The Great Battlecruiser Backfire

 
From the forums to the oh-so-hallowed halls of the CSM, there’s a growing movement to restrict Entosis Link modules to battlecruisers and up. I don’t know where it started, but it’s not hard to understand why this “BC+” proposal has gained so much traction among those aimed at “fixing” the [insert nickname of your choice] sovereignty system that came out with Aegis. A great deal of players involved in the defense of sovereign space are tired of chasing slippery ships from node to node and system to system. It may be interdiction-nullified interceptors, recons with oversized prop mods, or pretty much anything else that’s much better at running than it is at fighting. These ships are excellent at creating timers, but often have no intention of maintaining grid control now, or coming back to claim sovereignty later. Worse yet, catching or fighting them isn’t fun, even if it’s technically possible. The other reason BC+ gets so much love? People want battlecruisers, command ships, and battleships to get buffed. While zippy frigates, destroyers, and cruisers romp around the map shrugging off lock attempts and bomb damage, their larger subcap cousins seem to have passed their heyday. BC/BS hulls also represent a substantial ISK investment, it would be so cool if they were given a special role in sovereignty warfare. They couldn’t run at the first sign of danger, and they’d cost the owner real ISK if lost, meaning they wouldn’t be thrown around trivially. It’s the perfect solution… that is, until you think about what the repercussions might be on the rest of EVE Online.

Not Everything Is About Sov

Before BC+ became popular, it was not uncommon to hear someone suggest that Entosis Links be limited to battleships and higher, BS+ if you will. It had all the benefits of the BC+ proposal… until someone brought up wormholes. Because with the exception of the Nestor (a.k.a. the best Mobile Depot variant in the game), battleships can’t go through lots of low-class wormhole entrances. The BS+ proposal would therefore mean that the Citadels of many wormhole groups would be 100% safe from any corporation that wasn’t willing to make the Nestor its flagship! This ridiculous situation is the natural outcome of such a short-sighted, sov-focused solution. People wanted to fix Aegis sov so badly they forgot wormholes exist, or that Citadels were coming soon. Whoops! Those same players probably didn’t put much thought into the long-term goals for structures in general, which is a shame since several BC+ supporters are CSMs who’ve spent months looking at the same structure plans that I have. While most of those plans are NDA, the public outline shown at Fanfest should make it perfectly clear that Entosis could be the key interaction point for many, if not most, structures in the game: y0BPxaD So when people chant BC+ as a solution for sovereignty, they’re also requiring a battlecruiser or battleship for interactions that range from Citadel bashes to drive-by structure destruction. Without a battlecruiser, what will your group do when it encounters a juicy Research Center or Assembly HQ deep in some Bob-forsaken backwater system? You’ll be forced to either burn back who knows how many systems, or pass up on meaningful content. You could have a fleet of 500 Confessors, but you can’t touch a Listening Outpost because you don’t have a single Myrmidon! BC+ supporters probably also forgot that he Entosis Link can be used on certain NPC structures to uncover large amounts of in-game lore. That really cool interaction, and any other ones that haven’t been discovered or implemented quite yet, would suddenly be gated from half the ships in EVE. Sure it’s not “important” in the same way sov is, but “important” is subjective in a sandbox game. Luckily there’s no incoming pile of juicy, Drifter-related content! The point of all this is that people asking for hull limitations on Entosis Links may not have thought about or don’t know the full scope CCP’s plans for the Entosis Link. They’re thinking about the status quo of sovereignty, and that’s about it. We don’t know what structures will require Entosis. We don’t know what lore and PVE elements will require Entosis. We don’t know if anything that interacts with Entosis will ever be put in “Tripnull” shattered wormholes, where only frigates can fly. Players are asking for something with potentially enormous, long-term ramifications for multiple aspects of EVE Online. Because of trollceptors.

Nullify The Real Issues

Don’t take my dismissal of the BC+ proposal as a dismissal of the problems it’s trying to address. While I shed no tears for alliances concerned about losing an XL Citadel to a rookie ship, slippery vessels that don’t generate fights and don’t establish grid control are working directly against the goals of Aegis sov. If the actual problem with current Entosis Mechanics is interdiction nullification or ridiculously fast ships, why not address these problems head-on? CCP has already taken an initial stab at this with a preliminary 4k/s speed cap for Entosis boats, but I wouldn’t be against more extreme measures. Activating an Entosis Link de-activates your propulsion modules. Without a prop mod, whether it’s an oversized AB or a microwarp drive, you’re not going to see interdictors or T3s burning around the map at 10k, 4k, or any kilometers a second while capturing stuff. The catch of course is that you can use these modules to full combat effect before and after linking – so you must simply achieve grid control before trying to hack a structure. Or if you’ve started hacking and enemies land on grid, you’ve just invoked the last rule of Fight Club: You have to fight. Alternatively, equipping an Entosis Link disables interdiction nullification. This should be self-explanatory, but combined with speed caps, is just meant to make evasive ships easier to catch. Another possible angle is to simply make Entosis Linking with smaller ships hugely inefficient, annoying, or time-consuming. The easiest way to do this would be to give subcaps capture multipliers similar to those that capital ships currently have (or some other time-extending mechanism). For instance:
  • Capital ships retain a 5x multiplier
  • Battlecruisers and battleships retain a 1x multiplier
  • Cruisers gain a 2x multiplier
  • Destroyers gain a 2.5x multiplier
  • Frigates gain a 3x multiplier
  • Other ships (mining barges, etc.) get a 4x multiplier
This approach keeps Entosis available on all hulls, but rewards players who choose to use BC or BS hulls.

Let’s Keep Our Options Open

These solutions don’t gimp anyone’s fit. They don’t stop explorers from poking around Drifter relics. They keep the spirit of Fozzie’s grid control in mind. More importantly, they’re organic, sandbox-friendly approaches, the type that are already common in EVE Online. You can, for instance, mine without a mining barge, but it’s a hilarious waste of time. You can scan signatures in a Vexor, but it takes longer than using a Stratios. You can shoot damage-based structures with a rookie ship, but it’ll be a long time before that POCO goes into reinforcement! I can’t endorse a proposal that only considers sovereignty while completely ignoring the current and future possibilities of EVE. There are better ways to tweak Aegis sov. There are better ways to buff battlecruisers. Let’s not close the Entosis door before we learn what’s on the other side.
Tags: Aegis soverignty, Chance, csm, Entosis, Fozziesov, Wingspan TT

About the author

Chance Ravinne

As the CEO of WINGSPAN Delivery Services, Chance Ravinne has committed himself to bringing content (and torpedoes) to unsuspecting pilots throughout New Eden. His uncanny need to jump blindly into new situations has fueled his adventures as a covert ops pilot and all-around stealth bastard. You can follow him pretty much everywhere @WINGSPANTT.