Wormholes: Big Drops or Big Flop?Timoxa Zero
Wormhole space has always been a big part of EVE Online news regardless of the conflict in Empire space at the time. We have all read the stories of Dropbears Anonymous and the Nova eviction, Band of Magnus self-destructing hundreds of billions of ISK as Hard Knocks ripped down all their towers, the attempted eviction of The Dark Space Initiative, and various low-class (Class 1-4 corporations) rebelling against Hard Knocks, only to be beaten down by the defenders. Other large fights include the home defense of Quantum Explosion and Lead Farmers., the eviction of La Division Bleu, and The Red Coat Conspiracy, all of which resulted in billions of ISK lost.
With the Citadel expansion hitting Tranquility on April 29th, EVE Online will see the phasing out of Player Owned Starbase (POS) administration, which has been running on legacy code for several years. Due to the woes of administering these structures and various security vulnerabilities due to the aforementioned legacy code, many people have avoided wormholes. With the introduction of Citadels and the changes regarding capital escalations in Class 5 and Class 6 space, wormhole life could be revitalized thanks to the cheaper overhead combined with increased asset security as well as promoting more group-oriented high-class PvE.
In order to gain a better understanding of the wormhole community’s views on this I approached ExookiZ, the CEO of The Dark Space Initiative, whose corp is the “old guard” of w-space and has been around for nearly seven years. Next is Hidden Fremen, the CEO of Lazerhawks, a Class-5 Pulsar group specializing in PvP. Finally I spoke to Tim Nering, CEO of R3d Fire, a group focused on small-gang PvP. I sought their opinions on a wide range of subjects surrounding the current wormhole meta.
How do you feel about combat in wormhole space as a high-class resident and do you feel that the upcoming changes in Citadels could change this meta?
Hidden: Currently, it’s how many neuts and ECM [you can] field. People are still very averse to risk and it’s evident in their fleet composition (over half a dozen ECM or more logistics than DPS) or their outright denial of any engagement unless it’s on their terms, followed by a berating to clutch some redemption for not “bringing it”. There was a time where people just fought because PvP was fun. Removing combat refitting is a major blow to “hardcore” PvPers. It’s taking every engagement closer to instanced PvP where you simply fight with what you entered with. A lot of individual player skill is being flushed down the toilet with that.
On mass… If they change capital mass over total wormhole mass, not much will change except people who are well off can afford to risk more capitals. If they change wormhole mass, [and] keep jumpable mass the same, the T3 meta could potentially be left behind with the increased feasibility of battleship fleets.
Tim: Well, notably R3d Fire is not in the advertised “wormhole meta.” If you know a little bit about wormholes you can probably come away with high-class wormholes equaling farming, T3s, shine-tastic capital fights, etc. I hope that citadels are grids that people will come to. I want people to think of us like they do of PFR. R3d Fire isn’t hard to kill, they are fun, let’s go sit on their citadel and await content. I work so god damned hard to get content all day long, it’s about time I had a real place for someone to come to me. The idea of being able to contract and trade in citadels makes me so happy. But, if evictions are really hard, it makes wormholes safer. We may end up with more farmers and less wormhole content. Even my rag-tag group of PvPers should be able to evict some farmers. (This statement is based on speculation).
ExookiZ: Currently, a scout can [sit] posted and d-scan for a fleet, maybe sit on their [corp’s] “main POS to get an idea of what a fleet composition might look like. In Citadels, that ability is removed and all you get is a number on the front of the citadel that shows how many pilots are docked, and of that number, half could easily be afk. While you’ll know the second they undock, depending on the situation that can be a lot harder to react to since now they are undocking and warping instead of sitting in a POS.
Do you think that POS administration is turning away people from w-space and do you think that Citadels will change that?
“The real change will be the influx of a different breed of W-space residents.”
Hidden: Considering the potential headache in setup and maintenance, yes, definitely. Add to that the complexity in keeping corp assets safe, and that of other members, and you’ve got reason enough not to pursue it. With Citadels, [as far as] what’s been revealed, will be a boon to corp managers. I cannot wait. The real change will be the influx of a different breed of W-space residents. The days of a well-oiled (cohesive fleets) will be a thing of the past…
Tim: So nobody thought players would try and live in wormholes. Nobody thought that players would run these escalations with capitals on purpose. POSes weren’t ready for this. I’ve seen plenty of CEOs without a CLUE on how to set up POSes. I blame CCP’s decade old design that is so flawed and spaghetti coded that it is now rendered unfixable. We have this confusing system that is such a pain to manage. Do I think it prevents people from living the wormhole dream? No, not really. Is it time for POSes to go? Yes.
