Interceptors and Upwell Structures: Reintroduce opportunities for pilot error

Dear CCP:

As a fairly long term EVE player, it’s immensely frustrating how difficult you’ve made non-consensual PvP through your ship and structure changes. There are two serious pain-points right now that I’d love for you to address in a future patch:

  • Upwell Structure Placement
  • Nullified interceptors (really, any ship that combines nullification with a sub-tick align time)

INTERCEPTORS

I’m frankly shocked that we still have nullified interceptors in EVE in 2020. You guys officially announced a “data gathering” balance pass in 2017 where you stripped nullification from the DPS interceptors (https://www.eveonline.com/article/pf7gpi/october-balance-pass) to see if it would affect their utilization. That change immediately saw the prices of ships like Claws plummet to ~30% of their pre-patch value, and right now it feels like combat interceptors are a rarer sight in the wild than titans. Is the playerbase’s wholesale switch to the remaining “fleet” interceptors and their absolute ubiquity in space not evidence enough that it was the overpowered nullification attribute drawing people to inties rather than any other factor? Clearly these ships need a nerf-- either their align time needs to exceed 2 seconds so they can be locked by specialized ships, or they need to be vulnerable to bubbles: pick one.

EVE was much more balanced when covops and bombers were the scouting / travel ships of choice: at least it was possible (if difficult) to catch these ships some of the time with a skilled decloaker. The only way to kill a travel-ceptor is to pile half a billion ISK worth of smartbombing BS on a gate AND to hope the inty pilot is too lazy to bounce off another celestial or use a bookmark instead of warping directly between gates. If an inty pilot puts even the slightest bit of effort into what they’re doing, they are essentially impossible to destroy. Interceptors’ scouting ability is way overpowered (they essentially make it impossible to deny the enemy intelligence), as is the way they enable even the criminally-lazy to travel safely with zero effort. Their omnipresence in space is also oppressive to people who want to field larger ships, as anyone trying to use hit-and-run tactics in cruisers or larger quickly finds themselves swarmed by hordes of tiny tackling ships that they can’t hit, can’t outrun, and which can’t be screened away by bubbles.

UPWELL STRUCTURE PLACEMENT

Upwell structures need more restrictions on where they can be anchored. The ubiquity of these structures is straight-up toxic, as it has almost eliminated the need for prudence on the part of traveling pilots. Specifically, allowing the placement of structures on-grid with stargates is hugely frustrating:

  • By offering tethers, a gate-adjacent Upwell structure allows any ship to effectively scout gates and jump-bridges where an actual scouting-fit ship with a cloak would’ve been used previously.
  • Upwell structure spam on every gate multiplies exponentially the number of places any player can ping off of while traveling, essentially removing the value of tactical bookmarks and proper preparation for the defender and making it functionally-impractical and/or prohibitively expensive for interdictors or anchorable bubbles to be used to blockade gates (if you want to catch a traveler warping across a system, you now have a huge number of objects that need to be bubbled in order to catch them-- ieven if they have no bookmarks).
  • The ability to place Ansiblex gates on grid with both Upwell tether structures and stargates further compounds these issues, reducing the number of potential choke-points for interdiction to a single place-- the stargate.

For example, lets look at a typical travel scenario from pre-Upwell EVE and today’s game: I am a player trying to move from my alliance’s staging system to a nearby ratting pocket. Because the alliance has already installed an Ansiblex to a strategically-relevant system in our staging system, I need to first travel to an adjacent star system by gate, and then take a bridge to the ratting area.

First of all, if I have any sense, I’m just going to leave my fleet ships in the stager and a ratting ship in my ratting system and commute between the two in a travelceptor, thus eliminating travel risk entirely. But let’s assume for argument’s sake that I’m being intentionally-thick and choose to travel in something that isn’t a travel gimmick fit.

Old EVE: undock from traditional station --> warp to stargate on a different grid --> jump --> warp from stargate to jump bridge on a different grid --> take jump bridge.

