Tag Archives: Phoebe

The Evolution of Fozzie Sov

Fozzie Sov has now been with us for about a month, hitting a week after the main Aegis expansion drop.

Actually, I understand that the preferred term at CCP is “Aegis Sov.” But the Reagan Administration preferred “Strategic Defense Initiative” and we all called it “Star Wars” because once something gets a snappy name it tends to stick.  Sorry CCP, we were calling it Fozzie sov long before we even knew there would be an Aegis expansion.  We could all pretend it is another Fozzie I guess.

Entosis link modules should go "Wocka Wocka Wocka!!"

Entosis link modules should go “Wocka Wocka Wocka!”

Ah well.

Reavers have already done a two test deployments to try out how things work behind enemy lines.  The Timer Board site shows a couple hundred null sec systems continue to remain in play at any given time.

Making the save

Making the save

This change to the status quo hasn’t been for everyone.  Just about two weeks back UAxDEATH posted a petition about Fozzie Sov in the forums.  When he posted it he, and those who endorsed the petition, were just some null sec alliance leaders.  Loud voices, but outsiders to the process none the less.

Since that petition was posted, UAxDEATH has since become a member of the CSM.  And, as we learned with the wormhole changes, members of the CSM appear to be able to exert some level of influence on CCP.  So maybe it is time to take a look at what UAxDEATH had to say.  The petition is as follows:

Introduction

We are the people of nullsec! Living for years in this epic and massively rich in conflict environment, we set aside our differences to join forces against destructive actions from CCP against sovereignty mechanics.

The new game mechanics, called by many fozziesov, turned out to be the greatest discrimination against nullsec dwellers in all of EVE Online history. This untested release shouldn’t build the platform for life in 0.0 for the most organized, united and active part of New Eden. Alliance leaders, who signed this statement, have collected enormous amount of proof that confirms this statement.
We, like no one else, can see that this release leads to stagnation in 0.0 and death to nullsec. Only in a short while since the release, we have collected a record amount of negative opinions about the new sov. We combined our strengths and analyzed, what does it mean to live in fozziesov for the nullsec people.

Our opinion is – this game mechanics needs to be tweaked and the shortest time possible.

Problems and suggestions

Problem: fozziesov in its current state critically reduces chances for large scale fights, fights that significantly separate EVE Online from its competitors. Large amount of spawned beacons, motivates sides to not engage, but to hunt down ships fitted with entosis link. In one of those cases, to defend off 2 structures players spent 6 hours of game time, most of which was spent jumping through gates and warping around in systems. Pilots who took part in all of this were rewarded with exhaustion and emptiness, instead of glory from being victorious and enjoyment from the overall process. Besides that, fleet commanding and fleet bonus structure took a hit as well. We want massive fights, not cockroach races.
Solution: reduction of beacons (nodes) , to about 1-3 per system, which are located next to a contested structure.

Problem: low skill requirement practically affirms harassment towards any sov owner. While new player harassment is subject to a support ticket. Roaming fleets or interceptors shouldn’t be able to affect sovereignty. The game mechanics shouldn’t be a tool to force exhausting actions upon players – a single ship can force entire alliance of players to take part in tiresome and hollow defence. Currently the entosis link module is a tool for trolls, not a key to sovereignty contest.
Solution: reduce the amount of tactics that create invulnerable situations, which are currently based on ship’s speed. Entosis module should reduce speed dramatically, up to 0 m/s.

Problem: CCP didn’t give the right interface tools for players to engage in sov-wars, every aspect of ever changing situation has to be memorized, written down somewhere and kept up to date. This results in quick exhaustion and aggravation towards the game instead of enjoyment.
Solution: introduction of a new sov window, similar to watchlist, that displays information about structures/nodes that are being defended or attacked using entosis module, with pilot’s nickname, solar system, structure id and progress.

Problem: fozziesov has a potential exploit in relation to Entosis Link II – using this module allows attackers to do a quick 2 minute cycle, which sets structure vulnerable, regardless of vulnerability period or until the status of vulnerable structure becomes known to its owner. Vulnerable structure can be noticed after a close inspection. This aspect of game mechanics negates vulnerability period.
Solution: remove vulnerability from such structures at the the end of the vulnerability period, but allow owners to entosis structure back up. If structure was partially attacked, it should be clearly visible.

Problem: structure that exits reinforce timer, doesn’t regenerate back, which in the old game mechanics served as a defensive mechanism against sov trolling. Attacked systems spam node beacons, which can last forever, which is discrimination against sovereignty owners – they must defend their space despite the fact that no one will show up to contest it.
Solution: a new type of status – defended. If the nodes are not being captured by any attackers during contested campaign for a period of time dependent of defence index, then structures change from contested to defended.

