Why the Nullsec Blackout Won’t Fix EVE

Bill McDonough 2019-07-15

After Downtime on Friday, Jul 12, nullsec went dark. The Nullsec Blackout is a period of ‘undetermined’ duration, during which Local chat will function in ‘delayed mode’. This means that until a character enters text into Local, they will not appear in the channel list at all. It’s causing something of a buzz on Reddit, and Brendan Drain, the guy at Massively who’s so clued in that he couldn’t tell when CCP was feeding him a story about a fight from two years ago, is predicting ‘absolute anarchy’. But why have CCP done this? What are they trying to achieve, will it work… and why?

Shaking the Snow Globe

CCP’s intent with the Blackout is easy to make out: they want to shake things up out in nullsec. The Blackout will give them a decent amount of data to look at. Some of this will be data we’ll see: changes (or lack thereof) in ratting and mining numbers, how many ships are getting killed, what kind of ships are getting killed, and so on. Others will be more opaque: who’s logging in? Who isn’t? Who’s moving through nullsec systems, even if they’re not showing up on kills? How are different groups of players responding to the change, across and within alliance size brackets?

The reasons they’d want to do that are just as easy to see. Nullsec feels like it’s settling into a gestalt. Numbers of roaming hunters are down overall (even if they’re still coming to Delve in numbers). The difference between the amount produced and the amount destroyed is stark. Total value destroyed in June (the latest MER) comes in around 1.25T, while production numbers stand around 3.6T ISK. The difference in pure ISK faucets and sinks shows at 29T more ISK coming into the economy than went out.

At the same time, major wars of late have, by many measures, been lesser things, not equalling the glorious brawls of old. Nobody fights anymore, we hear. Why doesn’t anyone do anything like an ‘Alamo’, or Thermopylae, courageously fighting to the last man, making every inch of space cost dearly in the victor’s blood and treasure? It all gives rise to a word we’ve heard a lot over the years: stagnation.

So Will It Work?

Will putting Local into Delayed mode help with these problems? Will it shake things up? Ultimately… no. It won’t. It won’t change anything in the big picture, because it doesn’t address the root causes of the problem. So what will it do?

Prediction is fraught with trouble. You’ll always get things wrong, and those mistakes will convince people to throw out the whole thing, no matter how much of it’s right. So, with that in mind, we’ll keep this to the broad strokes.

Small Scale: Squirrels and Cats

Many years ago, there were a number of feral cats near where I live. The breeding female was smart enough to avoid getting caught, and she was very successful at being a breeding female. And if there’s one thing cats are good at, it’s killing small animals. The local squirrel population dropped like a rock. But then a funny thing happened: it stopped.

Squirrels definitely continued to live in the area. They even got pretty ballsy after a while, stealing food people put out for the cats. But they got caught less—and fewer ended up as roadkill, too. Active predation forced the squirrels to get smarter. They got harder to kill.

The same thing will happen in null. First, the initial wave of hunters will see a lot of success, in different ways. AFK ratting ships, especially VNIs, will die. Excavators will be bombed in swarms. The PvE pilots who get hit will complain a lot, and the hunters will lap up the tears greedily. For a time. 

But then the defenders will adjust. Some will adjust faster, some slower, but the ones who can’t adjust will decide nullsec is too dangerous for them, and go back to highsec. The ones who remain will be harder targets. They’ll watch D-scan. And they’ll have scouts watching gates. They’ll use ships that make a little less money, but focus on survivability and disposability. Myrmidons, for example. Or they’ll switch to supercapitals, under a protective supercap umbrella. They’ll get harder to kill.

Large Scale: Donuts and Blocs

On the larger scale, the people most at risk are the small operators. These are the groups who are out on their own, trying to make a new home in null, or trying to grow. It’s especially true of small groups near highsec. For an example, we need look no farther than Tribute. The Imperium trashed all of the infrastructure in Tribute. While some TCUs were left, all of the meaningful structures, including IHUBs, were destroyed. NCdot, by Vince Draken’s own words, is heading to Malpais. And smaller groups have moved in.

Coming in the Taisy gate, Northern Ronin. (NR) has set up shop in M-O, with all of 29 members. Rote Kapelle’s re-established themselves a system over. With 290 pilots, they’re the biggest of the new residents. Their neighbours, Sector Seven. (S7), the Nafjala Cooperative (FLOAT), and Archos Core total at a combined 82 pilots between them. 

Of these groups, Rote will have the best defenses: they have the most people, and only one system. But they’ll all need to make money, and they’ll all need to watch for traffic throughout Tribute. S7, especially, is going to have trouble with hunters. 27 pilots, over 12 systems, in 2 constellations… easy pickings.

At the other end of the scale… the Imperium, Legacy, and PanFam will be in relatively good shape. Sure, everyone and their grandmother will come hunting in Delve, but the region already has standing defenses. When pilots get more used to keeping scout alts on gates, reporting promptly, and taking common-sense steps to be less vulnerable, the number of kills will drop, and the relative safety of the area will stabilize again. The other large blocs will do the same, out of sheer self-preservation. 

In Combination…

So once again, we’ll see the way everything works out as more than the sum of its parts. Individuals will be pushed toward getting smarter about their money-making, and big groups do better than small groups in terms of providing security and opportunity. People who don’t adapt will leave—some will leave null, while others leave EVE. And though there’s already a chorus forming of ‘good riddance’, it’s no secret that fewer people in the game means fewer people in space. It’s the entire reason CCP introduced Alpha clones.

Taken together, it all makes joining the large blocs even more attractive for people who want to amass money, even if their eventual goal is founding their own alliance. In the long run, the blocs weather the storm much better than the little guys, and they’ll be better positioned to teach newer players how to survive in the no-local meta.

Will this happen before CCP decides they have all the data they need? Will they decide to turn Local back to ‘Immediate’ mode? Who knows? But it will happen. And when it does, the hunters, who are talking about flocking back in droves, will start to complain about null being ‘too safe’ again. We’ll hear more crying about ‘blue donuts’ and ‘risk-averse’ people from PvPers who themselves take every precaution to not get blown up pointlessly.

And in the end? We’ll be right back where we are now.

So Why Won’t It Work?

To be blunt, it won’t work because CCP doesn’t have the first clue why things are how they are. That’s not exactly a unique failing, though. Every time this comes up, be it from CCP devs, small gang FCs, or even just other pilots hanging out on comms, the matter is phrased in a very specific way: “Why don’t people fight?” or “CCP need to give people more reasons to fight.”

CCP doesn’t need to give us more reasons to fight. We have reasons to fight. We have long-standing reservoirs of hatred and spite enough to fuel wars a-plenty. It’s been amassed over 16 years, and the only thing that’s even slowed down the snowballing hate has been CCP’s Drifter Invasion. I mean, not for nothing, but when the Pie Chart of Shame came out, Mittens literally spent 2 hours telling PanFam reps to eat his ass. And if someone mocking you and telling you to eat his ass for 2 hours isn’t enough reason to fight… well, no kinkshaming here, but day-um.