In the old game, I was exposed through basically every step of this process. When I undock, I have a brief invuln timer after which I am vulnerable to attack. When I warp from the station to the stargate that’s located on a different grid, there’s an opportunity for an enterprising player with an anchorable bubble or interdictor to pull me off the gate and tackle me if I don’t use my d-scanner to scout. Assuming I make it to the stargate, there’s a chance to be engaged on the other side of the gate. If I manage to evade hostiles on that stargate, there’s another opportunity for me to be drag-bubbled when I warp from the stargate to the jump bridge if I don’t d-scan.

Compare this scenario to it’s present-day equivalent: undock from Upwell structure --> warp to stargate on same grid --> jump --> warp to Ansiblex gate on same grid.

In 2020, I am invulnerable indefinitely upon undocking thanks to tether (can’t even be be booshed off). Because Upwell structures can be anchored anywhere, I’m already on-grid with my destination stargate, which means if there are enemy players (or even a seemingly un-attended drag bubble with no hostiles in local), I can immediately see it and know that I shouldn’t warp to that gate. Unless I am blind or my overview is mis-configured, there is no opportunity for hostile players to drag bubble me. Assuming the gate is clear and I warp to the stargate and jump, hostile players now have one chance to catch me unawares with a gatecamp at zero on the other side of the gate. Again, as soon as I jump through the stargate I can physically see my next destination (the Ansiblex) which is located a few thousand km away on the same grid-- no opportunity for hostiles to catch me en-route to the Ansiblex. If I see hostile players or a bubble, I just don’t warp there.

The lack of restrictions on Upwell structure placement has created a scenario where only the most flagrantly ignorant or lazy pilot will ever be caught unawares while traveling. Upwell spam devalues player knowledge, skill and discipline by holding people’s hands and making it as difficult as possible for them to make a mistake: structure spam means they don’t need to bounce celestials or make bookmarks; co-location of structures means they don’t need to make use of d-scan, and tethers and structure weaponry make camping the station-ends of travel routes practically impossible. Like I said before: you’d have to be completely ignorant of all game mechanics, blind, or have some kind of bizarre overview loaded in order to have any chance of being caught by anything but a large, well-equipped enemy gatecamp positioned at zero on a stargate. Even if they camp the gate itself, unless hostiles are fielding an interdictor, specialized insta-locking scram and web ships, and ample DPS, odds are good that a player under attack at the one remaining ambush opportunity (jumping through the stargate) can simply burn back to the gate and jump out.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

TL;DR: as someone who has spent many years trying to fight the good fight in small teams against enemy groups with vastly superior numbers, the game has become depressingly oppressive. Any area of strategic importance that has been properly spammed with Upwell structures is almost impossible to harass effectively. It’s frankly offensive the amount of time, effort, and ISK that need to be invested in order to stand even a chance of killing things these days. I remember days when I’d be able to set up sneaky drag locations or even camp gates effectively using only my own characters. These days ambush opportunities are almost non-existent, and between forcing all interdiction attempts onto stargates and the ship meta’s heavy emphasis on flying small, fast ships, it’s become almost impossible to run a functional gatecamp with less than ten people due to the large number of specialized tackling ships and tremendous DPS required to prevent targets from simply re-approaching the gate.

I, for one, would like to see the game go back to a place where player skills and knowledge are actually rewarded instead of relying on dumbed-down game mechanics that make it almost impossible for players to make mistakes. It used to be the case that a well-prepared player with knowledge of game mechanics, a good collection of tactical bookmarks, and the prudence / patience to make use of them would be able to successfully navigate nullsec, while the unprepared or imprudent would find their corpses floating in space in short order. I remember scouting, moving slowly from system to system, making bookmarks, occasionally having to do things like intentionally deplete my ship’s capacitor so that I could warp towards a possibly-bubbled stargate but land a few AU short in order to do a d-scan. I remember both the cheek-clenching evasive maneuvering of running a bubble camp in a covops, and the triumphant feeling of successfully decloaking those scouts as a dictor pilot. These days, none of this applies. You can hand a one-day-old newbie a skill injector and a Stiletto and just tell the to free-burn to wherever and they’ll make it. Space is full of structures you can’t fight near, endless grids that can accommodate an alliance’s worth of infrastructure with every structure in-sight from one another, stargates you can’t stop people reapproaching, and jump bridges that are physically too large to be camped. It’s all fairly depressing.

