Sunday, July 27, 2008

EVE Online: Penalty Points for Speeding Pod Pilots

I have been away for a few days and I come back to discover that CCP dropped a bombshell while I was on vacation. I am in the happy position of not having played for long enough to be bothered so I can sit back and enjoy the drama as it unfolds on the forums, the whining of the affected and the joyous celebration of those who have hitherto struggled under the effects of the imbalance this nerf is designed to counter.

My noobish understanding of the problem being addressed is as follows. Apparently in the game as it now stands it is possible to tune up certain ships to fly far faster than the developers anticipated. At these "ludicrous" speeds (their term) the ships become almost impossible to hit granting them near invulnerability in combat. This is such an advantage that these nano-ships (named after one of the components commmonly used in achieving such high speed) have become almost mandatory in pvp combat.

I don't have in depth knowledge of the issue but from what I have read the case seems fairly clear cut. The situation is so imbalanced that it need to be addressed with a nerf. I have to say I am impressed with what CCP proposes to do. They have indicated their intention to dramatically alter just about every item in the game that affects speed. When CCP wield the nerf bat they don't just tap gently, they swing away with gusto.

Of course an unfortunate consequence of any nerf is that some players who have spent time and resources perfecting certain techniques will find their preferred playstyle is no longer viable. That hurts. Its just one of those things you have to put up with when you sign up for multiplayer gaming.

I will even be affected in my own small way by one of the consequential changes proposed. In addition to drastically reducing the speed attainable by nano-ships CCP are proposing to make a compensating reduction in the effectiveness of Stasis Webifier modules. These modules can be used to reduce the maximum speed of a target ship. Previously reductions of over 90% were possible but a new limit of 60% reduction is now proposed. My autocannon Hurricane uses a webifier to slow down a target while I close in to kill it with my short range autocannons. Will my Hurricane setup be rendered useless by the proposed change? I don't know and anyway I am not bothered. There are plenty more things to try and I am sure any change will bring its own new opportunities.

Webifiers have been a traditional staple of pvp. They are used to stick a ship in place while it is killed. If the webifier change is implemented it means that a very fast ship may still be able to outrun its pursuers even if it is webbed. Interesting times. It could make for some very dynamic and fluid combat.

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