Tag Archives: Forsaken Fortress

Shooting Our Own Structures in Delve

As I posted last Friday, the Forsaken Fortress update has led to a plethora of structures ending up in the new “abandoned” state, which means that they can be killed without any intervening timers and there is no asset safety, so all the stuff inside drops into space and can be looted.

The latter represented a considerable shift in policy for CCP, which had previously said that nobody would trust Upwell structures if you could lose all your stuff from them.  Times change.

So there were suddenly structures in the “abandoned” state all over New Eden, including down in Delve.  While alliance structures are maintained by GSOL, and active corps maintain their own, there were apparently some alt corp structures about that had been left untended and unfueled, which left the coalition with a choice.

They could leave them be, which would be an invitation to outsiders and random passers by to try and kill them and carry off the loot, or we could kill them and loot them ourselves.

I suppose the post title gives away which option was selected.

The Mittani announced on the Saturday Fireside that we would be purging abandoned structures in our territory.  Attempts had been made to contact the various owners, and shooting blues wasn’t anybody’s first choice, but letting somebody else get the kills and the drops was declared to be worse, so we would be blowing them up.

The announced plan was to nationalize the loot.  We would go from structure to structure, blowing them up, while GSOL followed behind to haul off the drops to be processed, re-used, or sold off, with proceeds going into the SRP fund.

After the Fireside a fleet went up to start in on the job.  It was a Muninn fleet, and all I had handy for that was a Scimitar, but you can always throw some combat drones in the drone bay, so I went along with that.  We shoved off to the first shoot.

Being bridged off to our first targets

The targets were an Azbel and a couple of Raitarus.

Abandoned Azbel

And Azbel is a large structure, so it took us a while, though we were able to hit the damage cap and still get some people to start on the other two structures.  With no opposition… nobody was going to jump into the gunner’s seat or rush to the defense… I even drove an alt out there in an Ibis just to get him on one of the kill mails.

An Ibis at a Raitaru destruction

Once the three were down came the dull bit, as we had to fly cover for GSOL to pick through the station hangars and pull out the good stuff.  Everybody’s individual station hangar gets kicked out with the destruction and is floating around in space.

A station hangar in the wild

We also had to listen to the FC warn people time and again not to go start grabbing loot for themselves.  Fortunately there were not too many hangars to go through, though it still took time.

The hangar containers around the Azbel as it explodes

After that was done we were off to a Fortizar a few systems over.  This was a different story.

The shoot went as expected and the whole thing blew up nicely.

I never get tired of these explosions

But this Fortizar was one of the early ones set down in Delve, which meant that a bunch of people had ended up using it over the years.  It was owned by an alt corp with one person in it, and that person, who apparently had gone missing.  It kicked out a lot of station hangars.

The hangar ball from the Fortizar

That is not nearly as many as the Hard Knocks Keepstar we blew up in wormhole space about a year and a half back, but it is still a sizable number of cans floating in the aftermath.

You might be able to spot the icons of ships… including freighters… checking through the containers.  All those yellow cans needed to be gone through.  And, as before the FCs had to warn off… and blow up in a few cases… people who just could not keep their hands off the loot.

Meanwhile, we sat there and watched.  Without much to occupy us, attention was on the loot spotted and the ships being ejected from the hangars.  I had to go into the “no chatter” channel to avoid that, after which I could only hear the command channel broadcasts to us, which were often asking people to stop talking about every ship that showed up on the overview.

To get at ships people had stored away, they have to be ejected into space… and there were a bunch of ships.

Ejected ships on the overview

You can tell they are unoccupied as the pilot name is the type of ship on the overview.  Also, being unpiloted, they show up as neutrals in space.  Some very big toys were discovered that way.

A Nomad jump freighter somebody left behind

And there were a few strange ones as well.

Wait, what?

I am not sure how you get an unoccupied capsule, but there it was floating in space.

We were occasionally tasked to warp out and blow up some of the ships that were not worth flying off.  This also became something of a fiasco.  People were quick to lock and shoot, so I didn’t bother launching drones, but some pilots couldn’t resist just shooting at whatever ship was on their overview despite.  Over and over voices from the command channel would tell people to only shoot broadcasted targets and then would start calling people out for shooting things that had not been broadcast.

The kill mails for these ships showed whose hangar they came from, which was another odd element as I saw a couple from people who I know are active.  I guess they didn’t get the in gaming warning about the impending destruction.  That seems about on par for this.

