Hyperion and Wormholes Part 2

I wrote about my early impressions on Hyperion from the perspective of someone who actually lives in a C4 and flies with a quite small corporation.  As I mentioned, Hyperion changes – like all changes to EVE – benefit larger outfits more than smaller one. CCP is perfectly open in that – larger corporations create larger fights, create more press, create more subscribers.

Corbexx is our active WH resident on CCP and therefore was kneedeep in the discussions of this patch.  He has published his impressions on the changes on his blog and I can’t feel but smug about his realization:

My small alt corp I have that makes T3 also has a C4 wormhole it had a C3 wormhole and was a really sweet place to relax, It had perfect PI me and 4 of my mates could easily run sites in there and pvp in the c3 if we wanted. The down side is with the patch we got our second static that was a C5. Now this sucks combined with the mass/distance change and the frig wh. we are basically screwed. As a small corp we really struggle to close the C5 with assuming we could all use orcas which we can’t it would still take 2 rounds to close it, with battleships 3 rounds, If there is any big group in that C5 we basically have no way at all of closing it safely.

Yeah, no shit, Sherlock.  Some of us saw this coming a mile away.  The changes to C4 are not designed to keep carebear or alt corps in C4.  The changes bring C4s on the level of C2s, non-stop vigilance and PvP with very limited ability to make ISK.  Many dedicated carebear corporations will certainly see the sign and move out, I have no doubt about that.  Whether they will be replaced by larger, more PvP-centric outfits remains to be seen.  Again,Corbexx agrees with this:

We’ve not the only ones having this issue. So are others and I see others leaving. However while some move out others will hopefully move in as its potentially a decent PvP wormhole for small groups. This is why for the dual statics I’m happy to pay the price for this change.

Isn’t that charming?  Our CSM candidates suffers because his alt can’t farm his C4 in peace any more because massive PvP corporations (like the one from his main) now have easy access to him.  That’s called “content”.  My heart bleeds for Corbexx and members of these “elite” corporations that need to have “alt-holes” since they are too big to earn enough ISK from their main hole.  And you need that many people in one hole because how would you otherwise fly a 30 man fleet every night?

Well, poor us don’t have “alt holes”.  We live in one hole / corporation and we are an Alliance of such corporations.  We eat what we kill in our home and in our chains and there was a time when we actually too many members actively farming the resources.  C4s only support that many pilots.

In Hyperion, our little band of brothers certainly has seen the change.  I only logged in a couple of times (RL >> EVE) but instead of logging into a quiet backwater from which I scan for “content” (remind me to write a blog post on the use of “content” in EVE before the fad fades), I find myself in the middle of skirmishes, posturing, threats and suddenly opening holes.  Where we used to have a C3 static (and often just that), I could park and alt on the hole and do a quiet PI run with my main, read the BBC and drink coffee while taking a shower and getting dressed at the same time (I am exaggerating).  Them days are thoroughly over, me thinks.  We had at least 4 holes every time I log in and our chain is massive.  Each C3 seems to be making Swiss Cheese look solid and only our new C5 neighbors offer some predictability in that they only have their static or a nullsec to nowhere and nobody online.  Deep in our chain, we even murdered a Retriever in classic take-down.  Pity the fool who mines in WH space with this many holes connecting everything to everyone!

And talking about mining – the days of pure PvE fleets are over as well.  As a C4 crew, we can’t just put 1 guy on the hole and watch D-scan, run sites and drink beer.  I guess to run C4 sites in our hole we need at least 6 human pilots online with 12 ships (not each, do we look like nullsec carebears?).  In addition to mandate dedicated times to organize corporation runs, it limits the amount of ISK that an individual pilot can make.  As I said before.  EVE is defined by Risk / Reward.  Risk has gone up a lot, Reward has staid where it was.  Even Corbexx and his alt corp notices it.

