Pandemic Legion FC Manfred Sideous is feeling pretty good today. Smug, even, though that’s not all that out of the ordinary. With the release of CCP’s highly controversial dev blog about power projection, he finds himself in a position to be smug, as his ideas about power projection and sovereignty rather closely mirror what CCP has laid out both in the short term, and suggested as parts of their longer-term roadmap. He’s excited about these changes, but also understands better than many some of the ramifications they might have. I sat down with him to see what he thinks about a number of the issues folks have raised with these proposed changes, and to hear what else he has to say about where EVE is headed in the future. What started as a scattershot chat between friends grew into something rather fascinating. Enjoy.
So let’s talk about fishing. RIP, in a sense – forced delays between drops, limited hunting grounds, and other issues. Some folks are pissed. Thoughts?
So people are always resistant to change. It’s scary not knowing what’s next. I think what people don’t see is that yes, this changes things like fishing as we know it. But it opens up so many new opportunities. Capitals taking gates, for example – wrap your head around that and just for a moment consider the possibilities. After all, what is fishing? Fishing is looking for players who engage in some some activity that exposes themselves, creating an opportunity for a fisher to capitalize. We will now see so much more exposure. You won’t be able to cast a net as far, but the net you do cast will catch so many more fish.
Areas where this doesn’t go far enough, if any?
The current changes in the devblog are bolder than I would have gone. With that said, however, I am fine with them.
Let’s talk about jump portals – both POSes and Titans. Nerfs needed to include subcap projection, sure, but “hey you went on that op that got bridged yesterday, and now you can’t come on this dread op” could become a very real thing, too. Overkill?
No, not overkill at all. It adds to the dynamism of the Sandbox which I think is a very good thing. Newton’s Third Law comes into play – every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Everyone will now have so many more choices to make, and those choices will have so many more consequences. This makes for a richer, more immersive experience imho. The overarching strategy with these changes is to curtail the cancer of unfettered power projection. While it is nice and convenient, it at the same time chokes out so many people from participating in nullsec. Remember, we are playing a MMO – a “Massively Multiplayer Online” game. The more actors, the richer the stories and more dynamic the environment.
There have long been calls for POS portals to be limited to alliance-only rather than being available to an alliance’s massive blues list, to bring them in line with cyno beacons. Is that an area that should be expanded on, or perhaps brought in to offset some reduction in penalties should these proposed changes be tweaked?
With Jump Fatigue I think the debate will be settled, and the point will be moot, as to who can use a jumpbridge, because using teleportation will have consequences. The genius of Jump Fatigue is that everyone and everything is affected equally.
One of the few things Supers and Titans still had going for them day-to-day over dreads or other ships was mobility. That’s been hit now, too, as has the bridging role of titans, and their range has been slashed, too. The blog also hinted at changes to sov structures specifically designed to reduce the importance of Supercarriers. Yet again we’re faced with ships which lack a role, and whose remaining roles need to be nerfed or cut in various ways to make the rest of EVE work. What’s to be done about these, in a world where their mobility is so severely hampered?
Supers and Titans will remain hugely effective as DPS platforms. However, many of their undervalued capabilities will suddenly become very valuable. Ship Maintenance Arrays and Clone Vat Bays, for example. If I were to be looking at supers for balance, I would look to increase the value of those things. I think Titans still need lots of work, but their stock just went up. It was just for reasons nobody expected.
Hauling sucks. Did JFs really need yet another nerf, this time to range?
Yes, absolutely, but there is a caveat to that. I would have withheld changes to the Jump Freighter until I made changes to local industry and resource collection. But yes, at some point JFs very much needed to be part of the equation. Most people look at JFs as an essential logistic ship. However, they also allow power to be projected limitlessly. Supply trains are a real factor in power projection. As it stands, all things begin and end with JIta. But I ask you, what if you didn’t need Jita for 80% of the things you use?
The JF nerf and the rest of these changes suggest that CCP’s upcoming sov changes will have to include some facilities to permit entities in deep nullsec – Period Basis, Omist, Cobalt Edge – to be more self-sustaining. There’s a lot of issues with this, though – availability of ice, R32 and R16 inputs for T2 production, and the need to build hundreds of different items on an ongoing basis to even approach self-sufficiency. Do you think CCP’s next sets of changes are going to move in this direction, or are the now greatly increased isolation of these areas going to make them increasingly desolate as they’re simply too far from empire to be worth the now vastly increased hassle?
