting those who allowed their cowardice to stop them from making isk.

            June 15, 2021 at 12:31 PM
          • Carvj94 Noob

            Getting blown up makes you lose isk bud.

            June 15, 2021 at 2:21 PM
    • Elithiel en Gravonere Guilford Australis

      A professional blops fleet (as opposed to mainline fleet playing at the blops roles) won’t just have bombers in fleet but will have a fleet of T3 cruisers and perhaps asteroes as well. It still doesn’t change the fact that you’re not going to welp your bridger or take the risk. That said, lowsec groups will make good use of a black ops battleship + bomber + T3C support fleet to good effect. They’ll use the blops as dps at far range (using cruise missiles in particular), the T3Cs as defence support and extra dps and the bombers as the main damage at close range. With no chance of being bubbled, this fleet composition, can take down a super really fast. Whilst being able to quickly disengage if a REE fleet appears on grid.

      June 14, 2021 at 6:43 AM
      • Guilford Australis Elithiel en Gravonere

        CCP’s problem is that lowsec hunters represent a negligible proportion of the non-highsec players in EVE, but because they are extremely vocal on Reddit they get a ridiculously outsized degree of attention on the development side. I can think of precisely three groups in lowsec that might use this new mechanic to their advantage: LSH, the Ivana group, and Snuffed Out. That’s about 500 players in a game of 500,000 active accounts.

        And the original point stands that hunters either in nullsec or lowsec have little left to hunt now that carriers and supercarriers are so rarely used for ratting, and Rorquals are essentially unicorns at this point after multiple rounds of mega-nerfs. I used to go on Bombers Bar fleets in which we’d kill three supercarriers, three Rorquals, and two carriers in a single afternoon. Now I see whalers boasting on Reddit about spending two weeks stalking a single Thanatos pilot.

        I don’t really see who benefits from these changes. Maybe that Vonhole guy whose only purpose in the game is to kill Alliance Tournament frigates with elaborate bait scenarios.

        June 15, 2021 at 1:11 PM
  • Bumpy Dog

    “This change is being announced a few weeks after Gobbins urged PAPI players to be training for EDENCOM ships.”

    I wonder if CCP would care to comment?

    Deafening silence follows.

    June 11, 2021 at 8:31 PM
    • Guilford Australis Bumpy Dog

      Or Gobbins, who sits on the CSM and curiously instructed his people to train into ships no one uses weeks before they were buffed?

      June 11, 2021 at 10:02 PM
      • Garreth Vlox Guilford Australis

        Remember that time they banned a guy for just being accused of doing this? I bet brisc remembers.

        June 11, 2021 at 11:23 PM
    • Deni'z von Meanace Bumpy Dog

      Marshals are everywhere

      June 11, 2021 at 11:00 PM
      • He’s not talking about the CONCORD ships. He’s talking about the Vorton Projector changes.

        June 12, 2021 at 3:29 AM
  • Carvj94

    Blops were already a bit too powerful. It only took a little bit of scout work to mostly guarantee a successful strike. The “group jump” and fuel savings is sort of a nice QOL change which isn’t really a buff. The damage boost however is silly and the opposite of what’s needed. What should be happening is that a 5 second “sensor recalibration” should be added after a jump that prevents targeting.

    Also thinking about it for a sec I wonder if this will cause a problem with people hauling high value mid sized cargo in covert ops haulers. They can essentially create a covert superhighway with blops very rapidly pulling along blockade runners. Unless I missed the note saying you can’t get pulled through jumps in quick succession.

    June 12, 2021 at 9:44 PM
    • Garreth Vlox Carvj94

      You didn’t miss a note saying that, and that is exactly how this change will be used and CCP will COMPLETELY SHOCKED that they missed something so amazingly obvious to the player base.

      June 12, 2021 at 11:00 PM
      • Carvj94 Garreth Vlox

        Fantastic. So black ops ships will be able to teleport across the cluster in a minute or two via the existing cyno networks cause CCP forgot to include the obvious jump timer on people getting pulled by a group jump.

        June 12, 2021 at 11:16 PM
        • Garreth Vlox Carvj94

          and if they do this change like the other recent patches, they will release it as is, and then hotpatch it a week later claiming using it to move haulers around with impunity was a completely unintended side effect of the change that they had no idea would happen. Like that time their ratting change deleted belts in a shit ton of systems and they were somehow completely surprised by that happening.

          June 13, 2021 at 12:21 AM
          • Elithiel en Gravonere Garreth Vlox

            I like the idea of being able to group jump your fuel truck with you for mid-points. This is actually a good change, for logistics at least. I agree that there’s no reason to engage a 1 billion isk ship on grid and then have no way of getting home. It’ll however, benefit some groups that do group blops hits (Shadow Cartel and Snuffed Out in particular, but also Ivana Trading) en masse. Goons don’t really do this (but we could in theory) because we tend to operate in space with bubbles so it doesn’t make sense to do this in nullsec. But lowsec it does at times, make sense.

            So the way I see it, CCP made this change for lowsec blops groups in particular but we get the added side effect of getting cheap mid-points with our tanker alts. Thus, we no longer need to cargo hold our lowpoints because we can simply bring our tanker alts to every jump. This will require three accounts minimum to play a blops bridger though.

            June 14, 2021 at 3:22 AM
      • Elithiel en Gravonere Garreth Vlox

        I see nothing wrong with creating a blops logistics network. We used to do this in fountain back in the bad old days when we ran a booster smugglers network but it was slow and cumbersome. This system will be perfect for us who’d love to develop such a logistics network using blops dark highways. It’ll allow resupply of high value cargo (e.g., implants, faction blueprints, explorer loot) fast and efficiently from say Stain to 1DQ as a working example.

        June 14, 2021 at 6:25 AM
        • Which is another way to say it’s stupid, fan-service game design meant to turn EVE into even more of a pay-to-win alt-fest. Run that credit card so you can equip a bunch of blops-related alts so you can bypass all the risk that’s allegedly such an important component of the EVE Online experience. I remember listening to a RonUSMC stream for a few minutes once (big mistake: I’ll never get that time back) where he was bragging about his Marshal and how much he loves it because it lets him just teleport around running complexes with zero risk. Welcome to the second decade.

          June 16, 2021 at 6:15 AM
          • Elithiel en Gravonere Ganthrithor

            Smuggler gameplay though, is what I miss about this game. Yeah I agree with the credit card motives of ccp though. But there should be a way that smuggler gameplay can be a thing again, without compromising the game. Yes, it’s a niche gameplay style but should not niche’s be catered for? Variety is what makes this game fun.

            June 21, 2021 at 5:40 AM
          • Right but invulnerably teleporting shit around is not smuggling. Smugglers travel in real space and take huge risks to move questionable or objectionable cargoes around an actual world. If you could send drugs and recently-purloined former-combloc attack helicopters around the planet by attaching them to encrypted text messages, everyone would do that instead and “smuggling” wouldn’t be a thing!

            June 23, 2021 at 6:44 PM
  • Noob

    Yes.

    June 15, 2021 at 12:31 PM