ExookiZ: On an admin front, citadels are a lot less to manage, worry about, and track, so I am hopeful that we will see some growth of W-space now that we don’t have to work with [bad] POS mechanics. Maybe new people will try wormholes, and other corps can grow easier without needing space in a POS. Evictions are very, very different. Some say it just got a lot harder, but I think that depends where the effort was. Citadels can fight back a lot better than a POS could, but they require a lot less DPS to take down. Currently, the meta is seeding tons of dreads to make POS bashes go faster. But I think the focus will change to a PvP fleet now, and just get fewer dreads to burn through the citadel HP. Against groups that can field a defense I think they’ll get a bit more interesting. A manned citadel is going to kill some things, so those reinforcement timers will become almost guaranteed fights provided the defender can try to mount a defense.
How do you think (if elected) NoobMan will perform on the CSM? Do you think he will live up to (and maybe surpass the achievements of) previous wormhole CSMs?
Hidden: I think he’ll work hard to have heard proposals for changes that will benefit w-space as a whole. Not everyone will be pleased or feel represented, of course, which is inherent in any similar position. No, I don’t think he’ll expend any effort to impact the actual CSM itself.
Tim: First of all, I don’t think one CSM member is going to make or break anything. Something I really like about NoobMan is that he would like to add more nullsec connections. Anything to increase connections I’m in for. A good null or two means we are going to have a big night of content. So right there, he’s got my vote. Something I dislike about NoobMan is that he wants people to “pick a side” of the meta that he is pushing. He says things llike, “everyone is too neutral”. I’m just not interested in all the “kill the blue donut” crap. I’m sorry Noob, it’s just not that interesting to me. This is NOT all W-space has to offer and I get honestly mad when I see people summarize it as such. I hate watching people trying to copy what HK does. They aren’t doing it “the best way”, they’re doing it “their way”. This is how Hard Knocks approaches the game. But for his other qualifications, Noob knows alot about PVE. HK has the largest PVE operation in all of w-space after all. So for what he knows, I think he is a good candidate to keep that in balance. So, yeah, I think he is well versed and a good candidate. I just hope he isn’t under the impression Hard K(n)ock’s style of playing isn’t the only play style worth doing.
ExookiZ: I think it is difficult to quantify CSM performance, given that 99% of their work never gets revealed publicly, the csm minutes are often redacted, and incomplete so it’s hard to say corbexx did a bad job, as it is he did a good job. I think Noobman brings a lot to the table, and if he puts the same effort he put into building HK into the CSM he will do well. I think many will be disappointed. Not because he won’t do a fine job, but many people seem to think the CSM has power it doesn’t have. I’m not on the CSM, but I have worked closely with many of them on a variety of things, and a constant that I hear is even when presented with all the facts CCP does its own thing, or the rest of the null CSMs shoot down wormhole stuff. A lot of people are expecting x,y, and z from NoobMan and he even semi-promised some of them, but those people fail to realize it’s not up to him. He can say, “Hey, how about this?” And from then on, it’s entirely up to CCP.
How do you feel about the adjustments to escalations and what are your thoughts on the way Drifters are actually tied into wormholes now?
Hidden: Any change is good, until we discover it’s actually bad. This is a topic I’m still unfamiliar with, however; I don’t really PvE. If it puts more on the line, I’m all for it. It sounds like you’re still going to be able to hero dread, so not much would have changed. As for the suddenly Drifter type of escalation, I think it’s going to introduce a PvP-level element to running sites. Lore isn’t my forte, but aren’t Drifters more or less sentient sleepers essentially put together themselves by cannibalizing Sleeper wrecks and Capsuleer corpses? I don’t know… I’m more interested in their relation to Jovians.
Tim: But let us be honest for five seconds. It will be figured out how to optimally farm them. It will be a secret for a little while but eventually everyone and their mother in law will know how to farm them, (remember when hero dreading was a secret? LOL). However, all these changes look really cool. so yay!
“I think group PVE is good for wormholes! It gets people together, and I personally find it more fun than soloing stuff.”
ExookiZ: On a brief lore side, I’m happy. A year ago I was excited about Drifters, their potential storyline and what it meant for EVE, then it kinda flatlined for a while, so I’m glad to see them in wormholes. Actual gameplay wise from what I last saw on SiSi, I think CCP missed the mark. What they said they wanted to do, and what they accomplished aren’t lining up, and the sites on SiSi as of a week ago were a joke. People can hate me for it, but I think group PVE is good for wormholes! It gets people together, and I personally find it more fun than soloing stuff, and from a hunting perspective, I’d rather gank a fleet of stuff, as opposed to a lone dread. To that end, (and they said this was their intention) I thought harder high-end PVE would be fun, profitable, and good for Wormholes. Instead, what’s on SiSi at the moment is easy, soloable, and if done right makes more ISK than the current escalations. They only have two weeks left to fix it, so I hope the changes are en-route.
Despite wormholes not garnering much attention, you can see that the people who inhabit them have much to say about the current state of the space in which they reside. With the Citadels expansion approaching and very little information regarding wormhole space having been released, capsuleers are eager to see what CCP have in store for them, and whether these changes lead to a mass migration or an exodus.