ESS Changes Incoming, CCP Unclear On Specifics


CCP pushed out a new blog covering their updates to the Encounter Surveillance System (ESS) on October 30, for those who don’t know.

For some context on the ESS, it is a deployable structure that adjusts the payout of NPC bounty in the system. At first, it reduces and collects the reduction in a central bank. Over time players ratting in the system will gain a bonus with more rats killed they will earn up to 105% of the base NPC bounty costs. Players also received LP for their chosen faction, depending on the type of ESS deployed. The money put aside can be stolen, but smart deployment and quick reactions prevent most theft attempts. Overall, they can be a good upgrade to a nullsec system when done right. Now, CCP plan to force it on you.

While I typically try to cover dev blogs from a neutral viewpoint to inform you on the relevant information, I will replace that with a massive FUCK RATTING WITH THAT RIGHT NOW approach for this piece. Some readers may see that as crying over lost income from ratting. Unfortunately for those readers, I just write INN articles when I need ISK, so there’s no skin off my back from this change. I am just trying to ask the question about why CCP are forcing a feature on us, and a seemingly half-finished feature at that.

Ratting in EVE Online really does make the saying ‘time is money’ true, and ratting is a means to earn ISK to buy ships and ship-based products, which are then used to have fun fights and blow up. The blog, published by the generic “eve dev team” user, outlines that the ESS is not optional. This enforced ESS will also now be gated behind an acceleration gate with specific ship classes (what those are, I have no idea – CCP couldn’t be bothered to tell us) and will be a publicly accessible point in every nullsec solar system.

The new ESS functionality includes a change to how the system retains the portion of ISK taken from your new bounty payouts, which are already set to decrease under the new Dynamic Bounty System. There will now be two ‘bank’ systems, the main bank and the reserve bank, with separate mechanisms for accessing each section.

The main bank is a similar ISK fund to the current ESS mechanics, in that it can be stolen from at any point. It will also now pay out automatically every three hours, which differs from current mechanisms by regularly paying out instead of only when a player is interacting with the deployable. The reserve bank, which is described as “the real jackpot” in the blog, will be the repository of a small portion of the small percentage of bounties taken by the new ESS. This portion’s size has yet to be disclosed, but the dev blog suggests this bank will not be paid out unless a player takes an acceleration gate to the ESS and uses an undefined key to access the payouts. The key will not be available to players at launch, though, and it is unclear when that key will become available. It is also unclear if it will be possible to also pay out the reserve bank to contributors, either with or without the mysterious key.

The ESS will also feature a number of new effects in a 75km sphere around the structure’s grid to encourage, and I quote, “good fights and avoid troll-like tactics”. I mean, have they seen the nullsec player base? At least 75% of nullsec alliance content is fleet-level fights and ‘creative’ problem solving. But putting the significant lack of understanding about nullsec aside, the effects are as follows:

Warping is disabled
MJDs are disabled
MWDs are disabled
Cloaking is disabled
No cynos may be lit
No filaments may be activated

It’s good to see oversized AB kitey bullshit fits will be fine, unless we can only take battleships in there. But, on the really positive side, we can finally make use of those close-range ammo buffs Team Talos pushed out way back in April.

The last main point is this quote: “For those wanting nitty-gritty details, you will have to wait until the feature is live and log in to discover them.” Comments like this always worry me. CCP’s Ecosystem team are making sweeping changes to the very foundation of EVE Online. That’s fine, it’s necessary, but these are major changes, and they are coming down the pike in a Chaos Era-inspired fog. Instead of providing the key information and numbers, CCP are telling us to wait for them to go live. I can’t help but wonder if the numbers have been finalised and tested, or if the playerbase are the real guinea pigs now.

That’s about it for now. I’ll follow this up when the ESS is fully forced upon us, or when they get around to deciding to publish the full numbers and features, whichever comes first. On that day, I’ll try and be more positive, but at this point, you may as well stick to highsec missions to make money in EVE. At least you won’t have to fight someone for the ISK you already earned.

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  • Rammel Kas

    The way the cluster is now I suspect the most lucrative of these would be in and around the galactic North, and you have to avoid a certain time zone. Just sneak about when people obviously can’t always be awake and playing an online video game.

    October 31, 2020 at 6:27 AM
  • Nate Hunter

    This change will probably mostly mirror blackout but only for ratters and maybe it can be gamed defensively. Players will try to adapt, many will fail to adapt and just stop ratting after they get a large chunk of their isk stolen a couple of times. Those that do adapt to the changes successfully will probably group up and all other systems will be deserted. So you’ll be able to go around stealing a portion of miner’s bounties most any time but if an alliance is ratting they’ll be ready to hell dunk any gang that comes around.

    November 3, 2020 at 1:44 AM
  • Garreth Vlox

    Anytime CCP announces a change with basically zero of the important details worked out I brace for a horrifically implemented bug to fuck update, because that’s what happens when CCP makes changes so fast they don’t have time to finish the change announcement.

    November 3, 2020 at 7:47 AM