CZ Minutes: Fleet Warp

CCP brought a raft of forthcoming changes to light with this week’s o7 show, as is their habit. This particular batch is a mix of expected things, and highly controversial surprises. Missiles will be getting some long-overdue love, including midslot and lowslot upgrade mods, as well as a long-needed heavy missile buff. The Ishtar will yet again see a nerf, while combat battlecruisers will see a balance pass. CCP is also making significant changes to fleet warp mechanics, potentially in an attempt to open up the scope of large-fleet engagements beyond the 40-120km range which has dominated for the past several years. They’re also addressing firewalling, and bringing in the last tactical destroyer. What do we think of these changes? Looking forward to new missile mods? What about firewalling – do you think this tactic should be preserved by CCP, or should it get the axe through these changes? Is the apparent lack of EWAR modules to counter these missile buffs a cause for concern? And lastly, the probing changes. Why do you think CCP has done this? Do you see any benefits? What about downsides? Will players embrace this change, or continue their pattern of brute-forcing workarounds to preserve the status quo? What other thoughts do you have about this upcoming release? Bob Shaftoes:  So lets begin by talking about possibly the biggest change in this o7 show, the fleet warp changes. Currently it is possible for a large fleet to put a probing character in wing or fleet position and essentially have that ship move their gang around to stay on top of the enemy. This made kiting metas much more rare than brawling / mid range ones, outside of unprobable tengus. By forcing fleets to get a warp in with a ship, as opposed to a probe result, it is now much more difficult for the shorter ranged gang to warp tacklers in , to lock down the kiting ships and score kills. Personally I am a huge fan of this change , and I hope we see a return to older doctrines such as attack BCs , sniper hacs and good old fashioned sniper battleships. But hey, all I do is kite so I may be a tad biased on this one 🙂 MukkBarovian: Previously the only way to do it *right* was to have an FC in fleet command with a probe launcher. You could even have an off-grid bonus ship assigned to fleet booster. I do not agree with the idea that pilots only F1 in fleets, but making warp ins a little harder and require a second person does not seem like an awful thing. This slows bombers, makes drive by sniping more complicated, and has a number of subtle impacts on the meta. And of course it rewards organized groups with skilled pilots. Noobies trying to make it into the big leagues? Screw them. I do not see the heavy missile damage buff as strong enough to be worth too much. The missile tracking computers should be interesting. The midslot version could be interesting for the Cerberus and the Sacrilege. Missile battleships have more room for lowslot mods, but cruisers and HACs are just trying to get as many ballistic controls as they can to help with the terrible damage.. I cannot say much on the Ishtar or battlecruisers until I see something concrete. However it did sound like the Ishtar was getting something more than just some of its numbers lowered. Gorski Car: Fuccbois whined about fleet warps making fleet types other than brawling unviable and now when CCP finally does something good about it they whine even harder. Those fucksuckers need to get off the bath salts and get good. The warp change is fucking awesome and will be good for the game. That’s it adapt or die. Next up I really hope they remove anchoring up in pvp. For missiles you can read my thoughts here. Then we get to the HML buff. For you guys who suddenly think that this will make HMLs viable pls don’t. HMLs will be shit, but a finer variety of shit basically. However, this also means that RHMLs will be even stronger and that plus the missile tes could open up some cool stuff at battleship levels. Especially now when they won’t get 20 ceptors squad warped on em. The Ishtar I don’t really care much about they can swap around and do nerfs etc it is still not going to be a viable ship for the playstyle I choose atm. More missile hp protects them a bit more vs firewalls and I am not sure how I feel about that. On one hand firewalling is a super awesome tactic but on the other hand it pretty much completely shuts missiles down. I don’t really encounter this tactic much and I don’t know full stats so… Combat battlecruisers I don’t really have high hopes but who knows maybe CCP will surprise me with a viable drake navy issue. CCPLS REMOVE LINKS The thing I am most excited about however is def Chessur being a AT commentator. I have been flying with that guy for a long long time and he is really cool. 2015. MukkBarovian: Well yeah the whiners are a bit overboard here. But first you have to remember that the people whining about this new change may not have been the same people whining about how easy probing was. There is not necessarily any hypocrisy involved. Second this is yet another example of a change where CCP has balanced by raising the difficulty bar. Can I handle it? Sure. I am a veteran