Fleet Warp Changes Miss the Mark

2015-06-17

It has been a few days now since CCP announced the fleet warp changes on the o7 show, which are slated for the July patch. I guess that is the blessing and the curse of these 6 week releases. The first issue with the changes are the timeline for their release. One month, really? A major change to the way combat in EvE operates and CCP decides to give the players one month notice? Hopefully your probing alt can train into a strat cruiser within that time. Along with the timeframe, this post will focus on the following points:

  1. The TIDI factor
  2. Skill requirements for fleet commanders
  3. Probing, alts, trusted warpins
  4. The fallacy of shifting responsibilities
The TIDI Factor

From 6VDT to B-R5 to ED-, major fights have one thing in common: massive time dilation. Anyone who has been involved in a large TiDi fight can attest to the fact that it massively slows down the tempo of the game. The game will slow down even more with the addition of the fleet warp changes. Essentially, two warps will be required where one warp was needed before. These warps are slowed by TiDi, essentially doubling the time as it shifts from probe -> warp, to probe -> warp -> warp fleet to prober. What would once take a hefty 5-6 minutes of warping 200km in a fight would now take 10-12 minutes to do the same. I shudder to think how long it would take if you needed to warp across a system.

Skill Requirements for Fleet Commanders

The changes will herald in new, almost required, skills for Fleet Commanders. The trusted covops they once used to survey the battlefield will need to be swapped out for a strategic cruiser with probes and bubble immunity. This will be the source of most combat warpins for engagements with the new changes. This means that every serious Fleet Commander will need to train their alts into Strategic Cruisers, and with only a month before the changes go live, good luck.

Probing, Alts, Trusted Warpins

I feel sorry for the up-and-coming Fleet Commander that does not have a second monitor with the upcoming changes. The previous covops that was used to provide grid overview now needs to be able to probe with the best of them, a difficult task for a fragile ship. Most FCs run AT LEAST two clients, the proposed changes might make a third even more common. This brings me to trusted warpins, or rather, people you trust to fleet warp to.

As a Fleet Commander, one of the major factors in an engagement is positioning.  Good positioning can win you the fight, while bad positioning can lose your fleet and possibly the fight completely. Your warpin will be cloaked, unless something horrible has happened. This means you need to attempt to verbally communicate with another person where they are in relation to bubbles, hostiles, etc. The issue becomes the fact that since they are cloaked, you cannot see them, and thus have no reference in which to work with. They can explain their position accurately, but without visual references it will be extremely difficult to know if that is where you want to warp or not. This makes the previous mentioned alt(s) a requirement, you are now able to see both perspectives and make a decision that might cost your fleet their ships and your side the timer.

This will also be a major change for close range ship doctrines, the initial warp will most likely be at 10, if not higher, to avoid being decloaked and killed immediately. This will then be followed with the fleet warp, likely to 0 on the warpin while warping him out. During this time, however, the hostile fleet is most likely moving, easily gaining another 10km in range. Now the fleet, which previously would have warped at 0, is now 20km off its target.

The Fallacy of Shifting Responsibilities

You will notice in my previous explanations how very few things are actually done by anyone other than the FC. No responsibilities have been shifted, simply the FC has even more to do now. If the argument would be that other players are needed for warpins, the counter-point is that they already are. Interceptors were already tasked with burning around the battlefield to provide perches, how is that different?

The talking point of “more fleet member responsibilities” keeps appearing. What responsibilities? Does anyone actually expect the FC to warp to hostiles then call for his or her fleet to warp? With the way bubbles work, this would essentially be murder/suicide as it would get the FC and the entire fleet killed.

What does that leave in terms of changes that has not been addressed? Bookmarks. No longer can the FC fleet warp to a bookmark, even if everyone has it. Two things, one: this massively affects jump bridges and the new player experience. Any new player, even with the jump bridge bookmark, might not understand what to do. While everyone warps off, the new player needs to ask for more directions. Two: newer jump bridges, or corps without the bookmark, are now required to wait for a warpin at the jump bridge. Once again, TiDi doubles this time and leads to a poor experience.

Warping to safes/safe pos is now just more tedious. But, congratulations to the new person who gets to sit in pos and be the warpin for the fleet. I bet you’re really having fun!

These are only some of the issues with the changes and I avoided talking about the essential death of bomb runs as people are either ecstatic or raging mad about it.

(Editor’s Note: Kcolor is one of the Imperium’s top FCs, with years of experience fighting in nullsec that include capitals, supercapitals, and time leading the CFC’s Bomberwaffe bombing group. As always, the opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are the author’s own and not necessarily those of TMC itself.)

This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by kcolor.

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