Incursion Tears: Welcome Back Mission Runners
I meant to gleefully address this before the patch, but seeing the amount of tears POST release, it just seems so much better now.
Welcome back mission runners; we missed you.
When CCP Affinity released this dev blog concerning the “re-balancing” of incursions, he, predictably, triggered a veritable shit-storm on the forums (and further cemented my suspicions of Affinity’s, er, affinity for garnering tears from Eve players). Every pasty, bleary-eyed, carpel-tunnel-wristed little Incursion grinder in Eve seemed to come out of the woodwork and complain about what they viewed as an unfair nerf to their income. Of course, that was nothing compared to the amazingly blunt patch-day tears so gloriously posted on Reddit/Eve: “Incursions are a fucking waste of time now, good job CCP you fucking assholes“
I have an alt that I’ve occasionally used to grind some incursions with. Why? Because despite claims to the contrary, Incursions ARE an isk faucet (also because “know thy enemy”). If you have a free afternoon and feel like making half a billion isk in 5 hours while your eyes bleed, by all means, go join an Incursion fleet. Pre-patch-nerf, Incursions were absurdly easy, with predictable waves, simplistic AI, and repetitive enough that in time, people knew exactly how large a fleet and exactly what ship to fly in order to simply blitz them as fast as possible. I haven’t actually tried one since the Escalation patch, but I’m willing to bet that they’re STILL absurdly easy, they just pay more in tune to what high-sec PvE should be paying now.
Here’s the fun part though: spend 5 minutes in one of the Incursion public channels, and you’ll see that this faucet comes complete with a fully functioning drain. Whats amusing to me, is that most Incursion runners simply spend their easy money almost as fast as they get it; no one is taking this massive isk income and investing or putting it in the bank. Again, spend 5 minutes talking to this particular breed of carebear, and you’ll find that most Incursion runners spend that cash on hugely expensive officer mods, implants, Carrier alts they’ll never use because they’re always in high-sec running Incursions, and all sorts of other shinys.
What most have pretty quickly learned to do in fact, is channel that Incursion cash back into their Incursion ships, a practice that seems to be voraciously encouraged by the community, and one that continues to amuse me. As I mentioned before, Incursions are stupidly easy; the waves can be predicted with your eyes closed, and if you’ve got halfway decent Logi pilots in your fleet, you could almost afk through them. The practice of “building up” or “pimping out” your Incursion ship is a notion that amuses me, because it is in effect the practice of carebears trying to one-up each other. Its not as if getting that faction hardener or those officer guns are necessary to run actually run the Incursion site; what this escalation of “how much isk have you sunk into your Incursion ship” really highlights is peoples willingness to spend money in order to beat each other, not the Sansha rats. The major competition in Incursions isn’t getting through the site, its getting through the site before the other guys do. Its a vicious cycle, where carebears blindly grind through vanguards for cash that they will then spend on being able to grind through more vanguards faster than the other guys. To me, this escalation its almost a perfect amalgamation of PvP and market PvP; a sort of competitive “non-pvp” where everybody is a loser, and I can tell you, there’s nothing quite like standing on the sidelines with a bag of popcorn watching bears go at each other.
As you may have noticed, when Incursions came out, mission running stagnated; and why wouldn’t they? Incursions were new, different, and payed WAY more money. As they got more popular and people figured out how to blitz them, they were then faster AND more rewarding than running level 4s. So now that Incursions are slower and pay less money, will we see a return to mission running? Who knows, but I’ve personally got daydreams of recently jilted bears in gold-dipped PvE ships coming back to the world of missions with a chip on their shoulder and itchy trigger fingers…
P.s. Now, if someone more in tune with economic trends could explain to me why everything in Eve costs twice as much as it did 2 months ago…