Understanding Nullsec

The problem is, CCP doesn’t understand nullsec. And neither do most small gang PvPers in EVE. To CCP’s devs—many of whom come from lowsec and Faction Warfare—the fight is the thing. And by ‘the fight’, I mean just that: a fight. One fight. Sure, FW loyalists might fight for one side or another, LS groups have friends or enemies, but there’s a fundamental fluidity and impermanence to things. FW systems get flipped—so what? you can flip them back later. LS stations are owned by NPCs, and it doesn’t matter who’s got what in-system, you can dock right up after the fight, until next time. The important thing is getting a fight. It’s a fairly instant-gratification thing. Even when there are structure timers involved, as often as not, the timers are made in order to get a fight.

Null’s a completely different beast. The groups that last in nullsec are the ones that want to last. They want to endure. They want to build and maintain a presence, hold space. They’re thinking long-term.

Yes, we send out fun fleets to look for fights. Yes, those work in pretty much exactly the same way fleets in LS/FW work. But those fleets aren’t the ones with the big toys. They’re not the ones with the assets that count. And those are the assets that have to be taken into account in order to understand why null seems to solidify, from time to time. Those assets… and some basic truths about EVE’s economy.

Doing the Math

Try to describe all of EVE’s economy in simple terms, and you’re going to screw it up. You’re going to leave something out. Unless you stick with very basic principles, like ‘is there more stuff than there was before, or is there less?’

Those are the two states the economy can exist in: either more stuff is being made than is being destroyed (accretion), or more stuff is being destroyed than is being made (depletion). It’s theoretically possible for the two numbers to perfectly match, but that would take so much effort (or luck) that if it were to happen for even one month, Aryth would claim it’s all part of his plan and spend an entire decade smugging about having achieved the impossible equilibrium point.

So the economy can either be in accretion, or depletion. If it’s in depletion, you see prices on everything shoot up, and people having problems replacing their ships. After all, in that situation, everything’s getting blown up, faster than it’s getting made. You will run out. Maybe not immediately, maybe not even soon, but if the economy stays like that, it will happen.

EVE’s economy is in accretion. It always has been. People amass more than gets blown up. And the thing about accretion is… it snowballs. You start mining in a corvette, and eventually build a Venture. Now you mine more, faster. Or you rat in your Rifter until you can buy the skill books and hull to fly a Stabber, but when you do, you make more money. If you have more than the other guy, you can get more than he can. So if you want to get more, the best way is: get more. It’s just a matter of time and effort.

The Value of a Hard Day’s Work

People value their time. They value their labor. And they value the things that take an appreciable amount of both to get. On a personal level, individual pilots value the things that were hard to get. On an organizational level, leadership values (or should value) the collective time and effort of the line members. 

If leadership doesn’t value the line’s time, problems arise. If it even appears to view line members as an exploitable resource, people are going to walk. After all, nothing keeps them there against their will. If you run an alliance, and you want to dominate the financial markets of EVE, but your pilots all want to go blow stuff up, you better be able to find ways for them to blow stuff up, or they’ll go elsewhere. And then you won’t have anyone to help you punish people who won’t play ball in the markets.

And that’s the next thing that has a value: Leadership also values the collective potency and potential that the things their line members work for, taken together, represent. Mittens doesn’t just want line members to have titans because he wants them to have shiny stuff. Mittens wants line members to own titans because having a lot of titans means something. Among other things, it means you can use a lot of titans. And it means people have to factor that in when they’re trying to figure out how to deal with you. That goes for both players, and developers.

A Walk on the Dev Side

Before people get up in arms about that statement, that’s not a threat. It’s a basic condition of developing a game with as wide open an economic and social dynamic as EVE has. When I say that developers have to factor in what a group of players have, I don’t mean something stupid like ‘you’ll lose their money when they unsub’ or anything like that. I mean that on a very basic level, you have to understand what they’ll do before they do it, and plan for it.

Titans (And EVE Fleets In General)

Let’s use titans as the first, most obvious example for nullsec. CCP famously said that they originally only expected that maybe 4 titans would exist in the game at any time. Four. From their trailers, we know how they envisioned these things getting used: as the centerpieces for fleets that resemble modern navies; a big capital asset in the middle, smaller ships around it to provide additional response capacity; and even smaller screening vessels all around those.

That’s not how things in EVE work, though. In the real world, big ships are expensive. They’re not just expensive to build, they’re expensive to operate. They’re expensive to staff, to supply, and to maintain. If the build cost was the only cost involved, the US Navy wouldn’t have anything smaller than a battleship. Hell, it’d have battleships. So would everyone else. Each of the 10 Carrier Strike Groups would have a Nimitz-class supercarrier, probably still one of the Forrestal (or Midway)-class carriers, and a pair of Essex-class boats still serving and refitted for lighter aircraft operation.

In other words, they’d look a lot like EVE fleets. In EVE, you bring the most powerful ship you can that fits the mission profile, and you bring as many of them as you’ve got. The limiting factor isn’t cost, it’s butts in seats. Got 50 guys, but you can only afford 10 battleships? Keep making money. You’ll be able to get more battleships a lot more easily than you’ll get more guys. 

That’s what happened with titans, too. Once people had the manpower, it was only a matter of time before those butts were sitting in titans. Or at least, however many of them wanted to be. Not everyone does, after all. And it happened with more than titans.

Structural Problems

Does anyone really think CCP expected to see one group in nullsec with over 45 Keepstars? Do you think they expected it would happen within 3 years? What about the structure spam in every region of the game? If the developers expected this, they needed plans for how to deal with it. So it’s reasonably safe to say they didn’t expect it. At least, not like it’s turned out.

But that’s a failure to understand the way EVE’s economy works. In an accretion model, if people are building X, then eventually, you get a lot of X. It’s inevitable. So, as a developer, before you introduce X, you need a clear idea of what X’s purpose is, how X interacts with everything else, and how you balance X when it’s numerous enough to be considered ‘saturated’.

It’s understandable to not see that sort of planning as necessary when the game first comes out. And it’s ok to be surprised, as Hilmar was, when players find ways to make more money, more efficiently, than you’d anticipated. It’s even good to be proud of them when they get that first battleship built months ahead of your schedule.

It’s not so great when the game’s been running for over a decade, and players have consistently outperformed developer expectations, and the devs still don’t anticipate ‘they’re going to build a boatload of these things’. Developers need to be able to understand how their players, overall, will respond to new toys getting introduced. 

Here’s a hint: just like players in EVERY game, when you introduce new toys, people will want the new toys. They’ll want them for themselves. They’ll want their new toys. Got 30,000 people logged in regularly? Expect 30,000 of the new toys. Plan for the worst-case scenario.

Some Assembly Required

Ok, so how does all that relate to the Nullsec Blackout and Stagnation in EVE? Well, you have to put the pieces together.

  1. People value the things that they have to put effort into getting.
  2. The best way to make more money and get more things faster is to have the money and things to use.
  3. Nullsec orgs tend to focus on the long-term picture, not instant gratification.
  4. Nullsec leadership has to value their members’ efforts and interests, or they end up with no members

Taken together, these things start to paint a cohesive picture. The long-term picture is one where groups need to plan ahead, and not waste their strategic assets stupidly. 

If you lose a heroic Alamo-style last stand…you’re done. The guys at the Alamo didn’t have much of a choice. After the battle, they were all dead. No matter what inspirational example they set, they weren’t fighting any more risk. Thermopylae, same thing: the value of both heroic last stand actions was in inspiring other people—who still had all their stuff—to fight, and buying time for them to do so.

