A devblog was recently published that describes CCP’s plans to put in to motion a new iteration Eve Online’s Citadels: Upwell 2.0. This is the most significant change that has been made to structures since their introduction a a bit more than a year ago. As with anything that CCP does with Eve Online, conflicting opinions have arisen and the player base has made their voice heard. One of the proposed changes, the new GTFO module, is already under negotiation whether or not it will be available to low/null sec structures or even implemented at all.
We caught up with Imperium Senior FC Asher Elias to find out what he thought about this recent development, as well as what these changes could mean for the Imperium and PvP combat.
Interview With Asher – Pillar #1: Low Power + High Power Citadels
INN: Since CCP did such a fine job of framing the new citadel changes with their “Four Pillar” thing, it only makes sense for us to organize things that way too. We’ll start with the first pillar, which doesn’t hugely relate to combat, but maybe a little. Low Power vs. High Power structures. I’ll start by asking about Imperium space in general…do you think this particular change will make much of a difference in Imperium space?
Asher Elias: No, Malcanis’ Law is in action here. We have the most organized and capable logistics wing in the game and although we have the most citadels we will get them fueled. Our guys are really good. It doesn’t mean we won’t ever lose one to this but it will affect us less than almost all other alliances.
INN: From a combat standpoint, will this potentially make it more difficult to just throw down smaller citadels to attack a Keepstar, for instance? Or just more expensive?
Asher Elias: The amount of fuel is irrelevant on that time scale with that few citadels.
Pillar #2: Vulnerability and Reinforcement System
INN: Gotcha. Alrighty, that one wasn’t really much of a combat related point, but Pillar #2 certainly is with the vulnerability and reinforcement system. Now that shields are always vulnerable on citadels, could this force the Imperium to pull back a bit on expanding?
Asher Elias: expanding to where?
INN: Maybe expanding isn’t necessarily the right word…though the Imperium’s territory isn’t expanding per se, I imagine the number of Keepstars is continuing to grow…will that be kept more in check, or just keep going as usual?
Asher Elias: Fueling cost isn’t a concern. We usually have to limit our gsol guys to a set number of tasks per month because they are super dedicated dudes.
INN: I’m thinking more from a defensive standpoint than from a logistics standpoint though. Not knowing when the attackers are going to attack makes defense significantly more difficult, doesn’t it?
Asher Elias: No. No-one defends initial timers currently. You come for the armour timer, but since we can now always control the final date and time it’s become so much easier to defend.
INN: That’s interesting. In reading the dev blog it felt like it really put things in the attacker’s favour. When you put it that way though, things are indeed almost easier for the defender in the end.
Asher Elias: Yeah these are huge buffs to cits. One of the most viable strategies of using LR titans with faxes out of range will not work anymore. It was pretty much the last reason someone would offensively use a titan, and Sort Dragon got that taken away because he’s afraid we are invading him (we aren’t).
Pillar #3: Structure Combat Overhaul
INN: Which brings us to Pillar #3, the Structure Combat Overhaul. Lots of interesting stuff in this part, although there are rumbles of changes to the original plan already. Fozzie mentioned in a forum post that the GTFO modules may potentially be limited to use in high sec, instead of being available everywhere as initially planned. The biggest challenge for attackers will obviously be that the tried and tested strategy of launching fighters from tethered carriers will no longer be a thing. What, if any, do you think will be the biggest challenge for the defenders under this new system?
Asher Elias: If they bring the GTFO module to low and null it will absolutely break sieging cits with anything other than carriers/supers. The break tether on launch thing doesn’t matter. You already lose tether when the fighters aggro. The important thing is you can break aggro and tether.
INN: Gotcha. What’s your opinion on the replacement of the structure void bomb with the new structure superweapon? The devblog kinda sells it as a buff for the attackers, do you think that’s the case?
Asher Elias: Does it say that?
INN: Yeah it does. “The new superweapon requires more skill and forethought to use and has significantly more counterplan available”.
Asher Elias: It doesn’t really though. You scramble it, scramble your target, then hit them with it. It still limits all mobile doctrines. The AoE neut means no shield doctrines. You can still bring the same 3 or 4 doctrines.
INN: Which was actually going to be another one of my questions. Do you think this will cause a major change in doctrines, or maybe just a bit of a shift?
Asher Elias: Same exact ones as before. The real problem is the scram and the web. The proposed change does nothing to help mobile doctrines, so you need passive tank/passive guns or MJD battleships 250km out of range. So that’s mjd BS or Typhoon/Tempest Fleet Issue/Machariel.
INN: 250km…although the base lock range for the citadels is planned to be 400km now…does that not really change things?
Asher Elias: 250km is the ewar range. The cits could shoot to 350km but that only kills caps without ewar, not subcapitals. So your subcapitals can tank from 250-300km, but now you can’t park titans at 295k and rep them with triage at 355k. Now they will kill the triager, so that strategy is right out.
INN: So definitely some potential changes in tactics that will happen, but not really changes in doctrines. Overall do you think this is a thumbs up move for CCP? Or maybe not so great?
Asher Elias: Pretty awful. That was my reddit post on the issue
INN: Fair enough. They certainly are selling it as a “major balancing fix”, but it seems it could be argued that they’ve put the ball in the defender’s court in the grand scheme of things. Well, that’s all I’ve got at this point! Thanks for answering my questions, Asher!
Rebalance? Or Unbalance?
The definitive answer to that question remains to be seen. It appears that some elements of this new Upwell 2.0 package are still up for debate. We’ll see how that develops as we keep an eye on the forums and dev blogs. In talking with Asher though, it becomes difficult to see this as a rebalancing as much as it is a buff to citadel defense. Some of the new mechanics may give the impression that its tips the odds in the attacker’s favour, when really the defenders are still coming out on top.
That said, some of these changes may open up new avenues of attack where others have closed. Once again, only time will tell, and we’ll stay on top of these developments.
Do you have a differing opinion from Asher’s? Let us know in the comments!