So, the patch notes for Parallax are out. It’s a fairly light patch, with a lot of fixes and user interface changes. I honestly don’t see much that excites me. Go ahead and read the notes if you’re interested in the minutiae.
But there were two changes that actually made me gasp as I was reading through the preparing the kids for Halloween.
The first is one CCP apparently can’t do much about. The new code they’re rolling out over the next few patches includes some adjustments in how various calculations are performed. One of those changes is to how bonuses are applied. As a result:
Fleet bonuses from the skills Leadership, Skirmish Warfare, and Information Warfare are now stacking penalized together with bonuses from other sources like modules. Attention: This change only impacts the targeting speed bonus from the Leadership skill, the agility bonus from the Skirmish Warfare skill, and targeting range bonus from the Information Warfare skill. The bonuses provided by the warfare link modules have not changed.
No, this isn’t a first step in adjusting off-grid boosters to only apply when on-grid, and it only affects the effects of leadership skills themselves, not warfare links. But it does influence the way some bonuses are applied, and that in itself is interesting. I’m also intrigued that it was referenced as a throwaway line in the patch notes, with no real attention drawn to it.
Even though this change doesn’t seem to come as a first step in tackling OGBs, I do still hold out hope that that the OGB acronym will soon be changed from “off-grid” to “on-grid”. CCP has stated before that they want citadels to be able to apply affects to ships on the same grid, perhaps even within a certain range, so I see no reason why that code couldn’t be used to relate to links as well. In an age where CCP is trying to bring as much on-grid and require as much activity as possible from a wide range of players, I can’t imagine off-grid boosters are around any longer for any reason behind technical limitations.
But that’s not the big news to come out of Parallax. No, for that, you need to read a bit further.
A character with a criminal flag in a high-sec system is no longer able to board/switch ships whilst in space.
Such a casual sentence, easily forgotten as your eye passes over to a ridiculously long microtransaction list – err, I mean list of ship skins – that immediately follows it. It barely stretches beyond two lines. There was no conversation about it in advance of the changes. It’s the equivalent of a 11th hour concession to save a whale masturbating program inserted into a Senate bill on foreign relations to ensure enough votes.
Don’t ever say CCP doesn’t love you, high sec! With that single, simple sentence, CCP obliterated hyperdunking for you.
When hyperdunking became “a thing”, haulers were up in arms. Initially, CCP said it was perfectly acceptable. And, while they didn’t explicitly say it was no longer okay, it’s also no longer possible from a mechanics perspective. So, you can still do it… if you can find a way to do it.
Mind you, I don’t respect gankers in high-sec. I don’t find it particularly engaging PvP, and I think it serves to cause more players to quit than not. However, I do think it’s existence is essential, as much as I look down on it. Every area of space needs some risk, and high-sec is too safe, and allows too much self-sufficiency. So long as high-sec consists of more than 20 solar systems per empire, and isn’t islanded among low-sec (which I think is a great solution, by the way), it’s essential.
But hyperdunking, in my mind, took advantage of a silly mechanical limitation. Why would
CONCORD stop at blowing
up your ship and leaving your pod?
Effectively, they’re killing everyone on your ship (Rixx, I didn’t
forget about your ship crews!), but leaving the most guilty party alive and
well… that makes no narrative sense.
But, more generally, a target cannot possibly counter it. IF your scout sees 50 pilots sitting on a gate in Catalysts, you can stop your ship from jumping and go another route, or dock up. But with hyperdunking, fewer pilots can project the power of many times their number. Assessing risk is impossible for the hauler. They can no longer count numbers to see if they’ll be safe. And that renders it uncounterable.
So, I’m definitely as glad to see hyperdunking go away as I am to see ganking remain a part of the game. But surely, this backdoor policy change deserves a little more notice and advance warning than a casual comment buried in the middle of patch notes? That holds doubly true in light of the swirl of controversy caused by the invention of the practice.
Anyways, I found it very interesting that this controversial practice was wiped out so neatly and with so little fanfare. I think it’s a good change and seems like a logical principle within the lore.