What does that do to us?  Well, our dedicated site runners have not logged on. We have a group of hard-core carebears who will strip a system clean with machine-like precision and help with fuel hauls and scanning but never go out of their way to engage in PvP.  We like our PvE crew, they generally keep our C4 free of pesky signatures and anomalies and they even used to mine so that the corp may build ships from the Ore.  Since Hyperion, nobody has seen them.  I would not be surprised if they had moved out for safer farming grounds in nullsec or one of the massive WH organizations that can afford to create total security in their home systems.

So, overall, the changes are exactly as predicted – smaller C4 organizations will have to change or get out, wormhole space has become a lot more dangerous for smaller groups in general and forces them to aggregate and become posturing blobs in order to pay the fuel bill.

I for myself have fun with it for now – I fly frigates and cheap crap (corp mate just sold me an Algos!), gone are my days of flying T3.  The income I make is nowhere near enough to pay for these ships but I can whelp the occasional bomber or destroyer.  And that I will!

Attract Convert Close

The Hyperion release was successfully implemented this week, as far as I know without major snafus.  I logged in last night to check on my PI and noticed no difference in our C4 other than having a C5 hole (and a C3 and a C2, so traffic was plentiful).  I discussed some of the features here and may put up a second post but to be honest, our team shrugged and moved on.  C5 holes are pretty common for us and we have a doctrine to deal with it, the little Frigate holes are a different matter but as I mentioned before, I see them as occasional opportunities to mess with people more than a game changer.

And so we move on doing our usual wormhole thing, I a little less than my corp mates, Real Life is still impeding on Game Time.

So, whats next. @CCP_Fozzie was pretty clear in his interview that Hyperion embodied the bulk of changes to come for Wormhole Space.  He had a list of a few cosmetic items (jump timers indicated etc) but really, what we got in Hyperion is it for the time being.

I am not complaining.  I like Wormhole Space but I liked it before Hyperion also.

And thats where I put on my marketing hat.  We have a saying for new products or product features in our industry:  Attract, Convert & Retain.  Everything we do needs to fall into (at least) one of these categories or it has no reason to exist within a commercial environment.  If you look at Hyperion in that light and – crucially – from the Wormholer’s perspective, what do I see?  All features fall into the “Retain” category.  These features are geared toward existing wormhole residents to stay in wormholes and experience wormhole content.  None of the features is designed to attract – say – nullsec residents to leave their blue donut and settle a system.

Don’t believe me?  Imagine the conversation.  Or have it with someone.

Bored NS Resident: “So, Hyperion is out.  Wormholes, I heard about it.  I am bored with Null.  Whats new and exciting?”
WH Advocate: “C4s have a second static!”
Bored NS Resident: “whats a C4?  Whats a Static.  Does it make ISK?  Does it get me fleet fights?  Can I claim Sov as a person or corporation? Can I build something cool?”
WH Advocate: “We have frigate-sized holes!”
Bored NS Resident: “sort of like acceleration gates with ship class limits, neat.”
WH Advocate: “Its now more dangerous and tedious to roll holes”
Bored NS Resident: “… ok.  Nice chatting, hey my Cyno is up.  Talk again soon”

So I said that new features can happily live in the “Retain” category – its perfectly reasonable to formulate a product strategy to retain existing customers.  Mostly if you have a good base and the return on investment is high and you have competition coming in, then its decent enough play.

But Wormholes lack people and I had hoped for a feature that would attract (and possibly convert) new residents.

I am still hoping for something big to change our value proposition but I am not holding my breath….

Hyperion and Wormholes Part 1

Well, so our Icelandic friends dropped a little surprise on us.  The upcoming patch “Hyperion” will contain some rather significant changes for us wormhole dwellers.  The associated Dev Blog can be found here, a decent description is found here and Rhavas summarized his analysis here.

Lets start with the tl/dr – the changes are not really what the community wanted or needed but they’ll do and most of the changes will contribute to more activity in Wormhole space.  This is a good thing.

Considering that I agree with much of what Rhavas wrote, let me just add a couple of comments from my point of view.

