I wish I had taken a screenshot last night of our C4 chain. Our nice, quiet C4/C3 wormhole picked up a C5 with the release of Hyperion. We knew this was going to happen as I had taken the time to log onto the test server to check before the release. It wasn't the best option or the one I would have picked (that would have been a C2) but it wasn't the worst. C5 space, when idle, has excellent opportunities even for the solo pilot or small gang. It just carries the risk associated with C5 wormhole PvP groups that often inhabit those holes.
But last night, our statics had 11 wormholes between them. Eleven! The C5 had occupation but no one was home. The C3 was empty but still had six wormholes either inbound or outbound including one originating frigate sized hole from a C2. A low-sec buzzard and the blip of an Astero was spotted scanning through the system.
I actually ended up using that frigate hole to make a quick trip to high-sec pick up some rigs I needed. The C2 it led to was also occupied but I didn't find anything other than a ship on dscan which was nowhere to be found later on in my scanning. Someone checking out for the night I thought. You can imagine my surprise then when I jumped back into the C2 after using the high-sec connection and found a Dominix, Dramiel and two other ships lost in my fog of panic sitting on the high-sec hole.
New distance mechanics be damned, I was out of jump range of the hole and thankfully also out of decloak range. Not seeing any bubbling ships, I made the quick decision to make a break for the frigate hole I used to get here. Only the Dramiel could make chase and I expected my covops to be able to avoid a fight. JUMP! Cloak! and I was away, ultimately with no pursuit. Either they weren't waiting for me, were waiting for something else, or didn't bother to chase my agile covops.
With the frigate hole K162s appearing no different than any other, I expect some hilarity to result when T3 scouts bounce off the hole in their attempt to jump and decloak. A small gang of frigates with a cloaky on the K162 side and reinforcements on the other could make quick work of those mistakes.
All in all, as expected, wormhole space has become massively more connected. What this means for wormhole corps in the long run remains to be seen.
What if all the proposed changes to wormhole space are directly targeted to make wormhole space more nimble?
As any wormholer worth their salt has heard, CCP is making changes to core wormhole mechanics for the first time since its inception. These include changes to how ships spawn after jumping through wormholes, increased random wormhole connections, additional static wormholes in C4 space and new low mass regenerating wormholes. As individual changes, each has generated its share of consternation among the community. As a whole, they start to paint an interesting picture of what wormhole space could be in their wake.
Life in wormhole space now often has pilots encountering the roadblock of a shallow wormhole chain. As a resident of both Class 2 and Class 4 wormholes, we see this in both levels of wormhole space, partly because of the static wormholes we have chosen to live with. However, the art of ragerolling a static by the higher level entities goes to prove a point that wormhole space is generally shallow or it is viewed as such by the active players. If your static does not contain what you desire, roll it and find another one. There certainly are exceptions to this rule with solo and small gang PvPers that roam the chains jumping in and out of k-space looking for more and more targets. We've encountered enough of them ourselves to know they exist but by and large, I do not see them as the people being shaken up by these changes. If anything, they will enjoy even more benefits to their playstyle.
I have to imagine that a shallow view of wormhole space is not the vision that CCP wishes by nature of their game design. I suspect that they desire a space that has a dynamic set of connections running through larger portions of the 2500 or so wormhole systems, connecting more wormhole systems to each other and thus, potentially, generating content for all those in the chain. Rage rolling is directly targeted by the change in hole spawn mechanics. The argument from the side opposing the change is that this will force people to move from wormhole space due to their inability to close holes for protection, or in the case of rage rolling, from finding content in a expedited fashion. While wormhole space does not have many good analogies to k-space, the idea that you can sit in your home system and open up attack avenues into a target of your choice through rage rolling your connection point is in direct conflict with the idea of ships in space. A far better environment is one where pilots are out roaming, as they do in low-sec or some areas of null-sec, looking for content through the natural organic connections the universe provides. Wormhole space should be the pinnacle of roaming with an ever changing landscape offering contact through every wormhole connection. Today it doesn't because wormhole space is more empty than it is populated. People are adverse to setting up shop in a wormhole and with the limited depth chains, either you find someone home, or you find no one.
A deeper wormhole chain environment changes this. Small mass, regenerating wormholes and new connections popping up left and right changes this. It offers k-space dwellers and PvP oriented w-space dwellers more chances to meet somewhere in the chain, to find a fight somewhere in space and win or lose with what you have with you. It doesn't have to be in your home, but in the dark corners of space where you cross paths. It is small gang PvP perhaps at its purest with no reinforcements, no reshipping, just a fight and the best team wins. And because of mass and exit spawn randomness, the bigger your fleet, the more challenges you have to face while a small nimble force can act more cohesively. Is this not perhaps the ultimate goal?
