Surgical Strike Lands on Tranquility

Calyle Morrison 2020-04-19

The moment everyone has been anticipating (or dreading) for the last few weeks arrived, as Surgical Strike, patch 18.04, landed on Tranquility on April 15. With it came a wave of sweeping buffs and nerfs that has had the forums ablaze with excitement, hesitance, and rage. We’re going to be taking a peek through the patch notes and briefly compare them to the countless discussions across the game and the Internet. The goal is not to deep dive through the patch notes, so it is recommended that readers peruse INN’s previous article on the topic “Surgical Strikes to the Meta,” to get a full deep dive combined with the new hard numbers in the patch notes. Direct references to interviews from the aforementioned article will be found throughout this update. With that, let’s dive into the patch notes of 18.04.

Balancing

Below is the bullet list CCP posted to start off the patch notes.

  • Increased damage of Void, Conflagration, Hail, and Rage ammunition (Small, Medium, Large and X-Large) by 15%
  • Increased Long Range Heavy Fighter explosion radius by 50%
  • Bomb base damage reduced by 20%
  • Bomb hit points reduced by 20%
  • Reduced effectiveness of all resistance modules by 20%
    • Includes all active and passive armor and shield resistance modules
    • Does not include resistance rigs or damage controls
  • Increasing short range heavy fighter maximum velocity by 50%
  • Reduced Standup Guided Bomb damage by 20%
    • Standup Light Guided Bomb EMP / Thermal / Kinetic / Explosive damage reduced from 850 to 700
    • Standup Heavy Guided Bomb EMP / Thermal / Kinetic / Explosive damage reduced from 3.000 to 2.400

First up, and a hot topic to boot, is the increased damage. As noted in the initial announcement of Surgical Strike, all T2 short range ammunition with the above designations got a healthy buff to their damage. While one camp cheered for this change and hopeful push towards a more varied fleet meta, those on the opposite side have not been so enthused. Throughout the message boards of Reddit, group chats of Facebook, and EVE forums, there are hundreds of players who see this buff to short range ammo, pinning Void as the chief offender, as a horrible decision. The common argument for this is the certain affect this buff will have on High Sec ganking. The most common ganking ship is by far the Catalyst (blasters OP) which, alongside the Talos for beefier targets, is the flagship hull used by CODE. suicide squads. While in reality this form of “content” doesn’t affect a huge majority of the game, the ripples are still big enough – and have been rocking the boat long enough that CCP Rise – vowed on behalf of the devs to keep a close eye on the topic in his April 8 update.

Graphics

  • The Avatar Titan received an updated model with higher detail textures, and a brand new doomsday firing effect to match.
  • Characters will now have pre-randomized clothing in Character Creation.
  • The Jita main station gets more in-construction scaffolding and new indications for the new undock. Hangar interior gets scaffolding.

On Singularity, CCP held an Avatar testing party where everyone was invited to grab a Titan and come test out the new visual upgrades and the doomsday. A link to a video done by delonewolf can be found here. All in all, the changes to the Avatar were positively received and enjoyed by all in attendance.

Jita 4-4 also saw some additions. CCP announced earlier this year that the station would be expanded to better suit its role as the most significant High Sec hub. Below is a screenshot provided by Arrendis.

Names and Tiericide

CCP made additional changes to shield hardener names as well as shield-related tiers. There were also a few additional shield harder modules added in this patch, and the volume was also adjusted to 5m3 for all shield module fits.

Shield Hardener name changes:

  • Adaptive Invulnerability Field → Adaptive Invulnerability Shield Hardener
  • EM Ward Field → Anti-EM Shield Hardener
  • Explosive Deflection Field → Anti-Explosive Shield Hardener
  • Kinetic Deflection Field → Anti-Kinetic Shield Hardener
  • Thermal Dissipation Field → Anti-Thermal Shield Hardener
  • Limited Adaptive Invulnerability Field I → Compact Adaptive Invulnerability Shield Hardener
  • Limited ‘Anointed’ EM Ward Field → Compact Anti-EM Shield Hardener
  • Limited Explosive Deflection Field I → Compact Anti-Explosive Shield Hardener
  • Limited Kinetic Deflection Field I → Compact Anti-Kinetic Shield Hardener
  • Limited Thermal Dissipation Field I → Compact Anti-Thermal Shield Hardener

New modules:

