Every expansion or major patch for a while now, I’ve been listing my favorite and least favorite features.  Odyssey 1.1 (patch notes here) is the first expansion that I’ll be able to do this for which I had some input into the proceedings.  I’m finding that makes writing this kind of post ticklish.  So let’s get two ugly ones out of the way first so I can enjoy the rest of the examination.

First, I continue not to be all that big of a fan of the Infomorph Synchronizing skill as it’s currently deployed.  This is ironic because I argued for this skill strenuously.  The famous Lily Tomlin joke goes “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.”  When I argued for this to be a skill, I wanted the benefits to be significant and for the rank of the skill to be pretty high so you had to work for the high-end benefits.  I personally was aiming for a 16 hour JC timer, or perhaps even 12 hours, with the idea that people could be in their Slave implant set on Friday night and get into a RvB Ganked fleet or a Failheap Challenge frigate roam Saturday early afternoon.

In the course of discussions with CCP, I was shown reasons why a 12 hour timer would be a bad idea.  For example, during multiple reinforcement timers (something I obviously don’t work with a lot), very short JC timers gives the defender tremendous advantages in terms of mobility and changing fleet compositions.  So I have to admit that the reasons preventing shorter JC timers were good ones.

But now it means that the skill is rather lackluster in terms of benefit per skill level.  I think most of us that train it are going to train it to Level IV and leave it at that, for a 20 hour JC timer.  TAGN, whose blog I respect a lot, jokes that this means we now have a World of Warcraft-style 20 hour lock-out.  I know nothing about WoW and the comparison still makes me laugh.  But it does beg the question: did we really need a skill for this?  Couldn’t the default timer just been set to 20 hours instead of another multimillion ISK skill-book?  The one bit of good news is that at least the skill itself is a short train, with less than two days needed to get to Level IV.

So yeah.  I got the skill and trained it, but I’m not really all that enthusiastic about how it turned out.  I may try again for a 16-hour top-end to this skill later in the term.

Let’s move on to the one that’s going to get me (and has gotten me) yelled at, the nerf to fleet boosts generally and the mind-links specifically.  On this one, I’ve been getting yelled at because when people ping me about this, I’m not shy about saying openly what a lot of us have known for a long, long time: skirmish links and mind-links were wildly over-powered.  I’ve been writing about skirmish tactics on this blog for a while now.  The simple fact is that a T1 battle-cruiser with a T2 point has no business being able to tackle an assault frigate at 36-37km.  Overheated skirmish Sleipnirs have no business being able to move around the battlefield at 2500m/s.  We’ve all known it, we’ve all taken advantage of it, and I count myself among the sinners here.

The other links were nearly as bad.  I’ve got a Damnation that pushed 600k EHP and T3 cruisers that could approach or beat 300k.  I was toying around with a info-linked damping Proteus fit where each single damp was bonused to nearly 75%.  It was getting seriously silly out there, particularly if you added a cloaked titan providing its bonuses on top of the inevitable off-grid Loki and Legion alts.  Sooner or later, that bit is going to have to be dealt with too.

It was quite literally getting to the point where if you didn’t have a full spectrum of links in every single fleet regardless of purpose, you were being dumb.  Anytime anything in this game morphs over from “interesting choice guided by emergent game-play” to “required just to be competitive”, you can bet that’s going to draw the nerf-bat’s attention.  We’ve seen it again and again in EVE Online development.  And this was swiftly escalating to rather ludicrous levels.  We’re routinely seeing off-grid expensive T3 link ships being dragged around by LOL-T1-fit cruiser fleets, for Heaven’s sake.  That means when the nerf bat hit, it was going to be a hard swing.

So I quietly watched the F&I thread about the links and mind-links and waited for it to explode into a threadnaught, which didn’t really happen.  CCP Fozzie dev-blogged about it, still no threadnaught.  Here’s a little secret: the CSM’s influence is cut by about half to two-thirds when there’s no player revolution behind it.  I nudged forward the industrial rebalancing because I helped create, guide, and shape player reactions to the first pass of those rebalances.  But if there was going to be a revolution on this topic, I wasn’t gonna be the one leading it.

