Devblog | The Vexor Navy Issue Comes out of the Stable


[Author’s Note: This is a news piece but also is heavily flavoured with my personal opinion as someone who has a stable full of VNIs.]

In a Dev Blog released yesterday, CCP finally announced expected changes due to come to the venerable Vexor Navy Issue. Announced at EVE North on June 23rd, 2019, the changes include modifying the base drone DPS and adding the tracking speed bonuses expected on Navy Issue vessels. Furthermore, the changes being enacted are to reduce the level of drone skills available to Alpha clones.

“These changes are focused on our ongoing anti-botting efforts, since large scale parallelized farming of nullsec anomalies with alpha clones is a popular tactic among botters.” – CCP Games

The dial-back of overall DPS paired with mass, velocity, and inertia changes mean that the viability of the VNI as a mid-range drone kiter has been sharply curtailed.

“When used as a low-attention anomaly ratting ship, the new VNI would be dealing about 33% less DPS than before.”

(Low-attention anomaly ratting ship is an interesting way to say ‘away-from-keyboard money printing machine.’)

Inevitably, that they are explicitly addressing the niche which the VNI has enjoyed means its exploitation has reached a point of critical mass – whether from botters, or from the financial ease of large alliances, or the impacts upon the market. I expect a sizable number of EVE players will be very unhappy with the change.

Long Overdue

When CCP announced that the VNI would be getting a new specification spread, it had been only a smidge longer than two years since they had announced the update of the VNI and Ishtar ship models and effects. Two years is a long time to wait to see a spread of changes that most likely should have been made long before.

The VNI has been a stale vessel for the better part of the last decade – its drone bonuses still included a mining buff; that should tell you something!

Instead of being a front-line combat ship, its pure ISK-making potential and the ease with which it could be defanged in fleets by using smartbombs relegated this beautiful warhorse to pulling the proverbial plough on the farm. Instead, we are finally seeing this beast come out of the stables and get its hooves wet.

While it will no longer be able to field a full compliment of five (5) heavy drones, it will benefit from shed mass, better cornering, and more fitting room to put it into fighting shape. An additional turret and a 10% bonus per level to medium turret damage and tracking speed means that it is able to bridge the gap of lost DPS with in-your-face brawling capability. Great for solo PVP, fun for Faction Warfare, good for fleets… bad for sheepish ratters and fans of kiting. (Get good.)

What About The Newbro?

Said every botter, ever. I seriously cannot think of any counter-argument to the changes that CCP is making which don’t involve a defense of AFK ratting and/or botting, the further mitigation of risk in flying a ship, or the exploitation of Alpha clones for the aforementioned.

Seriously, a 100mn Afterburner-fit VNI with a high passive recharge and decent shield resists could comfortably kite doing 1100+ kps at 50-60 km orbit with drones out and rat all day long without much effort. They were so effective that if you simply orbited your own drones, set them to aggressive, and let them off the leash you’d have very little to fear. In some cases, even from other players.

Obviously, CCP felt the same way, and so has taken action to realign the VNI with the role for which it was intended; stirring shit up.

Will the reduction in overall DPS output or a lack of access to Tier-2 and Augmented medium drones affect new players ability to use the VNI, profit from its use, or have fun in space? Absolutely not. Particularly where those newbros are recruited to new player corporations and training academies which actually teach them to fly their ships. What it will do is deeply cut into the pocketbooks of people who have been exploiting CCPs prior laziness in getting around to balancing this ship.

If anything these changes are a boon to newbros by giving them a ship that, compared to nearly every other navy cruiser, is still a beast bred for war par excellence.

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  • Michael Engagenumbawon Ventrus

    Hmm, This looks like something CODE would write in their journal of “Everyone I don’t know is botting.”
    CCP: “Lets go ahead and build some decent ratting ships for players.”
    CODE. “You are promoting botting!”
    CCP: “Because some ships are better specialized for ratting and mining?”
    CODE: “Is isk being made?”
    CCP: “Yeah, which is the point of ratting and mining.”
    CODE: “See, botting! No one works in this game. If they are making isk, they are botting!”
    CCP: “I guess you’re right. Lets go ahead and screw everyone who isn’t CODE over!”
    GOONS: “MMMyessssssss CODE minions, Yesssss!”