SUGGESTIONS

I don’t have too much to say here since game design is your job, not mine, but we’re supposed to be constructive with our feedback, so here it goes:

  • Remove nullification from interceptors, and from all other ships that can be configured for a sub-2-second align time OR decrease the agility of all nullified ships so they cannot be fit for sub-2-second align times. I’m of the opinion that no ship in the game should be capable of the kind of zero-effort travel configurations that inties have right now, but if you absolutely insist on giving that capability to some ship type to allow people to travel with impunity, assign that role to shuttles so there’s no combat ability.

  • Restrict the placement of Upwell structures. Personally I’d probably opt to restrict Athanors and Tataras to moon grids, and the rest of the station-type structures to planet grids, with a limit of one station-type structure per celestial. You could also do it on a less-restrictive basis, allowing people to put structures anywhere they want within some limitations like: minimum distance between station-type structures or between station-like structures and stargates / Ansiblex gates ~insert some distance in KM or AU that ensures structures are not co-located on one grid~.

Anyway, just a thought from a bittervet. I really hope you’ll consider some kind of changes in this direction.

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Why not make interceptors lose nullification if any offensive modules are fitted instead? That way, people can still haul billions around in their ceptors. Otherwise, you’re looking at the death of interceptors as a ship class

I know many pilots who no longer subscribe to Eve as a result of these changes.

It isn’t some huge number that would increase the stonks of CCP over night, but i feel like we were all removed from the game overnight, never to return.

I miss camping gates with those friends. :frowning:

Make cloaky camping great again! It doesnt have to be a roll back to what it once was, but a little consideration to our meta would be nice going forward.

Not everything has to be some huge FORBES ARTICLE WORTHY SPACE BATTLE!!11 and eve shouldn’t be homogenized into only producing that sort of content.

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Also, a lot of citadels can easily be cleared from gates in a 15 min bash now. Why shouldn’t gatecampers have to put in a little effort to have a gatecamp set up? Fueled gate structures are usually only in in big bloc territory, and even before citadels they had alliance pings set up

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First of all, gatecamping in 2020 already ~is~ a lot of effort in and of itself. I used to gatecamp with only an interdictor, or sometimes even with just a cruiser. People used to fly-- on average-- much bigger, slower ships. There were times I’d just have a Cynabal parked on a gate, someone would come through in a cruiser or battlecruiser, and I’d be pointing them with a warp disruptor (can you imagine even locking a ship before it warps these days while flying a cruiser?) and physically bumping their ship to prevent them re-approaching the gate, and it was actually somewhat viable.

Those days are long gone. Today, the only things coming through gates that are slow enough to engage that way are bait. If you see a Gnosis, or a Dominix, or whatever, there’s like a 98% chance it’s there to bait for a gang of assault frigates and interceptors. The things people actually fly are travelceptors (seems like about 80-90% of gate traffic) and other small, fast ships: assault frigates, EAFs, navy frigate hulls, T3 destroyers, Kikimoras, and cloaky stuff (bombers, Asteros, covert+nullified T3 cruisers) etc. These kinds of targets require a large gang to kill simply because there are so many specialist roles that need to overlap to net a kill: you need a dictor to prevent an initial warp or cancel warp (for covert targets). You need instalocking long points, scrams, and webs to prevent people from burning away or burning back to gate. So you need at least a Daredevil, interceptor, and at least one remote sensorboosting alt. And even with all this tackle, if someone decides to crash the gate you still only get a few seconds in which to kill them, which means you need several people in specialized, fast-locking DPS ships as well (you can’t bring one, big DPS ship because they lock too slowly and large weapons don’t hit today’s small targets-- this means you need multiple, smaller ship for DPS).