with numerous alts in an alliance filled with skilled specialists. How about the guy trying to make it into the big leagues? It will not be as easy for him. It feels like it pushes the haves and the have nots further apart. Gorski Car: I am not a big fan of having a game where other players play the game for me. It is the same thing with anchoring up. What is the fun with not controlling your ship? People will adapt with this change and it will provide more diversity than a fleet constantly warping to a ping and back at 0 on a long range fleet essentially making it useless- MukkBarovian: I am pretty sure that the FC will still warp you around after this change. The average line member is not getting any extra autonomy. There will be one new job in fleet, warping early to bookmarks. Assuming the FC does not just use an alt, that is one extra pilot in the fleet acting autonomously. Arguing that this change hands manual piloting back to the fleet members is probably not an accurate assessment. The problem is not the effect on gameplay. I like nerfed bombers, more room for snipers and all that. Let me illustrate the difference this will make for me and the difference this will make for a scrub. Let say I form a roaming fleet to alleviate boredom. 20 people show up ready to dick around. Then I think, “Oh. Fleet warping was nerfed so I need a prober.” I have options. I could log in an extra alt. I could ask fleet members who are high skill point veterans to log an alt in. I could ping the alliance for probers, or I could contact skilled specialists who I know are very good at probing and ask for some help. Johnny Noob FC has 20 people in fleet. His organization is small so he cannot ping for more. He does not have alts and his fleet members do not have alts. In the end his only options are to go without fleet warp ins, or to have one of his fleet members become a cloaky prober, losing 5% of the effectiveness of his fleet. If I run into Johnny Noob FC and we have a fight, I am even more likely to beat him than before the change. I have access to tools that he does not, or I have more combatants than he does. For comparison, imagine a scenario where probing was nerfed to give inaccurate results after taking 5 times as long. This would also nerf bombers, people hunting snipers, ect. However Johnny Noob FC and I would be even up. Both of us would fit probe launchers to the ship we were FCing from, and both of us would be equally affected by the nerf having to deal with it as best we could. The advantage is that I could not leverage my organization’s wealth, skill, and manpower to overcome the problem leaving Johnny in the dirt. Tarek: I see what CCP wants to do there, and I do agree with Fozzie’s statements that individual players should have to play actively even in large fleets. Certainly, experienced FCs will find ways to work around the change but the power of the blob is somewhat diminished this way and I consider that a positive development. On the other hand I do see a few problems with that change. The NPSI fleets in particular may be faced with additional difficulties. The often operate in areas where many fleet members would otherwise never fly around. They won’t have gate perches or safespots in such systems. Even in Faction Warfare where we generally operate in limited number of regions not everyone has the same bookmarks for each possible situation. Still, I will swallow the bitter pill for the sake of the benefits I see. On the subject of missile enhancing modules I have a generally positive outlook. I did shake my head a bit when I heard that there could be a general heavy missile buff coming about. I have often said it: That tendency of CCP to buff and nerf and buff and nerf again gets on my nerves a bit. They did that back-and-forth repeatedly with medium railguns and now they do it with missiles. I fear in combination with the missile modules they might become too good yet again, particularly when there is no counter module. The main counter against missiles is speed and a low signature. The fleet meta is already very much developed into that direction and larger shield tanking ships could be at even more of a disadvantage with such changes coming in. The paradigm of little incremental balance passes is deeply ingrained in the development practice of CCP these days, but I think they could tone it down a bit by trying to avoid too much constant trial-and-error. tJCnY3y Niden: I’m not going to get too esoteric about the fleet warp changes because, frankly, I myself and more prominent FCs in my area don’t often use probe results for fleet warps. My simple logic is that anything that opens up interesting gameplay for more people must be a good thing, and leveraging a good warp-in through individual skill is just that. Some of the most memorable moments I’ve witnessed in fleet fights came about because a particularly skilled scout was able to provide a good warp-in. On last night’s CZTV show, Dunk stipulated that the changes would be detrimental to casual, bloc-level line members, while catering to the PvP elite. His argument was that you can’t optimise the game for a select few and stated the fleet warp changes as being