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CCP nerfs ratting by making ESS mandatory

CCP nerfs ratting by making ESS mandatory

The ESS or Encounter Surveillance System is getting a major overhaul in the upcoming weeks for EVE Online. The original ESS was conceived as a way to boost bounty payments for ratting by having a tangible asset in-system that would pay out extra ISK for defending it. The feature was mostly relegated to backwater systems with a ratting focus and was rarely a focus for much PvP. The biggest reason for this is that there was no real ISK incentive to attack the ESS to steal its bounty, since the bonus was so small. CCP has planned to change that in a very big way now.

The new system will now be required to receive extra ratting bounty payments at all in NullSec systems. CCP was very clear in its announcement of these plans that the aim is to drive conflict “clever players highlighted several cases – including risk/reward-related and deployment location issues – that exhibited many opportunities for improvement. With lots of learning now in-hand, the aim is to revisit the concept,” the dev blog said.

CCP is keeping the idea of being able to rob bounty payments, but the change is pretty significant and focuses on splitting up payments. The system will siphon off a certain amount of ISK from bounty payments and that’s what can be stolen by other players. There will still be bounty payments, but at a reduced rate.

Biggest Changes

  • The ESS is no longer optional and will be present by default in all Nullsec solar systems.
  • The location of the ESS is public and sits behind an acceleration gate with specific ship class access.
  • Payouts from the ESS happen automatically to contributing PvE bounty earners and no longer need to be retrieved in person.

All of this has one major impact. ratting is now much more active. The payouts being locked into a tangible asset means that renters and PvP-focused Null groups alike will need to put more emphasis on pushing defensive operations in the systems they control. The outcome is hard to predict, but it’s not too misguided to see more and more player groups tightening the belt around ratting, and placing the core of their activity in their capital systems.

It will be very interesting to see how this affects ADMs, as players have a lot less incentive to rat in a system with no ESS. And let’s be honest, most alliances aren’t going to sink the ISK and time into maintaining a large ESS network, because of what it will now take to defend such an asset. It’s also kind of hard to say if the threat of roaming gangs attacking ESS systems will materialize long-term. Players will definitely hunt openly for a few days, or maybe longer in the space belonging to small groups. But eventually, the system will likely devolve into a cat-and-mouse game.

The new ESS systems are required, but there’s an extra layer of complexity. The DBS system will now take this into account and players will have to work around the whole thing to make the ISK they were before. CCP envisions players attacking ESS structures all over New Eden, so they implemented a new system around PvP near the structure as well. There are a lot of similarities here with Faction Warfare, as the ESS is locked behind an acceleration gate and several restrictions.

These effects last out to 75KM, so long-range builds might want to try some sniping, it all could be very interesting.

Restrictions inside the grid around the ESS, which is itself locked behind a gate, are pretty harsh:

  • Warping is disabled
  • MJDs are disabled
  • MWDs are disabled
  • Cloaking is disabled
  • No cynos may be lit
  • No filaments may be activated

This does open up some very interesting tactics with Stasis Webifiers that make solo PvP much more important. All of this will make it much harder to live a passive existence in Null. Combined with the major nerfs to mining, things are about to get a lot more combative in NullSec. The Dynamic Bounty 
System will also mean much less ISK is flowing into Null groups and player pockets.

There are about to be a lot of angry PvE players in New Eden.

Source: CCP Dev Blog

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