The reality is this: I’m on gatecamps all the time where we’ll have as many as fifteen people on one gate, and while we are usually able to kill most non-interceptors, it’s often with absolutely zero time to spare. We’ll have a Stiletto, Daredevil, RSB alts, one or two dictors, and a bunch of guys in cruiser-sized DPS ships, and we’re still ending up with wrecks that are like 3km from the stargate. If any part of this equation is missing (fewer DPS ships, no Daredevil, etc) you’re missing kills constantly.

Most citadels cannot be removed from gates by a small gang. Maybe in some backwater area, but certainly not anywhere owned by any kind of relevant alliance. Anywhere strategically relevant, it’s going to be Fortizars or Keepstars that are on grid with these stargates and jump bridges: I defy you to do anything about those with a small gang. I’m also not advocating for a structure or sov system that lets small gangs destroy structures easily-- that is what strategic fleets are for, and no defender should be forced to tolerate a system where a few random attackers in cruisers can roll around blapping major structures.

Alliance bookmarks, while frustrating, could be mitigated somewhat by bringing a prober along: sit there with probes out for a day collecting hostile perches and soon you’d have most of their bookmarks. At minimum it let you fling tacklers on top of bigger targets in real-time. By contrast, Upwell structures are absolute cancer: there can be multiple structures on each gate. If you anchor bubbles off all of them, people will just roll a 50-man gang through and kill all the bubbles. If you want to actively bubble them, you now need another dedicated interdictor pilot assigned to each one. If you don’t bubble them, anyone in literally any ship can just warp over and turn invincible indefinitely, allowing them to wait you out and provide real-time intel on what you’re doing to their friends. This was obviously possible in the past as well, but at least someone would need a scouting ship to do it or you’d need to be active-aligned and constantly paying attention ready to warp to a safespot. Now you can do it in anything just by sitting there. You can’t even be bumped off tether if you’re smart enough to drop a bookmark near the structure model and set your ship to approach it.

You seem to think harassing a numerically-superior group of hostiles is easy, but all I can say is go and try it. I think you’ll find it’s more than “a little effort.”

Like I said, I personally don’t see why there needs to be any ship in the game that lets you move around with complete impunity. Before nullification, people flew around with billions in interceptors, bombers, covops frigates, blockade runners, etc. There will always be people making questionable decisions. That said, if CCP are absolutely dead-set on keeping a “taxi” ship in the game, it really should be a ship with no combat utility. I say they just give that role to the humble shuttle if that’s the case.

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Why exactly should it be easy? Will CCP cater to the 10000 subscribers in the megabloc, or the 30 people in the small gang trying to camp a gate?
Of course you should need to put in more effort to camp gates.
Abandoned astras can be taken out if you bring bashing battleships, it’s not like you’re not allowed to bring them.
Harassing large blocs SHOULD more difficult than taking out abandoned astras in null and camping some backwater gate nobody uses. You get more traffic, and as a result more kills, in large bloc space so therefore you need to put more effort into camping that system

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The shuttle doesn’t have enough cargo space, or tank. Plus, when combat ceptors lost their nullification people stopped using them. If you also take it away from fleet ceptors, nobody will use those either.

Or a cloak?

So you basically want trillions of isk invested into fortifications useless against your smallgang worth under a billion?

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Not true.




Your claim "at least it was possible (if difficult) to catch these ships also works for travel ceptors.

Oh, skill you say? The above ceptors were caught with skill. What you want are easy ways to lock down constellations and areas of space in order to make it as hard as possible to interfere with the activities there. If you insist on removing interdiction nullification from ceptors, I insist on the removal of supers and titans from EVE as they allow the low effort and relatively risk free maintenance of huge swaths of space.

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Having a friend who happens to live on the right global network node to have a 10ms ping to Tranquility so they can ~sometimes~ catch travelceptors is not skill-- it’s luck at best and horrifically geographically-biased. We’ve all had that once a week thing where the planets are aligned funny and our friend from continental Europe is able to tackle a travelceptor, but you’ve got to admit its very much the exception, not the rule.

