Last week I stated moving the unscannable cargo hold from the Orca to Blockade Runners was a good decision and lauded CCP Greyscale for unapologetically breaking the news. However, not everyone celebrated. Jester, in his post Plastic wrap all the things!, had little good to say about the reason given by CCP Greyscale for the change. To be clear, Jester does not come right out and say it’s a bad idea – directly. Still, the overwhelmingly negative vibe in that post draws the reader to such a conclusion like a gravity well draws mass.
So I did some more thinking on the subject. I admit my first post was an immediate reaction. I’ve thought about the Orca’s role on many occasions. I’ve always felt the ship is too good at too many things. But I hadn’t thought about it recently; not really since CCP took away the ability to use it as a deep-space mobile POS, aka a ninja salvager’s wet dream. I needed to confirm to myself that I truly did feel CCP made a good decision.
They did. It is. This post will discuss why I think so.
The first thing I want to discuss is barrier to entry into the transportation game. There are two of them. The first is cost. When I bought my Keiko over a years ago, it cost me a half billion credits – modules and all. That is a lot of ISK. It took me a long time to afford to fly that ship. Today the cost is double. The hull alone costs 30% more than my total price 16 months ago. An Orca hull is now selling for over 700 mISK in Essence.
As Jester pointed out, any well fit Tornado can catch and kill a Blockade Runner not perfectly flown (and maybe even then.) But that same Tornado poorly fitted can tackle an Orca. And, it makes no difference that it can’t finish off the Orca before CONCORD arrives. As much as we’d like to think they do, gankers do not fly alone. The good ones will have as a minimum an alt in a Prowler with SEBOs to assist their Tornado. Whether you fly an Orca or a Viator, if they want to gank you they will. Nothing you can do will abrogate that fact. However, you can reduce the cost of the loss. With a smaller hold and a much lower price, the Blockade Runner does just that.
|Image by ManipUL8|
This is what made me immediately approve of this change. I have always thought the Orca has an identity crisis. Is it an Industrial Command Ship meant to bring substantial bonuses to mining fleets? Is it a mini-freighter? Is it a mini-carrier? To date it has been all three of these things and all at the same time. With capabilities like that, who needs the transport class ships at all?
CCP’s balancing effort isn’t only about combat ships. The industrial ships are out of whack too. Just as many players, including Jester, have pointed out. All ships should have a unique and beneficial role to play, industrial ships included. And what’s really cool about industrials is they can be modified more on the fly than the combat ships. It makes plenty of more sense for CCP to make these changes one attribute at a time because they aren’t affecting anyone’s balance of power.
Easing these changes in over time gives industrialists time to alter their production processes. Unlike PvP, industry can take months to plan and execute. If you rely on the Orca to facilitate that production and CCP changes it all over night, your entire business could be endangered. With incremental change over time, you’ll have a much easier time of adapting your processes and maintaining your margins.
And lastly, the fact CCP Greyscale didn’t take the time to point all this out has nothing to do with deception. There was no incompetence, idiocy or deliberate thump-nose-finger waggling. CCP was within a week of a major update to EVE Online. They ALL had better things to do than mollify bitter vets viewing events through the perfect lens of hindsight.