Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My Favorite Solo PVP Ships/Fits for Null over the Past Year - Assault Frigs, E-WAR Frigs, and Navy Cruisers

This post is a bit late--it covers many ships I flew solo during the glorious days of the Querious fight club (RIP), pre-WWB, and shortly after. However, my past year (or two) of solo PVP in null has amounted to some of the most fun I've ever had in EVE or any game for that matter. Many of the ships I've flown over the past year in null sec for solo PVP are usually considered off-meta, if not out-right broken, such as assault frigates. My experiences with assault frigate solo PVP over the past year has been largely positive--they get a ton of fights and can hold their own against most comparable ship classes minus the pre-nerf Svipul.

On my quest to solo PVP in every non-industrial ship, this past year I finally tackled navy cruisers, assault frigates, and the new navy EWAR frigates. They each have their strengths and weaknesses in the current meta and in solo PVP in general, but navy cruisers are as close to the most versatile and affordable ships for solo PVP (and available for Alpha clones as well). I was lucky enough to find tons of navy cruiser versus navy cruiser 1v1s, such as this nail-bitter:

This was an amazing fight in a hull tanked ENI versus a Zarvox fit SFI, with a blue pill running (as confirmed by the pilot later). The main fit I like for the ENI is a dual medium armor rep, for the decent sustain potential. The plated version and the hull tank version lack sustain in a fight but do a ton of DPS. (Then again, against a blob, having some buffer plus 800+ DPS is exactly what you need to kill something before you die.) The SFI has range control against almost any ship in a 1v1, but at the very end of the fight I managed to pulse my MWD out from 10km and secure a few wrecking shots that ended up winning me the fight. Had the fight started and ended at better ranges for the SFI, a hull tanked ENI stands little chance!

Crispy means a job well-done
Overall, my scoreboard for navy cruisers includes some of my favorite fights in 5 years of EVE, and I am for sure not done flying these ships.

Navy Faction Cruisers (8/8):

Vexor Navy Issue vs. Exequror + Exequror RR Duo
vs. Cerberus
vs. Ishtar
vs. Hawk + Crow + Vexor + Svipul
Exequror Navy Issue vs. Scythe Fleet Issue

Augoror Navy Issue vs. Stabber Fleet Issue
vs. Caracal + Vexor + Onyx
Omen Navy Issue vs. Sabre
~~need more here!~~
Stabber Fleet Issue vs. Svipul + Hookbill

Scythe Fleet Issue vs. Stabber Fleet Issue
vs. Svipul

Caracal Navy Issue vs. Vexor Navy Issue

Osprey Navy Issue vs. Raven
vs. Jackdaw

at about middle age

Oh this Vexor. What a ship. What luck. I've flown the Vexor a few dozen times over the past two years but sometimes avoid it since it will scare away some fights. The average Svipul pilot, in my experience, will readily engage a rupture (and the latter, if fit right, will kill it) and other T1 cruisers, but not usually a Vexor, for instance. And there's few things I like more than killing Svipuls (pre-nerf and post-nerf still), so I hate to scare them off. The Vexor continues to be an incredible ship for solo PVP in both LS and NS, with a variety of possible fits, but because it is commonly viewed as a strong ship it can struggle to find decent fights. I had a few fits I wanted to try out in null sec specifically, so in between navy cruiser losses I flew some T1 versions.

This was a slightly uncommon Vexor fit as well, with dual medium armor reps instead of one plus an ancillary MAR, giving it slightly more sustain in longer fights. (It's EVE though: how often do you get a long drawn out 1v1 or 1v2-5 as opposed to a 1 versus blob where an ancillary rep might at least give you the time to kill something?) Yet this Vexor seemed unkillable even when I tried to kill it.

In addition to a few odd T3D kills, I agreed to a 1v1 against a Dramiel. I was surprised he wanted to fight my Vexor (and he was surprised I had neuts), so when I won I agreed to fight something bigger. He brought out a Vagabond (note: he was shooting Phased Plasma, which may seem like a mistake, but I had a tech 2 explosive rig that gave me the same explosive armor resist as thermal/kin). The quick math I did in my head suggested that if he is XLASB fit I will just barely be able to tank his gun DPS with both reps overheating, and somehow I ended up winning (and maybe what is more surprising is that I did not burn out my reps).

