TL;DR: Create a cloaking module Alphas can use that can only be activated for X seconds every Y minutes. This will allow them more realistic exploration opportunity without giving them infinite cloaking abuse potential.
Let’s set things straight from the start: Unlimited cloaking for Alpha accounts would be terribly broken. Infinite cloaky eyes, infinite w-space scouts, infinite AFK campers… there are lots of reasons they can’t be trusted with unlimited cloaking.
However Alphas who are trying out the Exploration career paths face a huge obstacle: Cloaking is a backbone ability for all parts of exploration, and Alphas can’t do it.
- Alphas can’t cloak while scanning, forcing them to scan from constantly-moving deep safes
- Alphas can’t cloak while scanning, meaning their probes can’t act as a deterrent to someone who can see they’re in a crappy T1 frigate on d-scan
- Alphas can’t escape bubbles or gatecamps with the Cloak + MWD trick, meaning they’re basically dead in the water to either of these traps
- Alphas can’t cloak when, in mid-hack, a hostile bomber appears on the Overview
These are all things that literally a Day 1 Omega pilot can do. They are not game-breaking in and of themselves, and allowing Alphas to do them wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for all the other cloaking-related concerns. As it stands, we don’t have a way to help Alpha explorers without opening the galaxy to rampant cloaking abuse.
PROPOSAL: ALLOW ALPHAS TO USE A SHORT-BURST CLOAK THAT REQUIRES CLOAKING I
So, this proposal is simple: Give Alphas access to the skill Cloaking I, then either nerf the Prototype Cloaking Device as follows, or create a new module (maybe Unstable Cloaking Device I) that requires Cloaking I.
This module would work something like this:
Unstable Cloaking Device I
- Activation Duration: 90 seconds
- Cooldown Duration: 60 seconds
- Speed Penalty: -95%
- Requires: Cloaking I
This module would allow Alphas to intermittently cloak for brief periods of time. They could use it for a MWD+cloak boost on a particularly nasty gate, but not every gate at best speed. They could use it to hide from an attacker on grid, but not hide forever (or not hide again once decloaked by a good proximity guess). They could use it to cloak during scans for each Cosmic Signature, but not EVERY signature in system. In effect, they could get used to how you’re supposed to do exploration, without giving them access to permanent cloaking (that would be stuck behind higher levels of the Cloaking skill.
I brought up this idea at EVE Vegas and it seemed to be positively received at the Ships & Modules roundtable. I’m curious what everyone else thinks?