You’re preaching to the choir on supers and titans: they’re dumb and CCP have repeatedly failed to find a role for them that’s balanced. I also think jump freighters are bad game design.

  1. That’s exactly the point: interceptors are not primarily used for their intended role right now as evidenced by the fact that the interceptors that lost nullification were immediately discarded. Interceptors are supposed to be fast tacklers, not invulnerable cargo ships for moving your PLEX and titan BPO collection. You’re right: if CCP took nullification away from fleet interceptors, their utilization will go way down-- the only people using them will be people who need them as tackle ships, which is their intended role.

  2. Yes, I mean without citadel spam you’d need to fit a cloak or be active-aligned to scout. That is what I mean. Cloaking is what I mean by, “a scouting ship.” It means you intentionally fit a ship for intelligence gathering, rather than just showing up in whatever you brought and having the tether magically convert that ship into an invulnerable intelligence gathering tool.

  3. Fortifications should act as a force-multiplier for defenders when the time comes for strategic conflict. They should not be a magic button you can press to prevent harassment of your individual alliance members. By your logic I should just be able to spend ISK on an ihub upgrade that increases all friendly ships’ shield resistances to 100%. Nobody is saying a small gang should be able to directly attack fortifications: just that the presence of fortifications should not preclude attackers from blowing up people’s spaceships.

Your problem is not that non-consensual PvP is difficult, your problem is that you are using outdated methods in order to get fights. I used to enjoy the kind of solo camping that you described, but EvE has long since moved past that. The meta has evolved, solo PvP doesn’t work like it used to. It’s something I lament as well, but the solution isn’t to try to force the game back into your outdated style of play, it’s to adapt your style of play to keep pace with the game.

Having said that though, I do agree that the use of Upwell-Fu is a bit…oppressive. Having Upwell structures on-grid with a stargate/station does offer a whole slew of tactical benefits to those who can tether to the station. I think it might be worthwhile considering increasing the minimum distance between an Upwell structure and celestials, or at least stargates and stations.

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I guess I should’ve been clearer: I’m not still trying to camp in a solo cruiser hull (it was just an example of how much the meta has changed in ten years), and we’ve absolutely found ways to keep killing things. I’m just saying that it’s not ideal the way CCP seem hellbent on reducing as much as possible the number of opportunities there are to kill stuff. Ship metas obviously shift around, but the taxiceptors and Upwell spam both seem like really blatant cases of poor game design or game design intended to hold people’s hands and keep them safe without demanding anything from the player. It doesn’t fit well with the premise of nullsec being a dangerous environment.

Not all ships have to be relatively prevalent across classes or even uniformly prevalent within the same class, but if non-nullified interceptors are outperformed by other ships at their intended function and/or their niche is too narrow to be as prevalent as they could be, their stats could be adjusted to make them more worthwhile. I do feel the gap offense/defense and even (especially?) tackle gap could be widened between the two subclasses so as to make the non-nullified hulls worth using even with the simultaneous existence of nullified hulls.

Serious question: does the ship HAVE to be caught? (esp. since they can’t light cynos)

What is wrong with the existence of a ship such that - outside of its intended optimal fit configuration - it can be fitted for fast/safe travel and be useless otherwise?

A determined enemy is always going to slip by, so this isn’t going to change much. When you operate on the assumption that the enemy knows everything you are doing and planning, it is a pleasant surprise when you find out they don’t.

Agreed

:thinking:

A travelceptor is paper thin and is at most equipped with a peashooter (though usually not even so as to not sacrifice tank), so I personally don’t see the need to create a separate class of ships when the existing class coincidentally serves both functions, though I’m not going to lie: the concept of a “T2 Shuttle” that is nullified is amusing and not implausible. Not only that, but it would make it easier to rebalance the interceptors if CCP knew they didn’t have to “ensure” half of the interceptors could double their roles.

