Beyond Trollceptors

So of course you are already aware of CCP Fozzie’s magnum opus, which describes the upcoming revamp of sov in nullsec space. Honestly, I was expecting to care very little, just chomp some popcorn and yell “Where is your Hyperion laughter now?!?!” at teary nullbears.

And to be sure, there’s a bit of that. But as I read Fozzie’s post, I found that I was surprised how interested I ended up being. At first, I had lots of feedback jotted down but after watching the conversation start and go through the typical wailing spiral I decided to wait a bit for it to mature and pare down to some ideas with a narrower scope. Now that it has, I find there are just a couple things I want to touch on.

I’m not a sov guy. I doubt I ever will be, it sounds boring and limiting to me. However, what I am, and have been since I left EVE University for low sec, NPC null and eventually wormholes, is a raider. So I am going to focus my commentary on that particular viewpoint, what I think will be the benefits to my playstyle, and how I think it can be improved to address some concerns about people of my playstyle.

First, time zones. As someone who plays late USTZ / early AUTZ  (00:00-06:00) I think 4 hours is too small a window. I think at 4 hours and defender-set it limits play in a bad way. The best suggestion I’ve seen around this is that the window size be controlled by the sov level – at low levels it’s maybe 8-10 hours, and at high levels maybe only 3-4. If you haven’t filed your opinion on this specific issue, you should go take the CCP survey.

Second, things I really like about the proposed changes:

  • Expanded footprint. It allows the little guy to have an effect, and have a chance. At worst, to participate.
  • Station services hackable 24/7. Honestly, even if time zones don’t get changed, I won’t lose much sleep as long as this stays in. What I really want is a tool to force people to undock. Hell, if we can bring this mechanic to low sec too, all the better. And POSes next. The ultimate tool to encourage fights.
  • Death of structure grind. Please bring this to POS as well. Thanks.
  • Geography becomes meaningful. I really like that the new mechanic causes people to care about constellations. I think when all is said and done this will be one of the most meaningful changes in how space is used – it will redefine what “good space” is.
  • The new TCU. This is in effect “Do you have a flag?” Depending on how expensive these are, it might be hilarious to run around planting them and claiming meaningless ownership where other people live.

I would have liked to see something to get rid of timers as well, but that is an entire post for another day. As I mentioned on Twitter, I also think that the entire “magically appearing capture points” mechanic seems like so much weird Cosmic Whack-a-Mole and a pain in the butt for all involved on both sides – it makes more sense for it to pop up five and just have those fights without this crazy continual respawn approach.

The bulk of what I want to talk about is the mechanics of the Entosis module. I like how the mechanic itself works, and opens up new harassment capability for smaller gangs. I like the general philosophy behind the proposal. But I would make a couple of tweaks.

All of the nullbears are up in arms about “trollceptors” – interceptors armed with an Entosis link zipping around reinforcing things. I can confirm that if Entosis gets rolled out as-is and can be used on an Interceptor, I will be in one and up to a T2 link as fast as my skill train can carry me. This sounds like endless amounts of amusing (that said, I fully believe that after the first month or so they will be rendered ineffective by new tactics). But frankly, along with the hackable station services that sound so fun, I think this makes the raiders OP, and it also eliminates some potentially fun permutation around the entosis mechanic relative to specific ships.

So instead, how about the following limitations:

  • Use of Capacitor. I’ve seen a lot of proposals for limitation but I think they’re flawed – things like limiting them to ship sizes, which I think is a terrible idea. I think the best game play is a space where as many things as possible can be a choice but that only a handful incentivize it. This one is how you limit frigates – build it so it burns an Interceptor’s cap too fast to be feasible without some uncomfortable modification. However this limitation should be no problem for a cruiser or higher.
  • Forced Immobility. At first I actually thought this was how it was intended to work until Fozzie corrected me. I still think it’s the right way to go – the Entosis module should act like a cyno and freeze you in place for the time required to run its cycle. Unlike the cyno, however, I do not support any call for fuel nor do I think it should spawn a beacon – after all, it should only be used at a warpable object already.

Those two things kill the idea of a trollceptor, but open a myriad of other possibilities. Here are four I would love to see, but that require the above two limitations to work.

