I could pretend I have an immense store of knowledge on Greek mythology, but I won’t. According to Wikipedia, Proteus was a sea-god, specifically, one of ‘elusive sea change’, giving rise to the adjective protean, which is used to describe something that is versatile, or capable of assuming many forms. Like Mystique from X-Men.
An apt name for the coming patch to EVE.
One of the biggest changes hitting EVE in a few days is a modification to the Combat Recon line of cruisers, and nothing says elusive versatility than not being detectable by D-scan.
Everyone’s going to want to get their hands on these buggers to experience the ability to go undetectable except with combat probes when you’re off-grid to the enemies.
Sure, it doesn’t make the ship invincible in combat, but if I’ve learnt anything about EVE PvP, it’s that knowing what your enemy has is half the fight. Now, you’re going to either see combat probes everywhere, or combat recon ships everywhere.
The most obvious way Combat Recons can now be used is to have them sit inside a Faction Warfare plex and wait for hapless prey to fall into their grasp. This gives the Combat Recon every possible advantage. Within the plex, they can see everything coming and going, without being seen at all besides the fact that a medium plex is open in system. A Curse could choose only to fight ships that rely on capacitor, and make itself scarce should any cap-independent ships land outside, and warp off before the newcomers even know they had lost the chance of a fight. An additional benefit to being undetected as you search for prey is that local chat is not filled with people trying to taunt or persuade you into combat, something I find I am extremely susceptible to. (working on it)
However, any good militia will adapt and eventually have combat probers stationed in all major systems, or at least out and about when there are systems to be flipped and hubs to be bashed. Undoubtedly there is going to be fun to be had by many in the early weeks, but those combat probes will start to become a common sight on FW space d-scan.
I really doubt EVERYONE outside of FacWar will start carrying around combat probes everywhere they go, though, which means in the rest of low-sec, null-sec, and wormhole space, there is great potential for these ships as I see it.
Personally, I’ve been considering how our alliance could go about using these ships, which for us means considering low-sec (outside of FW) and wormholes.
Pirates find a fight in ways that others may call unfair, usually involving hiding, disguising or distorting the true size of the attacking forces until the defenders have fully committed to the fight. At it’s most basic, a fleet sends a bait ship or two into an adjacent system whilst the rest wait on the gate for the call to jump after prey (who previously may have thought they were the predator) is snagged.
Now, though, there is another layer of uncertainty, on top of the possibility of a hotdrop. How many Combat Recons lie in wait out there?
From an attacking perspective, the poor miner they found on d-scan could perhaps be surrounded by an array of mean, lean, Combat Recon machines.
From a defending perspective, who knew if their scouts had picked up the full size of the incoming forces, when those aforementioned scouts have been keeping up with the main, visible fleet. Could a Combat Recon wing be following behind? You’d have to be on-grid with them to know, or vigilant and smart about reading Local. (Bringing another dimension to scouting, which I find quite exciting, because here is a chance for good scouts to really shine).
Ah, this is where it really gets interesting. Combat Recon ships are designed to have greater offensive capabilities than their Force Recon cloaky counterparts. Previously, their lack of cloak meant they could be seen coming on d-scan. Now, not so much. In a wormhole where Local is not your friend, a Combat Recon can zoom around safe spots and remain completely invisible to you unless you’re preemptively using combat probes. This was achievable with covert ops cloaks previously, but now, the ships that can go undetected by d-scan actually have the strength of a cruiser, and the engagement potential of a stealth bomber.
What I mean is, if you have a friend or alt with a covops cloaky ship (hell, even if you didn’t), CCP may have introduced a cruiser-size ship with no decloaking targeting recalibration.
Think about it. Lets pretend you’re running a relic site in an Astero. You have your eyes on d-scan as you click at the hacking game, confident that you can handle one and maybe even two of those pesky rocket-fit stealth bombers that could be sitting in the site watching you right now.
And as you hit cargo scan a particularly valuable loot box, two stealth bombers do indeed decloak right next to you.
You grin, because you’re well versed in this art, lock up the closer stealth bomber, deploy drones, activate point, and begin to whittle away at its weak hull. A few minutes later, you’re zooming out of the empty site plus two smoking, looted stealth bomber wrecks.
Next site, you’re repeating the procedure, when you find yourself confronted by a different beast. A Lachesis pilot had pre-scanned your site and warped in as you were mashing away at the hacking game. You align out in panic but the bonused point lands, the dampeners land, the medium hybrid turrets melt through to your armour and you try to burn away as 5 medium drones make their way towards you.
Previously, only a stealth bomber could get on-grid unnoticed with someone watching d-scan closely and be ready to start fighting immediately. With the Proteus patch, so can Combat Recons. I will make an assumption here and say that 90% of the time the stealth bomber’s cloak grants it protection from d-scan. And since d-scan is the simpler of two ways to detect enemies off-grid whilst still being very reliable, after that check, most people will not resort to a sweep with combat probes.
But now, d-scan, the previously infallible friend to all eagle-eyed mission runners who brave the dangers of low-sec, cannot protect them as well as it used to. I have personally escaped from a Loki decloaking 2kms away from me in a low-sec combat anomaly, because of its sensor recalibration. A Lachesis can now land up to 60kms away from me if it has a faction point, grab me without a recalibration delay, then proceed to whack me from afar, keeping me helpless with its dampeners.
These are only a few of the possibilities coming with this new mechanic, and I doubt I could predict them all. All I know is I have 6 days left on Logistics V, and after that I’m going to be looking at my Combat Recon skills.