    July 20, 2019 at 7:22 PM
    • When I came back to the game a year ago after a close to 7 year break my first reactions was that it’s insane how much money you can make afking in a rorq, and its broken that two ship hulls, the VNI and Gila account for such a massive percentage of the ships used for PVE. With this latest rework for the VNI they have finally finished addressing all three of those pretty unbalanced situations.

      July 21, 2019 at 1:20 AM
      • Michael Engagenumbawon Ventrus Garreth Vlox

        Not sure I would agree. Eve ships have always been specialists and players learned that they could setup a pretty profitable cruiser fit and used it. The assumption that all VNI and Gila pilots are just botters is odious.
        The Rorq issue yes, Rorq builds went pretty nuts. However, you could also lose a rorq doing afk work and have an entire alliance leadership come down on you like a ton of bricks.

        As I mentioned before, the OP literally comes off as a CODE elitist and it’s no great secret that CODE is just the HS arm of Goonswarm’s Troll Griefers.

        July 21, 2019 at 3:14 AM
        • Guilford Australis Michael Engagenumbawon Ventrus

          Goonswarm and CODE had a falling out a year or two ago. We mainly stay out of each other’s way now.

          Goonswarm has its own highsec ganking community called the Ministry of Love.

          July 21, 2019 at 12:14 PM
          • You mean they stay out of our way. CODE can bite my shiny metal ass for all I care.

            July 21, 2019 at 7:18 PM
          • Guilford Australis Arrendis

            Yep, there’s the heart of the matter. I tried to be subtle about it haha.

            July 21, 2019 at 7:21 PM
    • Honestly, if you’re at the keys, the VNI’ll be better for ratting than it was. They’re making it into a pretty vicious ship for non-AFK PvE.

      July 21, 2019 at 7:17 PM
  • Libluini

    The changes to the VNI are neat, maybe I’ll use it in the future myself. Also CCP, please replace the mining bonus on the Arbitrator and Vexor too, OK? I know, I know, tradition and all that, but in modern EVE having a mining bonus plastered all over my combat ships is just vexing as all hell.

    July 21, 2019 at 7:59 AM
    • Arrendis Libluini

      Sounds like it should stay… on the Vexor. >.>

      July 21, 2019 at 7:19 PM
  • concerned whiteman

    The change is needed in my opinion.

    July 21, 2019 at 12:42 PM
  • I always loved the VNI as a PvP ship– it was a perfect blackops hull:

    – Not too expensive or flashy
    – Good agility
    – Tremendously flexible in its ability to apply damage (over 600dps with heavies, or size down for smaller targets but keep a solid dps output)
    – Utility highs
    – Doesn’t need ammo

    Personally I think they should be reimagining PVE as a whole rather than changing individual ships to irritate botters and AFKers, but I also fucking hate perpetually chasing after ratting VNIs so whatever forces people into catch-able ships is a good move in my book. I’ll miss that heavy drone DPS, but with even better mobility stats (hopefully a little extra speed, especially) I’d say it will still be a strong option that suits my purposes, and it should be even more rad for people who are into brawling-style PvP. I maintain that it’s always been a great and vastly underrated PvP hull, but it’s nice to see other people coming around 😛

    July 22, 2019 at 5:33 AM
  • jb

    i dont see it as a problem. players that want to rat semi afk can spend a bit more money and training for an ishtar. i woundnt be afk though. even with the blackout you put a cloaky alt on the gate. know if wormholes are in your pocket and you can rat in RELATIVE safety just like pre blackout. at least now if someone afk logs in your pocket they have a modicum of a chance of catching you on grid. even then you just sheild tank your ishtar, throw a couple warp core stabs in the lows and your good. or have a ecm alt to get you out of trouble. the only people this will kill is those that don’t have alts and alphas.;

    July 23, 2019 at 2:27 AM