CCP continues to release new information on the upcoming changes in a March update that is proving to be far more significant than the balance patches. In a DevBlog today from the Eve Dev Team CCP announced three significant changes that will substantially change parts of the current game meta. The changes include adjustments to jump fatigue, a delay in citadel tethering after a jump, and adjustments to entosis links that will change the sov capture meta. All three adjustments are relatively minor while potentially having a huge impact on fleet doctrines and plans. This is in keeping with CCP’s stated plan of more frequent, smaller balance and gameplay adjustments to keep the game fresh and interesting.
Jump fatigue has long been recognized as something necessary but burdensome to track. After years-long discussions with CSMs, alliance leadership, and players, CCP has decided on a first change to try to make the mechanic less loathsome to capital pilots while still having a limiting affect on the safety of capital ships. Whereas the jump fatigue timer previously capped at four days, fatigue will now last a maximum of five hours. Further, the jump activation cooldown will now accumulate to a maximum of only 30 minutes, down from 9.6 hours. CCP anticipates that this will change the way players plan jumps, expecting that players will jump when their cooldown timers end, rather than waiting out the fatigue timer to avoid building greater and greater cooldowns.
In a second adjustment intended to reduce the safety capital ships enjoy while jumping, there will now be a delay before a ship is able to tether to a citadel after jumping. In the current meta, it is common to jump capital ships onto cynosural fields within the tether range of a citadel, thus allowing capital ships to jump from one tethered structure to another, enjoying total invulnerability during that time. Now, capital ships will be vulnerable for some time after landing from a jump, regardless of their proximity to a citadel. Ships will still be able to dock, however, meaning that ships will still be able to arrive safely so long as they are jumping to a station they are able to dock at.
Finally, changes to the functionality of entosis links promise adjustments in the way sovereignty structures are assaulted. Beginning with the March update, ships using an entosis link will be able to receive remote assistance, including shield transfer and armor repair. Additionally, they will receive a 100% boost to signal strength, and the fitting requirements for a T2 entosis link will be reduced to 20 power and 5 CPU. However, the ranges of entosis links will now be significantly reduced, to 20km for tech 1 and 50km for tech 2 links. While this will increase the survivability of ships while hacking sov structures, it will also force those ships into a smaller area.
The actual numbers on capture events will also change, as the score per node captured will increase to 7%. The number of starting nodes will also be reduced to 4, with a 14% increased chance of spawning a random node. This ultimately decreases the number of nodes needing to be hacked in uncontested sov events to 6 for defenders, and 9 for attackers.
CCP as always emphasizes that these changes are not set in stone or to be considered the “final” version of the mechanics, remaining subject to update and change at any time. As usual, in order to receive player feedback, there are official forum discussion posts regarding changes to sovereignty, jump fatigue, and post-jump tethering mechanics. While technically these changes only represent adjustments to numbers on existing mechanics, they are certain to massively change the way jump bridges are used and the way sovereignty events are staged. This kind of small adjustment to existing features, iterated frequently over time, shows a lot of promise to keep the game fresh and interesting while avoiding lengthy overhauls to mechanics which result in delays to changes and a stagnant meta.