What am I talking about? It is the current thinking by CCP to break up static gate camps in low-sec as per the recent CSM minutes. First off, my question is "Why are CCP doing this?". Here is my line of thoughts on CCP's possible motives.
Static camps discourage people from entering low-sec.
No doubt that filthy pirates like me, sat on a gate shooting everything we see is one of the main reasons non-PvP types tend to avoid low-sec. It's not safe. However sometimes people need to enter/want to cross low-sec. The gate guns provide them some level of protection. By travelling in a small, fast ship you can run pirate gate camps as they tend not to have fast tackle with them. Why don't they? Gate guns currently splat small ships almost instantly and the ships that can tank gate guns generally cannot lock you fast enough to catch you if you are in a fast ship. So generally, going with a fast ship meant you were safe.
So I am safe in a fast ship or a cloaky?
No. You used to be fairly safe. Now we have T3's. These can be fit to insta-lock even pods and can tank gate guns with the right small fleet composition.
So what's the issue?
CCP appear to be tackling the new player issues with some zest currently. I'm assuming that sometime this year someone has run numbers on new players and how long they stick around. The revamping of the tutorials may indicate that many players spent half an hour in game and then thought "bugger this for a bunch of banana's" and quit. I'm wondering what the stats said about those who went "Low security and dangerous? This sounds interesting. Yes I do want to proceed. WTF? What happened there? Why am I back in station? oh! /emo-rage-quit".
So what is the solution?
CCP's current thinking is to ramp up sentry gun damage over time in Decembers expansion. Forget the tankable 300dps per gun which was easy to ignore with a few BC's and a pair of logi. The idea is now to have the gun's increase their damage over time. Starting low, so that even an interceptor can tank a few shots, getting higher over time until at 4.5 minutes the sentry guns will pop a triaged carrier.
So is that a solution?
I've had a good think about this and have some major concerns. If I was an FC there are some nice tactics using these gate guns combined with standard game mechanics.
Tactic 1 - But, why's the
rum logi gone?
Most low-sec fleet fights happen on gates. Faction war especilally. Now imagine two fleets of battlecruisers with logistics support. One of the staples of faction war. One side jumps into the other. One FC pauses a second and then calls a Drake primary. His other fleet members fire on the primary whilst wondering "Why the smeg did he call a Drake primary? Surely the Hurricanes should be primary??". Within a few seconds the Drake broadcasts for reps. Like many, many pilots in faction war, he's below -5 security status. The logi start repping him and whoops, the entire logi chain goes GCC. The pilot being repped doesn't need to be GCC at the time, simply being -5 is enough to send anyone GCC who assists him. With the logistics on both sides the fight is lasting several minutes, meaning the damage on those logi friom the gate guns is being ramped up. Two choices - the logi need to bounce to reset the gate gun damage, or they stay and fight (well may be not fight, rep). Same outcome - if some warp off the logistics cap/rep chain is broken and the fleet dies, or they stay and die to insta-volleys from the guns..... and the fleet dies.
Tactic 2 - The Inwincible Falcon
Same fight but this time the FC orders his two neutral Falcons to decloak and jam up all the -5's in the enemy fleet. Enemy FC has two choices. Accept his -5's are now out of the fight and continue, or to primary the neutrals. Shooting the Falcons will GCC the fleet including the logistics and if the fight lasts longer than a few minutes then the gate guns will be alpha'ing his BC's.
So fights on gates would be a thing of the past if you had -5's in your fleet (and most faction war fleets have -5's in them these days). So what we going to do? Stop fighting on gates and resort to Evemail?
From - One FC
To - The Other FC
Subject - Fight
Dear Enemy FC,
I curse you and all of your kind. May your skin turn orange in hue, and your head fall off at an inconvenient moment.
The Enemy FC
P.S. Meet at Planet V for a fight?
From - The Other FC
To - One FC
Subject - RE: Fight
Dear Enemy FC,
I curse you, and may all your oranges be bad ones.
The Enemy FC
P.S. Warp your fleet to the Sun at zero! I don't have my sniper fleet already set up for that, honest.
Please, please, please CCP look carefully into this. You are in danger of killing 90% of fights that happen in low-sec. I know there are plenty out there who are claiming this is your intention, but I cannot believe that.