TL;DR in the form of a haiku:
Winter is coming,
Making snow, rain, cold . . . and war
Ever more likely.
On November 6, 2018, CCP released a devblog that outlined a number of changes coming in the “upcoming winter expansion.” The devblog focuses on navigation structures, providing much clearer coverage of CCP’s plans than we were privy to from the CSM13 minutes released about a month ago. And yet, not everyone understands the changes and very few welcome them, based on the EVE forum comments which immediately came streaming in, with a mostly negative tone.
The document contains many details, topping the 4,000 word mark. It works through sections on the purpose of the changes; information about “deployment, reinforcement, and destruction”; the “lifecycle” of the new structures (i.e. how easily they can be destroyed); very detailed descriptions of the new cyno beacon, cyno jammer, and and jump gates; as well as explanations regarding how the new structures will be phased into game play. CCP saved some very unwelcome news (based on early forum chatter) for last, discussing some increased costs for structural maintenance and upgrades.
The Purpose for Changes
First, the developers explain the purpose of the changes, saying that the new structures will:
- “replace the functionality of current jump bridges, cyno beacons, and cyno jammers with improved structures that are easier to deploy, use, and understand
- Ensure owners have granular control over access to their services
- Ensure attackers have ways to disrupt the infrastructure of their enemies”
Taken together, these three bullets indicate that CCP wants to make it easier to use these structure while at the same time making them much easier to destroy. In other words, “Winter is coming,” and since EVE players may no longer be able to frolic outside in the sun, they can PvP to their heart’s content, focusing their frozen rage on enemy structures, which will blow up much faster than ever before. To further enhance such aggressive gameplay, the structures deploy much faster, making sneak attacks with supporting structures easier and quicker.
The Changes in Three Structures
The devblog then provides the details regarding the new cyno beacon, cyno jammer, and jump gate. The most impressive aspect of these may well be their beautiful design. While they don’t look as stunning on the website as on the large screen at EVE Vegas, the structures still look amazing.
The cyno beacon’s main change concerns its ability to “be used as a jump drive target by any pilot that has been granted access by the structure owners.” In turn, this makes the structure more user-friendly and less exclusive—players won’t have to be a member of a certain fleet or alliance to jump anymore.
The cyno jammer’s main change is that it “can jam a system in just five minutes” and, conversely, can be destroyed rapidly, as it, along with all the other new structures, lacks the reinforcement timer built into previous similar structures.
Finally, the new jump gate continues to move toward increased ease of use, as “Owners of Ansiblex Jump Gates can use Access Control List profiles to control exactly which pilots and organizations are allowed to jump through their gates.” This announcement was met with great applause in Vegas recently, but has not generated many positive comments on EVE’s official forums. Rather, players are specifically wondering how two changes will affect the game: only supercaps are restricted from using these gates and they do not generate any jump fatigue.
One other associated change that has been hotly discussed with the CSM via Discord and other channels is the significant reduction in volume of mobile cynosural inhibitor deployables, which will be brought down to 50m3 from 300m3. This will enable them to be carried and used by covert cyno-capable frigates, such as those used by Bombers Bar, without compromise to any other aspect of the ship. It appears CCP is hoping that this will lead to increased use of this particular deployable, and presumably also hoping that there will be more capital and supercapital kills as a result.
Two Week Transition, plus one massive gouge!
When these structures first roll out, the old ones will still function for two weeks. After that transition phase, old structures will be decommissioned and the owner recompensed—at least to some degree. CCP is also increasing the fees for maintenance costs. While most of these changes are modest, “Supercapital Construction Facilities cost per day increased from 1m isk to 40m isk.” That large jump could change the dynamic for smaller alliances trying to grow and create more supercap ships.
Where I live we expect rain soon and it was chilly this evening. Change is in the air. Where EVE lives, winter is in the air and with it the martial sounds of fifes and drums.