  • Enduring Adaptive Invulnerability Shield Hardener – PG: 1, CPU: 40, capacitorNeed: 32, duration: 15s, EM res.: -23.2, explosive res.: -23.2, kinetic res.: -23.2, thermal res.: -23.2, heatDamage: 4
  • Enduring Anti-EM Shield Hardener – PG: 1, CPU: 40, capacitorNeed: 16, duration: 15s, EM res.: -42, heatDamage: 4
  • Enduring Anti-Explosive Shield Hardener – PG: 1, CPU: 40, capacitorNeed: 16, duration: 15s, explosive res.: -42, heatDamage: 4
  • Enduring Anti-Kinetic Shield Hardener – PG: 1, CPU: 40, capacitorNeed: 16, duration: 15s, kinetic res.: -42, heatDamage: 4
  • Enduring Anti-Thermal Shield Hardener – PG: 1, CPU: 40, capacitorNeed: 16, duration: 15s, thermal res.: -42, heatDamage: 4

Tiericide:

  • Named Meta 2 → Meta 1
  • Faction Meta 9 → Meta 8
  • C-Type Deadspace Meta 11 → Meta 10
  • A-Type Deadspace Meta 13 → Meta 14
  • X-Type Deadspace Meta 14 → Meta 16
  • Officer Meta 12 → Meta 13
  • Officer Meta 13 → Meta 15
  • Officer Meta 14 → Meta 17

Below is a list of the adjusted shield-hardening modules with their new values. The old values are in brackets.

  • Compact Adaptive Invulnerability Shield Hardener – CPU: 27 (34), duration: 10s (12s), EM res.: -23.2 (-25), explosive res.: -23.2 (-25), kinetic res.: -23.2 (-25), thermal res.: -23.2 (-25)
  • Adaptive Invulnerability Shield Hardener II – EM res.: -26 (-30), explosive res.: -26 (-30), kinetic res.: -26 (-30), thermal res.: -26 (-30)
  • ‘Posse’ Adaptive Invulnerability Shield Hardener – CPU: 27 (34), EM res.: -26 (-27.5), explosive res.: -26 (-27.5), kinetic res.: -26 (-27.5), thermal res.: -26 (-27.5)
  • Domination Adaptive Invulnerability Shield Hardener – EM res.: -26 (-25), explosive res.: -26 (-25), kinetic res.: -26 (-25), thermal res.: -26 (-25)
  • Dread Guristas Adaptive Invulnerability Shield Hardener – CPU: 30 (27), duration: 15s (12s), heatDamage: 3.4 (4)
  • Compact Anti-EM Shield Hardener – CPU: 30 (32), duration: 10s (12s), EM res.: -42 (-50)
  • Compact Anti-Explosive Shield Hardener – CPU: 30 (34), duration: 10s (12s), explosive res.: -42 (-50)
  • Compact Anti-Kinetic Shield Hardener – CPU: 30 (36), duration: 10s (12s), kinetic res.: -42 (-50)
  • Compact Anti-Thermal Shield Hardener – CPU: 30 (38), duration: 10s (12s), thermal res.: -42 (-50)
  • ‘Poacher’ Anti-EM Shield Hardener – CPU: 30 (34), EM res.: -44 (-52.5)
  • ‘Snake Eyes’ Anti-Explosive Shield Hardener – CPU: 30 (34), explosive res.: -44 (-52.5)
  • ‘Nugget’ Anti-Kinetic Shield Hardener – CPU: 30 (34), kinetic res.: -44 (-52.5)
  • ‘Desert Heat’ Anti-Thermal Shield Hardener – CPU: 30 (34), thermal res.: -44 (-52.5)
  • Domination Anti-EM Shield Hardener – CPU: 36 (32), EM res.: -44 (-50)
  • Domination Anti-Explosive Shield Hardener – CPU: 36 (34), explosive res.: -44 (-50)
  • Domination Anti-Kinetic Shield Hardener – kinetic res.: -44 (-50)
  • Domination Anti-Thermal Shield Hardener – CPU: 36 (38), thermal res.: -44 (-50)
  • Caldari Navy Anti-EM Shield Hardener – EM res.: -45 (-55)
  • Caldari Navy Anti-Explosive Shield Hardener – explosive res.: -45 (-55)
  • Caldari Navy Anti-Kinetic Shield Hardener – kinetic res.: -45 (-55)
  • Caldari Navy Anti-Thermal Shield Hardener – thermal res.: -45 (-55)
  • Dread Guristas Anti-EM Shield Hardener – CPU: 33 (30), duration: 15s (12s), EM res.: -45 (-55), heatDamage: 3.4 (4)
  • Dread Guristas Anti-Explosive Shield Hardener – CPU: 33 (30), duration: 15s (12s), explosive res.: -45 (-55), heatDamage: 3.4 (4)
  • Dread Guristas Anti-Kinetic Shield Hardener – CPU: 33 (30), duration: 15s (12s), kinetic res.: -45 (-55), heatDamage: 3.4 (4)
  • Dread Guristas Anti-Thermal Shield Hardener – CPU: 33 (30), duration: 15s (12s), thermal res.: -45 (-55), heatDamage: 3.4 (4)
  • Gist C-Type Anti-EM Shield Hardener – EM res.: -45 (-54.5)
  • Gist C-Type Anti-Explosive Shield Hardener – explosive res.: -45 (-54.5)
  • Gist C-Type Anti-Kinetic Shield Hardener – kinetic res.: -45 (-54.5)
  • Gist C-Type Anti-Thermal Shield Hardener – thermal res.: -45 (-54.5)