In EVE, that’s not the case. You keep going. The odds are pretty good you’re not inspiring anyone outside your group. For every person who sees it as ‘brave’ and ‘inspiring’, there’s a half-dozen who just shake their heads and call you an idiot. Because now you have to try to get back into a position where you can contest someone else’s control of space. And you have to get there without the tools that would have made it much, much easier.

EVE’s nullsec powers can’t only look at this war. They have to look down the road, to the next war. Because the next war is always coming.

Reasons to Fight

And that brings us back to those eternal errors in discussions about EVE stagnation: “Why don’t people fight?” and “CCP need to give people more reasons to fight”. Once again, we’ve got reasons to fight. What we don’t have is reasons to risk.

That line, I’m sure, just got a thousand nerds screaming ‘RISK AVERSE!!!’ at their screens in glorious unison. So, before I address the substance of it, allow me to take a moment to needlessly berate them all for being idiots who don’t know the difference between ‘adverse’ and ‘averse’. Dear idiots: you’re bad and you should feel bad. Now, on to the meat of the matter.

Yes, it is ‘risk averse’, to an extent. So what? All of the PvPers out there screaming about it are risk averse, too. Do you knowingly fly into boson traps? Do you happily jump into a gate-camp all alone, though you know you won’t even kill one of the little bastards, because they have 5 logi? If not, you’re risk averse. Or at least, you’re as risk averse as the null blocs. You don’t want to do something that’ll cost you time and effort in exchange for nothing. Big shock. 

In other words, you’re not a complete fool. Good job!

Reasons to Risk

The problem here is that being risk averse is the intelligent move. As stated above, null groups always have to be thinking about not just this fight, but the next one, the next ten, the next war. It’s coming. Whether you win or lose this one,  it’s coming. It’s coming whether you still have your space, your stuff, or even your pilots. If you’re in sov null, War Is Coming. And if you’re not getting ready for it, GET OUT. You have no business being there. Go to NPC null. Go to lowsec. Just get out of the way now, before the avalanche starts.

So how can CCP provide reasons for the large groups to risk their big toys? There’s a few different options: Make them easier to get, make them less necessary, or my favorite: blow them the hell up.

Easier To Get

This is the fastest and easiest of them for CCP. It’s also the worst and stupidest way to address the problem. But it will address the problem, so we should look at it. If you make it easy to get the really big things, people will use them. They’ll lose them to one another in droves. People like explosions. It’s kind of a no-brainer. 

It will also horribly penalize newer players. They will need to put in close to 3 years of skill training just to be able to reasonably contribute in null. Smaller groups will get shafted, too, because they’ll be facing more supercapitals. 

How screwed the litttle guy gets is already an issue: to own supers, you need a keepstar. If you can’t defend a keepstar, you can’t own supers. If you don’t own a lot of supers, you can’t defend a keepstar. 

You wind up with a decidedly mean-spirited bootstrap problem. Yes, small groups could use a smaller structure and simply safe-log, but that adds another layer of disadvantage: the big groups not only have more people, with more supercapitals, but those characters can dock up and fly something else. The small group has its highest-SP characters locked away from every fight. 

Making supers cheaper and more disposable might allow the small group to use and lose theirs, but that probably won’t make them more likely to. They won’t want to lose what little force they have—especially considering that right now, the only way to build supercapitals is to own the space you need supercapitals to hold.

Less Needed

This is less pants-on-head than accelerating supercapital proliferation would be, but there are problems here, too. The only way to really make these things less necessary is to make them less of an ‘I WIN’ button. But if you make them less useful, then everyone who’s already gotten them will be upset.

At least… that’s the thinking. Most of the people who have these things now have them because they need them. Sure, the big DD volley is fun, and it’s great to watch someone else’s big thing explode, but supercapitals are slow, ponderous lumps that take forever to align. Worse, there’s always some idiot who fell asleep, or isn’t paying attention. In a battleship fleet, someone’s not aligning, you leave their ass behind and tell them to file for SRP. With supercaps, people are more likely to feel like they need to wait for the idiot. Entire fleets can get held up because one guy in a Wyvern fell asleep after 8hrs of heavy tidi, and the FC is trying to get a corpmate who can track down a way to contact the pilot.

And then there’s tidi. Supers make more of it. They’re big things with lots of bits. The game has to look at collisions across the whole range of the ship’s hit box. The client has to render all the little bits. More fighter squadrons means more crap for the engine to track and update on everyone’s overview. Sure, the 64-bit client has helped with this, but not on the server-side issues.

Honestly, once you get past the ‘I am the biggest thing in space’ nonsense, supercapitals are more boring than cruisers.

Just Blow Them Up!

#DeathtoAllSupers.

Seriously, just blow ‘em up. Introducing supercapitals to the game without a clear and consistent vision for how these things would relate to the rest of the ship tree when they hit saturation numbers was just stupid. It was a mistake, and it should be undone. CCP should give people a massive event that only ships with jump drives can take part in, get them all blown the hell up, and then have CONCORD revoke all the licensing for BPCs. At that point, refund the SP, and let the biggest thing players fly be carriers and dreads. At least until CCP figures out how to actually balance supercapitals against the rest of the game.

Another way out would be to radically change supercapitals, so they’re not even the same things they are now. That can have the effect both making them less necessary, and removing them. The new roles could be less essential for taking and holding space in null. And it would remove supercapitals as we know them. CCP could even give everyone the option for that one big brawl before the changes go in. Send them out with the biggest bang in gaming history. Thousands of supercapitals could die in a day. But what would that ‘new role’ look like?

A Fourth Way?

One idea that’s been batted around in a few areas goes as follows: Make them into mobile bases. Return supercarriers to the ‘mothership’ idea: jump-capable vessels that move slow, warp slow, and have little to no offensive capabilities. But they do have the ability to dock subcapitals. Dozens of battleships. Hundreds of smaller hulls. A single supercarrier could provide a beachhead. A supercarrier fleet could be a legitimate invasion force. But only because of the other players docked up inside. The supercarrier itself would represent almost no threat.

At the same time, titans become something similar: jump-capable emplacements. As they undock, they have jump drives, solid defense, but no offensive capacity as a ship. The pilot pushes a siege-like button, and the titan’s a station until it comes out of siege. In station mode, it has lots of defense, and a good amount of offense. No warp drive. No sublight drive. And they can’t enter station mode within 100km of another titan in station mode. But they can dock everything up to normal capitals, and carry cloning services. They become another component of an invasion force, or a supplemental defensive screen: put a few titans around a station under siege, and force your enemy to go through those first. 

But we all know they’re not going to do any of those things. So they’re not going to fix the stagnation in null.

Stagnation and Supercap Proliferation

Because those issues, supercapital proliferation and nullsec stagnation, are the same issue. Everything else you might use to take space in null, you don’t need to already have space in null to make. Let’s once again look at that bootstrap problem:

To take and hold space in null, you need supercapitals. To make supercapitals, you need to already have space in null.

So anyone who doesn’t already have supers or space probably won’t get either. That’s why so many people who want the big toys join the blocs: it lets them get the toys. It’s why people who might otherwise go ahead and start trying to make their own way in null go to the blocs to build up some, first: build up and/or buy assets, and then go claim space for yourself. It’s just easier to get those first few rungs up the ladder that way.

