CSM Report: Week Forty Three

Two weeks from the very moment I am writing this, I will be on a plane somewhere over the North Atlantic awaiting a landing in Keflavik for another Fanfest. We are deep into election season, CSM9 is very nearly in the can and yet here we are with what is probably the biggest week of our term.


Most weeks, CCP Rise’s dev blog from a few days ago on ship rebalancing would have been headline news. As of today, it becomes an afterthought on the undercard. And yet there is some vital information in there. People have been talking for some time about the prevalence of both Ishtars and T3 cruisers – in particular the Tengu – in fleet combat. Rise has confirmed that he is bringing the nerf bat to both in a fairly significant manner. I’m not going to list all the changes here – there are a lot – but I suggest you read them for context. There has been a lot of discussion here on CZ and in other venues as to whether these changes go far enough. The great thing about a six week release cycle is that they don’t have to go full-on from the outset but can evaluate the practical effect on TQ and iterate as necessary. Some think the Ishtar changes don’t go far enough and won’t be removed from their current role as all-round scourge of 0.0. The bat hits Tengus hard but whether it is hard enough remains to be seen. Some are wondering where the alterations to bombers and caps / supers / titans are. With regard to bombers, some members of CSM did push at the Winter Summit for CCP to go back to the original nerf they announced on bombers. They definitely need looking at quickly and closely because they are still not on great shape. CCP are aware of the position of both the CSM and the wider player base on this and I hope the Eye of Rise moves to them next. Fozzie specifically mentions that capitals need to be looked at in the wake of new sov (more on that in a moment). Supers and titans have been subject to some pretty hard nerfs between Phoebe and changes to fighters / fighter bombers, now they have one less significant role when they aren’t needed any longer to grind down structure HP. So yeah, I like the changes but they need to be monitored closely and CCP must look at bombers, capitals, supers and titans tout suite. Whether they should do so before…

New Sov

…is implemented on TQ is another matter. I’d certainly like to see a pass or fix of some sort on bombers before new sov hits TQ. Caps and bigger can wait. But we are getting ahead of ourselves a little here. Around a week ago, following months of discussion between CCP and CSM, we got to see what would be the two dev blogs released by CCP Fozzie today. The first blog looks back at the Phase One of new sov implemented in Phoebe with the jump nerf and some changes to structure HP. I like the tone of this blog a lot in that it’s clear CCP considers Phoebe a success, but certainly not universal. Reading between the lines, it clearly wasn’t quite as successful as they perhaps had hoped it would be and Phase Two is needed to continue the work. There is some superb graph porn in there for you guys to check out though. Those of you who were banging the drum that 0.0 PvP was only up because of HERO are in for a rude awakening. The blog everyone has been waiting months for is all ~7.5k words of the second one in which Fozzie details in black and white terms the replacement for Dominion sov. Go and read it before we go one step further. It’s undoubtedly the most important dev blog for 0.0 in years. It’s change and it’s big, significant change. Structure grinding is gone. The concept of buffer regions is dead. That little system that you have been scouting for days and weeks that literally no-one uses? Fancy it for you and your mates? You could literally make it invulnerable all by yourself in less time than an episode of The Simpsons. CCP are eschewing the concept of ‘big fights’ to spread the battle around a larger area of smaller nodes. The hardware is not designed to handle B-Rs. They make for great publicity but they also sell Eve Online as something it is not. People do not routinely take part in 4k man battles because within the hardware currently available, they suck. Interestingly, people also seem to be forgetting that in B-R, FCs deliberately told subcap fleets to go to other systems and disrupt the enemy there, bringing only capitals and above into B-R itself to try and mitigate for TiDi. This new sov system is literally a practical implementation of that. Anyway, we got access to the first draft of this blog last week. Here’s the feedback I provided directly:
  • Whilst I like the technical advantage provided by spreading fights around, as others have mentioned, I am concerned about FC-overload. Bloc-level FCs already have a lot to deal with and this only increases the pressure and inputs to them. Yes, it will encourage more low-level FCs but it may actually reduce the number of top level bloc FCs in the process. But maybe this is something that the community needs to work out, evolve and adapt, dunno. Not a bloc-level FC here.
  • There appears to be a HUGE difference between the T1 and T2 Entosis Link variants. 5 mins vs 2 mins and 25 km vs 250 km. Given that the price difference isn’t that high (20m vs 80m approx.), how is this difference achieved in a practical way? If it isn’t cost, is it an SP thing? I can only imagine the skill reqs for the T2 variant are going to be infinitely higher but I’m not sure Informorph Psychology V vs I would be enough to justify the huge difference, particularly in distance.
  • Given that the TCU exists ostensibly only to put your name on the map, was there any thought given to removing it as a structure and simply integrating the ‘name on map’ functionality into the iHub? Given one of the points of this new system is removing grinding but also given that pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to does consider it imperative that the ability to put a name on a map is vital, keeping TCUs around in this new structure does seem a little arbitrary. I genuinely think we could cut SBUs and TCUs now.
  • I wonder how much thought has been given to the prevalence of bubbles in the new system and the importance of nullified T3s and the like. Especially the likes of Interceptors which become boss mode in an environment like this with a T2 Entosis Link strapped on.
  • I very much like that the strategic defensive bonus is substantially less than the two ‘active’ bonuses. I note that other active bonuses could be added to the system. Would the other bonuses be reduced to achieve the same final 4x bonus?
  • I know I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll mention it again – this new system is a huge nerf to supers and titans and one could argue that between the fighter nerf and the jump nerf, these two were already in a bad spot.
Now I spoke to Fozzie about the TCU thing and he very deliberately wanted to keep the ‘name on a map’ and ‘system indices’ structures and functionality separate which, upon thinking further, I have to agree with. The defensive bonus issue was addressed in the final dev blog. As Fozzie says, so much of this new system is malleable and can be quickly and simply tweaked to taste. My concerns with the differences between T1 and T2 Entosis Links, bubbles, caps and above and FCing still exist. That said, I am very positive about about this new system. I have some worries but overall, I am a huge fan of the design ethos behind these changes and the direction they are trying to take 0.0. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say in due course but I am very interested to hear what you all think in the comments below. I’m not going to spend any more time discussing new sov in this report for two reasons. Firstly, I think the community needs some time to digest these monumental alterations to some of the most fundamental game mechanics underpinning Eve. There is always going to be a period of hyperbolic reaction that takes some time to settle out and trying to make arguments either way during that time is folly. Secondly, you will be hearing a lot more from me and others here at CZ in great detail in the coming days and weeks and you already have a lot to take in as it is. So that will do us here for now. Lots more to come!
Tags: fozzie, new sov, rebalancing, rise, sovereignty

About the author

Xander Phoena

The good looking, funny, intelligent member of the team, Xander set up Crossing Zebras with Jeg in April 2012 mainly because he was talking too much about Eve on his other podcast. Playing the game for almost five years, Xander still has absolutely zero clue about how to actually play Eve but somehow still manages to talk a good game.