These resistance changes have riled the community into a near fervor. Initially, many were concerned this would include damage controls and rigs; however, CCP excluded them from the nerf, meaning that the actual hit to EHP won’t be quite as hard as many feared. Despite this, there is still a large mass that believe this will have a significant impact on both PVE and PVP gameplay. CCP is aware of both, and Rise mentioned in the April 8 update that the situation will be monitored closely to adjust missions or content that become oppressively difficult or impossible. But in the realm of PVP, CCP has joined the many large groups that welcome the impending meta shift. Rattati echoed the grievances of many in empire space: subcap roles have been heavily diminished with the massive rise of large cap and super cap fleets. In previous interviews, Rattati has mentioned many times that there’s not much of a counter to that level of escalation. The growing hope is that this will change thanks to the resistance nerfs, not only making fights have more financial impact (thanks to the recent mineral nerf), but meaning that the escalation will actually count from a strategic perspective. It will take longer for the bigger stick to brought out, but when it is, then lots of things are going to gloriously burn.

Ships

This round of adjustments saw a healthy number of tweaks; however, the leading topics have been on the battleship, carrier, Titan, FAX, and freighter adjustments.

  • Reworked super carrier support fighter tubes:
    • Support fighter tubes decreased from 2 to 0
    • Heavy fighter tubes increased from 3 to 4
  • Super Carrier and Titan Plate bonus reduced
    • Super carrier bonus to plates and extenders reduced from 400% to 200%
    • Titan bonus to plates and extenders reduced from 500% to 300%
  • Wyvern and Aeon fighter bay increased to match Nyx and Hel
  • T1, Faction and Pirate Battleship base hp increased by 10%
  • T1, Faction and Pirate Battleship base scan resolution increased 30%
  • Muninn
    • Damage bonus reduced from 7.5% to 5% per level
    • Optimal range bonus reduced from 7.5% to 5% per level
  • Eagle
    • Max velocity reduced from 202 to 190
    • Powergrid -40
  • Loki
    • Powergrid reduced from 670 to 550
    • Bonus to projectile range and falloff reduced from 10% to 5% per level
    • Loki bonus to projectile tracking reduced from 7.5% to 5% per level
  • Legion
    • Powergrid reduced from 700 to 625
  • Deimos
    • Hybrid damage increased from 5% to 7.5% per level
    • +50 PG
    • +20 CPU
  • Increased Scan Resolution by 30% for Marauders and Black Ops
    • Redeemer increased from 170mm to 220mm
    • Paladin increased from 120mm to 160mm
    • Golem increased from 105mm to 140mm
    • Widow increased from 115mm to 150mm
    • Kronos increased from 120mm to 160mm
    • Sin increased from 140mm to 185mm
    • Vargur increased from 145mm to 180mm
    • Panther increased from 155mm to 200mm
    • Marshal increased from 180mm to 235mm
  • Increasing Freighter Hit Points by 20%:
    • Providence Hull increased from 100.000 to 120.000
    • Providence Armor increased from 46.000 to 55.200
    • Providence Shield increased from 10.000 to 12.000
    • Charon Hull increased from 77.500 to 93.000
    • Charon Armor increased from 15.000 to 18.000
    • Charon Shield increased from 50.000 to 60.000
    • Obelisk Hull increased from 110.000 to 132.000
    • Obelisk Armor increased from 40.000 to 48.000
    • Obelisk Shield increased from 14.000 to 16.800
    • Fenrir Hull increased from 65.000 to 78.000
    • Fenrir Armor increased from 22.000 to 26.400
    • Fenrir Shield increased from 48.000 to 57.600
    • Bowhead Hull increased from 50.000 to 60.000
    • Bowhead Armor increased from 15.000 to 18.000
    • Bowhead Shield increased from 22.000 to 26.400
  • Force Auxiliaries are now limited to on-lining 1 (one) Capacitor Booster

Let’s begin with the battleship buffs. No matter how the math is done, every ship that uses resistance modules is getting a net nerf, despite the battleships’ getting a buff to their HP. Despite this buff, discussions on the latest Meta Show held that this would likely negatively effect fleet doctrines. Arrendis didn’t fully share the same level of concern in an interview for Surgical Strikes To The Meta, however nearly everyone agrees there will be a negative hit on fleet EHP – thogh most are hopeful this will bring a long term positive shift in the combat meta. Combined with the nerfs to caps and supers, changes to their base attributes have forced these classes to adjust their fits – and thus their roles in fights. Titans have had to do the same, which will likely have deep reverberations in escalations.