But you need space to make supers. And you need supers to hold space. So nobody who has supers can really afford to lose their supers, because if they do, they lose their space, and don’t have much chance to regain either. Just five years ago, that wasn’t the case. But it is now. Break that link, fix that problem… and you fix a lot of why things settle into gestalt, again and again.

And until they do, stunts like removing local may lead to some temporary instability… but in the end, they’ll just make the big blocs the only game in town for people who want to try building something of their own in nullsec. And that won’t fix a damned thing.

If At First…

This isn’t just dumping on CCP, though. This is about expectations. CCP needs to keep trying new things. But players need to recognize that those new things have their limitations. Players need to let CCP try new things, again and again. That’s how CCP will get the data they need to understand the shape of things, what the problems are, and how they intersect in an extremely complex system.

Players expecting the Blackout to ‘fix’ things, and talking up how this change will achieve this or that, and make everything better, aren’t helping. All that does is create expectations that this cannot meet. And when those expectations—built entirely by the playerbase, because CCP isn’t saying this is anything more than a test to gather data—aren’t met, people will want to get mad at CCP for it. They may start saying that CCP’s just screwing things up worse, or flailing around in the dark.

The truth is, most of the things CCP is going to try will fail. Horribly, sometimes! Because they’re going to be as much about gathering information as about addressing a problem. And a lot of the eventual solutions, players won’t recognize as solutions, at first. But getting to the point of success depends on them being allowed to fail. Players have to be willing to let them.

CCP needs to be prepared for it, too, and prepared to push forward anyway. Historically, they haven’t. They’ve repeatedly put things in with abysmal reward vs player effort, and nobody uses it. Then they decide ‘this system was bad’ not ‘highsec newbies aren’t spending 100,000,000 ISK plus LP on cosmetic items’. That’s what happened with Resource Wars. It’s what happened with FOBs. They have an idea, it doesn’t work, and they just give up.

… Try, Dammit.

Fixing the problems in EVE will take CCP bringing a lot of different pieces together. And addressing the structural reasons why nullsec will always want to solidify won’t happen with them giving up. What’s going to determine the long-term future of EVE isn’t the success or failure of one testing period. It’s CCP having the resolve, and willingness to see things through… for once.

I hope they finally do.

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Comments

  • Arrendis

    Just to put this in here (without making the article even longer): There are definitely signs that CCP is actively looking to do more than just this one thing. For example, a tweet yesterday about Warp Stabs driving people out of FW, and how the same problems have been brought up for years without getting addressed, got Hilmar directly involved. It even culiminated in this quick(ish) twitter discussion:

    Hilmar: “To be honest, stabs are some of the worst design concepts in EVE, so tone def and boring somehow. No one to blame but CCP for that…”

    Falcon: “If it was up to me, I’d hit delete on them hahaha”

    Grath: “Considering the number of VNI’s/Ishtars/Gilas that have fitted stabs during the black out as a defense I’d both support your choice and warn you of the donkey like braying you can expect if you pull that crutch out.”

    Hilmar: “hmm, maybe if stabs would disable drone auto aggression….”

    Grath: “That would also help kill the ease some of the automated systems use to run the anoms as well, so its definitely the right direction to take them. Can you also make them cancel out the faction warfare plex countdown? No reason a stabbed up ship should advance the timer.”

    Hilmar: “OK, this is going places. If you have stabbs then auto aggression of drones towards NPCs is disabled and stabbed ships don´t advance the plex FW countdown. These are maybe not the fixes to the stabbs I was thinking of but sound like great “ninja hacks” to improve the situation.”

    Will that happen? No idea. But clearly, Hilmar’s engaged and invested in finding solutions. And that’s a good sign.

    July 15, 2019 at 7:19 am
    • debu Arrendis

      drone aggro shouldn’t even be a thing – neither them getting aggro, nor them aggroing. it’s a bot weapon, and in missions, it’s just annoying.
      if you have to give the attack order for each enemy, it becomes a normal system, like lasers, so them not getting hit is a fair trade.

      July 15, 2019 at 11:30 am
      • Stefan debu

        @debu How do you mean? I was under the impression that drone auto-aggression is one of the pillar weapon types part of the rock-paper-scissors mechanic; basically the main counter against Ewar that incapacitates weapons/targetting and energy warfare.

        July 15, 2019 at 12:57 pm
        • debu Stefan

          with how ewar got nerfed, it hardly matters anymore.

          July 15, 2019 at 1:16 pm
        • Garreth Vlox Stefan

          you can now lock any ship jamming you, meaning there is no need for drone auto aggro to counter it anymore.

          July 16, 2019 at 4:08 am
      • If you use Drones in addition with other weapon systems; it can be quite overwhelming to have to right click and instruct drones to do something after you only have to press one button to use guns.

        July 22, 2019 at 1:11 pm
        • 1) use hotkeys, you can set one for drone aggro.
          2) Im fine with making it harder if has a payout.

          July 23, 2019 at 7:51 pm
    • Someone should trigger him on the issues of travelceptors, Upwell structure spam, structures being placeable on-grid with gates and jump gates, tethers being boring and overpowered, etc.

      July 15, 2019 at 11:37 pm
      • Axhind Ganthrithor

        You sound like one of those elite pvp people who think it’s other people’s duty to undock and provide easy targets to you. Of course without fighting back because then they are blobbing you or some other such nonsense.

        July 17, 2019 at 7:34 am
        • Guilford Australis Axhind

          I think he was sarcastically implying Grath (a notoriously ragey mouth-breather of former PL repute) is the sort of person you describe.

          July 17, 2019 at 12:23 pm
    • Bozo Arrendis

      I am not sure whether CCP is genuinely taking a deep, long-term approach to the problem as opposed to grasping at straws and trying various quick fixes when users numbers are plummeting.
      Time will tell, but in recent years CCP has given us no reason to be optimistic about their game design strategy.

      July 16, 2019 at 11:09 am
    • Moridin Mandarb Arrendis

      Does Hilmar or others at CCP interact with Imperium players similarly? Or is it not worth their time until NC./PL suggest it?

      July 16, 2019 at 5:14 pm
      • Arrendis Moridin Mandarb

        Well, it came on twitter, and Grath wasn’t the one he originally responded to, it was just some regular guy in Lowsec. As for ‘do they interact’… yes? I mean, to the same extent that they interact with anyone, they do.

        July 16, 2019 at 7:30 pm
  • Carvj94

    Eh. Kinda too long to read. Just wanted to say Blackout is only a failure if it’s not fulfilling your goal. If CCPs goal was to cripple botting and make it harder to live in nullsec with low player skill then this is a clear success. I’m more than a little confident that this change has nothing to do with trying to harm bloc sized organizations.

    July 15, 2019 at 12:52 pm
    • Arrendis Carvj94

      CCP’s stated goal is gathering data. To that end, the Blackout’s a failure if they turn it off too soon. The issue’s really more about players expecting this to ‘fix’ things and then having a hissy fit when it doesn’t. Cuz it can’t.

      July 15, 2019 at 2:52 pm
    • Bumpy Dog Carvj94

      If you can’t be bothered to read the article, what you write is worthless.

