Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Twitter Straw Poll on Jump Changes

There was a straw poll created and exposed on twitter yesterday and I kept a close eye on the results. The question and results as of this morning were: 
What's your opinion of the upcoming power projection changes in Phoebe?

Out of 819 votes, 66% were in favour and 21% were against the proposed changes. I realize this is hardly a scientific result but I think it can be indicative of much there is a split in the playerbase over these changes but how the majority supports it.

I've read and listened to a lot of discussion and most of the opposition to the changes comes from the jump fatigue mechanic which can quickly render a jump capable character inert for days, and to a lesser extent the jump range changes which really hit the carriers hard, taking their max jump range from around 14.6 light years to 5.

The problem is that currently capital ships present a tactical and strategic problem.

By tactical I mean the ability of a capital (i.e. carrier, dreadnought, supercarrier, and titan) to impact an engagement anywhere in its jump range (or bridge range for the titan jump bridges) in a large degree with defensive and offensive capabilities a magnitude above sub-cap vessels.

By strategic I refer to the ability of a capital to go anywhere in the cluster in a negligible time frame using suicide-pod-jumping cyno alts(1), massive range, and virtually instantaneous travel.

So CCP is faced with a double edged sword: tactically capitals are powerful due to their range and power (i.e. tank and gank); strategically they are powerful due to their ability to use jumping many times over a short period of time. Both combined create an umbrella of coverage where the only way to attack that area is to be too small to hotdrop or have your own capital threat in reserves. Thus we get the current situation in null sec: groups can easily defend home turf and travel halfway across the cluster for a fight or extended deployment.

Can one be nerfed and the other left alone? Well, let's look at two use cases, the first where the jump fatigue is thrown out or mitigated to not be a factor while we keep the range nerf, and the second where we leave ranges alone and keep the jump fatigue timers. In both cases we keep the nerf to suicide pod jumping for cyno alts.

Range Nerf Only

By limiting all jump ranges to 5 light years, you have limited a large part of the tactical flexibility of capital ships of jumping on anything that moves within range in a surprise attack, but they are still able to cover large distances in a super short period of time but simply requiring more cyno alts and a bit more pre-planning of those alts' positions. In other words, they would still have lots of strategic significance over a large area for large periods of time.

Jump Fatigue Nerf Only

If you only introduce the jump fatigue mechanic, you limit the ultimate distance capital ships can travel in any reasonable period of time but still allow them tremendous influence on any battle within their jump range. Locally the capitals would still dominate the meta and not allow any cracks around the seams for smaller organizations to exist.

Therefore the conclusion I think CCP came to is that in order to disrupt null sec enough for it to matter, both nerfs had to happen to affect both local tactical flexibility and cluster wide strategic influence.

(1) - The mechanic where you set your medical clone to a distant station with med bay, self destruct yourself in your pod, and awake in the new station without requiring a jump clone or gate travel.

1 comment:

  1. I'm all in favor of the changes, but as someone who did extensive logistics in 0.0 for an entire alliance I have to say If I were still responsible for the logistic now as I was then I would quit over these changes. The changes in range and fatigue together are pretty punitive in their current state. As a one time resident of the North and a resident of Catch I'd also have to say that for those with immediate connections to highsec (think PR-, HED-) are basically going to face no real immediate hardships. Deeper 0.0 is totally screwed and forget one character handling multiple logistics responsibilities in one session. Now you'll have to spread your operations out over many play sessions instead of a devoting a couple evenings or a long session on the weekend.

    It's clear that CCP is going to get their desire in making space less defensible but at the same time I have genuine doubts that these changes will really shake up the status quo in the short/medium term simply because the power to defend is lessened but so is the ability to attack. If you are PL, where do you stage your caps prior to patch day? I see Nulli, PL, and the CFC settling in for long periods of dealing with small locals that can't match their local power projection. Long range is entirely neutered and moving a capital fleet across Eve could force you to lock a character for 6-12 months which may basically end any existential coalition warfare.

    One thing that CCP needs to realize if they think fatigue will be a proper balance is to understand that every single serious cap pilot/alliance is now going to train a bunch of alts with JDC5 and the basic skills to fly caps as a way of moving ships around without penalties to main characters. I already have (2) characters that can fly all of the carriers/dreads/JF's so I am penalized 1/4 as much as anyone else with the ability to swap characters into and out of ships with one character reducing the fatigue while the other one does the next couple of jumps. Look for character sales of JDC V alts to be big.