Unless you’ve been living ‘below the asteroids’ I’m sure you’ve noticed that CCP have released the Citadel expansion recently, featuring substantial changes to the way we operate in WH-space. You can find the full changelog in the patch notes, but the details you want to look out for if you live in spookyspace will be covered here.
A City in the Heavens
Of course, being named after the expansion itself, is the implementation of citadels as an eventual replacement for our POS’s. No longer will we be floating lazily about inside of our bubble, instead us wormholers now enjoy the functionality of our very own stations, something that some of us haven’t utilised properly in over five years. It’s a gradual roll-out and we won’t see the back of the POS system for some time yet, but I know once that time comes around I’ll miss them just a little bit; there’s a certain fondness in always being out in the open amongst hostile stars.
The main benefit of citadels is that they provide us with those ever-useful service slots giving us access to cloning facilities and markets amongst other modules. These open up new approaches such as the ability to create a public freeport for anyone to dock up, repair or stage from. I can see a good number of these being built up over time. Of course we know about Project Oasis but such a venture could be lucrative with wormholes becoming more of a home away from home than the labyrinth they can be now.
You also have to consider that citadels are potentially much more secure than the POS system, only being vulnerable for 3,6 or 21 hours per week relative to their size. These hours are picked out by yourself as the owner and may be spread out any way you like across the week. Outside of this time your citadel is essentially invulnerable and if someone attacks it you can just laugh at their lossmail! If the situation arises that you are actually attacked during your vulnerability window, then it’s still going to take 3 full days at least to fully destroy your structure (as opposed to the week long k-space timer), giving another two chances to either batphone or source your own defense fleet.
Love them or hate them, these timers are something that do bring content to Eve and perhaps just having this extra staying power will encourage more startup groups out here.
Further to this, other than the overt fact that we now have an actual station to dock in, there are plenty of subtle features that we appreciate in here. Take the tethering system for example, out in K-space it’s only natural to just hit that repair button in a station, drop some more ammo in your ship and be on your way. If you live in a wormhole however, and had just returned from a fight in hull, you’d need to break out the hull bots, the armour reps and the stacks of nanite paste you have stored away for post-fight repairs. Tethering does all of that for us now, saving time on our part and letting us get back into the fight quicker if necessary. The same can be said about having a clone bay to swap out of your triage implants before taking that Sabre in head first or just the joy of being rid of fiddly POS mechanics.
I’m sure those of you who take an interest in theorycrafting have already spent a good few hours discussing the new meta. Maybe you’ve theorised some doctrine of buffer Nags with triage that you can cyno in a moment’s notice; or cheap HAW dreads that can come to any engagement.
As with almost everything else though, it’s wildly different in a wormhole. Mass limits mean you may only ever bring 3 caps total to a fight so their fits need to have some serious thought behind them. The loss of weapons timer refitting is another blow to us and our solo triage pilots. In this neut meta you’re going to be expected to tank upwards of 4-6 Bhaalgorns and over 20k DPS in a proper brawl; being without refit gymnastics or backup triage to coast out to you could well be dead in the water in no time.
I doubt anybody knows the right answer yet, but we’re getting there, going forward we should expect to see quite the shift in the meta. Perhaps it could move away from neuts, or dreads may get dropped entirely from serious engagements in favour of saving mass to use battleships. Until the WH-space entities start actually throwing caps at each others’ faces we probably won’t know the optimal method, but we can have fun trying!
The Great ISK Printer
One of the major topics on every high-class wormholer’s mind is what seems to be the loss of the ISK factories that were wormhole farms. It used to be all too easy to set up with two dreads, two carriers and earn billions per hour at minimal effort. If you don’t know how this was done before, essentially you would warp dreads into site, siege up and shoot at the lucrative Sleepless Guardians while they would burn directly away. In total you could spawn 28 of them and net over 500 mil per 10 minute site. This is far above any other means of ISK grinding (discounting high-end trading or multiboxing setups that is) and despite our love for it, something had to be done.
CCP have really gone and shook this up with the introduction of a brand new kind of escalation sleeper called the Avenger. This affectionately known ‘Iron Man’ is a brick of a ship with powerful enough neuts to land even your krabbing dread in hot water. They don’t drop all that much in the way of ISK but if you want to finish a site, you’re going to need to burn them all down.
Guardian blue loot drops have also now been set much lower to the point where the majority of site loot is now found in a Drifter boss that you can spawn once everything else is cleared. It’s an enticing prize to kill and nab another 350m for your work, but when they designed a boss, they really did design a boss. It neuts somewhere around the 250-300GJ/s mark and does a couple of thousand DPS. On top of that, you actually need to scram it to stop it from warping off and harassing you in later sites. If you spawn enough of these in a system it could well become impossible to clear later sites as Drifters rush to the aid of their much weaker Sleeper cousins; making even an attempt at taking one down dangerous.
In summary, I’d say CCP have done a fantastic job here with the Citadel expansion. They’ve opened up new playstyles, removed some of the frustrations of the POS system and from here on out I know I’m certainly looking up. Yes the change might be frustrating if you liked the way things used to be done, but remember, we all started out like this on our first jumps into Anoikis seven years ago. This time around we have ourselves a city in the heavens.