A Fair Way to Give Alphas Cloaking: A New "Unstable" Cloaking Device

(Chance Ravinne) #1

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.


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?

(Wanda Fayne) #2

Sounds reasonable.

(yellow parasol) #3


This would heavily penalize all the Omegas who already suffer from low loot drop values due to the amount of people running exploration content.

(Rivr Luzade) #4

IF you use this TL:DR then the active time should be 60 seconds and the cooldown 90 seconds. The other way around does not make sense.

That aside, I don’t see why Alphas should get introduced to fight avoidance. Isn’t it the fighting that makes the game interesting?

(Chance Ravinne) #5

I don’t know if I’d call dying to instalock gatecamps and drag bubble traps a “fight.” The situations in my own exploration career (and explorer hunting career) where there was play/counterplay on both sides felt more tense and memorable than when the Heron just died in under 2 tics.

(Rivr Luzade) #6

Well, if you want to avoid that go Omega.

And if you do not want to go Omega and still want to avoid this situation, take different routes to avoid heavily camped pipes or entries. That teaches you more about the game and how to use the gate system than a cloak.

(Alderson Point) #7

Supported a short life cloak would be the ideal balance. No afk cloaking to frighten the wabbits.

(unimatrix0030) #8

Nope , this is eve not a petting zoo, blowing them up is like saying hi!

(Toran Mallow) #9

Here’s a quick and easy way to get your alpha cloaking: subscribe like the rest of us.

(Olmeca Gold) #10

The cloak+mwd capability makes these scouts impossible to catch on wh entries/exits without a Sabre. Might be OP.

Then again, if you just want easy access to any given wormhole, given that you know what you are doing, the current alpha is still pretty good. Just log it in during a dead timezone. Nobody will camp 1 imicus 24/7. So perhaps the capability of having access to 2500 wormholes is not worth the headache of creating 2500 alpha accounts. Or perhaps the people who would need this capability already use their access to private data in wh mapping tools, so they already have access to any wormhole.

(Chance Ravinne) #11

I wouldn’t be too concerned with Cloak+MWD making them uncatchable. If the cloak cooldown is several minutes long, they’re going to have to land somewhere and remain visible for some time. And assuming they don’t already have safes in a random j-space system, the Sabre can beat them to their next warp.

(Chance Ravinne) #12

Well, it seems CCP intends Alpha clone status to be an increasingly viable gameplay option, not an “infinite trial.” So I’m trying to tackle this topic from that viewpoint, since it’s what they’ll be pursuing.

(yellow parasol) #13

There is reason to believe that they will expand Alphas even further, until the game has turned into a game that’s fully free to play. CCP absolutely does tend to go slow on changes, to not upset the current players, until there are enough new players that the old ones can quit without affecting the game too much.

(Chocolate Pickle) #14

Make the minimum cloak time 20 seconds (as in you can’t turn it off). It’ll be longer than any MWD cycle time. Even with rigs and implants, a MWD will cycle off and lose speed before decloaking.

EDIT: In hindsight, giving Alphas the MWD+cloak trick is a good thing. The ability to stumble into a (lowsec) gatecamp, and successfully escape from it will help break the perception that Eve is pay-to-win/omega-to-win.

(Alderson Point) #15

I am sorry, if a sabre pilot declares that a shitfit alpha player, with A MWD/cloak is uncatchable, then I am more worried about the sabre pilot than I am about the Alpha!

Alphas are not in game to be victims to the less than competent players who happen to pay a subscription, skilful play should be rewarded no matter what the clone status, and a lack of skill should Likewise not be rewarded.

Non covert ops cloaks for alphas are a perfectly reasonable stepping stone to encourage them into more risky space and likewise Put them on the path to Omega and covert ops cloaks with all their benefits, having got a taste for “interesting “ space.

The only worry is one held by people who wish to be left alone to mine and rat in null, which is alphas adding to the ranks of “AFK Cloaky campers”. There is a vast polarity of views as to whether it is a real concern, but CCP naturally do not want to create unnecessary anguish, for those who are clearly stressed by the concept. Chance’s idea of an unstable cloak, that loses its cloaking ability after a time, is entirely valid, and totally eliminates the issue, whether one belives that concern is valid or otherwise.

Edit I reread your post, and Missed “without” a sabre, but the post still stands regardless, just ignore the word sabre in my reply. MWD/cloak is not a by any means a magic pass to safety.

(Olmeca Gold) #16

That’s why I added the “knowing what you are doing” part. You can’t beat me for my warp if I warp to a random moon at a planet’s direction with 10 moons. And then I’ll make a safe, warp to it. And then I’ll activate mwd so you can’t catch me with combats either, unless you have a hyperspatial rapier+arazu maybe.

(Olmeca Gold) #17

That indeed removes the cloak+mwd capability. But Chance wants to give it to alphas for other reasons.

(Olmeca Gold) #18

Reread again, and notice we are talking about a potential abuse use of alpha accounts for wormhole access by experienced, very experienced players. By all means I appreciate your “alpha rights activism” but that’s not the issue here.

Let’s go to test server. Choose any non-bubbly ship. I take a nano imicus with cloak mwd. You try to catch me when I’m trying to escape your wormhole. If you win I’ll give you 1 billion ISK.

Actually, knowing how a large scale afk cloaking OP works, this is less of a concern to me due to the “1 alpha online per person” rule, rather than a person having uncatchable alpha scanners in every and each wormhole.

(Merin Ryskin) #19

And this is a problem. Alphas should be an extended trial, and little more than cannon fodder against people who pay for the game (whether with ISK or cash). If alphas are powerful enough to win consistently with decent skills then what’s the incentive to pay for the game? Where is the subscription money to keep the game going?

(Chocolate Pickle) #20

From the subs to fly T2, T3, and capitals.

From the people that want MCT, and faster training.

From the new players that want the above, but haven’t trained into them yet.