      July 15, 2019 at 10:14 pm
      • Carvj94 Bumpy Dog

        Not at all. I read up until he brazenly assumed CCP goals based on absolutely nothing and that they have failed in reaching said goals with blackout. At that point why read a dozen more paragraphs of what could be just as silly and speculative.

        July 15, 2019 at 10:25 pm
        • Arrendis Carvj94

          Nope. No brazen assumptions at all. Rather, taking things Hilmar and Falcon have both said at face value.

          Besides, when I do silly and speculative, it looks more like this.

          July 15, 2019 at 10:33 pm
        • Garreth Vlox Carvj94

          “he brazenly assumed CCP goals”

          No he didn’t, CCP openly announced they are watching what happens to see what to do next. Blackout is the equivalent of CCP throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks because they have no fucking clue how to fix the game.

          July 16, 2019 at 4:13 am
          • Arrendis Garreth Vlox

            Not sure I’d go that far. More like ‘this was an easy switch to flip, and we’ve been talking about it for years, so why not?’

            July 16, 2019 at 7:47 am
  • Scott Wilson

    I’d be happy if Nullsec had more supercharger stations. That, and good luck getting more than 4 bars much past blackrise. There’s rumors bigfoot lives there and eats small children.

    July 15, 2019 at 1:19 pm
    • Kevin Zhang Scott Wilson

      I appreciate this.

      July 28, 2019 at 1:19 am
  • Gilliganxl

    Something to balancing the local chat being disabled is to let IFF show up on DSCAN. It basically acts like radar already so why not let it also pick up FoF Tags to show, hey this guy is in my alliance or friends of my alliance. You still have to pay attention to D-scan and its not instant alert to some hostile entering the system.

    July 15, 2019 at 3:02 pm
    • Arrendis Gilliganxl

      Wormholers have had functioning d-scan IFF for years. It’s the ship name prefixes they use.

      July 16, 2019 at 7:40 am
      • Axhind Arrendis

        Not that hard to figure out how to rename your ship.

        July 17, 2019 at 7:41 am
  • Susurrus Synaesthesia

    How about we add another ship that specifically targets and weakens supercapitals while being vulnerable to specific (smaller) subcaps? Like a cruiser that does 1500 dps instantly (not spool up) but only to supers. These would have to be cheap, readily available and covert ops (for the cyno). Bombers in their current iteration are insufficient. You need 100 to kill a supercap before it cynos in a FAX and this is not probable for small null groups. Alternatively, and more simply, make bombers stronger against supers. Maybe a specific bomb type that does damage against supers alone. The systems are in place, just too weak at the moment.

    July 15, 2019 at 4:51 pm
    • How about ‘oh, good, more specialized training before you can hope to hold sov in nullsec? No.’

      July 15, 2019 at 10:13 pm
      • Susurrus Synaesthesia Arrendis

        Who said it had to be specialized training? Just add a ”anti-super bomb” to stealth bombers that does massive damage to supers. Done.

        July 16, 2019 at 2:42 am
        • Well, you said ‘another ship’. That means new skills. As for making an ‘anti super bomb’… it kinda doesn’t make sense. Why would a super be more vulnerable to a bomb than say, a dread?

          I don’t mean from the game mechanic perspective, mind you. I mean from the perspective of verisimilitude. Parts of EVE already work against immersion, work against drawing the player in and letting them feel like this is a living, breathing environment. And that’s part of the bad retention numbers. Games with better immersion hook players more quickly and more consistently. The more you introduce things that just don’t really make sense… the more you’re going to jar people and disconnect them from any emotional investment in the game.

          Things have to hang together. That’s why CCP gives lore reasons for changes.

          July 16, 2019 at 7:45 am
          • Moridin Mandarb Arrendis

            Not necessarily. Could have a Tier 3 Battleship or something like that optimized for anti-capital use. That would take the same skills most have already. One of the biggest problems I see is that caps are too strong still. Need to make them afraid again. If CCP doesn’t want to roll back the dumb capital rebalance made back in the day, then come up with another way to kill them that doesn’t involve 200 people in bombers. I mean, you have a role already in other science fiction – the Heavy Bomber ship class. Make it have capital guns, same tracking as caps, low maneuverability, worse armor / shields than other batteships. Something like that so that a titan would have to worry about 20 heavy bombers killing them. And so you need a subcap support wing. Or, bring caps back to where they were when they first nerfed tracking titans.

            July 16, 2019 at 3:32 pm
          • Arrendis Moridin Mandarb

            That’s fair, and I’ve long been a proponent of the ‘missing’ hull size—the half-step between Large and XL, in the same basic niche as the Destroyer and Battlecruiser, so it’s not like there isn’t room for different solutions.

            A ‘Heavy Bomber’ using a battleship hull and Capital Torpedoes like an Attack Battlecruiser on steroids might make for an interesting option.

            But they’re not going to completely roll back the capital rebalance. They can’t, without removing a lot of the modules that went in then. And honestly, they shouldn’t. Capitals having the same kinds of fitting options as subcaps is good… but they need to things that get approached the same way subcaps do—as fundamentally disposable—in order to really make use of those options.

            July 16, 2019 at 7:37 pm
    • Or just make Torps an anti capital weapon.

      July 15, 2019 at 10:51 pm
    • Sylphinja the Dark Rose Susurrus Synaesthesia

      How about, instead, CCP just turns every cap, super and titan (and their faction variants) into un-dockable trophies, those in space – indestructible trophies and disable all production of said ships.. like a cap off switch, for a month, and see the results.

      Edit: Lets go one step further, disable anything larger than a battleship.

      July 18, 2019 at 3:07 pm
  • This was a really well written article! One of the best articles about EVE I have seen in a long time in fact. Great job!

    July 15, 2019 at 5:08 pm
  • Alexander Dornewass

    I have to say…that fourth option for what to do with supercaps…I absolutely love it! I think that’s a fantastic idea.

    July 15, 2019 at 10:28 pm
    • Just to have it said for the benefit of everyone who looks down on roleplayers: It was the RP community that thought of that, in a collective brainstorming session.

      July 15, 2019 at 10:30 pm
      • Alexander Dornewass Arrendis

        Well it’s fantastic. I jus wish it was thought of when they first brought them in to the game.

        July 15, 2019 at 10:40 pm
  • Haven’t finished the article yet, but I’d just like to point out that ~*something*~ has inspired CCP to announce today a bonus arrangement ($1 multiple-pilot training certificates with the purchase of a month of game-time) designed to get people to sub. Curious timing, no?

    July 15, 2019 at 11:28 pm
    • Arrendis Ganthrithor

      I suspect that was always planned. You don’t come up with a 6-stage summer-long promotion on the spur of the moment across a single weekend.

      July 16, 2019 at 1:05 am
      • Probably. The timing is hilarious, though.

        July 16, 2019 at 4:04 am
      • Axhind Arrendis

        Weird that they only reward 3 month subscription but not any of the longer ones.

        July 17, 2019 at 7:40 am
        • Romulus Loches Axhind

          It’s a ‘summer’ promotion so the target is to get people who may not sub an account all the time but draw them in while they have more free time.

