Nullification Changes from a Small Gang Interceptor POV: Inconvenient

DISCLAIMER: When this post got published, everything discussed was still on Singulartiy (Test-Server) and as such is potential subject to change.

I love flying the Malediction as a dedicated tackle ship. No guns needed for the task. The high slots are pure utility: An Energy Nosferatu, a Core Probe Launcher, and maybe a single turret to get rid of a stray pod. You can get amazing performance out of the hull if you dare to fit a bit of bling too.

When I first saw the Nullifier module and it’s implications I had the following thoughts:

I can live with the fitting constraints.

I can live with the cap usage, although it will suck and Interceptors may die, not having the cap to activate their modules after activating the Nullifier, warping, and landing on a dangerous grid.

I could even live with the -20% lock-range – but I don’t want to (if I also lose a low slot).

What my Malediction coudn’t live with is the lost low slot.
I need that – or I can just fly a Stiletto.

Someone posted this meme on the weekend. I felt that at that point in time.

Traits of the Malediction and an Interdicton Nullfieder II module with bonuses, after fitted on it. Captured on the Test-Server at 2021-05-17 at 19:40 UTC.

U Mad?

No, but I was a bit worried. Arsia Elkin said it pretty well on the Sunday TiS stream.

When the changes first got announced there was a lot of confusion and false information as of what they will be looking like exactly. It’s an impactful change and the first iteration of the post in the official forums left quite some questions unanswered. And some players may have misread it quite a bit. Maybe the post was an attempt of controlled communication by CCP – before someone discovered the change on Singularity or hoboleaks and would generate a huge outrage on r/Eve… well.

I have the feeling that a proper Devblog explaining the reasoning and goal behind the change would have done more good than the rather short notice by a Community Developer on the forums. The CCP-Interview on TiS that got published on Sunday did answer some questions, but came a bit too late to reduce the outrcy on reddit.
However, this also has a good side: CCP is getting the often premature, irrational, and dumb responses as a company. Not, like in the past, the individual person who happened to write the Devblog.

CCP Emerald (top left), CCP Paradox (top right), and CCP Swift (bottom left) talking with Matterall (bottom right) about the next quadrant titled “Foundations”.

Still, the changes made me worry a bit. Interceptors are a fundamental part of my playstyle and changes to them will certainly affect how I play Eve Online. What made the Malediction for example so much fun to fly was the challange of managing capacitor, reps, speed, positioning, outrunning drones, and tackling at the same time. It can be high stakes situations were a single error means the loss of an expensive ship. Or the right action at the right time just giving you the edge. I’d be very sad to lose that kind game play because a passive tanked Stiletto might just outperform the Malediction.
But to be honest, after today, I doubt it will.

Feedback was heard?

Yes. It almost seems like it! With the last changes after downtime on Monday the 17th. March the Interdiction Nullifier occupies a highslot, I’m pretty sure I can keep flying my beloved Amarr Interceptor. 👌 Nullified or not, that remains to be seen.
Swapping the module from low to high slot aditionally nerfed the “Fozzie Claw 2.0” which were Malediction and Ares class Interceptors fitted with guns that could warp below 2s and in a big enough fleet could volley ships. This was especially common in SOV-warfare, but rather frowned upon gameplay.
Another good change was the reduction of the capacitor usage of the module. From previously 150 GJ down to 50 GJ, and 35 GJ on the ‘Restrained’ variant. Considering the 30s cooldown of the module and the capacitor of a Stiletto being at somewhere around 230-250 GJ, this seems to be a very good adaptation as well.

[Stiletto, T2 Nullified]
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Overdrive Injector System II
IFFA Compact Damage Control

5MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive
Republic Fleet Medium Shield Extender
Initiated Compact Warp Scrambler
Warp Disruptor II

Interdiction Nullifier II

Small Ionic Field Projector II
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing II

A Stiletto with a Nullifier and a target-range rig will lock up to 43 km. Not as good as 49 km, but kind of okay. Especially when you move with the speed of an Interceptor targeting range is very relevant: You want to use the server-tick it takes you to lock a target to move towards it and then warp disrupt it the server-tick after that. That’s why you fit the Small Ionic Field Projector II in the first place. The alternative would be to lose point in a lot of situations.

