Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Citadels, Entosis Links, and Low Sec

The recent dev blog titled "Citadels, Sieges and You V2" there was a very surprising change in direction from CCP:

Long story short, we have had long meetings about the structure attack system, and came to the conclusion that, while Entosis Links do indeed achieve our design goals for the Citadels, they are not actually delivering an experience we are satisfied to provide.
- It’s not fun being shot by massive structure weapons while being unable to retaliate in kind, it gives players the feeling to be helpless while they watch a timer go down
- There is gameplay involved in applying damage that Entosis Links do not preserve, like range, speed, falloff or positioning
- It devalues capital ships as a whole, especially Dreadnoughts, which were specifically introduced to assault and destroy static structures
- Last but not least, there is a visceral connection in shooting a structure down to destroy it. Having guns blazing while watching the target hit points go down is a very strong visual and adrenaline factor that Entosis Links remove out of the equation.
Well that was certainly an about-face!

This feels like an admittance that the gameplay in the current new sov mechanics, while "achieving our design goals", is not exactly lighting the community on fire with excitement. They don't want to back 100% out of Entosis Linking as the attack method for sov control as they have invested so much into that design mechanic, but they've decided they don't want to use it for new game play. Its like Strategic Cruisers all over again.

By deciding to go back to a modified damage system with mitigation beyond a threshold:

The way damage mitigation is going to work is pretty simple:
- We set a maximum limit on a structure, say, 4000 DPS
- Every time damage is applied to that structure, we check all cumulated damage done before that within a specific time frame – let’s say 30 seconds
- If cumulated damage on the structure would exceed 30*4,000 = 120,000 then any further incoming damage is reduced, or negated to preserve that amount over the last 30 seconds
- Mitigation is counted after shield, armor or hull resistances are applied to incoming damage

What this amounts to is a limit to how many ships can effectively pound on a structure. I won't bore you with the probably changing details but suffice to say the bigger the citadel, the more ships you need to reach the damage threshold. This allows CCP to pretty much guarantee the minimum amount of time required to attack any citadel, which in the dev blog seems to be a goal of about 30 minutes.

TLDR; The fastest you can attack a structure is 30 minutes assuming you meet or exceed the damage mitigation threshold.

This is a huge win for null sec and a minor loss for low sec.

In null sec, attacking something with an Entosis link that is unoccupied or untended deep in an alliance's space is relatively easy. But now Citadels are going require a fleet in order to attack in any reasonable time frame, something that is hard to accomplish on the down low deep in enemy space. For all intents and purposes, alliances are not going to have to pay much attention to their assets in the back field unless the enemy commits a significant investment to attack them, at which time its worth defending for the fights and kills.

In low sec there is no safe backfield. Almost every system is within range of several threatening entities. With the Entosis link as the attack method, it means the big boys on the block now have the the hammer for both defense and offense. This is already something we see with flipping systems in faction warfare when we try to attack the IHUB; it has to be quick and fast and full of fear of a drop. Entosis linking, which can be done with less investment, would have even the playing field a bit for smaller entities.

I think. I'm not sure. We'll have to see how it plays out in the coming months.


  1. I think this is going to reinforce the new lowsec meta of aggressive batphoning. With a lot of null entities and such moving in to the FW zones, anyone attacking a citadel is going to have to be able to pull in one or more of those entities to support them, lest they just get dropped on and obliterated. Whether this is a good thing I leave to the readers :P

  2. "But now Citadels are going require a fleet in order to attack in any reasonable time frame"

    A 10M gank-fit Catalyst has 600 DPS. So with 7 alts and 70M investment one guy can reach the DPS limit on an unattended structure.