Unless you’ve been living under an asteroid for the past few weeks, you’ve certainly heard that a new kind of money-making site is coming and the time has come. These new toys have now been pushed to the live servers for the capsuleers of New Eden to use and enjoy (maybe). Here are the details we have about these sites so far.
The Summon the Swarm update brings about a new deployable structure, the CONCORD Rogue Analysis Beacon, or CRAB that capital ships in null-security and low-security space can use to literally summon a swarm of Rogue Drones that they must defeat. Rewards from the site come in the form of bounties, research data, and new mutaplasmid technology for mutating drones.
Today’s patch notes detail the four phases of the CRAB: deployment, linking, scanning, and rewards. In the deployment phase, the structure takes 20 seconds to “activate” and at this point the structure is globally visible to pilots on their overview (don’t forget to add these to yours!) and can be warped to. After the activation phase, a capital ship (carrier, dreadnought, supercarrier, or titan) can begin the linking phase. While the ship is linked it is locked in place for four minutes and cannot tether, cloak, or warp (and has 10% increase resistance bonus to shield/armor/structure).
After linking has finished, the CRAB broadcasts a signal that attracts Rogue Drone NPCs that interrupt the scanning process. These drones must be destroyed to allow the CRAB to continue its scanning progress. After the CRAB has scanned for 10 minutes, the analysis is complete and capsuleers are then rewarded with the new mutaplasmids. For two minutes after the scanning, the ship that initiated the linking phase will have exclusive access to the cargo hold of the CRAB. After two minutes, the CRAB self-destructs, and the mutaplasmids contained within are dropped with a 100% rate.
While the sites were being tested on Singularity, the most common concern was whether or not these sites would be worth running in the end. Extensive testing was performed on the sites by a variety of people from small groups to massive null blocs. It seemed that with maximum efficiency (including dynamic bounty scaling and encounter surveillance system payouts) and loot drops the ISK payout was around 400 million ISK/HR (though most ended up around 230-250 million ISK/HR).
The most commonly used ships for the sites were long-range Revelations and short-range Phoenixes. Both fitted with high-angle weapons. After feedback from players, the bounty rewards were more than doubled for the live release. We’ll have to keep a close eye on the earnings potential (and the end of scarcity) to see if risking these valuable hulls is worth the rewards.
Also on Singularity was a new mechanic called “interference”. This had no impact on the CRABs during testing but now restricts the ability for people to run these sites where signals have been oversaturated. In layman’s terms, the signal interference can get too high to the point where the Rogue Drones cannot detect a signal from the CRAB, disabling it from being used in the system. Over the course of about 25 hours, the signal interference decays from maximum to a usable state. One important note here is that this mechanic is not dictated by downtime but only dictated by time.
The final piece of the CRAB puzzle comes in the form of “Complex Encryption Qubits”, or CEQs. These CEQs are required for linking to the CRAB deployable and, if you don’t have the Qubits, you won’t have the ability to link to a site. This puts a hard cap on how many sites like this can be run by each individual character but does not put a limit on how many characters can participate in killing the Rogue Drones and, thus, collecting the bounties.
Personally, I’m not quite sure how to feel about CCP adding two mechanics restricting the running of these new sites but it is very clear that they do not want them to be as common as Ishtars and Vexors spinning Havens.
How do you feel about the new CRABs? Do you have a burning sensation of wanting to try them out right now? Do you think that your group will get CRABs or are your members protected from this short-term distraction (STD) from other money-making avenues? Let us know in the comments!