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[Citadel] Capital Escalations and Drifter Boss

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CCP Fozzie
C C P
C C P Alliance
#1 - 2016-04-04 21:42:16 UTC  |  Edited by: CCP Fozzie
Hello everyone! As we mentioned on last week's o7 show, we are planning a set of changes to the way capital escalations work in our Citadel expansion at the end of the month.

I want to start off with an apology for not getting this thread up a bit sooner. We've been a bit swamped here lately with prep for the expansion and early Fanfest prep, and I underestimated how long it would take to get some of this communication together.

The original sleeper capital escalation mechanic introduced way back in Apocrypha was (like many of the mechanics that ended up becoming staples of wormhole space) a bit of an accident. The escalation spawns were intended to provide extra challenge to prevent the sites from being too easy when farmed with capitals, but in practice they ended up becoming the major moneymaking source in the sites. There are several issues with the meta that emerged from the original escalation content, including the very unintuitive mechanics that encourage people to not complete the site so they can farm it repeatedly across downtimes.

With our big changes to capital ships coming in the Citadel expansion, we knew this would be a great opportunity to start building a more intentional form of capital PVE in high-class wormhole sites. We decided to create a new set of NPCs for the escalations so that we can balance and iterate on them without having to mess with the other uses of Sleepless Guardians in the basic site spawn groups. We also decided that we wanted to preserve a good chunk of the income from the sites while removing the incentive to leave sites uncompleted across downtimes. This led us in the direction of placing much of the loot that had been in the escalation spawns into a new Drifter NPC that will spawn once the site is completed.

Many of you will remember this "put the loot in something at the end of the site" concept as it's something we've been discussing with players at Fanfest roundtables for a few years now. We've also been discussing the concept with the CSM (especially Corbexx) and we're working hard to get our latest designs ready for public playtesting.

The basics of the new system are:

  • The old capital escalation spawns have been replaced with smaller numbers of new NPCs that are intended to provide more engaging content for capital ships. These new escalation spawns are sleepers using the existing sleeper AI, have large signatures to ensure that they can be engaged fully by capital ships, and will perfer to shoot at capitals when available.
  • These new escalation spawns come in up to three waves, one for a dread, one for a carrier and one for a force auxiliary. There are 3 NPCs in each wave in C5s and 4 per wave in C6s.
  • The new escalation spawns are worth ~38m per wave in C5s and ~51m per wave in C6s.

  • Most of the value of the former escalation waves is being moved to a new Drifter NPC that can be spawned once the site has completed.
  • Spawning the new Drifter is optional, and is done by shooting a structure that decloaks when the site is completed.
  • The new Drifter is worth about 350m, mostly in blue loot but including salvage as well.
  • This new Drifter is completely independent of the site, and will warp off if not pointed. Our current design gives it 3 points of warp core strength, but that is open to change. Once it has left the site that spawned it, the Drifter can live in the system for many days, warping between celestial locations just like a normal Drifter. It is not removed by downtimes.
  • We intend the Drifter to be probable with combat scanner probes, as well as visible on d-scan. Full disclosure: we've run into some technical roadblocks with the probing and d-scan part of the feature. We are confident that we can get it working and there's a good chance that it can be ready for the initial expansion release, but it's possible that it might slip to a point release.
  • This new Drifter NPC spawns at the end of the site even if no capitals have been used. It is designed to be very challenging but to be doable both with and without capitals. It will however be much easier to kill using capitals.
  • Multiple Drifters can co-exist in the same wormhole system and will come to each other's aid if one gets attacked.


Both of these NPCs will "evolve" occasionally as we tune them to provide interesting and fun challenges for wormhole residents. As new functionality is added to the Drifter AI over time we plan to keep adding those features to these Drifter NPCs. The Drifters are an advanced and adaptable foe: those of you who have some experience with the early weeks and months of the original Drifters will understand what I mean.

The fact that the new mechanics encourage people to complete sites is intentional. We think this brings better gameplay than simply clearing escalation spawns and leaving the base site for days. It's important to remember that the spawn rate of new sites is connected to the completion rate of existing sites so as players in all wormhole systems start to complete their sites faster we expect new sites to repopulate faster as well.

