Wormholes: 12 Months Down The LineTimoxa Zero
It’s been just over a year since the release of the Citadel expansion, ushering in a new era in wormhole space. Due to the ease of access, the increase in general security associated with station living and the assistance of the community, many new PVP corps have popped up across all parts of wormhole space. ShekelSquad, Hotline K162 and Doom Generation, to name a few, are part of this “Citadel generation”.
Some still use POSes for eviction staging and temporary farm-holes due to the relatively high costs of a Fortizar as a staging for caps, but the Citadel patch has largely caused a mass transition to citadels, albeit slightly forced. Both Lazerhawks and Hard Knocks Inc. have erected Keepstars (Hard Knocks has even set up two!), and many well-established PVP corps have a Fortizar and multiple Astrahuses.
Before the patch, I spoke to ExookiZ of The Dark Space Initiative, Tim Nering of formerly R3d Fire (now Mouth Trumpet Calvary) and Hidden Fremen from Lazerhawks. They offered up good perspectives on the changes to PVP and PVE that would take place post-Citadel, and some insight onto how they hoped the newly-elected CSM, NoobMan would use his powers to help revitalize wormhole space.
This round, I’ll be sitting down with Steel Roamer, CEO of ShekelSquad, NoobMan, operations director of Hard Knocks Inc, who was a member of CSM XI and now CSM XII, and An Albatross, a director in No Vacancies, who certainly has the most storied history regarding this patch. If you recall, No Vacancies suffered a massive theft due to a hacked director account only a week before the Citadel changes. Losses were estimated at over 500 billion ISK. Many corps would simply collapse after an event like this, but No Vacancies buckled down, moved down to low-class, and despite several attempts to recover their assets from CCP going relatively unanswered, they were able to recover and within about seven months, were back in the C5 ecosystem.
Q1. As someone who has been a resident of C5 space both before and after the Citadel patch, how do you feel it has affected both C5 space and the rest of the wormhole ecosystem?
Steel: My experience prior to citadels was being a hobbit in a Large POS I shared with someone who took the hole just to run the home sites with the old school hero-dread method. I brought a Rattlesnake, to run sites in our C4 static and my alt with a cheetah and some spare scanners. The biggest thing that kept me from making the wormhole my “full time home” was that everything was so tedious. Between fueling the POS, scanning out chains, enduring C4 site pains, and generally just being alone, I ended up burning out.
there are less days where I wake up with the dreaded “Starbase running low on fuel”
I never got to take part in the high-class PVP of that era, but I had an immense amount of respect for the amount of ISK groups would throw on field, and the tight-knit, highly-coordinated type of groups that lived there. Once citadels came out, I feel as if the more “casual” player can take part in this space. I feel like there are less days where I wake up with the dreaded “Starbase running low on fuel” messages that are essentially a “no content today” warning as you scramble to find a market and bring more in. I feel like the reduced risk of theft of personal assets that your average line member now faces has also made a lot of people willing to try the space out. I feel like the Citadel patch was not only a deep stab wound to the space, but also its saving grace. More on that in a bit.
Timezone tanking is one of the biggest complaints I hear about the current system
Noobman: I think many of us wormholers and the rest of Eve were used to the “always vulnerable” system. The attacker made the timer unless the defender was present he could adjust the timer. In the post Citadel world the defender sets every timer window. Timezone tanking is one of the biggest complaints I hear about the current system, and what I mean by that is the defender can set the vulnerable time window to an inconvenient time outside of his own activity and the would-be attacker. Not only the time but also the day. How many people can you convince to show up to your planned full scale assault on a Tuesday at 4am on a work day? Oh and they need to show up Wednesday and Thursday at the same time.
In wormholes we don’t see this issue as much because most of our community wants to fight for their home and in their prime time to defend, but it’s a completely valid tactic to drop X amount of cheap Astrahus and set them for every imaginable sets of different timezones.
All that aside I think there are many positive benefits to the new structures. They have made for very interesting fights when people actually defend them. They can hold a ton of loot for the attacker, and with the changes coming May 9th the loot cans will be accessible even when inside station containers.
As far as the C5 ecosystem goes, the people that invest in home defense and have a plan and the people to execute the plan and defend their home, they have a good defensible structure. And for the attacker that is looking for free loot or a good fight, these new structures will give them what they are looking for.
Albatross: I have found, especially as someone in a leadership role, that the Citadel patch has been a boon to WH space in general. The stress of fueling a bazillion POS’s spread across the system is extremely diminished, I don’t have to figure out when a new recruit joins who gets what roles for what POS and make sure they understand how living out of the POS works. They simply join corp, I give them the new member roles, they read the intro mail and they’re off and running. It’s a huge QOL improvement that I looked forward to both in No Vacancies and in my previous corp The Desolate Order.
