December 7 Rorqual Re-re-balance Announcement


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.

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  • Ryan

    Thanks for being quick on the draw and coming to INN with this, Cameron! It’s been a long time since I did anything much with mining, but I can really see how this announcement would lead to some mixed reactions.

    Maybe we’ll see some EWAR Rorquals in the leadup to the patch?

    December 7, 2016 at 11:31 PM
  • Cameron Keikira

    I’m curious to see what happens. The changes have been pretty significant and a lot of interesting things have popped up (booshing and stealing drones, for example, cracks me up no matter who the victim is). I think that’s also why CCP wants to take a light touch to changing too much at a time.

    December 7, 2016 at 11:44 PM
    • FroggyStorm Cameron Keikira

      Is there any analysis work of what was so game breaking with the excavators to need a 34% hit?

      I’ve been more or less winning at eve for a long while so I had no idea until this week that rorq drone mining was producing these kinds of results. Id love to start cashing in as well.

      December 8, 2016 at 5:06 PM
      • PewPew FroggyStorm

        “A 32% reduction in yield just means it will take 5 days of mining to pay off your ship and drones instead of 4.”

        December 8, 2016 at 9:15 PM
      • Cameron Keikira FroggyStorm

        The excavators, even post-nerf, still suck in a lot of ore. Having a Rorq in a belt was (by some estimates, anyway) equivalent to having 4 Hulks mining. I don’t know what CCP’s exact logic is, but what I’ve seen, even people with maxed industry slots (some with multiple accounts) building capitals were mining more ore than they were able to use. That kind of excess in minerals could have dramatic consequences for the ore market, especially as more and more pilots adjust their training queues toward the Rorq.

        I don’t want to wear my tinfoil too proudly, but a part of me wonders if some of the reduction isn’t motivated by multi-boxers deactivating their accounts. Why maintain 5 mining alts when you can accomplish the same with one Rorqual?

        December 8, 2016 at 9:51 PM
        • FroggyStorm Cameron Keikira

          How intense is the skill floor to become viable?

          Lol maybe write a guide and analysis for INN. I love speed guide writing but I am J. Snow here and know nothing.

          Write the guide, get the isk, crash the market 😉

          December 9, 2016 at 12:28 AM
  • Terminator

    I’m sure CCP will remove E-war capability while in PANIC mode only when goons start using it.

    December 8, 2016 at 3:08 AM
    • Rammel Kas Terminator

      We haven’t yet but PL did of course so it stays for now. PL tears move devs.

      December 8, 2016 at 5:57 AM
  • Ganthrithor

    Oh, when you put a thing in the game that’s blatantly ridiculous, makes things too easy, and is too good to be true, it needs to be removed immediately?

    How is interdiction nullification still a thing, again?

    December 9, 2016 at 8:11 AM