Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My take on the December CSM summit - Wormholes

I haven't really been keeping up with the blogging, but I wanted to make clear my views on some of the stuff brought up at the December CSM summit.

Firstly, I want to note that I was not present at the summit. I am the 4th alternate, and while the 1st (Elise) and 2nd (Prom) alternates went to the summit, enough full CSM members were able to be there so I didn't get to go.

When I heard that CCP wanted to have a session on little things in wormholes and FW, I spent some time talking to folks and came up with my list of smaller issues that most folks wanted fixed. My list is:
1) Shields on ships out of a SMA/entering a Pulsar/joining a fleet (this applies also to after jumping shield caps, and is one of the reasons they suck)
2) Better system than POS passwords for POS access (same UI as chat channels would be awesome)
3) Capital SMAs allowed in w-space (hard to store large numbers of capitals... :) )
4) Cans in corp hangers. Should be able to name them, open them, put stuff in them. Also would be great to be able to repackage stuff in corp hangars
5) Rename all POS structures. Currently, you cannot rename SMAs and corp hangars
6) Randomness in sleeper spawns (same for incursions. At least make triggers random)
7) Don't change sig ids after downtime (not done after crucible)
8) Capital ship SD timers. One other suggestion I heard was that SD should force on overheating of all your mods, so you can't just run hardeners and SD.
9) Swapping T3 subs at a SMA. I (Two step) don't actually care about this that much, but lots of people complain about it a lot.
10) More wormholes. It would be great if C5s or C4s or something had dual statics. Right now, our w-space map looks a lot like a single line, and this makes w-space more boring.

That list was presented to CCP, and the discussion turned to basically talking about AHARM. Both CCP Soundwave (the only CCP person present) and one of the CSM members (going to leave him nameless until he speaks up), said that they were concerned about the difficulty of taking over "fortress" wormholes. AHARM's home system (we call it "Nova") was presented as one of these systems. The CSM member explained the difficulty of invading such a system, including an explanation of the math of chain-collapsing (there are only 113 class 6 wormholes, so if you have a static C6, you have around a 1% chance of getting the correct one). Once you do find the correct one, you can only put 3 capital ships into the system at a time, and then the wormhole will collapse again and you need to start all over. At past summits, there was some very brief discussion of having a "wormhole stabilizing" ship or module, and this was brought up again. The idea would be that the ship/mod would prevent a wormhole from collapsing due to the total mass that had passed through (but not change the maximum mass that could jump at a time, to prevent supercaps from getting into w-space). Some of the other CSM members though this wasn't a good idea, and presented several of the reasons I will discuss below. The final result was that CCP would be looking into the issue in the future, though probably not all that soon.

Since I wasn't attending the meeting, I only heard about the discussion a day later when I watched the video of the session. I immediately posted on the CSM forums about why I think the discussion wasn't correct, and I will reproduce some of those points here:

1) Built up wormholes aren't nearly as "impossible to invade" as was presented at the summit. I would point folks to AHARM's invasion of CCRES, AHARM's invasion of Firebird Squadron (see this killmail, for example), and Brotherhood of Starbridge's attempted invasion of Aquila, Inc (described here). In the case of the two AHARM invasions, we infiltrated at least 9 (I think 12+ in CCRES, 11 in FBS) capitals into the system before we invaded. Starbridge managed to get 80+ subcaps into Aquila's home system, and would have won had several other groups stepped in to save Aquila.
2) It is a good thing that built up wormholes are hard to invade. It took people a long time to get capitals/POSes/ships into the wormhole in the first place, why should wiping them out not take considerable effort and determination?
3) The removal of the Jumps API from w-space makes it hard to know when people are after you. Previously, we could tell when R&K were trying to chain collapse to us, as we would see the number of jumps in a system spike. We could then make sure to watch for incoming K162s at those times. With the API now gone, this cannot be done, and nobody can watch for incoming wormholes 24/7.
4) A wormhole stabilizer would just allow groups like AHARM (and Narwhals, Starbridge and others) to further dominate high class wormhole space. Right now, we don't bother to invade small groups in C5s because it is a lot of effort for us to move capitals in and move them back out when we are done. If there was a way for us to move large numbers through a wormhole, we would easily be able to attack these groups. It would also allow large nullsec groups to rampage through w-space.

One thing that was pointed out at the summit is that w-space is basically the least broken part of the game right now. There are some fantastic small gang engagements happening often, and most w-space folks really enjoy it. I would hate to see that changed by removing one of the key restrictions that makes w-space what it is.

Discussions like this one just make it clearer to me that I need to run for CSM 7, and I need to secure a full seat, which will be even tougher than it was for CSM 6. Hopefully issues like this make it clear to all w-space residents that we need a seat at the table, or our entire playstyle is at risk.