My playstyle when solo is that I can be a touch risk average when I first fly a ship or undock for a roam. Getting that "first kill" of the night is a big psychological barrier for me, and sometimes I feel like I'll never get another kill again when in the midst of a drought. I know if I bring out a ship 3 times and die to 3 consecutive blobs I'm going to be "tilted." So, in this case, having secured a few good kills in this Vexor I was ready to throw it at anything lockable.

In the next fight I roamed to F-I-N-K's former space in Querious and tackled a Skiff. A Skiff alone can match the light drone DPS of a Mrymidon, with the buffer of a battleship. To defend it comes two Caracals, and I decide to let the Skiff go just in hopes of winning a 1v2. As I'm fighting, a griffin lands but fails its ECM cycle--the kind of luck I rarely get! I can barely tank the damage of this one RLML and plus a HAM Caracal and I bleed into structure before killing the first one. The RLML one goes into reload and gives me a window to repair armor to full and kill it. Something strange then happened during the middle of this brawl: the Skiff comes back. It's drone DPS really hurts but the Caracals are dead and my drones are popping the Griffin. All said, Caracal + Caracal + Skiff + Griffin, not bad by my standards.

The final fight I have goes even better, and would probably be in my favorite 5 fights of all time. I roam to BX2- where Brave had a medium sized corp. They bring a pretty rough group consisting of some tackle, a Caracal, Cynabal, and an arty Mael, but at this point I will fight anything. I manage to pop the tackle Firetail, Caracal, and and Svipul at the sun, freeing me of tackle, but I am getting pounded by both an arty Mael 80km off and an arty Cynabal. I yolo into the Cynabal and get into a close orbit. My drones are dying which is bad news for this fit since it only uses light neutrons in the top rack, but somehow the Cynabal goes down too. I still get the shakes when PVPing and at this point my nerves are shot, but at the gate waiting for me is like the final boss for this Vexor, a Gila.

Such a close fight! Meanwhile my PVE alt was in system ready to do a relic site when I died - no poors!
This was the final fight of probably my best performing single ship in 5 years. I had already lost a ton of cap boosters and drones due to fighting a Cynabal while under arty Mael fire, leaving me with light drones and less than 10 cap boosters to fight this Gila. An impossible fight anyway, but I promised if they fought me at the sun I would not leave system until I died. I had the Gila in structure as you can see from the screenshot, but two things happened at the same time: fraps ran out of disk space, causing my computer to severely lag, and my damage control burned out, reducing my tank severely (and this was just before the passive DCU change--had I had the base 33% resist hull bonus this fight would have been even closer). With all my drones dead, no cap charges left, and just small turrets to fight the Gila, it was a battle against time before I died to the Gila's overwheling DPS. But damn what a fight and what a lucky ship that got me so many great fights! RIP Vexor.

During my time in Querious CCP released navy e-war frigates, a class that turned out to be some of my favorite ships at the level of the frigate menace, even for null sec solo PVP.

The Vigil Fleet Issue is probably my favorite frigate level ship at the moment. With rockets it can do over 200 DPS. Tank runs either a republic fleet MSE for buffer (the easy version of the ship to fly), or a split MASB/SAAR fit like its Breacher cousin. The former is easier to fly while the latter gives more sustain in 1v1 fights (as rare as they are) but the latter is also paper thin and requires better piloting.

Here are some highlights from flying them in null:

Maulus Navy Issue vs. Hawk

Griffin Navy Issue vs. Coercer

Vigil Fleet Issue vs. Republic Fleet Firetail
vs. Sabre
Crucifier Navy Issue vs. Vexor Navy Issue
vs. Taranis

Finally, there's assault frigates. By reddit "CCPLS" thread count alone they are surely the class players think are most in need of a balance pass, but I (mostly) disagree. The major problem with assault frigates was that T3Ds--and the Svipul in particular--did everything assault frigates did only 2x-3x better. However, flying assault frigates successfully simply required not fighting Svipuls! And flying them extremely well requires paying close attention to their tech 2 resist bonuses. Assault frigates are best when matched up with over-confident frigates and destroyers especially when they cannot avoid shooting into your tech 2 resist profile.

And now with the fantastic nerf to T3D versatility, assault frigates are an incredibly strong and under-rated class of ship that pack a lot of damage and a lot of tank--if being a bit too slow. (A 10% buff to assault frigate base speed, in my opinion, is the only balance change they need to be in an ideal but not OP place.)