  • New Ship Type: Drifter Hybrid Frigate. This ship serves one specific role: the Entosis module. It is what replaces the trollceptor and its primary role is to be bait that forces people to consider undocking. Characteristics: tank similar to an assault frigate, beefy capacitor. Role Bonus: Reduction to Entosis Link capacitor use.
  • New Heavy Interdictor Role. I envision the HIC as a great “bring the fight” machine. It is the announcement that the brawl can begin. Infinipoint and bubble, cyno and entosis. Frozen in place and with minimal armament, but the ultimate statement that the invasion is here. Role Bonus: Increase to tank while Entosis Link is active.
  • New Black Ops Battleship Role. Many have lamented the role of the Black Ops battleships, or lack thereof. I think they need a truly front-line capability that allows them to achieve serious movement on the invasion front, not to force undocks or dig in for pitched battle, but to lay the groundwork for invasion. Role Bonus: Reduction to Entosis Link cycle time.
  • New Marauder Role. With the above three on the offensive, what about defense? Undock, put your shiny toy at risk, and get a cookie. Role Bonus: Marauder Bastion Mode provides cancellation effect – fully cancels one Entosis Link while maintaining a second, effectively like having two links up, but cannot be used to capture, only to prevent capture (i.e. can only be used to defend your own, not to attack).

As for the rest of Fozziesov, I’ll leave that to the sov null people, since I never intend to actually capture sov. W-space best space.

What do you think?

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7 Responses to Beyond Trollceptors

  1. lowrads says:

    I think it’s dumb that an alliance can lose everything the day after a long slosh op. Some systems should be vulnerable, and others not. Ideally, these would be the periphery, and not defending them should jeopardize core systems. Harassment should whittle away at alliances, not headshot them because they didn’t patrol their systems monotonously.

    Alliance will eventually have to pay pilots to tediously muster to go respond to yet another ghost notification, and the numbers x-ing up for defense fleets will dwindle for even the organizations with the smallest footprint while the afk in freeport stations track wherever sub numbers. Even the dogged will start drawing straws. “Your turn to check on the baby dear.”

    I also think capital ships should have a role. The main role should be expanding the battlefield, having less restrictions than subcap entosis. Seige should work the same as entosis, since you can’t be remote repped or move. One would be as good as forty.

    Sov content is supposed to be about player organizations, not individuals. Like many people, I think I will just go to WHs after this. If half of null is empty of all but local-shy ratting bots and cloaked up relic hunters by Christmas, with nary an ihub to be seen, then maybe CCP will come up with something sensible or interesting enough to be worth all the trouble.

    The constellation anom feature at least splits the blob. That’s healthy for the servers. If it was a dynamic number rather than a fixed ten sites, that would probably work better.

    • Rhavas says:

      I think the idea of “core” systems has some merit, so long as there is an inherent limitation to what can be declared “core” and thus invulnerable or nearly so. Maybe some sort of ratio, like for every 20 systems, one can be declared “core” and the only way to knock the core systems down to “standard” would be to get them down below that 20. What I wouldn’t want to see is “OK Sov 5 = invulnerable” because that allows for people to make themselves 100% invulnerable.

      My guess is also that after the first couple of months, no one but the serious will be messing with the actual sov structures. I fully expect that most of my harassment will be directly against station services trying to piss off the locals into undocking, not trying to achieve actual sov or even disrupt it (and thus shouldn’t be an alliance-level concern).

      I could also see capital ships (maybe a certain carrier fit) being given the defensive bonus I suggested for the marauder. I think however that a 40:1 ratio is not a good idea as that leads us once again to the only counter to a supercap fleet is a supercap fleet, which is already existing bad mechanics. One of the things I like about Fozzie’s proposed model is the largely 1:1 ratio.

      I do agree (as Endie and others have said) that there do need to be some new carrots to go with the new sticks. It will be interesting to see what CCP Fozzie says in a few weeks after Fanfest once he’s had time to digest the feedback and meet the new CSM. I think he’s going to be getting an earful from all sides and I suspect that some carrots will be a natural outcome of that feedback.

