Monday, 18 August 2014

Hyperion W-Space Changes: Predictions

If you haven't already, it's probably a good idea to read my analysis post to see the basis for the predictions that I am making in this piece.

W-space Combat Meta

I am expecting the wormhole changes, specifically those relating to mass-based spawn distance from wormholes, to have an effect on the wormhole space combat meta - assuming that the changes are not massively toned down given the community uproar.

With the current magnitude of the changes cruiser class and above ships are spawning significantly further away from the wormhole link than they were doing in the past - and doing so consistently. And this is still the case even with the most recent update to the mass-based spawn distance feature.

Although the distances involved are not massive, they are significant;
  • Currently you are almost guaranteed to leave a wormhole within warp scrambler and web range of a lone hostile pilot on a wormhole; after the changes the likelihood of this will be reduced - although not by as much as in the first draft of the numbers.
  • As the distance is based on mass, modulating your mass using warp disruption bubbles, plates, and propulsion modules will affect the distance that you spawn from the wormhole.
  • The increased volume of space that ships can spawn into will make de-cloaking Strategic Cruisers who are using the Covert Operations subsystem harder.
The first point means that kiting fleets will be marginally more likely to work in wormholes; when jumping through into a hostile fleet, more of a given group of ships will be out of range of scram or web range.

Combined with the first point, the second means that a fleet equipped with oversize afterburners, such as 100MN AB Tengus, will be in an even better position for starbursting away from a wormhole link and kiting their opponents than 'normal' kiting ships. I'm expecting to see many more such fleets in use in wormhole space after Hyperion.

The increase in average engagement range may well tip the balance slightly against the current Proteus-dominated heavy-blaster meta.

Fewer Capital Engagements

Due to the mass-based spawn distance when transiting a wormhole, capital ships will now spawn a significant and randomized distance away from wormhole links. This means that if a capital ship is jumped through a wormhole link into a fight, it will not be able to jump back out to safety if there is too much hostile pressure on the field. While this may sound like there will be more capital losses, the reality is that the increase in risk is so massive that most wormhole entities will simply not commit capital forces through a link.

Less Rage-Rolling

Not a surprising prediction, perhaps, but an important one. Given the massive increase in time it will take for high-class wormhole links to have their statics rolled it will be significantly harder for groups to chain-collapse their static links to find a given system. This will make backing up invasion fleets or trying to defend against wormholes significantly more difficult. Hole control will become even more important.

Scouting wormhole chains will become more important than it currently is, and rolling will be used less often when looking for PvP targets. For a given encounter, especially in higher-class wormhole systems, it will be less likely that an encounter with a hostile force will be in their static, and so in the general case it will be less likely that reinforcements will be one jump away.

Longer Wormhole Chains

Due to an increased number of random links, and the additional static on Class 4 wormhole systems, wormhole space will be generally more connected. Originally it sounded like the change to only spawn the K162 end of wormhole links when someone jumped through them meant that this would be balanced out, at least to an extent. Subsequent communications from CCP suggest that there will be a fail-safe method of some kind whereby the K162 side of the link will open after an amount of time, even if someone has not jumped through.

Slight PvE Site Running Risk Increase

There are multiple changes affecting this particular aspect of wormhole life. There will be fewer people rage-rolling wormholes looking for targets, particularly in the higher class wormholes - and those that are chain collapsing their static link will be doing it more slowly due to the changes.

Offsetting this, when a link does open into a system, there will be significantly less warning to any residents before a hostile fleet drops on them. For lower-class wormhole residents the new frigate-class wormhole links may also provide a significant threat; a few Assault Frigates can handily deal with a Drake running sites in a Class 1 or 2 wormhole system and won't immediately die to the Sleepers that are present.

The general increase in the interconnectedness of wormhole space will also result in more links threatening site runners, even if initially several jumps removed. I am expecting a slight increase in the price of Melted Nanoribbons as a result

C4 Inhabitant Roundabout

With the addition of an additional static to Class 4 wormhole systems I expect a significant number of existing inhabitants to move out. Prior to this change Class 4 systems were known for being relatively uninhabited and isolated and most inhabitants will have moved in with full knowledge of this. After the addition of a new static (that will be harder to roll) they will be be significantly more connected, and securing them by rolling the static links prior to running any sites will take significantly longer and be riskier.

After the change dual wormhole-space static links will make Class 4 systems prime real estate for PvP corporations who make their money outside of w-space.

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