Problem: notifications about attack contain no useful information except the fact of aggression (and system). Solution to this should be inclusion of information about the system, structures and nicknames of attackers. Command node names are too long, which obstructs quick overview of the system nodes and forces to expand overview window to 1/4 of the screen, just to see the full list of nodes.
Solution: to use abbreviations TCU, iHUB, Station and remove “command” from the name.

Problem: in Dominion sov, alliances had means to transfer sov between them, however long and inconvenient it was. In the new sov, this ability was removed, which is ridiculous for a sci-fi game.
Solution: allow executor corporations to transfer remotely structures via listed sov structures context menu, similar in the way it is now with the customs offices.

Conclusion

Fozziesov is currently a long, exhausting and inconvenient sovereignty warfare model. Sovereignty is absolutely unprotected against sov trolling. This game mechanics stimulates unintended usage. This situation can no longer exist in its current state. We are highly determined and if all our demands and solutions are not addressed in a week’s time, we reserve the right to fight back for our game time and fun, which we were stripped off by the new game mechanics.

And so there it is.  There are fifteen alliances listed as endorsing this petition last I looked, though most are from the east of null where population density is low and thus sovereignty has been very much in play.  From The Imperium, only RAZOR has endorsed the petition, though they have always stood a bit apart from the rest of the coalition.

This, of course, generated the usual set of reactions, including one on Reddit that seemed to want to pin this all on The Imperium despite The Imperium not actually being present on the list, aside from RAZOR. (Translation of Reddit post to from MoA to English available here.)  The Imperium circled the wagons, reduces the space it held, and began recruiting new players in order to increase population density before Fozzie Sov hit… which is to say we actually did some prep beyond wishful thinking.

Certainly there are a few items on that list which do not generate much sympathy with me even when trying to give it the most charitable spin.  Things are different, adapt.  Harassment isn’t really that big of a deal if you live in your space, at least no more so than AFK cloaked ships. And wasn’t reducing the size of fights part of the reasoning behind the whole change?

Of course, the flip side of that last one is asking whether or not we are getting more interesting fights, which was also part of the reasoning.

But when we start getting to the UI elements… well, when has a 1.0 CCP UI ever been sufficient?  It is hard to argue with anything on that front.

And then we get to the grave oversight, the inability to transfer sovereignty between alliances.  This has lead to a strange situation in Pure Blind where, in order to hand over sovereignty from TNT to Goonswarm for their Section 8 project. There had been talk of just letting Mordus Angels take the sovereignty, then just taking it back from them.

Slowly changing from TNT to GSF

Slowly changing from TNT to GSF

That was difficult.  Actually, the taking back sovereignty wasn’t difficult at all.  They haven’t managed to hold a system longer than the minimum.  It was just hard to let them take systems.  To start with, they still seem to be mostly in the business of hunting down ratters in Imperium space.  But even when they are out there running their entosis links, it is tough not to shoot them.  hostile targets mean content, fleets go up and off we go.  It is a comedic situation where having active targets fights with our dependence on hostiles to swap sov.  So The Imperium is left attacking its own systems in order to hand over sovereignty.

Meanwhile CSM member Jayne Fillon also has a thread up in the forums asking for feedback on Fozzie Sov. (Where I also heard about the preferred term for it.)

And then, even as I am writing this there is a roundtable talk going on to discuss the whole jump fatigue question and whether or not that has changed things for the better since it was introduced back with Phoebe or if it should be revisited.  Corbexx has some thoughts initial thoughts.

So Aegis sov and related items still appear to be in flux… but then the game has always been in flux.  Change is in the nature of New Eden.

Phoebe Arrives in New Eden

It has been more than a month since CCP Greyscale first announced, via a Dev Blog, the changes to long distance travel coming with Phoebe.  Now the expansion is here, and I hear it took longer to deploy than past expansions because it had to take gates.

As I predicted back then, despite the uproar this announcement caused in some quarters, the changes were pretty much set in stone. There were only a few tweaks to the plan, as noted in the appendices on the Dev Blog.  Industrial ships got a bit of a reprieve so that commerce can continue to flow between high and null sec.  Otherwise, jump fatigue and capital ships using gates are now a thing.