Yesssss

The whole point is to be nullified and combative at the same time. It would be better to introduce a T2 shuttle series of ships than to introduce an arbitrary mechanism such as this. Arbitrary mechanics are a hard no.

:face_with_monocle:
I cannot comment for you specifically, but for the majority of players and in the majority of contexts, gate camping is “weak gameplay”, and is the kind of gameplay that should generally be discouraged via emergent behaviors stemming from high-level changes to the game. There are plenty of times where it’s meaningful and, more importantly, purposeful, but for most players and in most instances it is neither, and I don’t have much sympathy for them (not commenting on you specifically).

:point_up_2:

You’re automatically wrong for failing to start your thread with :red_circle:. But on a serious note: the exception doesn’t make the rule, so it’s not worth bringing up.

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IMHO, in EVE Online, yes? One of the core premises of this game has always been that any time you undock and attempt to do anything, you are exposing yourself to some risk. Even in a 1.0 highsec system. Even on an NPC-corp starter character. There’s always supposed to be the possibility that another player comes and kills you. Obviously you could design a game differently (and most game designers do), but I just don’t think un-catchable ships have a place in EVE, and if you look at every other “avoidance” gimmick I can think of, there is some counterplay available in-game that doesn’t involve moving close to London and praying for a funky server tick. “Un-probe-able” ships? Can be probed by high skill characters in specialized ships and pods. Other “instawarp” setups? Can be momentarily arrested by bubbles. Invisible ships? Can be decloaked if can put a solid object near them, or put them near a solid object. If CCP said they were changing the way covops cloaks worked so they could be engaged while holding gate-cloaks (thus at no point becoming visible when entering a system), people would probably call that out as overpowered. Yet, even that feature would be easier to counter-play than nullified ceptors: at least I can cover a gate’s jump-in radius with objects or ships to prevent cloaking.

I’m glad inties can’t light cynos, but cynoing is not the only relevant function of a ship. Intel gathering, and simply allowing people to travel wherever they want is also a very powerful ability. People used to complain about jump clones being OP, but a modern travelceptor is nearly the same thing, just with no limits on the number of destinations and no long “cooldown” between uses. Again, if CCP announced a change where you could have unlimited jump clones and the jump clone cooldown timer was reduced to 30 or 45 minutes, people would probably freak out. Interceptors allow for a similar possibility: I can hop into one and safely navigate to other regions very quickly, regardless of whether anyone actively tries to prevent it.

IMHO two things are wrong with this argument: one is that a gatecamp-immune interceptor can definitely still fit within its “intended configuration”-- you can absolutely fit inties that are sub-2sec align and still do the job of zooming around and tackling things while being really difficult to shoot down.

Second, “a determined enemy will always slip by” is only a truism now, because of interceptors. It just wasn’t true in the past, or at least, wasn’t true in the sense that I think you mean for it to be true. Yes, in the past it was usually possible for people to get past a gatecamp. You could wait the camp out (sometimes it would take many hours, even days-- I know because I used to do it. I still do this on a regular basis, because I mostly fly non-nullified ships). You could also attempt to run the camp in a covert ship-- fast, covert ships like Cheetahs are actually very difficult to decloak and catch if piloted correctly. A seasoned scout flying a fast covops ship has quite a good chance of escaping even a well-run gatecamp. Based purely on anecdotal evidence from ~12 years of doing this kind of thing (mostly as the camper trying to kill the covops, though occasionally also as the covops pilot), I’d say a hypothetical Cheetah pilot who knows what they’re doing has about a 90% chance of escaping from a generic gatecamp (a gaggle of average pilots who happen to have a dictor with them) and at least a 50% chance of escaping a dangerous gatecamp (one with lots of pilots who know what they’re doing with a lot of fast-tackle and a dictor).

