Mobile Observatories: CCP Announces Cloaking Counter

2021-05-17

On May 17, CCP announced a new deployable designed to help counter AFK cloaky camping: Mobile Observatories. This announcement comes after a number of hints and teasers in previous interviews and devblogs. Mobile Observatories are a relatively inexpensive, easily-portable deployable item that have a chance over time to automatically decloak any cloak ships in a system. They cannot be deployed to highsec.

Mobile Observatories work by sending an instantaneous “ping”, similar to active sonar, every 10 minutes. This ping affects the entire system and has a 40% chance to decloak any ship (friend or foe) that has been cloaked for more than 15 minutes. Ships that have been cloaked for less than 15 minutes cannot be decloaked by a Mobile Observatory. Up to 10 Mobile Observatories can be deployed in a system at any one time, meaning that if someone is willing to pay the cost, an average of up to one ping per minute would be achievable. Being decloaked by a Mobile Observatory is exactly like being decloaked by proximity to an object or another ship. Decloaked ships can cloak again as soon as their decloak timer wears off and suffer no other ill effects.

Below is a list of all key features of Mobile Observatories as currently configured on the EVE test server Serenity:

  • Deploying them requires Anchoring III.
  • They take 10 minutes to anchor and send the first ping immediately after coming online.
  • They cannot be deployed in highsec.
  • They currently can be deployed in lowsec, nullsec, wormhole space, deadspace, and within tether range of structures, although CCP has indicated on Twitter that they will not be deployable in wormhole space and that structure proximity limitations will be added.
  • They are 100m3, allowing them to be carried in and deployed from almost any ship.
  • They are visible on the Overview from any point in the system and can be warped to directly.
  • They have 30k HP with no resists.
  • They send out an initial ping when deployed and another ping every 10 minutes thereafter.
  • They last for 100 minutes.
  • Up to 10 can be deployed in a system.
  • Their ping has a 40% chance of decloaking any cloaked ship that has been cloaked for more than 10 minutes.

It seems the primary purpose of these deployables is to allow AFK cloaky campers to be scanned down and found. Active campers will likely be very difficult to catch by this module, as a player can warp to a safe to quickly uncloak and recloak to reset their timer. And if uncloaked, they can simply recloak. However the 15 minute time limit may introduce some additional logistical challenges for slow-moving cloaked travel groups.

Mobile Observatories are live on the Singularity Test Server, and CCP has opened a feedback thread on the EVE-O forums.

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Comments

  • Eve_Osir1s

    These are problems “Their ping has a 40% chance of decloaking any cloaked ship that has been cloaked for more than 10 minutes & Up to 10 can be deployed in a system.”

    CCP needs to limit to 1 unless they have a small range and increase the cloak invuln timer to the ping. 10 minutes is way too short. This currently swings too much power to the defending krabs.

    May 17, 2021 at 11:42 PM
    • kwnyupstate . Eve_Osir1s

      Why because it requires people to play their game instead of being afk?

      May 18, 2021 at 3:49 AM
      • Because the ability to AFK cloak is the only counter-play to the perfect, real-time intel provided by local chat? If you take one thing away, the other has to go also (For reference, remember how unbalanced “blackout” felt when they removed local but not cloaks? Remember how loudly the krabs screeched and how many people unsubbed? That’s how all the pvp people feel now.)

        May 27, 2021 at 2:47 AM
    • Romulus Loches Eve_Osir1s

      If you are actively hunting in a system and you need more than 15 minutes to find your target, they are already safe’d up.

      Also, these structures only last 100 minutes. If a single one costs ~100mil and you set up all ten, that means someone just spent 1bil for the chance to scan down cloaks campers for an hour and a half…

      May 18, 2021 at 5:59 AM
      • What happenes after the 100 minutes ? Does the deployable self destruct and is gone, or could it be scooped and redeployed to generate another 100 minutes of pings?

        May 18, 2021 at 11:04 AM
        • Romulus Loches chimpy

          I presume it is like other deployable mobile structures like cyno inhibs in that it self destructs. That way it becomes a material sink and a cost to people ratting/mining.

          May 18, 2021 at 2:45 PM
    • Xelistren Eve_Osir1s

      effective decloak chance of 99.39533824% if you are in range of all 10 effective for faints and attacks based on strategy. these are only really good for 3 things, 1. setting up faints to off balance enemies. 2. establish a massive blind spot to allow dirtier tactic to be used, and 3. allow covert placement of structures that could be destroyed during the anchoring process (possibly wrong with this one I am an echoes player.)

      May 19, 2021 at 9:25 AM
  • BeanBagKing

    HOLY S#@&, well that’s only about 6 years too late. About time CCP addressed this.

    May 18, 2021 at 12:16 AM
  • Elithiel en Gravonere

    Goodbye NGSA. Well, on the other hand, it works both ways so I’m not entirely against it. But that said, a black ops harassment campaign on miners and ratters in the backfields will be far less effective with this system in place. If CCP wants to instigate resource scarcity, they have a strange way of showing it.

    May 18, 2021 at 7:36 AM
    • Romulus Loches Elithiel en Gravonere

      Things like NGSA won’t go away, there will just be a potential counter now. If a system is being camped then the mobile observatories can be deployed and let the AFK campers get scanned down. That process will cost time and materials though, so it may take an hour and 100mil to decloak, scan, and kill a 50mil bomber. When it’s all down, a new camper could show up and it starts all over again.

      May 19, 2021 at 4:57 AM
  • They might as well just disable PvP in the open world and confine it to instanced battlegrounds at the rate they’re going. They’ve destroyed the PvE ship ecosystem, put interdiction nullification on like half the ships in the game now, and are removing AFK cloaking while keeping local chat in place?

    Yo dawg, I’m out. This game has entirely gone to shit.

    May 27, 2021 at 2:44 AM