I want to open this piece by saying “Fuck you, the October changes are great.” Now, before you go and run off into the comment sections and complain about how rude I’m being to the community, I (and CCP and the rest of the CSM) have been expected to wade through far worse this week, so deal with it.
Lurch HICs/WH Rolling
First I want to address the HIC change. A lot of people are proposing suggestions, but they don’t understand how Dogma (the attributes manager behind EVE) works; the ‘simple fixes’ that were suggested as alternate options don’t work. The mass effect being removed was literally the only way to fix the Lurch HIC problem.
- Just make it so HICs can’t fit 500mn MWDs.
This is a great one, because it sounds like it would completely solve the problem while still allowing you to use 100mn ABs to roll holes. There’s just one problem with it:
It means you can still Lurch HIC, just with a 100mn AB.
This is something I’ve tested before and I’d intended to go on SiSi and prove it with a video, but the mass changing mechanics of WDFGs have already been removed on the server.
The main thing being abused by Lurch HICs is NOT the 7km/s speed. You don’t need 7km/s speed to decloak a T3C/catch an Orthrus. The thing you are abusing is the instant acceleration provided by the way mass interacts with agility in the background of Dogma; the thrust of your MWD/AB isn’t impacted by the penalty from a WDFG until it recycles. A speed of 3-4 km/s, which is very doable with a full overdrive lowslot + faction AB + heat + links, will still be enough to catch most T3 hunters or nano gangs, since you are INSTANTLY at that speed, whereas your opponent is either cloaked and attempting to warp (while you reach them faster than an interceptor could, due to your instant acceleration) or attempting to kite off while fighting with a vastly lower agility.
Obviously, this opens up the option of just removing 100MN ABs from being fittable to HICs too, but at that point you’re actually getting into the realm of messing with real fits. Should 100MN fleets no longer be able to properly fit HICs into their comps? 100MN fleets certainly aren’t a mainstay in the current meta, but we all know that can shift overnight.
2. Add a velocity penalty to WDFGs.
This is one that ‘sounds’ like it should work: If you just cap the max speed of a ship running the module, it should always stay below that speed, right?
Anyone who has ever been bumped while in triage/siege should know that this is not the case, as max velocity penalties don’t affect momentum, which is what you are abusing with Lurch HICs. In fact, this is how the cloak-MWD trick works. You might have a 90% velocity penalty, but you still carry the ‘momentum’ of your MWD being active. So this second “solution” would do precisely nothing to address the Lurch HiC problem.
3. Make WDFGs scram a HIC when active or make WDFGs disable all prop mods.
This would actually work to prevent Lurch HICs, but as much as CCP has been accused of not understanding WH mechanics, this belies how little some people seem to understand regarding how HICs are used in a non-rolling context. Having a WDFG scram your HIC has a lot of interesting properties. For example, it allows you to prevent yourself from ever being jumped by an MJDFG, or allows you to charge up to a high speed and use the WDFG to cut off the MWD’s sig bloom if you got targeted (giving you insane xversal, temporarily). These are niche ways to abuse the mechanic, but so would Lurch HIC-ing be in other contexts.
Alternatively, making WDFGs disable all props (as was suggested to me on Twitter) effectively kills the ability of HICs to keep up with a fleet with their bubble up, or attempt to sig tank with their bubble up, making them vastly more vulnerable in a fleet context that already makes it hard to pin down your opponents.
With that said, I would like to note that I am not arguing against WHers having this tool—far from it—but the vast majority of people discussing this issue seem to feel as though CCP took the only ‘simple fix’ that would fuck WHs. These same people have the impression that there are other options. That is simply not the case: CCP just tackled the root cause of the problem. HICs can alter their mass at will. In tackling that, CCP reached the cleanest solution to the Lurch HIC problem that prevents further issues from arising.
There were absolutely some problems with how the changes were communicated—the phrasing of “collateral damage” was really something I should have picked up on and I’ll take the blame for that, but the vast majority of people didn’t seem content to wait for a response from CCP that could be thoughtful or measured. The reason a specific fix was not noted in the blog was because the fix was still being discussed internally. Given the players reaction, CCP settled on doing the one thing they were sure they could get done quickly, in order to appease the masses baying for their heads on a pike.
I can absolutely understand WH players not being satisfied with the Soon™, and asking for more details on what changes are coming and when. What I can’t understand is the wave of accusations from the WH community that this change was driven by malice against those living in WHs, or a lack of understanding regarding how these ships were used. More CCPers play in WHs than in any other area of space and CCP rewrote the entirety of both Citadel RF code and Asset Safety for WHs, specifically in order to facilitate the retention of existing PoS-based gameplay. That is not something you do if you don’t care about or don’t know about the WH community. Encouraging that kind of persecution complex drives CCP and the CSM away from wanting to interact with it.
What’s done is done here, though, and Rise’s post on the matter has effectively settled the issue as far as I’m concerned. However, I won’t pretend that the amount of vitriol aimed squarely at myself (and other members of the CSM) on this topic left a really bad taste in my mouth, especially given that it was already noted and planned to be addressed, as indicated in the dev blog.
If there are bugs/QoL issues in WHs that you feel aren’t being addressed, feel free to contact Exookiz (who graciously offered to be a point of contact for the CSM on WH issues) or myself, as I’m always happy to pass stuff like that on to the appropriate people.
As a final note, I’d like to mention that Lurch HICs are something nullblocs (like I am a part of) typically use to make their space safer, as it is something primarily effective as a catching tool if you’ve already established force asymmetry (i.e a gate camp). I feel like this is worth mentioning, as people often accuse the CSM of only working towards its vested interests, whereas this is a change we advocated for that makes our play style less safe.