Corp security has been another added benefit of the Citadel patch. No longer can someone eject all the ships, unfuel all the POS’s, and change all the POS passwords (using a stolen account or otherwise). A rogue director could still give docking rights to unsavory invaders, but that could be easily revoked. Simply put, what was done last year using my account could no longer occur with the Citadel patch. Evictors would be required to actually evict.
There are other aspects of the Citadel patch to consider besides POS mechanics and security though. I have heard some people argue that citadel timers make things too easy for the defenders or that an eviction takes too long now. Another concern that was raised is that limitless storage in the citadel structures will cause corps to bloat. While these concerns and others are totally valid, my counter to that would be that the positives in my experience have far outweighed the negatives. Do we want people in WH space? A citadel structure has made it far far easier for new corps to enter the fray.
Q2. Now that POS administration has been nearly deprecated and Upwell structures are the new standard for wormhole space, do you think it has created a more welcoming environment for new corps entering wormholes?
Steel: Absolutely. My group is an example of this. We want to give everyone who demonstrates competency and/or a willingness to learn a opportunity to try the space out. We aren’t a newbro corp, but we don’t expect members to show up and make miracles happen, or become fountains of content. Now that people can come in with 5-6 ships, and they don’t have to worry about their ships going missing if they go AFK for a month, it’s an easier bullet to bite. From the corp administration side, I also don’t have to worry about anchoring 10 POS’s to have enough SMAs for all my members assets. I don’t need to worry about 1 of 10 towers not getting fuel and re-imbursing 10b in ships, and I don’t have to worry about members with access to industrial facilities taking materials for my own jobs, or other members jobs.
if you move into a wormhole for the first time, expect to eventually have all of your assets stolen
Noobman: Absolutely. These structures are so incredibly simple to set up compared to the awful time of anchoring individual POS modules. To me they give a real sense of home. “This is my castle”. POSes to me felt like a temporary outpost, you could accidently drift out of them and die to your own POS if you didn’t know how to set it up right. POSes had such a terrible system for keeping assets safe, and it was so well known across all of Eve that if you move into a wormhole for the first time, expect to eventually have all of your assets stolen. I think it definitely deterred some people interested in trying out wormholes.
But there are still some complaints people have with the new structures even for new corps entering wormholes, some of which CCP has acknowledged and time permitting might implement solutions in the future. The biggest complaint I heard back when citadels first came out and still to this day is the 24 hour anchor period is a little bit too long for the solo explorer or the micro corp of 2-3 friends.
Although, in my opinion, we have been given so many great features that POSes did not have that are welcoming for a new corp, such as having a market and being able to set up contracts for doctrine ships. My unique view (being a CSM) and hope for the future is that CCP gives us drilling platform schedule mining gameplay, that, combined with the engineering complexes for building and the refining from the drilling platforms, I hope will lead to a large influx of new players looking to set up an industry kingdom in a wormhole. Lock yourself away from HS wardec-ers and all the annoying nuances of highsec and collapse all your holes and mine like crazy in your player made fortress. Of course until someone comes along and kicks your sandcastle over…
Albatross: When I first entered WH space nearly three years ago, I joined The Desolate Order when they were still a fledgling wormhole corp living in a C2 with C3 and high security statics. TDO was a corp that originally started out as a highsec mining corp before being one of the first corps to join Brave and thereby discover PvP. It truly was a grassroots, self-made WH corp that came from nowhere. We were able to inherit Dropbears Anonymous’ old C2 which gave us the start we needed in wormholes. We had little clue what we were doing; it truly was a trial by fire. From there we made a start into C5 space by moving into a C5/C3 hole and evicting the residents. We lived in that system for a time, building finances, recruiting newbies from Brave, and generally learning what high class WH space meant. Eventually we made it to C5/C5 space and were able to continue improving and learning.
Looking back on all those struggles, failures, and successes, if Citadels had been around I think things would have been dramatically easier for a small new corp to learn the ropes. Security wouldn’t have been such a huge stress, and we wouldn’t have had to haul loads and loads of fuel. We could have focused more energy on learning and actually getting better. TDO got a lot of flak for being “bad” but most people never realized that our roots were as a highsec mining corp. Going from that and ending up high class wormholes was no easy feat and I’m fiercely proud I was able to be a part of that.
I would love to see more corps doing what TDO did, but even better. I want to see holes populated with a couple Astras and maybe a Fortizar with some little PvP WH corp staking their roots and learning how it all works. I want to see them welping gloriously and getting the bloodlust that drives PvP WH corps. I think that while the Citadel patch has lowered the bar to entry, WH space is no less dangerous.