          July 17, 2019 at 3:29 pm
  • See, this is why I’m disappointed in CCP: you are not a game designer (AFAIK), and yet you’ve managed to dissect CCP’s game infinitely more effectively over the course of preparing one online article than CCP’s own game designers have been able to in the last ten years of doing their actual jobs. How is this even possible on a consistent basis?

    I don’t have a problem with CCP, “trying new things.” I’m not even necessarily against the notion of nullsec sans-local. But the fact that CCP are even conducting this “test” speaks volumes about their lack of understanding of their own game: why would you test a mechanic which is virtually guaranteed to produce a negative outcome? As you stated: their best-case scenario here is that most people adapt to this change and nothing is substantially different. The worst-case scenario is that most people can’t or won’t adapt and leave nullsec (or the game) in droves. I cannot envision a plausible scenario in which the Blackout could have a positive outcome for CCP or the game, and the fact that CCP’s own people can’t seem to understand or anticipate this is deeply distressing. How has their game design team avoided significant restructuring?

    I don’t know any way to force CCP to change their design team other than to stop giving them money. The community’s fan-fiction solutions to CCP’s design problems are better than their own solutions. They have an entire panel of elected players at their disposal to bounce ideas off of and solicit ideas from: they continually ignore suggestions and present relatively finished changes to the panel well into their development cycles rather than using the CSM as a sounding board before beginning work on a feature or revision. It’s fucking infuriating.

    EVE is the best MMO on the market by leaps and bounds. It should by all rights be immensely successful and there’s no systemic reason the game should be stagnating. The only thing holding it back is CCP’s pigheadedness. It’s really disappointing to watch.

    July 16, 2019 at 12:23 am
    • Arrendis Ganthrithor

      you are not a game designer (AFAIK), and yet you’ve managed to dissect CCP’s game infinitely more effectively over the course of preparing one online article than CCP’s own staff have been able to in the last ten years. How is this even possible on a consistent basis?

      Honestly, there’s a couple of components. First: I live out here in null. CCP’s devs at this point are largely recruited from Lowsec, and in a lot of cases, lowsec a decade ago. And there’s a lot of pieces that you don’t really see unless you’re neck deep in the crap, day in and day out. And part of that is that most of the people I talk to are out here, too. We kick ideas around. We bitch about the problems to one another, and help one another dial in on exactly what the issues are. Because it’s a complicated game, and sometimes, just IDing the issues takes a lot of work. That’s what CCP’s trying to do now by gathering more data.

      The second one is, ironically, the other end of the scale. CCP’s devs are so deep in the back end, in a hundred specific issues here and there, that they don’t have the bandwidth to really get dialed in on things. It’s not an uncommon thing. When I was much younger, I worked in a TCBY, and we’d have people come in all the time… lawyers, doctors, cops… intelligent people, you know? And the most common question was still ‘You’ve got those flavors today?’ pointing at the sign titled ‘TODAY’S FLAVORS‘.

      Seems absolutely stupid, you know? But it’s not. It’s just that their brains were focused on the minutiae of their lives, the things they needed to focus on. And things get crowded out. So CCP’s devs are focusing on their specific tasks, like module balance, ship rebalancing, fixing FW, fixing structures, and on and on… so they don’t always have the mental bandwidth to recognize additional issues… even if those issues are all tied together.

      July 16, 2019 at 1:02 am
      • I suppose, but shouldn’t that kind of be the role of a lead game designer? Not to focus on the nitty-gritty of implementation for each balance change, but to guide the overall direction of those changes?

        If this isn’t one of the devs’ jobs already, they should create a position. Possibly even a position for each sphere of the game? (One for null, one for lowsec, one for highsec?)

        July 16, 2019 at 4:03 am
        • Garreth Vlox Ganthrithor

          “shouldn’t that kind of be the role of a lead game designer? ” You’d think that would be the case but it hasn’t been true of CCP in almost a decade.

          July 16, 2019 at 4:11 am
        • Arrendis Ganthrithor

          It should. And if they had more of a team, maybe it could be.

          July 16, 2019 at 7:39 am
    • The main reason is CCP is mostly composed of junior people, whose time is mostly devoted to doing actual dev work as opposed to deep thought about the meta (which they have little personal knowledge of, as CCP is unlikely to pay them to play the game).

      Long-term players involved in the meta will have devoted more thought to systemic problems than anyone at CCP has (technically, it should be someone like Seagull’s successor’s job, but…well… CCP), and if they have discussed things with various people, odds are they will have met other players with a lot more managerial or systems analysis experience than your average junior dev.

      So CCP does not have the resources to be smart, and even if they were enclined to listen – which they generally are not – they would not have the resources to know what to listen to, between that one good post and the zillion terrible comments on reddit and the official forums.

      July 16, 2019 at 11:20 am
      • Arrendis Bozo

        It’s like any other ‘problem’ in EVE (Pirate ECs, Drifter Hives, etc): the playerbase has a larger number of people working on the problem than CCP can. Therefore, there are a larger number of brains working on it.

        And we’re once again hitting ‘bigger groups with decent organization yield better results’.

        July 16, 2019 at 7:32 pm
        • GSF Directorate for CCP Game Design Team 2020?

          July 17, 2019 at 1:13 am
          • Axhind Ganthrithor

            They would do a lot better job. Thing with goons, that everyone including CCP always forgets, is that we like EVE and we want to keep playing EVE. None of us have a goal of ruining it and we are more than well aware that changing it to benefit only us is idiotic to the n:th degree.

            July 17, 2019 at 7:39 am
          • I know– I’ve been watching us out-CCP CCP for over a decade 😛

            I guess in fairness it’s probably pretty hard for CCP to attract the right talent since they don’t pay much and I feel like most people have little interest in moving their lives to Iceland. CCP should probably open a Santa Monica office.

            July 18, 2019 at 5:23 am
  • Markonius Porkbutte

    Solid article dude. Very nuanced. Glad to see you still writing.

    July 16, 2019 at 3:37 am
    • When I’ve got enough of a developed thought to put 4,000 words behind it, yeah. 😉

      July 16, 2019 at 7:46 am
  • Malango

    Holy crap you hit the nail on the head. Deffo would love to see supercaps just gone all together. I’d love to see battleships actually have a point! People are happy to risk a battleship. It’s not alliance ending if they all die. I fly 5-10 bil fits in abyssal space PvP. I’m happy to risk isk. But I totally get the supercap risk. If they die you lose your sov along with them.

    July 16, 2019 at 6:27 am
  • Punky260

    Really great article. You made several important points there.
    One thing I disagree though is that the root of evil are the supercapitals. I mean, you are right, they are (part of) the problem. But only because they are the best ship available. If you would wipe out supers and titans you would have the same situation, just with regular capitals… if you wipe those out, boom, the (faction) Battleships are the new problem. Yes, it is a little bit more complex than that, but I’m certain you get the picture.

    What is needed are mechanics that limit the use of those ships in a senseful way. Maybe due to “maintain cost” or just by limiting their regional use – no supers in lowsec for example. There are surely a lot of nice ideas that would not mean you would have to delete them.
    And this is not only the case for the ships, but also citadels and sov. I would love to see a new level of “empire management” necessary, with upkeep costs of structures, pros and cons of owning systems far from each other etc. My dream would be, that the player driven empires are able to interact on several levels with each other and the NPC entities. Not only via meta gaming, but also ingame mechanics.

