I have to admit that I had read about the changes to Jump Mechanics well before I returned home from Honeymoon. Oops. But in my defence, I suspect that this change will have the largest impact on my gameplay since the original Dominion Sov Changes back in 2009(!). What’s more ccp seems to be promising that this is the first of several changes to Nullsec of equal of greater impact. So really when I happened to see that Dev Blog title on my travels, I couldn’t resist reading up on it during a quiet moment in China.
So having had a few weeks to mull on it, and to look at the general reactions of the rest of eve, how do I feel about the changes? In short, I’m mostly happy. Mostly? I hear you ask? Yes mostly. The mostly bit really is a little thing, a small niggle that comes from my personal views on game mechanics. Before I detail that let me explain what I think is good about the change.
It’s going to really shake up Nullsec, in fact you could argue that it already has. This change pretty much removes capitals from Nullsec except when used within 10ly of your home base. That’s pretty awesome. No more slowcats, no more triage to save the day from halfway across the universe. That’s good news all around as far as I’m concerned. It does mean that entities defending small areas will get an overwhelming advantage, we will likely see more
However this is where the “Mostly” comes in. This is a nerf to capital jump drives. I’m not going to argue that Force Projection didn’t need a nerf, not in a month of Sundays. Force Projection was 50% of what’s caused the stagnation in Nullsec (with the current sov system being the other 50%), and as such it needed a hit with the bat. This change will do that, but it does so with blunt force. Here is the issue. Not every use of a Jump Drive is directly force projection. CCP admit as much in the changes they are making that allows a corp sponsored remote jump clone installation once per year.
So where is the line? Clearly jumping Slowcats into a fight half way across the universe is Force Projecting, and moving a character into Nullsec to join a corp is not. But where does the line between the two lie? I’m going to give some examples below of Jump drive usages. I have my opinions on what does, and what does not constitute Force Projection, draw your own and we will compare notes.
Scenario A. Ketchup Alliance wants to force The Mustard Collection out of Nullsec because of what their leader said about them on the forums. Unfortunately Mustard hold space in Geminate, whereas Ketchup hold in Querious. So Ketchup forms a war party of half their forces and use carriers to deploy to Geminate.
Scenario B. The Marie Rose Group are being attacked by the far superior Soy force (no pun intended for once). MRG is slowly bleeding their meagre holding of systems in Cache. Because it’s clear that the MRG will lose, they have managed to arrange a diplomatic truce with Soy in order to facilitate a peaceful handover of sov, in exchange for an evacuation period. The evacuation from their capital station NG-M8K to the nearest lowsec system (Konora) including using gates to minimise jumps is going to take a minimum of 4 jumps (30 mins started unfatigued).
Scenario C. Salsa Alliance is has been contracted by Wasbi Holdings to help them in a fight against 1000 Island Coalition. Salsa are currently rated as one of the best Merc Alliances in the game, which is why Wasabi have picked them. However the fight is almost exactly on the other end of a universe to Salsa’s last operation. Because of the travel distance, and the fatigue involved, Wasabi have had to offer Salsa a very lucrative contract, which Salsa’s leaders have accepted. Salsa must now load up carriers and move their warships to the new deployment.
What do you feel constitutes Force projection in these situations? All three, by the letter of the word could be terms “Force Projection” as they all involve projecting a force from one location to another. However I don’t feel that any of the three examples are the kind of force projection we should be looking to nerf. But all three are going to be nerfed by the changes. Because of the new mechanics all of these pilots could end up with significant periods of time where they are forced to sit in a station waiting for a cool down timer. To me forcing players to not play the game is a poor mechanic which should be relegated to Facebook games, certainly not found in premier MMO’s. It’s just about excusable to punish a player who wants to force project with a timer, but there are situations where non-force projection is going to be punished, and that doesn’t feel right to me.
I realise of course that situation A, B and C are going to be rare, and far out numbered by Scenario D “Salt coalition want to drop a massive unbreakable carrier force on Pepper Group to ensure their defeat and minimise losses”. That’s why this change is needed, but there is going to come a time for every Nullsec player when they are going to have to log out of the game half way through traveling somewhere for reasons that do not involve force projection, because they have to wait for their timers to run down, and that’s a sad thing.
I guess it’s something I can live with, as long as CCP don’t implement a pay 1 Aurum to remove 1 minuet of fatigue button :P.
Fly, log out, fly, log out, fly log out, fly safe