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EVE Online balancing effort aims to return ships to proper roles

James Egan

Has it ever seemed ridiculous that in the setting of EVE Online, where technology has opened up the vast potential of the galaxy, there are still aspects of being a capsuleer that are completely ghetto? The ship and capsule technologies in EVE enable you to traverse solar systems in mere seconds, unleash hails of destruction that vaporize space stations, and provides immortality through cloning... but you have to stow prostitutes, slaves, marines, and livestock in a single cargo hold? Sloshing around in there with your fuel, no less.

While the commingling of your livestock with the military forces you've rescued is hardly ranked as a critical issue in the game, not having enough room in your cargo bay for jump drive fuel is. Today's Apocrypha 1.5 release made significant changes to ships capable of using jump drives. We knew this was in the works but CCP Games didn't reveal any of the details until yesterday's dev blog from CCP Abathur titled "Regular or Unleaded?".

Abathur explains how the devs want to return certain ships, namely carriers, to their intended roles. This is sure to provoke some degree of hostility from the playerbase, going from past experience where people get upset when CCP touches their carriers.

Change was inevitable though, and it arrived yesterday with carrier cargo holds reduced to 25% of their former size (but with a dedicated 3000m3 fuel bay added for light-year jumps).

This will make the class of ship less effective as the Swiss Army knives of EVE Online, as players use them to fill various combat, support, and transport roles -- something the developers hadn't intended when they introduced these capital ships to the game. Abathur writes, "What carriers are *not* intended to be are cargo ships and transports. While they can still be pressed into this service on a limited basis, it is not their designed role."

CCP also details the changes (buffs) they've made to the game's top-tier ships used for transporting supplies or mined materials. These ships play an essential role in EVE given the vast setting players interact in, and the distances they need to transport items.

So while carriers will now be less effective in transport roles, jump freighters -- ships with massive cargo capacities that can use jump-drives -- will likely become more prominent sights in the game. They are, however, very expensive and are juicy targets most EVE players would love to see listed on their corporation's killboard.

Abathur also explains how CCP has given Black Ops battleships greater potential in its role of covertly infiltrating enemy territory with the addition of a new fuel bay, used to power their unique ability in EVE -- sending stealth-focused ships into "jammed" solar systems that cannot otherwise be breached with normal jump drives.

The Apocrypha 1.5 ship changes will affect how players use certain types of ships, which will make some players happy, others less so. This introduction of specialized cargo bays opens the gates to more changes in the future that should come as good news to combat-centric players. The next step will apparently be "Magazines", dedicated ammunition bays on ships for their missile and other projectile-type ammo, allowing more weaponry used on any particular journey a player takes.

You can read up on the full details in the "Regular or Unleaded?" dev blog, and see how the players are reacting to this latest round of ship balancing in the related forum thread.

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