  2. Chanina says:

    In my opinion your statements of “I think they’re flawed – things like limiting them to ship sizes, which I think is a terrible idea” and “the Entosis module should act like a cyno and freeze you in place for the time required to run its cycle” are mutual exclusive. By forcing any ship to stay still while using entosi you limiting it to very tank heavy ships. You attack the station service with an Entosi assault frigate (which is immobile) 2 attack battle cruisers undock and shoot you out of the sky before you even react.

    If that is your idea of an interesting response to a raid, well. Even if you had a support fleet around they can’t rep you so the response would still be “just finish that entosi off and we go home”.

    I am one of those who thinks a ship “restriction” would be a way to go. Your cap usage tries to accomplish the same just with different means, so you have your own terrible idea. However the restriction doesn’t have to be exclusive, a bonus for some ships would help. Like Command ships get less fitting penalty from the entosi. You already can squeeze a cloak on almost any ship, but only a few are capable to negate the negative effects. Your role proposals aim in the same direction, they make some ships preferred without excluding others.

    After all I don’t think it is a terrible idea to limit the usability to certain ships in one way or the other. But total immobility would be the killer argument to any small to medium ship as most of them have a defined fighting range and as a sitting duck your enemy will make sure he isn’t in your comfort zone.

    • Rhavas says:

      OK, you bring up some interesting points. Let’s go through each.
      1) “By forcing any ship to stay still while using entosi you limiting it to very tank heavy ships”. This is true IF the opponent undocks. What I’ve found in too many situations to count is that no one ever undocks. In the case of a serious, PVP target, you’re right, the frigate is useless due to not being tanky enough. That’s why I added the others. But I think the frigate will be usefull against the 80% of nullsec I see huddling inside their structures when even one person shows up in local. It’s the reason “Waaaaah AFK cloakers” is a thing. Keep in mind that even the frigate, with a T2 module, is going to be over 200 Km away from that station undock. The frigate needs to be tough enough to withstand another frigate and make sure you bring a cruiser. That said, I could also get behind having it be drastically slowed rather than absolutely still – much like a HIC gets slowed with its bubble in operation.
      2) “2 attack battle cruisers undock and shoot you out of the sky before you even react.” Agreed for T1 module. For T2 I bet my four buddies can get in system and on top of your two BCs while they slowboat out to me at 200+ Km.
      3) “Your cap usage tries to accomplish the same just with different means, so you have your own terrible idea.” Fair enough, I probably could have stated it better. What I would prefer to do is not restrict it to a ship type (which literally eliminates options), but rather encourage a ship type (which adds options but makes interesting choices of utility). Your statement of “You already can squeeze a cloak on almost any ship, but only a few are capable to negate the negative effects.” is a beautiful analogy.
      4) “Command ships get less fitting penalty from the entosi.” I can totally get behind this, since it would also encourage command ships/links to be on grid.

      • Guillome Renard says:

        because I’ve thought about this stuff…

        “2) “2 attack battle cruisers undock and shoot you out of the sky before you even react.” Agreed for T1 module. For T2 I bet my four buddies can get in system and on top of your two BCs while they slowboat out to me at 200+ Km.”

        My cormorant can hit you from that range, easy peasy. Let alone my Naga. Even a movement reduction isn’t enough against sniping Nagas, Eagles, and Corms. I’ve seen a lot of corms in action in FW space in low-sec for exactly this reason. A LOT of people like to use a ton (100-200km) of range off a site beacon (because no local warping) as a form of tank. Sniper corms are the natural response and they’re brutal. Remember Entosis prevents warp.

        This is why I don’t fear T2 linked Trollceptors: Lock range on an inty is only about 50km. Sniper corms will simply snack on these guys. Nullfied kitey T3s may make a comeback… but I have answers for those, too. 🙂

        • Rhavas says:

          Well that’s what I get for being basically a the race pilot (hint: Not Caldari). I still like the idea however because IMO its primary mission is not to get sov our actually disrupt service, but to encourage unlocking. I see this new frigate type as being relatively cheap if it is also immobile.

  3. Pingback: The Blog Bulletin: 22 March 2015 | Just For Crits

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