Traffic control for all the caps

Traffic control for all the caps

Now what will the change mean?  As CCP Greyscale said:

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…

The sov holders in null sec each have a plan of their own, and hunkering down into a more defensible territory seems to be a common thread.  The CFC withdrew from Delve, Querious, and Period Basis in the southwest.  Pandemic Legion sold off much of their rental holdings in the northeast.  Northern Coalition set up shop in the southwest leaving what looks to be a power vacuum in the east, as that will be too far away to defend if push comes to shove.  Here is what has changed (maps from the usual source):

Oct. 1 vs. Nov. 4 map

Oct. 1 vs. Nov. 4 map

We’ll call that the first round of changes to the map of null sec, though it appears to still be in progress, with Perrigen Falls region going to a new alliance. (Though Circle of Two grabbed a system that linked to CFC space.)  I suspect that once things settle down that we will see some additional names on the sovereignty map, though I wouldn’t bet on them being names new to those positions.  And with sovereignty structures taking a hit to hit points we may get an idea of exactly how far away from its central base of operations a coalition can reliably defend sovereignty in a few weeks.  The structure changes ended up being:

  • Station Services: (-66% EHP)
    • -83% Shield HP
    • +50% shield resists
  • IHUBs and Stations: (-50% EHP)
    • -60% Shield and Armor HP
    • -50% Hull HP
    • +20% Shield and Armor Resists
  • SBUs: (-50% EHP)
    • -50% Shield, Armor and Hull HP

It will be interesting to see what the sovereignty map looks like by the time Rhea, the next expansion, arrives in mid-December.

Anyway, that has probably been the most talked about aspect of Phoebe.  As usual though there is more to the package, including a number of quality of life improvements.

First there is the unlimited skill queue. (Though I think I read that it is, in fact, limited to 10 years or some huge number of skills… 300 maybe? [50 says Jester] But effectively unlimited for any sane definition I guess.)  I remember five years back when getting any sort of skill queue at all seemed like a major boon, and now I will be able to queue things up for years at a stretch.

Training queue to infinity...

Training queue to whenever…

The updated sensor overlay looks good as well.

Compass around the capacitor ring

Compass around the capacitor ring

I know I had one minor nit to pick with the old one, which was that it was a pain to target anomalies in some systems as they tended to cluster together in a bunch, so clicking the right one could be a chore.  Of course, I haven’t run anomalies in a while, but this update also includes a keyboard shortcut for making bookmarks in space (Control-B by default), which will help with my new found need to make safe spots in hostile space.

The Phoebe expansion also includes:

You can find the full list of updates on the Phoebe release page and the gritty details in the Phoebe patch notes.

Now to go fill up my skill queue.

What will you be doing now that Phoebe has arrived?

Notes from an Undisclosed Location in the Insmother Region

The big, pre-Phoebe alliance update was posted yesterday addressing the new order in sovereign null sec.  Since the CFC is as riddled with spies as any other organization in New Eden, updates from The Mittani get posted directly over at The Mittani dot com, saving people the trouble of stealing/distributing them and generating some ad revenue as some people rage against The Mittani in the comments.  You can view it at your leisure.

Some of what was mentioned had been gone over before in less formal venues not long after the Phoebe changes were announced.  In fact, such fireside chats in Mumble with The Mittani started as a campaign to calm down some of the super capital pilots who were losing their heads in the forums about the death of their gold-plated space coffins.  When you opt to fly a super cap, that is pretty much all your character does from then on.  Of course, a bunch of us line grunts piled into the room as well because Mittens is a good public speaker if nothing else and these became 400+ pilot events.

For the super cap pilots, the message was that supers were becoming more powerful and more likely to be used in combat because, with Phoebe in place, a fleet of local supers no long has to fear a group of hostile supers dropping on them from the other side of New Eden.  Super cap fleets cease being a huge stick to be brought down literally anywhere in null sec on a very short notice, something only the three large powers could manage.  Instead they become the local super powers that can drop on anybody within 5 ly immediately, and within 10ly pretty quickly, becoming less of a blue water navy by analogy and more of a coastal defense force.  Without the threat of incoming forces from all over New Eden you can drop on your are much more likely to drop on your own zone of control.  Even Gevlon seems to agree with the idea that supers will not fall by the wayside, and the goblin would find a technical reason to oppose Mittens if the CEO update declared the sky to be blue.

The rest was more about how the Phoebe changes favored us more… or at least hurt us less… than our rival superpowers (My joke about the genie at the end of my own first cut at Phoebe seemed to match that), how much this will favor the defender who actually lives in their space, and some plans under way to help us adapt to the new world.  Stepping up MiniLuv operations to harass jump freighter operations so as to make pre-Phoebe prep more difficult for our null sec opponents was mentioned early, as was a new group called the Reavers.  More on the latter further down the page.

That was all a couple of weeks back.  Since then more obvious preparations for the coming expansion have surfaced all over null sec.  Pandemic Legion has divested itself of nearly half of its rental empire.  The Mittani says that Northern Coalition is abandoning space in the east to the Russians and looks to be headed towards the southwest where it was announced that the CFC is pulling out, drawing back into the northwest of null sec, abandoning Querious, Period Basis, and Delve as being too far from our core and too sparsely populated to defend itself with local residents.  Phoebe working as intended for many. (EN24 has a null sec movement rumor mill post up that is worth a look.)

