June 15, 2015

o7 Fleet Warp, 7o Nerf/Buff cycle

The o7 show has become a must-watch stream for me.  It's late enough in my work day that I can usually justify watching it.  If I don't then I get to watch the meta explode in conversations for a day or two until they get around to posting the video to YouTube.  Guys in corp talk about it on slack live and for a while afterwards.  The rapid-fitting battles are generally amusing, as is the brief CCP-celebrity roam afterwards which pretty much always ends with the Devs getting chased down, scrammed, and jammed into that hands-in-the-air useless feeling.  Favorite quote: "Everytime I do this I keep wanting to nerf ECM".  Hold onto that feeling, Fozzie, I'll come back to that.

Fleet Warp

The real bombshell from this o7 show was the announcement of a coming nerf to fleet warp.  As more and more people thought about this, the more holes started to appear in the CCP logic.  Wormholes, primarily.  It really feels like it wasn't thought through - perhaps a slip of the tongue in a live show that they then felt compelled to make official?

I'll admit I did't think too much of it at first.  Sure, an attempt to keep people active - fine.  Out here in FW we rarely fleet-warp anyway.  Our opponents are in plexes and on gates, so we don't have probers in our fleets.  Maybe we could gank a lonely ship that thinks it's in a safe, but that's not really the kind of fight we're looking for.

The more I've heard from the other parts of the Eve universe, the more I see why it's a bad idea.  The WH part is pretty obvious: no fleet warping to wormhole chains, you'll have to put them in corp bookmarks and wait for them to propagate to everyone in your fleet.  And that's only the start of it.  For more on the WH/null I'll refer folks to other blogs though.

Nerfs and Buffs

More nerfs to Ishtars via sentry drones (no details though), more buffs to heavy missiles (no details), new modules to buff the application of missile damage (here's some knowledgeable speculation).  Be ready to download the newest version of your fitting tool, though at least unlike the plate/extenders change you probably won't have to redo your fits immediately.  I see why people tire of the shifting sands of the Eve capabilities, though in the same breath people will shout for their favorite nerf or buff.  I'm generally willing to give CCP the benefit of the doubt on tweaks like these and the "many small steps" that Fozzie and Rise have mentioned before.

Bigger things like nuking of off-grid boosters have wide support but seem tied to deeper code issues.  I say that as someone who is training up a booster alt right now, with the expectation that the nerfs will begin as soon as that booster can sit in his T3.

But I'll come back to ECM.  There's a simple argument here that isn't original to me: all of the electronic warfare (and cap warfare) modules that can make you useless in a fight have a counter-modules that has some benefit even if you don't run into the ewar itself.  Sensor Damps are opposed by Sensor Boosters that increase your lock range, lock speed, or both.  Tracking disruption is opposed by Tracking Computers/Enhancers that will improve your tracking and/or range.  Neuts and Vamps are opposed by cap boosters and cap batteries (though I hope cap batteries will get a look in tiericide).  But ECM - well you have ECCM that will benefit you by... umm... making you harder to probe down?  Thanks.

There's also the tactics people use to counter these ewar styles.  We've probably all seen videos of someone pulling away to lower transversal to overcome tracking disruption, or rushing in to try to get back under sensor damps max range, or timing their module activation and boosters to sneak in between neut cycles.  For ECM you can hope that you can get drones on the Griffin before it jams you, or in a fleet you can spin off a fast ship to leave the fight to try to chase off the ECM boat, but nothing for the solo pilot once you're jammed other than hope that the ECM misses a cycle.  Like Fozzie and Larakin did on the o7 show - just put your hands up in the air and wait for it to be over.

One thing I'll give ECM is that it is a decent way to break logi.  I hate fights where one side doesn't even have a chance to get a kill, and while ECM and Logi both can cause that to happen it happens more with Logi.  I say that as a pilot with a corp with a pretty good set of logi pilots too.

Think about it this way - what makes your roaming fleet decide not to engage another roaming fleet?  If they have a wall of logi you can't break, or (particularly in micro-gang) you see ECM that's going to make the fight no fun.  Those should be the warning signs for the game designers that something should be looked at.

Time for the next nerf/buff cycle?

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