At approximately 16:00 UTC on December 7, CCP Fozzie posted the following to the EVE Online Forums:
Hey everyone. We’ve been keeping a close eye on how people are using the newly rebalanced Rorquals and it’s been really exciting watching how well people have taken to the new gameplay.
We have decided that we need to make a tweak in our December release next Tuesday to adjust the balance of mining Rorquals and keep the mining economy in a healthy place.
We are planning two connected changes in this release:
- Reducing the mining yield of ‘Excavator’ Mining Drones by 32%
- Increasing the drop rates of the Elite Drone AI and Drone Coronary Unit rogue drone components
We are continuing to keep an eye on all aspects of gameplay around the mining foreman ships. I know some players are hoping that we would make adjustments to other areas of Rorqual gameplay (such as ewar use while the PANIC module is running) but we feel comfortable leaving those aspects alone for now and continuing to observe how the metagame evolves. We of course reserve the right to make more changes to this or any other aspects of the Rorqual in upcoming patches to keep the ecosystem in balance.
This is a change many of us suspected was on the horizon – bitter vets and new players alike can recognize when something is probably too good to be true. Accusations abound about who such a change really benefits or harms – from specific alliances to incursion runners to high-security miners. The tinfoil hats are firmly in place. Perhaps most significant, though, are the players who bought skill injectors to fast-track themselves into Rorquals and are yet to recoup their losses. For this demographic, all is not lost. The Rorqual still represents a significant mining force, just not as significant as it was first presented. A 32% reduction in yield just means it will take 5 days of mining to pay off your ship and drones instead of 4.
Reactions and Remaining Issues
Capsuleers have had mixed reactions, many of them aghast that such a rebalance could happen. The stance that they were once again teased only to be blue-balled by things like big picture perspective is common. Others, however, have accepted the need for the change, having watched the demand for minerals rapidly decline over the past few weeks. However, this doesn’t mean there is a uniform appreciation for CCP’s priorities.
While CCP Fozzie mentioned the EWAR-while-P.A.N.I.C-Active situation, a number of forum participants point to this as the most damaging balance problem with the Rorqual as it stands. The Rorqual is currently able to use Warp Disruption modules while the P.A.N.I.C. module is engaged, making it a temporarily invincible, jump capable, heavily tanked tackle ship. This is clearly a clever use of mechanics, and one that CCP is aware of, but there is disagreement about exactly how game-breaking it might be. For the moment, CCP will keep an eye on it.
A second common complaint has been that while capsuleers can accept a reduction in mining yield, perhaps it should be balanced with an increase of Excavator Mining Drone speed. This, they argue, would even out the yield curve, and be a general quality-of-life improvement. By contrast, others have insisted that such a change would reduce or eliminate emergent drone-hunting gameplay that has proven both amusing and frustrating.
The improved drop rate of Elite Drone AI and other components is sure to drive the cost of Excavator Mining Drones down. In general, most agree that this is a net positive, although it’s rough on those who have already invested significantly. This is, unfortunately, a cost of early adoption – one that is hopefully outweighed by the past several weeks of high-yield resource collection.
However further balances shake out, we can all rest assured that while such rebalances are occasionally uncomfortable, they do have a tendency to bring players together. This is perhaps best illustrated by Gobbins, of Pandemic Horde:
Finally you had put something interesting in the game and you nerf it? What are you guys even doing?
Man I am so triggered I am sitting here agreeing with goons that’s how butt-annhilated I am.
You can read more civil commentary directly in the discussion thread on the EVE Online forums.