Fifty Scales of Grey

Here’s a fundamental law about Eve: any penalty imposed on players will tend to hurt the most organised groups least.

In other words, if CCP don’t like something, and they try to make it harder to do it, then the people that get hurt will be the younger, smaller or more casual groups. The ones who work around it will be the larger, more established groups who can bring their organisations to bear on the issue.

As I said yesterday, I’m pretty positive about the suite of changes announced by Greyscale: I think that they would be better timed if announced in parallel with substantial enhancements to nullsec to allow greater density of living, but I am sure that that must be coming very soon.

The Good Stuff: All That Warning

From the point of view of the established blocs, one reassuring factor in these changes has been the amount of warning and information we have had in advance.

Normally, these sort of changes go through the CSM, who sign NDAs and can’t tell nullsec leadership what is in the pipeline. This time, CCP avoided using the CSM in the main and went direct to a nullsec figure who had posted about his ideas: celebrity Fleet Commander Manny of Pandemic Legion. Since Manny isn’t bound by an NDA, much of nullsec has been aware (or at least those whose FCs play DotA together have been!) about what is in the post. As I was on the record as applauding Manny’s changes, I for one was pretty relaxed about what would be announced, which is why I didn’t bother blogging any further once I started to find out what was coming.

The political machinations behind the scenes to prepare for these changes have therefore been going on for at least a couple of weeks: at least one very major player in the current balance of power has seen this as a chance to return to their roaming roots/cast off the shackles of sov etc etc, and some very interesting changes may result.

Don’t get me wrong: I do think that the CSM should have been more involved, and I understand why they are pretty peeved. But from the point of view of the nullsec bloc, having one of “our own” driving the change is certainly comforting.

This should explain why the CFC, N3 and the like are relatively sanguine about the outlook following the changes announced this week. Yes: living in nullsec, outside of a few locations with superb empire proximity, will be made massively harder thanks to the Jump freighter (and, to a lesser extent, Rorqual) changes but we’ll be able to work around that due to the resources our blocs offer. People in the Drone regions, and in the deep south, will be stuffed.

The Picture of Dorian Grayscale

As you’d expect with radical changes, the outlook is not great for everyone.  The same issues about proximity to Empire that made our renter empire harder to defend last month now make our hostiles’ deep, safe space utterly horrible even to live in tomorrow. Look at this map (one of a suite created by Innominate for our analysis):
Distance from NPC space

You can pretty much assume that everything in green is essentially space hell for anything volume-intensive like running POSes for someone without a sizeable logistics group with redundancy built in.  Unless, that is, you believe that MMO players are not lazy seekers of the path of least effort, and that they will create Internet Space Autarky instead of moving where the going is good:

There is a disputed quote, often attributed to Bradley, that says “Amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics”. A great many people on the Eve Online forums – none of whom have ever run a nullsec war – are looking at the announced changes and rubbing their hands over the death of the CFC. I was told, yesterday, that the CFC would “struggle to hold onto ten systems”. Serves me right for commenting on en24. A far smaller group – those who can see the outcomes more clearly – are looking at these changes and thinking “this entrenches the blocs”.

I’m torn. I want Eve’s current landscape to burn. Those who read this blog will know how radically I want to shatter everything about the blocs. And I genuinely pity those who depend on Black Frog, for instance, since they themselves have described why that will be driven to the edge of extinction. But until the big changes happen – and I am certain that Greyscale and Seagull will have a plan for the positives that will make these nerfs make sense, then at least these changes will make life easier for us to keep what we have.

  • Billy Hardcore

    Keep it rollin Endie…i may leave my Worm”hidy”hole for this clusterfuk. And what the fuk is the point of a CSM if their not even gunna USE THEM!

  • Endie

    I’m not sure quite why the CSM was kept out of these deliberations, but that’s CCP I guess.

  • SoulBlythe

    It’s like Greyscale is CCP’s scapegoat for all hardcore nerfs and changes. To me it seems they skipped the CSM as they knew it would leak quickly NDA or not. It was a shock & awe moment allowing them to control the damage control even before the community exploded with the announcement.

    I feel lucky as where I live in game will not be affected by much of the changes unless they get too crazy.
    BTW if you guys still have any deadlocked system in the border regions of the south, I would love to discuss their future with you and maybe some preliminary trade accords as the flow of ice will be changing.

  • Anon

    I think most NPC regions will be fine to JF into even after these changes, but locations like Stain could use some love I guess.

    I live in Delve, and while JF runs will get significantly harder (you will have to mid in space at least once), they won’t be impossible. Midding in space for a JF admittedly does sound spooky especially since it’s in sov nullsec (even if it’s the kind of dead sov nullsec that no one ever uses), but I’m sure there’s some way about it. Probably a POS-related way that relies on waiting until no one is in system, at least until the sov changes roll out.

  • Lodewijk Gonggrijp

    If you thought 0.0 was empty before you just wait :)

  • Murdoch

    I’d love to see a similar map from Innominate, showing 5ly distance from NPC space. That strikes me as far more valuable, in the new power projection paradigm.

  • Endie

    Well, if we see something amazingly positive from CCP that acts as the other half of these changes then hopefully that won’t be the case. Taken in isolation however, there would be a danger of that, yes.

  • Manny

    I was born by the river in a little tent
    Oh, and just like the river I’ve been running ever since

    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will

    It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die
    Cause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky

    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will

    I go to the movie and I go down town
    Somebody keep telling me don’t hang around

    Its been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will

    Then I go to my brother
    And I say, “Brother, help me please.”
    But he winds up knockin’ me
    Back down on my knees

    There been times when I thought I couldn’t last for long
    But now I think I’m able to carry on

    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will

  • Endie

    Hi Manny. Have you remembered to add “Games Designer” to your resume?

  • Phey Onat

    Don’t have anything to contribute other than to say I was introduced to your blog from one of your tweets and am enjoying the reading.

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