However the topic vying for the slot as “most controversial” has been the direct and hard nerf to Force Auxiliaries. The limit to one cap booster per hull has greatly limited their strength when providing triage reps. They already have massive cap issues and are primary targets for neuting Bhaalgorns, and as a result they will be even more at risk. Empire FC’s and fitting officers, though, haven’t seemed too bothered by this change. According to previous interviews with Arrendis and Tridgit, the simplest fix for this new problem is just to field more FAXes to fit the need. Both acknowledged that this couldn’t be a permanent solution due to the mineral changes; however, the immediate shift in fleet doctrine will hopefully provide enough time for FC’s and fitting officers to conjure up a more permanent and sustainable solution. Wormholers on the other hand have been hit hardest with this change because FAXes play even more critical roles in hole defense then in K-space.

This, combined with resistance nerfs, has left many wormholers wondering when they will be hit with direct nerfs to their content. Loroseco expressed a serious belief that wormholes were next on the nerf chopping block, as the most recent round of nerfs have been hitting key areas in K-Space. He explained that many of the doctrines flown in J-Space heavily rely on blingy tank fittings, which makes these fights stand out against the scraps and brawls in regular 0.0. Due to the increasing cost to assemble current fittings, as well as the need to increase cost to acquire close to pre-patch EHP, Loroseco argued that the overall result will be cheaper fittings. He stated that the marginal increase in EHP wouldn’t be worth the extra millions – and in some cases billions – in ship fittings for the same violent end. He fears that the fights will turn more towards 0.0 style fights as a result, and thus lose their exclusive luster, causing interest and enjoyment to diminish.

In addition to all this turmoil, one of the almost unilaterally embraced buffs was to freighters. Many haulers were extremely concerned that the increase to T2 short range ammo would make haulers more of a target. In response, on April 8th Rise announced that freighters would be getting a boost in over all base HP and that CCP would be closely monitoring High Sec suicide ganking. Rise said that, if need be, additional changes will be rolled out to support the haulers, miners, and industrialists. For the time being, however, miners and other non-freighter non-combatants will have to be even more vigilant in their activities.

However one small group was not impressed by the buff to freighters. Though being a relative minority and having their camp split almost down the middle, some DST pilots believe that the buff to freighters was not enough, and that the buff should have been extended to smaller classes of hauling vessels. The argument was that since the resistance nerf is hitting everyone in the game and T2 short range ammo is going to be doing more damage, smaller haulers will be at an even greater risk then before. They fear that suicide ganking will rise sharply, forcing many newer or small time haulers out of business and spiking all hauling costs on both the demand and supply sides. The counter argument, however, holds equal weight and comes from a more PVP-oriented mindset of “just fly smart.” Many pilots from this point of view have pointed out the MWD + Cloak method to bypass most gate camps and potential ganks, saying that those who haven’t learned to use this method deserve whatever results they get. It can be safely assumed that while DSTs and other industrial and hauling ships were not given some love in this patch, CCP will be closely monitoring their situation and render aid if deemed necessary.

Login Campaigns

In the patch notes, CCP snuck in the announcement of a new daily login campaign.

Login Campaigns:

  • New Ongoing Daily Login Reward campaign has started!

This campaign offers randomly issued level 4 drugs as well as BPOs, skins, and other valuables. There is also a skill point bar that will issue 150,000 at the end of the login chain. Each drug is use on redemption and expires after 14 days of receipt.

Quality of Life and Bug Fixes

Below is the tail end of the patch notes. This consists of a series of bug fixes and quality of life enhancements.

