Hyperion Wormhole Changes

Wormhole Fleet Storyhead

So yesterday I laid out how wormhole combat differs from gate combat and why that diversity is a good thing. And thus, why CCP’s proposed upcoming change in Hyperion to make spawn points post-jump based on mass is a bad idea.

The TLDR of Fozzie’s entire change devblog? Most of the changes are positive (some hugely so), with these exceptions in my opinion:

  1. Wormhole clone swapping should be considered to make the new frigate holes worthwhile and maximize use.
  2. Actual regeneration of the frigate hole mass should be removed – it’s the first step toward a wormhole stabilizer.
  3. Mass-affected spawning is terrible and should be removed.
  4. CCP should continue to consider removing the discovery scanner in w-space and reverting to pre-Odyssey scan mechanics.

TheMittani.com did a very nice quick analysis of things that’s worth your time, so I’ll try to add a bit of additional flavor on top of what they listed.

Here is the shortlist from Fozzie’s blog.

These changes consist of:

  • Wormhole effect rebalance
  • A second static for Class 4 wormholes
  • More randomly spawning wormholes
  • Mass-based spawn distance after wormhole jumps
  • K162 appearance only on first jump
  • Loosening of bookmark copying restrictions

Wormhole Effect Rebalance

As long as I’ve been in wormhole space, there have been two common comments, almost nightly. One of them is how bad Black Holes are. They’ve been the laughingstock of w-space for years because they were all but guaranteed to be empty. No one wanted to live, farm or fight in them.

Now, they clearly have a set of capabilities designed around speed and missiles that make them interesting and useful, if not for everyone. I applaud the Black Hole changes. The rest is a bit more of a mixed bag.

Magnetars (focus: Damage) got a bit of a nerf and honestly probably needed it. Wolf-Rayets (focus: Armor) and Pulsars (focus: Shield) also got pulled back a bit but in ways I think were balanced.

Red Giants (focus: Bombs) have always been pretty “meh” – and I think still are, but the changes might inspire a few more tries at things. I doubt it but maybe. I’ll admit that Cataclysmic Variables I expected to be in higher use than Fozzie’s charts showed, and I’m a bad enough theorycrafter with capacitor that I’ll admit I’m not sure whether I like or dislike the changes there.

Verdict: Good! On the whole, these changes are welcome, especially the Black Hole.

Second Static for Class 4s

Remember I said there were two common complaints? This is the other one. The TMC article, while correct, somewhat misses the “why”. Yes, C4s aren’t great farming and so go unoccupied pretty often. And they are “an uncomfortable wasteland”, but here’s why: Class 4s are most heavily connected to … other class 4s. Of 505 Class 4 systems, 144 (29%) are static connected to another Class 4. To make matters worse, Class 4s are also the only system type that has no dynamic holes leave. In other words, you’re either leaving through the static or a K162. This means that the likelihood is even lower that there will be other exits. And to add insult to injury, most C4s are abandoned, meaning you will need to scan through 20+ signatures to find what is likely to be yet another 20-sig C4.

Long story short: Many groups, when they get two C4s in a row, roll the hole for something better or simply quit scanning that chain and work on others. It’s just not worth the time and energy to scan that much for yet another C4 and no content.

Now, with a second static, the hope is that they will be worth scanning, worth living in, and open a whole new playground between C5/C6 and the lower-class holes.

The only downside is that some of the w-space mapping tools will need a minor overhaul to decide which w-space static is the “real static” (this isn’t a problem in dual-static C2s because one will be the “real static” – the w-space static, and the other is “just a k-space”). It will be interesting to see how CCP implements this and how the third parties deal with it.

Verdict: Brilliant! About time.

More Randomly Spawning Wormholes

If CCP wants to increase PVP in holes, this is the way to do it. More holes mean more screwups mean more missed new entrances mean more fight opportunities. It’s just that simple.

Verdict: Brilliant! Fully suported!

New “Small Ship” Wormholes

Now this one is interesting, but not without its concerns. Fozzie’s post says:

The new class of random wormholes will have a very low maximum jump mass, navigable only by frigates, destroyers and multi-bubble heavy interdictors.

So first of all, I think the size restriction is intriguing. Frigate-class vessels play some odd roles in w-space. There are a handful that are used commonly: CovOps, Interceptors and Ventures. One of the problems with frigates and destroyers is that wormhole pilots tend to have expensive heads, so we don’t like getting podded and tend to fly very well-tank ships, since we can’t clone-jump in the current mechanics. So we’ll see if it actually gets much adoption.

While the stated purpose of these holes is to bring more combat opportunities in smaller ships to w-space, I think the long-term impact of these will be to provide an uncloseable link to systems either preparing for a siege or in the midst of one. Here’s how.

Getting a scout into a hole today is usually doable but not without risk. With these holes, it will be a cakewalk. No problem. Siege planning and insertion just got a little easier. But the second is more insidious: in a hole under siege already, a good attacker gets hole control with bigger ships, closing any new connection and critting the static, while preventing anything from entering or leaving, and in any fight you pod your opponent out to k-space to take them out of the fight. These little uncloseable holes plus bubble-immune Interceptors mean that people can get back in much more easily than before. This adds a new tactical element that should be fun to watch in action. Sieges might get a little more competitive.

But Fozzie then goes on to say:

They will also enjoy a very high stable mass and will be the first wormhole connections in EVE to regenerate mass over time. This means that collapsing these wormholes will be nearly impossible, and they will virtually always last to the end of their 16 hour lifespan.

Emphasis mine. Here’s where I part ways a bit with this one. I’m OK with the high mass. I’m not OK with regeneration. This has a very “slippery slope” feel to me. It smells like a test of “well, how bad would wormhole stabilizers really be?” Mark my words, if this doesn’t end up being problematic, it won’t be too long before you have uncloseable holes between k-space and the lower classes so the sov null boys can not have to worry about frustrating things like not being able to get the whole blob to the fight.

Verdict: Split. New hole type to force ship size choice is interesting and a good experiment – it has done well for FW plexes. On the other hand, regenerating mass is in fact a wormhole stabilizer built right in – a bad idea and will lead to even worse things down the road. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Mass-Based Spawn

I wrote about this yesterday at length.

Verdict: Terrible. Stop fixing what’s not broken.

K162 Apperance On Jump

Before Odyssey, you had to have probes out and be scanning to know that someone had found a new way into your system and was hunting for you. There were many chances to catch people unaware that were being lazy or stupid. Then Odyssey came along and with the discovery scanner, effectively put a giant intruder alarm on every pilot’s scan window when someone merely warped to the other side of the new hole. “Bing! Incoming hostiles in 5 minutes, back to the POS!” This of course pissed off just about every PVP pilot in w-space.

CCP has all but said that they will not de-dumb the dumbscovery scanner in w-space. But they are trying to find some compromise that will not screw the defender (like an earlier suggestion that the K162 simply not appear for a while, even to probes) nor the attacker (like things are currently on Tranquility).

So this is their compromise – that it doesn’t show up in system until someone actually jumps. This means that a combat fleet will have to be ready to go in quicker time to do it, but that ganks are again theoretically possible. Time will tell if it actually works, or if it will simply reduce the number of wormholes opened and thus paths to content.

Verdict: Improved. but going back to the old way would still be better.

Looser Bookmark Copy Restrictions

More bookmark capability is more goodness. ‘Nuff said.

Verdict: Good. Especially when Fozzie says: “ongoing work that will eventually enable the long-requested alliance bookmarks”. While SSC doesn’t suffer much from this, there will be many people who would joyously welcome that.

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