October 4, 2014

Phoebe and Mercenaries

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts. There really hasn't been a set of changes that are going to have an impact on mercenaries since the last time I did one - for Rubicon. But Phoebe is going to have an effect on everyone. So let's dive into what's been announced so far and what this will do to mercenaries in EVE.

Jump Changes

We'll jump right in and focus on the elephant in the room. This is going to effect pretty much everyone, at least because capital ships can move through gates. As a quick recap: 
  • jump drive ranges are limited to 5 light years for everything except Black Ops Battleships
  • jump fatigue will begin to create a larger time period between successive jumps with jump freighters having less consequences applied
  • Capitals will be able to take normal stargates
  • Medical clones can only be moved to stations you're docked in
Jump drive range and fatigue will have the largest effect on mercenaries at the first, most obvious level. Groups like us will be the hardest pressed since we operate in nullsec and we're one of - if not the most - mobile mercenary alliances in the game. We move multiple times per month on full deployments. I don't think anyone else can claim that. So how will this effect our day to day? Well, deployment operations are going to have to be planned well ahead of time. We're waiting for the final edition of these changes before we start creating our actual standard operating procedures, but initial thoughts are just that we'll have to take a longer amount of time for moving rather than handle everything in an hour or two. We'll also have to encourage our members without carriers to get one. Where before we could make back and forth trips, that isn't possible any more.

I have to admit I'm a little torn on this aspect of the changes. I like the effect this is going to have on the game's health, but I don't like that the gameplay encourages not playing. I've always said that, all the way back to my CSM campaign, that I want to encourage people to login. This doesn't really do that. We'll probably just jump, log off and wait, jump, log off and wait. Not fun, but it'll work.

The medical clone changes won't really effect us. We don't move around using medical clones anyway, and I doubt we'll notice the change.

Capitals being able to take normal gates is going to be a pandora's box. At the time of this posting, we're on a contract to keep traffic from moving through a particular pipe. Capitals aren't on the menu for this contract, but if they start taking gates that could change! Who knows how this is going to play out in the long run, but I think we're going to see a lot more capital ships in the wild, and that makes me excited.

Sovereignty

Hitpoints and resistances on various sovereignty-related structures will be revisited, to balance out the reduced ability to use Supercarriers against them. Stay tuned for a follow-up blog on this.

That's a quote from Greyscale's dev blog. This is a tough one to make predictions on because we have such a small amount of information on. It's always been my hope that smaller organizations could compete in nullsec, and the massive HP amounts of the required structures barred most of those groups from playing independently.

This in and of itself probably won't have an effect on mercenaries. It may become possible for a group of our size (~200 people in the alliance) to take one of these structures down in a reasonable amount of time after the change, but I don't foresee anyone needing that in the near future. The need likely won't come until after all the other, as of now unannounced changes that will alter the way sovereignty mechanics work. Until that happens, nullsec's alliances and coalitions won't be altered much, although the jump changes may strain some smaller ties.

We should hope that these changes combined with the future mechanical changes will create an environment where people are working independently, hiring in help when they need it. That's the kind of game that would remain fun and dynamic for a long time. I like to think we're on the road there, as an optimist, and Phoebe is a good step - although not perfect - in that direction. CCP needs to really focus on the fun factor with their next changes. We shouldn't be encouraging people to log off rather than play. I don't think we'll see many people choose to take stargates over waiting out their jump fatigue.

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