All in all it was quite trying and I ended up just docking up in another structure and playing Minecraft, still listening to FC coms in case something was needed, but otherwise unenthused by the op.  The FCs eventually stopped letting people shoot ships because a few people couldn’t follow instructions.  It was painful to listen to.

I feel for the GSOL team, who had to slowly pick through all of those cans in space.  The haul was said to be impressive, but it is dull work… though not as dull as having to just sit and watch it.  After the three hour mark we got a PAP.  The fleet was going to carry on in a semi-permanent state until they had hit all the structures on the abandoned list, but I was done with that for the day.  I flew back home.

The work carried on.  There were more structures to take care of, though not as many as in high sec space, where the big stories about this have been focused. I hope there were not too many more as full as that Fortizar.  GSOL was being worked hard to take care of just one structure like that.

And it is all a side effect of the changes CCP made with the Forsaken Fortress patch.

Why We Had Asset Safety in the First Place

…we have to accept the fact no one will want to store items… in one of the new structures if they can be destroyed and lost on a whim.

And that is how asset safety was born.

I Feel Safe in Citadel City dev blog, August 2015

Back in the day, back before Upwell structures, back when we had conquerable stations out in null sec, CCP identified a problem with those stations.

Back then, if you were in a null sec group and you took a break from the game, you might return to find that your alliance, coalition, or allies had lost their space or moved or whatever.  That meant that anything you left in the station you were living out of might be controlled by another group.  Your stuff would be locked away in a hostile station.

EVE Online Curse Deployment

The old station at G-0Q86 as a visual

And that was seen… and rightly so… as a disincentive to people returning to the game.

I know that my old pal Gaff stopped playing EVE Online before the Casino War and only came back after the Imperium had settled in Delve.  All of his stuff was still up in a station in Deklein.  He had blueprints and subcaps and capitals and all the things that collect in your hangar when you stay in one place for even a few weeks.

He was a case in point of the issue.

So when CCP introduced citadels into the game, they were going to fix this problem, and the solution was asset safety.  This, and the fact that your assets would be gone if you lost a citadel, citadels being destroyable as opposed to capturable, were selling points for the new Upwell structure plan.  If you came back to the game after a time away you were never going to find your stuff locked up and inaccessible again.  Nor would you come back to find them simply gone.  Yes, it might be in an awkwardly located low sec station if had a structure blown up, and sure you might have to pay some ISK to get it back, but you could get it.  Anything really valuable to you could be recovered without having to launch war to take a region simply to recover that Curor you left behind last time.

Null sec was covered.  And when they finally converted the null sec stations to Fortizar, stuff locked up for ages was all recoverable via asset safety.  Gaff can get his stuff back if he wants it. (He has tried, but you have to actually go to the station where your stuff is to deal with it is another tale.)

So citadels solved that problem for null sec.

In wormhole space, where there were no stations (Thera doesn’t count), players had been living out of player owned starbases (the dreaded POS) and had never had a safe place to store their stuff, so not giving them asset safety seemed to make sense.

And in low and high sec, empire space, there are a plethora of NPC stations that are always accessible, so you’ll never lose your stuff and have it locked away from you.  But they got asset safety as well because it seemed to be the right fit.

But Upwell structures brought their own issues to the game.  They changed the dynamics of play, with tethering and their defenses and the long, three pass timer system that was required to destroy them.  And, of course, the sprang up everywhere.  They were like space mushrooms.  So CCP started tweaking them slowly over time, trying to find a new balance that would sate those complaining about their various issues.

One issue that came up over time was the litter of low power, essentially abandoned citadels all over space.  The three timer system meant blowing them up was a pain, so CCP changed things so that unfueled citadels only required two timers.

That was not enough though.  And so, at the end of last month, we got the Forsaken Fortress update.  This introduced a new “abandoned” state for Upwell structures that had not been fueled for the past seven days.  The timer on that started when the patch went live and so structures began to hit that state this week.  Once in the “abandoned” state, the following became true:

  • It will skip the Hull Reinforcement phase. This means it has no reinforcement cycles at all, and can be destroyed in a single attack session. (Damage caps will continue to apply as normal. Normal war-dec/CONCORD rules continue to apply)
  • It does not have any tethering capability at all.
  • If it explodes, an abandoned structure will not push any items into asset safety whatsoever. All assets located the structure are eligible to drop as loot. (This will be the same behaviour as a current wormhole structure)
    • Note that as long as the structure is still in space, you can still manually push your assets into asset safety as normal.
    • When a structure is close to becoming abandoned, all characters/corporations with assets in the structure will receive a notification that their assets are potentially at risk.
    • Unanchoring an abandoned structure will push all assets into asset safety as normal. The loot drop only applies to exploding abandoned structures.