Q3. The changes to high-class PVE regarding Drifters and Upgraded Avengers have not been wildly popular with many wormhole residents. What is your take on these changes?
Steel: Earlier I said the Citadel patch was a stab wound to the space. I stand by this, as being a new corp that has moved holes three times in six months, let me be one of many to tell you, this place doesn’t have cheap rent. This is not lowsec where you have a place to store caps provided for you, nor is it nullsec where jump freighters make 24/7 loops bringing in any materials you need.
Anchoring 20B+ in structures, fitting them with 15b+ in rigs/services/mods, and filling up the necessary hangars is not cheap. And as a CEO, it’s not my style to ask members to pay in. We run our home sites 100% for corp wallet to fund corp infrastructure, our fledgling SRP service, and our free ship hangars. My friend who I lived with prior to Citadel, between his 1-2 dread pilots and an hour or two a day, was able to make enough ISK to potentially buy three titans in about 2-3 months.
there’s a lot of pressure to catch up to and be competitive with the existing groups
In Tweetfleet and the more “meme-y” parts of the wormhole community there exists a joke about “breadlining” sites. Where people show up in ships, PVE as a group, get money, and go home. It’s the casual wormhole PVE experience, as opposed to the Lazerhawks/HK method of having members farm with alts in other wormholes and simply funnel ISK to their mains to get the needed ships. This, in my opinion, is what you can expect most newer wormhole groups to do for money. Most new members to W-space don’t have the necessary alts to keep up with wormhole space. Members need to work more for their ISK, and there’s a lot of pressure to catch up to and be competitive with the existing groups. But ultimately, the nerf hurts smaller corps, but helps newer corps. It lowers the upper echelon of W-space’s income to a degree, which makes it easier for the newer group to keep up with them.
The nerf in income can be felt in ISK lost section of many battle reports, and it can be felt in the amount of work groups need to put in to be competitive, and the amount of time groups need to spend farming vs time spent rolling the static looking for content. When I mentioned citadels are in a way a band-aid, it’s because while I now spend more time farming, I spend less time running fuel and dealing with the tedium of POS management. It’s a trade-off that benefits me as a management type person, but might not be felt by the average line member.
Noobman: So being a CSM I have to have two mindsets on this, actually three. Let me explain.
As for being one of the biggest krabs in the wormhole community, I have amassed my trillions in fortunes over the years farming these sites. In the mindset of my personal wallet and how I make my primary income of ISK in the game, I’m comfortable with the new system. It’s an “adapt or die” mindset for me. For the people that won’t learn and just want to complain, they can miss out on the literal trillions there are to be made each month doing these sites. Just ask CCP Quant – in March there were 12 trillion ISK of blue loot sold to NPCs, of course some of it generated in low class wormholes.
As for being a CSM you have to be selfless and empathic. Like you said, the changes are not widely popular. And low class desires some sort of PvE changes as well. My non-CSM/non-NDA guess is that the new NPC AI that Team Phenomenon are working on will eventually replace the PvE in wormholes. CCP Larrikin said it publicly at Fanfest that they are not interested in changing and updating old PVE, but instead they are developing the tools and the systems for brand new PvE to replace all old PvE. And the end goal making PvE adaptable and scalable, and making it feel like fighting real players in PvP.
And lastly, the third mindset is the hunter’s mindset. With my corp being the boogeyman of wormholes, a part of our content vastly diminished with the changes to PvE. The 4 day cycle and prepped sites allowed us to have an educated guess when capital fleets would likely be exposing themselves in sites. It takes a ton more recon to find site runners using capitals and who knows when they will run again with the awful site lifetime and spawn mechanics. Notice I’m saying “site runners using capitals”, in the Eve we play today it is a near extinct population of groups actually using capitals. Most run 100% safe MJD Rattlesnakes. Hopefully they are going to give more sleepers scrams to counter MJDs like they said they would be interested in doing at the wormhole round table at Fanfest.
So I have all kinds of things affecting my opinion on the changes to high-class PVE but until we get new PvE I recommend you try what we have and you’ll find running capital escalations still can be lucrative money.
Albatross: I will preface this by saying I am not a krab. I know lots of people will claim this, but I truly dislike PvE. I do it only when forced to and I’ve been known to cave and buy a plex here and there. That being said, the biggest thing I do like is that sites no longer persist for four days at a time. It was a silly mechanic, and being Eve players we took full advantage of it. The drifter is mostly fine; it’s the avengers I find to be really poorly thought out. So much time, effort, and EHP for so little gain makes it very tedious and grindy (my most favorite things about video games /s). Beyond that I have no real input. I am bad krab.
Q4. With the T3 Cruiser changes announced by CCP at Fanfest, do you think there will be a shift to Command Ships, or will armor T3 Cruisers remain viable as a standard wormhole doctrine?
