When asking EVE Online players about “Ratting” and how to do it, or the practice of killing NPC ships for ISK, you’ll often get inundated with responses that amount to, “Use a VNI, and tank your resists to the rats you’re fighting.” This is great advice for an era of EVE that’s long overdue for a change. And developer CCP is about to deliver that change. The company announced these changes a while back, but it’s taken some time to get them just right.
The process of killing NPCs in EVE has evolved over the years since 2003. Gone are the days of trawling through asteroid belts looking for NPC spawns, now we not only have rare spawns like NPC mining fleets, we also get dedicated NPC spawns in anomalies that can be scanned down and run by any player. Think of these like pop-up dungeons in any other MMO. The combat anomalies are the bread-and-butter of making ISK in EVE, and the strength of one particular cruiser has turned this process into an easily understood art form.
The Vexor Navy Issue, or VNI for short, is often pushed as the goto ship for the purpose of running these anomalies for a few reasons. It’s a solid Drone-driven ship, meaning that all you have to worry about is managing your shields while your drones wipe the space floor with your enemies. CCP has attempted to make the process of using a VNI a little more complicated over the years, by implementing aggressive NPC AI that attacks drones for example, but this new suite of changes completely changes the landscape of the game.
CCP is planning to completely revamp the ship in a variety of ways, focusing primarily on refocusing the drone boat towards a more hybrid role. The VNI will be losing some of its Drone bandwidth, meaning it will no longer be able to field the full compliment of five drones at the heaviest loads. This loss of direct DPS is compensated for by having a new slot for an extra Turret, as well as more fitting flexibility.
Here’s the new stat block for the VNI:
Gallente Cruiser bonuses (per skill level):
- 10% bonus to Drone hitpoints, damage, and tracking speed (was 10% HP/Damage/Mining and 5% tracking)
- 10% bonus to Medium Hybrid Turret damage and tracking speed (new)
- 7.5% bonus to armor repair amount (new)
- Slot layout: 4H, 4M, 6L, 3 (+1) turrets
- 3 Rig Slots, 400 Calibration
- Fittings: 850 (+50) PWG, 350 (+40) CPU
- Defense (shields / armor / hull): 1650 / 3000 / 3000
- Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / average cap per second): 1500 / 490s / 3.06
- Mobility (max velocity / inertia / mass / warp speed / align time): 210 (-10) / 0.51 (+0.07) / 9,700,000 (-1,610,000) / 3 / 6.86s (-0.04)
- Drones (bandwidth / bay): 75 (-50) / 200
- Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 52.5km / 285 / 7
- Sensor strength: 20 Magnetometric
- Signature radius: 130 (-15)
- Cargo capacity: 460
And surprisingly, all of this isn’t a complete nerf to the venerable platform of the VNI. The added bonuses to turrets make it a fairly solid Cruiser that’s great for PvP when facing short-range frigates or Destroyers. And it’s speed is great for chasing down enemies. Other powerful additions include a drone tracking speed bonus, a new bonus to medium hybrid turret damage and tracking speed, and a new bonus to armor repair amount.
There is a pretty significant nerf coming to EVE for Alpha (free-to-play) players though. CCP plans to reduce the Drone skill values for Medium and Heavy Drone Operation and Drone Interfacing by one level each. This translates to Alpha clones getting less drones on the field and getting weaker bonuses to those drones, and the ships that control them, in combat. Though this stinks for players using these platforms on an Alpha account, there’s a good reason for this.
Botting is out of control in EVE Online, and players aren’t happy. And with the current set of Drone skills and the power of the VNI for even free-to-play gamers, New Eden is experiencing way too much ISK printing by bots. This is CCP stepping in to help do some damage control. Hopefully they follow it up with bans for botters too.
If you want to know more about the VNI and other plans CCP has, check out the devblog on the subject.
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