Perhaps most importantly for solo PVP, assault frigates are widely seen as engageable (because widely seen as weak). This means they will often get tons of fights, and tons of fights you can easily win.

The "Blarpy" (a blaster fit MSE Harpy) got a hidden buff with the change to shield extenders and buff to faction MSEs, giving it a bit more tank along with its nice amount of DPS and making the Blarpy an ever more awesome ship to fly for go-crazy-brawling. It is a great ship to fly when, say, inebriated, as it requires only a few button clicks and a ton of (over)-confidence!

Harpy vs. Jackdaw
vs. Cynabal

The Ishkur is a rare ship in null sec, especially solo. With very low speed and no tank bonus it seems an easy target. Until it scrams you or puts its drones on you, and you realize you are an EM based ship like a Confessor and are completely screwed! The Ishkur is perfect for taking down over-confident kiting Confessors that get too close, or small frigate gangs that primarily shoot EM or Thermal.

Ishkur vs. Myrmidon

The Wolf is a perfect example of CCP's occasionally short-sighted balancing: The Svipul was released as essentially a Wolf that goes at least 50% faster, with at least 50% more damage, and at least 50-100% more tank, plus having a similar range. However, this does not mean the Wolf is a terrible ship, especially now that the Svipul is in a healthier place. The Wolf proved to be one of my favorite ships in Querious for solo PVP due to the fact that it was considered trash, and that its resist profile perfectly matched the NPC damage types in the region, making it great for killing unwary ratters, such as this VNI, as well as this VNI.

No one, to my knowledge, flew the Wolf more effectively during this time than the great solo PVPer Quinten Sarn, and I emulated some of his fits and tactics, such as his resist and sustain-heavy Wolf that is perfect for surprising the stock VNI ratters. However, I also flew the arty Wolf, an extremely rare sight in null sec, and it decent. Not good, but decent enough to win small skirmishes with frigates and destroyers.

Wolf vs. Atron + Kestrel + Corax
vs. Ishkur

I had good fights in all of the other assault frigates as well. They are a ship class that is off-meta but underestimated, and as a result they attract more fights than most other ship classes when flying solo.

Eve online is a game that is fundamentally balanced against solo play, and solo PVP in particular. Solo PVP in EVE Online is like trying to go solo in League of Legends--good luck defending all lanes, etc. Only the best--or, in my case, the most masochistic--can stomach it. And let's be honest: solo PVP in EVE is not somehow about being better than other players (though that certainly helps), but about a dedication to flying your own ship against all odds.

However, it is possible to fight the good fight (by sheer resilience), and that's what makes solo PVP in EVE so rewarding. You will die a lot, and you will struggle to find decent fights, but you will also get amazing fights where you win against all odds, 1 against 1 ship that out classes you, or 1 against 2, or one against 3, or one against 20 where you take out 5 before you die. After almost 6 years in game, it is still the most compelling reason I have to continue playing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Random Stats After 5 Years of EVE

Number of Active Accounts / Max Number of Active Accounts At One Time:

Current: 2
Max: 3

Total Skill Points:

Sven Viko: 107m
Next Highest Alt: 72m

Stations with Assets:

This screenshot perhaps more than any other
paints an OCD picture of how I play EVE. After 5 years of playing I have kept my assets on both accounts (trader top, Sven bottom) extremely organized. Really, everything except ships I am currently using for PVP or exploration are in Jita 4-4, and when I want to PVP in a new area I simply haul from Jita using a DST or Bowhead, then move all of the remaining stuff back to Jita when I head elsewhere. Some players have the complete opposite asset list and organization, with ships and items spread across hundreds of systems. Nope, can't do it. Even this many stations with assets starts to bother me... 
Total Kills on Sven: 


Total Losses on Sven:


Most Used PVP Ships: 

Stratios (1211), Confessor (582), Thrasher (348), Kestrel (315)

Favorite Ship for PVP:

All of them!

Current Total Number of Ship Types With Solo PVP Kills: 


Most Active PVP Sytems by Space:

High Sec: Poinen+Josameto (1245 kills, all during RVB)
Low Sec: Ouelletta (141)
Null Sec: GE-8JV (105, former home of Brave Newbies)

Most Active PVP "Location" (since added to killmail info in 2015): 

A2-V27 IX (52, former home station of Pandemic Horde)

Total Net Asset Worth:

Approximately 400-500b

Number of Personal Bookmarks: 

2659 (and wow does people and places lag!)