Farewell southwest null!

Farewell southwest null!

A joke going around is that the Goons, having invaded and taken Delve six times already, gave up the region out of habit just so they could invade it again later.  Hell, even I have been through two Delve invasions at this point.  But I am still shipping all my stuff in our forward deployment base in Querious back to Deklein before the expansion.

It isn’t quite setting the clock back two years, but with the CFC pulling back into the northwest and Russians possibly resurgent in the east,  it seems like all we have to do it get Intrepid Crossing back into Cobalt Edge and we would practically have the band back together.

2012 vs. 2014

2012 vs. 2014

The 2012 map looks like it has a lot more entities on it, but if you count the various Russian alliances as one coalition, they overlap a lot with N3’s rental empire.  And that brings us to the renters.  In an age of static null sec, one upside has been an ample supply of stable and relatively safe null sec systems to rent, which has lead to a lot of corporations being able to move out to null and mine, rat, or whatever.  PL’s rental empire, Brothers of Tangra, had more than 10K pilots in it until they started to divest, while N3’s rental space, Northern Associates, currently has nearly 14K pilots spread over about 360 corporations in nearly 700 systems across 15 regions.

That is a lot of players… a lot of entities that just don’t show up on the map… for whom the much ballyhooed “blue donut” era has been a benefit.  Where will they go when Phoebe, Rhea, and expansions beyond make holding vast tracts of sovereign null sec untenable?  Phoebe and beyond, working as intended, means a lot of different things.  The CFC will hunker down and weather the storm, PL will consolidate, NC has its own core defense perimeter in sight, but there will be areas in null which will become the wild west.  That will likely be a good thing in the larger scope of the game, but may suck mightily if you’re a PvE sharecropper in a null sec empire that has abandoned you because they can no longer move fast enough to defend far flung space.

So we will see new entities on the map… or old entities returning… while a mass of invisible entities may well be at the mercy of whoever shows up.  Will the find new landlords to protect them or barbarians who will drive them back to empire space.

Interesting times.

Back to Reavers.  This is a new formation in the CFC, and I joined up because they look to be the place where things might be happening going forward.  It is actually the first CFC group I have joined.

As noted in The Mittani’s post, we are tasked during war time to deploy into the enemies rear areas to be partisans.  We will destroy infrastructure, siphon moons, and basically terrorize the PvE locals who stayed behind.  This will be made a viable strategy by Phoebe, which will keep anybody attacking our territory unable to move quickly back to defend their own.  We will slip in, shoot up the place, and move on.

As part of the plan we have been on a practice deployment down in Insmother, where we have had a few days of token resistance as we reinforced and blew up towers. (Let’s hear it for low stront and no stront towers!)  Even in this pre-Phoebe stage, where fast travel is still a thing, N3 seems to be more focused on trying to hit our structures in the north than defending their holdings in the east.  I hear they may have woken up to what we are up to at last, so we may have to move on.  But as a learning exercise it has been good, and a lot of fun.  It is also nice to be in on the creation of a group, where the traditions and procedures (and inside jokes) are being formulated.  You end up feeling more a part of things.  I even spoke on voice coms… once.

And it is even a new section of space for me.  The Goons have a history out here, but I have never been deeper in the east than B-R5RB… though that was a memorable visit.  So new sites for the tourist in me.

We will see how the deployment fares.  In the mean time I have a few postcard screen shots from the deployment which (I hope) do not violate operational security.

 

New Eden Alt Creation Becomes Easy with Phoebe

CCP put up a dev blog listing out what will be in the next expansion, Phoebe.

And while there are many tasty tidbits to digest on that list… including the whole jump drive nerf, which has gotten some alterations based on feedback… the one stunner for me is CCP removing the limit from the training queue.

You will be able to pile up as many skills as you want in your training queue.

Training queue to infinity...

Training queue to infinity…

Some people may never have to log in again.  I cannot tell if this is truly awesome or horrifying.  I know I like it, though you do have to wonder what eventually changed CCP’s mind on this.

And being able to identify a bitter vet will eventually go from those of us who remember when there was no queue to those of us who remember when the queue was only 24 hours long.  We have had the 24 hour skill queue for more than five years now.  It came in with Apocrypha back in 2009… along with a lot of other stuff.  Look at the list on that link.  Wormholes.  Ship fitting windows.  Blue lasers for ice mining.  Damn, we take for granted these days.

It isn’t the be all, end all of course.  Unless you can inject and queue skills that you cannot yet train, there will have to be some logging in now and again.  But it looks like I will be able to load up the remainder of my fleet booster training plan and let it ride after Phoebe drops on November 4th.

Makes me want to create another alt… which I am going to guess is part of what changed CCP’s mind.

 

The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Super Caps…

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.

JAandJFtimers

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.