Lonely Planet: EVE Online To Change Long-Distance Travel

This is interesting. CCP are making changes to long-distance travel in EVE Online, “with the aim of significantly increasing minimum travel times between two arbitrary distant points.” They feel that the current ease of movement around the space MMO’s galaxy has “shrunk the practical dimensions of New Eden considerably, to the detriment of the experience.”

Even small changes to EVE Online can have a huge impact on the game, because of its focus on player-driven experiences. The blog post explaining the incoming changes is therefore appropriately tentative, laying out the specifics of and thinking behind the changes in careful detail.

CCP explain why they think the current setup needs to change:

  • Nullsec is stagnant and needs a change. This is the first of many steps in our plan.
  • Big fights are cool, but they’re crowding out more accessible and more frequent smaller ones.
  • These changes have positive implications for people not involved in sovereignty warfare, for example making use of capitals in lowsec less risky.
  • We expect the impact of these changes to be emergent, and as a consequence are unpredictable and will take a while to develop on TQ. This plays into our longer-term plans, as you’ll see in a second!

Before explaining how they’re going to do it:

We are going to allow capital ships to use gates in lowsec/nullsec, and we are aiming to make gate-to-gate travel take less time than jump travel over distances of more than ~20 LY. We’ve run simulations for capital ships travelling between arbitrary pairs of systems, and settled on the target movement speed of no less than 3 minutes per lightyear for travel over 20 LY. This should allow us to bring about the main change we want to see – less sustained use of jump travel – while still preserving its value for short bursts of movement.

The full post goes into a lot more detail of how jump travel is being slowed down with a new system of “jump fatigue”, which causes successive jumps to each take longer than the last.

CCP have learned the hard way that they can’t make these changes lightly, so aside from writing this post and running simulations, they’re also consulting with the Council of Stellar Management about the changes to make sure that any player feedback is heard and considered before implementation.

Rich Stanton covered some of the particulars of how jump travel works in his article about EVE Online’s Big Game Hunters. All his articles from this year’s EVE Fanfest are worth reading, on EVE’s spies, its China server, its future and more.

25 Comments

  1. kyrieee says:

    Easily the single largest change to the game they’ve ever done, but also a necessary one. I applaud them for having the guts to do something this drastic.

    Hopefully it’ll turn out to be good for the health of the game long term. I think it will.

  2. Thurgret says:

    As a person who has sporadically tried out EVE, and has had trouble getting into it, even with a (fantastically helpful) corporation, could somebody explain the implications of this, please? In particular, does it mean that I don’t have to wait the whole darn day or hop through twenty systems with a group of people to find something to fire my lasers at? I’m shallow, I know.

    • buzzmong says:

      It’ll only affect you if you use captial sized ships to get around (either by flying a capital, or using a jump portal/bridge).
      Moving capitals in such fashion will be heavily nerfed, the trade off is they can now use gates as well.

      If you don’t use capitals, it won’t currently change much.

    • Noc says:

      Thurgret: It’s actually the opposite of that!

      Previously, the really big ships couldn’t go through the gates; instead, they jumped directly between systems. (With some complications, naturally.) Apparently, this has resulted in a lot of the space out in the boonies being relatively unused, since the big capital fleets will just jump directly where they need to go without having to pay any attention to the space in between

      What they’re doing is a) reducing the range of jump drives, b) imposing a cooldown between jumps, and c) letting capital ships use the gates, in the hopes of forcing players to move their capital ships around “the long way,” where they can get in more, smaller fights and ambushes and what-have-you.

      That’s the idea, anyways. In practice, the implications will become clearer once people stop shouting and flailing about it and actually work to adapt.

      • Ansob says:

        I have serious doubts that this won’t just result in even bigger gatecamps, rather than smaller fights.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          Hard to say. Setting up those camps would require much longer travel time, which in turn could allow for potential camping from other factions along the travel path.

          • fingerboxes says:

            Actually, unless I’m missing something, this wont do anything to affect the difficulty of setting up a gatecamp. This only affects capital ships, and nobody gatecamps with a capital atm. (though, this might change! I could see using a sniper dread or off-grid carrier now in a gatecamp if theres a significant chance of catching a capital).

          • Everblue says:

            Ah, so you gatecamp the gatecampers?

            We need to go deeper.

    • Kelron says:

      It’s kind of difficult to explain in simple terms, I’ll try.

      With the current mechanics, capital ships (and fleets of smaller ships, using jump portals) can jump from point to point repeatedly and cross huge distances in seconds or minutes.

      This makes it very easy for a large alliance to project their force. If they hear about a big fight going on somewhere distant, they can and will crash the party at a moment’s notice. This means firstly that it’s very hard for smaller groups to deploy large ships in battle, and that powerful alliances can control large areas easily.

      The proposed changes are about making the jump portal travel slower over long distances while still keeping their same ability to show up unannounced over shorter distances. What they want to achieve with this is making it more viable for people to commit heavy assets to a smaller fight and increasing the time and preparation needed for large scale escalation.

      They’re also hoping to see the rise of more localised power structures, that’s something that’s going to take time but these changes could lead to more of a frontier feel away from the central control of the major alliances. If they can’t deploy large forces in distant regions easily it creates more opportunity for other groups to arise there.

