In my last article I detailed why the new deployable that decloaks ships is simply helping make nullsec/krabbing safer. In this piece I want to address why exactly allowing someone to be cloaked indefinitely in space is also necessary if we want to ensure smaller groups have a tool against the large null blocs. It’s unlikely but I am hoping CCP will see the mistake they are making and turn the wheels on this mistake before it hits the player base.
First thing we have to understand is the concept of scalability. Different things in Eve scale better than others. You do not want all things to scale up better otherwise numbers would always win out. Artillery scales exponentially well to the point where the alpha damage completely negate logi reps. They work well in fewer numbers as well, but they hit a certain critical mass only with great numbers. Cruise missiles on the other hand have very little use for most small groups and work well almost exclusively in larger scale fleets.
Blasters on the other hand although higher in DPS, do not. Their short range limits their applicability and makes them more useful in smaller to midscale engagements. You would probably never see a four hundred man fleet of blaster fit battleships in any serious fleet. Pirate and faction ships like the Orthrus and Navy Osprey again make for great skirmish platforms that serve small groups well, but unlikely to fill the role of a mainline ship. Triglavian hulls also are a great example of ships that allow smaller groups to contend with bigger ones. By maintaining an engagement longer, the weapons system these ships use ramp up. On the other hand larger groups are less likely to use them due to the manner in which these ships operate. So if you notice small groups tend to focus on using tools that don’t scale up, and try to leverage these things against bigger opponents.
Cloaks are another tool that allow smaller groups to fight larger groups. No null group is going to cloak up hundreds of Stratios and carry on some military action with it. Cloaks are a tool for unconventional warfare. One pilot can fit a Stratios or a Cloaky T3 and get beyond the buffer regions of null blocs to attack their rear lines in asymmetric c style guerrilla warfare. The nature of such engagement necessitates the ability to operate within enemy territory for prolonged periods of time. These kinds of engagements can last days, weeks or even months as opposed to “lol rando roam across null” type fleets most of the player base might be accustomed to.
Having to be there to decloak/recloak every 15 minutes is just not feasible in such situations. It’ll force the cloaky guy to log off. The moment he logs on, people know he’s there and they’ll dock up. Now the krab will not only know who is in system but when they are actually active to harm them. More safety for the krab, less chance of spaceships blowing up.
All this will do is to make people less likely to roam/go out on prolonged hit and run campaigns against null groups. The null bloc player will know when the enemy is on and can simply opt to dock up or only engage with overwhelming force. This is a buff to null blocs and krabbing, not to pvp. This change does nothing but give more safety and power to already powerful blocs to further dictate the engagement and press their already sizable advantage against smaller groups. There’s no question that most Eve players will indeed favor this change. But most eve players are heavily focused in pve activity and their engagement with PvP is usually, anchor, F1, mwd when FC tells you to.
If the actual issue with afk cloaking was that “someone who is not at their keyboard is affecting the game” we could simply make it so cloaked people vanish from local. Then if they are not at the keyboard, they aren’t affecting the game. If they are at their keyboard, then they aren’t afk. But of course none of the anti-cloak people will want this because ultimately it has nothing to do with that. What it has to do is with wanting more safety and not “someone who isn’t playing the game is affecting my game.” And we can’t remove local either because when we tried that, the krabs who have been spoiled by always knowing who is in system mass unsubbed.
“Your gameplay is just niche. Lol go make more friends and come fight me fairly. Aw well sucks to be you I guess” are usually the replies made when this point is made addressing none of the points being made.
With this trend the consolidation of null stability will simply continue. We need more tools to cause conflict, not less. We need guerilla warfare options for smaller groups and this nerf to cloaking simply provides more safety for the already powerful. This gameplay change adds nothing but takes away a valuable tool for the smaller groups to fight larger ones.
Contrary to what CCP seems to think, this will not create some intricate cat and mouse style game mechanic where now the cloaking party and the null krab party are playing submarine hunter games engaging one another. There’s simply two scenarios: The cloaked party dies if they go afk and the cloaked party doesn’t show up because this play style just became tedious. None of this leads to more pvp content only less.