Alongside the upcoming Nullsec sovereignty PvP changes, dubbed Fozziesov by the community, CCP is releasing a large amount of changes to the PvE content in player-controlled Nullsec regions. These changes aim to make holding any space in Nullsec a thing worth fighting for. A blog post released by CCP Fozzie put some details to the changes into our hands. From my perspective, these changes seem to be positive overall from a PvE perspective and some could even lead to more engaging PvE content within Eve, as opposed to shooting red crosses polygons all day.
For those who do not know, I am a member of Karmafleet, and therefore live in the heart of the Imperium-controlled region of Deklein. Deklein is by and large a great place to convert pirate ships into ISK and salvage. The incoming changes should serve to make Deklein and all of sov Nullsec more lucrative territory for alliances that hold it. There is some concern among my fellow writers that the changes will make Sov Warfare a long and painful grind. Unfortunately, I am not well versed in that and will have to leave discussing that side of the updates to someone else
“Yarr, here there be pirates”
The pirate detection array is the heart of Nullsec ratting. Based on the security level of the space it is in, it causes a number of fixed pirate signatures to spawn in a system. When these sites are cleared, they respawn relatively quickly and allow a small number of pilots to warp from site to site with no delay and continue earning ISK to fuel their endeavours. CCP is planning on increasing the amount of signatures spawned by an array by 75% at max level.
This will allow more pilots to exist in the same system without stepping on each other’s toes, which will greatly benefit those pilots. With more condensed numbers, defending an aggressed ally will become much easier as there will be more ships able to converge on the pilot in a shorter amount of time and potentially save them from roaming enemies.
Alongside the benefit of the increased safety in numbers, the control of the system itself will become safer, faster. As more pirates are killed in a system, the security index increases causing a proportionate increase in the amount of time it takes for an aggressor to reinforce the system with the new entosis link modules. This makes having an active PvE population essential in securing key systems in the Nullsec empires.
On the flipside of this, scouts will become much more important to defending the space you occupy. As ratting pilots coalesce further and further into a limited amount of systems in a constellation, more systems will become empty allowing hostile gangs to travel and gather without being seen. This natural change to the distribution of pilots should add a bit of excitement back into Nullsec, as emerging threats will, in my opinion, be more difficult to see coming.
Exploration for fun and profit!
According to CCP, the Survey Networks and Entrapment Array currently do not see a great deal of use, coming low on the priority list of system upgrades. This is likely due in part to the vast difference that various pirate faction sites are actually worth, more than the effectiveness of the arrays. In Sansha Nation areas, intact armor plates make exploration sites worth a great deal more than all of the other faction sites.
That being said, there are still a good number of pilots that enjoy exploration and the random gambling-like payouts that it provides. Sometimes a site provides nothing but a loss of 10-15 minutes, and sometimes a site pays out hundreds of millions of ISK. The thrill of that hunt draws players in.
Depending on the loot fairy’s benevolence or lack thereof, combat sites provide pirate faction blueprints to players daring enough to run them. They are more challenging than simple pirate signatures, often requiring Tech 2 or Tech 3 cruisers to run solo, and can provide a great deal of ISK for those who successfully run them. However, in areas like Deklein, which are heavily populated by players clearing combat anomalies, escalations are very common and much more lucrative.
The changes to these arrays will likely be welcomed by players who make their living running these sites as it will double the amount of sites provided. I do think that this change misses the mark slightly though. A better way to approach this might be making the payout from running these particular anomalies more even across the board and possibly just more lucrative at the baseline, so that it is just as efficient to do them as it is to endlessly shoot pirates.
Bring your friends along!
One of the changes that I am most excited about is the proposed implementation of group-based PvE content. Most of the group content is coming in a future patch, but there will be some immediate implementation of changes to Nullsec and Lowsec incursions.
Highsec incursion fleets have the ability to bring heavily over-gunned and insanely expensive ships to bear in the form of multiple-billion isk battleships in which no Nullsec or Lowsec player would willingly travel. Because of this, Nullsec and Lowsec incursion runners are allowed to bring more players along to the sites to make up for the individual DPS loss. CCP has expanded this allowance beyond vanguard incursion sites to include all sites in the incursion. This should allow groups to include more people into the mothership payouts and hopefully get more people interested in running incursions. These incursion changes are a welcome and natural extension to similar updates in the past.
In my opinion, the more exciting changes coming to PvE are the proposed implementations from Team Five 0. The potential combination of the new AI used in burner missions alongside the increased firepower of incursion-type pirate ships should lead to some very fresh PvE gameplay in Eve. The plan proposed by CCP would incorporate the scaling payout system that incursions typically do, but I would like to see a small change to add a greater risk vs. reward aspect.
Currently, incursions pay the same amount to each player up to a certain number, 10 in Highsec and 15 in Nullsec, and then the payout drops proportionally to the amount of players in the area when the site is cleared. This means you are not rewarded for the added risk of bringing fewer players. The bounty for the site should be evenly split between the players present when it is cleared before it hits the diminishing returns point. Using the incursion example, a Nullsec vanguard site is worth 225 million ISK divided amongst the players running the site or 15 million ISK per player. If you bring less than the maximum number of players, you do not get any more ISK. Some of the bounty for that site is just gone. I would like to see the new content reward you for bringing less than the safe (maximum) number of players and still pay out the full bounty divided by the actual number of players.
Regardless of how the bounties are paid, the group PvE has me very excited, and I look forward to its implementation. Everyone has to earn ISK somehow and farming pirates solo gets very old, very quickly. Adding content to generate ISK which is challenging, rewarding and engaging is a great step forward and will be a huge boon to Nullsec empires especially.
Eve is changing
The coming changes to Sov Warfare are highly debated and hotly contested by veterans and new players alike. According to many, the future of Eve may very well depend on these changes being a success. For my part, the PvE changes proposed here seem to be a good path for the game to take. They encourage intra-alliance activity, and create new avenues for content for all players. I am not in a position to speak for the PvP side as I came into the game at the very end of the great sov wars, but I look forward to the new era of EVE and hope others are as well.
Tags: aegis, fozzie, nullsec, pve, Sarin, sov