Keep in mind as I say this: I’m someone who respec’ed my main character to Leadership skills for a full year and as someone whose play style is being nerfed the hardest by these changes.  After all, it’s Rote’s 5- and 10- and 15-man gangs that are most affected by the choice between…

  • “bring links” (and lose two ships worth of DPS out of an often limited number); and,
  • “don’t bring links” (and risk getting out-ranged or out-tanked by a fleet that did).

We’ve often used links — particularly in skirmish fleets — to help us even out the odds and take disadvantageous engagements.  That extra range helps us pick off a few stragglers from a much larger fleet then slip away before they can counter.  Trust me: I know what we’re losing.  I’ve had a number of people, right up to a former CSM member(!), argue with me about this issue and I tell all of them the same thing: we’re going to have to be better pilots.  To a man, all of them essentially reply “but that’s too hard.”  Uhhh… OK.

Now don’t get me wrong.  This is going to have an impact out there.  We’re going to see fewer up-engagements and fewer fights in general as this change shakes out.  The advantage in this game is being thrown even more to the side of numbers and asymmetrical warfare in EVE is taking yet another hit.  But I have to look at the benefit to the game rather than my individual play-style and for the game, this is an overall small net positive in my opinion.  The other thing that’s going to be shaken out of this are a lot of “solo” PvPers strutting about with their one DPS ship, their massive-bonused Falcon alts, and the plethora of boosting Lokis and Legions.  Rote Kapelle is based in Placid/Black Rise just now and one of our guys is killing a boosting Loki or Legion almost every single day, sometimes more than one. 

EDIT (5/Sep/2013): Just in case there’s any confusion, I want to make it clear.  I’m not saying “I didn’t bitch about mind-links more because players didn’t bitch about mind-links more.”  I am saying “I didn’t bitch about mind-links more because I agreed with Fozzie’s approach on this subject and though it was the best thing for the game overall, despite the impact to my particular play-style and to that of my constituents.”  Just in case that was ambiguous…

So yeah, I’m not overly upset about that one.  Yell at me if you must.

Next up: the rest of Odyssey 1.1 and I promise that post won’t be as long per point as this one…

Ripard Teg

If you would like to read more we invite you to visit his blog here.


  1. Altaen

    I think it’s a fantastic change, especially when combined with the improvements to active tanking. And yes, I have a max-skilled leadership alt, near max skilled leadership main, and engage almost exclusively in small-gang up-class and/or outnumbered PVP.
    The real reason I am happy is that I also feel that the gap between lugging links around and not has been bridged significantly, so it is a good legitimate option to leave links at home for fast-paced small gang and solo roams.

    September 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm Reply
    1. Dave The Rave

      I too have a maxed leadership toon, and i grudgingly accept the changes, i know now that when I’m roaming about in frigates and see a group of 2-3 dudes it just isn’t going to happen, but i see it as a challenge to improve, no longer can i rely on my smaller sig, my faster speed, my longer scram and my better tank (or not to the same extent anyways) now i have to be better then whoever it is i’m trying to kill, i don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

      The change i’m really pleased with is the no boosting in pos’s, at least my roaming alt is at risk from being scanned, its been caught twice in the past and lost me 1 bill loki’s and once a one bill pod too, so it was at risk, no matter what the noobs who cant scan say, the ones in space are at risk, but the ones that sit in pos’s were 100% safe, and thats majorly O fucking P.

      Just need to get rid of the interdiction nulli and T3 boost alts will be nice and balanced.