The key item in that is the removal of asset safety, which I must admit at first glace I thought would be kind of fun.  I have been to wormhole citadel kills in the past when structures have dropped all sorts of loot.  It was a good time.

The loot ball from a Keepstar kill

But that was in wormhole space where asset safety was never a thing, so loss of assets is common and expected.

But now, with this change we’re seeing some asset losses in high sec that are rather astronomical in scope, to make the obvious pun.  Caches of tech II BPOs as well as an alliance tournament ship, both worth many billions of ISK, have fallen out of “abandoned” citadels.  Hell, it has just been raining blueprints and other items all over. (Oh my, a CODE stash.)

These were likely left there by people who took a break from the game when asset safety was guaranteed and now are going to come back and find they have lost their valuable assets. (Basically, if you were not paying close attention between the April 24th announcement that this was coming and this week, you might have missed it.)  This is arguably worse than having them locked away in a hostile station in null sec.  You can work a deal, find a friend (or a spy), or, you know, launch that invasion to get them back.  But these are gone forever.

Of course, the player coming back might not know they’ve lost everything right away because the game is still sending out asset safety notifications when “abandoned” structures are destroyed.  As for CCP sending out an email to players about this change coming… you know, a bit of warning that you might lose your stuff… well, some people said they got one, but I haven’t seen one across six accounts, so that seems like a bad sign.  I did, however, get notes from them about the EVE Portal Jita PLEX market update, the latest stage of the Triglavian invasion, and offers related to buying PLEX or items from the merch store, so they are sending out messages.

And this isn’t even all that random.  All of these structures are duplicated in full over on the test server, so people have been knocking over citadels there to see which ones are worth blowing up on the main server.

CCP, which was so worried about people not coming back because their stuff was locked away in an inaccessible null sec station, has now created a situation where people are going to come back and find all of their work over the years has been taken.

Oddly, you cannot even excuse CCP for having forgotten that assets were an issue in the past because they made a special exemption for the faction Fortizars that replaced the old null sec stations.  They clearly still want some people to be able to find their stuff when they return to the game… but apparently null sec people are the only ones they worry about.  I don’t know, maybe that is what you get with a null sec CSM.

Long experience in the genre indicates that people take breaks, but come back to games because they have something to show for their past investment of time.  Your installed base is an irreplaceable asset, even when their not playing at the moment.  But if they come back and figure out that CCP has pulled the carpet out from under them and allowed other players to walk away huge amounts of their stuff… that will break the tether with the game.  Some players will leave and won’t come back due to this.

But CCP loves to see destruction, they are being supported by the loudest voices in the community on this, and they seem focused mostly on new player retention in any case, so I doubt we’ll see any response at all from the company when it comes to players feeling like they got screwed.  And this EVE Online.  Don’t fly… or dock… what you cannot afford to lose.

Others on this topic:

The Forsaken Fortress Update comes to EVE Online

CCP announced the Forsaken Fortress update a almost a month ago, which is a long lead time for them these days.  We got that and some more today.

Forsaken Fortress Day

The plan here was, once more, to reduce structure spam in New Eden by making unattended Upwell structures easier to blow up.  This adds on to the Kicking over Castles changes that we got back in December. (Along with the odious HyperNet Relay spam and scam platform.)

The idea is that if an Upwell structure has not consumed any fuel for seven days, it will enter a new “abandoned” state.  Once a structure enters this new state, the following will be true:

  • It will skip the Hull Reinforcement phase. This means it has no reinforcement cycles at all, and can be destroyed in a single attack session. (Damage caps will continue to apply as normal. Normal war-dec/CONCORD rules continue to apply)
  • It does not have any tethering capability at all.
  • If it explodes, an abandoned structure will not push any items into asset safety whatsoever. All assets located the structure are eligible to drop as loot. (This will be the same behaviour as a current wormhole structure)
    • Note that as long as the structure is still in space, you can still manually push your assets into asset safety as normal.
    • When a structure is close to becoming abandoned, all characters/corporations with assets in the structure will receive a notification that their assets are potentially at risk.
    • Unanchoring an abandoned structure will push all assets into asset safety as normal. The loot drop only applies to exploding abandoned structures.