So yes, a few things. First, I absolutely see CCP changing/adding things, including new means by which to boost self sustainability. I think these areas will be gold mines, but mining gold is harder than sifting sand and rightly so. Let’s look at some history. There once was an alliance called Ascendant Frontier. They lived in the furthest reaches of the south, including Omist. They were a very community-oriented group with huge industrial power. They basically built a utopian society where players of all types had a real value and sense of belonging. This was in the days before Jumpbridges, Jump Freighters and widely proliferated Capitals and Supercapitals. In fact, their alliance and “society” they built was so strong, nobody was able to unset them until power projection was boosted via the introduction of teleportation. They were very evenly balanced, as a group, in terms of Hunters, Gatherers, Soldiers, and Managers/Leaders.
Second, everything is going to be harder to get to. So you won’t see groups going out to pick on these guys because “LOL sounds fun” – it will simply be too hard to get to them. You won’t want to take anything you can’t hold because if these areas don’t already exist in your sphere of influence they hold no real value to you. Furthermore, people with infrastructure in place will be naturally resilient against invasion. They will have the means by which to produce locally and sustain a siege. Do you? These are things invaders will have to consider before they embark on conquest. However, attrition-style warfare also becomes a thing. If you are able to interdict or interfere with the indigenous population’s logistical or production endeavors, you can effectively strangle them out of the ability to repel your siege. So you see, these changes open up so many new dynamics to warfare in EVE.
Along that same vein, should CCP be looking at buffing the value of these deepest parts of nullsec, in order to both justify and help offset these increased logistical costs?
I am a firm believer risk should match reward. These deep parts of space will be effectively cut off from the sweet warm teat of empire space. For that, they should yield the wildest and best bounties. Now, being at the edge does already provide some safety from harassment. This is why we see very distant outlying regions being lucrative rental space in the current meta. This element will still exist, as quiet space far from the hustle and bustle of busy empire bordering areas will still be quieter. So yes, perhaps some tweaks need to be made to areas like this, but as stated they already have some inherent advantages.
Podcloning – a necessary hit, or something that’s just swept along for the ride? The two main uses today are moving cyno alts, and getting newbies easily into nullsec. The former case is irrelevant after these changes, as the goal is to make jumps much slower, I could just move a cyno anyways – podcloning just saves me time and hassle, it doesn’t actually let me project power any more than I could if I just flew a cyno. The latter case hurts for newbies, plain and simple. Thoughts?
Podcloning had to be part of the strategy in power projection nerfs. Otherwise logistic teams could move assets into strategic points and call for podcloning at will to any prestaged point. Yes these changes fundamentally change Eve Online as we know it. For the better I say and I am willing to bet anyone foolish enough to say otherwise. I think the system CCP have devised to avoid harming newbies is good.
These changes seem to hit blops a lot, and they were one of the few areas where true guerilla hit and run action was already possible. Bridge changes hurt a lot, and cooldown changes strongly discourage putting blops BS at risk, either. What, if any, changes or reevaluation of these changes should be pointed at this area?
None, because if you leave some special snowflake unmolested us EVE players will abuse it to infinity and beyond. CCP has come to learn rather painfully over the years that players will take the smallest of loopholes and exploit it to the point that it becomes game-breaking. This will always be the case. Perhaps they missed something in the changes suggested in the current devblog. Soon enough, if there is a loophole, you can bet we, the players, will be exploiting it.
There’s some concern that blueballing on the part of those who simply aren’t interested in fighting as much as you and I are, will be an increasingly common tactic as the element of surprise associated with power projection is all but eliminated. There are lots of folks already in nullsec who don’t want to roam, don’t want to engage with roaming gangs, and don’t want to brawl for the sake of brawling. Thoughts on the fact that those out looking for fights will be far easier to see coming, and hide from, as these changes are implemented?