The ECM Rework
The ECM rework is one I didn’t expect to see so much backlash against, as ECM is an incredibly binary mechanic that has no real counterplay when you’ve already committed to the grid. If I’m fighting a damping ship, I have the option of attempting to move closer to the damping ship, or lock, and wait a little longer. If I’m fighting a TDing ship, I have the option of trying to transveral match, or get closer to my opponent. If I’m fighting an ECM ship, I overheat my ECCM and pray to RNGesus.
Now, however, ECM effectively works as a taunt, rather than as a ‘prison’ mechanic (to steal a term from M:tG). It forces you to focus your efforts on one particular ship, or be completely useless, but gives you options with which to affect the situation. Equally, it introduces a lot more pilot skill to flying with ECM, not just against it, as positioning and transveral management are going to become huge parts of how you fly an ECM ship. Only being able to lock a Falcon that is at 100KM when your weapons shoot to 40KM is just as effective as old ECM, as long as the Falcon pilot can maintain that distance.
Does this cripple some ships in their current balancing state? Yes. Especially the Griffin Navy and the Widow, which typically relied on locking out their opponent in close range. They were balanced around the old mechanic, which no longer exists, meaning they’re going to be looked at and buffed once CCP is able to understand just what this changes in reality.
There’s been a huge amount of clamoring to just give all ECM ships buffs in order to account for this nerf and that is a fairly reckless thing to do from a game design perspective. All it would take is for one ship, that would be viable without the buffs, being randomly buffed some more, and suddenly we have Rooks Online for awhile. It is a lot safer to change one thing at a time, meaning you can get the change out faster, and balance with more data about how ships work with these new mechanics that you would have otherwise.
There is obviously a concern that CCP will simply forget about ECM ships and not balance them, but one of the big turnarounds I’ve seen in my time on the CSM is that CCP is finally seeing the value of a more active hand in balancing ships. We’ve had more balance passes in the past 18 months than we had in the 3 years before that, which makes me incredibly happy. It is a huge step forward for the game. Even the Svipul, which was overpowered for awhile, saw consistent attempts to bring its power level down during that period, instead of ignoring it for 4 years and then nerfing it out of existence, as was CCP’s old MO (see the Drake, for example).
The one use case that we noted to CCP in the meeting discussing these changes was the impact it would have on small gangs vs. carriers. However, I don’t really feel like the problem there is ECM not being powerful enough; rather, I think that is more of an indictment on the fact that carriers do not require subcap support to be highly effective vs. subcaps, which is apparent at pretty much all scales, and gives the group with local capital superiority a huge advantage over their opponents’ subcap forces. I definitely do like the idea of special casing ECM to work in the old way vs. fighters until it is addressed, but I’m not sure if that is possible technically, and have yet to discuss it with CCP.
The Interceptor Change
The Interceptor change effectively amounts to a test between what the CSM believes is the problem with Interceptors (sub 2s warp time + instalock + nullification in combination) and what CCP thinks the problem with Interceptors is (overall hull/weapon balance). By removing nullification from the combat half of interceptors, this can now be tested in practice. If people suddenly start using the ArtyAres fits that have been floating around in the same way that Claws were previously used on a strategic scale, it adds credence to our arguments that one of those factors listed above needs to be addressed in order to make FozzieSov work as intended (as we are fairly sure it is unlikely to be reworked for a significant period of time, given that CCP is focusing on other areas of the game).
If you’re more interested in my thoughts on this topic, I did another article a year or so ago explaining my personal position on the topic.
I will note here that the CSM is very much in favor of retaining a way for people to travel through space with some degree of safety in nullsec. We have suggested giving nullification to shuttles or creating a line of T2 shuttles with nullification on multiple occasions. We feel it would both reduce the pressure on CCP to retain the sub 2s warp time on the hulls (which is IMO the root of the problem that made FozzieClaws so strong) and provide newer players a travel option that doesn’t require 20 days of training and an Omega subscription.
These topics are more “traditional” balancing updates, with the Damavik now being taken from “complete garbage” to “we’ll see,” and CCP noting that they are aware of the power of FAXes and want to do something about it, though they are not quite sure what to do with it yet. I imagine a lot of discussion will take place regarding that, from both WHs, NS and LS when the minutes come out. I look forward to figuring out a solution that hopefully addresses the different problems found with the power level of the hulls in different circumstances, NS being mostly concerned about massdropping passive FAXes, whereas WHs have more of a problem with nigh-unkillable active rep fits.
On “Band-Aids” in General
This kind of update is EXACTLY what the community has asked for, time and time again. It is CCP iterating in small, simple ways, and addressing problems that have lingered for years. Things like the ECM rework is a prime example; doing a full overhaul of the entire mechanic and every ship using it would take a dev out of commission for a few months, meaning that a lot of other projects fall behind. Making a more simple, quick change like this, then evaluating the results and making further changes based on data, are at the core of iterative design.
You can’t both want CCP to change things quickly to keep the game fresh and never actually change things enough that they cause a shift in how you use something, or the balance of the game overall. That is not an update being incomplete; that is EVE being a continual work in progress, rather than a succession of jesus features. If you want small, quick fixes and iterative changes, your argument against specific changes can’t be that CCP won’t iterate on them in the future—that would be a paradoxical argument.
CCP is finally rediscovering their balls. Don’t kick them in said balls so hard they retreat like two bruised turtles’ heads, please.