Header Art by Major Sniper
A little over a month ago, EVE developer CCP Games announced major changes to the cynosural field systems that allow capital and supercapital ships to travel huge distances in an instant. Where previously any ship could fit a Cynosural Field Generator I module and use it to call in caps and supers, following the September Release only Force Recon Ships and Black Ops Battleships can use the module. CCP originally announced that Jump Freighters would be able to jump to covert cynosural fields but later altered this plan, citing player concerns that the tradition of cyno vigils would be too difficult given the totality of the changes, and they instead introduced a new Industrial Cyno module to create a lower-cost cyno option for Jump Freighters (and vigils).
These announcements provoked consternation on the EVE Online forums, Reddit, and other player communities as the effects of the changes were debated by both supporters and detractors. Opinions published by INN included both enthusiasm and criticism. All parties agreed the changes seemed likely to curtail the use of capital fleets in situations ranging from home defense to sovereignty war, but disagreement revolved around the question of whether that is good or bad for the game.
Alliances of all sizes continue to develop and test strategies to optimize the new cyno mechanics. In some cases, the changes have eliminated tactics such as cynoing in response fleets directly from capital ships under attack, such as carriers, supercarriers, and titans used for running combat anomalies, as well as the Rorqual mining platform – all of which are popular hunting targets. One noteworthy change for members of The Imperium is the loss of its Safe Cyno Fleet, which has now disbanded following the cyno changes. The fleet previously maintained 25 cynos in systems across Delve, Querious, and Fountain, allowing fleet members to jump themselves to Keepstar citadels in nearly every corner of Imperium space. A logistical wonder of EVE Online, the Safe Cyno Fleet was primarily the work of a single player – HypnoToad.
Safe Cyno Fleet
HypnoToad began developing the Safe Cyno Fleet nearly three years ago during the early days of Goonswarm’s KarmaFleet corporation. In an interview published on INN last year, HypnoToad described several factors leading to the creation of the fleet, including the inherent danger of jumping to cyno beacons, security concerns in The Imperium’s then-new territory in Delve following the Casino War, and several specific events including HypnoToad’s loss of a Jump Freighter and the loss of a Goonswarm Revenant – both due to baiting and counter-baiting on a semi-permanent cyno beacon in D-W7F0.
HypnoToad decided to develop a safer network for capital travel within Delve, and he planned to start the new Safe Cyno Fleet with beacons on the three Keepstars the alliance initially anchored in the region. As The Imperium added new Keepstars in the following months and years, HypnoToad expanded the fleet to include a beacon on nearly every one. The alliance staging system, 1DQ1-A, which currently has three Keepstars on the same grid, only had one beacon, while some of the more remote Keepstar systems never received beacons for a variety of reasons, such as lack of need or excessive jump distance.
The fleet developed into one of the largest and most complex logistical operations in the alliance. Run by an army of HypnoToad’s alts, the fleet lit cynos each day after downtime and kept them going permanently with breaks typically occurring only when each alt needed to refuel its cyno ship or the entire alliance deployed to war. The fleet expended thousands of cyno Nereuses, which were sometimes targeted by wandering hunters despite their proximity to Keepstars. At its peak, the fleet burned 800,000 units of Liquid Ozone per day.
In an announcement on the alliance forums, HypnoToad recounted some of the memorable hardships he endured while maintaining the fleet daily, including lighting cynos while sitting in airports and taxis during international travel for work. The operation was supported by HypnoToad’s own resources and voluntary contributions from alliance members.
For HypnoToad’s legendary dedication to the Safe Cyno Fleet, he was recognized with the Goon Hero award in January 2018. In fact, HypnoToad was the award’s very first recipient and was offered his choice of either a titan hull from any race along with the corresponding skillbook to fly it or 50B ISK. Having already built his own titan and in the process of building a second at the time of the award, HypnoToad opted for the ISK. He expressed surprise that he was even nominated, and said that he felt “honored and humbled” to be selected. A true Goon Hero.
In follow-up comments both on the alliance forums and a brief interview for this article, HypnoToad expressed some optimism that a safe cyno service might be developed within the limitations imposed by the recent changes. Although it is unlikely the grand scale of the old Safe Cyno Fleet can be replicated considering the high cost of Force Recon Ships and Black Ops Battleships, HypnoToad sees possibilities to maintain beacons in critical systems. Given HypnoToad’s history of developing ambitious solutions to intractable problems, he may be the best-positioned player in New Eden to work through these new challenges.
Lastly, we would all like to thank HypnoToad for his incredible work and dedication to helping out his fellow Imperium members. Truly, he should be an example to us all.