We do hope to eventually put a smaller version of this Drifter "boss" into some lower class wormholes as well, especially C4s.

We're really interested in hearing your feedback. I'll do my best to answer questions and we'll update this thread as we get newer versions of the NPC balance onto SISI.

Game Designer | Team Five-0

Twitter: @CCP_Fozzie
Twitch chat: ccp_fozzie

CCP Fozzie
C C P
C C P Alliance
#2 - 2016-04-04 22:00:35 UTC  |  Edited by: CCP Fozzie
FAQ (big thanks to Corbexx for helping collect these questions from the community):

Quote:
Will these drifters doomsdays people? Will it always one shot someone?

The drifter will not have a doomsday at this time. It may have a doomsday added in the future but we will always be balancing it to create excitement so there will be ways to avoid being on-shot killed.

Quote:
Will the Drifters be able to scram people to shut off MJD.

Yes.


Quote:
Will Drifters have different fits/abilities depending on type of wormhole system/effect.

Not at this time. It's definitely an interesting idea, although it would be a challenge to implement this with our current site spawning code.


Quote:
Will Drifters scan people down and randomly attack them? Will they 3rd party on people fighting?

These NPCs will not scan down players, although they may unexpectedly engage players at the locations they normally warp between.


Quote:
Will they be able to find wormholes?

At the moment the Drifter AI cannot find normal spawned sites like wormholes. This is a feature we would like to add to the new AI generally, and as soon as it is developed we will add it to the W-space Drifters.


Quote:
Do you need a capital to spawn the drifter?

No, the Drifter will spawn once the site is completed no matter what ships are used. Capital support will greatly speed up the destruction of this NPC though.


Quote:
How long after finishing the site will it spawn? How long till it will warp off?

It will spawn immediately after the site completes, and will warp off at different rates depending on what environment the AI sees.


Quote:
Will data/relic sites spawn the Drifter?

The current plan is for the drifter to only spawn in the combat sites. The way that data/relic sites trigger site completion would cause some problems with the new NPC spawning. This may change however.


Quote:
How long will they stay in system?

Many days. We are going to be putting a cap in place to prevent server load from getting too high if tons of them spawn over time, but we want that cap to be as high as possible. The cap will likely be adjusted both before and after release as we tune it to get as high as possible without causing issues.


Quote:
Is there a max on how many there will be in a system?

Yes, but this will also be as high of a cap as we can get away with.


Quote:
Can we scan them down?
Will they appear on D scan?

We absolutely intend to make them scannable and visible on d-scan, just like player ships. Full disclosure: we've run into some technical roadblocks with the probing and d-scan part of the feature. We are confident that we can get it working and there's a good chance that it can be ready for the initial expansion release, but it's possible that it might slip to a point release.


Quote:
Will they attack structures?

Not right now.

Game Designer | Team Five-0

Twitter: @CCP_Fozzie
Twitch chat: ccp_fozzie

CCP Fozzie
C C P
C C P Alliance
#3 - 2016-04-04 22:00:44 UTC  |  Edited by: CCP Fozzie
Quote:
Will FAX spawn the the new cap escalation wave?

Yes. There will be one wave for each capital type.


Quote:
Will the escalation spawns have capital neuts?

They will have neuts, but they will be balanced separately from the player capital-sized neuts.


Quote:
Will these have the new AI like the drifter?

No, these will use the older AI just like other Sleepers. At some point in the future we hope to move more NPC groups (like sleepers) to the newest AI, but for now it is limited to specific NPC groups like Drifters.


Quote:
How many waves of these will we get? 4 like we do now?

There will be up to three waves: one for a dread, one for a carrier, one for a force auxiliary.


Quote:
How much will these be worth?

~38m per wave in C5s and ~51m per wave in C6s


Quote:
Will the isk/hr from these still be as good as the old ones?

That depends a bit on how you run the sites, but in most cases no. You will be able to run more sites in a day however, especially if you expand to running sites in your static.