On the surface, these proposed changes look like a threat to the way of life of some of the larger and higher end wormhole entities. I think that is exactly what it is. The adaptation, however, could be exactly what wormhole space needs. Even with these changes, I think there are more considerations CCP could make that could further enhance this nimble wormhole environment.
It will be interesting both as a resident and as a CEO to see how these changes affect our corp and the other corporations living in wormhole space. I am glad to be living in interesting times...
Hell hath frozen over. CCP is making significant changes to wormhole space.
Into the known unknowns
The doldrums of summer have just been shattered. Yesterday I had plans to post about how quiet things have been both in corp and in game but now there is too much to talk about. As a very small wormhole group, there is a significant impact to us from many of these changes. Even more so because we've expanded to occupying two wormholes, one of which will never be the same after Hyperion.
First, wormhole effects are being modified. This is a minor blip in general for us as these effects are simply something, generally, to be dealt with unless they are in your home system. Our class 2 wormhole is a Magnetar which has a damage boost currently but a heavy nerf to tracking for most weapons. It makes for some nice PvE while having interesting effects on PvP. The changes here are mostly minor with a new nerf to target painting and a change to the missile effect. I'm not a huge numbers guy so I will leave it up to others to crunch the changes and how it affects things in game. Overall I'm fine with these changes, especially the change to black holes which make then not a horrible place to live.
The other changes though are far more interesting to us and I'd like to discuss each in turn.
Class 4 dual statics
On the surface, this is the change I probably fear the most. Our new second hole is a C4 which we picked specifically for its C3 static. We are admittedly a mostly PvE group. By adding a second static, our hole will have a bit more risk but because we have experience living in a dual static C2, that in itself is not an issue. The real issue simply boils down to: We don't know what kind of static we will get.
A C2 static would be our ideal situation. A C3 static for farming harder to solo sites and a C2 static for the newbros plus the wealth of k-space and w-space connections both would offer. It would likely mean we would consider moving the entire corp into the C4 instead of the split we have now.
A C1 static would be ok but would be a PITA again when it comes to hole security. We already deal with this in the C2 and it has to do entirely with the difficulty in rolling a C1 due to the mass restrictions.
A C4 static would be interesting but now starts to be more of a detriment to us. If C4 holes become more popular, this would be a superhighway of sorts making our system perhaps too active for us to use properly for ourselves.
A C5 or C6 static would simply be disastrous to our occupation. Too much risk for no reward.
Mass determines distance from hole, changes to spawn dynamics
This is, by far, the most contentious part of the changes.
It seems that everyone in a C5 or C6 is raging against it because it does two things. First, it makes jumping capital fleets into a neighboring C5 or C6 insane due to the possible spread of ships, namely carriers. Second, it makes "rage rolling" looking for content both more time consuming and risky.
As someone who doesn't live in a C5 or a C6, I may be too dismissive of these changes. It seems from the other changes to wormholes such as the introduction of low mass, high mass limit, regenerating mass wormholes that CCP is promoting a smaller ship gameplay here. By allowing frigates, destroyers and HICs near permanent access to wormholes, they are fostering smaller fleets in favor of the capital fleets that C5 or C6 inhabitants perhaps use more frequently now. In addition, the more frequent spawning of wormholes should result in a deeper wormhole chain than you find today. Rage rolling is a mechanism to find content in your shallow static. If deep wormhole chains exist, there should be significantly less reason to want to roll your static if you are a PvP group looking for content. Instead, small scout gangs would fan out through the chain looking for targets for the main fleet. This not only fosters more bodies in space, but it also potentially opens up wormhole space to younger players who cannot fly capitals or T3s but can get into frigate gangs looking for fights.
Overall I see this as a good change even though it may be very difficult for us as a smaller entity to deal with an influx of hostile pilots.
K162 appear on jump, not warp
Quite simply, this is an interesting change to counteract the discovery scanner but the K162s need to appear eventually on some kind of timer or else the increased activity of the other changes will be drastically counteracted by a massive decrease in connectivity. Many people will simply not instantiate their K162s exiting their wormhole as well as k-space residents warping to and not entering wormholes when they find them.
Overall, I'm very positive on these changes, even moreso if we get one of the beneficial statics in our C4. What concerns me is something that has been echoed on the forum comments. The increased risk from rolling, additional wormhole spawns, low-mass wormholes and the K162 appearance is not being offset with any increased rewards on the PvE side of the equation. This imbalance will significantly hurt the PvE activity of wormhole space which is a significant source of targets for PvP activity. I have asked and sincerely hope that CCP has plans for a future PvE enhancement that includes wormhole space. It is desperately needed to keep all areas of EVE exciting and is where many many players interact with EVE. It is a shame that missions, sleepers, and most other PvE areas have gone untouched for so long.
About this blog
I am blogging my experiences as a wormhole CEO as a way to give back to the EVE community that has provided me so much inspiration
CEO of Star Explorers