Total Number of Ship Fits on EVE Fit/Pyfa:

A few over 1000

Regions Explored/Visited:

100% of High Security Space, apx. 85% of Low Security Space (in progress), apx. 40% of Null Security Space, apx. 15% of Wormhole Space:

Length of Sven's Skill Plan on EVEMon:

With +5 Implants: 1105 days
With No Implants: 1370 days

Length of Sven's Skill Queue on TQ:

577 days (no implants)

Current Skill In Training:

Minmatar Propulsion Systems V

POSes Owned / Citadels Owned:  

0 POSes
1 Astrahaus
(Citadels accidentally lost: 1...)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Reasons for Playing EVE Less (and hopefully some reasons for playing EVE more)

In June I hit 100m skill points and 4 years of PVP activity every month. In just a few days I will hit my 5 year anniversary of playing EVE. However, this summer was also my lowest period of activity in 4 years. I did a few solo roams, a few public fleets, updated market orders a few times, and that was about it--a very stark contrast to the fall and winter of 2015 and early 2016 which were my most active months ever. It's not so much that I was tired of EVE, but a few reasons led me to need a break, reasons which probably resonate with many players that share my playstyles.

1. Increased connection issues

Even though I don't experience lag or latency issues in any other online game (and experience very low ping and a stable connection), my last year playing EVE has been a constant battle against disconnects, bugs, and socket losses. On an average play session I will experience roughly 1-2 disconnects, sometimes many more, even while my internet connection is otherwise stable. (E.g., on a casual roam through null I typically experience 1-2 disconnects every hour.) There also seems to be a rising number of bugs in the game, some of which affect my playstyle. For instance, the market window frequently "desyncs" when selecting a new item listing, updating the item listing but displaying the previous item's buy/sell orders. It definitely tilts me when I die on a roam due to lag or disconnects, though in some cases it results in funny fights such as in this video (one of the only EVE pvp videos I've made).

2. Unfortunately, and inescapably, less players simply means less content for me

One of the best things about being involved in solo PVP is that you are your own FC, and do not rely on others for creating content. Yet, in another way, you are entirely dependent on others for content—you rely on people actually being in space. When the average number of players drops below 20k, you feel it acutely. The time in between fights—or even seeing another player in space—has steadily increased over the years I've played EVE. These days, even at prime hours, many systems are empty--systems that in 2011-2013 were very active--and few that are flying in space are looking for a fight (or, if they are, they are looking for an easy killmail).

Some roams I encounter more people afk at gates in null than I do solo or small gangs looking for a fight. Solo PVP has always been a niche activity in a niche game, but I feel it is hit particularly hard by periods of low player activity. When the game is buzzing with activity, people solo more; when it is stagnant, I think people fleet up more. This is true even for me: my main PVP activity over the past 3 months has been from Zarvox's amazingly fun Saturday interceptor fleets.

Saturday = Zarvox interceptor fleet day lately
Things haven't been entirely terrible; I've found solo fights here and there, such as a roam in a ferox where I snagged a blingy rapier, then took out 2 svipuls and a sabre before dying to the 6+ other svipuls in the gang. It was fun, but finding such content just takes so long these days, far longer than I often have time to play for. I am definitely roaming more lately as activity increases as EVE nears the major November release, but my feeling is that the amount of relatively inactive months out of the year is growing. I hope that trend reverses.

My other main activity is the market, and it, too, suffers from low player numbers. Sure, my PLEX stack has risen in value over the past 3 months from when PLEX was sitting around 800-900m (see my previous post!), and I still make a decent profit from my local market trading, but the markets over the last 3 months have simply been boring. Little activity, little velocity in isk, little speculation, and slow turnover. Again, the November release should reverse this trend, with new structures and the Alpha clone option coming.

3. The glacially slow balance progress, even by EVE's standards

The balance pass on T3 destroyers, link changes, Citadel improvements, and other balance updates were originally planned for a summer release, and instead mostly got pushed back to late fall. Announcements at 2016's fanfest were largely for features we knew were coming (with some, like some of the aforementioned, planned for summer, then pushed back), and the year's major focus on capital rebalance was a ton of time for little gain. According to zkill data, carriers are involved in almost 2x more kills than last year, but lost at around the same (or less) numbers. Dreads are roughly used (in kills and losses) the same amount. Remember, CCP's explicitly stated goal was to have capitals used more, and lost much more often, so they at best failed on half of their design goal...the more important half, from my perspective.

