Back in June at EVE North one of the things that CCP announced that they had in the works was a planned nerf of the Vexor Navy Issue, the ubiquitous ratting ride across all of null sec. Nosy Gamer has a summary of CCP’s EVE North statements.
A dev blog followed that up up last week with more details as to how the VNI problem would be addressed.
The problem itself is that a single hull had become generally accepted as the right answer for null sec anomaly ratting to the point that it is rare to see anything else. The hull was also usable by Alpha clones, meaning that disposable accounts could be used to snuffle up ratting ISK, and if the account was run by a bot, caught and banned, the perpetrator could just roll up a new account and start over.
The approach to taking on the VNI scourge was two-fold.
First, to change the VNI to make it more of a railgun platform by adding in bonuses for that while reducing the drone control bandwidth so it couldn’t field the full flight of heavy drones it had before.
Second, to reduce drone skills available to Alpha clones so that it is more difficult to AFK rat with drones. Those changes were:
- Reducing Heavy Drone Operation from level IV to level III
- Reducing Medium Drone Operation from level V to level IV
- Reducing Drone Interfacing from level IV to level III
The VNI would remain a decent ship, just not for unattended ratting, and especially not for Alpha clones.
That was what was under discussion per the dev blog, which came out last week. However, people logged in today to find that the VNI and Alpha clone changes had been applied without much in the way of notice. The update was appended to the June release patch notes.
This move was unexpected for two reasons.
First, CCP generally saves these sorts of changes for monthly updates. They get announced, mulled over in the forums for a couple of weeks, get a final dev blog, and become part of the release. They generally don’t just show up randomly on a Thursday unannounced.
Second, there was a feeling that that CCP wouldn’t bother with the VNI nerf until the local channel blackout in null sec had run for a while. Part of the appeal of the blackout to many in null sec was going out and blowing up VNIs. Why make them even more scarce when they are such appealing targets?
But there we go. The nerf hit today and people were surprised. CCP moves in mysterious was. I heard that earlier today CCP Falcon blew off a scheduled meeting with CSM9.