In a Game Maintenance Announcement posted on September 24, EVE Echoes developer NetEase declared they are continuing the fight against exploited content. This change, however, feels as if it significantly limits the ISK income potential for High-Sec Echoes players.
“1. Since the base mechanics in the High-Sec areas were widely exploited, the chance for players to see the Scout and Inquisitor has now been reduced for Level 1-3 bases.” – Game Maintenance Announcement for Sept 24, 2020
In EVE Echoes, High-Security income (liquid ISK) is mostly gained through Encounters -similar to missions in EVE Online- topping out at Level 4 and Level 4 Anomalies. The highest paying Encounter that does not require a player to enter Low-Sec is 250,000 ISK, and that is for delivering ore to a set destination, which the player must mine or purchase.
To recognize the impact of the change, two things need to be understood first – Base, Scout, and Inquisitor anomalies. Bases are a type of anomaly site that are present in nearly every system. It is similar to other anomalies in that it can be cleared and enemies provide bounties. However, this site levels up over time, based on a number of system factors (gates, and security status both appear to affect this). While not all of the mechanics are fully understood by capsuleers, the knowledge that as bases level up they increase the likelihood of Scout or Inquisitor site spawning in the system after an anomalies is cleared is well documented. In fact, some Null-Sec groups have been known to jump into a hostile system and kill their base as a means of economic warfare.
Other system anomalies range from level 1 to 10, with their maximum level depending on the system base level and the security status of the system. Two special anomalies are the Scout and Inquisitor sites, and they are of note because they are sites with multiple “rooms”. These pockets of space are separated by acceleration gates, much like mutli-stage anomalies in EVE Online, and they have high-value containers in the final room. Within these sites, pilots can find Blueprints (BPCs) and data cores, and such items can be worth a pretty penny, depending on the item type and faction. Before this upcoming patch, they were the only real “loot” to be found in High-Sec. One notable loot drop is various drone BPCs, as the entire availability of drones in Echoes is linked to BPC drops. As a result, this change reducing the spawn chance of Scout and Inquisitor sites in low-level Base systems will see a noticable decrease in income for players using these relatively low-risk systems.
With that said, EVE Echoes developers have been very open to feedback so far. Just this past week, they held a public vote on how to handle the community concerns following some controversial Autopilot changes. While they released an early set of three options to EVE Echoes Official Content Creators, feedback was also requested from both those creators and on the Official Echoes Discord server. Some of the final changes are credited to the content creators publicizing the issue to draw extra feedback. The developers are very approachable, and are excited to answer questions when their time allows.
Ultimately, this change will force more players to be capped at a low ISK potential or force them into lower security space. Personally, I like the EVE Echoes balance between High, Low, and Null gameplay. However, this will also entrench the developing meta further towards Missiles, and more players may well leave the game. At least this particular balance change wasn’t buried in the middle of the 31 item list of “New Features”.
If you feel this change is going to affect your manner of game play or the game itself, please reach out to NetEase via the Official EVE Echoes Discord Server.