Drone Aggression Nerf and Tech II Salvage Drones Arrive in EVE Online

It is patch day in New Eden again and the big item is the drone behavior change CCP mentioned in the forums two weeks back.  From the Patch Notes:

  • The ‘Aggressive’ behavior setting of drones will now only cause drones to respond to direct offensive actions taken by another Capsuleer (player) or their controlled drones. Drones will no longer automatically attack NPCs when their behavior is set to aggressive.

This means you can no longer belt rat, rub Abyssal pockets, defend your mining ship, run missions, or clear null sec anomalies by setting your drones to “aggressive” and letting them do their thing.  Drones will still attack live players, but you will have to target NPCs and send your drones to attack them one by one.  Learn to unironically press F.

That last, null sec anomalies, is the obvious target of the change and is the latest is a long round of nerfs to sov null space. The stated objective is to make ratting a game play style that requires attention.  But that seems to miss the point people have made in the past, which was that if it were interesting game play people would pay attention in the first place.

Players who just ran anomalies while AFK will stop while botting scripts will get updated to target and carry on.  In the end this cunning plan will likely allow CCP to ban anybody caught running anomalies because they will almost assuredly be bots.

Meanwhile, the joy of last month’s Dynamic Bounty System has now spread:

  • The Dynamic Bounty System (DBS) is now active across all Low Security solar systems.

That might actually be a net benefit to the few people who collect bounties in Low Sec on a regular basis.

There have also been some tweaks to CCP’s mineral starvation plan.

  • Added a guaranteed anomaly containing Arkonor and Bistot to all Null Sec systems.
  • Added an extra guaranteed anomaly containing Arkonor and Bistot for systems with true sec between 0.0 and -0.5.
  • Added guaranteed anomaly containing Jaspet to all Low Sec systems.
  • Updated rules governing the distribution of ice anomalies. After an ice anomaly is cleared it will now be reseeded randomly in any of the systems where ice is known to spawn. More than one ice anomaly may exist in the same system.

So there might be a bit more ore in a system near you.  Low sec still seems like a dubious mining destination as I would expect anomalies, if not camped, to be checked regularly by passing PvP players looking for easy kills.

Then there is the big gimme of the patch, CCP has introduced Tech II salvage drones, much to the joy of Dunk Dinkle who has been asking for them for ages.  I am reasonably certain he ran for CSM previously just so he could lobby CCP for them in person.  And now he has his drones.

Image stolen from his Twitter feed

We actually get TWO new types of salvage drones, Tech II and faction, the latter in obvious recognition of somebody.

  • The Salvage Drone II Blueprint can be invented from the Salvage Drone I Blueprint.
  • ‘The Dunk’ Salvage Drone Blueprint can be purchased from the ORE LP store.

With a Tech II drone that means there is now a Salvage Drone Specialization skill that you will have to train up to go with them.  Fortunately, unlike a lot of such skills, you won’t need to get it via LP, you can buy it straight from the character sheet.

CCP also tweaked the Active Defense Multiplier (ADM) system which dictates vulnerability and entosis duration when you are attacking a system.

  • Increased Activity Defense Multiplier (ADM) Industry modifier to make it easier to increase and sustain high industry ADM.
  • Increased ADM Military modifier to increase the delta between where the ADM drops to level 4 and the value where the Dynamic Bounty System reduces the output of the system.

For years the message from null sec has been that Fozzie Sov favors the attacker and, now, in the middle of a war, they decided to change it.  I’ll be interested to see who each faction thinks this will favor.  Does it favor Goons, who are on the defensive?  Or does it favor PAPI as they now hold so many ihubs in Delve that will more difficult to take back.  I’ll let them fight that out on /r/eve and the forums.

The Patch Notes also indicate that full Japanese localization is now live in the client.  I wish I could read enough Japanese to follow the forum thread that will point out the unfortunate errors.

Finally, the award for most cryptic entry in the Patch Notes goes to:

  • Updated Daily Login Rewards to make getting Skillpoints more visceral and understandable.

I don’t know what it means, but I guess I’ll find out when I hit the 30 day login reward.  But my gut says that giving people something for just logging in is never going to be “visceral” in any sense of the word.

Otherwise, there are the usual range of fixes that go into any update.  That patch has gone live and the information is at the usual locations below:

5 thoughts on “Drone Aggression Nerf and Tech II Salvage Drones Arrive in EVE Online

  1. anypo8

    The drone aggression nerf is just a huge gamble for CCP. So many players support multiple accounts by AFK or semi-AFK ratting. If they all quit ratting, that will go a long way toward solving the ISK supply problem in the economy. If they all quit the game, the knock-on effects may create a real ISK$ supply problem for CCP. I think a lot of those folks buy SKINs and injectors; also a sudden mass subscription drop could create a real death spiral for the game.

    It will be interesting to see how this tiny change compares to Blackout in effect. My suspicion is that, like Blackout, CCP will revert it fairly quickly after all the ratting players sit out and wait to see if they need to quit. I’m not sure how many of these the game can handle in quick succession, though.

    Your point about botters is what I was thinking too. I think somewhat the same with missioning, probably: my experience with it has been that jumping to the next stage and waiting for the drones to do their thing is what makes it tolerable.

    The other Reddit thread that caught my eye yesterday is that apparently there are now HS wormholes to Triglavian space, which has dramatically decreased explo especially for new players. The ECM nerfs also really hurt explo: it’s looking less and less like a viable solo playstyle, which is really too bad.

    Interesting times.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @nevilfreak – indeed.

    @anypo8 – It is a strange time too. Due to the pandemic the player count has been up regardless of what CCP has done, so there isn’t exactly a solid feedback loop the way there was with the blackout where the weekly peak concurrent dropped from ~30K to as low as ~24K. And we had some big battles in Delve in October which helped goose the PCU some. But now it is starting to slide again. What will it look like when the war is over and we can all go out in public again?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nogamara

    Actually funny to read those patch notes because to my impression “aggressive” for drones has been bugged 50% of the time anyway. Or maybe I had been misunderstanding it the whole time, I don’t rat but in a mining Procurer it always felt odd…


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    The drone aggression change apparently broke drone assist, so CCP Paradox just posted to the forums:

    Hi everyone,

    A lot of healthy conversation surrounding the recent drone change is happening and we have been monitoring and discussing your feedback internally.

    Our goal is to make PvE activities with drones a more attentive player experience that relies less on low or no attention gameplay moving forward, but the unintended impact on how the drone assist functions in certain scenarios is something we are not happy with. For this reason, we will be changing the drone behavior back to how it was before Tuesday’s patch in an upcoming deployment. We should have news for you on timing tomorrow.

    We gathered a lot of valuable data and feedback from you and the CSM in the last couple of weeks on this matter and would like to thank everyone who shared their thoughts with us.

    Fly safe! o7


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