Meta Forecast*

The Stiletto will be the most competitive Interceptor with a Nullifier fitted. It will be the ship most suitable to work on an Alt when Dual-Boxing. The other Ceptors won’t be able to fit a Nullifier without losing their ability to perform their role as a tackler on an active grid well enough to be worth it. Or perform much worse than before.

The Ares was always just a worse Malediction when it comes to tackling things. With the changes as they are now, it will be even less viable as an armor-ceptor. While the Ares is a rather weak ship, the Crow is even worse off. It only has two low slots to begin with, and it’s already slow… Fitting a Nullifier to it will just make it even less competitive towards the Stiletto. One can only hope that Crow and Ares get a balance pass soon™. CCPls.

*The striked through sentences in the previous paragraphs were written before the swap from low to high slot had happend. With the recent impelentation however, I can see the other Interceptors work decently well.

Two Types of Tackle

If everything stays had stayed as it is was and the Nullifier gets implemented as a low slot, and not as Stitch Kaneland has proposed as a high slot. This would impacts Fleet Interceptors muss less and I probably could can continue to fly my Malediction almost as before.
But as of now, we will probably may see two different types of Fleet Interceptors:

  1. Mainbox Tackle without Nullifier
    Without the Nullifier, the Malediction will still perform the best on an active grid. But it won’t be quite as suitable as a hunting ship as before. It will be capable of tanking more and go faster than any nullified Interceptor. But it probably won’t be the first ship of a gang that get’s initial tackle on a target. This will be the
  2. Nullified Tackle-Alt
    probably flying a Stiletto. It’s sub-warp speed and agility will likely be fast enough – but slower than before – to also get into bubbled pockets to land the initial warp disruption on a ratting or mining ship and provoke the initial fight. Because of the cap-usage of the Nullifier module, the initial tackle may also fail more often due to cap problems.

As you may have guessed: The “Meta Forcast” above is what I would have expected if the Nullifier module would have remained a low slot. It might still happen, but I deem it rather unlikely outside of specific scenarios.

With the following fit, a Malediction has a lock range of ~46km. Without an Interdiction Nullifier this would be ~51km. Not an insignifficant loss – especially when going for fast targets – but a loss one can still work with.

[Malediction, T2 Nullified]
Overdrive Injector System II
Damage Control II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer

5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive
Warp Scrambler II
Warp Disruptor II

Interdiction Nullifier II

Small Ionic Field Projector II
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing II

Nanite Repair Paste x8

Buffed Bubbles

Ironically the conequence of “The Great Escape” seems to make Interdiction Spheres much stronger.

Catching ships that fit a Nullifier will be likely easier with an Interdictor on gates. As the cooldown of the module on ships without bonus will be longer than the gate cloak. There might be some skill necessary to catch ships, considering a bubble-launcher can hold only three bubbles, reload-time, gate cloak, and module cooldown.

Anchored bubbles on gates into krabbing-pockets of nullsec will slow down or indirectly cap out (not anymore) hunting interceptors a bit too. On the same time, the changes to Warp Core Stabilizers might let people secure tackle more often. Speaking fo those: +2 warp strength seems to be a sweet spot, as it forces the commonly fitted Interceptor to go close for scram and point simultaneously for a couple seconds, which will allow ratting ships to fight back with webs, scrams and neuts.

Summed Up

While this is an overall nerf hitting Fleet Interceptors, this change seems to add options for players to mess up. That’s usually a good thing as mistakes are great content generators. At the same time, it will make some ships safer to fly, some less safer. Not getting caught in bubbles seems to become more an actual piloting skill or will require preparation in the form of bookmarks. It will certainly demand some adaptation on the players side.

I don’t fly the other ships affected of this change a lot. So I’m holding back on any comment about those. This post is long enough already.

My biggest hope is that these changes will enable CCP to make balance changes to the affected ships more easily afterwards. *cough, cough* Crow *cough*

So long. Thanks for listening, CCP.

Cat-tax for making it this far.


1 thought on “Nullification Changes from a Small Gang Interceptor POV: Inconvenient”

  1. CCP needs to stop wasting time on these changes and actually make the game more attractive to new players.


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