Structures & Deployables:

  • Structure profiles can now be duplicated

User Interface:

  • Removed the confirmation pop-up for Empire selection.
  • Added and Improved UI elements on the Character Creation process.
    • Added tooltips for “Randomize,” “Character Sculpting,” and “Zoom.”
    • Icons pulse to demonstrate a working state.
    • Changed “Randomize,” “Gender,” “Zoom,” “Toggle Clothes,” and “Navigation” buttons to more conventional looks.
    • Improved navigation between steps during Character Creation process. Changing Empire and/or Race now requires taking a step back in the process.
    • Mousing over an entry on the Customize Appearance will display a randomize icon for that specific entry.
    • Changed color of labels and buttons to blue.
    • Active steps now display same blue colors as the labels and buttons.
    • Removed portrait confirmation window.
    • Added non-clickable gender icon on final summary.
    • Changed “Finalize” to “Enter Game” in the last step button.
  • Ability to import and export market Quickbar has been added.
  • Importing into Multibuy window now retains the order in clipboard.
  • Market search has been optimized and changed so it filters as you type.
  • The tooltip on contracts has been improved, making it easier to read.
  • A tooltip has been added to the arrow in character selection that shows wallet balance changes. This tooltip shows how much the balance has changed.
  • In localized clients, both English and localized typenames can now be imported into Skillqueue, Fitting, and Multibuy, and when appropriate an option to export in English.
  • Improvements have been made to the slider in corp/alliance contacts management, making it possible to use the mouse wheel to give better control.
  • Text on brackets can now be formatted (bold, italic, underline, color, fontsize, linebreaks).
  • Text on tabs in overview can now be colored.
  • Fleet Watch list is now in “Color Edit Mode” by default.
  • Show info windows are now better at remembering what tab was selected.
  • Contents of Inventory can now be copied in Icon mode.
  • The universal search bar now has a shortcut (Shift+S).
  • “Collapse All” button has been added to the ‘Hulls & Fits’ and ‘Hardware’ tabs in the Fitting window, as well as the search result window.
  • Improvements to mailing list management interface, including allowing dragging characters into “Allowed” and “Blocked” lists.
  • The list under “Item Group” in corporation assets is now alphabetically sorted.
  • Tooltip has been added to ship groups listed as “Can be fitted to” in Attribute tab in Show Info window. This tooltip lists what ships belong to the ship group.
  • It’s now possible to copy the information in the lists in the Reprocessing window.
  • A helper pointer has been added to the “Board Corvette” button.
  • Ability to format brackets announced on Wednesday, 15 April was made available.

DEFECT FIXES

Gameplay:
  • Fixed an issue that prevented NPCs from spawning in the huntmaster outpost site.
  • Fixed an issue where the notepad is failing to load due to no longer existing notes in folders
  • Fixed an issue where users cant see abyssal mods stats on contracts
Graphics and Audio:
  • Fixed an issue whereby a Capsule would not return to the default SKIN correctly.
  • Fixed an issue whereby some UI elements were causing the space or hangar scene to be rendered black.
  • Fixed the special entry SFX in some systems, under certain events, which were playing when logging in to a station in the system.
  • Fixed an issue whereby special SFX played when entering particular systems to start playing again if Inactive Client Muted was enabled.
  • Corrected the manufacturing output of the Low-grade Hydra Omega Blueprint.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the Men’s ‘Fatal Elite’ Combat Boots from appearing in searches.
PvE:
  • Stealth Bombers can now enter the Hunt event sites.
Technical:
  • Fixed an issue preventing the warning for too high/too low price for advanced buy order and modify order windows from appearing.
User Interface:
  • Fixed an issue with Hypernet Relay that allowed to enter negative values when buying multiple nodes.
  • Fixed an issue that allowed to enter negative values when buying Datacores from R&D Agents.
  • Fixed an issue with Wallet settings disappearing when stacking windows.
  • Adjusted Wallet so the closest LP store will now list the current station if it contains the correct LP store instead of another station in the system.
  • Audio will now play correctly when setting a CSPA charge larger than the maximum allowed value.
  • Adjusted unallocated Skill Points pop up to avoid text overflow.
  • Re-added the missing “r” to donations in the wallet when they are accompanied by a note.
  • Added an appropriate error text when searching for a name that doesn’t exist in the “Transfer To:” field of the Give ISK tab.
  • Adjusted “Give ISK” search by adding a terms combo box.
  • “Closest LP Store” list in the wallet station will now be correctly localized.
  • Fixed the icon for officer modules in search results in the market window.
  • Fixed an issue where the Frontier Safeguarder crate failed to open.
  • Fixed an issue where redeeming auto-activated SKINs in game did not give the player the SKIN.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the current Login Campaign window to not load properly when opening it after claiming all items.
  • Fixed an issue with Tutorial not revealing the HUD.

THIRD PARTY DEVELOPERS

STATIC DATA EXPORT (SDE):
  • The data for contraband types can now be found at fsd/contrabandTypes.yaml and no longer at bsd/invContrabandTypes.yaml due to the internal migration of the data. The data is also structured slightly differently.

INN will make any updates here or via new articles, should any additional changes or information become available.

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