Steel: It’s already changing. Look at some of the recent heavy armor brawls and you will see a very prominent growth in the use of Damnations, which fill a similar role to the HAM Legion, without the SP loss, and a cheaper cost per EHP. For us, we are still primarily on the Legion for the ease of training to get new members into a functional doctrine ship and into other roles quickly (Amarr Cruiser V = Legion, Guardian, Curse, Sacrilege; all very useful).
Unless CCP unlinks SP loss from T3Cs, there will be absolutely no reason to use them, other than to confuse enemy FCs as to which Legions are neut Legions and which are DPS legions in a larger scale fight. Even then, that seems to be the only redeeming quality of fielding a Legion composition. Otherwise it will be Heavy Assault Missile Damnations, and Neut Legions/Bhaals. Which consequently might cause a rise in the use of capital gun dreadnaughts in larger scale fights as 300K EHP Damnations can be a pain to break through without capital support.
Noobman: Until the fine print and all the information is made public it will be hard to tell. If you prematurely put your fleet in command ships, you are going to realize you are missing out on the force multipliers of Tech 3 cruisers. Long points, webs, neuts and effective ECM will still be desired in fleets. You could use HICs for points and Bhaalgorns for webs and neuts technically but the Tech 3 cruiser filled these niche roles so well. The unique fits that wormholers use for combat and exploration and PvE will be what I fight for, as a CSM, to still be viable after the Tech 3 cruiser change.
Albatross: We are wormholers. We play Eve on hard mode. We will find a way to theorycraft the bajeesus out of whatever changes they make to whatever ships they give us. We’ll bling things in order to squeeze that extra 5k EHP or 35 DPS. I’m not terribly concerned, besides it might actually be fun to mix things up and see what falls out.
Q5. What are your wishes from CSM XII this year? What do you want to/not want to see?
Steel: I want to see a reduction in Awakened Avenger hitpoints, or a buff to Avenger payouts. I want people to be enthusiastic to take the risk of sieging a dreadnaught in a site for the potential payout, and I don’t want to feel like i’m shooting flying bricks for the sake of shooting a flying brick. 44 Million ISK for what feels like an eternity of watching your guns cycle and smashing D-Scan while flying a 3B ISK ship stuck at 0m/s is by no means good for the space in my opinion.
Additionally, C4 site spawn ranges need to be dropped. There are so many ships people could be using to run sites, but instead only a select few meet the requirements of tank, cap stability, projection and damage that make any of them worth using. Namely the Rattlesnake or Nestor and in a way, the Paladin or Golem.
I want to see Maelstroms solo-ing C4 sites. I want to see Ravens in C4 sites. I want to see more things in a C4 sites in general, not just the occasional hyper-vigilant multiboxer who is paranoid because he has 6b in subcaps in a site. I want the casual Eve player in sites, because the casual Eve player often times can be content for the more dedicated groups. I say this as the CEO of one of the more casual groups in high-class space. Content is content, whether it comes to me, or I go find it.
I have high hopes that CCP gives high-class some minor tweaks to make the ecosystem more hospitable, and hopefully they take a look at the meta to possibly make some more ships viable in terms of wormhole compositions. One peculiar idea I’ve been internally debating is adding neut resistance to the Information Link options. But at the moment, with the power of FAX in W-space, this would simply cause FAXes to be even stronger.
Noobman: I’ve talked a bit about it in the previous questions. Drilling platform gameplay was the biggest outrage that I received the most amount of evemails about (25-30 evemails). I will continue to fight for structure changes that improve the quality of life for wormholers, as well as Tech 3 cruisers rebalance.
In my last term on CSM XI, I felt I was an effective red flag waver for how things would affect wormholes. As well as being the biggest advocate for new features to be available in wormholes. In a year from now I hope some of the new NPC AI will find its way into our PvE. And I hope over this next year there will be new things added to the game for wormholes that I was able to help with my opinion and being a conduit of your feedback. And with these hopeful changes wormholes will be an attractive alternative for players in K-Space to come to thrive industry, to make money, to explore and find PvP content.
Albatross: Noobman has proven himself to be a more than capable representative. He’s a genuinely nice dude who’s smart and willing to engage with his constituents. I have no doubt that he worked very hard his last term and will continue to do so in the coming year. I would like to see our reps push for more refinement to PvE, especially in high class space. Other than that I look forward to seeing what happens in the next year..
As you can see, the transition over the last twelve months has been a shift from general hope for the future, to a general content and hope for even more positive changes in the future. Many have not survived these last several months, such as The Merchant’s Trade Consortium, Darkness Consumed, or EyEs.FR but those who have survived have emerged even stronger than before.