As the title says, I suggest we give the four Electronic Attack Frigates the following:
- Cannot be detected by Local Chat system
- Cannot activate cloak devices*
This role bonus would apply to the T2 Ewar frigates:
*Regarding the ‘cannot cloak’ role bonus: I personally think it’s nice not to have cloaky local-chat immune ships in space, but if you have good arguments to remove that role bonus(/malus) I would like to hear it.
Any pilots flying one of these ships would not be able to connect to local chat and their names would not show up in local chat for anyone else in system.
Local chat is one of the ingame intelligence tools to see incoming threats, like D-scan, the Overview and in case you have combat probes: the Probe Scanner window.
EVE offers players a counterplay tool to each of those types of intel:
- The Overview does not show cloaked ships
- Combat probe information can be countered by keeping your signature radius low and sensor strength high. Or with a cloak you don’t show up at all
- D-scan can be circumvented with the four Combat Recon cruisers which have the following:
- Cannot be detected by directional scanners
- (And another way to circumvent D-scan is again a cloak)
Local chat, as present in high, low and null sec, does have no such counter. Every experienced player has a long list of local chat open to see all the other names in system in these parts of space. And if you enter the system, any player who is paying attention to their local chat will know you are there. There is no way to circumvent this intelligence tool, no way to hide oneself.
With this new role bonus to the Electronic Attack frigates, a role similar to the role of their bigger brother the Combat Recon cruisers, I would like to add such a counterplay tool.
We all know the story of the blackout. It seemed a good idea to some, bad idea to others, but the result is that people really don’t like it when local chat in null sec is just like wormhole space and most people stopped flying in space. I do not wish to go back to the blackout.
However, I do believe local chat intel is strong and requires some kind of ingame counter, without being too powerful, of course.
As such, I want this ‘local chat immunity’ to be on a ship that has the following features:
- no other ‘immunities’ such as interdiction nullification, covops cloaks or d-scan immunity, instawarp
(the ship, when found, should not be too hard to catch)
- low solo combat effectiveness → smaller ships, such as a frigate without weapon bonuses
- not too easily available → T2
This leaves us with two options: logistics frigates or electronic attack frigates.
I don’t think this bonus makes much sense on logistics frigates, but it does make sense on electronic attack frigates as their bigger brother, the combat recons, already have a very similar role bonus regarding D-scan immunity.
Local less reliable
Players can no longer rely on their local chat alone to be absolutely certain there are no threats in the system. D-scan and combat probes both can pick up electronic attack frigates if the frigate did not cloak.
New form of scouting
The purpose of the local-immune frigates is to scout a system ahead of the group without spooking the locals. The frigate can scout their target with d-scan and maybe combat probes, but to do so they and their probes will show up to d-scan to the locals as well. The ship will be slower than an interceptor, less reliable at catching a target than a bomber and people can easily see it coming. If they pay attention to things beyond local chat, that is.
Blessing and curse
Since the electronic attack frigate has no way to connect to local chat and see the player numbers, the locals could easily set up a trap for the roaming fleet. The frigate is essentially ‘flying blind’. They could even coordinate the counterattack in local chat.
New fleet doctrine?
Fleets of T2 EWAR frigates could easily surprise many players, but I wonder if they will be used beyond a meme fleet. No one in the fleet would have an idea of the player numbers in local. And if fleets consisting of purely T2 EWAR frigates were effective in combat, I would expect to see them today as well. It could be a nice meme fleet though.
I think local chat is a powerful intelligence tool. And I think it should have a niche counterplay option, just like the other ingame intel tools have counterplay options. For this reason I would like to give one ship hull type in the game a special role bonus to ignore local chat. This role bonus suits the Electronic Attack frigates well.