I support CCP's decision to move back to expansions, yet am disappointed with how little balance work 2016 will see compared to every previous year I've played EVE, where dozens of ships across multiple classes were rebalanced in interesting ways for each expansion. From my perspective, it is better for the game to make frequent small balance passes even if it results in some ships being overpowered and others underpowered, than it is to have few balance passes and a stagnant meta for long periods.

These days, the ship balance team (only about 3 devs, remember) is spread thin—they also work on module and item balance, structure design and balance, events like the AT that take months of preparation, and new and important (/s) ship designs and releases like faction capitals that 1 or maybe 2 players will regularly use. This has left ships like the Svipul and weapon classes like ECM and Rapid Lights in dire need of even a quick balance pass—just lowering a few numbers like base speed on the Svipul would have been a fine temporary patch—for around a year. Sadly, the solution seems to be that CCP simply needs more developers, and for that they need more players.

4. Disappointing events

The events CCP were incorporating in between their rotation of expansions at first showed promise. The success of the few first events in 2015 like the Crimson Harvest were based, I think, on the good rewards, the ability to run the sites in almost any ship or fitting, and the benefits of running the sites in dangerous space. I had a few great fights (some win and some lose) in low, null, and wormhole space running these sites or catching someone running them. Later events, though, jettisoned these elements and opted for more of a slow grind in sites designed for mission running ships, culminating in the Shadow of the Serpent Event. I truly did try to enjoy the event, even getting to the first tier “chest” unlock, but the event lacked any potential player conflict and took a monumental amount of largely afk grinding to progress. My disappointment was widely shared by players, especially since the event turned out to be the only real content over the summer months. The more recent Purity of the Throne event was an improvement, and I really appreciated getting an entire skin set for Amarr ships, but the event did still lack the conflict drivers that we saw in the first few.

Am I hopeful for brighter days in EVE's future, days of 40k average players logged in, better and faster balance and bug passes, and tons of people to fight? Definitely. I am hopeful that the “freemium” mode coming in November will bring in a large chunk of new and returning players to the game. I would love to see the average number of players double or triple in November or return to 2010-2014 levels, and stay that way more permanently this time. I believe EVE is a good enough game to deserve far more players than it currently has, and hopeful that the Alpha clone option will be enough to hook many new players.

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Strange New Economy: PLEX crashes, Daily SP, Citadel Markets (offshores), and the Future of Investing

The EVE Prosper blog and show (sadly now on its hiatus) has recorded the recent rise-and-fall of PLEX, and in the most recent episode pointed out the impact "offshoring" is already having on the PLEX market. "Offshoring" refers to buying/selling PLEX at one of the many Fortizar Citadel markets 1 jump from Jita, where taxes are 1% or lower. This is what the PLEX market looks like in the Forge as of 6/3/16:

First off, the sky is falling yet again for PLEX prices. 850m? In 2016? I don't think anyone predicted that one. However, just as interesting is that most of the best buy and sell orders for PLEX and Injectors are now at Citadels 1 jump away. In total there are 5 or 6 Fortizar markets 1 jump from Jita, and each has lower taxes and usually better PLEX/Injector orders than 4-4. Interestingly, the worry that a "New Jita" would be created largely turned out false (thus far)--instead, we seem to have Jita, and then dozens of "offshore" markets for high value and high volume items.

Jita 4-4 does not even appear until the bottom of this page of sell orders for injectors. When you can create contracts in Citadels and so on, they will be even more useful.

Now let's talk about daily SP and the impact it might have on the skill injector market. EVE-Gaurdian has a great write up covering the relative isk value of the 10k SP daily. It depends heavily on your implants and attribute mapping, but for new players it daily opportunities come out to roughly a 15% increase in SP gain for new players.

It is also worth noting that daily SP has a different (higher) relative value for older players (above 60m SP) and especially those who fly in empty clones (i.e. frequently PVP in null for instance). If such a player did the daily every day for a 30 day month, that is 300k SP, or equal to 2 skill injectors (because the player would only receive 150k per SP given their high skills from an injector), which is around 1.2b isk a month in injector cost currently. So the value of a daily is quite a bit higher for a vet player who does no implants PVP; it is two injectors per month or something like 40m SP in "injector->SP" isk value per daily.