Quote:
Will the isk from drifters be mainly from blue books?

Yes. It will have a similar breakdown of value between blue loot and salvage that other high-class NPCs have.


Quote:
Will these changes be on sisi before they come on tranquility for us to test?

Yes. The version that is on SISI now is spawning the right NPCs (although the drifter has the wrong character piloting it) with the right loot, but the balance of them isn't in great shape. We plan on getting that closer to a release candidate asap so you folks can give it a shot.


Quote:
If there will be more reasons to do more in the static would increasing the wh mass be possible? To allow more battleships through to help run sites? To allow for 2 capitals to go there and back?

I'm definitely open to making tweaks to high-class WH connection mass if the community likes the idea. I encourage people to contribute to Corbexx's thread here where he asks that very question. I can go either way with this topic, depending on what the consensus in the WH community ends up being.

Game Designer | Team Five-0

Twitter: @CCP_Fozzie
Twitch chat: ccp_fozzie

CCP Fozzie
C C P
C C P Alliance
#4 - 2016-04-04 22:06:04 UTC  |  Edited by: CCP Fozzie
Updates based on feedback:

Thanks for your feedback so far folks!

We have adjusted the spawning of the new Drifter so that people who can't handle it (marauders for instance) can skip it completely.
Under the new system, a structure will decloak once the site is completed and you have the option of spawning the drifter by shooting that structure.

We've also done a major balance pass on the new NPCs over the weekend, upping the challenge significantly. We're very interested in hearing what you folks think about the version that is on SISI right now.

Game Designer | Team Five-0

Twitter: @CCP_Fozzie
Twitch chat: ccp_fozzie

CCP Fozzie
C C P
C C P Alliance
#5 - 2016-04-04 22:06:15 UTC
Reserved

Game Designer | Team Five-0

Twitter: @CCP_Fozzie
Twitch chat: ccp_fozzie

Altrue
Exploration Frontier inc
Tactical-Retreat
#6 - 2016-04-04 22:15:48 UTC  |  Edited by: Altrue
Those are really interesting gameplay concepts. Are there any plans to include them in k-space?

I especially like the concept of being able to "corrupt" the system of another entity by filling it with hostile NPCs that aggress people. But even the overall concept of having a challenging boss, that too is interesting!

It's a bit dissapointing that they don't scan down players though, especially since they can't find wormholes (which probably means that they can't find other signatures either). This seems to hint that they will essentially be limited to warping to planets in W-Space. Or am I wrong?

Signature Tanking Best Tanking

[Ex-F] CEO - Eve-guides.fr

Ultimate Citadel Guide - 2016 EVE Career Chart

Anthar Thebess
#7 - 2016-04-04 22:32:51 UTC  |  Edited by: Anthar Thebess
Maybe instead of making them visible on dscan and scan probes - they can be lured by putting some ship on the system POCOs.
Scanning is fun, but baiting NPC in indy ship sounds much better.

Can this boss NPC leave wormhole after few days instead of despawning? Let say he will upon leaving he will create some special type of wormhole to Thera. Big mass but very short time of life.

Maybe this NPC can even patrol Thera for 2-3 days - providing income for Thera people and some additional content.

Edit : Just to clarify.
Total mass allowing for large number of jumps of subcapital ships.
Chesterfield Fancypantz
Viziam
Amarr Empire
#8 - 2016-04-04 22:33:14 UTC  |  Edited by: Chesterfield Fancypantz
I really like these changes and ever since I heard about them I have been very much supportive.

I would like to point out to CCP fozzie and others that IMHO they need to be capable of being run with entirely subcaps or a good number of corporations that exist in a lower class wormhole for the double static will be unable to participate in c5 sites. They should be harder and slower to run vs capitals, and we should miss out on the cap escalation waves (obviously) but IMHO one of the main points of this patch is to make it so that way running sites in a c5 static is a capable and comparable isk/hr.

