EVE Evolved: Preparing for the Inferno expansion

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EVE Evolved: Preparing for the Inferno expansion
EVE Evolved title image
The Inferno expansion is set to launch on Tuesday May 22nd, promising a complete revamp of EVE Online's war declaration system and a whole host of new modules. If you're in a wardec corp, you'll need to make a few adjustments to the way you operate when the patch goes live. The minimum war fee will increase to 50 million ISK even if you're declaring war on a small corporation, making very small corps less-appealing targets. The fee increases based on the number of members in the target corp, but it doesn't start increasing until around the 130-member mark. If you want to get your money's worth, you'll be best off picking a target corp with 100-150 members or selecting very high-value small targets.

Be very wary of wardeccing large alliances after the patch. While the previous war system swung in favour of the attacker, the new system has gone to the opposite extreme. Large corps and alliances are now significantly more costly and dangerous to declare war on, especially as the defender can now call mercenaries into the war at any time. Players have complained that the increasing war costs could be abused by getting all alliance members to add alts to the corp, but this would be a logistical nightmare to apply in practice and would increase fees by only a few hundred million ISK. If alt padding becomes a problem, CCP will undoubtedly step in and revise the fee structure.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at the new modules and gameplay changes coming in Tuesday's Inferno expansion and give some tips on preparing for the patch.

EVE Evolved side imageGet your research labs ready

Inferno is introducing new modules that will be in very high demand, and industrialists are sure to make a mint supplying them. The new Extrinsic Damage Amplifier I drone damage module will turn the shield-buffered Dominix into an absolute monster, and its blueprint will be seeded on the market despite earlier plans. The biggest profit to be had here will definitely be from the tech 2 version, which you'll need to invent from tech 1 blueprint copies. To be one of the first people on the market with the tech 2 variant, you'll need to own your own research starbase somewhere.

Original blueprints will be seeded for the drone damage module, small and medium web drones, and a new rig that increases CPU output. If you have access to a research lab, buy multiple copies of each blueprint and put at least one into both material and copy research. As there'll be an initial rush to buy these new modules, you can afford to start building immediately from an unresearched blueprint while your material efficiency research finishes. Use all of the blueprint copies you produce for invention, and if you get lucky, you'll have dozens of the tech 2 version to build by the end of patch day.

EVE Evolved side imagePrepare an exploration ship

Several additional modules will be released in the patch that won't have blueprints seeded on the open market. The new low-slot Armor Adaptive Hardener I module will provide an armour resistance bonus that periodically shifts to match the types of damage your ship is taking. A new range of Ancillary shield boosters will provide a much higher boost than their normal counterparts but consume significantly more capacitor. They also have the option to consume capacitor booster charges directly to reduce activation cost.

Hacking and Archaeology profession sites will drop limited-run blueprints of the new modules with between three and 50 runs depending on the difficulty of the site, which means nullsec is where you'll find the best swag. It's been a long time since profession sites dropped anything worth the effort of locating them, and this update may save them from obsolescence. If you're not an exploration hound, there's also a chance to loot these blueprints from faction spawns in asteroid belts. Since these new modules will be destroyed in PvP, there's sure to be a continual demand for new ones.

EVE Evolved side imageNew modules set to change PvP

The ancillary shield boosters combine a shield booster and capacitor booster into one module. This could make shield tanking PvP gangs a lot more viable, but unfortunately only the standard tech 1 versions will initially be released. Capacitor batteries will now reflect a portion of enemy nosferatu and neutralisers back at the attacking ship. This change will have a big impact on small scale PvP and wormhole gangs. Energy neutralising is the only way to reliably shut down wormhole capitals or counter the enemy's own neutralising ships. We may see wormhole capitals and Bhaalgorns fitting capacitor batteries just to defend against neutralisation.

The new Magsheath Target Breaker I module has the potential to change the way in which wars are fought. This module has a chance to break all target locks on you instantly, and the chance increases if more people are targeting you. If you've just been called primary target by an enemy fleet, it's practically guaranteed to to work. This seems like a good fix for blobbing, forcing fleets to break apart into independent wings and squads that hit separate targets. But since it's intended as a defensive module, the Magsheath has some pretty serious drawbacks.

Activating the module breaks all of your own target locks, and just having it fitted will make your own target-locking significantly slower. There's no word yet on whether the module breaks locks in progress, and fleets might just resort to using passive targeters to hide their intended targets if the module becomes a popular fleet choice. As this module's blueprints are also also only found as faction loot and in profession sites, it may end up being a very expensive way to protect a ship.

EVE Evolved title image
The Inferno expansion arrives this Tuesday, and if you want to get the most out of it, you'll have to prepare. If you have any research points accrued at a research agent, now would be the best time to cash them in. The price of datacores is soon to be determined by the current state of faction warfare, and the price of datacores at standard research agents will increase across the board.

The new modules and changes seem set to make tactical roles other than damage-dealer more useful in large fleets. The Magsheath Target Breaker I will give fleets a way to arm tactically important ships against being called primary target. Ships like the Scorpion and Bhaalgorn tend to be called primary and destroyed in seconds, but in Inferno they may see a rise in popularity. I think we'll definitely see a lot more Bhaalgorns, neutraliser Dominixes, and heavy interdictors in large fleets thanks to the Magsheath. Inferno will certainly shake up EVE's PvP landscape, and it will be interesting to see what's changed when the dust settles.

Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at Massively. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you have an idea for a column or guide, or you just want to message him, send an email to brendan@massively.com.
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