      September 6, 2013 at 7:31 pm Reply
  2. Yadayada, Boosters Suck

    To put it into perspective, a player Madbuster flys 100% of the time with a booster. Legion or Loki, he has 2 active booster alts able to switch out anytime. Because we can’t always drown him in bodies with some tzs being weak, we are forced to watch him fly around with impunity. Well, that is, until be took down his POS, put our own up at every moon(10+) and scanned the system every time he comes in. But it essentially killed solo pvp, and fw is full of solo pvp traditionally. When noting this he devolved into name calling, my mothers a whore, etc. But it ended with “Quite complaining and get your own, otherwise shut up.”
    Great. To fight someone I need my own booster alt. Someone who isn’t a douche like him also flies with a booster 90% of the time. He says its so he can engage more people at once, I.E. a hookbill that goes 4k m/s+ with a good tank and damage. Its like they get an extra mid or low slot or two. In other words, we have to lay out clever traps even in groups just to kill one guy because he knows how to use a booster. Scanning his booster in a system 120AU radius is not easy.
    The few deaths these two have is either through a clever trap or they made a mistake. Either way, its hardly fun.

    September 6, 2013 at 11:38 pm Reply
    1. phox53

      since you called madbuster out, I’ll say that the guy is a pretty chill dude on comms. I don’t use a booster when i am out solo roaming, i’m too derpy for it, but i see why people do. While i agree with the changes to the OGB, i also agree with him. He is risking over a bil everytime he flys. That is way he was to play in the sandbox. You too have the choice the to risk a 1bil, but you don’t that is way you want to play the game.
      Does this break solo pvp? Nope,. Why not? cause it is a sandbox and you can play it how everwant. It know that some players ar boosted then don’t engage them, that is simple. I know who the boosted guys in the black rise/ placid area are, So if i see them and their booster i simple don’t engage. it is the same using a atron to engage a DD, you wouldn’t.

      September 7, 2013 at 1:23 am Reply
      1. I'm a Booster Now!

        Actually, he risk nothing. He stopped hassling certain systems now that we put it at risk (no PoS). Now he has it in another system with a POS orbiting at the minimum distance. He takes the least amount of risk possible. That’s fine. And in general, he does seem relaxed, quite, rather, but he got silly mad a few times. As for not risking it myself, why would I? I probably should, along with anyone I know, just so it will be mandatory to have a booster if you wish to fight and win. Perhaps it will get nerfed faster that way.
        So now we are left with this; what flavor does this bring to the game? To engage him “solo” necessitates boosters, and he is hardly alone in this matter. Its fairly common. So your alternatives, to include “just leave him be” are hardly game enhancing features. So the question is this; why wouldn’t you nerf them? Would mentioning this appeal to new players? Probably not.
        Finally, you miss the point of “Breaking solo PvP”. Is he solo? No. He is not. Technically no, anyways. Can someone solo him actually being alone themselves? The odds are against it. Is this due to a difference in player skills? No, probably not. He can still make a mistake, but given a player of equal skill but no booster engages him, he will probably lose. I see no game enhancement here, just mandating a booster if you want to have fun.

        September 7, 2013 at 6:37 am Reply
        1. phox53

          Well he is a chill guy and you can ask him for straight 1v1 and he will prolly give it too. As for being Solo i still think of it as solo. No one else is on that kill right. Is he not solo simply cause he is in fleet? Or if a NPC rat show up on kill his is not solo?
          He is still risking a bil everytime he move it out the PoS, though with less risk, if you know where the pos put and alt on it cloaked for a warp in and kill his booster There are lots of ways to kill it. You just have to be creative to do it. It is a sandbox after all.
          OBG doesn’t break Solo pvp, As I said I solo pvp all the time in Faction Warfare and I don’t use a booster. As for mandating that you need a boost to have fun, then you need to get other and live a bit more in the game. I enjoy lots of aspects in this game with out a booster, encluding solo pvp.
          As I said, in my OP and second post, I agree with Rip that Boosters needed changed. They were OP and needed to be brought to down a level. I am happy for the changes and I agree with them, to I think that comandships were not buffed enough, (that is a differnt point). But saying that you have to them to have fun is a Starwman Aurgement.

