31 August 2014

Well Connected

With Hyperion nearly a week old the changes made are most definitely being felt in my corp. With the addition of a second static to class four wormhole systems we knew for sure that life would be busier. Instead of having one or occasionally two holes connected to our home system we would have two and occasionally three. It turns out, however, that we were very wrong. The new norm seems to be we have a whopping four connections into our system at any given time. This is not something we were expecting and massively changes the nature of our home system. Instead of being an outpost system in w-space we seem to be very much a thoroughfare. Even more mental adjustments need made than was expected and the number of online pilots to ensure proper security just quadrupled. Not terrible for us but the really small corps will feel the pain there.

The changes to jump distance based on mass has had it's desired impact on hole rolling. I've rolled our C3 static with my Orca once so far. This seemed to take a lot longer but had no more risk than before Hyperion as we had well scouted the system before declaring it dead. The C5 wasn't any better as we've not yet tooled up for running anything in C5s. Since then we've mostly been using battleships for rolling duties but more on that later. Thankfully, the increased length of chains and/or number of direct connections to home has given more potential for places to go scouting thus reducing the need to roll holes. With these longer chains we can keep ourselves amused by at least the prospect of finding someone to explode. Case in point, last night we went three or four jumps through wormholes to kill a poor miner. Even better, a C5 crew didn't like the look of us and tried to roll us away. I look forward to more opportunities like those.

These big changes to wormhole space have necessitated a change to how we will be composing our fleets in future. Until now we have had our PvE ships, mostly Tengus with remote reps, and our PvP ships were just about anything else we fancied flying. For hole rolling we used Orcas, sometimes with but often without support. Now our plan is to be flying PvP-ready ships all the time. Logi support, points and webs spread on ships, maybe even some EWAR waiting in the wings. If we're running sites the same fleet should be able to warp to a hole for unexpect pewpew without a second though. Hole rolling will be in a similar vein - out go the Orcas and in come properly fitted battleships. Truth be told I've been wanting to make a switch to something like this since we tried to take on some site runners in a C4 connected to use some months back. They swatted us down like just another wave of sleepers, a fairly easy wave at that. Until now there hasn't been the motivation but it seems wormholes just got more dangerous.

So far I'm liking the changes. Time will tell if I keep that frame of mind.

16 August 2014

Wormhole Town Hall - 16 August

This evening at 22:00 GMT CSM member corbexx is running a wormhole town hall. CCP Fozzie has been confirmed to be attending. Read the forum post to keep up with any changing details.

If you care about wormholes and have the time to spare you should get yourself along to this. I think CCP already have a good idea of how we feel about the changes proposed for the Hyperion release but it does no harm to make sure.

9 August 2014

The only constant...

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, CCP have posted a devblog about changes coming in Hyperion. Hopefully my feelings on one of those changes came across clearly in that post a couple of days ago but I thought I should go through the rest of the changes coming towards the end of the month.

Wormhole effect rebalance

For as long as I have been in wormholes the Black Hole effect has been the most unwelcome to find. I can think of a single time we ever bothered to run sites in a Black Hole system. It was just before the heavy missile nerf of a couple of years ago and we didn't realise what the system effect was. It took a while to sink in why our missiles weren't hitting but once we did realise it was easy to see why nobody lived in Black Hole systems. Since then the default description we use for an uninhabited system is "might as well be a black hole with a nullsec". I never really paid too much attention to the other effects and didn't particularly hear anyone else complain about them. On the basis of improving Black Holes alone this is a good change. It was interesting to learn that rats are not affected by local effects.

Second static for class 4 wormholes

It's no secret that I live in a class 4 wormhole and I would be lying if I said reading this planned change didn't bring some trepidation to me. The change itself is awesome. I truly look forward to there being 100% more guaranteed holes directly connected to my home system. This (hopefully) guarantees more people to go visiting. I'm just eager to find out what our new neighbouring class will be. I just hope it isn't too much for us to handle.

