Lessons From Brave Newbies II: Game Design and Travel Nerfs
Mukk BarovianShareTweetEditor’s note: This is the second in a three part series by Mukk Barovian on his views concerning recent events surrounding Brave Newbies. You can read part one here. – Niden
December 5th, 2014 in HED-GP, Brave tackled a PL capital fleet and held it down for hours. One and one half years ago, this would have been a terrible disaster. When a big fleet was pinned down, people from all across the galaxy would fire up their jump drives and begin pouring into the fight. The most glorious example was the battle of Asakai. People were skittish to use their capitals. It wasn’t enough to watch out for neighbors sneaking up; groups that lived far away could ambush distressed capital fleets, and quickly do serious damage before jumping away. Speaking from experience, PL would regularly make three or four jumps with a slowcat fleet because someone had tackled a couple carriers on the other side of EVE. “Hey guys, Waffles has tackled a triage carrier in Kinakka. Can you come help?” “Sure, you have cynos ready?” Our fuel bill was terrible. PL did not have it all our own way either. The most revenant example was when a BL spy FC’d a PL super fleet right into a BL trap.
Nothing comparable to what I have been talking about happened in HED-GP. The fatigue nerf has made that kind of gameplay untenable. A smallish NC. contingent went to help PL, and a Black Legion subcapital fleet with a small group of supers and four titans went to help HERO. It took BL hours to arrive, and when they did arrive, their fatigue was horrible.
HERO dropped dreadnoughts with the BL capital fleet. PL dropped everything at hand into the fight. The four BL titans fired doomsdays at a PL Ragnarok and the combined firepower of their dreadnoughts and supers finished off the titan. PL fired its first wave of doomsdays at dreadnoughts to remove as much damage from the field as quickly as possible. As the Black Legion fighter bombers came in, PL let off smartbombs on every capital ship, creating a massive firewall that eventually destroyed the BL super damage. Then PL chewed through the rest of the dreadnoughts with fighter bombers, sentries, and titan turrets. PL in turn lost carriers to the HERO and BL capital fleet. However as dreadnoughts slowly died, Pandemic Legion carriers began to catch reps. Then they stopped dying. Without the critical mass needed to keep killing PL capitals, the BL and HERO capital fleets disengaged. The BL titans got out just before PL was able to try to volley one of them with doomsdays.
As the dust cleared, it was a minor but significant victory for Brave. It might have been a major victory if PL had not reinforced their tackled capitals at the exact moment they did. I remember sitting in the command channel as the decision was made. We had 30 or 40 seconds left to decide if we should send all the things to save our tackled supers. If we had hesitated any longer a mobile cyno jammer would have come online and locked us out. There was some doubt about the outcome of dropping everything. It was a close call that day, hinging on the brass balls of Elise Randolph. Brave were quite proud to have participated in a PL titan kill. In my opinion, they could hardly have done any better, but we could have done much worse. PL could have been cowards and whelped a super fleet. I don’t think we would be standing here today watching Brave evacuate if that loss had happened.
That victory, unfortunately for Brave, isn’t the end of the story. BL had a capital fleet stuck in the south for several weeks afterwards. They had only evacuated as far as Providence on the night of the first fight. The fatigue from moving south was enormous. Getting back north required making it out past Derelik lowsec. The jump drive range nerf severely limited the number of paths a capital travelling across EVE can take. On January 4th,2015 they were trying to escape through Faspera when PL tackled them, killed a Leviathan and 6 supercapitals. The PL fishing crew had stalked them for all of that time. With that outcome as an example, the Black Legion expeditionary force was the only time an outside group sent capitals to assist HERO. Ultimately, Black Legion lost more than they killed.
The blame for this belongs to jump fatigue. PL have local capital superiority, and the way fatigue works it is very hard for a third party to come by to punish them for having their capitals tackled. Surely CCP understood this would be an implication of their new jump mechanics?
In the current situation, big groups cannot wave their capital dicks all across the universe. The tradeoff is that groups with enough slowcats, supers, and titans can do virtually anything they want in the area around them, provided they are far enough away from any other large capital fleets. Compare that to the pre-nerf situation where every major block’s capital fleet could “counter” any other block’s capital fleet with the right combination of skill, bait, and luck.
This is great for the masses spread about the universe who are no longer under the oppressive boot heel of the great capital fleets. It is hell however, for those unfortunate few who are essentially locked in a room with those overbearing fleets. To the line membership of a capital weak alliance this might sound like a good deal. The problem with that logic is that those capital fleets can move to wherever they can do the most damage. Any group with a sufficiently large number of line members is going to have a visit eventually. Victims have the choice of being destroyed by overwhelming firepower, or dropping everything and fleeing before the horde. I’m not saying the new system is worse than the old system, but I will say that Brave would have done better under the old jump mechanics.
Tags: Black Legion, brave newbies, Mukk, pandemic legion