EVE Online: Quantum Rise Speed Changes
MMORPG.com EVE Online Correspondent Andrew Wallace writes this report on the results of the Speed changes that were introduced into EVE Online with last November's Quantum Rise expansion.
As you may have guessed from the title, this look at the Quantum Rise expansion is all about the speed changes that were introduced. Not wanting to be melodramatic, it was heralded as the end of times by some sections of the EVE community (even to the point of referencing the New Game Enhancements update for Star Wars: Galaxies). Affectionately dubbed the "Nano-Nerf" by the community, there was much bile and mud slinging on the official forums as they were released onto Singularity (EVE's test server) and revised before the final release last November; and, strangely enough, the apocalypse has not come to New Eden. First, let's have a look at the speed related modules affected by Quantum Rise:
Stasis Webifiers took a fairly big hit to their effectiveness; with the speed reduction of the best Webs being taken down from 90% to 60%. This is quite possibly the most significant change of the whole expansion; before Quantum Rise, ships fighting in Web range reduced each other to a standstill, which was boring and also one of the main reasons for the rise of Nano-HACs. Now, despite many ships being slower after the patch, the nerf to Stasis Webifiers means that ships are actually moving faster than before when fighting in web range. Microwarpdrives have also received a bit of tinkering, and now they all give a flat 500% velocity bonus. The differences across the various meta levels is the capacitor and signature radius penalty, which now gets lower with higher quality modules; but perhaps the most notable change is its new vulnerability to Warp Scramblers.
Warp Scramblers were formerly an overlooked module, with its longer ranged cousin, the Warp Disruptor being the scrambling module of choice. That extra point of warp scramble strength wasn't really important when you only needed one to pin down most ships. Now they have been given a wonderful new ability: Warp Scramblers can now disable the Microwarpdrive of their target. This means that instead of being irrelevant they are now a serious option for pilots looking to stop ships with MWDs. Quite simply, for when you want to go faster, but not have your signature radius balloon to the size of a small sun, an Afterburner is all you need for when you want to orbit quickly at close range without worrying about being slowed down to a crawl by a Web/Scrambler combo.
Nanofiber Internal Structures have had their Mass Reduction replaced with a velocity modifier and inertia modifier, leaving them sat in-between Inertia Stabilizers and Overdrive Injector Systems for effectiveness. The velocity bonus of Overdrives were also reduced in effectiveness, which when combined with the stacking penalty means fitting more than two is relatively pointless now. Another star from the age of ludicrous speeds, Polycarbon Engine Housings are the rig equivalent of Nanofibers and have been changed accordingly. Even before the changes were released, this formerly expensive rig nosedived in price as their effect on speed took fairly big hit.
Snake Implants also got quite a kicking, with their velocity bonus has dropping by half. X-Instinct Boosters, for the handful of you that actually use the damn things, have had their velocity bonus scrubbed and switched to a signature radius reduction. These changes have made some modules and implants seem useless when stacked together as they used to be, but that's not the point of them now; they can be used instead of each other. For example: Polycarbon Rigs don't provide much of a bonus when stacked on top of Overdrives and Nanofibers, but they provide enough of a boost that you could drop one of them from a setup to free up a low slot. That's what they are good for now, giving you an extra low slot to play with; which can be quite handy on ships that have only a few, like Interceptors.
Right, now, on to the various ship classes. Frigates escaped relatively unscathed from the speed reductions; in fact, they have a greater chance of survival in fights now that they can outrun the guns and missiles of larger ships while inside Web range. Assault Frigates have been given a new lease of life. Improved speeds and mass reductions have made them faster and more agile, but it's the Web nerf that has seen them make a comeback. The ability to survive in web range was very difficult, even for a ship with the shield/armour resists of an Assault Frigate; but now they have gone from a rarity in New Eden to a regular sight since the release of Quantum Rise, with them appearing as sturdy tacklers and anti-frigate/fire support. Interceptors came out of the changes positively glowing, the new MWD signature penalty reduction counters the lower top speeds and makes them reasonably impossible to hit, even while webbed. A webbed Interceptor is still going to be doing about 2km a second, with only frigate sized weapons being a real threat. However, a new danger has arisen. As a ship class that relies on using Mircrowarpdrives, the new Warp Scramblers are a serious problem. If you are in Scrambler range, you are also in Web range; both modules together are utterly lethal to interceptors. I got to experience this firsthand when I flew my Crusader a bit too close to an Ishkur; having my MWD shut off and suddenly moving at less than half my base speed was deeply unpleasant, as were the five light drones that followed.
If the speed changes had any specific target, it was Cruisers; specifically Heavy Assault Cruisers. The beating that the speed orientated "Nano-HACs" received earned the patch its "Nano-Nerf" nickname, and it's the reason why some players are lamenting the end of the "Nano-Age". Cruisers have had their base speeds shaved down a bit, and along with the alterations to speed mods they just can't do the mad speeds they used to. This doesn't mean they can't go fast, but don't expect them to be outrunning Frigates too often. Another one of the complaints that came up after the "Nano-Nerf" hit Singularity was the ability for the larger ship classes to be viable for soloing. With Frigates and Cruisers able to get "under the guns" of Battlecruisers and Battleships much more easily now, it's a fair point that it has become increasingly difficult for a lone ship to fight off smaller ships without support, or sufficient weaponry; such as Energy Neutralizers and Drones. However, EVE has never been fair to the solo players, and solo Battleships only seem sane if EVE has the same natural progression up the ship classes as other MMOs, where Capital Ships are your endgame "pwnmobiles", which it doesn't; but anyway, I think I've been rambling on about speed for long enough, next up: the rest of Quantum Rise.