 

C4s are getting a second static wormhole

Rhavas explained why C4s are not as popular as they should be, getting in/out is a total b****.  Our corp used to live in a C4/C4 and we gave up, the logistics is just too much.  Basically, we rolled the hole, got 2 holes into the C4-C4-C5-C5-C4… chain and re-rolled it in the hope of finding a C4/C3 (all C3s have a static to k-space)  In the end, our esteemed leader decided to sell “Shirley” and move into “Tim” which already contained a corp of our alliance.  Tim is a C4/C3 which makes re-supply a breeze.

I just wanted to set the frame – yes everyone complains about C4s and how few people live there.  But we do and the addition of a second static to our hole raises significant questions. For us, logistics isn’t the main issue any more, so an additional static will just get in the way.    With a second static connecting to us, running sites would get more dangerous without increasing the reward.  I can see how that leads to an exodus of our resident dedicated carebears.

For me, I can’t remember the last time I ran a site.  As far as I know, I don’t even have a PvE ship in the hole and need to borrow something when its time to shoot sleepers.  An additional Wormhole will just make my life easier to scout.  And while I am there, if I had a choice of connecting hole, I’d choose a C2 – they are busy, have a route to k-space and another route to WH space.  But with my rotten luck we pull a C5 or C6.  Teams who live there tend to be PvP-centric, organized and much bigger than us.  If we get a route to them, may as well log off for the day.  Fair fights?  Oh please.  For every ship we bring, they bring 10 – they have to get their folks onto killmails or risk boredom and mutiny.

By the way, I wrote about Wormhole generators before - they were supposed to give more control to us – the players – over our routes.  CCP didn’t do it, likely it was a summer break and copy-pasting the mechanics from C2s into C4s was easier than actually doing development :effort:

So, verdict – additional static: I didnt ask for it, it makes C4/C4 holes livable but as long as the sleeper sites are not balanced, I can’t really see an uptick in C4 residency.  For me personally, its interesting, for our corp as a whole likely a bad change.

Mini Holes

A new hole class is being introduced with the next patch, W-space->W-space or W-Space-NS.  They will have very low jump mass allowing only Frigates, Destroyers and double-bubbled HICs through.  But they will have tons of mass so large fleets can fit and -crucial – the mass regenerates.  This is a huge change, meaning, these holes can not be reliable collapsed as a defensive measure.

So, for me, the holes are great.  I love the thought of terrorizing nullsec denizens with a Stealthbomber fleet.  And since I fly solo 90% of the time and Frigates are cheap, I can see myself using these holes a lot.  I imagine myself ticking off the locals so they send a Frigate fleet after me and within the safety of my hole I swap into a pair of smart-bombing Dominixes and park them close to the bubbled hole.  Outside my smart-bomb range, I will park sentry drones.   Oh, the nullsec tears will be so pretty.

I also like these mini holes as means to swiftly export sleeper loot, gather Intel or even dive with a Covops to run some data sites.   Basically, these holes will annoy the crap out of whoever is on the receiving end.

Including us.  The lack of effective total mass allows hundreds of Bombers who enter our system and overwhelm any defenses we have.  A well-organized Nullsec blob now gains the ability to swarm our system, scout our other routes in great numbers and safety and bring in whatever they need to destroy our towers.  The normal counter measures – rolling the hole – won’t work and the “smart-bomb-defense” as described above will only work when the defense team is online and has control over the other 2 chains.  Highly unlikely for our corp.

So, verdict, the new holes are fun but very dangerous and can easily lead to evictions.

Jump distance based on ship mass.

Well, all that needs to be said, has been said.  Its dumb and needs to be rolled back.

 

Signature Spawning

Well, it the old days, signatures would not be visible at all unless one actively scanned.  Now they are on the overview just like anomalies.  Site runners had to have the system blanketed with probes and keep an eye on it all the time.  This created a very important job for a junior pilot who could not fly doctrine PvE ships.  After the last patch, signatures are immediately visible on the scanner.  A new wormhole exit to me for example spawns as soon as someone warps to their entrance.  The K162 on my side lights up giving me quite some time to get my site runners out of the way.

