On May 12, CCP announced their next update: The Great Escape. This update brings changes to key tackle-defense options interdiction nullification and warp core stabilization. CCP also announced that the new modules planned as part of these changes are available for testing on the Singularity test server. In addition to the dev blog, some details were released in the feedback thread.
Changes to Nullification
Nullification is the only form of defense against non-targeted warp interdiction (i.e. warp bubbles). Ships that are nullified can warp in and through warp bubbles without being pulled out of warp. Currently nullification is a passive trait that is attached to certain ship hulls, such as Fleet Interceptors and Tech 3 Cruisers with the Nullification sub-system installed. These ships (and only these ships) are immune to warp bubbles, and they are immune all the time, regardless of what is fitted to the ship and whether or not the ship has any capacitor available.
Under the new changes, nullification will be removed from all hulls as a passive trait except for Shuttles (which will have nullification added to them). No hulls except Shuttles—even Tech 3 Cruisers with the nullification sub-system—will be nullified by default and will be pulled out of warp if they fly into a warp bubble. As a replacement to nullified hulls, CCP is introducing a set of T1 and T2 active low-slot modules that provide nullification for a period of time while cycled on. These modules as currently designed require a significant amount of capacitor to activate, provide nullification for a limited amount of time, and have a fairly long cooldown. In addition they add very significant passive penalties to targeting and drone control while they are fit, regardless of whether they are active or online. The end result is that nullification now carries a significant penalty to combat effectiveness and requires much more cooldown management.
A potential upside, however, is that the nullification modules will be available to a much wider range of ships than the current set of nullified hulls, including all Interceptors (not just Fleet Interceptors), T1 and Faction Frigates, T1 Industrials, Blockade Runners, Deep Space Transports, Covert Ops Frigates, Strategic Cruisers (regardless of sub-system), and Luxury Yachts. Only one nullification module will be able to be fitted at a time.
Hulls and sub-systems that currently have the nullification trait will have their loss of that trait compensated by a significant increase in the nullification module’s duration and a significant reduction in its cooldown.
A likely outcome of these changes is that all current combat fleet doctrines that rely on nullification will effectively cease to exist, including Fleet Interceptor combat fleets and nullified Slippery Pete Tengu doctrines. In addition, newer, low-skilled, and alpha characters may find it easier to move safely to nullsec, as the cheap, low skillpoint ships such characters fly will not be almost certainly doomed the first time they encounter a bubble.
Warp Core Stabilization Changes
Warp Core Stabilizers (WCS) are low-slot modules that counter targeted warp disruption. They offer no defense against non-targeted interdiction such as warp bubbles, but they provide what nullification does not–defense against warp disruptors and warp scramblers (targeted modules carried on hostile ships). Currently , each warp core stabilizer provides one point of warp core stabilization and therefore counters one point of warp core disruption. If pilots want additional points, they can fit additional modules, filling all their low slots if they wish, and getting one point of stabilization for each. The protection provided currently by these modules is entirely passive and always active. As long as the module is fitted, the ship gets the benefit.
Under the proposed changes, WCS will remain in the game, but their functionality will be significantly altered. Like the new nullification modules, WCS modules will be active and their benefits will only be applied while they are cycled on. In addition, they will have a hefty cooldown. If players want to avoid tackle, they will have to be attentive and activate the module before they are tackled and warp off before the cycle ends. In addition, WCS will carry the same hefty penalties to combat effectiveness currently proposed for nullification modules—a large reduction in targeting range, scan resolution, and drone control range. Finally, each WCS will provide three points, but only one will be able to be fitted at a time.
Nothing is Final
As always, nothing in these changes is final until it goes live on TQ (and not even then, really). As a result, all of the numbers and ship types involved may still be subject to change. The update is live on Sisi now, though, so go ahead and give it a try, and leave your thoughts in the comments.