We expect the impact of these changes to be emergent, and as a consequence are unpredictable and will take a while to develop on TQ [Tranquility, the EVE Online live server]. This plays into our longer-term plans…
CCP Greyscale, Long-Distance Travel Changes Inbound
Oh, we’ve spent a lazy summer, with no major sovereignty war to occupy us, going on and on about how null sec is broken and how it ought to be fixed. The problems and potential solutions have been enumerated, argued over, compared, contrasted, discarded, and picked up again and again while CCP, long aware of the situation, has largely been quiet. They have been busy with other business, but with the Phoebe expansion now next on the agenda, which we can expect at some point next month (because there isn’t enough stuff dropping in November already), null sec is now on the agenda.
The first dev blog has been posted and it is a doozy.
CCP is planning to bring changes to null sec in multiple phases. Later phases will include things like sovereignty mechanics and the like. But the initial phase is going straight after power projection and the apex force with a one-two punch around travel.
Caps and supercaps will have their jump drive range limited to 5 light years. That is the distance you’ll be able to go with max skills. No word yet on how that will scale up if you only have jump drive calibration III trained, but the max distance jump will be five.
And the second blow is jump fatigue. Now, via another mathematical formula, you will accrue jump fatigue… if you’re an old-school EQII player, think experience debt applied to travel I guess… which will act as a way to limit how soon you can perform your next jump. Fatigue builds up based on how far you have jumped.
So there will be two new timers. The first counts down until you can jump next, while the other keeps track of your accumulated jump fatigue, the latter being used to calculate the next round of the former after each jump.
The stated goal is to make any travel using jump drive technology… which includes jump bridges… take longer than travel by gates past the 20 light year mark by basically putting an ever increasing timer between jumps. CCP loves timers. There are formulas and samples in the Dev Blog which I hope have been corrected by this point, as there were errors initially.
There are a couple of mitigation to this. To keep the
spice flowing supply lines open to null sec, Jump Freighters and Rorquals will get a special 90% reduction in the jump distance used in the fatigue calculation. And, to keep caps and supercaps moving, they will now be allowed to use jump gates in null and low sec.
How do I frame this to get across to a non-EVE player how this feels to your typical null sec capital ship pilot? I suppose this is about the equivalent of Blizzard limiting flying mounts to a half a zone in travel, putting a timer on travel between flight points, but letting all your flying mounts act like ground mounts to compensate.
Wait, isn’t that almost the plan for Warlords of Draenor?
Anyway, this has caused a lot of drama. No kidding, right? Emotions are running high and the comment threads on the announcements over at The Mittani and EVE News 24 are full of woe, while the threadnaught on the official forums is a joy if your goal in life is to see supercap pilots delivering “I quit!” messages.
But what does it really mean? I have no special insight, but I can take a few guesses.
The first guess is that the plan for Phoebe will be altered before it goes live. The proposed industry changes for Kronos got pushed out to the next expansion when it got this sort of “the sky is falling” reaction. That said, I don’t think it will be changed drastically, if only because CCP tends to throw things against the wall in the forums, but once it is a Dev Blog they are fixed on a target. I suspect a cap on jump fatigue will be an early change.
The second is that the status quo won’t change. Phoebe will not usher in the fall of the mighty null sec empires. The same sovereignty mechanics apply, and as slow as capital ships will move, they will still be able to respond to a timer. Instead the empires will optimize for the new system, the same as they have always done. For example, I expect a new jump bridge network layout that makes the best use of those 5 light year jumps and is spaced to minimize fatigue. It will even be easier for GSOL to maintain.
I can probably foresee us spending more time in interceptor fleets moving across space to link up with pre-positioned equipment. Technically, the CFC pilots should have fleet ships in Deklein, Delve, and Fountain already, but I am guessing that most do not. That might have to change. And since jump clones aren’t being touched yet, the argument for pre-positioned equipment is increased.
Finally, the CFC seems to be the best positioned to absorb this change, being made up of alliances that are spread over our territory and actually live in the locations they hold. Also, we’re already a subcap heavy group, so expect us to just blob on as we always have. In fact, the first thing that came to mind was the old joke where the genie tells a guy he can have a wish, but whatever he wishes for his enemy will get double. So the guy wishes for the genie to beat him half to death.
In the longer term… well, we shall see. But I suspect that changes to the sovereignty mechanics will have to come into play before anything big happens. And what CCP is saying on that front is not incompatible with the Null Deal proposal that was put out this week by the null sec stakeholders.
What else do you think this means?
Of course, others are also looking at these changes. I will link them as I find them so we can go back later and see who had the best insight further down the road.