This also applies to normal and flex structures, each of which apparently now requires a flow chart to figure out what happens under which set of circumstances.

Life cycle of the standard Upwell structure – Click to view full size

Life cycle of an Upwell Flex structure – Click to view full size

The following changes have also been made around this update.

  • The five faction citadels introduced as replacements for Outposts and Conquerable Stations (Moreau, Draccous, Horizon, Marginis, and Prometheus fortizars) are exempt from the asset safety penalty, because they have a special bonus meaning that they will never transition to Abandoned. These citadels can remain in a Low Power state indefinitely.
  • The Structure Browser window lists a corporation’s own structures. This will now include an indication of which structures are Low Power and which are Abandoned.
  • The Asset Browser window will highlight any structures containing your personal assets which are currently Low Power or Abandoned. You are advised to consider pushing your assets in Abandoned structures into asset safety, as otherwise they are at risk of sudden loss.
  • When a structure is forced into Low Power mode as a result of entering a Hull Repair/Reinforcement cycle, it will now internally remember which service modules were online at the time. If it survives and returns to full health, it will automatically make an attempt to re-online those service modules (provided that it has sufficient fuel to cover the onlining cost).
  • All these changes apply equally to FLEX structures as well as regular structures. So for example, Jump Bridges and Cyno Jammer/Beacon structures will automatically re-online their service modules, and thus re-enable their specific functionalities, after surviving an attack.
  • Structures that are Low Power on patch day will begin their 7-8 day countdown as soon as the server is restarted.

 

It is hard to decide which is the biggest change for this new structure state.  The lack of timers makes them quick to kill, the lack of tethering makes them more difficult to defend, and the lack of automatic asset safety makes them irresistible loot pinatas.

I suspect that we will see a surge in kills as people hunt down structures in the new abandoned state in a week.

You will still need a war dec to shoot a structure in high security space, but that seems like a low bar.

In addition to that, we also got an armor hardener tiericide to try and make armor hardener names and stats fit into a regular pattern.  The list of modules that were touched is long, so you’ll have to browse the patch notes for that.

In addition, there were also revisions to the armor repair unit, shield hardener, and shield booster tiericide passes to tweak the values across the various module flavors.  Again, longs lists in the patch notes, but I will note this item, since it will probably confuse people for a while:

  • All Adaptive Invulnerability Shield Hardeners have been renamed to Multispectrum Shield Hardeners

They have also done away with “anti” in the names.

The armor and shield rigs that provide damage bonuses were renamed in order to make it clear exactly what they do.  Their names were also changes to remove the “anti” prefix, so they all look more affirmative and, since there are only eight, I’ll copy and paste that list:

  • Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer → EM Shield Reinforcer
  • Anti-Explosive Screen Reinforcer → Explosive Shield Reinforcer
  • Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer → Kinetic Shield Reinforcer
  • Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer → Thermal Shield Reinforcer
  • Anti-EM Pump → EM Armor Reinforcer
  • Anti-Explosive Pump → Explosive Armor Reinforcer
  • Anti-Kinetic Pump → Kinetic Armor Reinforcer
  • Anti-Thermal Pump → Thermal Armor Reinforcer

And then there was this one-liner in the mix:

Removed mining asteroids from non-mining, Null Sec Combat Anomalies.

I guess CCP is serious about closing the door on minerals.  I don’t know how big of an impact that will make, but every little bit hurts.  I’ll get to the April MER later this week.

And, finally, there is the final chapter of the Triglavian saga, which doesn’t get very much mention in the patch notes either, relative to how much CCP has been hyping it up:

The next chapter of the Triglavian Invasion will unfold over the coming months.

Seriously, if you glance at how CCP is pitching this update, you’d think Triglavians were all there were.  The patch notes are officially named after this.

The official logo celebrating the single sentence above

There is a news post announcing it, but details are sparse there as well.  So look for that I guess.

There were the usual series of smaller fixes and tweaks.  You can see them all in the patch notes.  Would it kill CCP to pick a naming scheme for patch notes and stick with it?  The “month year” pattern seemed about right, since they update the patch notes during the month some times.  But now the pattern is “day month” when that title will become inaccurate with the first revision.  Oh well.  It is probably better than the “name every patch” idea that ran for a while.

The updates page is still there, but isn’t all that useful.  It is only sporadically tended these days.

If you want to see what people are complaining about there is the feedback thread in the forums, as well as the known issues thread to see why they might be pushing an update.