    July 16, 2019 at 11:01 am
    • Moridin Mandarb Punky260

      It used to be that way. Before the capital re-balance and HAW guns, capitals were really only good for fighting other capitals or structures. Someone at CCP thought making caps able to fight subcaps again was a good idea. And while your idea of upkeep is good in theory, all a group would have to do is make several hundred different corps or alliances to get around that.

      July 16, 2019 at 3:26 pm
    • Arrendis Punky260

      You wouldn’t have the same problem at the capital level, because one important factor changes: You can build capitals in lowsec. You can build them in NPC stations. Which means someone coming into null can have them. Someone who loses them, and gets kicked out can get back in.

      That’s not to say I disagree with the maintenance idea… for all ships, really, but for smaller hulls it shouldn’t be a significant thing. And it shouldn’t be automatic. Put in an option to mothball the ship, where maintenance costs drop to 5-10% normal, but can’t use the ship until you pay it. Make it like cleaning the ship: the longer it sits idle, the more that upkeep cost builds up, and there’s a one-time fee to pull it out, keeping people from mothballing ships for a day just to keep costs low.

      And yeah, we should be able to interact with the empires, with CONCORD, on some kind of official level. Obviously not as equals, because even the Republic can field more titans than Delve has characters, but there’s no reason not to maintain the capsuleer/agent relationships out to nullsec in the form of diplomacy and the benefits it brings.

      At the largest scale, EVE could be CK2 in space, while the smaller scale remains the submarine warfare game it’s always been.

      At the same time… god, what I wouldn’t give for some ways to move *past* the pod. Ambulation and putting a consistent human face on things you do can improve retention. It can broaden the game. Hell, it can provide the means for that diplomatic interaction with the empires.

      July 16, 2019 at 7:45 pm
    • This post makes me pretty irritable, not so much because of your post, but because ~*we literally HAD what you are describing*~ in the previous (I guess two major iterations ago?) sov system!

      In the era of POS warfare, alliance’s ability to hold territory was limited by the sheer inconvenience of placing, fueling, and defending what could be literally thousands of starbases. The system worked like so: whoever held a majority of the largest-size starbases present in the system could claim sov. This meant in an un-contested system nobody cared about, it was possible to hold sov with a single, small POS (which cost almost nothing to set up or maintain). If an attacker then brought in two small POS (more than you) or a single medium POS (sets a new threshold for “largest POS in system), they could claim sov. Once this escalated up to large-sized towers (which cost more to buy, took more time to erect, and burned four times as much fuel iirc as a small POS), the defender eventually needed to keep over 50% of the moons in a system occupied by online, large POS: depending on the system, this could impose significant financial and pure logistical strain on the defender, as some particularly-nasty systems can have over a hundred moons!

      Combine these factors with alliances being highly motivated to block all moons (to prevent hostiles from attaining a beachhead from which to attack sov), and the fact that POS required something like ten different commodities to be constantly re-supplied as fuel (all in particular ratios by the way) and the fact that in most cases a defending logistician would be required to physically access tower structures to adjust Strontium levels ~*during an attack*~ in order to ensure convenient reinforcement timers, and you begin to understand the magnitude of human effort required to defend entire regions. No easymode “fuel blocks” to simplify logistics. No “select a calendar time and forget it” reinforcement timers. Just a thousand, thousand tasks that all needed to be done by actual humans in real time traversing real space.

      This is how you limit people’s ambitions: not arbitrary caps and exclusions and stupid fucking rules– just make stuff hard to do! People absolutely will factor in the sheer annoyances of logistical nightmares into min-maxing their territorial footprint. Now, it also must be said that POS warfare didn’t prevent the formation of big empires with vast territorial holdings (as we know, highly-organized and well-manned orgs can accomplish more than CCP anticipate), but that’s not to say that the requirements on this system (or a similar one) couldn’t be tweaked periodically to rebalance :effort: ratios and encourage different territory sizes.

      I really can’t stand the style of development CCP’s current crop of game designers are fond of, with these arbitrary damage caps, structures that instantaneously auto-repair, and various other nonsensical, band-aid mechanics designed to force players to play the game CCP envision it. I feel like an open-ended system limited only by players’ imaginations and willingness to sustain massive organizational efforts is fairer. At the end of the day, there’s no system that will ever render EVE-O’s mythical “little guy” able to act as a relevant nullsec power. The best we should be hoping for is a system that gives everyone a shot, enables the most-organized players to do amazing things, and simultaneously suggests that the greatest achievements may not be worth their human cost 😀

      July 17, 2019 at 1:47 am
  • Bozo

    That was a fantastic article, thank you for writing it.

    July 16, 2019 at 11:06 am
  • JB 1969

    Short version: The game was built around the concept of being Cruiser centric. It was the idea that one person could fly a decent sized ship and control all the system with some super power pod technology.

    But, then they wanted more things, They went two ways the game logic path, Better cruisers/Frigates/Destroyers Tech 2 and eventually tech 3, add a oversize cruiser aka Battle cruiser and finally Battleships which are oversize just like frigates are undersized.

    Then capitals creeped in because well they are cool. The problem is Capitals are either pointless OR they break the one pilot rock paper scissors dynamic. Super Cpitals made it worse. Since capital/super capitals exist, bases need to take that into consideration in their design, Since we have capitals we need minerals to make them, some of those ways to get those minerals are easy to bot.

    Yes, capitals as combat and mining ships effed the game. But, no you can not have my carrier.

    July 16, 2019 at 5:21 pm
    • Guilford Australis JB 1969

      Your last sentence perfectly captures why capital/supercapital proliferation is an impassable stalemate. Everyone in nullsec agrees – in the abstract – that caps and supers are out of hand and need to be severely reduced in both numbers and capabilities. But no one is willing to give up (or suffer a nerf to) his own caps and supers – or those of his alliance.

      It’s built into the ideals of the game. EVE has always been about writing one’s own story, and for most people that means developing from a rank highsec pubbie into a supercapital-flying killing machine. No one joins EVE thinking, “Maybe one day I’ll graduate from running L3 missions in highsec to flying a… Jackdaw in nullsec.” So there’s the catch: If CCP severely reduces the number and capabilities of supercarriers and titans, there’s less draw for new players to join EVE in the first place or leave highsec once they join.

      July 17, 2019 at 2:06 pm
      • I know that is why put last sentence in.

        Problem is the Caps need to be “awesome” or they are pointless. And in a world where you eventually get there proliferation gets truly silly. Super Caps are at the moment actually kinda of walled off, since they really need a Keep star and Roqural infrastructure help get there and those require Super caps to defend. but eventually that issue is worked out with spider chain of coalitions (or A LOT of Ratting income).

        July 17, 2019 at 2:23 pm
        • Guilford Australis JB 1969

          The first time it occurred to me that capital proliferation was unsustainable was when I moved from Provi-bloc (which had few capitals and maybe two titans in the entire coalition) to RAZOR, which required every pilot in the alliance to be carrier-capable and own a combat carrier. We were allowed a six-month grace period to train up and buy the hardware. And this is RAZOR – not exactly a military superpower. It seemed ridiculous that the default combat platform for an average nullsec alliance was capital or larger.

          This seemed quaint once I moved to Goonswarm and learned that The Mittani wants a shield titan and an armor titan in every hangar.