So blueballing will always be a tactical option regardless of whatever changes CCP can dream up. However, the fact remains that there will be many more reasons to be in space doing things. It’s unreasonable to think you can just dock up or safe up everytime. If all you do is run, how will you ever complete anything? Furthermore, if you refuse to fight in your smaller empire, well ok, the attackers will just take it. You want it, otherwise you wouldn’t be there. Since empires will be smaller, there will be fewer nullsec fallback points. So trading space to bore people will only work so much. Eventually a line in the sand will be reached. Can you imagine trying to evac with jump fatigue?
Thanks for talking with me. Anything else you’d like to share?
Before I go I wanted to give a little taste of what I see in my mind’s eye. I know the community is currently gripped with fear, resistance, and skepticism toward the proposed changes. To be fair and upfront, I don’t think I am the authority on “what will be.” However, I have been thinking about these changes for a very long time. I think I perhaps might have a little bit of a head-start on most people due to that fact. So, my friends, let me spin you a little tale of the future.
I see an EVE and a Nullsec that is much healthier. I see new players and groups sticking their collective toes into this wonderful sandbox that we all so passionately love. I see Nullsec changing greatly with the shift of corporations and alliances. I see miners, builders, logisticians, and soldiers becoming equally important to the health and wellbeing of groups. Gone will be the days of “You are a PVPer or we have no use for you.” Gone will be the days of every relevant organization descending on a single point of the map and engaging in horrific conflict. I see the days of unutilized systems being held by large ever-expanding empires coming to an end. I foresee renting becoming a much smaller share of nullsec income. The days of crossing the universe in a moment’s time and spoiling others’ fun are effectively dead.
Have I scared you yet? Are you still reading, or are you naked in the corner of your shower, shaking and chanting “But my power projection! Why, O God, why have you forsaken me?” In Christianity there is a saying: “The Lord does not close a door without opening another.“ In this case, CCP is the Lord. The door you once knew is gone, but friends, there is a new and exciting door.
You are going to see a EVE where there are many more groups in space doing things. A nullsec that isn’t made up of a few monolithic coalitions calling all the shots. Instead, lots of new and smaller groups will flourish, including some that have fragmented from the existing coalitions. You will have all kinds of new things like mining parties in space, gangs protecting logistic pipes, and lots of smaller conflicts that are more fun for the participants. Tons more conflict drivers. You will still see the headline-snatching fights, but they won’t be every single fight. For pivotal events, you will see attackers and defenders calling in outside help. It will take effort to respond to those calls, so it will only happen for things like someone’s home system being headshotted. Extortion and mercenaries will become prevalent. Neighbors will forge friendships or wage war over resources they need as they grow and change. EVE will feel big again, you will be part of a team, and you will rely on your team to survive and thrive. I see existing nullsec empires shrinking as they consider what can they reasonably defend and afford.
Occupancy-based sov, where indexes influence things like rewards, sov costs, and structure tenacity, is coming. Things you do in your system like mining, ratting, reprocessing, manufacturing, and research will all affect the price of sov, lowering costs as systems are utilized more. The raw hitpoints of sov structures will be drastically reduced, but in place we will hopefully see a sliding resistance table that is influenced by system use, increasing the resilience of structures in systems you actually use. If you are an absentee sov owner, your system will be more expensive and easier to take. Conversely, if you use a system well you will have low sov costs and the system will be much harder to take, but not impossible.
I wager we’ll see lots of new augmentations to nullsec for mining and production. You will be able to extract the resources you need to be able to produce most, if not all, of the things you need to operate. Improvements to Player Starbases and Stations will allow you to produce better and more efficiently. As a nullsec pilot, you will become much closer to your corporation and alliance. You will realize that your and their survival depend on everyone working together and functioning as a team or village.
So my friends, in closing, yes this is all new and scary and exciting. However, we were at an impasse. Nullsec had stagnated to such a point that it was effectively a unbreakable logjam. Without intervention more people would have slowly left the game out of boredom and disgust. A clear change is needed. A change that breaks the logjam and creates an environment in which new groups can participate. New groups and new players are the lifeblood of a sandbox. I am enthusiastic and assert with the utmost confidence that very very exciting and fun times are ahead. In the words of CCP, “Harden The Fuck Up“ and be “Fearless.“ Stay classy, EVE Online!
Massive thanks to Manfred Sideous for spending so much time with us on such a busy day. Feel free to hit him up on Twitter @evemanny
Tags: caps, cyno, manfred sideous, manny, power projection, sov, Titan