My main concern is that the DD from the sleeper "boss" will straight up alpha ships off the field like t2 logistics. It will really suck to have a farming fleet together and be running sites only to lose a ship every single site we go into because a DD blaps it off. IMHO I think that the sleeper should be extremely difficult and high DPS, but should not just alpha ships off the field.

You said yourself that sleeper sites should be doable with subcaps just "very hard" and I just want to make sure that my concearns regarding the strength of the DD of the sleeper boss to be voiced.

I look forward to a new age of wormhole space where there is actually activity and populated wormholers, rather then the roll holes and PvE land we see now. Contribute to wormhole culture, communities, and farm in your static or GTFO.

TY

One last question. Does the infinity point of a HIC cover the 3 points of warp strength of the drifter? I would assume it does, worth asking.
Franky Saken
Hard Knocks Inc.
Hard Knocks Citizens
#9 - 2016-04-04 22:38:48 UTC  |  Edited by: Franky Saken
CCP Fozzie wrote:

Quote:
Will the isk/hr from these still be as good as the old ones?

That depends a bit on how you run the sites, but in most cases no. You will be able to run more sites in a day however, especially if you expand to running sites in your static.


Quote:
Will the isk from drifters be mainly from blue books?

Yes. It will have a similar breakdown of value between blue loot and salvage that other high-class NPCs have.

Quote:
If there will be more reasons to do more in the static would increasing the wh mass be possible? To allow more battleships through to help run sites? To allow for 2 capitals to go there and back?

I'm definitely open to making tweaks to high-class WH connection mass if the community likes the idea. I encourage people to contribute to Corbexx's thread here where he asks that very question. I can go either way with this topic, depending on what the consensus in the WH community ends up being.


Neat.
Maria Jita
Fine Sauce Production
#10 - 2016-04-04 22:50:30 UTC  |  Edited by: Maria Jita
With sites appearing as others gets run, have you guys made any progress of fixing the long time bug that keeps sites from despawning when not activated?

Anomalies and signatures are supposed to be on a 14 day timer( according to CCP Affinity iirc)., so they automatically de-spawn if no-one touch the site for 14 days, however this mechanic have been broken for years now and sites tend to horde up in crappy systems.

Would be super nice if you guys could get around to fixing that, since more sites will now spawn in these systems before someone gets around to warp to them.
Chesterfield Fancypantz
Viziam
Amarr Empire
#11 - 2016-04-04 22:51:55 UTC
Maria Jita wrote:
With sites appearing as others gets run, have you guys made any progress of fixing the long time bug that keeps sites from despawning when not activated?

Anomalies and signatures are supposed to be on a 14 day timer, so they automatically de-spawn if no-one touch the site for 14 days, however this mechanic have been broken for years now and sites tend to horde up in crappy systems.

Would be super nice if you guys could get around to fixing that, since more sites will now spawn in these systems before someone gets around to warp to them.


I concur.

I would highly support a faster turn over for sites that are not run. Say 4-5 days would be ideal. Keep the sites flowing through c5/c6 sites more evenly.
Makoto Priano
Itsukame-Zainou Hyperspatial Inquiries Ltd.
Arataka Research Consortium
#12 - 2016-04-04 22:54:43 UTC
Does this Drifter maintain some of the interesting design elements of the standard Drifter, including resist holes and double shield?

Additionally, do the new Upgraded Avengers use any sort of Doomsday, or are they simply upgunned Sleepers? Additionally, do they have shields a la Circadian Seekers or Drifters, or are they shieldless like normal Sleepers?

What's the deal with Emergent Retainers?

Itsukame-Zainou Hyperspatial Inquiries: exploring the edge of the known, advancing the state of the art. Would you like to know more?

Querns
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
#13 - 2016-04-04 23:02:32 UTC
Glad to see CCP has finally pledged to take action against the downtime respawning of contemporary capital escalations.

This post was crafted by the wormhole expert of the Goonswarm Economic Warfare Cabal, the foremost authority on Eve: Online economics and gameplay.