So yes, even before travelceptors, “a determined enemy could always slip by”-- but that involved some level of dedication: lots of time, or sometimes multiple ships might need to be expended. And prior to the attempts, the pilot needed to invest some time and energy into figuring out bubble and decloak mechanics and learning how to fly their ship. Today, the chance of making it through a gatecamp has increased to 100%, and slipping by requires no investment of time or energy. All you gotta do is board that interceptor.

I’m glad you agree that a travel-shuttle would be a more elegant solution. Although I just hate the whole concept of an un-interdictable ship, I’d be a whole lot less-mad about a special shuttle. Here’s why::

  • “A travelceptor is usually paper thin” but also “travelceptors often forgo guns in order to fit their tank”

A “travelceptor” that is paper thin (because it’s fitting tackle mods and prop in the mids) is not a travelceptor: that’s just called a fleet interceptor. It also happens to be un-interdictable. This is part of the problem: an interceptor can field a pretty normal fit, still be insta-warp / nullified, still be able to do its normal job, and also allow people to travel unimpeded. The thicc-boi interceptor fits you’re thinking of that lack tackle are actual travel-specialized fits that are meant to allow people to warp gate-to-gate without worrying about being smartbombed (so they can be lazy and not use perches).

Unfortunately, the outside observer has no way to tell if an interceptor that pops onto grid is a harmless travel fit, or a totally normal Stiletto that’s tackling for a 50-man gang that’s one jump out. So if I’m fighting someone, and suddenly a Stiletto pops onto grid 60km away, proper risk-management demands that I assume the worst-- that it’s a standard tackle fit and that it can be in tackle range of my ship within a few seconds. If I want to avoid losing my ship, I need to break off my attack and warp off (since interceptors are basically impossible to kill or force off in a timely manner unless you’re flying something like an Orthrus or Kikimora). If interceptors were actually used for their intended job, you’d only have to make this decision occasionally. Sadly, since interceptors are used primarily for travel and are ******** everywhere, you end up either warping off unnecessarily all the time, or losing ships because you stayed in the fight and then it turned out to be an interceptor that was intending to tackle you. It’s really annoying.

I certainly like to think that the kind of gatecamping I do is not “weak gameplay” in the sense that it’s not lazy. We’re trying to accomplish strategic goals during wartime while operating several regions behind enemy lines in hostile space. People on the forums (and people we kill) love to call us “lazy, unskilled people looking for easy kills,” but when was the last time you spent days sneaking your ships through several regions of hostiles in order to shoot at them a jump from their staging system where you’re outnumbered 100:1 and have no access to any kind of services whatsoever-- no stations, no markets, no jump gates. Everything you’re going to need has to be brought with you, and every consumable you use or ship you lose needs to be dragged past regional gatecamps and then another 30 jumps through space teeming with hostiles. If we were lazy people looking for easy kills, we’d join strategic fleet operations where all you have to do is take the fleetwarps and press F1 when you’re told.

I think it’s a shame that people want to discourage asymmetric warfare in a sandbox game designed to encourage big bloc conflicts. CCP have already worked hard to make it as difficult as possible for a defending entity to be harassed in their space-- jump freighter logistics, increasing resource density to support higher population densities so people can run effective standing defense fleets for miners and ratters, the mess that is Upwell structures, etc. In the old days, there used to be a sort of stand-off that occurred between attacker and defender: I’m going to put in a bunch of effort to prevent you from doing things. The defender can choose to either put in more effort to drive me away, risk their ship to try and sneak past me, or can keep their ship safe but cannot go where they want to go. This was the balance. Nobody was forced to risk their ships. Nobody was guaranteed any kills. But if the defender wanted to move around, they had to either break your gatecamp or run it. They couldn’t just hop in a 20m isk frigate hull and ignore it.

People’s whole playstyle in EVE now is built around exploiting interceptors. People have specific ships located in specific locations for specific activities, and then just commute between them by interceptor. Inties make it trivially easy to flit from region to region doing whatever strategic tasks are necessary, then flit back to your ratting pocket and rat, all without ever having to travel solo or in small numbers through stargates. I can rat in a dedicated ratting system, based out of a single Fortizar or whatever, and never have to move because the anoms never stop respawning. If a ping goes out, I just jump in my inty and free-burn over to one of my bloc’s staging Keepstars, where I jump in a fleet ship. When that op ends, I can park my fleet ship back in the stager, and either interceptor back to my ratting system or inty to another Keepstar somewhere else for another stratop.

