CSM 11 have released the full minutes of their most recent summit and it gives us a good insight into possible upcoming balance changes proposed by CCP. Here are some highlights of the discussed changes:
One of the most discussed, debated (and controversial) outcomes of the November’s Rorqual changes was the “Battle Rorqual”. Currently Rorquals can activate EWAR modules and cyno’s alongside their PANIC module (which provides them with 5-7 minutes of invulnerability). This has given the king of industrial ships an unexpected battlefield role. Rorquals are currently being used as a platform to activate invulnerable EWAR modules, while dropping a cyno, allowing capitals and super capitals to escalate onto the field with impunity.
There have been dozens of posted variations on the battle fitted rorqual: be they giant drone boats, entosis rorquals, invulnerable fleet boosters, nosferatu cap drainers or the classic cyno/EWAR/PANIC battle rorqual, and they’re all equally ridiculous. While most of these are largely meme ships, some of the better fits are actually entering the null-sec meta, being put to good use by groups like Pandemic Legion.
For some reason, CCP didn’t address this problem during the first round of rorqual nerfs, presumably not intending for their massive industrial ship to be leading the charge in front of a fleet of capitals. There have been a number of proposed changes to the Rorqual, from stopping all modules from activating on PANIC to burning out every module and forcing them to return back to a station/citadel to repair.
CCP’s chosen option seems to be only allowing the rorqual to PANIC within range of an asteroid; an elegant solution to the existing problem, protecting the possibility of edge cases uses such as a combat fit, in-belt, bait rorqual, while reducing their utility in fleet fights. The one concern is what happens when the last asteroid is mined out by the rorquals in a belt, will they still be able to activate their PANIC? This might still provide for some interesting gameplay opportunities, with cloaked ships or spies sitting off the belt in wait for that last asteroid to pop, letting them catch the mining fleet by surprise as their siege cycle will still have them locked in place.
ALPHA T2 BALANCE CHANGES
Another issue brought up by the CSM was the Alpha clones inability to access T2 ammo. This is a big problem because not only does it reduce their damage output, but it also reduces their maximum range, creating issues on joint fleets of omega and alpha characters. CCP’s response was a preference for changing T2 ammo to make it less necessary. Options were floated which included nerfing the range and damage of T2 ammo or giving certain weapons accessible to alphas the ability to load T2 ammo.
The CSM brought up complaints about the prevalence of interdiction nullification on ships, in particular T3 strategic cruisers (CCP appears to have preliminary plans to change tech 3’s, but provided no details). Currently a number of vessels can avoid bubbles and scrams, making them essentially uncatchable, reducing nearly all risk from low/null sec travel. This reduces gameplay opportunities, and also allows for incredibly annoying harass fleets.
CCP responded by arguing that they hadn’t received much negative community feedback from the current prevalence of interdiction nullification, and recommended the CSM get wider feedback from the community. My intuition is that the average Eve player likes the ability to have access to ships which allow them to travel safely, but also that the average Eve player is wrong about everything. Removing the prevalence of nullification would improve the long term health of the game, promoting more fights and increasing the importance of securing sovereignty and travel points to neighbouring regions.
Another interesting option the CSM brought up was switching or adding nullification to shuttles, allowing the option of safe travel while removing the possibility of fleets of nullified ships warping around null-sec.
There were a host of other issues highlighted in the CSM balance patch, not all of which we have time to discuss here. The full minutes for the balance discussion are available here. Topics included: balancing rapid light missile launchers so they didn’t dominate the other missile types; buffing autocannons, particularly mediums, to bring them up to curve with other turrets; and myriad other changes to end-game ships. There was also a general discussion of improving the frequency of balance changes, so we aren’t waiting months to see resolutions to glaring issues – something I suspect even the Eve community could agree with the CSM on.