Amak Boma
Dragon Factory
#14 - 2016-04-04 23:06:24 UTC
well if you put the scripted generator on drifter, it will perma-scram it,


how about adding the ship to player hands? what it would be? would capsuleers adapt the new technology? there must be event that alive drifter gets hijacked , studied and his technology copied for playerbase usage.



will drifters be able to deploy the tower with forcefield so drifters can plant nest in a wormhole and breed with time and start to harrass wormhole residents ?


will drifters drop capsule once their ship is destroyed?


how about drifter capital ship that could launch circadian seekers as drones


will there be any chance that c1 , c2 , c3 wormholes also will get some love? maybe random chance of spawn the site that can spawn better sleepers since c1 are worst to be living in , c2 , c3 are quite good but not that much since c4 wh is just better.


will drifters drop short-lifetime bubbles to cach players?


will drifters do some ambush attacks on players ?


would players like the playable drifter ship? if yes is it possible to let players fly them?


and final question how do CCP fit pirate ships, is there any formula,schematics? how actually look npc pirate ship high / med / low slots?
OmgNetGirl
Viziam
Amarr Empire
#15 - 2016-04-04 23:25:55 UTC
CCP Fozzie wrote:

  • Multiple Drifters can co-exist in the same wormhole system and will come to each other's aid if one gets attacked.


  • So wait, can these things be hell spawned and then you end up with the wormhole from hell?
    Lt Shard
    Doin It Wrong
    Late Night Overheating
    #16 - 2016-04-04 23:37:19 UTC
    CCP Fozzie wrote:
    There are 3 NPCs in each wave in C5s and 4 per wave in C6s.
    The new escalation spawns are worth ~38m per wave in C5s and ~51m per wave in C6s.


    why?
    Lt Shard
    Doin It Wrong
    Late Night Overheating
    #17 - 2016-04-04 23:43:34 UTC
    CCP Fozzie wrote:
    These Drifters will have their own version of the Drifter doomsday, but it will not always one-shot someone. It will however provide its own form of challenge.


    Could you clarify this? You mentioned sub will be able tun run the sites, but if we lose a battleship each times theres no money in it.
    biz Antollare
    The Dark Space Initiative
    Scary Wormhole People
    #18 - 2016-04-04 23:59:36 UTC  |  Edited by: biz Antollare
    having to point the drifter is ridiculous.... fitting PVE ships with points now ?

    Leave total WH mass alone. if you need to change the max jump mass for armor caps thats one thing.

    and lowering the total value of the sites is dumb.... the escalation waves should be worth more isk than 50 mil.



    So when is Moon goo getting nerfd?
    Chesterfield Fancypantz
    Viziam
    Amarr Empire
    #19 - 2016-04-05 00:02:51 UTC
    biz Antollare wrote:
    having to point the drifter is ridiculous.... fitting PVE ships with points now ?

    Leave total WH mass alone. if you need to change the max jump mass for armor caps thats one thing.



    I agree, it is kinda stupid.

    I see that they want it to be more complicated and have the sleepers hunting around for people, but they are making it more work for themselves then it should be.
    Mimiko Severovski
    Zero Fun Allowed
    skill urself
    #20 - 2016-04-05 00:09:32 UTC  |  Edited by: Mimiko Severovski
    I would like to take a moment and say thank you Fozzie.
    Thank you for making capitals essentially pointless in the basis of relevant wh pve.
    The escalation payouts are literary not worth the commitment, when one can use battleships and other subcaps which can mjd at any sign of danger, yet they reap the rewards similar to the people commiting capital ships.

    This will not be healthy for the delicate ecosystem of wh space (something another wh entrepreneur talked about)
    Hunters will leave as there will be no capital ships to hunt, and with all the changes to make that harder (npc api, watchlist, wh spawn distances) it will simply not be worth the time and effort invested for already harder jobs for everyone involved.


    But that is fine as people can take caps out of their whs and go run incursions with them right ?

    Edit:
    CCP Fozzie wrote:

    The new escalation spawns are worth ~38m per wave in C5s and ~51m per wave in C6s.


    This is literary an insult for the capitals worth dozens of billions that are used for farming.
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