Fanfest Lowsec EssentialsNiden
Nullsec may be the obvious big thing for 2015, but under the headlines much is potentially happening for lowsec. Some incoming changes are directly related to lowsec, but others are derived positive effects, such as Phoebe delivered. In an effort to communicate the essentials of what’s on the horizon, I attended both lowsec roundtables (as well as a few others). I have intentionally skipped everything CCP said they wouldn’t be working on, and player ideas that were immediately shot down, in order to keep the signal-to-noise ratio as low as possible.
Lowsec & Factional Warfare Roundtable
A returning subject from last year was the idea of removing the alliances between empires in Factional Warfare. This would allow Caldari to capture Amarr systems, for instance. CCP Fozzie was yet again met with enthusiastic approval when he brought it up this year. It’s obvious what the community wants, and the question still remains: will we see it implemented when so much time is needed for Fozziesov?
The Entosis Link, now available on SiSi (without any functionality however), might be coming to lowsec. CCP views this new capture mechanic as something they could use in all areas of space, not just nullsec. CCP Fozzie informed us that they are looking at using the module for infrastructure hub captures in Factional Warfare. Whether it will be used for plex capture in some way remains unclear, but I am quite certain we will see it FW.
The elephant in the room was of course T3 tactical destroyers. These ships are extremely well suited for small gang fighting in lowsec; they represent interesting choices for both flying with and fighting against. Their modes allow for the type of creativity and flexibility that are the cornerstone of lowsec PvP. Everyone agreed on that.
There was also the consensus that they’re somewhat overpowered. However, how to deal with this has given rise to a rather polarising debate, especially after CCP Fozzie announced nerfs to both the Confessor and Svipul. The response from the community is largely positive, at least when it comes to the Svipul, which is clearly the superior of the two. The proposed nerfs to the Confessor have been met with some resistance, however—some players (including me) feel that they are too severe. Everyone is fine with the price being adjusted, but perhaps CCP should have another look at the Confessor before these changes roll out on TQ. The ship already has vulnerabilities to neuts and TDs. With the proposed nerfs it would be forced into 1MN AB or MWD, being even more vulnerable to neuts because of a slower recharge rate—making it slow and easy to hold down, neut out, and kill.
Another question that was raised when we spoke about T3 destroyers, was their role in small plexes. Most of those present at the roundtable, CCP included, were tentatively positive to continued access into small plexes, but agreed that should be monitored closely. Nerfs to the T3Ds are extremely relevant to this debate, and it’s a good bet that their entry will be allowed into smalls for the foreseeable future.
Speaking of FW plexes, let’s espy all the things that might be effecting them.
The age old War on Farmers continues; last year we saw the 30 km capture point decloak mechanic cut down on the number of blatant farmers that were devaluing the essential tenets of FW. This change was not without sacrifice however—plex fighting tactics that included cloaking paid the price. Another solution that has been popular amongst the community for some time is the plex timer rollback. It was raised for debate at the roundtable and unsurprisingly, received universal support. Fozzie asked if we wanted a passive or active rollback and judging by the responses, the community is split down the middle. Passive rollback would mean that a plex that wasn’t being actively run would automatically start rolling back to its neutral state. Active rollback, on the other hand, would mean plexes that had been run in the enemy’s favour would roll back to their zero state at an accelerated rate whilst being run.
Plexes themselves could quite possibly see an expansion. CCP are looking at adding intermediate sizes to the existing plexes, creating a more granular system that hopefully leads to more of the ever elusive gud fites. This, combined with the warp speed changes announced on the o7 show, might just be the thing to make battlecruisers relevant in the lowsec PvP meta.
On a side note: Some members of the community feel that firing first on neutrals that enter plexes should not incur a sec status loss, or that it at least should be reduced. CCP stated they they would not touch this, but are instead looking into revamping the entire sec status system and that it might be addressed at that time.
Aside from plexes, FW pilots have long been asking for something to be done to reward actual PvP more. To address this, CCP will raise LP payouts for FW kills to what they are at tier V, regardless of actual tier. While being somewhat in the right direction, this still does not make LP payouts relevant when compared to plex LP payouts. However, there is little more CCP can do within the confines of the current system without risking exploitation. The same goes for counting PvP kills towards system control—it is simply too hard to balance in the current system. At least this is a step in the right direction, and an appreciated one amongst FW pilots.
The truly good news for FW income came during the PvE roundtable. (Yes, that was the only reason I was even in the room.) Over the course of two summits, CCP acknowledged that the FW mission system was broken and desperately needed fixing. The problem was that the very tools that would allow for the creation of a new mission system were not yet there. This year however, CCP have finished said tools, and will be using them to create a new mission system for FW first. So, new Factional Warfare missions in 2015. I made them flat out promise that to my face.
Lowsec & Crimewatch Roundtable
Many of the discussions that were had during both lowsec roundtables overlapped, but the Crimewatch one had the following to offer:
Combat boosters is one of those systems that was never properly implemented and has been lying around untouched for years. Both CCP and the players agree that everything from manufacturing, legality and combat application needs an overhaul. Although no direct changes are on the immediate horizon, CCP is looking at removing the current contraband system in order to alleviate some of the issues (to the enthusiastic approval of those at the roundtable). Fozzie was clear on the point that they want to revamp the entire combat boosters system—the question is when.
The kill-rights mechanic was brought up, and it’s certainly one of those designs that doesn’t feel done yet. It was agreed that the system is too convoluted and should be easier for new players to pick up and use—a revamp of the UI might be in order, CCP confessed.
Overall there was a general feel amongst both devs and players present that lowsec should look and feel more like lowsec. Perhaps pirate factions should own the stations instead of Quafe and Roden Shipyards. The new NPC creation tools CCP has developed could bring a new appearance of scum and villainy going about their lowlife (!) business. Combat drugs manufacture and trade especially feel like a typically lowsec thing, supporting that mechanically would go a very long way towards further defining the lowsec flavour.
Endless possibilities open up when one factors in the new structures into lowsec gameplay as well, and it is with keen interest that the community watches how these will be adapted to fit the proverbial thunderdome of EVE Online known as low security space.
Shoutout to my (traitor) bro Drackarn who was kind enough to record both lowsec roundtables. Alas, technical difficulties ruined both recordings.