          September 7, 2013 at 7:24 am Reply
          1. Look Up the Word "Solo"

            Calling it solo with a booster is like saying the US only fought North Vietnam by themselves in the Vietnam War. Well yes if you want to go on pure technicality, but no. The Soviets of course gave them exstensive support in that particular conflict and other cold-war era wars, despite never being involved in the actual fighting. The Vietcong did not win that war by themselves, a victory they cannot claim was only to themselves, even if they could have been victorious without USSR support. Someone who uses a booster cannot claim victories as a solo effort, solo implying they were alone in the fight, no more than someone who uses an alt logi. The only difference is one ship has to be on grid to provide its support, the other simply uncloaked outside of a PoS in the same system. So stop making people who fight “solo” with boosters sound as accomplished as one who really does solo.
            As for breaking solo, perhaps it is not breaking it, since having an OGB is no longer solo pvp for that side. It just means, especially in Faction, that you may just have to avoid said individual alone.
            And you still haven’t brought up the point of what content does this bring to a fight? To me, being forced to avoid, die, or having to get a booster myself to engage said individuals does not strike me as “fun”, though we all have our versions of the word. But whatever. You have already argued that sitting on your thumbs is a perfectly agreeable alternative when on your own. Cleary a fun alternative. The problem is, to match that player you either bring a more powerful ship (to which he will run while still limiting you) or purchase another account for a booster, hardly desirable to everyone.

            September 9, 2013 at 6:19 am
          2. clevergirl

            let me get that for you: Solo; 1)a person who works, acts, or performs alone 2)a person who performs or accomplishes something without the usual equipment, tools, etc.
            people who use boosters definatly do not qualify for that definition. just cuse the kb say you did it alone doesnt make it tru
            agree with most of that, except you can still have fun you just cant be straight forward about the fight is all. gotta be xtra clever n stuff

            September 9, 2013 at 6:25 am
      2. derp

        your ‘do it yourself or get out’ argument could be used to justify most broken game features. dominix too strong? get ur own and shutup(got nerfed). dramiel too fast? get ur own(thank goodness for that nerf). eve prides it self on balance. forcing someone to have a booster to remain competitive is not ‘balanced’. not in any example of the term ive seen

        September 7, 2013 at 6:43 am Reply
        1. phox53

          I never was arguing that it wasn’t blanced, I see lots of inblanced things in the game. My point was that if one person can use an imblance ship then so could you to the same effect that he could. He is not breaking and game mechics, he is simply using the tools that CCP provide him. If you choose not to use that tool it is your point. I started that I agreed that changes needed to be made to OGBs, not because I don’t use them, but becuase they were and still are a bit OP.
          But in terms of being balanced the game will never be therem because you will need a booster to be competive. Rip said in the article it better to be the guy with them than with out them. Boosters have become the EVE PvP Condom.
          Even with the changes and the new Navy Mind Links a Legion or Loki makes your ships 35% better than a single ship. While yes it is not as high as it was that is still enough to make a differnce in a fight.

          September 7, 2013 at 7:03 am Reply
      3. im a nice guy

        I remember an article mad put out a few month ago. he sounded like a prick. and a lier

        September 7, 2013 at 6:47 am Reply
        1. Saint Stephen

          that mad ani crack pot is douche bag dude… he doenst know how to play eve.. he is an opportunistic bastard… he would have you believe he has been playing the game since beta yet all his characters are bought.. and thousands of people regard him as a knee jerk dumb bumchum of fellow bumchums… (he strokes his own ego where ever he goes) lol

          September 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm Reply
  3. A Man

    I’m someone who respec’ed my main character to Leadership skills for a full year

    #because you never played WoW beeefoore hahahaha….
    a WOW player would say RESPECCED my character…. and about half way you just start rampling on and stroking your own ego and …ego intolerance might i add… haha…

    September 7, 2013 at 6:44 pm Reply
    1. The Obvious

      Pretty sure that’s a general term, we say it quite often in the realms of EvE players. I’m assuming you’re just a visitor…

      September 9, 2013 at 2:30 pm Reply

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