More and new randomly spawning wormholes

This is an interesting addition. I can see us taking advantage of these new frigate and destroyer sized holes to go mess around in nullsec I can't really see what the wormhole to wormhole connections will bring. I like this change for shaking up the status quo. I look forward to whatever new meta will follow.

Mass-based spawn distance after wormhole jumps

This is 37 forum pages of dumb. In fact this is more than 37 forum pages of dumb. CCP claim to be considering their options with that and I hope they leave jumps the way they currently are. This change does not make it harder for people to isolate themselves; this change makes it easier.

Changes to K162 signature appearance

The initial blog post says the appearance of the K162 will only happen once ships have jumped through. CCP have since said they're considering adding a timer which will make the K162 appear eventually regardless whether anyone takes the jump. Assuming the timer gets implemented this is a good change. Combat forces will be able to form up in their local system on the outbound hole and be ready to jump through and surprise the other side. Without the timer this isn't so great as it makes it easier for people to stay isolated. I assume the timer will start on first warp to the wormhole grid. I think CCP should go futher and make the K162 spawn after half the outbound hole's life regardless whether anyone scans it down or not.

Loosening of bookmark copying restrictions

I can't say we have to deal with this much since the wonderful addition of corp bookmarks. On the odd occasion I do have to mess with bookmarks it is truly still a pain in the arse. There is, however, a wonderful hint dropped that alliance bookmarks are being edged ever closer towards. This will be superb when it happens.


With five of these six changes being generally well received by the community it seems Hyperion could be a great wormhole expansion. I say 'could' because if CCP leave the mass-based jump distance change in then all the good changes will be overshadowed by this one terrible idea. We won't leave w-space if jump distances increase. We'll just be less likely to roll holes, roll less of them when we do and probably find less things to do as a direct result. I trust CCP to do the right thing. Hopefully that trust isn't misplaced.

7 August 2014

Safer wormholes for all

For the longest time wormholes have been untouched by CCP. It is widely accepted that wormhole space is one of the few parts of EVE which do not require direct iteration on as it Just Works™. That said, it was nice to see CCP sending some love our way with a variety of changes to shake w-space up a little. Unfortunately the largely welcome changes listed in the dev blog were overshadowed by the horrific addition of mass-based spawn distance when jumping through a wormhole

The suggestion is to have ships with larger mass spawn further away from the wormhole they jumped through. The poorly formed reasoning behind this is that slowing down hole rolling will make it more risky for groups to isolate themselves from the rest of New Eden. While this is a laudable design goal there doesn't appear to have been any deep thought applied to whether the implementation actually achieves the goal (hint: it doesn't).

In any given wormhole system there are two sources for connections. The first is the static connection which residents have control over. The second is incoming wormholes which residents have no control over. At any given moment in EVE there are people rolling their static to close it so they can run PvE sites and there are also people rolling their static to catch people running PvE sites. CCP is directly targeting the former group. It is not possible, however, to only target one group with changes to the hole rolling mechanics. Players who seek to isolate themselves will only roll one or two holes in an evening. Active corps rolling for content roll many more holes than that. The latter group is affected more due to this change for the simple reason that they are rolling more.

When we have a fleet running we are looking for people to shoot or sites to run. We're not too fussy but will pick shooting people first any day. If our static connection has nobody there we roll it. With this change CCP are not making it riskier to roll wormholes, instead they are making it slower. As it is slower there will be less K162 holes generated in a given evening. As K162s are the only source of finding isolationist who have closed their static holes the net reality of this change is that isolating yourself becomes easier.

I find it hard to believe CCP don't realise. They have a 27 page (and counting) threadnaught which hopefully opens their eyes to how bad an idea this is. If CCP go ahead with this change it will be clear that, despite their statement that they want to make hole rolling riskier, what CCP truly want is to make life easier for corps who want to isolate themselves.