The proposed change is to spawn the K162 hole when the first ship jumps through.  This reduces the available reaction time of the site runners to a few seconds, especially when the opposing team comes in with a swarm of interceptors.  I’d say, the defense team has 10-15seconds now to get their team to safety – thats about the time a Battleship needs to align and initiate warp.  In other words, the decision to bail needs to be done at the exact time when the opposing team jumps in.  For our dedicated site runners, this change is terrible and I expect them to tally this against their ISK/Hour and Risk /Reward calculations and leave the corp / hole.  For us PvP-ers (I count myself as one despite being terrible at it) its great!

I personally think this is too PvP-centric.  It gives the hunter all the advantage and the hunted no time to react of defend against.  In that view, its just too much to be balanced.

 

There are a few more changes to Wormhole Space but none of them really raise my temperature.  But overall, this patch boils down to: more holes, easier to find targets, risk goes up, reward stays, PvE-rs please leave WH space.  Someone is trying very hard to turn Wormhole space into the “small gank nullsec” that everyone has been dreaming about…

 

Drink!

Wormhole alliance are by nature dispersed all over the universe and combining fleets is sometimes a bit challenging.  Our Alliance (Illusion of Solitude and yes we are recruiting) is no exceptions.  We see each other on Jabber / TS all the time but we don’t fly that often with each other.  Only to whack a Wormhole, defend our brethren or roam drunk.

Yes, IOS has drunk roams and they end in disaster, mayhem and annihilation of ships and hepatocytes alike.  On these days, those of us who can make it, stream from our holes like bearded mountain men of yonder, muskets loaded, flasks filled with moonshine.  We assemble somewhere central and buy random ships that we happen to like the sound of.  Our European fleet mates have a crucial advantage – they started drinking 4-7 hours earlier.  Our US contingent is wanton to catch up and the sweet sound of cans opening, ice cubes rattling and corks popping fills the TeamSpeak ether.

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Behind Enemy Lines – Part 1

Well, so this is Part 1 of my current adventure.  Bob only knows if there ever will be a Part 2, it depends on many things, most of them have guns.

While my EVE home is – and will stay – a wormhole, sometimes I get wanderlust and head out to try other things.  In the past, I joined RvB, then FW and I had a good time playing something completely different.  Recently, I had been itching again to go out and do something I had thought about for a long time.

Everyone knows that EVE is dying and that nullsec is stagnant.  Its a known fact, the internet says so.  Well, instead of lamenting like the Goons do constantly, I thought, well, lets take a look.  If Nullsec really is this empty, I can scout a scanner alt in via gates and have him run Data and Relic sites and – when the coast is clear – scout a Wormhole route to offload my loot and maybe scout another character in with a PvE ship.  And while PvE is the goal, maybe, just maybe I find some carebears that I can drop the hammer on as well.  Just saying.

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3 years in a hole

My main character was born end of January 2010.  He is not my first character (that honor goes to this one, whose log-in credentials I lost) but with Epigene, I explored New Eden most.  Like all good CCP customers, I have more than one account and a bunch of alts but I identify with Epigene most.  I’d rather biomass than sell him, that much is for sure.

Epigene has a rather short corporate history for a character of this age and on July 10 2011 joined the Wormhole Corporation : Z3R0 Return Mining with 10 million SP.  Oreamnos Amric and I made the jump together and we have been corp mates and friends ever since.

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W Space little Things

Apparently, CSM has a WH candidate and is concerned about to learn what our community would like to see changed in the future.  Corbexx posted a thread on EVE-O forums that is filling rapidly with – shocking – rational thought and good discussion.

I added my humble voice to the growing thread and copy my text below.  But if you live in WH space, go here and bring forth your wisdom.

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