Speed kills

James Egan
J. Egan|07.27.08

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EVE Online has evolved into a game where being fast and agile allows you to choose your fights, dictate range and thus control the course of the battle, disengage whenever you choose, and often move so quickly that you're largely unassailable. However, the era of the nano craze will soon be coming to a close, according to EVE Online developer CCP Nozh.

His latest dev blog addresses the insane velocities achievable, even by previously lumbering battleships, with combinations of speed modules, rigs, pirate implants and performance-boosting drugs. (For those less familiar with EVE or its more deviant aspects, you can in fact use and sell drugs in the game.) CCP Nozh outlined the dev team's design goals in stemming the speed crisis:

  • Speed must never reach ludicrous speed, which is defined as speeds where missiles and drones don't intercept the class of ship they were intended for.
  • There should be a significant and meaningful difference in speed between the ship classes.
  • Speed should not permit a larger ship to perform the role that a specialized ship was intended for.
  • Afterburners should be a viable module selection for PvP.
  • Guerilla warfare must remain a viable combat tactic.
To realize this vision, which the devs admit hasn't been a reality for a very long time, they are considering implementing significant drawbacks to microwarpdrives, weakening stasis webifiers, and an across-the-board speed nerf of overdrives, implants, and gang bonuses.

While many players feel that the nano problem absolutely must be addressed, there are a number of players in the EVE community who are less than enthusiastic... some who are borderline enraged, as the 90-page thread linked to Nozh's dev blog will attest to. Many feel that eliminating nano ships nerfs a potential counter to blob tactics, while others expressed concern that a side effect of the proposed changes is that small-gang PvP will be negatively impacted.

A game balancing effort on this scale will undoubtedly affect players outside the realm of those reliant upon nano tactics. Which is why it's important that EVE's players provide feedback to the devs, through the Monday (July 28) playtest of these changes on the Singularity test server. Nozh closes by pre-emptively appeasing the torch-wielding mobs encircling CCP HQ, stating that the proposed changes won't be enacted hastily. "We're allocating a long time (a month or more) to oversee the changes because we are open to further tweaks, based on your suggestions," CCP Nozh states.

These changes will drastically impact the PvP paradigm in EVE Online, that much is clear. Do you think the speed nerf will balance the game, or will there be consequences for all PvP-ers in New Eden?
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