Dailies are thus great for new players and even better for veterans, and the upshot is that dailies will likely put pressure off of the skill injector market. There's now a second, more active way of getting more SP faster.

The PLEX market is unstable, the Injector market is good currently (esp. for regional trading) but unpredictable; that all leaves the basic question wide open: Where to now invest isk? In the past, you could dump as much isk as you wanted into PLEX at, say, 900m isk, and make bank when PLEX hit 1b a few months later, or 1.1b a few month after that, etc. As my experiment investing 100b in ships showed, you can make decent return on ships if you buy low and have patience to sell high.

I don't have an expert view on this, but one way to look at investing large amounts of isk is to look at what in game is being replaced--i.e., structures. How much isk exists in POSes and POS modules in space and in assets? And they are all being phased out. I didn't buy a Citadel BPO but I do think it was a good investment, either for producing, selling copies, or researching and reselling. So in the future months/year I am look to the new structures as potential sources of investment, particularly since most POSes in HS are dedicated to manufacturing. Don't take my advice though, a lot of isk can still be made in the injector market!

Monday, May 23, 2016

6 months of solo PVP in Querious - good times, but going elsewhere, for now

This week I lost my final ship I had staged in the Querious region. Besides blowing up a few POSes and an occasional NPSI roam, I have been doing solo PVP in Querious almost exclusively for the last 6 months.

I primarily flew navy EWAR frigates, assault frigates, cruisers, and some navy cruisers, and a ton of off-meta stuff (RLML XLASB Blackbird killing interceptors? Check. Brawling fit t1 logi killing an Oracle? Check. etc.). In total I killed around 800 ships solo, plus assorted pods and junk. I lost around 80 ships and 30 (usually empty) pods, and 6b isk total, or about 3-4 per night I roamed. But I flew about 50 different ships total! At this point a few residents in Querious know me, and definitely know I never have backup.

The groups I most liked fighting were probably Affirmative, Agony, the Brave corporation that lived in BX2- (Absolutely Massive Destruction), F-I-N-K, and Altruism/Triggerkittens. Many groups go to Querious to fight (or farm) Brave and Horde, and I had a lot of fun fights with them, too. Large public groups invariably have a mix of different personalities and play styles, which is partly what happens with open recruitment. I had a few occasions were I agreed to a 1v1 only to have a blob brought in, for instance, yet I also had many hours of fun fighting the large groups that live/lived in the region. Then there's also the usual share of tryhard groups in Querious (never not falcon alt, etc), but you'll find them in any region and they are not worth talking about.

On my quest to solo in every ship, I am slowly moving up to the bigger and more expensive ship classes. It's hard to roam in a BS/BC when people know who you are, and know you don't have backup. In the months before the summer update and the removal of off-grid links, I look forward to roaming deep null, into some areas of space where the population is smaller. That means less fights overall, but also less deaths to 20-ship blobs (well, sometimes--there are blobs in every region!).

It's crazy for me to think just a few years ago I was roaming in null for the first time after so many years doing solo in LS. Now, I've spent almost 2 years in null doing solo with only brief vacations. But, links are getting a massive nerf (for some play styles, i.e. those groups who do not have the skill to effectively use links on grid), and T3Ds (the svipul in particular) are also getting the shaft, and the true land of good fights that is low security space may once again be a great place to roam. Maybe.

In the next few posts I am going to highlight my favorite/best performing/luckiest ships during my time in Querious. Solo PVP for me is half luck, half dedication (maybe a bit of masochism in there, too), and most of my fits are taken from other (better) solo PVPers, so it will more so be focused on good runs I had in specific ships.

thanks for all the fun querious thunderdome and pan-fam

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Putting up my first Citadel

I've had a M Ctiadel and all of the modules ready since Sunday, and was very close to risking it and attempting to deploy it in a wormhole. The sheer risk involved made me think twice, though. The majority of Citadels destroyed so far have been in wormholes. Citadels are incredibly vulnerable in their first 24 hours. If you deploy a Citadel, a 24 hour timer starts, and at the end of the 24 hours the Citadel enters a 15 minute "repair" window where it only has hull hit points to defend it. If someone attacks the Citadel right at the start of that 15 minute timer, you cannot fit any modules to the Citadel, and are essentially an empty, defenseless shell with just a few million hit points from death.