It’s funny-- one of the few times we get traffic through gates that we can do anything about is during stratops: during those brief, precious moments, interceptors no longer make up ~90% of gate traffic and there are actual ships that are worth actual money that we can actually catch and kill. But outside those little windows, it’s mostly staring blankly at a constant stream of Ares and Stiletto traffic that you can’t do anything about. It’s depressing.

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Yes, in an interceptor carrying 10 billion in skill injectors you have the risk of being caught by people living in CCP’s servers and smartbombs. Everything in eve does have risk, you just need to put more effort into your gatecamps to catch those shiny interceptors. “Advanced” gatecamp compositions will have a couple of smartbombing machariels to kill intys, while “Basic” gatecamp compositions like yours will catch everything except for intys.

Just as gatecampers are risk averse and don’t want to lose their ships, people flying interceptors with billions in BPOs are also risk averse and don’t want to lose their ships. You’re proposing to make it easier for gatecampers, with no additional risk.

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And if they warp to a perch or bounce off a celestial? Now what? Or are you going to propose that I should bring enough smartbombing Machariels (why would I use Machs btw when they’re crazy expensive?) to cover THE ENTIRE GATE? This is not a hypothetical question: my group frequently fields a set of smartbombing battleships to kill interceptors. But guess what? You kill a handful, they show up on zkill, and then people start using perches and you’re right back to square one with the interceptors being un-catchable again.

Also, how do you propose to rationalize the risk:reward ratio involved with fielding smartbombing battleships to kill interceptors? Unless you hit the proverbial jackpot, interceptor kills are worth like 30M isk. In what universe is it fair to tell the attacker they have to bring a billion ISK worth of battleships spread across multiple accounts just to kill one lazy **** in a 30M isk frigate hull? Maybe. Assuming they can’t figure out how to use bookmarks.

[Tell] me more about how the people who are fielding billions of ISK worth of ships on a gate in the middle of a region they don’t control and are routinely zooming their tacklers into bumping range of hostiles are risk averse in the same manner as the kind of carebear moron who demands dirt-cheap, invulnerable travel ships? Do you know how easy it is to lose a ship while gatecamping or participating in any kind of PvP?

OH MY GOD, I just looked up your killboard. Yikes. I hope you have a main character, because I’m not sure why we’re meant to take ship balance advice from someone who thinks an abyssal-fit Sunesis or half-fit Atron is an intelligent way to move hundreds of millions of ISK worth of loot around lowsec. Jesus. If PvP-- according to you-- is so easy and risk-less then why is your killboard so red that looking at it for two minutes has permanently altered the white-balance of my eyes?

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Bring more smartbombing machs? It’s not my fault you’re being risk averse and don’t want a capital fleet to drop on you. There’s plenty of reward, like 30 billion interceptors. A single good catch should pay off your insured rokhs or whatever other poorfit you’re using for a few years

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Oh no, how terrible. My sub 2s cargo fit ships were caught by an instalock person living near the servers. Also, moving around billions in a sunesis isn’t rare either since you can achieve sub 2s with 1400m^3 cargo space. Nothing can catch you, unless they get very lucky with the server tick.

Again, you can catch those shiny interceptors if you get lucky with the server tick and live close to the servers. It’s not CCP’s fault you decided to live on Mars and have a ping worse than smoke signals

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Oh really, is it super convenient to exploit the game’s network architecture to make yourself invulnerable to anyone who isn’t both living in a particular geographical area AND “lucky?”

Thanks for going out of your way to demonstrate exactly why instawarp ships are a **** idea. Literally your counterplay suggestion is “move to London.” That certainly seems very reasonable for a game intended for a worldwide audience.