Monday, 27 October 2014

Post Hyperion Analysis

A couple of months ago I posted a set of predictions about how Wormhole space would change after the Hyperion update. The predictions were not massively far reaching, but I feel it's worth looking back at them and trying to see how accurate they were, followed by a look at how things have shaken out - at least from my perspective.

The predictions I made were:

  • W-space combat meta could shift somewhat
  • There would be fewer capital engagements in w-space
  • There would be less rage-rolling
  • Wormhole chains would be longer
  • There would be an increase in the risk of running PvE sites
  • C4 residents would move out and new ones move in as the C4 landscape changed

Unfortunately CCP have not yet provided any statistics about what the consequences of the wormhole changes have been - despite the wormhole CSM representative bugging CCP Fozzie about it;

So we have to make do with the information we can glean from our observations and the limited data available to us. By their nature the observations of players are biased towards what they expect, and are limited in scope to what is in their surroundings. Many of the overarching statistics that have been available in the past on wormhole space systems were removed from the API a many updates ago, and so getting an overall picture of the activity in wormhole space is more difficult than it would have been with jump statistics and NPC kills statistics.

My original intent was to go through each of my prediction points and comment on their accuracy individually, but the changes have impacted many of them in the same ways. Nevertheless, I will attempt to group them up and address them on group at a time, where applicable.

C4 Resident Roundabout

I would categorise this prediction as spot on; although it is not particularly surprising that that is the case. Immediately prior to the Hyperion release I saw a large number of class 4 system residents moving out of their home residents as the test server allowed them to identify what their static was and whether I was to their liking - my own wormhole group was one of these corporations, looking to move somewhere to get a better income stream.

Another data point, though not highly scientific, is that after the Hyperion release I have yet to find any Class 4 systems where is correct on the current residents!

Less Rage Rolling

Since the update there have been noticeably fewer people rolling wormhole links than there previously were. While the removal of the jumps data from the API means that hard data about the number of jumps in wormhole systems is no longer available, it was normal to encounter a few links over the course of the evening that had been rolled or where people were observed in thru act of rolling. Since the Hyperion release our scouts have only encountered a handful of links that we know have been rolled, and only seen two groups actually roll a wormhole link.

Fewer Capital Engagements

This data can still be obtained from killboards but takes some effort to pull together. A tweet from a community members who has crunched the data suggests that month on month the number of capital ships lost has fallen dramatically.

This is not, however, comparing the same month from one year to another, and there are other pressures within Eve that cause fluctuations in activity from month to month.

Longer Wormhole Chains

I expected the new frigate wormhole links, additional statics for Class 4 systems and an increased incidence of wandering wormhole links to result in longer wormhole chains, but it is safe to say I didn't expect chains to grow to their current extent. It is quite normal to find five or more inbound links to a wormhole system; recently our home system had nine inbound links. Wormhole space is now massively connected, more so than any other space in Eve, if bridging and jumping abilities are not taken into account. I would now go so far as to characterize wormhole space as having webs, rather than chains.

W-space combat meta and PvE site running risks

Since the Hyperion release the number of ships that our scouts have seen active in wormhole space have dropped off massively. Since the patch has hit we have only seen five groups of pilots running sites in wormhole space. The number of groups we have seen who are trying to get into combat situations are so low that we cannot draw any conclusions about significant changes to the w-space combat meta. The killboards of other wormhole space corporations suggest that the Hyperion changes to mass based spawn distances have not shaken out in the way I expected; there has not been a significant shift towards 100MN kiting cruisers. So I'll call that one hit and one miss.


While some of my predictions were broadly correct and others clearly wrong, I am more concerned at the moment with the overall health of wormhole space. The amount of activity that my corporation has seen is massively reduced compared to the pre-Hyperion levels that we observed. Our own methods of moving and hunting through wormhole space have changed significantly with the patch, and my suspicion is that other corporations are finding the same problems that we have encountered.

Our normal methods of operation, as can be gathered from other posts in this blog, are to scout our targets carefully and field an appropriate force to engage them. Our disadvantage in numbers is made up for by an advantage in intel on our opponents; we seek to win the fight and then have it.

Since the Hyperion release almost every evening has started with our scouts logging in to find inbound links to home system. This indicates that hostile forces have opened the link, and there is a good chance that we have unfriendly eyes watching our starbase, watching our system, looking for our pilots as they log on. Prior to Hyperion this happened as well, of course, but there were some key differences.

Before Hyperion, if we had an inbound link we would send a scout to investigate it and the onward links to see if there were any particularly menacing entities in the wormhole chain. We would look at any likely aggressors, and try and identify if they were present. We would add their pilots to watch lists to see how many were online, and look at their killboards to identify which ships they were likely to attack and see if we could bait them out. If we determined that they weren't around any longer and our baiting attempts were unsuccessful, we would use an Orca and battleships to roll the link as quickly as possible to reduce exposure to potential risk.

In a post-Hyperion Eve, our home system does not have a single inbound link, it has two. Or sometimes four. Or on one recent occasion, as I have mentioned, nine. And each of those inbound link has a multitude of links into it, and they have a multitude of links into them. We simply don't have the manpower to scan down the number of links that are present, and so can't obtain a picture of how much risk we exposed to at any given time.

Without that intel, we are paralyzed. Unknown space is truly unknown, and that means we have nothing to base our decisions on. It may be different for other groups, but we came to w-space for methodical, careful combat, where intelligence gathering and outwitting your opponent were key. Now, it's a roll of the dice, and you don't even know how many sides it's got, or who you are playing against, or what you need to roll to win.

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