Naturally, wormhole residents are very good at scouting a large number of wormholes in a small amount of time. All they have to do is note where a Citadel is being deployed, and show up at the end of that 24 hours. Attack the Citadel right at the start of the "repair," and it cannot fit any modules. For a solo player like myself, this means my only real chance of getting a Citadel up in wormhole (or LS/NS space) is to get really lucky and sneak one up. I have to gamble on no one noticing for 24 hours and 15 minutes. After that, I at least get a few weeks to use it (and fight back) while groups work through vulnerability timers.

Of course, the same thing happens in low and null security space, and many Citadels have died an early death--before even being able to fit a single module. In fact, no Citadel has been destroyed with modules fitted yet. Personally, I think this is a bit unfair for Citadel owners. At the very least they should be able to fit or pre-fit modules in order to defend themselves during that most vulnerable first 15 minutes. Most would still die, but they could at least fight back.

Putting balance feedback to the side, however, this mechanic is also why Citadels are actually very safe in high security space. So long as no one sees you put a Citadel up during the first 15 minutes and declares war during that time (hence starting the war during that 15 minute vulnerability window the next day), it will take groups roughly three weeks of vulnerability timers to destroy a Citadel in HS (such as the one in Perimeter that will likely soon be entering its final timer).

Santuary in Perimeter off the Jita gate was one of the first Citadels deployed

Naturally, the Citadel attracted HS war dec groups. During their first attack, they brought 3 Guardians and a few Domis. At first, the Guardians appeared to be able to tank the Citadel's damage, but then they messed up and went suspect--and immediately died to a swarm of people hoping for blood or killmails
So I changed my initial plans, and put up my first "test" Citadel in HS. There are a number of systems in HS that lack a station, but get a large amount of PVP traffic. The most notable such system is Keberz: it borders the popular null system HED-GP. If you PVP in HED-GP or systems nearby but then need to repair, you have to travel 4 (long) warps to Agil to get to the nearest station. So, a public Citadel with free repairs and docking is extremely helpful in such a system. Someone already beat me to putting one up there, but there are a few other HS systems that lack a station but where having a place to dock and repair for free would be convenient. I settled on Otelen, on the Houla gate. Repairs, docking, and reprocessing are public and free, and I may add a free clone service if the Citadel gets used. I love that Citadels repair even heat damage for free--it's a really nice feature. Another interesting feature I did not at first realize is that pirates (-5 security status or below) can tether to public Citadels, receive repairs, and sit in space safe from both other players--and the HS police! This is a huge quality of life bonus for pirates operating in high security space (and I think groups like CODE. will figure out clever ways to use this mechanic...such as by putting up their own Citadels near the gates in Uedama and stocking them with gank ships, then sitting safe in space tethered to the Citadel ready to pounce down to the gate).

I was a bit nervous putting it up during those crucial first 15 minutes, but no war decs so far suggests that there's just too many Citadels in HS already to honestly care. My Citadel is one of probably a few hundred M Citadels, and before long they are going to be far more common than POSes or potentially even NPC stations. However, being so visible and so close to a major PVP system, there are certainly enough groups nearby who can destroy it if they wish.

Something I've quickly learned about the balance changes is that tech 2 light fighters are incredibly strong at the moment, and probably brokenly so. Getting tech 2 fighters (like Firbolg IIs) is going to be incredibly important for Citadel defense (not to mention for Carrier pilots).

The 350km lock range of the Citadel prevents them from being able to exert force over the area around the gate itself, yet I still think that Citadels are going to change how groups control their space. A Large Citadel 1,000km off an important gate or station is a powerful force multiplier for the owner, and projects a large sphere nearby where the home team has a significant advantage. Thank Bob, however, that CCP effectively killed station games with the tethering mechanic and inability to dock when tackled.

In total I paid around 4.5-5b for the Citadel and fittings, but the prices are dropping very quickly. M Citadels are already sub 2b. My plan at this point is to leave the Citadel up with all services free. I do hope it gets attacked at some point, just so I can experience defending it, but if it still stands by the summer months I will likely replace it with a Large Citadel and set up market services in addition. The summer months may also be quiet enough to attempt a Citadel in a wormhole as well. Looking further in the future, CCP has plans to remove off-grid links and nerf T3Ds this summer. When they do so, I will certainly be returning to low sec PVP primarily, and a Citadel will be a great place to base out of.