      • BananaMan3000 says:

        Exactly right – the change is being made to limit the power projection capabilities of big Alliances which can summon up overwhelming capital ship forces over long distances, making deploying caps on a smaller scale at less of a risk of getting blobbed. The change (along with a lot more things they’re likely to do) is trying to take some power away from the large blocs and give smaller local entities a better chance.

        Jump fatigue (basically a timer meaning you can’t jump again for a little while) means that people cannot chain-jump large numbers of caps (or jump bridge people) through other peoples space without much risk. With the changes if you want to get a cap fleet further than a single jumps distance, you are going to have to go through stargates, or wait the timer out which means the locals may have a chance to respond.

    • jellydonut says:

      No, it will make travel even slower and even more tedious.

      Subcapital ships won’t notice much of the change, unless they’re in an alliance that uses jump bridges or titan bridges – you will get a jump timer and jump fatigue from this as well, so subcapitals are not spared.

  3. buzzmong says:

    Good stuff.

    Making the universe feel bigger is a good thing, while I haven’t played in nearly 2 years, when I was playing I always missed the time around 2005 when there was only ~7k people on at weekends (much less in the week), and you could fly into low and null and literally not see anyone for days or even weeks.

    It’s also good for nerfing Capitals Online. One of CCP’s biggest missteps was the introduction of SuperCarriers (or Motherships as they were) and Titans, where they broke their golden rule of big != better.

  4. morbiusnl says:

    this change will only affect the large nullsec blocks

    • disorder says:

      It’ll affect everyone trying to live outside of high sec. by /limiting/ the large, and distant power blocs (both of them) and their ability to project impossibly extensive force, pretty much anywhere – be that screwing with the smaller entities that they virtually farm (ref – link to themittani.com ) – and it simultaneously also exposes those extended blocs, to attacks on the periphery – to guerilla entities, who may (may) again the oxygen they need to breathe.

      A blob of 100, 200 carriers (and ccp are going further than that) won’t be able to cross 5 regions at the drop of a pin anymore; that squeezes out smaller groups, by making it possible, again (maybe) to be locally competitive. And that’s the real big difference. And I daresay, it’s not done yet.

    • DeVadder says:

      By negatively affecting them, it positively affects a lot of other people. I might finally be able to use my carrier in lowsec for something else than just a moving coach.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      But the large nullsec blocks have loads of income, and really good logistics (which is how they’ve gotten so large), if there’s any way to get around this change, for example by just having lots of alts* scattered across the galaxy so they don’t have to move, they just log their alt in and attack from there.
      This is always the problem with Eve, the largest alliances have the resources to find a way round a nerf in a way that’s not open to smaller groups.

      * alts = secondary characters

  5. Distec says:

    “Dear CCP, nullsec sucks and is no longer any fun. Please change shit.”

    ONE WEEK LATER

    “HOW DARE YOU YOU MAKE THIS CHANGE. I’M UNSUBBING MY THIRTY TITAN PILOTS.”

    I think I’m still going to instinctively laugh every time I see a capital on a gate for quite some time, though.

  6. Generico says:

    Prepare to see 1,000 battleship blobs again. This isn’t going to be some huge blow to large alliance power. Their power isn’t dependent on jumping giant capital fleets around. It’s dependent on the economy-breaking virtually unlimited income provided by moon mining. When you can build carriers and dreds ad nauseum and just cram them through the gates without a care, it doesn’t matter if they take a little longer to get around. Whenever you get where you’re going you still have a huge advantage. This change will slow down reinforcement time, and it’ll let some fights play out without external interference, but it’s not going to change the power balance in nullsec. If you think the uproar over this change is big, it would be dwarfed by CCP actually fixing the problem by making significant changes to moon mining.

    What this change is really going to do is cut the legs out from under every ice miner in the game thanks to the huge reduction in jump fuel demand.

    • Distec says:

      I’m not big into the economics of Eve, and I feel like any given player would find something to disagree with any statement one makes. But my understanding was that rental empires, not so much the moon-goo itself, are the big source of income for these blocs. This kind of disruption *should* (I guess) make it easier for smaller organizations to eat at the larger entities’ “farms”.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        The focus has shifted from ‘moon goo’ to renting in the last year or so. The key moment was when the CFC started a rental program after years of dismissing renting and renters (amusingly named the “Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere”).

        • Malibu Stacey says:

          Wow that’s hilariously hypocritical considering the whole “Great EVE War” & everything.
          I flew in IAC alongside the Goontards (and was hit by ‘friendly’ Red Alliance Doomsdays on more than one occasion) & was proud to be fighting against BOB & their evil serfdom empire but if I ever re-sub I’m off to join the NC.

  7. geldonyetich says:

    I’m not sure encouraging players to mothball their capital ships is going to resolve the overall problem that fighting in EVE Online is so costly that most corporations will just turtle up until they achieve their goal of no longer needing to log in.

    It would help if there was actually a reason to fight in EVE Online besides giving somebody a bloody nose.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      It would help if there was actually a reason to fight in EVE Online besides giving somebody a bloody nose.

      The reasons to fight in EVE are the same as they’ve been for millennia in real life.
      Someone has something you want.

      The whole point of this is to make it harder for people to ‘hold’ loads of stuff they don’t need/use which makes it easier for other people to fight them for it.

  8. DrMcCoy says:

    I have never played EVE, but what I’d like to know is whether there will be an in-universe explanation of the change.

    • kyrieee says:

      They normally provide those, yes. Though they don’t care as much about their fiction as they once used to.