precisely that. I can’t claim to have his experience in large scale warfare because the average fleet I fly in or FC ranges from 6 to 60, in rare cases numbering over 100 pilots in the same fleet. I also can’t speak to Brave’s way of training newbros because our own strategy is to put heavy emphasis on building individual skill and understanding so that our pilots are capable of fending for themselves in a different way. Surely, providing more areas where individual skill can be used perhaps raises the bar, but is empowering and rewarding in the end. The difference is in the numbers, perhaps you just can’t manage a larger number of players the same way you can with small gangs to medium fleets in lowsec. Perhaps the motivations differ between people drawn to bloc-level fighting and those attracted to lowsec dogfighting. But where I live, it’s quite common to be semi-casual, but still have a relatively good grasp of PvP basics and the ability to make decisions on your own. However, Mukk has a point that also speaks to what Dunk is talking about. It is quite possible that it will increase the divide between veterans and new players further. The more experienced players will have a lot more control over at what range a fight occurs. I still don’t think it’s argument enough to make these changes a bad thing. Paraphrasing Manfred Sideous, it is so easy to probe down and warp the fleet on top of someone that it has no gameplay value in itself, and it certainly doesn’t take any skill whatsoever to take a fleet warp. Ultimately, this is a battle between the value of mastery and the importance of accessibility. The number of things the fleet warp changes fix however, tip the scales in their favour, according to me. To address the other points briefly I will say that the Ishtar meta is already dying, at least in my neck of the woods. I don’t really see the need to nerf them further than the latest batch of sentry drone nerfs. Honestly, this may be that we’re simply so fed up with Ishtars that people were happy to leave them to rot in the hangars at the first sign of nerfs because it was no longer a choice between either bringing Ishtars or being an idiot special snowflake. As far as the missile changes and new modules go, I’m simply not experienced enough with them for cruisers and up to render any kind of informed prediction. However, I note their non-existence in larger ship meta in lowsec (thus my inexperience), simply because of their poor application qualities and just sheer slowness. Reacting to missiles slowly moving across the grid and getting my guys out of harm’s way is a lot easier than reacting to artillery. Hopefully these balance changes and new modules stimulate the meta in interesting ways and validate hulls that have not seen real fighting for years. Dunk Dinkle: If you have made it to the bottom here, Dear Reader, you can see that I have the minority opinion that the fleet warp changes are not a wonderful idea.  Yet, I stand fast in my assertion that these changes carter to the ‘elite PvP’ types and not the mainline pilot.  Their basic argument is that pilots need to ‘stop being shit’ and fly more like elite PvP pilots because…  Well, that’s the problem, there is no real reason why other than they want other pilots to fly the same way they do. And boy do these elite types get angry when you try to tell them how to play the game, or even just fit a warp core stabilizers. Even CCP Fozzie wasn’t able to offer a rationale other than ‘we want pilots more involved’ in flying ships.  Neither can the advocates of this change. There is nothing they can point to, like a big blue donut or percentage of all kills by Ishtars, that can be shown to justify these changes.  And none of them can because they are avoiding the real reason, which is that combat probing by FCs interfere with their desire to play Eve in their preferred, specific way.  Even if combat probing is overpowered, the right answer is to balance combat probing, not nerfing fleet warp. These changes make the difficult game of Eve, even more tedious and slower, reducing fun. If the tiny percentage of Eve players that actually believe that Eve is not hardcore enough already get their way, fewer and fewer people will stay in New Eden and new players will have no chance to find a place. Oh, and remember that instead of fixing off grid boosts, a completely broken mechanic, they are making these changes.  Which do you think is the real problem?  Don’t ask the elite PvPers, they will be upset that the link characters they use all the time will become worthless.  Please don’t touch their gameplay style, they are too delicate for such things. If the Dev Team is open to ideas, then perhaps they might consider finding roles for Wing and Squad Commanders to play in the fleet, other than passing boosts.  Allowing squad warps might be a good way to train new pilots into FCs and push toward new tactics.  Just a thought to use a scalpel instead of a machete in fleet mechanics.  
Tags: cz minutes, fleet warps, ishtar, missiles

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Oh Takashawa

Oh Takashawa enjoys smugness, spaceships, and burning unnecessary amounts of helium isotopes.