          July 17, 2019 at 2:31 pm
          • Yep, the issue is always how many hard core members can you get. Those are the really limiting factor, and once you got one they need to me able to leverage the fact they will be there with as much capacity as possible and that means Super caps.

            I simply will not be that available (rl and all), so I am in effect barred from that end, as is much of our alliance, however if REALLY pressed to support out Coalition our runt alliance could likely put a handful of supers and a 100+ carriers/dreads out, We are nobodies, and we are years out of reach of what newbs can do. That is a problem,

            July 17, 2019 at 2:44 pm
  • Willem

    I’ve been away from EVE for like 5 years this whole blackout thing has brought me back into EVE.
    All these stations are a fucking joke who’s idea was that ?!?
    These things are lame as fuck any krap is like ow ship on dscan lets warp to one of the 12 stations in system and be save as fuck.
    Holy shit everyone and their mother has a station these things are dirt cheap EVE universe is fucking littered with them.
    POS’es weren’t perfect but holy shit they were a million times better then this garbage.
    Asset safety… seriously ?!? This is EVE ?!?
    Unlimited resources… seriously ?!? This is EVE ?!?
    Nothing left to fight over.. seriously ?!? This is EVE ?!?
    3/4 of the server is fucking Goon… seriously ?!? This is EVE ?!?
    The only good change i found so far since the 5 years i left is the fix for off grid pvp boosters.. that shit was for pussies and it’s good it’s gone.

    July 17, 2019 at 9:56 am
    • Guilford Australis Willem

      So, uh… back to another five-year break, then?

      The essence of the article is that the ‘blackout’ is an experiment rather than a tool for fixing all the problems of EVE. Implemented in isolation, it’s little more than a gimmick and will not meaningfully change the balance of the game. CCP is unwilling to confront the big-picture problems with EVE (preferring instead to pretend to fix problems with poorly-developed half measures and a promise to ‘monitor progress’ or whatever).

      EVE is never going back to what it was like before Aegis Sov because CCP lacks the resolve to make meaningful changes to game balance – and they rightly fear that their dwindling player base would collapse if they went too far. CCP knows there isn’t some phantom population out there just waiting to join (or rejoin) EVE if only the archaic mechanics of 2006 would come back. I suppose the five veterans who excitedly re-subbed at that point could enjoy shooting each other… because they’d be the only ones left.

      July 17, 2019 at 1:31 pm
      • Nah i will try to enjoy what time EVE has left for now or i will regret it later
        when the servers are shutdown.
        Seeing how the player count has dropped this wont be to far into the future sadly ;(
        Still the count is not bad if you consider players are basicly playing minicraft in space right now. everyone sits on piles of isk and are just buiding and mining into oblivion.
        EVE has fallen to the casuals something i’d never thought would happen not to EVE but i geuss everyone does have their price even CCP

        July 17, 2019 at 1:57 pm
      • I don’t know that I’d go that far at all. In fact, I’d say implementing it in isolation is a better sign than people might think. One of the big problems CCP’s always had is they change 3-4 things at once, and then misread the impact, because they don’t know what change caused which effect. If they want to fix things, this is definitely the better way to gather information about things.

        Really, I think CCP’s got serious potential to grow the game, if they commit to a good 2-3 years of testing and implementation, along with improvements to the engine and client (which they’ve been working on). The biggest things that keep newbies from staying are almost certainly the piss-poor presentation of info and the unengaging PvE they’re presented right off the bat.

        July 20, 2019 at 1:08 pm
        • Guilford Australis Arrendis

          I stated the point inarticulately and meant – in light of the comment I was responding to (which has been deleted, apparently) – that the local chat blackout is an isolated part of the nullsec landscape. Obviously, structure spam, coalition aggregation, and the trend toward risk-aversion aren’t addressed by the loss of local chat, as the original commenter apparently expected when he supposedly resubscribed after a five-year break.

          CCP is doing exactly what you describe, though. Between the Drifters, blackout, previous VNI/Carrier/Fighter/Anom spawn nerfs and this week’s VNI ultra-nerf (for PVE), who can say whether the current 2006-level login metrics relate to any one change or rather reflect discomfort with too many changes in too short a duration?

          July 20, 2019 at 1:19 pm
  • Romulus Loches

    I absolutely love the idea of changing the use of supers and titans to being moveable deployment platforms, but sadly it won’t happen. The next best option of blowing them up would be cool, or maybe having stacking penalties for more than X number of them on grid together.

    July 17, 2019 at 3:38 pm
  • Krowez

    I honestly came here to read an article full of bias with regards to the blackout. I am happy to be proven wrong. thank you for the good read.

    July 18, 2019 at 7:00 am
    • Arrendis Krowez

      I generally try to avoid getting deep into the bias stuff. I mean, we all have our own ingrained biases—the things we see and experience are colored by our situations, after all. But interacting with a bunch of people outside that group, talking with them, discussing things with them, that all helps to overcome those biases and give a broader perspective from which to write.

      July 20, 2019 at 6:58 am
  • xyaeiounn .

    Just got here from a thread on reddit saying some potato-tier rubbish about how this must be all false because it doesn’t fit on a t-shirt. Typical reddit bleating. This is one of the better articles on eve and nullsec i’ve ever read, well done.

    July 19, 2019 at 12:56 am
  • Kawira

    Imo CCP should remove all command boosters and make Titans and Supercaps flagships. Each with their own bonuses and limited to 1 per fleet otherwise their modules malfunction or something

    July 20, 2019 at 5:22 pm
  • > And though there’s already a chorus forming of ‘good riddance’, it’s no secret that fewer people in the game means fewer people in space. It’s the entire reason CCP introduced Alpha clones.

    Fewer people in Null*, it doesn’t affect much else. And tbh, it means its more likely more diverse entities will try this new, shaken system not unlike WHers did back when it first was introduced.

    > What we don’t have is reasons to risk.

    Absolutely. Which is what small groups have; the risk of being evicted. I propose a subcap ship whose sole role is to destroy Supercaps. Oh hellow there Triglavian ships that punch upwards. Or a module/ammo that functions particularly well against large sig / stationary targets. Ofc, this also means large groups will also field these kinds of things. Numbers can be hard to balance around.

    > Mothership idea

    Eh. I’m pretty sure CCP discussed this back when people wanted destroyable stations (which they rewrote the entire game to achieve? or something, idr). It’d crash the game or something. These days might be more doable. But it must be pretty boring to be flying a mobile base as opposed to doing something with it. I do like the idea of a super being able to enter a WH with an entire fleet (and pilots) docked within it, though. The Titan idea by comparison is much less impressive.

    Alternative idea: make supercaps require more than one character to operate it completely. This obviously favours groups who can afford to lose members, but as you say. What small group has titans and supers anyway?

    July 22, 2019 at 1:08 pm
  • jb

    great article. makes some very good points.

    July 23, 2019 at 2:48 am
  • Confused

    One question, what good is our Counsel if CCP doesn’t consult it?

    July 30, 2019 at 10:37 pm
  • Dimitris

    Hello, just one more idea. Why not make supercaps skill linked lime t3 cruisers. Like if you loose your cap you loose skills and cant fly it again for 1month or something

    August 19, 2019 at 11:27 am